Northern Ireland became, in the words of Nobel Peace Prize joint-winner, Ulster Unionist Leader and First Minister of Northern Ireland David Trimble, a "cold place for Catholics." Gerrymandered towns and city boundaries rigged local government elections to ensure Protestant control of local councils.
Voting arrangements which gave commercial companies votes, and minimum income regulations also helped achieve similar ends.
Faced with divergent demands from Irish nationalists and Unionists over the future of the island of Ireland (the former wanted an all-Irish home rule parliament to govern the entire island, the latter no home rule at all), and the fear of civil war between both groups, the British Government under David Lloyd George passed the Act, creating two home-rule Irelands: Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland.
Southern Ireland never came into being as a real state: the Irish Free State superseded it in 1922.(That state now bears the name of "the Republic of Ireland".) Unionists often call Northern Ireland "Ulster" or "the Province"; nationalists often use the terms "the North of Ireland" or "the Six Counties".
It covers 14,139 km (5,459 square miles), and has a population of 1,685,267 (April 2001).
The Government of Ireland Act 1920, enacted by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland parliament, set up Northern Ireland as a separate political entity in 1921.
The island of Ireland is known as Eire in Irish Gaelic.
The "six counties" remain in use for cultural purposes such as the GAA and The Orange Order.
They are considered to be the intellectual centres of Europe.
The United Kingdom is a monarchy and the Queen is the head of the state.