IRISH PEOPLE: THE FORGOTTEN FIRST SLAVES & ALSO, THE FORGOTTEN WHITE SLAVES

Flag of Republic of Ireland, today one of Europe's strongest.

Flag of Republic of Ireland, today one of Europe’s strongest.

It is true that the Irish people have gone through Hell, they have been dehumanized and the reason of their hatred for the English is legitimate.

Coat of Arms of the Republic of Ireland

Coat of Arms of the Republic of Ireland

The saddest part is that they have been enslaved but none of these facts ever made it to mainstream media and did not even make it to books :(. British author Oliver Cromwell explained this practice of dehumanizing one’s next door neighbor in clear words.

Irish Child Slaves

Irish Child Slaves

The Irish came as slaves: human cargo transported on 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. Some were burned alive and had their heads placed on pikes in the marketplace as a warning to other captives.

Irish slave being flogged in the open by its English owner

Irish slave being flogged in the open by its English owner

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 VI and Charles I also led a continued effort to enslave the Irish.

Slave Auction

Slave Auction at a marketplace in Colonial Virginia. Stories of Irish enslaved by the British never made it to mainstream media sadly.

The Irish slave trade began when James VI 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.

Irish slaves being auctioned

Irish slaves being auctioned

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.

A femlae Irish woman with her kids in abandoned state. Most were forced into slavery & even left for dead when given freedom

A female Irish woman with her kids in abandoned state. Most were forced into slavery & even left for dead when given freedom

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.

Irish Slave laborers group photograph.

Irish Slave laborers group photograph.

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, 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 mothers, even with this new found emancipation, would seldom abandon their children and would remain in servitude.
In time, the English thought of a better way to use these women to increase their market share: The settlers began to breed Irish women and girls (many as young as 12) 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.

Irish slaves tending to English landlords in Jamaica

Irish slaves tending to English landlords in Jamaica

There is little question the Irish experienced the horrors of slavery as much (if not more, in the 17th Century) as the Africans did. There is also 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 its 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 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, why is it so seldom discussed? Do the memories of hundreds of thousands of Irish victims not merit more than a mention from an unknown writer?
Or is their story to be the one that their English masters intended: To completely disappear as if it never happened.

Irish children working on an American plantation

Irish children working on an American plantation

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.

Oh IBM, what are we going to do with you?

My word, is IBM falling down ?

Gigaom

The week in cloud

The past few weeks were not great for IBM but they did not bring the bloodbath — 110,000 job cuts or about 26 percent of total headcount — predicted by one reporter.

As for the round of layoffs that did kick off [company]IBM[/company] wasn’t officially forthcoming about the number — one insider who requested anonymity said a “few thousand” workers were affected, with costs covered by a previously announced $600 million restructuring charge. And, The Alliance@IBM, a union-affiliated advocacy group for IBM workers, put the tally at 5,000 as of late last week.

The problem is no one thinks this will be the end of cuts at IBM which has thus far managed to avoid the sweeping layoffs HP, for example, has endured over the past few years. And, as political analysts would say, the optics were bad — as long-time IBMers were getting the boot, CEO Ginni Rometty was…

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