Fitzgerald, James Fitzmaurice

▪ Irish noble
died Aug. 18, 1579, Munster Province, Ireland

      Irish Roman Catholic nobleman who led two unsuccessful uprisings against English rule in the province of Munster in southwest Ireland.

      In 1568, following the arrest and imprisonment of his cousin Gerald Fitzgerald, 14th earl of Desmond, on charges of resisting the authority of England's Queen Elizabeth I, Fitzmaurice was proclaimed leader of the Fitzgeralds of Munster. Allying with his family's traditional rivals, the Butlers, he initiated an uprising against the English in 1569, but by 1573 he had given up the struggle and accepted a pardon.

      In 1575 Fitzmaurice traveled to the Continent to seek support for the Irish Roman Catholic cause. Philip II of Spain and Pope Gregory XIII both encouraged his plan for a Catholic invasion of Ireland, but offered almost no material aid. Fitzmaurice landed at Dingle in Munster on July 18, 1579, with a small force of Italians and Spaniards, accompanied by the papal legate Nicholas Sanders. Within a month, however, he was betrayed—at the instigation of the English—by several of his followers and killed in a skirmish. The rebellion was not completely quelled until 1583.

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