From Harper’s Weekly, 1899:
The Iberians are believed to have been originally an African race, who thousands of years ago spread themselves through Spain over Western Europe. Their remains are found in the barrows, or burying places, in sundry parts of these countries. The skulls are of low prognathous type. They came to Ireland and mixed with the natives of the South and West, who themselves are supposed to have been of low type and descendants of savages of the Stone Age, who, in consequence of isolation from the rest of the world, had never been out-competed in the healthy struggle of life, and thus made way, according to the laws of nature, for superior races.
to 600,000 in one single decade.”
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.
Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade.
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.
However, in most cases from the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish slaves were nothing more than human cattle.
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.
“forbidding the practice of mating Irish slave women to African slave men for the purpose of producing slaves for sale.”
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????
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.
WHITE SLAVERY AND SERVITUDE IN BARBADOS
By Bajan Tour Girl
May 10, 2010
Between the years of 1652 to 1659 it is estimated that well over 50,000 men, women, and children of Irish descent were forcibly transported to British imperial colonies in Barbados and Virginia to serve as slave labor on plantations.
Other prisoners of war, as well as political dissenters, taken from conquered regions of England, Wales, and Scotland were also sent into permanent exile as slaves to Barbados. This essentially enabled Cromwell to purge the subject population of any perceived opposing elements, as well as to provide a lucrative source of profit through their sale to plantation owners.
The extent to which White prisoners were transported to Barbados was so great, that by 1701, out of the roughly 25,000 slaves present on the island’s plantations, about 21,700 of them were of European descent. Later, as the African slave trade began to expand and flourish, the Irish slave population of Barbados began to drastically recede over time, due in part to the fact that many were worked to death early on in their arrival and also as a result of racial intermixing with Black slaves.
In stark contrast to the small number of White indentured servants present on Barbados, who could at least theoretically look forward to eventual freedom no matter how bad their temporary bondage may have been, White slaves possessed no such hope.
Indeed, they were treated the same as slaves of African descent in every manner imaginable.
In reality, White slaves fared no better a fate as unwilling human property than did contemporary captive Africans. At times they were even treated worse than their Black counterparts due to economic considerations. This was especially true throughout most of the 17th century, as White captives were far more inexpensive on the slave market than their African counterparts, and hence were mistreated to a greater extent as they were seen as a conveniently disposable labor force.
“poor men, that are just permitted to live,… derided by the Negroes, and branded with the Epithite of white slaves.”
A 1695 account written by the island’s governor frankly stated that they labored
“in the parching sun without shirt, shoe, or stocking”, and were “domineered over and used like dogs.”
The mulatto drivers enjoyed using the whip on whites. It gave them a sense of power and was also a protest against their white sires.
White women in particular were singled out for punishment in the fields. Sometimes, to satisfy a perverted craving, the mulatto drivers forced the women to strip naked before commencing the flogging and then forced them to continue working all day under the blistering sun.
While the women were weeding in the fields in that condition, the drivers often satisfied their lust by taking them from the rear.
Mulatto children, who resulted from such unions, both willing and unwilling, were seen by the plantation masters as a potentially unlimited breeding stock of future native-born slave labor, acquired free of charge and without the costs of transportation.
Existing public records on Barbados reveal that some planters went as far as to systematize this process of miscegenation through the establishment of special “stud farms” for the specific purpose of breeding mixed-race slave children. White female slaves, often as young as 12, were used as “breeders” to be forcibly mated with Black men.
The enchained Irish of Barbados played a pivotal role as the instigators and leaders of various slave revolts on the island, which was an ever-present threat faced by the planter aristocracy.
Those taken prisoner were made examples of, as a grim warning to the rest of their kindred Irish, when they were burned alive and their heads were thereafter displayed on pikes throughout the market place.As a result of a steep increase in Black slave labor migration to Barbados, compounded with high rates of Irish mortality and racial intermixing, White slaves, which had once constituted the majority of the population in 1629, were reduced to an increasingly dwindling minority by 1786.
An interesting film on the Red legs can be watched
IRISH TIMES: MOST BARBADOS RED LEGS HAVE BAD OR NO TEETH. MANY BLIND, WITHOUT LIMBS.
Sean O'Callaghan, To Hell or Barbados: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ireland
Kelly D. Whittaker, White Slavery, What the Scots Already Know
Michael A. Hoffman II, They Were White and They Were Slaves: The Untold History of the Enslavement of Whites in Early America
Robert E. West, England’s Irish Slaves