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Public Inquiry
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Why is UK 'climate' aid money being spent on lessons on the "complete revision of the concepts of gender? among Mexican coffee growers?
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Three doses of the Moderna Covid vaccine increase your risk of Omicron infection by up to 27%, a study has found. Why do the Covid vaccines increase your infection risk? This needs urgently investigating.
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Ireland's Slavery Memorial Day?

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | opinion/analysis author Saturday September 30, 2006 16:18author by Donnchadh Report this post to the editors

Remembering the Forgotten

Given that tens of thousands of Irish people were shipped into slavery, isnt it strange that Ireland has no day remembering them? I dont know of a single monument to the victims of slavery in Ireland. Perhaps someone can let me know if they know of one. As far as I know, even the Republican Movement fails to commemorate the tens of thousands of innocents sold into slavery from Ireland. Many of the women and children into sex slavery.

President Jacques Chirac announced, last January, that France will hold a national day of remembrance for the victims of slavery every 10 May,.
The date for the annual holiday was chosen as it marks the day in 2001 when France passed a law recognising slavery as a crime against humanity. He said children should be taught about slavery at primary and secondary school as part of the national curriculum. "Slavery fed racism," he said. "When people tried to justify the unjustifiable, that was when the first racist theories were elaborated."

Given that tens of thousands of Irish people were shipped into slavery, isnt it strange that Ireland has no day remembering them? I dont know of a single monument to the victims of slavery in Ireland. Perhaps someone can let me know if they know of one. As far as I know, even the Republican Movement fails to commemorate the tens of thousands of innocents sold into slavery from Ireland. Many of the women and children into sex slavery.

The following extract gives an idea of the colossal scale of the slave trade from Ireland. No doubt this post will be met by the usual chorus of deniers wishing we could keep quite about this - but lets just ignore them. I think some remembrance should be made of these unfortunate people. The event could be linked with the fight against slavery in the world today. Does anyone have suggestions?

The reign of Elizabeth I, English privateers captured 300 African Negroes, sold them as slaves, and initiated the English slave trade. Slavery was, of course, an old established commerce dating back into earliest history. Julius Caesar brought over a million slaves from defeated armies back to Rome. By the 16th century, the Arabs were the most active, generally capturing native peoples, not just Africans, marching them to a seaport and selling them to ship owners. Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish ships were originally the most active, supplying slaves to the Spanish colonies in America. It was not a big business in the beginning, but a very profitable one, and ship owners were primarily interested only in profits. The morality of selling human beings was never a factor to them.

After the Battle of Kinsale at the beginning of the 17th century, the English were faced with a problem of some 30,000 military prisoners, which they solved by creating an official policy of banishment. Other Irish leaders had voluntarily exiled to the continent, in fact, the Battle of Kinsale marked the beginning of the so-called “Wild Geese”, those Irish banished from their homeland. Banishment, however, did not solve the problem entirely, so James II encouraged selling the Irish as slaves to planters and settlers in the New World colonies. The first Irish slaves were sold to a settlement on the Amazon River In South America in 1612. It would probably be more accurate to say that the first “recorded” sale of Irish slaves was in 1612, because the English, who were noted for their meticulous record keeping, simply did not keep track of things Irish, whether it be goods or people, unless such was being shipped to England. The disappearance of a few hundred or a few thousand Irish was not a cause for alarm, but rather for rejoicing. Who cared what their names were anyway, they were gone.

Almost as soon as settlers landed in America, English privateers showed up with a good load of slaves to sell. The first load of African slaves brought to Virginia arrived at Jamestown in 1619. English shippers, with royal encouragement, partnered with the Dutch to try and corner the slave market to the exclusion of the Spanish and Portuguese. The demand was greatest in the Spanish occupied areas of Central and South America, but the settlement of North America moved steadily ahead, and the demand for slave labour grew.

The Proclamation of 1625 ordered that Irish political prisoners be transported overseas and sold as laborers to English planters, who were settling the islands of the West Indies, officially establishing a policy that was to continue for two centuries. In 1629 a large group of Irish men and women were sent to Guiana, and by 1632, Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat in the West Indies. By 1637 a census showed that 69% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves, which records show was a cause of concern to the English planters. But there were not enough political prisoners to supply the demand, so every petty infraction carried a sentence of transporting, and slaver gangs combed the country sides to kidnap enough people to fill out their quotas.

Although African Negroes were better suited to work in the semi-tropical climates of the Caribbean, they had to be purchased, while the Irish were free for the catching, so to speak. It is not surprising that Ireland became the biggest source of livestock for the English slave trade.

The Confederation War broke out in Kilkenny in 1641, as the Irish attempted to throw out the English yet again, something that seem to happen at least once every generation. Sir Morgan Cavanaugh of Clonmullen, one of the leaders, was killed during a battle in 1646, and his two sons, Daniel and Charles (later Colonel Charles) continued with the struggle until the uprising was crushed by Cromwell in 1649. It is recorded that Daniel and other Carlow Kavanaghs exiled themselves to Spain, where their descendants are still found today, concentrated in the northwestern corner of that country. Young Charles, who married Mary Kavanagh, daughter of Brian Kavanagh of Borris, was either exiled to Nantes, France, or transported to Barbados… or both. Although we haven’t found a record of him in a military life in France, it is known that the crown of Leinster and other regal paraphernalia associated with the Kingship of Leinster was brought to France, where it was on display in Bordeaux, just south of Nantes, until the French Revolution in 1794. As Daniel and Charles were the heirs to the Leinster kingship, one of them undoubtedly brought these royal artifacts to Bordeaux.

In the 12 year period during and following the Confederation revolt, from 1641 to 1652, over 550,000 Irish were killed by the English and 300,000 were sold as slaves, as the Irish population of Ireland fell from 1,466,000 to 616,000. Banished soldiers were not allowed to take their wives and children with them, and naturally, the same for those sold as slaves. The result was a growing population of homeless women and children, who being a public nuisance, were likewise rounded up and sold. But the worse was yet to come.

In 1649, Cromwell landed in Ireland and attacked Drogheda, slaughtering some 30,000 Irish living in the city. Cromwell reported: “I do not think 30 of their whole number escaped with their lives. Those that did are in safe custody in the Barbados.” A few months later, in 1650, 25,000 Irish were sold to planters in St. Kitt. During the 1650s decade of Cromwell’s Reign of Terror, over 100,000 Irish children, generally from 10 to 14 years old, were taken from Catholic parents and sold as slaves in the West Indies, Virginia and New England. In fact, more Irish were sold as slaves to the American colonies and plantations from 1651 to 1660 than the total existing “free” population of the Americas!

But all did not go smoothly with Cromwell’s extermination plan, as Irish slaves revolted in Barbados in 1649. They were hanged, drawn and quartered and their heads were put on pikes, prominently displayed around Bridgetown as a warning to others. Cromwell then fought two quick wars against the Dutch in 1651, and thereafter monopolized the slave trade. Four years later he seized Jamaica from Spain, which then became the center of the English slave trade in the Caribbean.

On 14 August 1652, Cromwell began his Ethnic Cleansing of Ireland, ordering that the Irish were to be transported overseas, starting with 12,000 Irish prisoners sold to Barbados. The infamous “Connaught or Hell” proclamation was issued on 1 May 1654, where all Irish were ordered to be removed from their lands and relocated west of the Shannon or be transported to the West Indies. Those who have been to County Clare, a land of barren rock will understand what an impossible position such an order placed the Irish. A local sheep owner claimed that Clare had the tallest sheep in the world, standing some 7 feet at the withers, because in order to live, there was so little food, they had to graze at 40 miles per hour. With no place to go and stay alive, the Irish were slow to respond. This was an embarrassing problem as Cromwell had financed his Irish expeditions through business investors, who were promised Irish estates as dividends, and his soldiers were promised freehold land in exchange for their services. To speed up the relocation process, a reinforcing law was passed on 26 June 1657 stating: “Those who fail to transplant themselves into Connaught or Co. Clare within six months… Shall be attained of high treason… are to be sent into America or some other parts beyond the seas… those banished who return are to suffer the pains of death as felons by virtue of this act, without benefit of Clergy.”

Although it was not a crime to kill any Irish, and soldiers were encouraged to do so, the slave trade proved too profitable to kill off the source of the product. Privateers and chartered shippers sent gangs out with quotas to fill, and in their zest as they scoured the countryside, they inadvertently kidnapped a number of English too. On March 25, 1659, a petition of 72 Englishmen was received in London, claiming they were illegally “now in slavery in the Barbados”' . The petition also claimed that "7,000-8,000 Scots taken prisoner at the battle of Worcester in 1651 were sold to the British plantations in the New World,” and that “200 Frenchmen had been kidnapped, concealed and sold in Barbados for 900 pounds of cotton each."

Subsequently some 52,000 Irish, mostly women and sturdy boys and girls, were sold to Barbados and Virginia alone. Another 30,000 Irish men and women were taken prisoners and ordered transported and sold as slaves. In 1656, Cromwell’s Council of State ordered that 1000 Irish girls and 1000 Irish boys be rounded up and taken to Jamaica to be sold as slaves to English planters. As horrendous as these numbers sound, it only reflects a small part of the evil program, as most of the slaving activity was not recorded. There were no tears shed amongst the Irish when Cromwell died in 1660.

The Irish welcomed the restoration of the monarchy, with Charles II duly crowned, but it was a hollow expectation. After reviewing the profitability of the slave trade, Charles II chartered the Company of Royal Adventurers in 1662, which later became the Royal African Company. The Royal Family, including Charles II, the Queen Dowager and the Duke of York, then contracted to supply at least 3000 slaves annually to their chartered company. They far exceeded their quotas.

There are records of Irish sold as slaves in 1664 to the French on St. Bartholomew, and English ships which made a stop in Ireland en route to the Americas, typically had a cargo of Irish to sell on into the 18th century. Few people today realize that from 1600 to 1699, far more Irish were sold as slaves than Africans.

Slaves or Indentured Servants

There has been a lot of whitewashing of the Irish slave trade, partly by not mentioning it, and partly by labelling slaves as indentured servants. There were indeed indentureds, including English, French, Spanish and even a few Irish. But there is a great difference between the two. Indentures bind two or more parties in mutual obligations. Servant indentures were agreements between an individual and a shipper in which the individual agreed to sell his services for a period of time in exchange for passage, and during his service, he would receive proper housing, food, clothing, and usually a piece of land at the end of the term of service. It is believed that some of the Irish that went to the Amazon settlement after the Battle of Kinsale and up to 1612 were exiled military who went voluntarily, probably as indentureds to Spanish or Portuguese shippers.

However, from 1625 onward the Irish were sold, pure and simple as slaves. There were no indenture agreements, no protection, no choice. They were captured and originally turned over to shippers to be sold for their profit. Because the profits were so great, generally 900 pounds of cotton for a slave, the Irish slave trade became an industry in which everyone involved (except the Irish) had a share of the profits.


Although the Africans and Irish were housed together and were the property of the planter owners, the Africans received much better treatment, food and housing. In the British West Indies the planters routinely tortured white slaves for any infraction. Owners would hang Irish slaves by their hands and set their hands or feet afire as a means of punishment. To end this barbarity, Colonel William Brayne wrote to English authorities in 1656 urging the importation of Negro slaves on the grounds that, "as the planters would have to pay much more for them, they would have an interest in preserving their lives, which was wanting in the case of (Irish)...." many of whom, he charged, were killed by overwork and cruel treatment. African Negroes cost generally about 20 to 50 pounds Sterling, compared to 900 pounds of cotton (about 5 pounds Sterling) for an Irish. They were also more durable in the hot climate, and caused fewer problems. The biggest bonus with the Africans though, was they were NOT Catholic, and any heathen pagan was better than an Irish Papist. Irish prisoners were commonly sentenced to a term of service, so theoretically they would eventually be free. In practice, many of the slavers sold the Irish on the same terms as prisoners for servitude of 7 to 10 years.

There was no racial consideration or discrimination, you were either a freeman or a slave, but there was aggressive religious discrimination, with the Pope considered by all English Protestants to be the enemy of God and civilization, and all Catholics heathens and hated. Irish Catholics were not considered to be Christians. On the other hand, the Irish were literate, usually more so than the plantation owners, and thus were used as house servants, account keepers, scribes and teachers. But any infraction was dealt with the same severity, whether African or Irish, field worker or domestic servant. Floggings were common, and if a planter beat an Irish slave to death, it was not a crime, only a financial loss, and a lesser loss than killing a more expensive African. Parliament passed the Act to Regulate Slaves on British Plantations in 1667, designating authorized punishments to include whippings and brandings for slave offenses against a Christian. Irish Catholics were not considered Christians, even if they were freemen.

The planters quickly began breeding the comely Irish women, not just because they were attractive, but because it was profitable,,, as well as pleasurable. Children of slaves were themselves slaves, and although an Irish woman may become free, her children were not. Naturally, most Irish mothers remained with their children after earning their freedom. Planters then began to breed Irish women with African men to produce more slaves who had lighter skin and brought a higher price. The practice became 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.” This legislation was not the result of any moral or racial consideration, but rather because the practice was interfering with the profits of the Royal African Company! It is interesting to note that from 1680 to 1688, the Royal African Company sent 249 shiploads of slaves to the Indies and American Colonies, with a cargo of 60,000 Irish and Africans. More than 14,000 died during passage.


author by Dymphna Henrypublication date Sat Sep 30, 2006 19:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The greatest slavery in Ireland today is of women. They are not paid for working at home, and they are used in the sex trade. But what political party raises this as an issue for elections? Not one. We are still in Planters' Land but the planters are now home grown. And the Irish slaves are not exiled but are given the "Freedom" of living in their own country. It is therefore difficult to know what is a Fascist or a Democrat..

author by Wiggapublication date Sat Sep 30, 2006 19:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Are trying to sue the US govt for the destruction of their native african culture,and unpaid work from the US govt.
Shouldnt we Irish be doing the same with the British govt and Monarchy???

author by Donnchadhpublication date Sat Sep 30, 2006 21:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I wouldnt think thats practical, but I think we should stop the conspiracy of silence. How come there is not one monument to Irish slaves in Ireland? Are Irish people afraid to say that their forebarers were slaves?

author by Donnchadhpublication date Mon Oct 02, 2006 15:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

An interesting article which gives more information on the slave trade from Ireland:

Out of Africa, out of Ireland
For centuries, England dominated both the African slave trade and Ireland. The parallels are too numerous and haunting to ignore.
by James Mullin

W.E.B. Du Bois, founder of the NAACP and preeminent historian on slavery in the Americans, wrote: "Any attempt to consider the attitude of the English colonies toward the African slave trade must be prefaced by a word as to the attitude of England herself and the development of the trade in her hands." Amen.

Du Bois gives America's "Dialogue on Race" a logical starting place. Racism is the legacy of slavery, and slavery in the Americas began with the "Mother Country's" dominant role in the Atlantic slave trade. Before all white Europeans are lumped together with the British as colonists and slave keepers, let us consider Britain's tyranny in Ireland and the many parallels of subjugation and enslavement to be drawn.

Britain first entered the slave trade with the capture of 300 Negroes in 1562, and pursued it with religious zeal for three centuries. She introduced the first African slaves to Virginia on board a Dutch ship in 1619. In 1651, she fought two wars to wrest the slave trade from the Dutch. In her book, Black Chronology from 4,000 B.C. to Abolition of the Slave Trade, Ellen Irene Diggs wrote: "The final terms of peace surrendered New Netherlands to England and opened the way for England to become the world's greatest slave trader."

In 1662 the Company of Royal Adventurers was chartered by Charles II. The Royal Family, including Queen Dowager and the Duke of York, contracted to supply the West Indies with 3,000 slaves annually. This company was later sold for 34,000 pounds and replaced by the Royal African Company, also chartered by King Charles II.

Diggs says that in 1655, "Oliver Cromwell, in his zeal for God and the slave trade," sent an expedition to seize Jamaica from Spain. It soon became Britain's West Indian base for the slave trade.

In 1649 Oliver Cromwell and his 20,000-man army invaded Ireland. They killed the entire garrison of Drogheda and slaughtered all the townspeople. Afterwards, Cromwell said, "I do not think 30 of their whole number escaped with their lives. Those that did are in safe custody in the Barbados."

Under Cromwell's policy, known as "To Hell or Connaught," Irish landowners were driven off millions of acres of fertile land. Those found east of the river Shannon after May 1, 1654, faced the death penalty or slavery in the West Indies. Cromwell rewarded his soldiers and loyal Scottish Presbyterians by "planting" them on large estates. The British set up similar "plantations" in Barbados, St. Kitts and Trinidad.

The demand for labor on these distant plantations prompted mass kidnappings in Ireland. A pamphlet published in 1660 accused the British of sending soldiers to grab any Irish people they could in order to sell them to Barbados for profit: "It was the usual practice with Colonel Strubber, Governor of Galway, and other commanders in the said country, to take people out of their beds at night and sell them for slaves to the Indies, and by computations sold out of the said country about a thousand souls."

In Black Folk Then and Now, Du Bois concurs: "Even young Irish peasants were hunted down as men hunt down game, and were forcibly put aboard ship, and sold to plantations in Barbados."

According to Peter Berresford Ellis in To Hell or Connaught, soldiers commanded by Henry Cromwell, Oliver's son, seized a thousand "Irish wenches" to sell to Barbados. Henry justified the action by saying, "Although we must use force in taking them up , it is so much for their own good and likely to be of so great an advantage to the public." He also suggested that 2,000 Irish boys of 12 to 14 years of age could be seized for the same purpose: "Who knows but it might be a means to make them Englishmen."

In 1667 Parliament passed the Act to Regulate Negroes on British Plantations. Punishments included a severe whipping for striking a Christian. For the second offense: branding on the face with a hot iron. There was no punishment for "inadvertently" whipping a slave to death.

Between 1680 and 1688, the English African Company sent 249 ships to Africa and shipped approximately 60,000 black slaves. They "lost" 14,000 during the middle passage, and only delivered 46,000 to the New World.

As Diggs points out, "Planters sometimes married white women servants to Blacks in order to transform these servants and their children into slaves." This was the case with "Irish Nell," a servant woman brought to Maryland and sold to a planter when her former owner returned to England. Whether her children by a black slave husband were to be slave or free occupied the courts of Maryland for a number of years. Petition was finally granted, and the children freed.

The "custom" of marrying white servants to black slaves in order to produce slave offspring was legislated against in 1681. How many half-Irish children became slaves through this custom? How many black Americans have Irish ancestors because of it? If a servant is forced to mate with a slave in order to produce slave children for her slave master, is she not a slave?

In 1698 Parliament acted under pressure and allowed private English merchants to participate in the slave trade. The statute declared the slave trade "highly Beneficial and Advantageous to this Kingdom, and to the Plantations and Colonies thereunto belonging," according to Du Bois.

English merchants immediately sought to exclude all other nations by securing a monopoly on the lucrative Spanish colonial slave trade. This was accomplished by the Assiento treaty of 1713. Spain granted England a monopoly on the Spanish slave trade for 30 years. England engaged to supply the colonies with "at least 144,000 slaves at the rate of 4,800 a year," and they greatly exceeded their quota, according to Du Bois. The kings of Spain and England were to receive one-fourth of the profits, and the Royal African Company was authorized to import as many slaves as they wished.

In Slavery: A World History, Milton Meltzer says, "Slave trading was no vulgar or wicked occupation that shut a man out from office or honors. Engaged in the British slave trade were dukes, earls, lords, countesses, knights -- and kings. The slaves of the Royal African Company were branded with initials D.Y. for the Duke of York."

In the late 18th century historian Arthur Young traveled widely in Ireland. He wrote, "A landlord in Ireland can scarcely invent an order which a laborer, servant, or cottier dares to refuse. He may punish with his cane or horsewhip with most perfect security. A poor man would have his bones broken if he offered to lift a hand in his own defense."

When the Irish rebelled in 1798, Britain shipped thousands of chained "traitors" to her penal colonies in Australia. Many Irish prisoners were convinced that the masters of these convict ships were under orders to starve and murder them by neglect on the outward voyage. In The Fatal Shore, Robert Hughes writes, "They had reason to think so," and points to the 1802 arrival of the Hercules, with a 37-percent death rate among the political exiles. That same year, the Atlas II sailed from Cork, with 65 out of 181 "convicts" found dead on arrival. Irish sailors who mutinied to help their countrymen were flogged unmercifully, and "ironed" together with handcuffs, thumbscrews and slave leg bolts.

In Slavery and the Slave Trade, James Walvin writes: "In 1781 the British slave ship Zong, unexpectedly delayed at sea and in danger of running short of supplies, simply dumped 132 slaves overboard in order to save the healthier slaves and on the understanding that such an action would be covered by the ship's insurance (not the case had the wretched slaves merely died)."

The Church of England supported the slave trade as a means of converting "heathens," and the Bishop of Exeter held 655 slaves until he was compensated for them in 1833. Trader John Newton had prayers said twice a day on board his slave ship, saying he never knew "sweeter or more frequent hours of divine communion." Francis Drake's slave ship was called Grace of God.

In The African Slave Trade, Basil Davidson says, "The value of British income derived from the [slave] trade with the West Indies was said to be four times greater than the value of British incomes derived from trade with the rest of the world." Diggs says that the greater profits from the trade "helped make possible the British Industrial Revolution." The tables from the Royal African Company indicate that between 1690 and 1807, they took 2,579,400 slaves out of Africa.

author by Peter Ross - NAACPpublication date Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:37author email pierrossi at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Many people rise to condemn slavery,and that is commandable.H+In the US today everyone that raise his voice and manifest his indignation is against confederate flags and symbols,ignoring that the confederacy has been dead foe 140 years.A more worthy contribution would be to join George Clooney in his endevour to have the united nations intervene in the Darfur region of Sudan,where due to the war that has gone on for 40 years,the practice of selling teenager as household slaves in Khartoum is flourishing.

author by ferguspublication date Fri Oct 20, 2006 12:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

An unfortunate fact is that Britain did more than any other nation to end the international slave trade around the world in the 19th century (sits uncomfortably with many a barstool republican!). Often with the help of the Royal Navy, such as the closure of the death camp-like Islamic slave centre of Zanzibar. Britain abolished slavery in 1833, Russia freed the serfs in 1861, Netherlands in 1863, the US in 1863 and by civil war, Brazil in 1888. Saudi Arabia abolished slavery in ** 1962 **. General Gordon in the 1870s did make great efforts to eliminate the slave trade in Sudan. But as an indepent country the Khartoum government can allow it to prosper again.

author by billpublication date Wed Mar 07, 2007 06:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

1. 25% of all slaves taken between 1500 and 1850 were taken after 1807

2. Britian continued trading slaves for another 60 years after 1807

3. During the U.S. civil war 35 vessels were constructed in Liverpool (including the CSS Alabama) for the Confederate forces The alabama was allowed to sail by Palmerstown (having been informed of its presence some 2 weeks previous)

4. The U.S. civil war caused the Cotton Famine for a hundred miles around Liverpool due to a lack of cotton from 1861-1864 there was no work and widespread starvation soup kitchens etc

5. Indian cotton having been banned in 1700, by 1830 they were being coerced into Opium production

6. between 1830 and 1860 China was bombed into accepting English Opium and eventually 25,000,000 opium addicts. The British Opium trade continued up to 1929

7. One of the terms of the Treaty of Tienjin was that China accepts enslavement of chinese citizens and removal on British ships

author by Mayomaidenpublication date Tue Jul 03, 2007 12:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I want to thank the author for this piece of work, I found it illuminating for a multitude of reasons.
Well done and yes I do think more should be done to remember these unfortunate people. I would be in favour of a Bank Holiday in rememerance of their sufferings, as well as parades, memorials and financial remuneration.
Africans rarely fail to honour to honour their forefathers who suffered and died under such an evil practise but the Irish seem in a great hurry to forget, I have never understood this difference.

author by Kembapublication date Thu Jul 12, 2007 08:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am African American originally from Richmond, Virginia. Richmond was home to the confederate army, the center for slave trade, etc. None of my history books ever gave proper recognition of Irish slavery per se. I know myself and my family to be "southern". We're just from the south and my maternal grandmother was a full blooded Indian. That's all. I don't know of any of family to be Irish and the possibility that it could be is like, "hmmm"! This was enlightening and you are correct, most of my history books reported "white people" being indentured servants and being treated better than a "nigger".

author by Dr. Catpublication date Sat Jul 14, 2007 02:56author email Dr.Cat at mac dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi there,

I came across your article and your commentary through another web page focusing on the African Diaspora. I must say I was blown away by what I read, and I'd like to know more. I would definitely like to have access to a bibliography that centers on this subject--I've anticipated that the author does have several bibliographies on this topic at this point.

I am actually somewhat familiar with the topic (see, Black Irish, White England, as well as How the Irish Became White), but I would like to learn more in order to gain a better perspective on colonialism/slavery and the links between Irish suffrage and African suffrage. I teach African American Literature in the states, as well as World Lit, Post-Colonial Theory and Feminist Theory, and while I've had an interest in developing an expertise in Irish Literature and culture for the purpose of teaching it to African American students, I've often felt that a significant piece of Irish history was not being brought to the light to be examined and discussed.

I would love to open a dialogue and further this discussion somehow. I think it would actually be of benefit to people of the Irish Diaspora and people of the African Diaspora to understand the significance of history, even if it is, indeed, painful to behold. As an African American woman in the States, I honor my Native American, African, and my Celtic ancestors; recognizing the pain of the past endured by our collective ancestors will do much to heal the present and offer hope to the future.

Thank you for presenting a thoughtful, detailed discussion.

author by cjard7publication date Wed Sep 05, 2007 03:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Even though no History books have this in them... Cromwell was a sick sick man ..If he had lived later he would be considered on a par or even worst than Hitler... Fortunately my Irish ancestors were not catholics..I do not understand why the Catholic church has not gotten involved in allowing the world to know of these atrocities..Actually the Irish Catholic slave was treated far worst than the African...Slavery no matter what the race is barbaric and Ireland today should remind England of what their country men did to them and their country.6

author by Susan Isabella Sheehan-Repasky - Flicker Light Studiopublication date Wed Sep 05, 2007 05:44author email art at tomandsusan dot usauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

And to bring us to date, the Independent had as a headline:

"Ireland named as major route for child trafficking"

Below is a link to the entire article.

author by Caelpublication date Wed Sep 05, 2007 14:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi Dr. Cat.

Sadly, the Irish victims of the slave trade is a topic that Irish historians have stayed well clear of. The reasons for this are, of course, political. If you are lookng for advancement in Irish colleges these days, it not good to get the reputation of being a "Brit Basher." Also, the trendy Irish these days prefer to associate themselves with the European slavers and actively forget the fact that their ancestors were slaves. Being the children of slaves dosnt sit well with our new self image of being "Celtic Tigers." Ridiculous, I know, but that's modern Ireland for you.

The only book I know of that is devoted to this subject is called "To Hell or Barbados" by Sean O'Callaghan. O'Callaghan is not a professional historian, but became interested in the subject of slavery when posted with the UN in Africa. Fortunately, the shipping records still exist, and we have a good idea of the numbers of victims kidnapped in Ireland, from where and where they were sold. Accounts of the treatment of the Irish also exist, as some Englishmen were sickened by the abuse and wrote accounts of it and wrote letters of protest to the English government. As you will have seen above, the English needed sexual slaves in the West Indies and, at first, prefered Irish children to satisfy their lust. But, as the Irish girls were considered "cold" in bed, and had to be beaten into submission, the English began to force African men to rape Irish girls to produce mixed race children, who could then be trained to sexual perversions from an early age.

author by We the Peoplepublication date Thu Sep 06, 2007 02:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I see my Article was pulled regarding Slavery.

Anyway, not withstanding all the above regarding Slavery, I would like to put in my 1.cent on the issue.

In an imaginery 'free ....democratic society' we are all Slaves in the real sense. I do not wish to dilute any of the above, but if we really consider ourselves to be FREE, we should consider the fact that we, most of us , are subject to the most restrictive regime in our so called 'free first world'' Country.

Approx. a third of our lives are robbed through an income tax on our bodies. This is ungodly, unconstitutional and unlawful, and therefore ultimatly illegal.

I do not advocate NO taxes but a tax on stuff or things is far removed from a tax on a Person . No other Person has the right to impose a burden on another Person - period.

As mentioned before, slavery takes many forms. I have seen opbvious slavery in 'third' world countries, but slavery in the real sense in 'first 'world countries is accepted as a norm.

Have a look at Arron Russo's Film 'Mad as hell'.
Good night.

author by Peadar Donnellpublication date Thu Sep 06, 2007 05:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree with Cael that academic historians are timid about researching topics that might show old blighty in a shady light. They and several journos are also too busy rewriting the morality of the Great War and the participation of Irishmen in colonial expeditions in India and elsewhere. Empires good/free small nations bad is an orthodoxy they would love to help bring into being.

The last post on slavery seems to devalue the concept of slavery by putting it on a par with having to pay taxes. Slaves didn't have to pay taxes, but they paid for their miserable lives with sweat and the lash. We citizens are nowhere near that state of abjection.

author by Cegpublication date Fri Dec 14, 2007 14:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I stumbled across this page when looking for more info on Irish Slavery. As many people here have commented, it is really difficult finding info on this subject! I was born in England to Irish parents and hold my ancestory very close to my heart, being Irish is something I am very, very proud of. Understandably, many of my british friends know nothing about irish history and many also find it hard to believe Irish Slavery ever happened. The above article was so interesting, I have always been told about irish history and i am forever reading books and articles on the subject but this is the 1st detailed account of slavery i have come across. It is a great shame that the irish are not recognised for this time in history, only my west indian friends know of irish slavery. All slavery in all its forms should be remembered for those who suffered. It is also a great shame that many Irish people seem to be slowly parting with their heritage and history and as someone mentioned previously, they have a sense of Nouveo Irish about them, a new european Irish who seem to want out of their culture as quickly as is possible! It would be sad to see our history and culture lost amongst Irish Youth. Afterall, it was not all that long ago that people were dying to save our country!

author by crookstownpublication date Fri Dec 14, 2007 17:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's notable that a lot of American black people still have Irish surnames, e.g. Eddie Murphy.

In news reports after hurricane Katrina, I noticed that some of the Black people who lost their homes had Irish surnames.

author by Keyshapublication date Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fascinating article , most African Americans and many Irish Americans have no idea of the magnitude of Irish slavery. I studied Briish Records online and was astonished to find out how many Irish were chained together with Africans as chattel slaves. This is something that need to be addressed by both the British and American governments and as a black woman I feel that the Irish deserve reparations just as much as we do. Also, the white blood many of us assume is from master raping us is actually Irish blood either forced reproduction by the British, or legitimate love or relationships during slavery and even after slavery as they lived together in the slums of America. I stand with my Irish Brothers in solidarity and now understand their history, every black person in America needs to read this. Furthermore, the northern half of Ireland is still colonized, still occupied by British Troops, FREE IRELAND!

author by Doreen McClintock - N/Apublication date Sat Jun 07, 2008 12:44author email doreenmcclintock at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm very interested in the whole topic of irish and slavery from all angles ie indentured servitude, being sold as slaves and also selling and shipping of slaves by the irish as we seem to have been involved in all areas at different times!!! Your article is informative but I would like to view the sources of each statement so that I know where the information came from. There is no point in making statements without your readers being able to back it up. I agree, it does seem strange that no one has the courage to acknowledge this and no thing has been done in their memory in ireland - could it be because our great irish nation is ashamed that we ever were slaves given the extent of racism being displayed in our country at the moment?
Can you provide the sources for your readers, though as I'd like to research the subject further. Thanks

author by Cavanaghpublication date Sat Jun 07, 2008 13:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Try this link. It has a melodramatic tone but there seems to be substance behind the rhetoric.

I don't think the Irish were the most abused people in colonial history. I'd say the West Africans shipped across the Atlantic in British slave ships were the most abused people in colonial history. Bristol and Liverpool became rich maritime seaports as a result.

author by Cael - Sinn Féin Poblachtachpublication date Sat Jun 07, 2008 22:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would advise anyone interested in the subject to read:

Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624-1713 by Richard S. Dunn

It is probably the best account written so far on the plight of the slaves in the West Indies (though the Planter Class is its main topic), including the Irish slaves.

Also well worth reading is this article on the conditions of the slaves. It doesnt refer specifically to the Irish slaves but, from all accounts, the Irish were treated even worse than this:

Related Link:
author by Anniepublication date Thu Nov 13, 2008 22:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am an American female who attends a university at a diverse school in the midwest. My parents are from the west of Ireland and i still have many relatives who live there whom i am very close to. For the past 14 weeks or so ive been taking a class that discusses a lot about how oppressed black people are and have been, in American culture. The professor is a black female and there is about 15 black, 3 hispanic, 12 white, and 2 mixed-race people in the class. We recently read Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks and out of this controversial book came many heated discussions about race.

The topic of bi-racial marriage was brought up and I was shocked by some of the close-mindedness of some of my black peers. they were the only people in the class who spoke openly about their disgust for any black person who dates any white person. When asked why they reasoned that the black people should stick to their own race because no one else would be able to truly understand them because no one else's people were enslaved or mistreated as badly as the Africans were. it all came down to history influencing culture.

When i brought up the face that the Irish too were slaves for hundreds of years. And those that weren't slaves' land was stolen they simply denied that that had ever happened. They couldn't even open their eyes enough to see beyond their own selfishness that many more cultures were oppressed than just people with darker skin. It really shows a general lack of world cultural-awareness that plagues the U.S. today.

I really enjoyed this article and will refer some of my peers to read and get educated about the injustices that people have suffered. The Irish should be proud of their history because our culture did survive, not embarrassed because we were oppressed.

author by Miss Murphypublication date Mon Mar 22, 2010 03:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I totally agree with this. Even if there was no rememberance day at least let us remember! I don't understand why this is not taught in the same manner as the African Slave trade. I think alot of abuses of the Irish are allowed to be forgotton simply because we are white. Its the same reason you still hear people say 'taking the Mickey' or 'having a Paddy' it truely grates on me. I also think that its a bit of a generalisation to say Irish women are slaves in the home. I'm not doubting it happens, but I cant say it does in my family

Related Link:
author by Oisinpublication date Tue Mar 23, 2010 22:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Don't we celebrate Saint Patrick's Day because we Irish captured a British slave?

Poor Patrick the slave.

He drove only a few of the snakes out.

He left the bankers behind............

author by Doreen - nonepublication date Sun Apr 25, 2010 21:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi - just to clarify the phrase taking the Mickey - I once thought it was racist against the irish and was really annoyed about it - but we are in danger of having a victim mentality if we dont research our statements - so this is what I found on that phrase - maybe Mickey Bliss was Irish - I don't know! (not sure about the paddy I think that one probably is about us!).

here it is....(source: The Phrase Finder)

"It is now more generally accepted that the phrase came about as rhyming slang. 'Taking the piss' does play its part as the rhyming slang refers to a (yet to be identified) character called Mickey Bliss. So, 'taking the piss' became 'taking the Mickey Bliss' and then just 'taking the Mickey'. An early citation of the longer form 'taking the Mickey Bliss' would be useful here, but I've not come across one.

Taking the piss is reported as originating in the UK in the 1930s and 'taking the Mickey' probably came not long afterwards. The first form of the phrase in print - as 'take the mike' - comes from 1935, in George Ingram's Cockney Cavalcade: ...."

author by Jim Ronan Perry-Collins - Federal Government employeepublication date Wed May 12, 2010 15:51author email ranan.perry at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I suggest members of the organization email Canada's finance minister, Jim Flaherty, who's an Irish-Canadian himself. Petition him to ask the Canadian government to commemorate the Irish Famine and Irish Slavery. With many signatures we may have our luck. Slainte Maith!

author by Patrick.publication date Sat May 15, 2010 11:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Slavery was normal in the old days.

We Irish captured many British slaves.

One of them was called Patrick..

Patrick is now our national saint.

author by Sarapublication date Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The respectful and proper name for the black community is African not African negroes. Negroe is not a race to be defined, African is however. In fact negroe was a slang used by Caucasian slave traders to label the Africans living near the Niger river. Which later when pronounced wrong became an insult.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Niger, nigri, is the Latin for black.
French and Portugese slavers on their expeditions might have used the word automatically, as the European whiteman referred to the natives of the Americas as redskins, and modern black Americans refer to Whitey. maybe the portugese named the river after the source of revenue derived from the the black skinned source of their river of easy money. Nowadays Afro/Americans have reclaimed the word and have no problem calling each other nigger, just as most Irish dont mind being called Paddy, the generic term that on the wrong lips can be an insult, but can still be accepted if it is delivered without animosity.

African is not a race. Their has been Arab presence for centuries before the paleface discovered it. slavery has been a part of most societies up to recently, and many claim it still works away as wage slavery, until such a time as we achieve some higher standard of economic democracy. I lived in South Africa, and the whites considered themselves as African as their 'servants'. Ultimately their is only one race, as modern genetics has shown(we interbreed without difficulty)and thats the human one. The rest are created by xenophobic puritanism,out of a need to feel superior to someone different. Many cultures are susceptible to this prescientific and superstitious understanding. Africa has a range of tribes, from the San Bushmen and Pygmies to Moorish mixes in the Atlas and Asian-Africans in Natal and the eastern Cape. They are not races.

The Irish day labourers were often used in place of valuable slaves for dangerous work. At a dollar a day, if the charge went off prematurely, you lost your Paddy, but kept your dollar. If you lost your slave it could be a hundred bucks vapourised. A slave in Roman society might be better off than a 'free' individual reduced to forage the rubbish-tips, like so many kids in the poorer regions of the planet at the moment.

author by Patrick.publication date Mon Mar 07, 2011 13:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We already have a slavery memorial day.

It's called Saint Patrick's day.


"At the age of sixteen St. Patrick's life changed. He was abducted and taken into Irish slavery. During his six years of enslavement he developed a life of prayer. Patrick even credits God for his escape from slavery. Patrick returned to Ireland as a missionary, whose main religious background was Roman. "

The story follows:

Saint Patrick never regarded himself as a "victim".
He might have regarded himself as being lucky to escape perhaps!

(Only some modern day Irish people whinge about being victims of history.)

author by Jette - Privatepublication date Thu Aug 09, 2012 20:46author email jetmab04 at gmail dot comauthor address Irelandauthor phone 086-8983356Report this post to the editors

I have read this article about Irelands slavery memorial day and, the comments in here with great interest and, I am very interested in getting in touch with the person who wrote the article - username:


Will anyone who knows this person or yourself, - if you read this - please contact me, as I need your knowledge very much for an interesting project I am working on at present!?

Thanks very much in advance from


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