But even though it did not seem that things could get worse, with the advent of Oliver Cromwell, they did. In the 1650’s, thousands more Irish were killed, and many more were sold into slavery. Over 100,000 Irish Catholic children were taken from their parents and sold as slaves, many to Virginia and New England. Unbelievably but truly, from 1651 to 1660 there were more Irish slaves in America than the entire non-slave population of the colonies!
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At the beginning of the 17th Century, in the reign of James I of England, England faced a problem: what to do with the Irish. They had been practising genocide against the Irish since the reign of Elizabeth, but they couldn’t kill them all. Some had been banished, and some had gone into voluntary exile, but there were still just too many of them.
So James I encouraged the sale of the Irish as slaves to the New World colonies, not only America but Barbados and South America. The first recorded sale of Irish slaves was to a settlement along the Amazon in South America in 1612. However, before that there were probably many unofficial arrangements, since the Irish were of no importance and details of how they were dealt with were not deemed necessary.
In 1625, the King issued a proclamation that all Irish political prisoners were to be…
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