The Ulster Plantation was the initial Protestant colony in Northern Ireland. The plantation was part of the strategy of the government of James I of Britain to dilute and subdue the rebellious Catholic subjects of Ireland.

The British Government recruited down and out peasants from the impoverished, chaotic border region of Southern Scotland and Northern England to settle the plantation. In the wake of the English Civil War and Cromwell's attempts to further subdue Ireland, even more Protestant settlement of Northern Ireland was encouraged. Neither fully Scottish nor English nor Irish, these transplanted people became known as the Scots-Irish or Scotch-Irish, reflecting their origins and current home.

The Scotch-Irish of the settlement developed a rough frontier culture, being surrounded by hostile natives as they were, which would eventually form much of the national culture of the United States as many of the Scotch-Irish emigrated. Over time, their descendants came to be a bare majority of the population of Northern Ireland.