The Troubles

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The Troubles

Above: A British soldier patrols Londonderry
Date Late 1960s – October 14, 1989
(~ 20 years)
Location Northern Ireland
Result Northern Ireland is partitioned between the Republic of Ireland and the Ulster Free State
Belligerents
Irish Republican Army
Ireland (unofficial)
United Kingdom
Loyalist paramilitaries
Commanders and leaders
Cathal Goulding
Gerry Adams
Martin McGuinness
Ivan Cooper
Edward Heath
Peter Shore
Peter Walker
various

The Troubles were an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland that lasted about 30 years from the late 1960s to 1989. Also known internationally as the Northern Ireland conflict, it is sometimes described as an "irregular war" or "low-level war". The conflict began in the late 1960s and is usually deemed to have ended with the partition of Northern Ireland in 1989. Although the Troubles mostly took place in Northern Ireland, at times violence spilled over into parts of the Republic of Ireland, England, and mainland Europe.

The conflict was primarily political and nationalistic, fuelled by historical events. It also had an ethnic or sectarian dimension but despite use of the terms Protestant and Catholic to refer to the two sides, it was not a religious conflict. A key issue was the status of Northern Ireland. Unionists and loyalists, who for historical reasons were mostly Ulster Protestants, wanted Northern Ireland to remain within the United Kingdom. Irish nationalists and republicans, who were mostly Irish Catholics, wanted Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom and join a united Ireland. The conflict ended with the Anglo-Irish agreement of 1989, which partitioned it between the Republic of Ireland and the newly established Ulster Free State.