Global Research claims that Irish prisoners were shipped to the US as slaves, is this true?

The Irish slave trade began when 30,000 Irish prisoners were sold as slaves to the New World. The King James I Proclamation of 1625 required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat. At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves.


This image is also doing the rounds on Facebook making a similar claim.

enter image description here


1 Answer 1


Historians routinely agree that the Irish were not slaves in the sense of chattel slavery (i.e. to distinguish it from indentured slavery). I cannot find ANY source in the article that you reference that would lend historical credibility to the claim. The most likely is "The King James I Proclamation of 1625," but James issued many proclamations, so there wouldn't be just a single untitled document like that.

Historian Liam Hogan has a 5-part series about internet memes arguing for Irish slavery. Here is a paper by him about the myth of Irish slavery, and here is a piece from a historian at slate contextualizing it within other myths about slavery.

In short, there is no evidence to support the numbers presented in the Global Research article and a wide range of historians (of Irish and U.S. history) agree that it is a myth, so I would firmly argue that it is not true.

On the image above: The word it uses to describe the woman being flogged is "apprentice," which is a word that was never confused with "slave" in the period. In addition, the image is from the cover of the Newgate Calendar, a London publication about Mother Brownrigg, a notorious criminal in the early nineteenth century, which is unrelated to slavery.

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    The image comes from the mid-19th century New Newgate Calendar (Cover No. 48)
    – Henry
    Aug 14, 2016 at 20:40
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    That debunks the image, nice find! Aug 15, 2016 at 7:19
  • The paper by Hogan you linked to states it hasn't been uploaded yet.
    – Mike
    Sep 23, 2016 at 17:55
  • You can click on the option to request that they upload it.
    – rougon
    Sep 23, 2016 at 19:38
  • If someone has that paper, and is reading this, can they re-upload it somewhere for easy access?
    – bobsburner
    Feb 20, 2020 at 12:34

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