The Forgotten History of Britain’s White Slaves in America – The Irish Slave Trade by Don Jordan and Michael Walsh – 2008
“…the Irish slave trade began when King 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.
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.
My ancestor was brought to this country and sold into slavery along with his three brothers. They came over in chains along with others Scots aboard the John and Sarah and sold at auction. They were part of the 10,000 Scots who surrendered at the Battle of Worcester England in 1651. Cromwell sold all 10,000 into slavery in the Americas and the Barbados. Many of these Scots were bought by highlanders here and freed. Others ran away to the American frontier, and some even made it back to Scotland. The unlucky ones endured the same treatment as other American slaves. I have two degrees in history as well as other degrees in education. I always tell my students that if they take anything away with them from my class it should be that history lies. All history is politically based.
Synopsis by Otis Magoun
Or your Local Public Library…TM