The Irish Free State

The Irish Free State (Saorstát Éireann) (1922–1937) was the name initially given to the Irish State, made up of twenty-six of the thirty-two counties on the island of Ireland after the War of Independence. It was set up under the Anglo-Irish Treaty and signed by British and Irish representatives in London on 6 December 1921.

The Treaty was divisive and caused a split in the Irish independence movement, with those against it wishing for greater sovereignty. Those in favour of the Treaty maintained that it was a step towards greater independence, which would be achieved by more peaceful means. A brief but bloody civil war followed between the two sides, which was won by the Free State forces under Cumman na nGeadheal. The Republican side, which had opposed the Treaty, eventually entered Government as Fianna Fáil under Éamon de Valera in 1932 and was in power for the following sixteen years. In 1937, de Valera replaced the Constitution of the Irish Free State with the Constitution of Ireland (Bunreacht na hÉireann) and declared Ireland a 'soverign, independent democratic state'.