The population of Ireland in 1600 may not have been much more than 1 million. The Ulster counties were the poorest in Ireland and had been devastated by nine years of war. In the early years of the plantation, not enough settlers came to fulfil the aims of the plantation, and there were complaints that the undertakers were allowing Irish tenants live on their estates. There seemed to be no reason to believe that this plantation would be any more successful than any of the others carried out in Ireland. In fact, it was probably the influx of Scottish immigrants later in the century, mainly moving to Antrim and Down, which was to bring the strong Scottish traditions which persist in Ulster to this day.
From about the middle of the century, there was a rise in exports of salt beef from Ireland to the new colonies in the West Indies, from ports like Galway. However, it was not until the 1680s that there was a marked improvement in economic conditions in Ulster, when there was a further influx of immigrants and capital. This was also the beginning of the rapid growth of Belfast, which became the fourth most important port in Ireland by 1700.
In 1688, Ulster once more became embroiled in conflict as a result of the Glorious Revolution, when the Protestant William of Orange was invited to take the English throne, replacing the Catholic James II. Even before William accepted the crown in England, a group of apprentice boys took matters into their own hands, shutting the gates of Londonderry to stop the Earl of Antrim's Catholic troops entering the city. The siege started in April 1689, when Jacobite troops blockaded the city to try to starve the garrison into submission. After 105 days, following many deaths from starvation and disease, the merchant ship Mountjoy broke the boom across the Foyle to bring supplies to the city. The garrison at Enniskillen also refused to surrender to the Jacobites, and won a notable victory at Newtownbutler.
In June 1690, William III landed in Carrickfergus, and started to move his army towards Dublin. He won a significant victory at the Battle of the Boyne, although the Jacobites were able to retreat in good order towards Limerick. A daring raid on the Williamite siege train frustrated attempts to take Limerick, and William himself had to return to London. It was not until 1691, after heavy Jacobite losses at the Battle of Aughrim, that Limerick finally surrendered. After the Treaty of Limerick, many Irish soldiers, who later became known as the "wild geese", were allowed to sail away to fight for Louis XIV of France.
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