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The Irish slave trade – the slaves that time forgot

by G John Sit

We’ve all been taught the horror’s of the African slave trade. It’s in all the school books and in plenty of Hollywood movies. But for some reason the largest group of slaves in the British Colonies in the 17th Century doesn’t get mentioned at all: the Irish.

Most people have heard of the Great Famine, which reduced the population of Ireland by around 25%. That pales in comparison to the disaster that England inflicted upon Ireland between1641 and 1652, when the population of Ireland fell from 1,466,000 to 616,000.
Then things got worse.

What to do with the Irish? From the Tudor reconquest of Ireland until Irish Independence in 1921, the English puzzled over the problem of what to do with all those Irish people. They were the wrong religion. They spoke the wrong language. But the big problem was that there were just too many of them.

Irish slaves in Barbados

The English had been practicing a slow genocide against the Irish since Queen Elizabeth, but the Irish bred too fast and were tough to kill. On the other side of the Atlantic, there was a chronic labor shortage (because the local natives tended to die out too quickly in slavery conditions).

Putting two and two together, King James I started sending Irish slaves to the new world. The first recorded sale of Irish slaves was to a settlement in the Amazon in 1612, seven years before the first African slaves arrived in Jamestown.

Please, continue reading here on the website page of the New Port Buzz, March 7, 2018.

 

on 22.03.2018 at 9:59
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