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Northern Ireland (Irish: Tuaisceart Éireann, Ulster Scots: Norlin Airlann or Norlin Airlan) is a self-governing part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland. Northern Ireland shares a border with the Irish Free State to the south and west.
Northern Ireland has traditionally been the most industrialized region of Ireland.
Between 1914 and 1923 it was part of the self governing territory of Ireland.
The administrative counties of Ulster under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives in 1922 ending the Irish War of Independence (or Revolution), where given the choice of becoming part of the Irish Free State or the UK. On the day the Irish Free State was established the Ulster Provincial Council almost immediately exercised its right under the treaty to remove itself from the new state.
According to the Government of Northern Ireland Act (1923) and residual previsions of the Government of Ireland Act (1922), Northern Ireland is self-governing, except in areas specifically reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom: chief amongst these were matters relating to the Crown, to defense, foreign affairs, international trade, and currency.
The Governor of Northern Ireland is the chief officer and representative in Northern Ireland of the British monarch. He grants Royal Assent to Acts of Parliament in Northern Ireland, but executive power rests with the Prime Minister, the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons. The Governor chooses the leader of the party with a majority in the House to form a government.
The Parliament of Northern Ireland is bicameral, consisting of a directly elected House of Commons and an indirectly-elected Senate. The Government of Ireland Act prescribes that elections to the House of Commons should be by single transferable vote (STV) and at least very four years. Parliament has the power to legislate over almost all aspects of Northern Ireland life, with only a few matters excluded from its remit: succession to the Crown, making of peace or war, armed forces, honors, naturalization, some central taxes and postal services are the most important.
The main political party is the Ulster Unionist Party. Other parties of importance are the Nationalist Party and Northern Ireland Labour Party (NILP).
An important fringe group is Ulster nationalism, that seek the independence of Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom without becoming part of Ireland, thereby becoming an independent sovereign state (Dominion of Ulster).
Northern Ireland has a traditionally industrial economy, most notably in shipbuilding, rope manufacture and textiles.
Heavy industry is concentrated in and around Belfast, although other major towns and cities also have heavy manufacturing areas. Machinery and equipment manufacturing, food processing, textile and electronics manufacturing are the leading industries. Other industries such as papermaking, furniture manufacturing, aerospace and shipbuilding are also important, concentrated mostly in the eastern parts of Northern Ireland.
Belfast's famous shipyard, Harland and Wolff, in the early 20th century is the world's biggest shipbuilder and main industrial employer.
Agriculture in Northern Ireland is heavily mechanised, thanks to high labour costs and heavy capital investment.