James Craig was born in Belfast, the son of wealthy whiskey distiller.
He was educated in Scotland and after working as a stockbroker he served with the British Army in the Boer War. On his return to Ireland he became Member of Parliament for East Down from 1906-1918. And from 1918-1921 he represented Mid-Down.
Craig rallied the Protestant opposition to Irish Home Rule in Ulster before the First World War, organising the Ulster Volunteer Force. He succeeded Edward Carson as leader of the Northern Unionists in February 1921 became prime minister of Northern Ireland in June of the same year.
Craig still held the post of prime minister when he died peacefully at his home 1940 and was succeeded by the Minister of Finance John Andrews.