The medieval colonisation of Ireland

1 of 11/ My thoughts in relation to the issue of whether #Ireland was colonised in the #medieval period set out in a twitter thread.

The International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (2nd Ed, 2020) defines #colonialism as the combination of
2/ territorial, juridical, cultural, linguistic, political, mental/epistemic, and/or economic domination of one group of people or groups of people by another (external) group of people. I address these points below.

Following the initial invasion of Ireland by
3/ Anglo-Norman mercenaries in 1169 the English State under King Henry II became involved in the eventual conquest of Ireland which reached its greatest extent under King Edward I when most of the island was occupied.

Within the English occupied part of Ireland Irish
4/ Brehon law was replaced with English law adjudicated in English courts.

English culture was predominant in the occupied area and when Irish culture revived in these areas in the 14th century the Irish language, intermarriage between English and Irish, Irish
5/ games such as hurling and the admittance of Irish priests to English churches in Ireland was banned by law.

Within the English occupied area the Irish language was replaced Norman French and then English. By the 14th century the use of Irish language in the
6/ occupied area was banned by law.

In the occupied areas the political rights of the Irish population were removed and power came into the hands of an intrusive foreign feudal aristocracy, landholding elite and town-based settler population who legislated and
7/ ruled without regard for the Irish population.

The mental impact of colonisation can be seen from documents like the Remonstrance of 1317 to Pope John XXII where the Irish listed numerous grievances against the colonists. That they were excluded from legal
8/ redress, from religious orders, were murdered by the English and ‘by base and deceitful craftiness they have prevailed against us so far that, with no authority from a superior, they have driven us by force from the spacious places where we dwelt and from the inheritance of
9/ our fathers; they have compelled us to seek mountains, woods, bogs, barren tracts and even caverns in the rocks to save our lives, and for a long time back to make our dwellings there like beasts.’

Economic domination
The English agricultural system based on manors and the
10/ open field system was imposed in the occupied areas, the Irish population were deprived of their traditional lands and became tenants on the estates of the new overlords. Many became betaghs and were tied to the land like serfs. They also had limited rights in the new
11/ English towns and lived in areas outside the towns called Irishtowns.

In conclusion the English medieval conquest and occupation of Ireland possessed all of the characteristics of colonisation and should be considered as such.
You can follow @cmount1.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: