The Irish Slave Trade – The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America
The Slaves That Time Forgot
DON JORDAN & MICHAEL WALSH
Global Research, January 27, 2013
Oped News and Global Research 14 April 2008
They came as slaves; vast human cargo transported on tall British ships bound for the Americas. They were shipped by the hundreds of thousands and included men, women, and even the youngest of children.
Whenever they rebelled or even disobeyed an order, they were punished in the harshest ways. Slave owners would hang their human property by their hands and set their hands or feet on fire as one form of punishment. They were burned alive and had their heads placed on pikes in the marketplace as a warning to other captives.
We don’t really need to go through all of the gory details, do we? We know all too well the atrocities of the African slave trade.
But, are we talking about African slavery? King James II and Charles I also led a continued effort to enslave the Irish. Britain’s famed Oliver Cromwell furthered this practice of dehumanizing one’s next door neighbor.
The Irish slave trade began when James II sold 30,000 Irish prisoners as slaves to the New World. His Proclamation of 1625 required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat. At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves.
Ireland quickly became the biggest source of human livestock for English merchants. The majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white.
From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English and another 300,000 were sold as slaves. Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade. Families were ripped apart as the British did not allow Irish dads to take their wives and children with them across the Atlantic. This led to a helpless population of homeless women and children. Britain’s solution was to auction them off as well.
During the 1650s, over 100,000 Irish children between the ages of 10 and 14 were taken from their parents and sold as slaves in the West Indies, Virginia and New England. In this decade, 52,000 Irish (mostly women and children) were sold to Barbados and Virginia. Another 30,000 Irish men and women were also transported and sold to the highest bidder. In 1656, Cromwell ordered that 2000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica and sold as slaves to English settlers.
Many people today will avoid calling the Irish slaves what they truly were: Slaves. They’ll come up with terms like “Indentured Servants” to describe what occurred to the Irish. However, in most cases from the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish slaves were nothing more than human cattle.
As an example, the African slave trade was just beginning during this same period. It is well recorded that African slaves, not tainted with the stain of the hated Catholic theology and more expensive to purchase, were often treated far better than their Irish counterparts.
African slaves were very expensive during the late 1600s (50 Sterling). Irish slaves came cheap (no more than 5 Sterling). If a planter whipped or branded or beat an Irish slave to death, it was never a crime. A death was a monetary setback, but far cheaper than killing a more expensive African. The English masters quickly began breeding the Irish women for both their own personal pleasure and for greater profit. Children of slaves were themselves slaves, which increased the size of the master’s free workforce. Even if an Irish woman somehow obtained her freedom, her kids would remain slaves of her master. Thus, Irish moms, even with this new found emancipation, would seldom abandon their kids and would remain in servitude.
In time, the English thought of a better way to use these women (in many cases, girls as young as 12) to increase their market share: The settlers began to breed Irish women and girls with African men to produce slaves with a distinct complexion. These new “mulatto” slaves brought a higher price than Irish livestock and, likewise, enabled the settlers to save money rather than purchase new African slaves. This practice of interbreeding Irish females with African men went on for several decades and was so widespread that, in 1681, legislation was passed “forbidding the practice of mating Irish slave women to African slave men for the purpose of producing slaves for sale.” In short, it was stopped only because it interfered with the profits of a large slave transport company.
England continued to ship tens of thousands of Irish slaves for more than a century. Records state that, after the 1798 Irish Rebellion, thousands of Irish slaves were sold to both America and Australia. There were horrible abuses of both African and Irish captives. One British ship even dumped 1,302 slaves into the Atlantic Ocean so that the crew would have plenty of food to eat.
There is little question that the Irish experienced the horrors of slavery as much (if not more in the 17th Century) as the Africans did. There is, also, very little question that those brown, tanned faces you witness in your travels to the West Indies are very likely a combination of African and Irish ancestry. In 1839, Britain finally decided on it’s own to end it’s participation in Satan’s highway to hell and stopped transporting slaves. While their decision did not stop pirates from doing what they desired, the new law slowly concluded THIS chapter of nightmarish Irish misery.
But, if anyone, black or white, believes that slavery was only an African experience, then they’ve got it completely wrong.
Irish slavery is a subject worth remembering, not erasing from our memories.
But, where are our public (and PRIVATE) schools???? Where are the history books? Why is it so seldom discussed?
Do the memories of hundreds of thousands of Irish victims merit more than a mention from an unknown writer?
Or is their story to be one that their English pirates intended: To (unlike the African book) have the Irish story utterly and completely disappear as if it never happened.
None of the Irish victims ever made it back to their homeland to describe their ordeal. These are the lost slaves; the ones that time and biased history books conveniently forgot.
"He (Isaac Turner) was going to take care of the rebel leaders once and for all. Irish law required political prisoners to be sold English families in the American colonies and in West Indies as slaves. He had the perfect buyer for Alexander McGillpatrick and his sons." - Kathleen's Revenge by Allison Bruning
Irish Slave Trade
It's something we don't learn about in our history books. We have grand visions of colonists who came to American with visions of starting over. Yet little do you hear about the colonists who had been forcibly removed from their homes and shipped to the colonies as indentured servants. Indentured servitude is just a nice way of saying white slavery. But to understand how and why the Irish were forced into slavery you must understand the back story of it all.
Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries was a very dangerous place to live if you had been born Irish. The conflict between the English and Irish began when King John became the first Lord of Ireland. He visited the island twice (1185 and 1210) and convinced many of the Irish kings to swear their allegiance to his reign. Ireland had a long history of defending their lands against outsiders who wanted to control their island. Some of the Irish nobles had deemed King John an outsider and wanted nothing to do with him while others believed it was best to swear their fidelity to the English intruder in an effort to maintain peace.
Conflict on between the Irish and English nobles continued for over 100 years. In 1348, the Black Death came to the island killing more English and Normans than Irish. At the end of the plague, the Irish culture and language once again dominated the island. By the end of the 15th century, England had almost forgotten about the island as their attention was now focused on the War of the Roses.
In 1536, King Henry VIII decided to turn English eyes back on Ireland. He spent years trying to place control of the island under the English crown yet he would not live to see the fruit of his labor. The reconquest of Ireland eventually happened during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth the I and King James.
The English greatly dehumanized the Irish claiming the Irish were savages. The practice of dehumanizing the Irish continued overseas in the colonies well into the 20th century. The Irish Slave Trade began under the rule of King James II with his Proclamation of 1625. He declared all Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. 30,000 Irish were forcibly removed from their homes and sold as slaves in Barbados. The English crown gave Oliver Cromwell free reign to gather undesirable Irish and sell them overseas. Ireland soon became the place for merchants to obtain white slaves. He rounded up the Catholics and shipped them as slaves to the Caribbean, mainly Barbados. In 1656, Cromwell gathered 2,000 Irish children and sold them to merchants and English settlers in Jamaica. From 1641 to 1652, over 300,000 Irish were sold as slaves. In one single decade, Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000.
The Caribbean wasn't the only place the Irish were forced into servitude. Irish slaves were also found in the American colonies. Ireland soon became the place for merchants to obtain slaves because Irish slaves were less expensive to obtain than African slaves.
The Irish Slave Trade lasted from the 15th through the 18th century. You can learn more about the Irish Slave Trade from this site http://humboldtsentinel.com/tag/proclamation-of-1625/
30% of the African Slaves Were Muslims
Imaam Abdullah Hakim Quick
GENOCIDE OF NATIVE AMERICANS BY THE SPANISH CONQUISTADORS