The Irish Slave Trade – The Forgotten “White” Slaves: The Slaves That Time Forgot

The Irish Slave Trade – The Forgotten “White” Slaves
The Slaves That Time Forgot
By John Martin
Global Research, January 27, 2013//Oped News and Global Research 14 April 2008
Region: Europe // Theme: Culture, Society & History, Poverty & Social Inequality

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.

Please note – this article is not an original of this site – however its content is deemed substantial such that it is re-posted in its entirety. Please, visit the originating site as there are other articles of interest as well.

Additional articles on slavery (that do not include much on Irish Slavery) can be found below.  One paragraph stood out to me:

Before 1400: Slavery had existed in Europe from Classical times and did not disappear with the collapse of the Roman Empire. Slaves remained common in Europe throughout the early medieval period. However, slavery of the Classical type became increasingly uncommon in Northern Europe and, by the 11th and 12th centuries, had been effectively abolished in the North. Nevertheless, forms of unfree labour, such as villeinage and serfdom, persisted in the north well into the early modern period. In Southern and Eastern Europe, Classical-style slavery remained a normal part of the society and economy and trade across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic seaboard meant that African slaves began to appear in Italy, Spain, Southern France, and Portugal well before the discovery of the New World in 1492. From about the 8th century onwards, an Arab-run slave trade also flourished, with much of this activity taking place in East Africa, Arabia, and the Indian Ocean. In addition, many African societies themselves had forms of slavery, although these differed considerably, both from each other and from the European and Arabic forms. Although various forms of unfree labour were prevalent in Europe throughout its history, historians refer to ‘Chattel Slavery’, in which slaves are commodities to be bought and sold, rather than domestic servants or agricultural workers. Chattel Slavery is the characteristic form of slavery in the modern world, and this chronology is concerned primarily with this form.


The Irish Slaves – Rhetta Akamatsu

Bibliography for The Irish Slaves:


Linebaugh, Peter & Rediker, Marcus: T he Manyheaded Hydra: The Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic. Boston: Beacon Press, 2001.

Karras Ruth Mazo: Slavery And Society in Medeivel Scandinavia. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.

Connelly, James: The Reconquest of Ireland .Sioux Falls: NuVision Publications, LLC, 2007.

Sowell, Thomas: Ethnic America. New York: Basic Books, 1981

Miller, Kerby: Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America, New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Miller, Kerby A. (Editor), Schrierm Arnold (Editor), Boling, Bruce D. (Editor), Doyle, David N. (Editor): Irish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan: Letters and Memoirs from Colonial and

Revolutionary America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Woodham-Smith, Cecil: The Great Hunqer; Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Penguin Group,1992.

Macmanus, Seumas: The Story of the Irish Race: A Popular History of Ireland (1922).New York: Cornell University Library, 2009.

Metlzer, Milton: Slavery: A World History. Cambridge: Da Capo Press, 1993.

Williams, Joseph J : Whence the “Black Irish” of Jamaica.Lincoln MacVeigh/The Dial Press, 1932.

Lenihan, Maurice: Limerick, its history and antiquities; ecclesiastical, civil, and military,from the earliest ages, with copious historical, archaeological, topographical, and genealogical notes. Nabu Press, 2010.

Akinson, Donald H: An Irish History of Civilization, Volume 1. Montreal: McGill-Queen‘s University Press,2006.

Jordan, Don and Walsh, Michael: White cargo: the forgotten history of Britain’s White slaves in America. New York: NYU Press, 2008.

Renwick, W.L. and Spencer, Sir Edmund: A view of the present state of Irelande, 1934 Edition. Native American Books Distributor, 2007. Page 37

Emmet, Thomas Addis: Ireland Under English Rule.Whitefish: Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2007.

Purvis, Thomas L: A Dictionary of American History. Wiley-Blackwell, 1997.

Hayden, Tom: Irish on the Inside: In Search of the Soul of Irish America. New York: Verso,2003.

Miles, Rosalind: The Women’s History of the World. Topsfield: Salem House Publishing, 1992.

Clark, Dennis: The Irish relations: trials of an immigrant tradition. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1982.

Mittelberger, Gottlieb: On the Misfortune of Indentured Servant: 1754.

Crimmens, John Daniel: Irish-American Historical Miscellany: Relating Largely to New York City and Vicinity, Together with Much Interesting Material Relative to Other Parts of the Country. Whitefish: Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2007.

Annu, Ogu Eji Ofo (editor): White Slaves in Americas.

Thebaud, Rev. August J: The Irish Race in the Past and Present. Whitefish: Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2010.

Coleman Philip, Byrne, James, & Kling, Jason (editors): Ireland and the Americas: culture, politics, and history: Volume 2. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2008.

McEnnis, John T: The white slaves of free America: Being an account of the sufferings, privations and hardships of the weary toilers in our great cities as recently exposed … child labor, contract and prison labor. R.S. Peale and Co., 1888.

Bettman, Otto: The Good Old Days: They Were Terrible! New York: Random House, 1974.

Fitzpatrick, Brian: Fitzpatrick, Brian: 1945). Santa Barbara: Greenwood Publishing, 1982.

O‘Driscoll, Robert & Reynolds, Lorna (editors): Untold Story : The Irish in Canada. Celtic Arts, 1988.


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Ron Paul Zealots Respect No Rules But Their Own by Dan Burdish

This is from a post on Facebook. Since many do not have facebook, I am posting this here with credit to the author.
I am going to select a few replies – without names – to flush out the content.

Ron Paul Zealots Respect No Rules But Their Own by Dan Burdish.
by Republican Security Council on Sunday, September 2, 2012 at 2:14pm ·
(Editorial Note: Dan Burdish is the former executive director of the Nevada Republican Party and directed the Gingrich campaign in the state. He was an alternate delegate to the convention.)!/notes/republican-security-council/ron-paul-zealots-respect-no-rules-but-their-own-by-dan-burdish/314887105277134

Nevada’s delegates to the Republican National Convention showed a lack of class and acted like spoiled brats during Tuesday’s roll call vote for the nomination of Mitt Romney for president. Under national and state party rules, they were required to cast 22 votes for Mr. Romney and six votes for Rep. Ron Paul. Instead they cast 17 votes for Rep. Paul, five votes for Mitt Romney and five delegates abstained.

■The actions by these fanatical zealots are not the actions of most Ron Paul supporters. The egregious actions of those delegates who broke their oaths are theirs alone and should not cast a pall over the sane Paul supporters. Unfortunately, all Paul supporters will now be lumped in with these few zealots, and that is the worst part of this whole situation.

For the past four years we have heard the mantra from the Paul supporters to “follow the rules,” but when the time came for them to follow the rules they threw out the book and decided they knew better than the voters of Nevada, who showed up at the caucuses and overwhelmingly supported Mr. Romney.

Delegation leader Wayne Terhune is squealing like that the GOP changed the rules. Get over it. You didn’t have the votes, and you lost. Four years ago, you changed the rules and disrupted the Nevada Republican State Convention at the last minute and created a scenario where the national party selected our delegates to the national convention. Rep. Paul’s backers supported last-minute changes to the rules of the Clark County (Las Vegas) and state conventions and helped drive out fair-minded Republicans from both these meetings.

■In Clark County, Paul supporters tried to change the rules on how the caucus votes were counted, and when they lost that fight they threatened litigation to try and get their way. They’re happy when they control the votes and can change the rules to their satisfaction.

If Rep. Paul’s Nevada supporters believe in liberty, as they so love to say, they will support Mr. Romney in November. If they do not do so, they will show their true colors.

Comments from facebook

The RNC was right to change the rules for the future. Paul only received 27% of the caucus vote in Minnesota…. but claimed 80% of the delegates. Santorum was the winner with 45% on caucus night, but got just 2 delegates (or 5%), and Romney received one. This isn’t how it’s supposed to work. What these delegates from Nevada and Minnesota did was just vote the way they personally wanted to, not based on who the delegates had been allocated to.

All this new rule does is work to insure that delegates in the future remain true to the candidate they are allocated to.

Anyone who has followed the primaries and the events leading up to the convention should know by now that Ron Paul is always cheated (in his supporter’s minds) out of his due because there was no way he could have lost if things were “fair.”
Truth is, he lost because of a mixture of things pertaining to his supporters anarchic and hatefully intolerant obstructionism over the course of the primaries (major turnoff) to Paul’s own frighteningly unrealistic foreign policy and his inability to understand that America’s economy does not work the same way a lemonade stand does
. No one is ever going to get anywhere in politics with his approach, and his career is proof of that.

His supporters were going to insist they were cheated no mattered what happened because many of them actually believed going into the convention that Paul would still win the nomination. Those who didn’t believes this still were merely looking to make a scene as they have in past alongside OWS.

The irony here is that they themselves were the ones who in the end resorted to breaking the rules in the face of what they insisted was fraud on the GOP’s part just to try and get attention.

Over the course of the past year, they have been a disgracefully disrespectful embarrassment to all of us and are in no way essential to our success moving forward as the anarchic fringe of politics.


Ron Paul is not a good choice. We already have a thug in the white house. A man who wasn’t a power hungry zealot would have kept his supporters in check.


The Ron Paul supporters have been the embarrassment for the Repubs for months! I remember how rude and obnoxious they were at the debates! They screamed and yelled rude, disguting things at the candiates they disagreed with and screamed like a bunch of tiny boppers when Paul opened his mouth! I was disgusted then and still am over people are so rude and disrespectful of others! Fortunately, Paul is going home to stay, but his crew will someone else to be obnoxious in the future, no doubt! Because I removed my membership all Tea Party groups, Freedom Works and the rest and moved on to the Republican Party instead of nutcases!


This cult mentality is frightening. It’s one thing to advocate for a cause, but this is bordering on OWS, WBC, et al. I fear they have alienated themselves and their cause this past campaign season.


This is what I kept telling everyone for the past week on why the Republican National Committee at the convention were doing what they were doing on the rule changes to make it all or nothing because they were trying to prevent these LOONS
from pushing THEIR guy like they’ve been doing all along. I swear I’m more convinced than ever that they have been helping the Obama administration along so they can make the country so bad that they figured RP would win by default…….they are as liberal and sleazy as the Obama people!


I was embarrassed for the Paul people in Nevada as well as Virginia! There is always a group of people unhappy with things at election time… But the actions of these are traitorous to our country! Grow up and get over it!!!


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We are ALL Americans. United we Stand – divided we fall.

There is a tweeter friend who said it well about the RNC 2012 on twitter – “What black folks? I see Americans.” That tweeter is a black man who is proud to be an American and he gets it.

I am so fed up with the left dividing America. When did we become such a nation divided by stuff: gender, race, success, political views? When did we start beating up on people for viewing life differently? When did we start throwing our bedroom into the faces of others and begin identifying ourselves by our bedroom antics?

UGH – let’s get back on track people. We have the greatest country in history – why are we allowing other countries to tell us we are bad? WE are for freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We believe in success. Those other countries are envy ridden, jaded failures who do not like the success of others for it shows how they made wrong decisions.

WHY are we letting misguided Americans who truly do not care about us – tell us they are more intelligent than us because they went to X school and obtained Y degree?

Even though their educational knowledge is based upon re-writing and manipulation of academics.

Why have we fallen for their snake oil? Why do we let them divide us?

We are ALL Americans. United we Stand – divided we fall.

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