Éamon de Valera (pronounced /ˈeɪmən dɛvəˈlɛrə/) (born George De Valero) (14 October 1882 – 29 August 1975) was one of the dominant political figures in 20th century Ireland. His political career spanned over half a century, from 1917 to 1973; he served multiple terms as head of government and head of state, and is credited with a leading role in the authorship of the present-day Constitution of Ireland. He was a significant leader of Ireland's struggle for independence from the United Kingdom, and the anti-Treaty opposition in the ensuing Irish Civil War. In 1926, he founded Fianna Fáil, which continues to be the largest political party in Ireland. Over the years, the principal element of his political creed evolved from militant republicanism to social and cultural conservatism. De Valera was also the co-owner of The Irish Press, a newspaper supportive of Fianna Fáil.
De Valera was born in the New York Nursery and Child's Hospital in New York City in 1882 to an Irish mother; he stated that his parents, Catherine Coll (subsequently Mrs Wheelwright), an immigrant from Bruree, County Limerick, and Juan Vivion de Valera, a Cuban settler and sculptor, were married on 18 September 1881 at St. Patrick's Church located within the Greenville Section of Jersey City, NJ. However, exhaustive trawls through church and state records give no birth, baptismal, or death certificate information for anyone called Juan Vivion de Valera or de Valeros, an alternative spelling. The historian Sean Murphy has listed the long-term search for facts about Mr de Valera, allowing that he may have come from New Mexico, and was perhaps returning there at the time of his death.
On de Valera's original birth certificate, his name is given as George De Valero and his father is listed as Vivion De Valero. The first name was corrected in 1910 (possibly 1916) to Edward and the surname to de Valera.