Ulster resistance and loyalist rebellion in the Empire
in ‘An Irish Empire’?
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For centuries before 1886, in Ireland, North America, the Caribbean and India, imperial authorities in England had confronted determined opposition from settlers who claimed to be acting out of loyalty, Ulster emigrants not least among them. Analogies between Ulster loyalists and zealous British settlers were frequently drawn. Like the Ulster loyalists before the Great War, the Rhodesian settlers after it successfully resisted external pressure to be subsumed within a neighbouring polity. After the First World War, the British faced another threat of loyalist rebellion in Kenya. Rebellious feelings would doubtless have arisen in Kenya, Rhodesia and Natal in response to local circumstances in any case, as they had elsewhere in the Empire at other times. Set in an imperial rather than a domestic context the paradoxes of Ulster's loyalist rebellions seem typical rather than strange. Ulster's Britishness was and remains primarily an imperial, not a metropolitan variety of Britishness.

‘An Irish Empire’?

Aspects of Ireland and the British Empire

Editor: Keith Jeffery


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