The earliest human presence on Ireland is dated at 10,500 BC. During the late antiquity, Ireland was made of rival kingdoms until the concept of national kingship, called the High King of Ireland, came to being in the 7th century. From the 9th century, Ireland was subjected to viking raids and the vikings in turn were responsible for establishing most of Ireland's major coastal settlements.
Following the Norman invasion in the 12th century, England claimed sovereignty over Ireland. However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the Tudor conquests during the 15th and 16th centuries. Under English rule, the majority of Irish Catholics and other non-Protestants were severely deprived of their civil rights, while enriching a new Anglo-Irish ruling class. With the Acts of Union in 1801, Ireland was incorporated into the United Kingdom.
Beginning in the 19th century, Irish resentment towards the English led to the foundation of Irish republicanism and nationalism, and saw a series of attempted rebellions against the British Crown. During this period Ireland suffered in the Great Potato Famine, which lead to mass starvation and emigration from 1845 to 1849. The famine exacerbated already strained relations between the Irish and the British, and boosting the Irish independence movement.
In the early 20th century, Ireland was nearly successful in politically attaining home rule until the outbreak of World War I suspended it. This led to the Easter Uprising, which was crushed and the Irish rebel leaders executed but fueling support for Irish republicanism, and a war of independence. Eventually in 1922, Ireland was partitioned, creating the Irish Free State, while Northern Ireland remained a part of the United Kingdom.
Ireland held the status of dominion until 1937 when a new constitution was adopted and became a republic, which was officially declared in 1949. Ireland remained neutral during World War II, but offered clandestine assistance to the Allies. Ireland did not have formal relations with Northern Ireland throughout the later half of the 20th century, but the Irish government engaged with the British in forging a peaceful resolution to the violent conflict in Northern Ireland known as "the Troubles".
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