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A New History of IrelandEarly Modern Ireland 1534-1691$
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T. W. Moody, F. X. Martin, and F. J. Byrne

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562527

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562527.001.0001

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Land and People, c. 1600

Land and People, c. 1600

(p.142) Chapter V Land and People, c. 1600
A New History of Ireland

R. A. Butlin

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the geographical character and population of Ireland. Appraisals of the physiography, vegetation, and climate of Ireland at this time tended to relate to the conduct of military campaigns. Woods, bog, and mountain ‘fastnesses’ were seen by the military as extensive havens of refuge for outlaws and rebels, and accounts of their size were thus prone to exaggeration and contradiction. A scorched-earth policy was a dominant and consistent feature of the military campaigns. The population of Ireland derived from three main stocks: Irish, English, and Scots. In spite of the increase in surveying and cartography in the late 16th century, the English administrators lacked the detailed geographical data necessary for a rational administrative framework, and thus relying on an imperfect perception of the geography of Ireland failed to achieve their objectives.

Keywords:   geographical character, physiography, vegetation, climate, military campaigns, scorched-earth policy, population

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