Word Origin & History
secret society founded 1795 in Belfast to promote Protestant power in N.Ireland, named for William of Orange (who became King William III of England and triumphed in Ireland at the head of a Protestant army at the Battle of the Boyne), of the Ger. House of Nassau. His cousins and their descendants constitute
the royal line of Holland. The name is from the town of Orange on the Rhone in France, which became part of the Nassau principality in 1530, the town so called because it was said to have been a center for importing oranges to northern France and beyond (its Roman name was Arausio). In this roundabout way the political/religious movement of N.Ir. Protestantism acquired an association with the color orange.