[1803] - Emmet leads an uprising in Ireland which fails due to lack of French support

Robert Emmet (1778–1803) was an Irish nationalist who led an uprising in 1803 to try to secure Ireland’s independence from Britain. His elder brother, Thomas Addis Emmet, was one of the founding members of the United Irishmen. Robert was himself appointed as secretary to one of the four United Irish Societies during his years as a student at Trinity College Dublin. In 1798 he was expelled from the college following the outbreak of the 1798 uprising.

Emmet was a central figure in reorganizing the United Irishmen in the aftermath of the 1798 uprising. Consequently, a warrant was issued for his arrest in April 1799. He evaded arrest by fleeing to the continent where he sought to secure French military assistance for another rebellion. In March 1802 he returned to Ireland and the following year, buoyed by hopes of French assistance, he began preparing for an uprising to begin on 23 July 1803. Having established a series of military depots throughout Dublin, Emmet and his colleagues planned to attack Dublin Castle. The authorities, however, were alerted and Emmet was forced to abandon his plans. He tried to flee the city but was arrested at Harold’s Cross in Dublin on 25 August. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to death on 19 September 1803. His speech from the dock (see hyperlink below) has become central to the Irish nationalist tradition. He was executed on 20 September.

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