Irish Rebellion of 1641–52

Irish Rebellion of 1641–52


a national liberation uprising provoked by land confiscation and the colonial enslavement of Ireland by the English monarchy during the reign of the Tudors and the first Stuarts. It began on Oct. 23, 1641, and took place during the English Bourgeois Revolution of the 17th century (English Civil War).

Irish and Anglo-Irish feudal lords and peasants took part in the rebellion. The leadership was in the hands of the feudal aristocracy and the Catholic clergy. (Catholicism in Ireland was a banner of national resistance to Protestant England.) The leadership advanced moderate goals for the struggle: religious tolerance as a guarantee for the security of the land and property of the Catholics, return of confiscated lands (or parts of them), and an end to the tyranny of the English authorities.

There was a struggle in the leadership between representatives of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy and the native Irish, who favored more decisive action. In October 1642 the insurgents formed their own government, the Confederation of Irish Catholics. Under the influence of the Anglo-Irish lords and the clergy, the confederacy established links with the pope and Catholic countries, which enabled the latter to use the confederacy for their own reactionary purposes.

The aristocracy and higher clergy betrayed the goals of the liberation and the confederacy was transformed into an ally of the feudal counterrevolution in England. (In 1643 the confederacy agreed to an armistice, and in 1646 it concluded peace with King Charles I, which was renewed in 1649.) This gave the English Independents a pretext for the complete conquest of Ireland and colonial robbery in the interests of the English bourgeoisie and the new nobility.

In August 1649, English troops under the command of O. Cromwell landed in Ireland. Mass confiscation of land by Cromwell and his supporters in Ireland contributed to the creation of a new English landed aristocracy, which became a pillar of support for the restoration of the monarchy in England itself in 1660. In the words of Marx: “the English republic under Cromwell in essence broke apart on Ireland” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 32, p. 532).


Engels, F. “Rukopisi po istorii Anglii i Irlandii.” In Arkhiv Marksa i Engel’sa, vol. X. Leningrad, 1948.
Marx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nded., vol. 16, pp. 465–67, 579–81; vol. 35, pp. 133–36.
Saprykin, Iu. M. Irlandskoe vosstanie XVII veka. Moscow, 1967.


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