The Easter Rising
Holidays. Sometimes you eat chocolate eggs, sometimes proclaim independence. In 1916 Great Britain was “the empire on which the sun never sets” and had one of the biggest territories in history*. Then Ireland started what India had ended. Not only the left-sided traffic should remind us about times when these countries did not exist.
The Easter Rising was the insurrection that lasted from April 24th until April 30th 1916. It took place mostly Dublin but doesn’t mean that the other Irish people didn’t want independence.
If you plan a revolution, you can’t tell everybody (unless you are homeless looking for a free hostel in a prison). That’s why The Rising was planned in secret by only seven men who had formed a “Military Council” just after the start of First World War.
Like history says, the enemy of your enemy is your friend, so the rebels made a deal with the Germans for a large shipment of arms to be delivered on Good Friday, April 21st. Unfortunately, British were too smart for this trick and the entire transport was confiscated.
They proclaimed an Irish Republic with Patrick Pearse as President and James Connolly (yes, on the street called by his name, where you eat burgers every day) as commander in chief. They occupied positions around Dublin at the General Post Office (GPO), the Four Courts, the South Dublin Union, Boland’s Mill, Stephen’s Green and Jacobs’ biscuit factory. Uprisers were able to count on nearly 13,000 volunteers.
London wasn’t happy with that. Fights lasted for about week. About 450 people were killed, over 2,000 wounded, 3,000 arrested and 1,400 imprisoned. Then Patrick Pearse ordered surrender on Friday, 28th April.
The Easter Rising lose but sent a signal to the Irish people that independence is possible. From the other hand, Great Britain hadn’t had any reason to smile. Especially, that nationalists Sinn Fein party, which had not participated in the revolution, earn a lot of followers. Being joined by the veterans of the Rising helped them as well. Now, they would win the next three elections and in a few years start the successful Irish War of Independence.
* actually, countries like Australia are officially still under the power of the British Queen crown and GB have a lot of islands; so even now, for most of the day (about 23 hours), sun is over the GB. But it is not the same sun.