The Loyal Orange Institution, more commonly known as the Orange Order, is a Protestant fraternal organisation with similarities to Freemasonry. It is based primarily in Northern Ireland but also has significant presence in the Scottish Lowlands and lodges throughout the Commonwealth and United States. The lodges of every country are independent, but meet in a world council every three years.
The name derives from the Dutch-born Protestant king William of Orange, who defeated the army of Catholic king James II at the Battle of the Boyne (1690). The Orange Order was founded in 1795.
As a pro-Protestant organisation it has been involved in sometimes vehement conflicts between Protestants and Catholics, notably in Ireland, but also elsewhere. As such there are very different views on the organisation by supporters and critics.
The Orange order has supported the continued unity of the United Kingdom and thus opposed the unification of Ireland and Scottish independence.
As is also the case with mainstream Catholicism, the organisation has become increasingly politically correct on issues such as race. There are now lodges in African countries and many Black members.