During the early 17th century, the Plantation of Ulster was an attractive area of settlement for migrants within the British Empire. The Plantation was composed of six entire counties, namely, Armagh, Tyrone, Coleraine, Donegal, Fermanagh and Cavan, which were confiscated as a result of a war between Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone and Queen Elizabeth. As a result, about 3,798,000 statute acres were under the crown of England.
During the reign of King James I, these massive territories were transferred to some English, but mostly Scottish settlers. These settlers were called Undertakers and Planters, hence the term Plantation of Ulster.
The mostly Scottish settlers, agreed to remain loyal to the English Crown and to retain their religion which was for the most part, Protestant (Church of England.) Essentially, they undertook to retain their loyalty to the Crown, hence the term undertakers. This Protestant intrusion into a mostly Catholic country would prove to have a troubling impact for the centuries ahead.
Within this territory, four baronies were reserved for the Londoner's Plantation. A small portion of Antrim and Coleraine were joined to form the present county of Londonderry. Some of the native Irish were awarded lands and position in the Plantation, but many who had held the position of gentleman, gentry or nobility were forced to tend their own land. The Undertakers were for the most part, Protestants. More than 8,000 people of British birth were found in these counties by 1620. Only 70 of these had no lands of their own. The Plantation of Ulster was to have a profound impact on the United Kingdom for centuries to come.
- ^ Swyrich, Archive materials