• Phil Davenport

The previously untold story

I've just been reading an excellent book by Sean O'Callaghan (no relation to the informer) called "To Hell or Barbados" about the slave trade mostly in women and children from Ireland to the English colonies in America and the West Indies. As Sir William Petty, who had carried out the Down Survey of Ireland wrote in his The Political Anatomy of Ireland (1672):

"The widows and orphens, the deserted wives and families of the swordsmen (England's word at the time for Irish patriots, later to become gunmen) were kidnapped and transported by the slave trading merchants of Bristol which their previous experiance enabled them to organise with advantage to themselves."

Cromwell had been informed that Englishmen in the West Indies had "only Negresses and Maroon women to solace them," as Cromwell's son Henry put it. Cromwell's puritan sensibilities did not hinder him from jumping to supply the colonists lust for fresh young white flesh - and making a good profit to boot. A Captain John Vernon, for example, was employed by the Commissioners for Ireland to kidnap 250 Irish girls around twelve years of age and transport them to Barbados. Once in Barbados they were raped by their English "masters" and, later, forced to breed with Black men - as the English officers found the Irish girls "cold" and they needed to be whipped into submission, where "half caste" girls, who had been trained to their perversions from childhood, were much more to the English taste. Its estimated that tens of thousands of Irish children, both boys and girls, were kidnapped to supply this vile trade.

The previously untold story of over 50,000 Irish men, women and children who were transported to Barbados and Virginia. Sean O'Callaghan for the first time documents the history of these people: their transportation, the conditions in which they lived on plantations as slaves or servants, and their rebellions in Barbados. ""An illuminating insight into a neglected episode in Irish history, but its significance is much broader than that. Its main achievement is to situate the story of colonialism in Ireland in the much larger context of worldwide European imperialism. O'Callaghan's description of seventeenth century Barbados is a powerful portrait of a society as brutal, corrupt and unjust as anything the twentieth century has to offer. Yet it is precisely societies like colonial Barbados and Virginia which lie at the root of our modern world. That is why To Hell or Barbados is such a valuable book.""--Irish World

Sean O'Callaghan "To Hell or Barbados".

Find his riveting read on Amazon

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