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Belfast

Belfast is the second largest city in Ireland, and the economic and political capital of Northern Ireland. Although the Normans established a fort at Belfast in the 12th cent., a substantial town only developed at the beginning of the 17th cent.: Belfast benefited from the Ulster plantation, and from the patronage of the lord deputy, Sir Arthur Chichester, and was incorporated by royal charter in 1613. The economic collapse of Chichester's descendants, the earls of Donegall, after the mid-18th cent. liberated the town from a constrictive leasing policy, and—in combination with the success of the local cotton industry—induced a period of rapid growth. But the most remarkable years of expansion were from c.1860 to the First World War, which coincided with the marked development of the shipbuilding and engineering industries, and the consolidation of linen manufacturing: the population of Belfast grew from 87,000 in 1851 to 349,000 by 1901. Belfast was incorporated as a city in 1888, and its chief magistrate raised to the dignity of lord mayor in 1892. With the Government of Ireland Act (1920), and the partition of the island, Belfast became the administrative capital of the newly created Northern Ireland.

The swift expansion of Belfast partly determined its politics. Rapid, uneven growth was accompanied by an alteration of the sectarian demography: the proportion of catholic citizens grew from virtually nothing at the beginning of the 18th cent. to one-third by the late 19th and 20th cents. A shifting denominational balance in company with rapid growth brought fluid sectarian frontiers within the city, and political instability: intercommunal violence, notably in 1857, 1864, 1886, and 1921–2, became almost endemic. The industrial growth of the city—unique in an Irish context—brought closer links with the British economy and with the empire: this, in combination with a protestant domination of capital, helped to determine the predominantly unionist character of the city's politics.

Alvin Jackson

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BELFAST

BELFAST. The capital of Northern Ireland, settled in the early 17c with planters (settlers) mainly from England. The numbers of Scottish Protestants increased in the 18c and of Irish Catholics in the 19c, the often mutually hostile communities tending to live in different parts of the city. There is a range of usage varying according to level of education, with some homogeneity in working-class speech. Such words as true and drew sound like ‘thrue’ and ‘dhrew’ (an interdental pronunciation), good and cap sound like ‘gyood’ and ‘kyap’ (addition of the semi-vowel /j/), cheap and speak sound like ‘chape’ and ‘spake’ (with the vowel sound /e/), push and took rhyme with ‘rush’ and ‘luck’, ever and yet sound like ‘ivver’ and ‘yit’, deck and penny sound a little like ‘dack’ and ‘panny’ (having a close /a/ vowel), board and course sound like ‘boored’ and ‘koors’ (the /ou̶/ diphthong), cold and hold sound like ‘cowl’ and ‘howl’, berry/bury and cherry sound like ‘barry’ and ‘charry’, bag and can sounding like ‘beg’ and ‘ken’, off and shop sound like ‘aff’ and ‘shap’. Y'are not is commoner than you're not. None of the above features are exclusive to Belfast, but their co-occurrence and the rapidity of informal speech distinguish Belfast speakers from other speakers of IrE. These features of pronunciation are associated with the vocabulary and the grammatical patterns described for non-standard ANGLO-IRISH, but lexical influence from ULSTER SCOTS also occurs, especially in the north and east. See NORTHERN IRISH ENGLISH.

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Belfast

Belfast (bĕlfăst´), Gaelic Béal Feirste, city (1991 pop. 297,000), capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast dist. It is on Belfast Lough, an inlet of the North Channel of the Irish Sea, and at the mouth of the Lagan River. The harbor, 8.5 mi (13.7 km) long, is navigable to the largest ships. The great shipyards of Belfast have built some of the world's largest ocean liners. The city is also the center of the Irish linen industry; other industries include tobacco and food processing, packaging, and the manufacture of rayon, aircraft, tools and machinery, clothing, carpets, and rope. Agricultural and livestock products are the chief exports. Queen's Univ. (founded 1845) and Victoria College (founded 1859), one of the oldest women's grammar schools in the British Isles, are among the educational institutions there. The Protestant Cathedral of St. Anne, the Waterfront concert hall, and the Odyssey Center, housing a sports arena and a science museum, are notable. The Parliament House of Northern Ireland is at Stormont, a suburb.

Belfast was founded in 1177 when a castle in defense of a ford over the Lagan was built, but the present city is a product of the Industrial Revolution. French Huguenots, coming there after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685), stimulated the growth of the town's linen industry. Serious rioting between Catholics and Protestants, who live in distinct sections of the city, has scarred Belfast many times since the 19th cent.; sectarian terrorist violence was a significant problem in the late 20th cent. The city and the surrounding country were subjected to heavy air raids in 1941. Belfast suffers from high unemployment, and its population has decreased markedly due to the violence and the planned economic development of outlying areas.

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Belfast

Belfast Capital of Northern Ireland, at the mouth of the River Legan on Belfast Lough. The city was founded in 1177, but did not develop until after the Industrial Revolution. Belfast is now the centre for the manufacture of Irish linen. Since the 19th century, religious and political differences between Protestants and Catholics have been a source of tension. In the late 1960s, these differences erupted into violence and civil unrest. Shipbuilding is a major industry and Belfast's harbour includes the Harland and Wolff yard, which has produced many of the world's largest liners. Other industries: aircraft, machinery, tobacco. Pop. (1996 est.) 297,300.

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Belfast

Belfast. See truss.

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Belfast

Belfastaghast, avast, Belfast, blast, cast, caste, contrast, fast, last, mast, miscast, outlast, past, rat-arsed, unsurpassed, vast •steadfast • lightfast • holdfast •sunfast • colourfast • flabbergast •simulcast • telecast • typecast •forecast • broadcast • sportscast •downcast •outcast, outcaste •newscast • roughcast • upcast •opencast • worm cast • sandblast •Elastoplast • counterblast • mainmast •mizzenmast • topmast • foremast •fly-past

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