The Irish slave trade began when the English King James II sold 30,000 Irish prisoners as slaves to the “New World”. By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat. At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves.

From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English and 300,000 were sold as slaves. Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one decade. Families were ripped apart as the English dd not not allow Irish fathers to take their wives and children with them.

During the 1650s, over 100,000 Irish children between 10 and 14 years were taken from their parents and sold as slaves. In 1656, Cromwell ordered that 2,000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica.

African slaves were often treated far better than their Irish counterparts.

African slaves cost 50 sterling in the late 1600s. Irish slaves came at no more than five sterling. If a planter whipped, branded or beat an Irish slave to death, it was never a crime. The English settlers then began to “breed” Irish women and girls as young as twelve with African men to produce slaves with a distinct complexion. 

These new “mulatto” slaves brought a higher price than Irish livestock and, likewise, enabled the settlers to save money rather than purchase new African slaves. This practice of interbreeding Irish females with African men went on for several decades and was so widespread that, in 1681, legislation was passed “forbidding the practice of mating Irish slave women to African slave men for the purpose of having slaves”.

The result of this “human  experiment” is the emergence of many descendants through the decades of brown skinned and lighter hue Jamaicans as well as other Caribbean nationals. Some may call it the “browning of the race’ while others may call it  smart economic decisions. Whatever side you look at it one thing is certain- it has made the nationals of the islands more interesting and more diverse.  It has created a mixture of people that has European lineage and  African genes making them a unique set of people. The tragedy of the past  has become the human treasure of the future. Out of Many, One People. 



  1. So we are to say “hooray!” The British enslaved and bred some Irish people with Africans?
    We know that history very well, there is no gain from the experiment. Look at the Racist nature of the “light complexioned negroes” of the Caribbean and American and see what’s left of the “experiment”….It was a brutal,inhumane process carried out by a people that should receive no forgiveness from the people who were brutalized and de-humanized in this process..In time a real retribution for this period must be persued by the lineage of Africans who were sold like horses and cows in this period of history that White people are asking Africans to “forget it and move on”…Hell no! A time is coming when a generation of Black people will understand the collective development of Africa and it’s diaspora…They call the Irish,the Niggers of Europe…Maybe the Irish will find solace in the companionship of Africans when the day of reckoning comes,as it must do…Nelson Mandela was the single most forgiving Black man that lived within living memory,there won’t be many more Mandelas in the future…


    • Haile Selassie was also forgiving. What of reparations? Do the Irish have a case as well as Africans? These descendants are there today in the Caribbean.


      • My Ethiopian Brother,listen,the British and all who enslaved the Irish or the Africans did so in the fullness of themselves. They knew that to enslave and de humanize a person was wrong..Reparations should not be a bargaining table exercise,the entire continent of Europe benefitted from the process of enslavement. All who were part of this Trade have some guilt,the Arabs,the Africans who sold their Brothers into Slavery,all of them,in particular the Church. They agreed that Blacl people had no Souls so there was nothing wrong with enslaving “animals”…I ama product of this monstrocity,it continues to this very moment as i pen these words.Black people are still considered as “inferior” The Rasta Farian Community of JAmaica elevated The Emperor Haile Selassie to the status of the re-incarnate God,the earthly representative of THE God Head,this was in defiance of a Totally European God that had no space in the Universe for enslaved Black people.
        The British,Dutch,French,Spanish and the Portuguese all indulged in and profited from slavery,Forgiveness is always computed as weakness by the Power Brokers of the world.Just look closely at the wars in the Middle East,the Americans,the Israelis,the Russians,the British all who are involved in the so called fight against ISIS have different Agendas…The Chinese Leader Chairman Mow said,”Power comes from the barell of a gun…The World Leaders are desperately trying to prove that the Biggest guns and the capacity to destroy totally is the key to POWER…Not forgiveness or Reparations….


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