Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland by an act of the British parliament. Unlike Southern Ireland, which would become the Irish Free State in 1922, the majority of the population of Northern Ireland wanted to remain within the United Kingdom. Most of these were the Protestant descendants of colonists from Great Britain. However, a significant minority wanted a united Ireland independent of British rule, and most of these were Catholics. Today, the former generally see themselves as British and the latter generally see themselves as Irish, although some people from both communities describe themselves as Northern Irish. Historically, Northern Ireland was marked by discrimination and hostility between these two communities in what Nobel Peace Prize-winner David Trimble called a "cold house" for Catholics. In the late 1960s, conflict between the two communities, and involving state forces, erupted into three decades of violence known as The Troubles, which claimed over 3,500 lives. The Good Friday Agreement in 1998 was a major step in the peace process although sectarianism still remains a major social problem.
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