White Irish Slaves: What the History Books Are Hiding From You


Did you know that more Irish slaves were offered in the 17th century than black slaves?

With a staggering death rate in between 37% to 50%, this is the story the history books will not tell you.

White and Black Slaves in the Sugar Plantations of Barbados.

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 prejudiced history books conveniently forgot.

The very first servants imported into the American nests were 100 White children.

They got here during Easter, 1619, four months before the arrival of the first shipment of Black slaves.

Mainstream histories describe these laborers as indentured servants, not slaves because many concurred to work for a set time period in exchange for land and rights.

Yet in reality, the indenture was enslavement, considering that slavery applies to anybody who is bought and sold, chained and abused, whether for a decade or a lifetime.

Many white people died long prior to their indenture ended or discovered that no court would back them when their owners cannot deliver on promises.

Tens of thousands of convicts, beggars, homeless kids and other unwanted English, Scottish, and Irish lower class were transferred to America versus their will to the Americas on slave ships.


Irish Slaves

A lot of the white slaves were brought from Ireland, where the law held that it was no more of a sin to kill an Irishman than a dog or other brute.

The European rich class caused a lot of suffering to these individuals, even if they were white like them.

In 1676, there was a huge slave disobedience in Virginia. Black and white slaves burned Jamestown to the ground.

Hundreds passed away.

The planters feared a re-occurrence.

Their option was to divide the races versus each other.

They instilled a sense of supremacy in the white slaves and deteriorated the black slaves.

White slaves were offered brand-new rights; their masters might not whip them naked without a court order, etc.

Irish slaves, whose day-to-day duties were no different from that of Blacks, were taught that they belonged to a superior people.

The races were provided various clothing.

Living quarters were segregated for the very first time.

However, the whites were still slaves.

In the 17th Century, from 1600 till 1699, there were much more Irish sold as servants than Africans.

There are records of Irish slaves well into the 18th Century.

Many never ever made it off the ships.

In accordance with the composed record, in at least one occurrence 132 slaves, men, women, and children, were dumped overboard to drown because ships’ products were running low.

They were drowned because the insurance would spend for an “accident,” but not if the servants were permitted to starve.

Typical death rates on the ships were from 37% to 50%.

In the West Indies, the African and Irish slaves were housed together.

However, because the African slaves were a lot more costly, they were dealt with much better than the Irish slaves.

Likewise, the Irish were Catholic, and Papists were hated among the Protestant planters.

An Irish slave would withstand such treatment as having his hands and feet set on fire or being strung up and beaten for even a small infraction.

Richard Ligon, who experienced these things first-hand and taped them in a history of Barbados he released in 1657, stated:

“Truly, I have seen ruthlessness there done to servants as I did not believe one Christian could have done to another.”

Treated like cattle

According to Sean O’Callahan, in To Hell or Barbados, Irish males and ladies were inspected like cattle there, simply as the Africans were.

In addition, Irish slaves, who were more difficult to differentiate from their owners because they shared the exact same skin color, were branded with the owner’s initials, the females on the forearm and the men on the buttocks.

O’Callahan goes on to state that the females were not just offered to the planters as sexual slaves, but were often offered to regional whorehouses also.

He mentions that the black or mulatto overseers likewise often forced the women to strip while working in the fields and often used them sexually as well.

One advantage the Irish slaves had over the African slaves was that considering that they were literate and they did not endure well in the fields, they were typically used as house servants, accounting professionals, and instructors.

However, the gentility of the service did not associate to the punishment for offenses.

Flogging was common, and many servant owners did not actually care if they killed an easily changeable, cheap Irish slave.

While most of these slaves who made it through were eventually released after their time of service was finished, numerous leaving the islands for the American nests, many were not, and the planters discovered another way to guarantee a free supply of important servants.

They were fast to “discover solace” and start breeding with the Irish slave women.

A number of them were very pretty, however more than that, while most of the Irish were cost only a duration of service, typically about 10 years assuming they survived, their children were born servants for life.

The planters understood that most of the mothers would remain in the yoke to remain with their kids even after their service was technically up.

The planters likewise started to breed the Irish women with the African male servants to make lighter skinned servants, since the lighter skinned slaves were better and could be cost more cash.

A law was passed against this practice in 1681, not for moral reasons but since the practice was causing the Royal African Company to lose cash.

According to James F. Cavanaugh, this company sent out 249 shiploads of servants to the West Indies in the 1680’s, an overall of 60,000 African and Irish, 14,000 of whom passed away in passage.

Never returned to Ireland

While the trade in Irish servants lessened after the defeat of King James in 1691, England when again shipped out countless Irish prisoners who were taken after the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

These prisoners were shipped to America and to Australia, specifically to be sold as slaves.

No Irish slaves shipped to the West Indies or America has ever been known to have gone back to Ireland.

Numerous died, either in passage or from abuse or overwork.

Others won their freedom and emigrated to the American colonies.

Still, others stayed in the West Indies, which still contain a population of “Black Irish,” numerous of the descendents of the kids of black servants and Irish slaves.

In 1688, the first lady killed in Cotton Mather’s witch trials in Massachusetts was an old Irish woman called Anne Glover, who had actually been recorded and sold as a slave in 1650.

She spoke no English.

She could recite The Lord’s Prayer in Gaelic and Latin.

However, without English, Mather chose her Gaelic was discourse with the devil, and hung her.

It was not up until 1839 that a law was passed in England ending the slave trade and hence the sell Irish slaves.

It is regrettable that, while the descendents of black servants have kept their history alive and not permitted their atrocity to be forgotten, the Irish heritage of slavery in America and the West Indies has actually been largely neglected or forgotten.



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