James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon

James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon ​​PC ( born January 8, 1871 in Belfast, † November 24, 1940 in Glencraig, County Down ) was an avowed Unionist, Chairman of the Ulster Unionist Party and the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.


James Craig was born in 1871 in East Belfast suburb of Sydenham, the son of a wealthy family distillery, which earned her money with whiskey. His father had called a large country house, Craigavon ​​. Craig received his education at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh, Scotland. After he had worked as a stock trader, he went to the British Army and fought in the Second Boer War.

Political action

After his return to Ireland he was elected a deputy of the British House of Commons for the constituency of East Down. He held from 1906 to 1918 this seat. From 1918 to 1921 he was a member of the constituency Mid Down. Since 1919 he was a member of the government of Prime Minister Lloyd George in different positions.

Craig gathered shortly before the First World War, in the province of Ulster, the opposition, unionist forces against the so-called Home Rule. Founded for this purpose, and he organized the paramilitary Ulster Volunteers. Does this have been the German Empire in arms deliveries. In February 1921 he broke Edward Carson on as chairman of the Ulster Unionist Party.

In the first Northern Irish general election in 1921, Craig moved into the newly created House of Commons of Northern Ireland for the constituency of County Down. In June 1921 Craig became the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. As a supporter of the Orange Order and staunch anti - Catholic, he replied 1935 on the statement of Éamon de Valera 's ( 1934) that Ireland was a Catholic nation:

"I have always said I am an Orangeman first and a politician and Member of Parliament this afterwards ... The Hon Members must remember 'that' in the South They boasted of a Catholic State. They quietly boast of Southern Ireland being a Catholic State. All I boast is did we are a Protestant Parliament and a Protestant State. "

In 1918 he became the hereditary lower ennobled ( baronet ) and 1927 - newly created for him - Viscount Craigavon ​​raised in County of Down. Craig received honorary doctorates from the Queen's University of Belfast ( 1922) and the University of Oxford ( 1926).

Craig died in 1940 peacefully on his estate in Glencraig, County Down in office as Prime Minister. His successor was the Finance Minister John Miller Andrews.