History of the slave trade and the black Irish.

History of the slave trade and the black Irish

History of Slavery in the Ancient World Contrary to conventional thought, Slavery was NOT only endured by Blacks, but all peoples and races have also at one time or another been enslaved. As the creators of civilization, and the builders of the worlds first cities, they were the first to have a need for slaves, as a source of cheap free labour. Everything had to be produced and assembled by men themselves. Slavery in ancient cultures was known to occur and well documented in civilizations as old as Sumer, and it was found in every more advanced civilization, including Ancient Egypt, the Akkadian Empire, Assyria, Ancient Greece, Rome and parts of its empire. However, there were rules in that respect and most forms of slavery limited to a period between 5-7 years. (Babylon for example) When the Assyrian forces took Jerusalem they enslaved all living jews there but they were set free later and allowed to return. After that experience, the Jews have been lamenting about it in there scripture for several hundreds of years afterwards. Despite this, the subject of Irish slaves has to lead to much controversy here. Its origins are, however, the middle east and Africa and connected with the development of the city. When you want to build a city you do need labourers as such. From documents found in Babylon, we know that these slaves, however, were treated much more humane than later. A slave, for example, had to be released after 5 years. There are still countries, mostly in Africa where the capturing and holding of slaves is part of there culture and legal.   Pirates living in North Africa have been active and capturing European slaves in large numbers between 1500 and 1800, in the process destroying thousands of French, Spanish, Italian and British ships, at that time. Long stretches of coast of Spain and Italy were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants, discouraging settlement until the 19th century. Estimates for the numbers being between 800,000 to 1.25 million. Well documented are the corsairs and the brothers Hayreddin Barbarossa (“Redbeard”) and Oruç Reis, and took control of Algiers in the early 16th century. They took and captured Europeans as slaves and travel as far as France, Britain, the Netherlands, Ireland and even Iceland and North America. From the early 700s until the early Modern time period (rough the 18th or 19th centuries) Arabs and Berbers (Moors)  consistently took European slaves. According to scholars, this slavery being part of the Muslim Conquest of Visigothic Spain and Portugal in the 8th century. Not only did the Muslim powers of Iberia raided Europe for slaves but also did purchased slaves from European merchants; the Jewish Radhanites for example and one of the few groups that could easily move between the Christian and Islamic worlds.   Slavery in Poland was forbidden in the 15th century; in Lithuania, slavery was formally abolished in 1588; they were replaced by the second enserfment. Slavery remained a minor institution in Russia until 1723 when the Peter the Great converted the household slaves into house serfs. Russian agricultural slaves were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. The runaway Polish and Russian serfs and kholops were known as Cossacks (‘outlaws’) formed autonomous communities in the southern steppes. The sale of European slaves by Europeans slowly ended as the Slavic and Baltic ethnic groups Christianized by the Late Middle Ages. European slaves in the Islamic World would continue into the Modern time period as Muslim pirates, primarily Algerians, with the support of the Ottoman Empire, raided European coasts and shipping from the 16th to the 19th centuries, ending their attacks with the naval decline of the Ottoman Empire in the late 16th and 17th centuries, as well as the European conquest of North Africa throughout the 19th century


The paucity of records ensures that we will never know the exact number. The historical record of the officially sanctioned transportations but also illicit kidnapping that did occur. A listed and documented example is; William Downing and Phillip Welch, with several of their countrymen, were taken up and stolen by the shipmaster or someone whom he hired. The Ship-master, George Dill, was fain to go away and leave his water and much of his provisions behind for fear the country would have taken them from him…Why because he knew that he and three or four others of his townsmen were taken up by force; that he did not know the two parties in question, but they said in the ship that they were stolen and brought by force. Such methods of kidnapping eventually attracted the attention of the Council who enacted a range of measures to inspect ships before they departed from Irish ports. One report of (6 July 1655) warned the Commissioners that …under the colour of some later orders from this Board for transporting rogues and vagrants to Barbados, several Irish and others are surreptitiously apprehended and forcibly put on board, a ship in this harbour of Dublin, bound for that island, who are not comprehended as vagrants or idlers. Cromwell’s policy of transportation of vagrants from Ireland was abandoned on 4 March 1657. It was abolished because it was being abused to such an extent by merchants and their agents. It is also interesting that these kidnappers did not discriminate between Irish or English victims. The cancellation order followed after having received many complaints of the abuse of some orders granted to several persons; to carry away idle and vagabond persons to the West Indies, who…were proven to employ persons to delude and deceive poor people by false pretences, either by getting them aboard the ships or in other by-places into their power, and forcing them away, the person so employed having so much a-piece for them so delude, and for the money’s sake have enticed and forced women from their husbands and children from their parents, who did maintained them at school, and that they have not only dealt so with the Irish but also with the English [the Council now] do think fit and order that all Orders, granted to any person whatsoever (being now in force) to take up and carry idle and vagabond persons as aforesaid, be henceforth made null and void. It is estimated that in this decade, 52,000 Irish (mostly women and children) were sold to Barbados and Virginia. It all started in 1597, there was an old Elizabethan law that criminalised repeated vagabondage and “idleness”. The Privy Council named “New-found Land, the East and West Indies, France, Germany, and the Low-Countries, or any of them” as the location for banishment. In fact, an Ideological made attempts to “correct” poverty (through subjugation and forced labour) and partly explain the disproportionately high level of forced transportations from Ireland to the American colonies in the wake of the Cromwellian war. The fact is that between 1558 and 1603, the British government sought to meet the needs of a growing empire by sending tens of thousands of Irish men, women and children to the New World. They were technically indentured servants—not slaves—but this distinction was illusory: the initial term of indenture could be extended indefinitely and still used now to cover or hid the facts. Wonder why? Instead to come to terms hid and denial?   The laws that ultimately ended the Atlantic Slave Trade came about as a result of the efforts of abolitionist Christian groups such as the Society of Friends, known as Quakers, and Evangelicals led by William Wilberforce, whose efforts through the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade led to the passage of the Slave Trade Act by the British Parliament in 1807. In a response to the shortage of needed labours in what is known as the black belt, systematic breeding was introduced in the US. Slave breeding in the United States includes any practice of slave ownership that aimed to systematically influence the reproduction of slaves in order to increase the wealth of slaveholders. Slave breeding included coerced sexual relations between male and female slaves, promoting the pregnancies of slaves, and favouring female slaves who could produce a relatively large number of children. The purpose of slave breeding was to acquire new slaves without incurring the cost of purchase and to fill labour shortages caused by the termination of the Atlantic slave trade. The slaves were managed as assets in the same way as chattel; slaveholders passed laws regulating slavery and the slave trade designed to protect their financial interests; there was little protection for the slaves themselves. Several factors did coalesce to make the breeding of slaves a common practice by the end of the 18th century and would not have been possible without the important changes to the existing laws or legal system and now know as the reduction of the states of “personhood” into “thinghood.” All rights were to the owner of the slave, with the slave having no rights of self-determination either to his or her own person, spouse, or children. Slaveholders began to think/claim that slavery was grounded in the Bible. This view was inspired in part by a reinterpretation of the Genesis passage “Cursed be Canaan; The lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers” (Genesis 9); Ham, son of Noah and father of Canaan, was deemed the antediluvian progenitor of the African people. Some whites used the Bible to justify the economic use of slave labour. The subjugation of slaves was taken as a natural right of the superior white slave owners. The secondly, the class position of the slave was no longer limited to his relationship with the slave master but was to be in relation to all whites. Slaves were considered subject to white persons. Economics: At the same time that the importation of slaves from Africa was being restricted or eliminated, the United States was undergoing a rapid expansion of cotton, sugar cane and rice production in the Deep South and the West. The invention of the cotton gin enabled the profitable cultivation of short-staple cotton, which could be produced more widely than other types; this led to King Cotton throughout the Deep South. Slaves were treated as a commodity by owners and traders alike and were regarded as the crucial labour for the production of lucrative cash crops that fed the triangle trade. On the large plantations, slave families were separated for different types of labour. The men tended to be assigned to large field gangs and in general, the slave workers were assigned to the task for which they were best physically suited according to the overseer. Slaves had by now become and treated as a kind of commodity by owners and traders alike, crucial and badly needed labour for the production of lucrative cash crops that fed the triangle trade and no intention to let that go… The slave accounts: Numerous escaped slaves wrote about their experiences in books called slave narratives. A reoccurring theme a portion of slave owners continuously interfered in the sexual lives of their slaves (usually the women). The slave narratives also testified that slave women were subjected to arranged marriages, forced matings, sexual violation by masters, their sons or overseers, and other forms of abuse. The historian E. Franklin Frazier, in his book The Negro Family, stated that “there were masters who, without any regard for the preferences of their slaves, mated their human chattel as they did their stock.” Ex-slave MaggieStenhouse remarked, “Durin’ slavery there were stockmen. They were weighed and tested. A man would rent the stockman and put him in a room with some young women he wanted to raise children from. Sexual exploitation of slaves by their masters, master’s sons, overseers or other powerful white men was common in the United States. By the 1860 census, mixed-race slaves constituted about 10% of the 4 million slaves enumerated; they were more numerous in the Upper South. Slavery had existed for a long time there, and in the generally smaller holdings, slaves had lived more closely with white workers and masters, leading to more contact with whites. About 5% of slaves born in the Southern US are believed to have been fathered by white masters. So there wherein 1860 4000000 mixed-race slaves in the US and an estimate of which were about 200000 fathered by white masters and most of the original white slaves with origin in Ireland. Another estimate is that a total of about 500,000 black people came from Africa and about 50,000 from Irish descent in the current USA and resulting in the 4 million people counted in 1860 as slaves.