In general, a "loyalist" is one who maintains loyalty to an established government, political party, or sovereign, especially during war or revolutionary change. In modern English usage, the most common application is to loyalty to the British Crown.

Historical loyalism

North America

Loyalists in North America have included United Empire Loyalists, Black Loyalists and those who support the union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Fact|date=December 2007 Another group was the Quebec Loyalists, who united around their common heritage within New France prior to the ceding of the colony to the British.Fact|date=December 2007

18th century Ireland

The term "loyalist" was first used in Irish politics in the 1790s, to refer to Protestants who opposed Catholic Emancipation, the extension of the franchise of the Irish Parliament and greater independence for Ireland from Britain. Liberal Protestants who supported those reforms were known as "patriots". The terms may have derived from the American Revolution. Prominent loyalists included John Foster, John Fitzgibbon and John Beresford. In the subsequent Irish Rebellion of 1798, "ultra loyalists" were those most opposed to the United Irishmen, who wanted an independent Irish Republic. Loyalists founded the Green Institution|Orange Order in 1795 and served in the Yeomanry militia, which helped put down the rebellion. Some loyalists, such as Richard Musgrave, considered the rebellion a Catholic plot to drive Protestants out of Ireland.

England and Wales

Nearly every English and Welsh county formed a Loyalist Association, with the first being formed in Westminster on 20 November 1792. Loyalist associations were created in order to counter a perceived threat from radical societies. [pp. 17-18 Gee, Austin "The British Volunteer Movement 1794-1814" 2003 Oxford University Press]


Sydney and Parramatta Loyalist Associations, with approximately 50 members each, were formed in 1804 for similar reasons as the English ones and helped put down the Castle Hill convict rebellion in the same year. [ [http://www.lancers.org.au/site/The_Military_at_Parramatta.asp The Military at Parramatta ] ]

Modern loyalists in Great Britain and Ireland

Northern Ireland

A loyalist in Northern Ireland is a particular type of unionist who feels strongly in favour of the political union between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. In recent times, the term has often been used to refer to militant unionists. Most frequently, they are of Protestant background (at least nominally). There are several loyalist paramilitary groups, such as the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). Although loyalists claim to speak on behalf of their communities and the unionist community in general, electoral results tend to suggest that their support is minimal and exclusively based in the urban working class. One pro-Belfast Agreement loyalist party (Progressive Unionist Party) won seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1999. Ideologically, loyalism is typified by a militant opposition to Irish Republicanism, and often also to Roman Catholicism. It stresses Protestant identity and community with its own folk heroes and events, such as the misfortunes and bravery of the 36th (Ulster) Division during World War I and the activities of the Orange Institution.

Republic of Ireland

Loyalists in the Republic of Ireland have been few and far between since independence. Many of the southern Irish loyalists (along with many non-Loyalists, who hoped this might lead to the introduction of Home Rule) volunteered for service in the British Armed Forces in World War I and World War II; many of them losing their lives or settling in the United Kingdom after the wars. Partition saw mass movements of southern Loyalists to Northern Ireland or to Great Britain, furthering the decline of loyalism in southern Ireland. The republican nature of post-partition Ireland meant loyalism in the Republic of Ireland transformed itself in order to survive. Groups such as The Reform Movement, The Border Minority Group and the Loyal Irish Union have gained some publicity in recent times, but enjoy little support from the population as a whole.Fact|date=February 2007 The Orange Institution in the Republic of Ireland holds an annual pre-Twelfth parade in Rossnowlagh in County Donegal. Loyalism in southern Ireland has no known links with northern paramilitary groups, although investigations into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings are still ongoing.Fact|date=April 2007


A loyalist in Scotland is someone on the fringes of Scottish unionism who is often stridently supportive of loyalism and unionism, although mainly concentrating on the Irish union issue, rather than Scottish politics. Scottish loyalism is typified by a strident, and at times militant, opposition to Irish Republicanism, Scottish independence and the Roman Catholic Church - particularly the existence of Roman Catholic denominational schools.

Though only consisting of a small fraction of the Scottish population, and less so in comparison to their Northern Irish counterparts, their profile has become more prominent with strident demonstrations of their beliefs since the establishment of a Scottish Parliament. Scottish loyalism is visible through participation at Orange parades and through their support for Rangers F.C. in Glasgow, Hearts F.C. in Edinburgh and smaller clubs such as Airdrie United F.C.. Although far less active and organised in Scotland than their Northern Ireland counterparts, loyalists have been involved in a small number of activities related to The Troubles in Northern Ireland.Fact|date=February 2007 Some loyalists in Scotland support paramilitary groups such as the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) and Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF).

Loyalists in Scotland mostly live in small working class enclaves in the major urban centres or industrial villages, notably Glasgow, Lanarkshire (especially Larkhall), Renfrewshire, West Lothian and Ayrshire. There are relatively few loyalists in areas such as the Highlands, Borders and the northeast (including Aberdeen). Although loyalists claim to speak on behalf of Protestants and unionists, they do not have widespread political support. Many of the political representatives in their areas are from the Labour Party and to a lesser extent, the Scottish National Party. Neither party supports their programme.

On March 2007, Scotland's first 24-hour loyalist radio station started broadcasting through an Internet server in Jersey. Calton Radio has an exclusively loyalist playlist, with many songs celebrating loyalist history and culture. [ [http://www.caltonradio.com Calton Services ] ]

England and Wales

Loyalists can be found in many parts of England, especially Liverpool, Manchester, Corby and London, where there are substantial Irish immigrant populations. Loyalism also exists in Wales, but to a far lesser extent than in the rest of the United Kingdom. A small but militant faction of English and Welsh loyalism is found in far right groups such as the British National Party, the British National Front and Combat 18. Some of them have had links with loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland.

panish Civil War

Supporters of the Second Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War were generally known as loyalists or republicans. In this case, unlike most of the others noted, it was the loyalists who were the left wing side to the conflict.


ee also

* Resistance movement
* Fifth column - antonym of loyalist

External links

* [http://www.pulseresources.org/ PULSE - Protestant Unionist Loyalist Social Education]
* [http://www.loyalistscotland.co.nr/ Loyalist Scotland]
* [http://www.redcoat.me.uk/index.htm American Loyalists]
* [http://www.loyalistmusic.co.uk Loyalist Music Archive]
* [http://www.ulster-scots.co.uk Ulster-Scots Online]
* [http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/ CAIN - University of Ulster]
* [http://www.caltonradio.com/ Calton Radio - Loud & Proud]
* [http://www.luton-lambeg.org/cool_stuff/photo_albums/albums.htm Loyalist Pictures]
* [http://www.englishloyalists.net/ English Loyalists]
* [http://www.irishloyal.com Loyal Irish Union]
* [http://www.haldimand-collection.ca Haldimand Collection]

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