Michael Collins, shown here
in Irish Free State uniform, led the Republic of Ireland to
independence from British rule. He fought in the Easter Rising
of 1916, and later became the most important leader of the
Irish Republican Army (IRA).
He helped negotiate the Anglo-Irish
Treaty of 1921 that ended the Irish Revolution, but this limited
sovereignty agreement split the IRA, sparking the Irish Civil
War. Collins became commander of the pro-treaty Free State
forces, but after weeks of fierce fighting he was killed by
anti-treaty republicans in 1922, at the age of 31.