Today’s rant: Irish as slaves.

I heard about this as a child;

  • long before our present situation,
  • long before my DNA results came back showing I was 1% Cameroon/Bantu People.

My 1st cousin on my father’s side has an account with one of the genealogy sites and messaged me.  For at least 4 generations, Irish married Irish on my father’s side.  She, too has 1% Cameroon/Bantu People.

And, no, reparations are unnecessary.  All lives matter.

Once in a while I’ll find a reference to the Irish genocide.   Since the present generation of people with Irish ancestry aren’t screaming for reparations, nor are we screaming about the injustices against the Irish prevalent into the early 20th century, it seems to be considered an historical oddity deftly stuffed into the worlds “so what?” closet.

Slavery is still happening today, just as it has happened farther back than written history.  And that fact seems to be stuffed into the “so what?” closet, too.

Learning from history is necessary, so that we don’t keep repeating the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

There are several references to Irish and European slave trade.  Here are 2 as a starting point.

“The Irish slave trade began when 30,000 Irish prisoners were sold as slaves to the New World. The King James I 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.”
“One of the most interesting questions that the phenomenon of Irish slavery raises concerns about the nature of racism itself. Racism is not necessarily the root cause of slavery. It may not even be its consequence. After all, the Romans used slaves of all racial backgrounds, often assigning their task according to their talents. Many a noble Roman family would have had slaves to perform anything from educating children to cooking or cleaning.”

If you dig deeper than the first digital references that pop up, the information is enlightening.

My father’s lineage was Catholic.  The story goes that one of his ancestors traveled by boat from Ireland to the new world during the potato famine of 1845.   That was only one time the English sent away Irish packed into boats, when genocide wasn’t enough.

The first accounts of Irish as slaves were after the insurrection of 1641.   From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were slaughtered by the English and around 300,000 were sold as slaves. The Irish population dropped from around 1,500,000 to 600,000 in a decade.

Were there Irish slave traders, too?  Just like every color and creed in the world, I have no doubt that a few were in the African slave trade.

Remember this truth:    The Jewish people were slaves to the Egyptians.  Native Americans used slaves.  Europeans were transported to Africa as slaves.  Not a single color or creed has escaped this fate.

European Slaves, The Story of the Men and Women brought to North-Africa

“The fact that until the 19th century Europeans were being captured and taken as slaves, is hardly known. Any European living on the coast, or daring to board a ship, was under threat of being attacked by the Barbary pirates. It was a slave trade that started around the middle ages, after the Muslims had captured North-Africa.”

“One of the most telling accounts of this brutal slavery, comes from an English boy called Thomas Pellow. (White Gold:  The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and North Africa’s One Million European Slaves).”  NOTE:  This book is “Not available” on Amazon, and I had to put it on my wishlist on Thriftbooks.

“He preserved his story thanks to his escape after 23 years of slavery. Once he returned to England, he authored a book about the story of his life. At the age of 11, in 1716, he started his career as a sailor. On his maiden voyage he was captured, along with the rest of the crew, by Moroccan pirates.”

“African guards would beat them relentlessly when they would not work hard enough. Many starved to death due to lack of nutrition and absolute exhaustion. The Sultan would sentence many to death for whatever whimsical reason he would have at that moment.”

Being a writer, my mind quickly spread into the “What if” zone.

What if, in the 17th century, my great, great, great, grandmother was bred with a slave from Africa, that child was bred with others of European descent, and by the time I was born the only evidence remaining is in our DNA?