Friday, July 28, 2017

The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America

Via Billy

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Slavery in America, typically associated with blacks from Africa, was an enterprise that began with the shipping of more than 300,000 white Britons to the colonies.  This little known history is fascinatingly recounted in White Cargo (New York University Press, 2007).  Drawing on letters, diaries, ship manifests, court documents, and government archives, authors Don Jordan and Michael Walsh detail how thousands of whites endured the hardships of tobacco farming and lived and died in bondage in the New World. 

Following the cultivation in 1613 of an acceptable tobacco crop in Virginia, the need for labor accelerated.  Slavery was viewed as the cheapest and most expedient way of providing the necessary work force.  Due to harsh working conditions, beatings, starvation, and disease, survival rates for slaves rarely exceeded two years.  Thus, the high level of demand was sustained by a continuous flow of white slaves from England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1618 to 1775, who were imported to serve America's colonial masters. 

6 comments:

  1. Seems funny that all the left liberals and progressives forget this part of history... bet that some of their forefather/mothers came from this stock. So being mostly Irish, where are my reparations? Where is my gibmedats? My affirmative quota?

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    1. Really. A grandfather in my mother's line was shipped here after being convicted of stealing in England.

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  2. In my biological family's recorded history, there is the story of a mysterious white boy, who the Underground Railroad, operated by my ancestors, was helping to escape from slavery, a boy who never spoke.

    Also, when doing some genealogical research, I was perusing Kentucky census records, and found an Irish boy living with a negro family, all of whom were former slaves.

    Have you ever read the classic novel, "KIDNAPPED", by Robert Louis Stevenson?

    It's based on real historic events, i.e., the practice of kidnapping Scottish orphans to be transported to the Carolina plantations in America for slavery, even decades after England outlawed the practice.

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  3. There was a Hollywood movie once, that depicted white slavery in the Caribbean – “Captain Blood”, starring Errol Flynn. He portrayed an Irish doctor, enslaved for having treated a rebel Irishman. Unfortunately, as a “classic” movie, it’s rarely seen now, though it should be. The truth is, thousands of Irish were exiled to America as slaves, a fate my own ancestors thankfully did not suffer. These Irish slaves were forcibly interbred with black slaves. A Black West Indian once remarked to me, “I wonder how I ever got a name like O’Neill.” I could have told him, but I doubt he’d have believed me.

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    1. I remember the movie and you should have told him! :)

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