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[ Historical Photos ]
 

British police, known as "Black and Tans" after their uniforms of dark wool and khaki, hold a suspected Sinn Féin member at gunpoint and search him for weapons.

Rapidly recruited in 1920 as auxiliaries to the Royal Irish Constabulary from the ranks of World War I veterans, they were a major force on the pro-British side in the closing phases of the Irish Revolution.

The Black and Tans were notorious from the start for their poor discipline, a deadly failing in a war where keeping the goodwill of Irish citizens and the wider public in Britain and elsewhere was vital.

 

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.

 

 

One of the founding fathers of the Republic of Ireland, Eamon De Valera was three times Prime Minister and later President of the state which he had helped to create, after an early career often marked by bitterly divisive struggle. 

A commander in the Easter Rebellion of 1916, he was one of the principal leaders of the intransigent anti-Treaty forces in the Irish Civil War which followed the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922; he later fought his battle against British influence in the new state's affairs by parliamentary means.

 
 
The "Bloody Sunday" incident on January 30, 1972, was one of the most notorious events of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. British troops opened fire on a crowd of civil rights protesters, killing 13 people.
 

 

President of Provisional Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland, Gerry Adams has been instrumental in moving Sinn Féin and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) away from their purely militaristic policies of the 1970s. 

In April 1998 he participated in historic talks that led to a new agreement for Northern Ireland, involving cross-border bodies, which was approved by referendum in May.

 

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