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 biased history books conveniently forgot.
The first slaves imported into the American colonies were 100 White children. They arrived during Easter, 1619, four months before the arrival of a the first shipment of Black slaves.Mainstream histories refer to these laborers as indentured servants, not slaves, because many agreed to work for a set period of time in exchange for land and rights.

Yet in reality, indenture was enslavement, since slavery applies to any person who is bought and sold, chained and abused, whether for a decade or a lifetime. Many white people died long before their indenture ended or found that no court would back them when their owners failed to deliver on promises.Tens of thousands of convicts, beggars, homeless children and other undesirable English, Scottish, and Irish lower class were transported to America against their will to the Americas on slave ships. YES SLAVE SHIPS..

Many of the white slaves were brought from Ireland, where the law held that it was ?no more sin to kill an Irishman than a dog or any other brute.? The European rich class caused a lot of suffering to these people , even if they were white like them.In 1676, there was a huge slave rebellion in Virginia. Black and white slaves burned Jamestown to the ground. Hundreds died. The planters feared a re-occurence. Their solution was to divide the races against each other. They instilled a sense of superiority in the white slaves and degraded the black slaves. White slaves were given new rights; their masters could not whip them naked without a court order,etc. White slaves whose daily condition was no different from that of Blacks, were taught that they belonged to a superior people. The races were given different clothing. Living quarters were segregated for the first time. But the whites were still slaves.

In the 17th Century, from 1600 until 1699, there were many more Irish sold as slaves than Africans. There are records of Irish slaves well into the 18th Century.Many never made it off the ships. According to written record, in at least one incident 132 slaves, men, women, and children, were dumped overboard to drown because ships’ supplies were running low. They were drowned because the insurance would pay for an “accident,” but not if the slaves were allowed 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, but because the African slaves were much more costly, they were treated much better than the Irish slaves. Also, the Irish were Catholic, and Papists were hated among the Protestant planters. An Irish slave would endure 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 witnessed these things first-hand and recorded them in a history of Barbados he published in 1657, stated:”Truly, I have seen cruelty there done to servants as I did not think one Christian couldhave done to another.”(5)According to Sean O’Callahan, in To Hell or Barbados, Irish men and women were inspected like cattle there, just as the Africans were.

In addition, Irish slaves, who were harder to distinguish from their owners since they shared the same skin color, were branded with the owner’s initials, the women on the forearm and the men on the buttocks. O’Callahan goes on to say that the women were not only sold to the planters as sexual slaves but were often sold to local brothels as well. He states that the black or mulatto overseers also often forced the women to strip while working in the fields and often used them sexually as well.(6)The one advantage the Irish slaves had over the African slaves was that since they were literate and they did not survive well in the fields, they were generally used as house servants, accountants, and teachers. But the gentility of the service did not correlate to the punishment for infractions.

Flogging was common, and most slave owners did not really care if they killed an easily replaceable, cheap Irish slave.While most of these slaves who survived were eventually freed after their time of service was completed, many leaving the islands for the American colonies, many were not, and the planters found another way to insure a free supply of valuable slaves. They were quick to “find solace” and start breeding with the Irish slave women. Many of them were very pretty, but more than that, while most of the Irish were sold for only a period of service, usually about 10 years assuming they survived, their children were born slaves for life.

The planters knew that most of the mothers would remain in servitude to remain with their children even after their service was technically up.The planters also began to breed the Irish women with the African male slaves to make lighter skinned slaves, because the lighter skinned slaves were more desirable and could be sold for more money. A law was passed against this practice in 1681, not for moral reasons but because the practice was causing the Royal African Company to lose money. According to James F. Cavanaugh, this company, sent 249 shiploads of slaves to the West Indies in the 1680’s, a total of 60,000 African and Irish, 14,000 of whom died in passage.(7)While the trade in Irish slaves tapered off after the defeat of King James in 1691, England once again shipped out thousands of 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 slave shipped to the West Indies or America has ever been known to have returned to Ireland. Many died, either in passage or from abuse or overwork. Others won their freedom and emigrated to the American colonies. Still others remained in the West Indies, which still contain an population of “Black Irish,” many the descendents of the children of black slaves and Irish slaves.In 1688, the first woman killed in Cotton Mather’s witch trials in Massachusetts was an old Irish woman named Anne Glover, who had been captured and sold as a slave in 1650.

She spoke no English. She could recite The Lord’s Prayer in Gaelic and Latin, but without English, Mather decided her Gaelic was discourse with the devil, and hung her.It was not until 1839 that a law was passed in England ending the slave trade, and thus the trade in Irish slaves.It is unfortunate that, while the descendents of black slaves have kept their history alive and not allowed their atrocity to be forgotten, the Irish heritage of slavery in America and the West Indies has been largely ignored or forgotten.

It is my hope that this article will help in some small way to change that and to commemoratethese unfortunate people.NOTES) John P. Prendergast, The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland, Dublin, ?, 1865(2) Ibid.(3) See, for example, Thomas Addis Emmet, Ireland Under English Rule, NY & London,Putnam, 1903(4) Prendergast, The Conwellian Settlment of Ireland(5) Richard Ligon, A True and Exact History of Barbadoes, London,Cass, 1657, reprinted 1976(6)Sean O’Callaghan, To Hell or Barbados: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ireland, (Dingle, Ireland: Brandon, 2001)(6) James F. Cavanaugh, Clan Chief Herald(7) For Mather’s account of the case, see Cotton Mather, Memorable Providences, Relating ToWitchcrafts And Possessions (1689) || Follow @Radio2hot || Facebook RADIO 2HOT


  1. Seriously, that is disheartening to learn, but the mear fact that you state that we keep our history alive and not forgotten is a stupid statement!!!!! Because today in the here and now your so called Irish /Irish Americans can chalk that up to their history but us as African Americans still live in a state of fear and pray for our sons and daughters that their lives aren’t taken for the color of their skin. Please racism still lives in our lives everyday in way or another. When that reality changes , then come talk about why we keep our history alive!


    • It was poorly worded, and I can see why you were offended, however, I think the author meant that the atrocities of the Irish should have been kept alive as well. That it is good the African heritage remembers, but sad the Irish heritage does not. And I agree that the descendants of Africa are still being mistreated as the Irish have been able to blend in more easily. Because honestly I think that is the key. Since the Irish are white, they blend in with other white ancestral peoples better, as if they are camouflaged. It’s not fair to the African descendants at all.


      • In America the Irish have blas ended in so well that they too have become oppressors of blacks, especially as police officers.


      • I see black police officers oppress black citizens. Abuse of power is abuse of power. I’ve seen black people oppress other black people. One persons suffering does not negate nor enhance another’s. Emotions sadly cloud judgement. And an inability to see the whole truth is not good for progress or growth.


  2. I’ll like to suggest and recommend the book” From Columbus To Castro” The History Of The Caribbean ( 1492-1969) by Eric Williams. Much of the discussion here occurs there. The author also included the necessary references.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Newsflash: This is not a contest! Any account of slavery is horrid no matter who it was. The fact that some of you and the author are fighting over who should still be angry at the past is absurd and is frankly indicative of your own mental enslavement. Grow up!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Slavery did not begin as an institution for Black People Only. It started with Native Americans, White Slaves & Black Slaves from Europe, then Black People from Africa. It eventually became an institution for Africans only, because it was most profitable.

    I mentioned Black/White slaves from Europe, because there were indigenous Black Scots who were shipped off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Slavery is much older than Africans and Native Americans. The Hebrews were enslaved by the Egyptians about 3000 years ago. Of course, that is still in the western hemisphere. I know nothing about slavery in the east, but I am pretty sure it existed.


  5. This story is poorly documented.Read the book Before the Mayflower and get the true history of slavery.The African slave trade began way before anyone of Irish descent or any other descent came to the Americas.Africans were introduced into slavery in the Americas before the year 1555.History written by the Europeans is corrupt and any African educator can disprove the historical fabrications presented here.When you have physical and economical power you control word history.


  6. This is valuable information I did not know that the Irish were slaves. My great grandfather was a slave who was able to buy property after the emancipation of slavery


  7. Pingback: Link-O-Rama | Sagittarius Dolly


  9. Pingback: Irish Slaves – What The History Books Will Never Tell You |

  10. Black slaves were not able to keep their history alive. I am greatful for the insite on Irish slaves. Slavery is shameful. Your entry is informative but it seems to try to make the Irish suffering greater than Africa slaves. Slavery is bad and ones suffering should not be glorified.


    • Not a glorification at all. Who in the world would feel one people’s experience was greater than another as if a prize was to be claimed? The purpose is to show that black folks were not the only slaves to suffer in history.


  11. Pingback: Brush-Up On Your History: The Hidden History of The Irish Slaves | Hammerhead Combat Systems

  12. Pingback: You can hide your past, but you can’t hide skin color : A response to the Irish vs. African slavery debate | Library Libra


  14. Big difference Irish were kept at slaves for 10 years after that were set free. My people of African descent were kept 400 years and still are today mentally slaves.


    • Correction..Irish were slaves under impereal rule for almost 800 what..right? You didnt read the article throughly..10 yrs often turned into a death sentance..this isn’t a pissing contest, arguing who suffered more is insane! Omg slavery was a way of life for tens of THOUSANDS of years..complextion did’nt matter! The middle east as alwas had slaves and still does TO THIS DAY..perdominetly black slaves at that.
      I do have to agree, that black in America are still mentally enslaved…its too bad. You might want to thank the medias job of social conditioning for ensuring that. Jamestown is a perfect example of what those corrupt with power fear! Divide and conqure. Its still working for them..and those who are mentally enslaved, are the ine that have fallen hook line and sinker… PEACE


  15. This article is inaccurate. Many of the pictures used are from a program that raised money for educating former slaves after the Civil War. All of these people were considered Black, remember the one drop rule. The people those photos referred to as Irish are the result of slave owners raping their slaves.


  16. Slavery of any kind is beyond words of anything that shouldu have ever happened to anyone anywhere but in history there have always been slaves from civilizations, tribes, countries, etc conquering another. I don’t think there is a time in ANY recorded history that this hasn’t occurred. Trying to now argue that one slavery is worse than another or one history of it deserves to be “kept alive” over another is ludicrous. It is not widely unknown about Irish slavery and that they were treated as bad as or worse in some cases than blacks during some periods however, it is true that their skin color doesn’t give obvious indication of race. But, Jewish people are white and they were identified during the Nazi reign of terror. (Skin color aside, other cultures can identify each other regardless of skin color being the same) The Jews don’t forget their history, they don’t forget their anguish. Why does this now have to be another childish contest of whose plight was worse than someone else’s? The thing no one wants to remember or acknowledge is what was done to the Native American repetitively and unmercifully. And no one ever has issued apologies, no treaty has ever been kept, no lands returned. We desicrated their people, their lifestyles, their religions, beliefs, histories, we stole everything of value to them, relocated them, shunned them, starved them, murdered them, enslaved them……..the list goes on and on. It is disgusting but no one wants to acknowledge this or place any importance on it. We can’t change what’s happened in the past, ignoring things or removing flags or trying to erase evidence of it wont change what happened. History is what we should learn from and make the changes to see it never happens again.


  17. Amazing, that the Irish hate blacks so much that they attacked them rather than be drafted into the Civil war. Became the popular Slave catchers of that time and then morphed into private police forces and finally our Fire and Police depts. Politician’s, Priests of the Catholic Church and some of the worst oppressors of blacks as a race that this country has ever produced! That crab went a long way after he was let out of the barrel. Nah. Your blues ain`t like mine.


    • Rubbish – Irish people have fought on the right side of every war in history, including the American civil war for the emancipation of all people. They traveled the world and organised labour so that all working people could thrive. Still today, young Irish people volunteer in their thousands to go to the worst places in Africa and Asia and alleviate suffering. They lead the world in highlighting the abuses suffered by the Palestinian people.

      In the carribean they were brought as criminals whereas blacks were slaves and could, at least in theory and very seldomly in practice, be freed.


      • I know you’re familiar with the New Your riots where the Irish attacked and killed many innocent blacks along with others to oppose their being drafted into service. I’m from Chicago and have no illusions about the Irish. Again their rode here is not one afforded my people. I don’t hate em, in fact more power to them. The comparison is a non starter as far as I’m concerned.


      • comparisons like this are odious as both peoples suffered. I know that. However, there is a good argument that, on a per capita basis, more Irish people were affected by colonialism, slavery and injustice than blacks. The british invaded 800 years ago and behaved badly since.


  18. Absolutely! You will NEVER NEVER NEVER hear about this truth! Not in the US or any School systems! If it’s ever mentioned, it’s DENIED! And if MAYBE someone believes it, no, they didn’t suffer anywhere near what the black/African people did! That’s another LIE they’ll tell you in this country! I mean, I’m not touching the surface! Irish pay-5 sterling and African pay 50 sterling! Africans were spared over the Irish! The Irish lower than any species on earth at that time! Because Britain had their hands in it! A genocide in a bombshell attempt for over hundred and something odd years! Much more but I gotta go for now! Irish Pride Till We Die!🍀🍀🍀


  19. Pingback: Four months after the Colonies received 100 White children as slaves, the first shipment of Black slaves arrived. /  The-Ave.US

  20. My grandmother was from Memphis, Tennessee.
    She had an Irish last name.
    If she was alive she would be basically 105 years old.
    Although her last name was Irish our family never
    Understood how she got the last name.
    This Article Explains it all.
    My grandmother features were more Native American

    Than Irish.
    For some reason I inherited the Irish blood.
    My natural hair color is Red and I have Freckles.
    I also have a daughter with Red Hair and Freckles.
    Throughout my life I have been called a number of names based on my skin tone.

    Believe me when I say that History repeats itself
    Over and Over again.
    Some people feel that I have special favor because of
    My skin. Some people hate me because of my skin.

    I have spent my life trying to make a difference
    Because of Slavery.


  21. That just shows the ignorance and lack of knowledge of the people but where the ones that owe them. My opinion is do some research before posting or opening your mouth SMH


  22. My uncle taken a look at a posting for %BT% on the internet suggests me
    and my friends to determine your partner’s more information on it, simple fact shed like to put in writing
    good essay or dissertation on this theme. Teach, person, Because?))


  23. Thank you for this terrific article. My 9th Great Grandfather William Durkee, an Irish slave, was taken and sold by Cromwell’s army after losing on the battlefield. He then became a “red leg” sugar plantation slave down in Barbados. After years of slavery, he was “released” by the agreement signed by King James, becoming an indentured servant to a wealthier gentleman. Fleeing to the American Colonies, becoming what is believed to be the first Catholic in Massachusetts. I so rarely see any articles referencing this slave trade.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s