April 10 - 1998 - The Good Friday Agreement
The Good Friday Agreement was the basic peace treaty that ended "The Troubles," the large scale violence in Northern Ireland that stretched across decades. One of the problems with the Troubles is that the sides, broadly speaking Protestant Unionists and Catholic Republicans, were self-reinforcing. Violence would lead to retaliatory violence, and the defining feature of life in Northern Ireland became where someone fell on the Protestant/Catholic divide. Yet constant violence became wearing, and the various political parties began working towards peace negotiations in the 1990s. This made hardliners on both side separate, even as the main parties were working towards de-escalation and de-militarization. Finally, with the assistance of former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, the key parties sat down and worked out an agreement, featuring not only an official agreement to end the violence, but also creates new inter-governmental institutions between the British and Irish governments to help Northern Ireland achieve peace and some measure of self-governance.