|Belfast (ˈbɛlfɑːst, bɛlˈfɑːst)|
|1.||the capital of Northern Ireland, a port on Belfast Lough in Belfast district, Co Antrim and Co Down: became the centre of Irish Protestantism and of the linen industry in the 17th century; seat of the Northern Ireland assembly and executive. Pop: 276 459 (2001)|
|2.||a district of W Northern Ireland, in Co Antrim and Co Down. Pop: 271 596 (2003 est). Area: 115 sq km (44 sq miles)|
|that part of the United Kingdom occupying the NE part of Ireland: separated from the rest of Ireland, which became independent in law in 1920; remained part of the United Kingdom, with a separate Parliament (Stormont), inaugurated in 1921, and limited self-government; scene of severe conflict between Catholics and Protestants, including terrorist bombing from 1969; direct administration from Westminster from 1972; assembly and powersharing executive established in 1998--99 following the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, suspended in 2002, and reinstated 2007. Capital: Belfast. Pop: 1 702 628 (2003 est). Area: 14 121 sq km (5452 sq miles)|
Note: Northern Ireland was created in 1920, when Britain established separate parliaments for the parts of Ireland dominated by Protestants and by Roman Catholics. The Protestant portion remained in union with Britain.
Note: Demands for equal civil and economic rights by the Catholic minority, beginning in the late 1960s, led to a renewal of violence between Catholics and Protestants.
Note: The Irish Republican Army (IRA), a nationalist organization dedicated to the unification of Ireland, has staged terrorist attacks on British troops in Northern Ireland, as well as other random terrorist attacks in Britain.
Note: A peace accord reached on Good Friday, 1998, provided for the restoration of home rule, which Britain had suspended in 1972 when it assumed direct control of Northern Ireland. By the terms of this accord, both Britain and the Republic of Ireland agreed to give up their constitutional claims on Northern Ireland. Voters in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland approved the accord later in 1998. The failure of the IRA to disarm threw this accord into jeopardy until recently. There is now reasonable hope for a settlement.