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In the 1590s, Ulster was the most Gaelic province in Ireland. They were Catholic, spoke Irish and obeyed Brehon law. They were ruled by local Cheiftans.
The most powerful chieftains were Hugh O'Neill ( Earl of Tyrone ) and Red Hugh O'Donnell ( Earl of Tirconnell)
The English began to interfere in Ulster. They encouraged English adventurers to lay false claim to lands of the Ulster clans.
O'Neill and O'Donnell felt they had to fight to defend their land. They united to fight in The Nine Years War against England. They won many battles but were defeated in the Battle of Kinsale in 1601
The Ulster chiefs were so harassed by the English that they decided to leave Ireland. In 1607, O'Neill and almost 100 members of Ulster's leading families sailed secretly from Lough Swilly. This was known as the Flight of the Earls.
King James 1 declared them traitors. This meant that, under English law, He could take all their lands. He decided to do so and planted them with loyal English and Scottish settlers.
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