Background: Ireland before 1932

Illustration showing the relations between Britain and Ireland in 1922.

The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922 gave Southern Ireland more independence from Britain

How did Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland come about?

Until the beginning of the 1920s the entire island of Ireland was ruled directly by Britain.

However, during the Anglo-Irish War (1919-1921), the island was divided (partitioned) into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland (later known as the Irish Free State).

This came about as a result of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920.

Each region was still part of the United Kingdom, but had its own parliament to deal with local matters such as education and health.

The British government retained control of issues like foreign policy.

However, Irish Nationalists wanted more power than the Government of Ireland Act gave them so they continued fighting the British.

How did Southern Ireland become the Irish Free State?

Photograph showing Irish leaders signing the Anglo Irish Treaty.Getty

The Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in London by Irish and British leaders

The Anglo-Irish War was finally brought to an end by the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922, which gave Southern Ireland greater independence from Britain.

As a result of this Treaty, Southern Ireland was declared a Free State within the British Commonwealth.

It was known as the Irish Free State.

Although it had more rights and responsibilities than Northern Ireland and many of the links with Britain were only symbolic, not everyone in the Irish Free State was happy.

Certain aspects were particularly resented: