Michael Collins

Collins, Michael, 1890–1922, Irish revolutionary leader. He spent the years from 1907 to 1916 in England, during which period he joined the Fenian movement. He took part in the Easter Rebellion in Dublin in 1916 and was imprisoned for the rest of the year. One of the Sinn Féin members who set up the Dáil Éireann in 1919, he led the Irish Republican Army in the guerrilla campaign against British rule that eventually forced the British government to sue for a truce. Although a convinced republican, Collins, with Arthur Griffith, negotiated and signed the treaty (1921) that set up the Irish Free State (see Ireland) because he felt it the best settlement with England possible at that time. He was finance minister in Griffith's government for a brief time before being assassinated by extremist republicans.

See biographies by F. O'Connor (1937), E. Neeson (1968), M. Forester (1971), T. P. Coogan (1990), T. R. Dwyer (1990), and P. Hart (2006).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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