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  We've all been taught the horror's of the African slave trade. It's in all the school books and in plenty of Hollywood movies.
   But for some reason the largest group of slaves in the British Colonies in the 17th Century doesn't get mentioned at all: the Irish.

 Most people have heard of the Great Famine, which reduced the population of Ireland by around 25%.
   That pales in comparison to the disaster that England inflicted upon Ireland between 1641 and 1652, when the population of Ireland fell from 1,466,000 to 616,000.

  Then things got worse.

What to do with the Irish?

  From the Tudor reconquest of Ireland until Irish Independence in 1921, the English puzzled over the problem of what to do with all those Irish people.
   They were the wrong religion. They spoke the wrong language. But the big problem was that there were just too many of them.

  The English had been practicing a slow genocide against the Irish since Queen Elizabeth, but the Irish bred too fast and were tough to kill. On the other side of the Atlantic, there was a chronic labor shortage (because the local natives tended to die out too quickly in slavery conditions).
  Putting two and two together, King James I started sending Irish slaves to the new world.
  The first recorded sale of Irish slaves was to a settlement in the Amazon in 1612, seven years before the first African slaves arrived in Jamestown.

  The Proclamation of 1625 by James II made it official policy that all Irish political prisoners be transported to the West Indies and sold to English planters. Soon Irish slaves were the majority of slaves in the English colonies.

  In 1629 a large group of Irish men and women were sent to Guiana, and by 1632, Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat in the West Indies. By 1637 a census showed that 69% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves, which records show was a cause of concern to the English planters. But there were not enough political prisoners to supply the demand, so every petty infraction carried a sentence of transporting, and slaver gangs combed the country sides to kidnap enough people to fill out their quotas.
 The slavers were so full of zest that they sometimes grabbed non-Irishmen. On March 25, 1659, a petition was received in London claiming that 72 Englishmen were wrongly sold as slaves in Barbados, along with 200 Frenchmen and 7-8,000 Scots.
  So many Irish slaves were sent to Barbados, between 12,000 and 60,000, that the term "barbadosed" began to be used.
 By the 1630's, Ireland was the primary source of the English slave trade.

   And then disaster struck.


   After Oliver Cromwell defeated the royalists in the English Civil War, he turned to Ireland, who had allied themselves with the defeated royalists. What happened next could be considered genocide.
   The famine (caused by the English intentionally destroying foodstocks) and plague that followed Cromwell's massacres reduced the population of Ireland to around 40%.

  And then Cromwell got really nasty.
Anyone implicated in the rebellion had their land confiscated and was sold into slavery in the West Indies. Even catholic landowners who hadn't taken part of the rebellion had their land confiscated.
  Catholicism was outlawed and catholic priests were executed when found.
To top it off, he ordered the ethnic cleansing of Ireland east of Shannon in 1652. Soldiers were encouraged to kill any Irish who refused to relocate.

   Instead of trying to describe the horror, consider the words from the English State Papers in 1742.

 "In clearing the ground for the adventurers and soldiers (the English capitalists of that day)... To be transported to Barbados and the English plantations in America. It was a measure beneficial to Ireland, which was
thus relieved of a population that might trouble the planters; it was a benefit to the people removed, which might thus be made English and Christians ... a great benefit to the West India sugar planters, who desired men and boys for their bondsmen, and
the women and Irish girls... To solace them
 I can't help but notice that the exact same language and logic used to justify enslavement of the blacks was used to justify enslavement of the Irish.
   It is something for those who think slavery was simply a matter of skin color to consider.

  As for the Irish slaves, Cromwell specifically targeted Irish children.

 “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, [Oliver] Cromwell ordered that 2000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica and sold as slaves to English settlers.”
 For some reason, history likes to call these Irish slaves as 'indentured servants'. As if they were somehow considered better than African slaves. This can be considered an attempt at whitewashing the history of the Irish slave trade.
   There does exist indentured servitude where two parties sign a contract for a limited amount of time. This is not what happened to the Irish from 1625 onward. They were sold as slaves, pure and simple.
  In reality, they were considered by some to be even lower than the blacks.
“...the African slave trade was just beginning during this same period,” writes Martin. “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 still relatively new, and were expensive to transport such a long distance (50 sterling in the late 1600's). Irish slaves on the other hand, were relatively cheap in comparison (5 sterling).
  If a planter whipped or 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.
 Because Irish slaves were so much cheaper, the loss of investment from torturing and killing them was not considered an effective deterrent. In an ironic twist, this caused some to recommend importing African slaves instead for humanitarian reasons.
 Colonel William Brayne wrote to English authorities in 1656 urging the importation of Negro slaves on the grounds that, "as the planters would have to pay much more for them, they would have an interest in preserving their lives, which was wanting in the case of (Irish)...." many of whom, he charged, were killed by overwork and cruel treatment. African Negroes cost generally about 20 to 50 pounds Sterling, compared to 900 pounds of cotton (about 5 pounds Sterling) for an Irish. They were also more durable in the hot climate, and caused fewer problems. The biggest bonus with the Africans though, was they were NOT Catholic, and any heathen pagan was better than an Irish Papist.
"Truly, I have seen cruelty there done to servants as I did not think one Christian could have done to another."
  - Richard Ligon, 1657
  It's impossible to estimate the exact number of Irish sold into slavery during this period. More Irish slaves were sold in the American colonies between 1651 and 1660 than the entire free population of those colonies. In fact, more Irish were sold as slaves in the America's during the 17th Century than Africans.
   The typical death rate on the slave ships was around 37%.

  The Irish did often have one advantage over African slaves - most of the time their time in slavery was limited. They were often sold into slavery from 7 to 20 years, while the only way Africans could get out of slavery was to buy their freedom.

   While the number of Irish being sent into slavery dropped off considerably in the 1660's, it did not just end.
   After the Battle of the Boyne in 1691 there was another load of Irish slaves sent to the new world. Following the failure of the 1798 Irish Rebellion there were tens of thousands more Irish slaves.

  Interesting historical note: the last person killed at the Salem Witch Trials was Ann Glover. She and her husband had been shipped to Barbados as a slave in the 1650's. Her husband was killed there for refusing to renounce catholicism.
   In the 1680's she was working as a housekeeper in Salem. After some of the children she was caring for got sick she was accused of being a witch.
  At the trial they demanded she say the Lord's Prayer. She did so, but in Gaelic, because she didn't know English. She was then hung.

Originally posted to gjohnsit on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 08:52 AM PST.

Also republished by Shamrock American Kossacks and Daily Kos Classics.

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  •  Tip Jar (243+ / 0-)
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    tardis10, sturunner, allenjo, kck, detroitmechworks, side pocket, AoT, lunachickie, yoduuuh do or do not, commonmass, Horace Boothroyd III, JeffW, gregsullmich, citizen dan, Nospinicus, Claudius Bombarnac, Nebraskablue, Matt Z, native, walkshills, schumann, Youffraita, Anorish, notrouble, Dr Colossus, Cassiodorus, Dirtandiron, old wobbly, eru, murphy, sawgrass727, agent, jbob, liz, Buckeye Nut Schell, kevinpdx, whaddaya, disrael, ColoTim, Pandora, patbahn, prettygirlxoxoxo, jamess, joe from Lowell, triv33, worldlotus, kerflooey, petulans, gtghawaii, cama2008, blueoregon, doroma, angeleyes, WB Reeves, dkmich, Penny GC, Wee Mama, Mokurai, Sunspots, NearlyNormal, onionjim, Jim P, Laura Wnderer, codairem, tegrat, Vega, Bluefin, SoCaliana, Dartagnan, aoeu, JVolvo, tommymet, Killer of Sacred Cows, fugwb, TheMeansAreTheEnd, greycat, eyesoars, majcmb1, shaharazade, Aaa T Tudeattack, psnyder, Dinclusin, Emerson, smileycreek, SpamNunn, leonard145b, weck, belinda ridgewood, goodpractice, avsp, Syoho, GAS, Shockwave, Neuroptimalian, ek hornbeck, terabytes, GreyHawk, 88kathy, Egg, madgranny, home solar, SpecialKinFlag, Major Kong, Lowgun, Sapere aude, GoGoGoEverton, nailbender, tonyahky, BlueDragon, Lily O Lady, postmodernista, CitizenJoe, Bonsai66, saxoman1, tarheelblue, blueoasis, TheDuckManCometh, Cat Servant, WisVoter, OrganizedCrime, Wendy Slammo, EdSF, Foothills of Oblivion, bobswern, FlamingoGrrl, catilinus, Wreck Smurfy, Involuntary Exile, rapala, slowbutsure, profundo, rbird, stagemom, enhydra lutris, JayRaye, Cassandra Waites, ninkasi23, Josiah Bartlett, lryer, BYw, peacestpete, Arilca Mockingbird, taonow, basket, DawnN, peregrine kate, cpresley, aaraujo, SherwoodB, David54, eeff, millwood, profh, rat racer, George3, kurt, Catesby, thomask, Lepanto, divineorder, karmsy, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, NorthCountryNY, muddy boots, LucyandByron, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, RFK Lives, ER Doc, Turbonerd, raincrow, deben, BoxNDox, 84thProblem, Jimdotz, Laconic Lib, OllieGarkey, Steveningen, shaggies2009, Shippo1776, RainyDay, Hey338Too, daveygodigaditch, Dianna, JosephK74, ichibon, susans, BlueMississippi, zerelda, IndieGuy, Wino, bluedust, Bud Fields, YucatanMan, Jujuree, devis1, bythesea, Larsstephens, spooks51, FG, Shotput8, catleigh, countwebb, Oh Mary Oh, Expat Okie, PrahaPartizan, mookins, begone, RUNDOWN, greenearth, pcl07, Kombema, wildweasels, kaliope, gulfgal98, genethefiend, Greyhound, northsylvania, jcrit, run around, Kristina40, temptxan, concernedamerican, bigjacbigjacbigjac, J M F, PrometheusUnbound, mamamorgaine, Mayfly, basquebob, Key6119, i dunno, Dvalkure, farmerhunt, Jakkalbessie, Kidspeak, NBBooks, science nerd, FishOutofWater, unclejohn, HedwigKos, 207wickedgood, 714day, radical simplicity, YellerDog

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 08:52:55 AM PST

  •  Course the slavers fell back... (108+ / 0-)

    on "Scientific" proof that the Irish weren't REAL white people...

    Course, it's just the same old story... pretend people aren't "Human" and it becomes OK to oppress them.

    See: United States and "The Poor"...  No wait, I mean "The Lazy"

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 09:09:14 AM PST

    •  Yep (72+ / 0-)

      The truth is flexible.
        Check out the cartoon here called the workingman's burden, which shows the Irish peasant carrying his famine relief wealth while riding on the back of an exhausted English laborer.
          Imagine that some people actually thought this if the Irish during the great famine. They completely turned reality on its head.

        Sort of like the Republican Party today.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 09:16:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Uh... (23+ / 0-)

        Those cartoons were from the 19th century, not the 17th.  Were there no contemporary illustrations you could use?

        Also, I'm sorry, but there is a difference between being enslaved for life (and having your children, and their children, and their children's children, still be considered slaves and having no rights of citizenship even after manumission) and being enslaved/punished/bound over to indentured servitude for a limited period of time and then being set free.  I also have to ask if the legal status of these Irish was passed along to their children.

        I'm not trying to troll, and I'm not diminishing what Cromwell did.  He was a monster, and his treatment of the Irish was appalling.  But I've seen this particular assertion crop up a lot lately, often on websites or in books that seem to use it to diminish the lot of African slaves on the grounds that "look, it wasn't always about skin color" and then imply that if the Irish could rise from such horror to wealth and prominence, there's no reason Africans couldn't as well.  

        Do you have a source other than a couple of websites, like a book or monograph from a scholarly press?  I'm not questioning your sincerity, or your raw data, but as a historian myself I want to check the sources.  

        Thanks -

        This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

        by Ellid on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 10:38:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re: (32+ / 0-)
          Were there no contemporary illustrations you could use?
          Cartoons from the 1600's? No. I don't think they were popular at the time. I think newspapers were rare at the time.
           I've seen this particular assertion crop up a lot lately, often on websites or in books that seem to use it to diminish the lot of African slaves on the grounds that "look, it wasn't always about skin color"
          That's not what I implied in any way. I implied that the Africans were not the only ones to suffer the horrors of slavery.
             I find it interesting that this gets left out of history books. I find anything important that gets left out of history books to be interesting. It makes me ask "why"?
          and then imply that if the Irish could rise from such horror to wealth and prominence, there's no reason Africans couldn't as well.
          Now you are projecting.
          Do you have a source other than a couple of websites, like a book or monograph from a scholarly press?
          Yes. See this.

          None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

          by gjohnsit on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 10:49:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Uh... (14+ / 0-)

            I didn't say "cartoons."  I said "illustrations."  For the 17th century, this means engravings, broadsides, woodcuts, and the beginnings of copperplate.  They were common and popular, and had been for at least a century.  Are there any of those?

            Regardless, I still do not see how 19th century cartoons are relevant to a diary about the 17th century.  I realize you're trying to illustrate a common prejudice, but this is not the way to do it.

            I realize that you aren't implying anything racist about this - good heavens! - but the first two or three pages about this subject on Google brought up some very, very questionable sources like Alex Jones and a couple of dog-whistle racism sites.  I regularly go to what is probably North America's most prominent medieval/early modern conference, which does include the 17th century, and I had seen no books, session panels, monographs, or journals about this.  It's very easy to find something well written, with seemingly good documentation, that either distorts, leaves out, or misinterprets available data, out there on the Web, and I tend to err on the side of caution.

            As for the projecting, please go back and read what I wrote.  I was not saying that.  I was saying that this is what other people are inferring from this data (and in some cases have been pretty blatant about it).   I'm sorry that wasn't clear, but that was not my intent at all.

            Finally, thanks for the link.  I'll check it out.

            This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

            by Ellid on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 11:06:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What exactly are you searching? (33+ / 0-)
               the first two or three pages about this subject on Google brought up some very, very questionable sources like Alex Jones and a couple of dog-whistle racism sites.
              The google search term I used was "Irish Slave Trade", and it didn't bring up any racism sites. At least not in the first 4 or 5 pages I looked.
               I realize you're trying to illustrate a common prejudice, but this is not the way to do it.
              Then I need to be enlightened. I honestly do not see how viewing an ethnic group as subhuman changes simply because the calendar is different. Please, school me.

              None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

              by gjohnsit on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 11:14:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Me neither (17+ / 0-)

                Using "Cromwell" "Irish" and "Slaves"  there are plenty of credible sources. Or just go to Amazon.

                If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

                by marykk on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 11:18:24 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Might be a problem of E's previous search history: (11+ / 0-)

                Teh Intertubz filter what our search results are based on previous searches, sources, likes and browsing patterns.  Yuck.

                duckduckgo "don't bubble me, bro"

                Retired Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able). Sarcasm for - and derision of - True Believers / Entitlement "Reformers" / NSA cheerleaders (yes, significant overlap) still available 24/7, you betcha!

                by JVolvo on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 12:14:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  You didn't even touch on the 1840's famine (17+ / 0-)

                If you want to discuss genocide, being a net exporter of food while 1 million are starving fits that definition IMHO:

                One of the most remarkable facts about the famine period is that there was an average monthly export of food from Ireland worth 100,000 Pound Sterling. Almost throughout the five-year famine, Ireland remained a net exporter of food.

                Dr. Christine Kinealy, a fellow at the University of Liverpool and the author of two scholarly texts on the Irish Famine: This Great Calamity and A Death-Dealing Famine, says that 9,992 calves were exported from Ireland to England during "Black'47", an increase of thirty-three percent from the previous year. In the twelve months following the second failure of the potato crop, 4,000 horses and ponies were exported. The export of livestock to Britain (with the exception of pigs) increased during the "famine". The export of bacon and ham increased. In total, over three million live animals were exported from Ireland between 1846-50, more than the number of people who emigrated during the famine years.

                Dr. Kinealy's most recent work is documented in the spring, 1998 issue of "History Ireland". She states that almost 4,000 vessels carried food from Ireland to the ports of Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool and London during 1847, when 400,000 Irish men, women and children died of starvation and related diseases. The food was shipped under guard from the most famine-stricken parts of Ireland: Ballina, Ballyshannon, Bantry, Dingle, Killala, Kilrush, Limerick, Sligo, Tralee and Westport.

                Ireland, BTW, was under direct British rule from 1800-1922.

                Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

                by RFK Lives on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:56:27 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  This is all very interesting to me, because... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dvalkure, gjohnsit, FishOutofWater

       a Bajan, it is well known in Barbados that:

                1. There were lots of white indentured servants brought to Barbados in the middle decades of the 1600s.

                2. Most of these were initially English, Welsh and Scottish political prisoners during the English Civil War, then became Irish a few years after Cromwell took power. Descendants of these white slaves still live in St. John's Parish.  

                3. White slaves were generally worse treated for simple economic reasons -- you only owned them for a few years. What point was there in keeping a slave alive if he was only going to be yours a few months longer? Why even waste food when you'd already gotten 98% of the value out of him that you could?

                4. By contrast, you not only had African slaves for life, but also their children and their children's children's lives! As Andrea Stuart points out in her great history of race in Barbados, Sugar in the Blood, the English changed the whole tradition of their laws by making slavery matrilineal. (Every other English law regarding heredity had always been patrilineal.) This not only made slavery race-based and hereditary, but also provided a huge economic incentive to rape female slaves (which is one reason why Bajans today are every pretty much every color of the rainbow).  

                According to Stuart (whose book I cannot recommend enough), there was a slave rebellion in Barbados in the late 1640s during which many white indentured servants sided with the black slaves. The laws were then changed over the years, giving white indentured servants certain legal rights (such as to take a white man to court) which were denied to blacks. This was intended to drive a wedge between white and black slaves. And by the late 1600s (in less than six decades after the initial settling by the English), with all the forests cleared and sugarcane crops everywhere, slavery in Barbados was overwhelmingly African.

                I don't mean to criticize any side in this discussion. Slavery of any type is hideous. But slavery was an economic system, and to understand it you have to look at its economics. A seven- or ten-year slave was worth less than one who would provide economic benefit for generations, and so would be worse treated during that period of time. But with economic greed written into the slave laws, once black slaves got old (which some managed to do, while indentured servants either died or finished their term first) and couldn't work as hard and/or reproduce, they were in a similar situation. You can readily believe that their treatment too declined to equal their economic value to their masters.

                Overall, I guess I'd rather have a decade of the hottest fires of hell and hope I could survive than know that both I and my offspring are doomed to centuries of hell.

                NEW PALINDROMIC METAPHOR MEANING TO MAKE A PREDICTION THAT IS ASTOUNDINGLY OFF TARGET: "Pull a Gallup!" As in: "The weatherman said yesterday would be sunny and mild, but we got a foot of snow! Boy, did he pull a Gallup!"

                by Obama Amabo on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 07:17:38 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I couldn't agree more (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Obama Amabo
                   slavery was an economic system, and to understand it you have to look at its economics
                  Thank you for sharing this with us.

                  None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

                  by gjohnsit on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 09:23:10 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Did the Jim Crow laws (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  thistlespinner, LannVoo

                  apply to the Irish, too?  Just asking.  I went down south as a child to bury my mother.  It was 1964.  I was 7 yrs old and will never forgot being blocked from going into the bathroom by a full-grown white man (it was for whites only) and pushed to the other side of the building.  There, instead of a bathroom, I said a toilet inside a room (with no door) over which you had to "squat" to use it.  

                  Just as I was about to pull down my pants, my aunt grabbed me by the collar and pulled me away.  I'll never forget what she said, "It's safer to go by the side of the road."

                  I was totally confused.  Now, as a mature adult, I understand exactly what she meant.

                  I live in a country where it's easier to buy a gun, than to cast a vote.

                  by stuckupnorth on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 03:45:40 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  racism (0+ / 0-)

                gjohnsit - I was unable to locate your email address. Please email me at ""

            •  My search results also turn up racist links (3+ / 0-)

              e.g. from many of the quotes in this article:  E.g., search for the salacious sentences "The English masters quickly began breeding the Irish women for both their own personal pleasure and for greater profit." OR "The settlers began to breed Irish women and girls with African men to produce slaves with a distinct complexion." and I get lots of bigoted websites.

              Which is not to deny the maltreatment of the Irish (and others) by the British, for a long time.

              Which, on the other hand, should not be taken as license to incite hatred at a time of fragile and precious peace in present-day Irish-British relations.

          •  Odd, that (0+ / 0-)

            I'm 66 and went to public schools in NJ. And my history books covered indentured servitude and how widespread it was. Lots of the books I read had characters who were at least one time in their lives indentured servants or slaves if you wish. Indeed, stories of indentured servants, who were sometimes treated worse in the books than slaves for life and generations ongoing, were a staple of both fiction and the high school history books.

        •  The Irish were enslaved (12+ / 0-)

          their children were slaves.  In every sense of the word.

          They weren't indentured servants.

          •  In Barbados, 'indenture' was a sham (16+ / 0-)

            'work them to death' was the rule.

            That African slaves were pricey enough to modify that practice doesn't mean anybody got better treatment;  they continued to work the Irish to death, and NOT doing likewise w/ the Africans was not some sort of kindness to Africans....

            What it illustrates is the utter inhumanity of the English planters and the "society" they made for themselves in the West Indies:  a "society" they readily and happily transplanted to South Carolina...and the die was set for the Confederacy (the Barbados Slave Code - written, it seems, by John Locke - becoming the basis of slave law in the South).

            When the Tea Partiers say they want their country back, THAT's the country they're talking about.

            trying to stay alive 'til I reach 65!

            by chmood on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 07:52:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  While researching the history (6+ / 0-)

              of Carnival in Britain, I came upon sites referencing the selling of 600+ local Somerset men, who had participated in the Monmouth Rebellion, into slavery. Most of them died, but a few were eventually freed and came back to describe the horrible conditions they had undergone. Bridgwater the home of one of the returnees, was one of the first abolitionist strongholds in the UK.

              "The 'Middle' is a crowded place - that is where the effective power is - the extreme right and left might annoy governments, but the middle terrifies them." Johnny Linehan

              by northsylvania on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 03:32:42 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly: conflating penal/indentured servitude and (5+ / 0-)

          chattel slavery is not helpful.

          Chattel slavery, also called traditional slavery, is so named because people are treated as the personal property (chattel) of an owner and are bought and sold as if they were commodities. It is the original form of slavery...
          Indentured servitude was a form of debt bondage, established in the early years of the American colonies and elsewhere. It was most used as a way for poor teenagers in Britain and the German states to get free passage to the American colonies. They would work for a fixed number of years, then be free to work on their own. The employer purchased the indenture from the sea captain who brought the youths over...
          This is not to deny harsh conditions and maltreatment:
          a certain small part of the white colonial population of America was brought by force, and a much larger portion came in response to deceit and misrepresentation on the part of the [recruiting agents]. (citing R. Hofstadter)
          Nor to deny the magnitude:
          One half to two thirds of all immigrants to Colonial America arrived as indentured servants.
          •  It would not be helpful if that's what the diarist (4+ / 0-)

            was doing -- but he was not. It was not the same as American indentured servants, as noted. They were slaves. Are you denying that because you only know the history of American indentured servancy, and not that of the West Indies colonies, or because you just refuse to acknowledge that "white" slavery ever existed?

            "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

            by Kombema on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 12:18:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Well put (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          That and the fact that a lot of former Irish slaves lived long enough to expel the British from the US and own slaves themselves! A lot of Africans fought in the war for what they thought was independence only to be sold to the newly freed Irish!

      •  Sadly true, and with the real (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenearth, gjohnsit

        possibility of the very same result, so long as they are led to believe their attitudes, behaviors and words are anywhere NEAR acceptable in America today. Fair warning. Thank you for the historical remembrance.

        Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
        Left/Right: -7.75
        Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

        by Bud Fields on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 08:40:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It must have been sometime between the end of the (5+ / 0-)

      Civil War and about 1900 when we became "white" in the United States.  

      •  Somewhat... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenearth, bigjacbigjacbigjac

        One thing I note looking at the Irish is a concerted effort to take control of tools of power that did not face successful pushbacks.

        Once in the Americas and free - the other whites could not really go into Irish settlements and slaughter a few hundred, then lynch dozens of them over time.

        They could with Native Indians and Africans (most of the dead of the Revolution were Native Indian civilians - in fact the first conflict of that war was the colonists wiping out 40 native modernized towns).

        Consider the stereotype of the Irish policeman. Anglos may have ridiculed and discriminated against Irish with impunity - but at the end of the day the Irishman had the gun.

        Irish as slaves in the colonies that became the USA ended before or as a result of the Revolution. I'm not sure here - but by that time, if I recall rightly, it was no longer lawful to enslave or indenture a European.

        Without ways of calling them out - yellow stars on jackets or something (which parts of the EU are trying to revive for Roma)... an Irishman is hard to tell apart from an Anglo.

        OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

        by Jyotai on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 03:44:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh I'm not so sure they "faded in' that easily. (11+ / 0-)

          I'm aware of at least one Klan March in Springfield, Ohio in the 1920s which not only terrorized the African Americans in town, but made a point to terrorize the Irish Immigrant population getting out of morning Mass.  And although there were Irish in the Revolution, it was not until well after the Civil War, when anti-Irish sentiment was replaced by animus against newer immigrants, that Irish Americans began to homogenize with the remainder of American society.

          If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

          by marykk on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 03:55:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Racism against eastern Europeans (12+ / 0-)

            Like Irish slavery, people forget about the racism against eastern Europeans in the late 1800's.
               The best example I can think of is the Lattimer Massacre. 25 peaceful, unarmed striking miners were shot down (mostly in the back while they were running away). Why? Because they were another ethnic group.

            "We'll give you hell, not water, hunkies!"
             - one deputy telling a mortally wounded miner who begged for water

              The fact that the murderer used the term "hunkies" tells you it was about race. What "hunkies" means, I don't know. But I know a racial epitaph when I hear one.

              A whole new and stranger ethnic group to hate probably made it easier for the Irish, who didn't look so foreign in comparison.
               And that's not even taking into account the Chinese immigrants around the same time.

            None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

            by gjohnsit on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 04:10:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hunkies (9+ / 0-)

              ... was a derogatory term for Hungarians, but was also flung at Slavic people, as few saw any difference between Hungarians and Slavs.

              •  Polish jokes when I was young were the (7+ / 0-)

                rage among racists it seemed...

                Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

                by divineorder on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:24:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Where I grew up, people used that term (0+ / 0-)

                to refer to Ukrainians, too.  I don't know the Eastern peoples well enough to know if they were Slavic, but I just looked it up and it seems they are.  Rude, in any case.  I grew up in a wonderfully mixed-culture neighbourhood and I have relatives from most of them.  :-)

                Hey, I wonder if "hunky" and "honky" have any etymological connection?  Hmmm... Please, no rock-throwing!  It's simple word-nerd curiosity.  <3

                If we acknowledge our fears, then we must also acknowledge the consequences of our actions when we react to those fears. Hate is based on fear, fear comes from a lack of understanding. When you understand, it is more difficult to hate.

                by TheProgressiveAlien on Mon Dec 30, 2013 at 08:48:17 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's possible. The word "Yankee" (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jo fish, LannVoo

                  was originally a term of derision ("Jan Kees" or "John Cheese" in Dutch) for the British invaders of New Amsterdam, implying they were as dumb as blocks of cheese (since they could not speak Dutch).  Then the British applied it to their own rebels (as in the song "Yankee Doodle"), other nations applied it to US Americans, New Yorkers applied it to New Englanders (Mark Twain's novel "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" for example), and of course, Confederates applied it to anyone in the Union Army, and inhabitants of the Union states.  By that time, of course, the original Dutch meaning was forgotten.

                  I never heard "hunky" but I remember a genre of "Pollack" jokes which made fun of Polish immigrants' alleged lack of intelligence (some of those jokes also alleged a lack of personal hygiene) but few people who told them (in the South) actually knew any Polish people, and in truth, any community believed to have those negative stereotypes could be substituted.  In college, particularly, students at rival colleges fill the bill as subjects of derogatory jokes.

                  In truth, no form of slavery was ORIGINALLY based on race, merely on power.  Plantation owners did not enslave anyone, white or black, because they hated them; they enslaved whoever was convenient and cheap to import.  But being able to get the POPULATION around their plantation to hate whoever was enslaved was a good way to keep them from escaping.  And Irish people could, of course, pass for English much easier than Africans could.

                  This may be one reason why, over two centuries after the Irish were freed from chattel slavery, a century after they had attained full parity with Anglos in American society, and half a century after the first Irish Catholic president, we have seen the election of the first African-American president awaken a backlash of our bigots against him and other African-Americans (and the hate expanding against other minority groups).

                  •  To enslave anyone, first you need a judge (0+ / 0-)


                    "You've got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all." -- "The Man Who Was Thursday"

                    by tallen387 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 08:26:43 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  I think "hunky" originally referred to Hungarians (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marykk, cpresley

              and was later generalized to all middle and eastern Europeans.

              Nothing human is alien to me.

              by WB Reeves on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 04:43:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  "Hunky" refers to certain european groups (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marykk, gjohnsit, cpresley, Kombema

              noun, plural hunk·ies.
              Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
              a person of Hungarian or Slavic descent, especially an unskilled or semiskilled worker.

              Origin: 1895–1900;  perhaps Hung(arian) (with devoicing of -g-,  influenced by hunk) + -y


              "Anyone can support me when they think I'm right. What I want is someone that will support me when I am wrong." Sir John A. MacDonald

              by Johnny Nucleo on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 04:48:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm familiar with the term (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                marykk, Dvalkure

                bohunk, a combo of Bohemian and hunk for Hungarian. It was used here for Eastern Europeans, especially Slavs. I've never heard "Hunky".

                And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

                by high uintas on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 08:20:39 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hunky? (0+ / 0-)

                  I use the term "Hunky" when referring to well built, good looking guys of any ethnicity.  But as a person of mixed Polish/ Slavic/Jewish/Hungarian DNA I've been hurled a few derogatory epitaphs including fairy, faggot and queer.  In spite of all this I am proud of who and what I am:  A human being on the Earth planet.

            •  In California (0+ / 0-)

              It was commonplace in Northern California to mass murder Chinese road gangs after the road was built. Probably up into Oregon & Washington too. Very little about it except local underground history & rumors.

          •  Homogenize... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Chi, shanikka, greenearth

            The Irish have that as an option. Africans and Native people do not.

            At the time of the Revolution, the situation for the Irish was discrimination.
            At the time of the Revolution, the situation for the African was slavery.
            At the time of the Revolution, the situation for the Native Indian was death.

            And African and Native Indian had the whole or Europe aligned against them.

            - These things are not equivalent.

            The English were brutal to those they conquered. That is something to not be forgotten.

            But these things were not and still are not equivalent.

            OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

            by Jyotai on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 04:36:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But to an Irish slave (10+ / 0-)

              or an African slave or a Native slave in the Americas.

              All things were equal.

              Are you saying that certain slaves suffered more than others because they lived closer to our current time?

              You are aware that the slave ships that brought over Africans were first used to bring over the Irish in the same conditions?

              •  African slave trade... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Chi, Denise Oliver Velez, greenearth

                Begins in the 1500s, ends in the 1800s. The English were not the only Europeans in the Americas.

                This is not about closer or who was first because Africans hold that card on both counts save for against the Native Indians, who were traded as slaves starting in 1492, but ending by the mid 1500s when it switched to conversion and subjugation in the Spanish empire, and treaty then genocide in the English colonies.

                OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

                by Jyotai on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:10:34 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Searching for differences (14+ / 0-)

                I think people who are trying to measure who the "real" slave is are missing the point.
                   If someone got enslaved against their will, is getting abused and is working alongside of you, then you are both slaves. I doubt few in that situation would say that you two are not "equivalent".
                   Just because one has a moderate chance of ever seeing freedom, while the other has only a slim chance, doesn't mean that one is "more slave" than the other.

                  In a way it reminds me of the conservative jerks who hate public employees because they have middle-class wages and pensions, and they don't.
                   The point being missed is that both are from the working class, and both have much more in common than is different.

                None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

                by gjohnsit on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:31:58 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Not to undervalue (5+ / 0-)

              The Irish genocide.

              Not at all.

              But it should not be used to devalue the impact of the other two events also relevant to this.

              It is called indentured servitude for a reason - because it was not for life. If you survived the term of years, you would be free. The English created a free Irish minority in their colonies as a result.

              I suspect the end of breeding between Irish women and black men came about due to problems it could cause with a potentially free mixed caste of people. Plus, the idea of mixing Europeans in with Africans became repugnant to the English over time - their populations are a lot less mixed than those of former colonies from other European powers in the Americas.

              One of the articles linked here claims the origins of lighter skinned blacks as a result of this mixing - but Africans have always come in many skin tones, varying by both ethnicity and individual. It is true that many if not most African Americans have some European ancestry - but it is just as often from other European groups or the English as from the Irish. DNA testing has been enlightening in recent decades.

              One folly the English made: the idea that the Africans were at least 'pagan' - ignores the spread of Orthodox / Coptic Christianity in Africa under Ethiopian influence, as well as Judaism and Islam. But that... is a folly of the slavers - a convenient lie they told themselves to justify their acts which were not better even when committed against "pagans".

              OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

              by Jyotai on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:07:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Never forget this . . . (0+ / 0-)

              The original colonies and then the later United States of America, a country which by all rights should not exist, were built on the backs of the Africans and on the blood and bones of the Native Peoples of Turtle Island (North America).

          •  There certainly was... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marykk, mamamedusa

            my Grandmother was there. She made sure we understood that the Klan targeted Irish Catholics, too.

            •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

              Totally OT, but a night rider targeted my then-toddler mother with his horse, cutting between her and my grandmother.  It was only through the grace of God that one of my great uncles was able to pull her away from the hooves and to safety at the last minute.

              If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

              by marykk on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:47:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Irish policemen... (0+ / 0-)

          That's a cultural stereotype with intriguing amounts of truth to it. I did a quick Wikipedia lookup. Seems like New York City may be where this tradition originated.

          Seems like NYC first organized some kind of uniformed police force in 1845 (seems very late in that city's history — anyone?), coincidentally the same year as the Great Famine in Ireland and the start of a massive immigration wave.  

          Keep in mind, these were not indentured servants but destitute immigrants driven by starvation at home. The wiki mentions the Irish closely associated with the NYC police in the 1870s, when the famously corrupt, Irish-dominated Tammany Hall political machine ran the city.

          Would love to learn more, if others do a more careful search.

          Another thing to research: I'm positive that patrolmen of that era did not carry guns, as the commenter implies, but rather billy clubs. I don't know when NYC or other urban police — foot patrolmen, not detectives — began routinely carrying a sidearm. (Anyone?)

          I'm pretty sure London bobbies succeeded in patrolling gun-free well into the 20th Century. (Again, anyone?)

    •  Consider our objections, from the Constitutional (0+ / 0-)

      Then, consider our failings over decades.
      So, do we go into multiple cycles or do we do better as we move on?
      It's strongly suggested to move on. There might be removal of idiocy, it's a matter of time.

    •  Not much has changed (0+ / 0-)

      Ah, Capitalism then and now. Not much has changed. We still have human piles of shit that enslave people throughout the world because heaven forbid they actually either pay someone to do the work or (gasp!) get off their lazy asses and do it themselves. The things some "people" do for money and status.

    •  Slavery was used by conquerors for centuries. (0+ / 0-)

      Another "forgotten slave" group were the indigenous Americans or American Indians.  From the landing by Columbus until the early years of the African slave trade, American Indians were enslaved by colonists of all nationalities in the Americas.  It is estimated that between 1650 and 1730 at least 50,000 Indians were exported by the English alone to their outposts in the Caribbean.  Between 1670 and 1717 far more Indians were exported than Africans were imported.

      I was surprised that the British colonies that are now part of the US actually EXPORTED slaves.  

  •  Race made all the difference (12+ / 0-)
    But for some reason the largest group of slaves in the British Colonies in the 17th Century doesn't get mentioned at all: the Irish.
    You touch on the reason briefly, but then pass it by.  The difference between Irish and the Africans was racial.  And skin color is not all there is to it, because the difference in the races is also one of physiognomy.  If Africans were white, and had blond hair and blue eyes (or red hair, since we are comparing them to the Irish), we would still see them as of a different race owing to their facial features. I suspect that physiognomy has more to do with racism in general than does mere skin color.

    The fact that the Irish were of the same race as the white colonists made empathy more likely to occur, whereas the stark racial differences between black and white created an empathic distance.  This is also an important consideration when it came to freeing them.  The Irish were thought of as indentured servants because no one was bothered by the idea that they would eventually become citizens. With the Africans it was different.

    In fact, the Civil War would never have happened had the slaves been caucasians. In that case, the problem could have been solved through economic compensation for freed slaves.  But the whites dreaded the idea of being swamped by people of a totally different race, and thus slavery was insisted on not just for the cheap labor that slavery provided, but to keep the Africans from gaining power over white people owing to the sheer numbers.

    That is the reason that Irish slavery and African slavery were thought of differently.

  •  Excellent diary. By the way, in my estimation, (45+ / 0-)

    Oliver Cromwell was the greatest sonofabitch that ever lived, and his compatriots who followed him before his rise to power brought their particular brand of bastardry to this country, where it has festered for three hundred years and continues to fester.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 09:31:14 AM PST

    •  May he burn in hell. (16+ / 0-)

      If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 10:40:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The mentality of the English (17+ / 0-)

      from those days, Cromwell and his opponents for the most part (excluding levelers and diggers), is exactly reflected in our Christ-despising christians of today.

      You could take a Sarah Palin and drop her into Cromwell's day, and she'd have to replace the Pope with Obama, but then she'd fit right in. Within a day. And that's not an exaggeration.

      The evil heart of Cromwell and his contemporaries, vain greedy men using religion as disguise, runs in a direct line through this day in the US.

      Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

      by Jim P on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 12:03:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cromwell also suppressed the Levellers... (7+ / 0-)

      ...just thought I'd throw that in as yet another reason to hate him.  He was part of the English upper class, like many of the parliamentary leaders and army commanders, and deeply disliked the ideas of  popular sovereignty, extended suffrage, equality before the law, and religious tolerance.

      Here's a link to the wikipedia page.

      Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

      by rbird on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 03:46:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  All those Puritans (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk, gjohnsit, Cassandra Waites

      Even when they got over here.

      A pair of my English Quaker ancestors moved into a Puritan settlement in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and soon were run out of town for being non-conformist.  They died a few days later of exposure.

      Their children were sentenced to be slaves in the Caribbean because they could not pay the fine that was levied on them (instead of banishment).  One of them, my ancestor Cassandra Southwick.

      Luckily the sentence was never carried out, but it shows  where the Puritan mind was at.

      Even though I have discovered many of my other ancestors were Puritan.

      Good thing we don't all show up together at a family dinner.

    •  Don't forget what the British (0+ / 0-)

      did everywhere they went and "conquered".  They brought abject poverty and a multitude of horrors to India, Pakistan, Palestine, Egypt, China, New Zealand, Australia, Sudan, Kenya, South Africa, all of the British African colonies, the West Indies, Bermuda, Hawai'i, North America, and British Honduras.  

      The British subjugated the populace of all these countries, and with the whip or gun all these people were taught what was "proper" according to the English way.  How disgusting to believe and to foster this attitude that things "english" were better than what all these countries, Peoples, cultures, religions, had before the English came.  

      In the USA the "English way"  lead to the reservation system for Native Americans.  The English, now as Americans, forbade the use of Native languages,  Forbade the practice of Native religions or spirituality.  Forbade the cultures to exist:  kill the Indian, save the child.

      Today England, or the United Kingdom may be our greatest ally, but that's only because the US government is still sucking the tit of Mother England.  White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant or WASPs, still refers to the English.  It is the WASPs of this country who are so much into the tea party republicans and would just as soon the rest of us who don't fit the nomenclature would die or fall off the planet.

    •  Sonsofbitches Like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and (0+ / 0-)

      William the Conqueror can give Cromwell a run for his money. Then there was the man responsible for carrying out the Clearances in the Scottish Highlands - He wasn't even a ruler, just a ruthless sonofabitch. Cromwell was bad, but if there was a special hell for men like him, he would have a lot of company.  

      William the Conqueror virtually killed all the people in some English counties that fought against him too long. He kept census records, and some counties are almost empty except for a few of his Norman supporters.

      Most readers here probably know about several genocides in the last century. But you may not know quite how bad they were if you just read about them in history books or the news.

      Look for pictures of some of the piles of skeletons and skulls in Rwanda during and after the most recent genocide, and almost all of that killing was done with machetes imported to arm the Hutu, because machetes were cheaper than guns. Close to ten percent of the population killed in a very short time.

      Look at ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. Look at Sierra Leone, Somalia, Darfur.

      And  the pictures will stay in your mind a long time, and you will vote in every election, including midterms, primaries, and purely local elections, because it matters. Because it is bad enough to see the pictures, and you do not want to see it happening in a neighborhood near you.

      When I even think about being complacent, I listen to Billie Holiday singing "Strange Fruit". It doesn't need to happen to millions to be terrifying. It could be happening in a neighborhood close to you. Recently a white supremacist tried to buy up enough land and invite enough of his associates to move there to out vote the previous residents. He was arrested and convicted for threatening the only black resident of the town with a gun, and is now in prison, but before that it  looked like he might succeed.

  •  This is the back story of many family politics (20+ / 0-)

    in the US.  For all their distain caused the Kennedy family for their wealth acquired by bootlegging, they learned the lesson that the family could only be protected by money.

    It was said that one of the reasons for Joseph Kennedy being obsessed with his sons as president was that he knew he could not be elected president and he was totally opposed to the Federal Reserve system.  As ambassador to England he was spied upon constantly and his views traitorous but he was ambassador because he was considered safer and more contained outside the country.

    It is also the reason Catholics were feared so much by the elite English ancestry in the US.  The pope propaganda was the least of their projected fears.  It is also the reason for this history being studiously repressed.  This history was usually passed down as family stories never to be forgotten and to never trust English oligarchy which was really the formation of the federal reserve system.

    •  Both sides had atrocities (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh, Key6119

      I dunno.  Seems to me quite a few atrocities were done on the Catholic side of things as well, which lead to quite a back lash against the Catholic church.  I did a little diary on it about Tyndale and the men trying to translate the Bible into English.  Catholic church did not treat them so well.

      Once the superstitious get in power, things get bad very quickly.  Doesn't matter which little talk to god group you are talking about.   Seems to me history is rife with examples of how as soon as people start believing their group is special, they start trying to take advantage of others.

      Look at Bloody Mary's reign.  How the settlers treated the American Indians. The early Mormons in this country.  Our current religious right today.  

      You can go back even further to similar things happening in Athens during the time of Pericles; or the Romans with just about everyone else.  

      The conspiracy theories about the Federal Reserve System are mostly silly.  Anyone interested should read The Lords of Finance by Ahamed about the early days of the world's four largest banking systems.   Please guys and gals, leave that nuttery to the tea baggers.

      One of John Adams' arguments for the colonies seeking independence was that England was starting to treat the colonies similar to the way England treated Ireland.  That was worth a fight.  

      “Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects.” ― Will Rogers (Of course this also applies to me.)

      by MugWumpBlues on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:51:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bootlegging ... a myth that will not die (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk, yoduuuh do or do not
      For all their distain caused the Kennedy family for their wealth acquired by bootlegging

      Kennedy wealth from bootlegging is a myth ... Daily Beast

      While he did import and sell alcohol during prohibition, it was for "medicinal" purposes (sound familiar?) and legal.  Then, he was quick to jump on (and profit from) the wave of importation during the post-prohibition era.

      So, perhaps the "disdain" for the Kennedys was not a matter of how they acquired their wealth, but rather that they (as Irish Americans) were able to acquire any wealth at all?

  •  Tobacco Island (29+ / 0-)

    Flogging Molly's take on the Irish slavery -
    Tobacco Island

    All to hell we must sail
    For the Shores of sweet Barbados
    Where the sugar cane grows taller
    Than the god we once believed in
    Till the butcher and his crown
    Raped the land we used to sleep in
    Now tomorrow chimes of ghostly crimes
    That haunt Tobacco Island

    'Twas 1659 forgotten now for sure
    They dragged us from our homeland
    With the musket and their gun
    Cromwell and his roundheads
    Battered all we know
    Shackled hopes of freedom
    We're now but stolen goods
    Darken the horizon
    Blackened from the sun
    This rotten cage of Bridgetown
    Is where I now belong


    Alas Babylon, in one hour is thy judgment come!

    by forensic economist on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 09:37:32 AM PST

  •  I wrote a song about an Irish slave last year: (17+ / 0-)

    (the music has been re-written since i recorded this video, but here was the original version and the lyrics are below)

    The Merchant's Hand

    My father fought those English dogs
    In the fall of ‘98
    Caught in the slaughter near Gibbet Rath
    He was sold into this land in chains

    I was branded with John Allston’s iron
    On the day I was born
    A firm grip on his whip, he’s broken our backs
    As we’ve worked his soil

    Maggie was his only child
    A finer beauty you ain't never seen
    And every glimpse of her I’ve stole
    More precious than the air I breathe

    One day as I stood working
    In the fields near harvest time
    The softest breath fell on my neck
    And Maggie’s hand slipped over mine

    She said ‘Poor boy, you foolish boy,
    Why do you look at me like you do?
    If my father were to notice
    He’d put an end to you.’

    I said ‘Maggie, he may own my name
    And he may own my life as well,
    But for the slightest touch and my name on your lips
    I’d go smiling through the gates of hell.’

    Then one night, with a tear in her eye
    She said, ‘Take me away from here
    For father’s marrying me to a merchant
    And I’ll never see you again.’

    We headed for the stables
    To steal some horses and steal away
    But Allston had followed my Maggie dear
    And swore he’d see my head on a stake

    Maggie stepped between us
    And to halt her father’s advance
    She promised that if he'd spare my life
    She’d take the merchant's hand

    John Allston said he'd spare me
    But a lesson he would make of me
    So when the sun rose up the very next morn
    I was tied naked to a tree

    His whip did crack, but with every lash
    I firmly held my tongue
    For no matter the blood, he’d not hear my cry
    No, not this Irishman’s son

    When I finally awakened
    I’d slept a week and a day
    John Allston had laughed and Maggie had cried
    And then he’d sent her away

    But a message she'd gotten to me
    And written there inside
    Said, ‘Oh poor boy, my own true love,
    I am carrying your child’

    So I’ll away to find her
    Once these wounds are sound
    But first, John Allston, you son of a bitch
    I'm coming to cut you down

    Maggie, my own true love
    A finer beauty I have never seen
    And every glimpse of you I’ve stole
    Is more precious than the air I breathe

    Whose interest does ignorance serve? - Carl Sagan

    by spgilbert on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 10:13:57 AM PST

  •  It does get mentioned (14+ / 0-)

    It just gets mentioned in a different way. Usually they are referred to as indentured servants because they were not slaves for life (though they mostly died before the time was up), and the children born to them were not usually born into slavery. Plus, the late 17th century was when the American colonies began to institute laws which differentiated skin color for the first time, which had a massive impact on slavery and what it eventually became. It's kind of a big difference. And I was taught all this in high school.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 10:40:30 AM PST

  •  I gather the Irish slave's cheapness (19+ / 0-)

    cut both ways -- they were cheap to kill off, yet in the long run freeing them didn't amount to much of a loss.  African slaves, on the other hand, represented a much more significant capital asset to the masters, and so freedom only came in the 1860s.

    "There will be midterm elections in under a year. Do you know what might be savvy? To run on a Medicare For All platform..." -- Dan Fejes

    by Cassiodorus on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 10:57:04 AM PST

  •  You can still hear an Irish lilt... (18+ / 0-)

    in many Caribbean accents.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 10:57:52 AM PST

  •  Great contribution. (30+ / 0-)

    There's a good deal of ignorance and misapprehension about the history and development of slavery as an economic institution in the Americas. A lot of folks mistakenly believe that racism produced slavery whereas  history shows the opposite is more likely. Slavery, as in bondage and forced labor, existed long before the emergence of color based racism and the theory of "white" supremacy.

    That said, history also makes it plain that the trans-Atlantic African slave trade was an unprecedented innovation that transformed the institution into a form unique in its brutality and inhumanity. The ideology of white supremacy was a direct result of the need to find justification for a barbaric, sadistic and murderous form of exploitation.

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 11:43:20 AM PST

    •  I think you would be hard pressed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk, tardis10, gjohnsit

      to find the treatment of Irish slaves to be any different that the treatment of African slaves, except in volume.

      Which is not much of a comfort to any individual slave.

      •  That may be (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not certain of its relevance to what I said though.

        Likewise I'm having trouble following your reasoning. You seem to treat "volume" as a negligible consideration. I can't agree. Quantitative difference often, if not invariably, does translate into qualitative difference. The scope of any evil is certainly of concern to its potential victims.

        But really, you aren't actually suggesting that the experiences of the Irish the in North America are equivalent to those of the Africans, are you?  


        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 10:43:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Racism and slavery "grew up together" and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the African slave trade was not "unique in its brutality and inhumanity".  Throughout ancient history any conquest included bringing home a bunch of slaves which continued through the Roman Empire and into the Middle Ages.  Prior to the great plagues, most of the English (who some seem to think were especially brutal when they were not) themselves were slaves - serfs who belonged to the estate that they were born on and who could not leave it or marry or do much of anything else without permission.  

      The fact is that until quite recently, most groups viewed any "other" group as potential spoils and had no compunction about enslaving, killing, raping or otherwise inflicting terrible trauma upon others whether they were "others" because of race, religion, sex, age or any other convenient reason.  Native Americans were inhumane to other Native Americans and it was the same on every continent.

      Human history is packed with slavery and inhumanity from one end to the other, around the globe and into the present day.  We now have the UN and "civil rights" and such which makes us the most enlightened earthlings ever but make no mistake, there are still huge numbers of people who are just as vicious and brutal as any from the past and there are still huge numbers of people who are brutally enslaved, killed, raped and exploited.

  •  Interesting. (7+ / 0-)

    Talk about white washing history. I had no idea.

  •  Great diary (13+ / 0-)

    I like to think I know a lot about Irish history, but this really opened my eyes.

    Well done.

  •  We've done pretty well for a bunch of drunken (10+ / 0-)

    animals, eh?

    People seem to forget the genocide that caused most of our Irish ancestors to come to this country.   My family came over in 1845, to mine coal in PA.  I was the first college graduate in my family since 1843.  

    “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

    by SpamNunn on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 12:42:02 PM PST

    •  I have several Irish roots here (13+ / 0-)

      One branch fled Ireland after the Williamite War in 1690. My ancestor's ship sank and his entire family died. He was only 14 at the time. He landed in Georgia colony, which was a wilderness at the time.

       I have another branch which I traced back to Kilkenny. She was only 18 at the time and she was fleeing the Great Famine.

        In fact almost everyone of my ancestors were fleeing some misery and political oppression.
         My German ancestor was fleeing the 1848 German revolution. My Romanian ancestor was fleeing the military draft.
        Except for one branch of puritans, they were all refugees.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 01:05:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Barbary slave trade (9+ / 0-)

    There was also enslavement of Europeans (from coastal Mediterranean areas up through the British Isles including Ireland) by North Africans from the 16th to 19th centuries by Barbary pirate slave raids.  Estimates of the enslaved top 1 million.  The trade diminished after Euro/American wars against Algiers, but didn't stop completely until the colonization of the area by European countries (with its own problems) and European emancipation of slaves.

    The only peripheral mention of this in my high school was about the US wars against the Barbary pirates in the early 19th century.

    "It is easy to sit up and take notice, What is difficult is getting up and taking action." Honore de Balzac

    by Vega on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 01:00:34 PM PST

    •  I was going to include this (9+ / 0-)

      The Sack of Baltimore was an Algerian slave raid on Ireland in 1831.
        They took away an entire village.

       But I figured it would have been a tangent on the diary.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 01:09:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  1631 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catesby, Denise Oliver Velez

        That happened in 1631, not 1831.

        But the Barbary pirates were active until at least sometime after the US Revolution - as we have a song about our war against them - with the famous line "From the halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli".

        - I believe the first half of that refers not to the logical assumption of Cortez, but the mid 19th century war with Mexico... but I'm not sure.

        Curiously, the east bay coast of San Francisco was long called the Barbary Coast because of its lawless nature in the 1800s - early 1900s (in fact, until 1989 when the Earthquake took down the freeway there, it was a bad area, now its a high class trendy jogging path).
        - This is the place Chinese women were often kept as sex slaves, and from where the term "Shanghai'd" took off as local men were abducted by trading ships into being forced sailors.

        (Chinese women are still kept as slaves in San Francisco, but in the massage parlors now...)

        OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

        by Jyotai on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:31:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was a typo (0+ / 0-)
           the Barbary pirates were active until at least sometime after the US Revolution
          Actually no. The barbary pirates were active after the Spanish christians banished all the muslims from what is now Spain.
             Look into the history of Barbarossa.

          None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

          by gjohnsit on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:41:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Barbary Pirates (0+ / 0-)

          England and France used to pay them yearly tribute for safe passage of their ships.  Once we won the war of independence, our ships were free game.   They had had a big issue about it, as President John Adams wanted to build a navy but lacked sufficient funds.

          I'm not 100% sure of this story, but I recall even the great Julius Caesar was once captured by pirates.  After being ransomed, he put together a sufficient force, tracked down the pirates, and killed all of them.  

          “Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects.” ― Will Rogers (Of course this also applies to me.)

          by MugWumpBlues on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:56:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Fascinating history (7+ / 0-)

    about which I knew nothing.

    Thanks, Garrett.

  •  Very informative (9+ / 0-)

    I knew the Irish had been treated badly by the English but this is several orders of magnitude worse than I'd imagined.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 01:39:23 PM PST

  •  Had very little idea of this. Thanks much! nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, TheDuckManCometh, marykk

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 01:44:48 PM PST

  •  And i thought all my Irish ancestors were (8+ / 0-)

    slaveholders. But they were so mixed by then, no one could distinguish them from other whites (mixture of Irish and English), or they were Octoroon (1/8 black), or Quintroon (1/16th black). Yeah, they even mated Irish and African women with African men like cattle upto the 18th century and African women until slavery ended)). So the next time you see, or hear these confederates talking about their proud heritage, remind them of all the centuries of rape and child molestation. The slaveholders even kept their own children enslaved for profit. That's their real heritage.

  •  were the children automatically born into slavery? (6+ / 0-)

    that is the test as far as I am concerned.

    some of them were indentured servants, but as far as I know, very few of them were slaves for life, nor was it the case that their children were born into slavery.  plus if they escaped they could not be identified by the color of their skin.

    so yes, they were beaten and otherwise treated cruelly and discriminated against as less than human and caricatured as apes (we just had THAT conversation ad infinitum a few weeks ago) but the reason they are "forgotten" is that working for 7 or 20 years is not slavery as black people experienced it.

    on a side note, How the Irish Became White is one of the most interesting books I ever read.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 02:42:26 PM PST

    •  Some were, yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      see OrganizedCrime's comment above.  Often times the women were "bred" like cattle.  Which is a polite way of saying raped for the purpose of producing offspring for the plantation.  

      If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 03:03:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, and I don't know how to embed (4+ / 0-)

      this picture of a handbill but make no mistake, they were not renting themselves out for a period of years, they were sold by third parties.

      If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 03:24:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  American slavery was unique (6+ / 0-)

      Slavery and racism were not new concepts, but the American slave trade (including the Caribbean) is the only example I can think of where a large population was transported specifically for slavery, and where a large secondary market in slaves existed.    In America, Africans were bred for the purposes of creating more slaves.  

      The slave industry was a lot more developed than people credit; it was not simply slaves laboring on large plantations.   By the time of the Civil War, the majority of slaveholders held small numbers of slaves.   Slaves were investments for the upper-middle class.   You could buy a slave, sell off his or her labor during the time that you owned them and then hope to sell the slave at a profit depending on the market.   If the slave had no residual value, you could let them buy their freedom with the pittance they were allowed to earn (as an incentive for doing the work they were assigned.)    Dred Scott was one such example.

      The wealth of the slave states (and a very large portion of the U.S. GDP) was in the 'value' of the human slaves.   The large planters made a lot of money breeding slaves and selling them to investors.   It was such an important market that one of the first things that the new Confederacy did was to continue the ban on the importation of slaves!   (This is despite the modern-day fantasy that the Civil War was about free trade...)

      For this system to work, you needed to have some way to discriminate between the slave and non-slave class, and you needed the children of slaves to be born slaves.   The reason for the creation of this system was complex and debated, in essence the difference between indentured servants and African slaves was created to keep the two groups from conspiring to overthrow their masters.

      What was unique about the US situation is that the climate was harsh enough to make white slavery unprofitable (white slaves did not tend to survive  in the cotton fields), yet unlike the Caribbean not so harsh that there was a net loss of African slaves due to disease.

      African slavery was different from the admittedly atrocious slavery of other people (generally not strictly along racial lines) by the British and other Europeans.    The transportation of convicts was certainly inhumane and they were slaves once transported, convicts were not bred to create more slaves (in fact, quite the opposite, almost all white Auzzies have at least one convict ancestor.)      The Irish were not the only victims of the British Empire, the Welsh were slaves (in the mines) and the true history of the British occupation of India is almost too terrible for words.

      If only I could be assured that our own time was better...

      •  Note on Dred Scott (5+ / 0-)

        Due to an unfortunate edit, I implied that Dred Scott bought his own freedom which is not the case (he was not allowed to by his master).   I mean that he was an example of a slave bought as an investment by a member of the upper middle class.  

        His case was more complex than the simple statements of most history books.   The case was not merely a matter of whether a man became free by going to a free state, but whether a slaveowner could practice slavery in a free state by hiring out their slave.    The Supreme Court decision effectively ended the distinction between free and slave states.   (The war was more about Southern attempts to expand slavery than it was about Northern attempts to end it.)

      •  There is some documentation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        on the experiments done to cross-breed African males with Irish women, to come up with a new line of slaves.

    •  Based on the reviews and comments (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk, WB Reeves

      The book you recommend seems at the very least offensive to Irish people.
        I like the fact that Noel Ignatiev has a radical left-wing background, but it bothers me when one oppressed group attacks another oppressed group.

      plus if they escaped they could not be identified by the color of their skin.
      If that was a critical criteria then you can dismiss 90% of the history of slavery.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 03:48:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      •  that is not what the diary says (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Denise Oliver Velez
        The Irish did often have one advantage over African slaves - most of the time their time in slavery was limited. They were often sold into slavery from 7 to 20 years, while the only way Africans could get out of slavery was to buy their freedom.
        that paragraph comports with what I know of the history as well

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 09:03:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There was also the sentence of transportation that (5+ / 0-)

    was used in the 19th century to send labor to the Australian colonies.

  •  The English got away with murder. They still (6+ / 0-)

    do. Thanks for contributing this diary towards a more honest assessment of history, especially "British" history. Btw, I wonder how many Americans still think the terms English and British are interchangeable?

    The Americas greatest political dynasty...the Kaan

    by catilinus on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 03:07:06 PM PST

  •  Thanks for this extensive piece on a history I... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, gjohnsit, SherwoodB

    never learned about.
    I'm Irish from Boston (now living in FL), but never knew about this history.
    So much has been repressed from our history books.
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    I share a birthday with John Lennon and Bo Obama.

    by peacestpete on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 03:51:50 PM PST

  •  Even in 1800s Irish immigrants cheaper than slaves (10+ / 0-)

    About a decade or so prior to the potato famine, Irish immigrants were brought to New Orleans to construct the new basin canal. At the average wage of 1$ per day, it was cheaper to use the Irish immigrants than slaves which were much costlier and difficult to obtain in numbers large enough to make it practical. No plantation owner would lend out his slaves for such incredibly perilous work.  While estimates vary, somewhere between 10,00 and 30,000 of the Irish workers died during construction, mostly from yellow fever. They were literally buried in the  banks of the canal itself.  The canal was long ago filled in, and there is a Celtic Cross on site commemorating the Irish immigrants who died.

    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

    by bywaterbob on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:14:12 PM PST

    •  Irish emigration (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, Key6119

      as a result of the genocidal hunger and what followed was also a major contributor to the Union victory in the Civil War.  Once the Southern ports were blockaded, the North, with a steady stream of inbound immigrants ripe for conscription, had a distinct numeric advantage.

      If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:17:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  civil war (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marykk, Key6119

        I think the North always had both the numbers and the manufacturing base.  Though the Irish surely helped and it was one of those big deals when many of the North based Catholic church leaders chose to side with the abolitionists.  Apparently was not a done deal before the war started.   Of course, reading up on the Irish Brigade, doubtful many of those lads would have missed any scrap.

        “Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects.” ― Will Rogers (Of course this also applies to me.)

        by MugWumpBlues on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 06:00:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Little known fact (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Lincoln was not entirely thrilled with the influx of Irish, for fear that they would vote.  Wish I could find what I had done with that reference.

          If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

          by marykk on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 06:03:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well, the Irish tended to be among the least (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marykk, Key6119, Dvalkure

        well educated / skilled immigrants and the poorest into 19th Century America. (The Germans were, on average, the most well educated / skilled, and immigrants from the England / Scotland the wealthiest) This meant when they arrived, they were looking mostly for unskilled labor jobs....a position which in the South was mostly already filled. If all you have to sell is your labor, it doesn't make much sense to immigrate to an area of the country where most of the unskilled labor is done by enslaved people of another race.

        Yes, Irish people did emmigrat to the South, but it was a distinct minority fraction of Irish immigrants. Indeed, the modern day ethnicity charts pretty much reflect this reality.

        That's why the North East is so heavily Irish, and the mid-west German. The Germans had the money / skills to move west and get the free land and opprotuntieis. The irish often had to take a job as soon as the got of the boat.

        •  That's true (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and the traditional nineteenth century job for an Irishman was some variation on "ditch digger", be it in the mines, laying railroad bed, digging canals.  Curiously, there were a number that hit the trifecta in this regard, which is why Butte Montana, of all places, was a sizeable Irish community  and remains so to this day.

          If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

          by marykk on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 05:54:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Just saw the movie (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, Key6119, Dvalkure

    "Philomena" about a modern-day British journalist aiding an elderly Irish woman who had given birth to an illegitimate child in an Irish Catholic home for unwed mothers in the 1950s. Decades later, she went looking for the child, who had been taken forcibly from her.

    Movie refreshed my memory about all things pre-Vatican-II Catholic that perfectly cemented a slaver's mentality in the public consciousness.

    Thanks for the diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:34:59 PM PST

  •  My real name is Malone. I have no idea (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, gjohnsit, Oh Mary Oh

    when and how my family made it to  Texas.

    All I know is I come from a long line of [handsome] alcoholics  !  :)  Maybe this is why sharing family history was never big around the family Christmas tree....

    Went to Ireland in the 80's and was surprised to see several women who closely resembled my mother. Hmmmm...

    Couldn't find many Malones in the Dublin phone book back then, though by the early 70's there were 7 people in the Houston phone book with the same first and last name!

    Thanks for the history post.

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:39:05 PM PST

  •  And probably even more than the Irish were the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    original settlers, the Indians, at least the ones that survived the diseases they were exposed to, and the slaughter, and being run of the best land, and best hunting and fishing spots, and the best fresh water locations.

    I'm not an historian, but I wonder if anybody, which is to say European, bothered to count the "locals" as anything but live stock.

  •  The Irish suffered badly in the U.S., too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, gjohnsit

    although their courage and tenacity in battle was legendary as they fought for both the North and South in the Civil War. As far as I know, overt anti-Irish discrimination persisted into the 1960s.

    Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

    by raincrow on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 06:18:29 PM PST

  •  In case you have never read Swift's "A (4+ / 0-)

    Modest Proposal" or haven't read it in a while, it speaks about the Irish at the time of the famine but is resonates today.  

    The self proclaimed "Makers" might not see themselves, but I bet you will.

    Also too if you have not bookmarked as a site to explore for golden oldies to read you really should.

  •  Indenturement was a will-o'-the-wisp (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, Oh Mary Oh

    Most died before finishing their period of indenturement. One of the many factors in Bacon's Rebellion was the large stock of indentured servants who knew full well that they would not live to see their "head right" granted.

    Slavers also attempted, multiple times, to use American Indians and found them inferior as slave stock. You make a few mistakes, though, by saying that skin color should be downplayed. One of the factors that was always present was a belief that the dark skin of Africans made them inhuman, and thus closer to cattle. The rebellion in Haiti is a good example: Indians and mulattos had a path out, while black skinned Africans did not. Similarly in America, all Europeans had a supposed head right, whereas the black Africans were treated as animals.

    Further, the "Irish" being warred against were generally English settlers from the past invasions. By the Cromwell wars, it's clear that the enemies they faced were the "English" conquerors of the Tudor era.

    Everyone's innocent of some crime.

    by The Geogre on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 06:34:33 PM PST

  •  without having waded through the comments... (6+ / 0-)

    the take-away line I get from your disturbing diary is:

    It is something for those who think slavery was simply a matter of skin color to consider.
    While  skin color is a convenient indicator, humans are demonstrably capable of infinite subtleties of discerning "otherness".

    All else follows from creating the "other".

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 07:14:18 PM PST

    •  indeed.. (0+ / 0-)

      In fact, I remember hearing that a study was done- in an attempt to eliminate discrimination entirely by giving the participants numbers.  Turns out, people began discriminating on the basis of whether you were an odd number or an even number...  dismal ... humanity.  

  •  Splitting hairs perhaps, but "servitude" came in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, Cassandra Waites, gjohnsit

    three varieties. "Indentured", was a contractual exchange of unpaid labor to repay a debt. Typically, the "seven year" contract covered the cost of passage to the colonies.

    But England also imposed servitude as judicial punishment. Thousands of criminals, debtors and mere vagrants were sentenced to "transportation" to the Americas and Australia. These were not necessarily life sentences, but the convicted ones had to pay their own way back to England. Few ever did.

    Then there was servitude imposed on captives taken in war, colonial conquest, rebellion or ethnic cleansing campaigns. These people were considered "spoils of war", a practice dates back to ancient times.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 10:55:58 PM PST

    •  Note that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It didn't take much to get you labeled as a "criminal" in England back then.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 06:16:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a part of history I teach (12+ / 0-)

    and I actually have my students read the novel
    Testimony of an Irish Slave Girl, by Kate McCafferty,as well as the history text To Hell or Barbados: The Ethnic Cleansing of Irelandb y Sean O'Callaghan.

    We also examine Chancery court records from early VA, where indentured irish women who had children by indentured/enslaved black men - offspring were free (the genealogy of many FPOC's in VA and the Carolinas), were one of the reasons for the enactment of harsh Black codes - to erase the child taking the "free" status of the mother.

    Slavery (from the term "slav") has existed since ancient times - see Orlando Patterson's comparative history.
    Peonage, serfdom, indenture - these too are systems of inequity - with often harsh results and death tolls.

    What I think needs to be pointed out is the "scientific racism" attached to skin color was developed to legitimize the institution of a form of slavery that was not known formerly.  What we call New World chattel slavery (or slavery in perpetuity) based on hypodescent was "new" and made "race" the primary variable.  

    I 'd also like you to look at the numbers, which researchers have been documenting over the years

    Though Portugal tops the list with 5,848,265 (these are still considered to be low end figures) Great Britan's figures are still staggering - 3,259,440

    I've actually done research with descendents of the Barbadoed Irish in Barbados - they are called "Red Legs" there.

    Anthropologist Eugenia Shanklin, in her textbook "Anthropology and Race: The Explanation of Differences" also takes up the Irish - and how they were first constructed as not-white, and how that shifted when "race" as a folk classification of blackness became the dominant narrative.

    Not all Irish indentured were "enslaved" the same way Africans were. Was their treatment harsh - yes. Did many die - yes. Conditions for survival in the Caribbean especially were limited for all migrants and settlers (forced and unforced) during that early time period, and the extermination of native populations of Caribs and Tainos forced a search for fresh sources of labor to provide wealth for Europe.  

    I caution however, equating what happened to the Irish, during that early time period with what ultimately became 'black" enslavement. Just as people often point out that slavery existed in Africa prior to the New World institution, they cannot be compared as the same system - see
    The Anthropology of Slavery: The Womb of Iron and Gold, by Claude Meillassoux for more on that.

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 12:15:37 AM PST

    •  Thank you for this detailed comment (0+ / 0-)

      Especially the book links. Going to go check out Shanklin's book when I feel better. As much as I've loved studying history, I really feel like I missed out on skipping over anthropology. It feels like much of the work that interests me has been going on in that field for the past twenty or so years.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 04:47:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's no need to equate (0+ / 0-)

      what happened to the Irish with African enslavement unless you want to make a point that one is worse than the other. Is there any reason to do so?

  •  Thanks for this diary, gjohnsit. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, gjohnsit

    My Democratic Club will be hearing about MLK Jr's "other" campaign, that for economic justice, at our next meeting, and this diary provides a source for reminding just how ugly the English were to anyone not English, and regardless of color. Slavery/servitude and economic exploitation were the bastard children the English created wherever they went.

    BTW, Xmas stockings are hung by the chimney with care, but on the topic of death by hanging, humans are--alas-- hanged.

    My apologies for this atrocious fit of grammarianism...having a serious attack of gallows humor as I await the turn of the year for the seasonal blues to which I am prone lift.

    Happy New Year, gjohnsit!

  •  Ironically, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, mkor7, Dvalkure, gjohnsit

    we can't seem to give up slavery in this country as this diary shows.  As this country continues to march backwards, even a form of slavery is making a comeback throughout our prison system.  Privatization of prisons will result in a marked jump of prison slave labor for profit.

    Excellent diary that taught me a history lesson that I never learned in school.  

    "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West "It was a really naked declaration of imperialism." ~ Jeremy Scahill on Obama's speech to the UN

    by gulfgal98 on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 02:56:20 AM PST

  •  We went to Ireland this past summer and a book (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, gjohnsit

    I bought and read while there was full of information about just what you are covering here:

    To Hell or Barbados:  The Ethnic Cleansing of Ireland

    Combining that book, which treats the Cromwell period, with a trip to the Irish emigration museum in Cork, where there is a section on 18th and 19th century forced transportation, was highly educational, and heartbreaking.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 05:56:00 AM PST

  •  Wonder why they didn't teach this in history class (0+ / 0-)

    If you totalled all the suffering caused by religion, you would soon come to realize that it cannot possibly have anything to do with God.

  •  the reason why this wasnt taught in history (0+ / 0-)

    is simple: White Unity

    In order to maintain power, it was necessary for 'the establishment' to perpetuate the myth that American whites are united and seldom to rarely ever fought and enslaved each other, relatively to the scale that Whites fought and hated each other  in Europe, and for one simple reason - to maintain political and economic solidarity against the imagined 'common enemy': the Negro Slave.

  •  American Racism (0+ / 0-)

    comes from Britain.

  •  Want one better? (0+ / 0-)

    Today, whether a person thinks so or not, the biggest hoax played on a people in modern times is this idea of letting them think they are all free and have a democracy. What exactly is freedom? to be able to come and go as you please? When a person takes a real look into what it means to live in an economic system like the one we enjoy today then it doesn't look so much like freedom and democracy at all. People have become so brain conditioned that people today don't even know what this is. It may have applied back when the constitution was first put in place but we have strayed way off the path and mutated into a slavery for all society. Think you can just say fuck it and live off the grid in the mountains? I don't think so because the state and government own the land(we just rent from them). Its mind blowing but your sole purpose is for generating income for the state and feds. That wouldn't be a bad thing if the people had some control but everybody should know by now who owns state and federal governments and it aint the people. All I am saying is start to think about what I have said and do some research then tell yourself we have freedom and democracy or is it just an illusion. The only difference between now and those past slaves is they found a way for people to become a slave willingly. Just try to get out of it and you will see.

  •  Thank you for the great diary!! I learn a great (0+ / 0-)

    deal from reading the different diaries, on KOS.  I never knew the Irish were used as slaves and treated even worse than African Americans.  I am part Irish and had known about the potato famine, which I understood drove a lot of Irish to the Americas.  I was not aware how badly the English treated them and that they actually wanted to basically do Ethnic Cleansing and rid them of the Irish.

  •  There is slavery and there is slavery (0+ / 0-)

    There is no doubt to the abuse of the Irish.  However, there was always a difference between enslavement and indentured servitude.  The very fact there was a potential end to the servitude made the difference.

    This is compounded by the fact that the Irish did become white at some point.  African-Americans never did, nor could they be.  The consequences of this difference has been with us for 300+ years and sees no end in site.  There are no Black Irish any more.

    I also find it horrifying to even suggest that enslaved Africans were treated better because they cost more to buy. The fact that such a huger % died on the passage over showed how little value they had.  And how many decades did the argument rage over whether they were even human beings, not just lesser, but not even.  Late into the 20c we still saw books supporting the idea of genetic deficiency.

    I don't want to imply a denial of British brutality toward the Irish, but please don't use that abuse to equate it with the racism consciously developed to justify the abuse and use of Africans and the institutionalization of racism in the US.  Nothing like it ever existed.  And last this institutionalization of racism was designed specifically to create and maintain division between enslaved Africans and indentured Irish and other poor whites.  Even the KKK was created using this division to ensure the ongoing racist structure of this country.

    Last, let me note that the economy of this country was developed primarily on the backs of enslaved Africans.  

  •  The English were busy massacring the Scottish d... (0+ / 0-)

    The English were busy massacring the Scottish during various periods. Glenmore, Culloden etc.

  •  Slavery wasn't invented in the Colonial Period (0+ / 0-)

    We often forget that the institution of slavery is almost as old as the institution of family.  Probably predates agriculture and nations.  At least hunter gatherer societies found in Latin America and Africa had/have slaves.  

    It took a long time and a lot of human suffering for ANY societies to accept the NOTION that human chattel was wrong.  And like any idea that is eventually accepted, there's a long list of rationalizations of why it's generally wrong except for...fill in the blank.  

    Let's take a moment to reflect on the few people who have come along and refused to buy into the status quo.  Cause when you think about it that was pretty amazing.  Maybe it was because they saw what people did to each other up close and personal? Or perhaps they just realized that exploitation demeans every one, the victims and victimizers?  Maybe it was just the age of reason?  

    Perhaps we should try it (Reason that is)?

  •  Irish slavery is a troubling prospect. (0+ / 0-)

    The suffering of one diminishes us all. However, we cannot uncritically accept the notion that the Irish were enslaved. I am an African American who has significant Irish heritage. However, my Irish ancestors were slave owners, not slaves and not indentured servants.

    I am a member of a Facebook group that is dedicated to African American genealogists who have tested their DNA. Claims of Irish slavery were recently brought to the group. The claims were accepted uncritically. However, a Google search of the claim yielded only racist anti-African sources.

    If someone has documentation to substantiate claims that the Irish were slaves, then I am anxious to learn about the suffering of my Irish ancestors. Lacking such substantiation, then I am forced to dismiss these claims as cynical attempts to diminish the suffering of my African ancestors.

  •  Considering Irish Catholics like... (0+ / 0-)

    Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, I can see why they weren't liked too much. Although what was done to the Irish was a travesty and a crime against humanity.

    If you like bicycles, check out the newest and coolest products at my site, "" You can also find my products at e-Bay under the name, "Ziggyboy." See all the products on my "See seller's other items" link.

    by JohnnieZ on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 09:42:41 PM PST

  •  quibbling about terminology... (0+ / 0-)

    "The Irish did often have one advantage over African slaves - most of the time their time in slavery was limited. They were often sold into slavery from 7 to 20 years, while the only way Africans could get out of slavery was to buy their freedom."

    IE, indentured servitude.  Horrible - what was done to the Irish was a huge land grab & genocide.  But not quite the same.

  •  An atrocity, but article is not entirely accurate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smileycreek, MaryAskew

    As a historian, there are some exaggerations in this article.

    Forced indenture was an atrocity.  It occurred during a time when there were no widespread conceptions of human rights.  However, three things need to be pointed out.  1) Some of the statements in this article are exaggerated, and numbers are inflated; 2) The majority of indentured servants that underwent forced indenture in the British colonies were English, not Irish; 3) African slavery was far more brutal than forced indenture.  In some greater detail:

    Most indentured servants were voluntary, with a four year contract, which the servant held a duplicate copy of.  Indentured servants were also kidnapped by criminals, or transported to the colonies by government officials and contractors in both England and Ireland.  The majority of these involuntary servants were English, not Irish.  Involuntary servants, including Irish ones, typically had seven year contacts, even if they did not have a paper document.  If they survived their term of indenture, they could and did sue in court for release.  Servants were cheaper than slaves because they held only temporarily.  Their price also dropped as the remaining time on their contracts decreased.  Children were not desirable servants, and had greatly reduced value on the market.  Although servant women were very vulnerable to rape, it is unlikely that there was any attempt to "breed" them.  Both pregnant women and small children were a liability. Even in the case of African slaves, masters had little interest in rearing children until the reduction of the slave trade from Africa made it difficult to increase the slave population otherwise.  In the case of indentured servants, their children did not inherit the condition of servitude, though children born to servant women often were indentured until age 21.  

    Indentured servants were often treated brutally, but had important protections under the law which slaves did not have.   Legally servants, including Irish servants, could not be killed, maimed, raped, starved, or left naked or without shelter.  These things did happen, and it was hard for servants to defend themselves, but there were also many servants who appeared in court, suing for their rights.  

    In addition, there's little evidence that any Irish servants were intended as slaves for life. It's clear that even in an atmosphere of prejudice against the Irish and against Catholics, policy makers intended for them to become anglicized and to swell the population of "English" whites in the Caribbean islands.  This is specifically referenced in the case of the 2000 youths, who were meant to be sent to the Caribbean by Cromwell. They were specified to have four year contracts with a small payment at the end of the term.

  •  Interesting but it said that there are still so... (0+ / 0-)

    Interesting but it said that there are still some 50 slave families still in captivity on mansion & ranches throughout the south and midwest. Held by rich neo- confederates with poor totally uneducated slaves not knowing and denied liberty for generations hidden. People hidden from visitors and repair craftsmen. Living in areas with no modern media. House servants held by ultra right wing throwbacks whose families refuse to give up at the wars end. Yes we have heard of these slaves and many have seen. Some brag of being paid to keep silent. But the truth crushed to earth will rise again.

  •  Ironic, isn't it? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    President Obama may have no history of being enslaved in his African heritage -- but in his Irish?          

  •  Lying about Irish history is an insult (0+ / 0-)

     It is a lie to claim that Ann Glover was the last person killed at the Salem Witch Trials.  She was not working in Salem: she was working in Boston at the time she was accused of witchcraft.  She was hanged in Boston in 1688.

     The Salem witch-hunt started in 1692. The last executions took place in 1693.

    Wrong time and wrong place.  This isn't the only error is this diary but it is the easiest to demonstrate exactly how sloppy the "research" (sic) done by the diary's author was.

  •  Why are we so divisive? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    preBoomer, GrannyRedBird, Amycat, NewtC

    It seems that some are afraid that by acknowledging non-African slaves it will 'dilute' the historical tragedy of African Americans.  

    It reminds me of a lunch I had waaaay back in grad school.  A Jewish friend and an Armenian friend started discussing the Jewish and Armenian 'Holocausts'  - the Jewish friend, at first, bridled at the comparison of the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis with the mass murder or Armenians by the Turks.  But my Armenian friend kept making the same point: "Don't you see?  This ties us together - we are on the same side.  We shouldn't be competing for whose history was worse we should be allying to ensure it never happens again."  

    I liked that - although I do not recall the exact wording - but when I read gjohnsit's post, I remembered that lunch.  

    As I see it, the history of Irish slaves does not diminish the horrors of African slavery ... it means everyone who is descended from people brought here against their will and exploited is on the same side.  And many of those descendants still don't have their piece of the American Pie. We should be allying for the sake of equity.

    The wealthy elite want us to be divided because we only have power when we are united.  Fuck them - let's set our differences aside and look at all that we have in common and band together!

    -- illegitimi non carborundum

    by BadBoyScientist on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 11:27:56 AM PST

  •  Well, that's ironic, isn't it? (0+ / 0-)
  •  Yet Irish rioted during Civil War to avoid draft (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    preBoomer, NewtC

    because they saw it as a war to free the slaves and nothing more.

    Unlike most people I am very aware that everything you say is historically accurate.

    And while the suffering at the Irish at the hands of the English is indisputable, the lot of most commoners no matter where they were during those days was not much better.

    It's a bit erroneous to infer the English were just generally better off when the vast majority were free men in name only destined to live their short lives in the service of those same overlords.

    To continue to try and paint it that way is to continue to disguise the real difference was between those who ruled and everyone else ethnicity or race had little to do with your fate.

    It isn't like the lives of English commoners were significantly better than the lives of the Irish.

    The truth is the nobility and later the wealthy merchants did their best to ensure total control of all the wealth.

    In doing so they developed all sorts of rules and laws that made the word "free" mean for most English commoners the freedom to die from starvation, freedom from any opportunity to improve your life, freedom to live in endless squalor in conditions that robbed the word free of all its modern meaning.

    What sets the misery of the Irish apart is that it was imposed on them by the British thus forever burning tales of the brutal English it into the memory of the decedents.

    Considering the habits of the rulers of that era, having Irish rulers wouldn't have meant things would have been much different beyond that they suffered at the hands of their own kind.

    Because the suffering of the British commoners was as a result of their own no such enduring memory lives on to remind them that their lot wasn't much different than the Irish.

    If you go back far enough slavery has been the lot of every people on this planet, and you don't have to go back too far to realize most often the slavery was in service to rulers who came from the same stock.

    Slavery is a vile evil thing, but no people to can claim to have escaped its touch, and no people can claim to have never been the ones with the slaves.

  •  I found this post interesting but I was confused (0+ / 0-)

    by these two statements:

    "There does exist indentured servitude where two parties sign a contract for a limited amount of time. This is not what happened to the Irish from 1625 onward. They were sold as slaves, pure and simple."

    "The Irish did often have one advantage over African slaves - most of the time their time in slavery was limited. They were often sold into slavery from 7 to 20 years, while the only way Africans could get out of slavery was to buy their freedom."

    So if they were not indentured, where did the 7-20 year timeframe come from?  And what was supposed to happen to them after this time was up?  If they were sold as slaves, was the contract with the slaver?

    I know that in some parts of the Americas slaves were rented out by their owners to periods of time.  Was this a similar kind of arrangement?

    Thank you for bringing up this history -- I'd heard of Montserrat and its Irish culture but not known the reason for it.

  •  Indenture was slavery (0+ / 0-)

    I see many comments here that try to minimize the Irish slavery issue by implying that somehow all Irish "slaves" were just indentured and were not held against their will once the debt was repaid.  The truth is and will remain that in the early days of colonization in the new world the Irish were systematically robbed of their land, taken against their will and sold to plantation owners in the Americas.  Their children were bound as slaves also bought and sold.  The ones who did arrive as indentured slaves were rarely released from their obligation  since the person that they owed was the person who decided what their pay was and if they never made the debt the children were obligated to complete the contract.  The truth is that Irish slavery continued long after African slavery was banned thanks to the practice of indenture.

    •  I Remember (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In grade School History (1950's) how Indentured Servitude was glossed over with a few apologist & bowdlerized paragraphs. They tried to make it out as a sort of jail sentence or perhaps a way for the 'Po Folks to get their ticket to the American Dream. America didn't have a real Revolution anyway; we had a very unique parting with Great Britain by changing our alliance to the French, who did it to spite the British & as a power play & quite frankly as a lark.

    •  Irish did have a major advantage (0+ / 0-)

      over African slaves - skin color. If they ran far enough, they were just another white (or freed servant, depending on their accent).

      Whereas the dark skin of the African made them easy to identify, even wrongly, as a slave. So you get "Twelve Years a Slave."

      Yes, I have at least indentured Irish in my ancestry: Richard Murphy, born 1670, died in Surrey County, VA. No Irish slave owners except for the Huguenot side of the family from the revolutionary to the civil wars.

  •  dont forget your history... (0+ / 0-)

    anglo-saxon law only had 3 classes of people, noble, freemen and slaves...

    their was no such thing as prisons...  if you broke the law as a slave you were killed or (if you were lucky) sent to the new world to work off your debt.
    Don't forget that getting enough food was always a struggle for these early people... if you got caught breaking the law and you were unable to rectify the situation you dropped in status, from noble to freeman and from freeman to slave...  it was all about landholdings because the land produced food and food was used as control...
    It wasn't just the Irish that were slaves, slavery was rampant everywhere... and were known as serfs, it was rampant everywhere in the western world thanks to the roman influence...

    today people tend to reflect modern ideals on an ancient past & people we can't begin to imagine...

  •  Sadly, I have no trouble believing this article. (0+ / 0-)

    I believe the farther back you look in history, the more slavery you are likely to find.  Slavery is probably as old as agriculture itself.  I believe a few cynical historians have even argued that when slavery first appeared, it was progress compared to what had gone before, namely cannibalism.

    But history is not a tale of progress that runs in a straight line.  The institution of slavery was in most cases probably not an improvement for anybody when it appeared.  On the other hand, during the long history of slavery, slaves sometimes revolted and liberated themselves, and on very rare occasions, slave owners even let some slaves go.

    I would be interested to read a global history of slavery.  It would be horrifying, but I believe we could learn a lot from it, not only about the inhumanity of human beings, but also about the strategies that oppressed people have used to resist oppression.

  •  Don't Fall For Current Good PR (0+ / 0-)

    It was the British who invented the Jackboot. If the Irish atrocities detailed here don't turn your stomach consider the Highland & Lowland Clearances; Especially the Highland Clearances. Today when similar things happen in Africa they are called GENOCIDE & in goes the United Nations. In the Clearances, British Rich moved in & dispossessed crofters who had lived on their land for a thousand years. Many if not most were done to death. The idea was to get open graze for more sheep. The Clearances are why the Scots nearly voted for splitting last year. After hundreds of years the memory is still powerful. As a final thought; Hitler greatly admired the British. His world seat of government was to have been Cambridge. He spent some time in England & his plans for depopulating the Ukraine as a 'Greater Germany' certainly suggest a familiarity with the Irish Question & the Clearances. Are the British reformed? According to them yes, but there are other voices that cast doubt.

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