On this day, May 17, 1974, thirty-three civilians are killed and 300 injured when the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) detonates four car bombs in Dublin and Monaghan, Republic of Ireland. It is the deadliest attack of the Troubles and the deadliest terrorist attack in the Republic's history.
There are credible allegations that elements of the British state security forces helped the UVF carry out the bombings, including members of the Glenanne gang. Some of these allegations have come from former members of the security forces. The Irish parliament's Joint Committee on Justice called the attacks an act of international terrorism involving British state forces. The month before the bombings, the British government had lifted the UVF's status as a proscribed organisation, meaning the UVF was not considered a terrorist organization at the time of the May 17 bombing.
The bombings occurred within the context of the Ulster Workers' Council strike, called by hardline loyalists and unionists in Northern Ireland who opposed the Sunningdale Agreement. Specifically, they opposed the sharing of political power with Irish nationalists, and the proposed role for the Republic in the governance of Northern Ireland. The Republic's government had helped bring about the Agreement. The strike brought down the Agreement and the Northern Ireland Assembly on May 28, 1974.
The 1998 Good Friday Agreement, on which the current system of Northern Irish devolution is based, closely resembles the 1973 Sunningdale Agreement.
Brian Faulkner, was the sixth and last Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, from March 1971 until his resignation in March 1972. He was also the chief executive of the short-lived Northern Ireland Executive during the first half of 1974. His radical leadership style briefly gave hope to Northern Ireland.
On this day, April 8, 1886, British Prime Minister William Gladstone introduced the first Irish Home Rule Bill into the British House of Commons.
One can only imagine an alternative history if the bill had received the Royal Assent. No Anglo-Irish War. No "Troubles." And no religious terrorist organizations like the Protestant UVF and UDA, nor the Catholic IRA and PIRA....
On this day, October 3, 1981, the hunger strike by Provisional Irish Republican Army and Irish National Liberation Army prisoners at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland ends after seven months and ten deaths.
On this day, October 15, 1944 - The Arrow Cross Party takes power in Hungary. Nyilaskeresztes Párt – Hungarista Mozgalom, literally "Arrow Cross Party-Hungarist Movement") was a Hungarist party led by Ferenc Szálasi, which led a government in Hungary known as the Government of National Unity from October 15, 1944 to March 28, 1945. During its short rule, ten to fifteen thousand civilians (many of whom were Jews) were murdered outright, and 80,000 people were deported from Hungary to various camps in Austria. After the war, Szálasi and other Arrow Cross leaders were tried as war criminals by Hungarian courts.
On this day, October 12, 1492 – Christopher Columbus's expedition makes landfall in the Caribbean, specifically in The Bahamas. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. Those voyages, and his efforts to establish permanent settlements on the island of Hispaniola, initiated the Spanish colonization of the New World.
The native Taino people of the Hispaniola were systematically enslaved via the encomienda system implemented by Columbus, which resembled a feudal system in Medieval Europe. The combined effects of Columbus' forced labor regime, war, and slaughter resulted in the near-total eradication of 98% of the native Taino of Hispaniola. Bartolome De las Casas (1971) records that when he first came to Hispaniola in 1508, "there were 60,000 people living on this island, including the Indians; so that from 1494 to 1508, over three million people had perished from war, slavery, and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this? I myself writing it as a knowledgeable eyewitness can hardly believe it...."