Child slaves sold into Ireland, late fifteenth century?

Malcolm Redfellow

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I've hit a brick wall, and (under lock-down) lack access to materials to demolish it.

For other reasons, I was re-reading Hugh Thomas's massive tome on The Slave Trade (admittedly, focusing mainly on the period before Columbus). Thomas takes a long run-up before we get to Ferrando II, el Católico, the 'Athlete of Christ', (14 February 1510) asking the Casa de Contratación for the first two hundred Africans to be despatched for sale at Santa Domingo.

OK: that's cleared some of my bile. Then comes this:
Thomas, page 38:
By 1200 slavery had disappeared in England, even if William Wilberforce, in a famous speech 600 years later, introducing in the English House of Commons a discussion of the slave trade, talked of child slaves being sold to Ireland as late as the reign of Henry VII — and aspect of the troubles of the latter island which has not otherwise received attention.
That is referenced (page 825) as P[arliamentary] H[istory], 28, 60-61, 12 May 1789.

I have looked at versions transcribing Wilberforce's speech (there's one here) but no mention of Ireland or Henry VII.

I'm obviously missing something.

Any help welcome.
 


parentheses

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It seems highly unlikely Wilberforce would have had evidence of children being sold as late as the fifteenth Century.

Maybe he was confused? There was said to be a trade in English slaves in pre-Norman Ireland.
 

Dame_Enda

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Is it possible Wilberforce mixed up Henry VII with Henry II?
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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I've hit a brick wall, and (under lock-down) lack access to materials to demolish it.

For other reasons, I was re-reading Hugh Thomas's massive tome on The Slave Trade (admittedly, focusing mainly on the period before Columbus). Thomas takes a long run-up before we get to Ferrando II, el Católico, the 'Athlete of Christ', (14 February 1510) asking the Casa de Contratación for the first two hundred Africans to be despatched for sale at Santa Domingo.

OK: that's cleared some of my bile. Then comes this:
Thomas, page 38:
By 1200 slavery had disappeared in England, even if William Wilberforce, in a famous speech 600 years later, introducing in the English House of Commons a discussion of the slave trade, talked of child slaves being sold to Ireland as late as the reign of Henry VII — and aspect of the troubles of the latter island which has not otherwise received attention.
That is referenced (page 825) as P[arliamentary] H[istory], 28, 60-61, 12 May 1789.

I have looked at versions transcribing Wilberforce's speech (there's one here) but no mention of Ireland or Henry VII.

I'm obviously missing something.

Any help welcome.
Malcolm, from your quoted link “child slaves being sold to Ireland”...

That reads to me that slaves were being imported into Ireland....that sounds very peculiar. From where and to who?

Is it perhaps some confusion originating from Tudor justifications of their interventions in Ireland? That Irish barbarity, as English propagandists would have it, required English domination. I think there are several instances of various notables at that time referring to the condition of the common folk being under the tyranny of their Gaelic lords and that they were in effect slaves. For example English officials accused The Earl of Desmond as treating the inhabitants of Cork as “in effecte they are or were become his thralls or slaves.”
 

General Urko

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Question for ye all, was there enslavement of people from Africa here to any great extent prior to abolition in The UK?
 

tsarbomb

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Question for ye all, was there enslavement of people from Africa here to any great extent prior to abolition in The UK?
Yes. Over 200 Irish people were taken as captive and later sold as slaves by pirates from Africa in the late 17th century.

 

Malcolm Redfellow

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Yes. Over 200 Irish people were taken as captive and later sold as slaves by pirates from Africa in the late 17th century.
That was the raid on Baltimore, 1631, as covered by Des Ekin in The Stolen Village. A similar razzia had happened in July 1625, at Mount's Bay, in Cornwall (that was the subject of Giles Milton's White Gold). There were many other attacks by the infamous Salé Rovers. See also such as Graham A Thomas, Pirate Killers, and Frederick C. Leiner, The End of Barbary Terror. Much earlier, the Annals of Ulster tell of 'a great booty of women' taken in a raid of 821AD. If, as seems fairly certain, those Scandinavian cultures were as polygamous as the Moslems of North Africa, the extra women had to come from somewhere. I think, too, that the DNA of modern Icelandic women suggest genetic origins in Ireland and Scotland. King Cnút's sister seems to have had a flourishing business supplying live bed-warmers across Europe.

This archipelago got off quite lightly. Those watch-tower and forts everywhere along the Mediterranean coast had a real and necessary purpose.

All that said, we have had previous threads on slavery; and was hoping my offering above was sufficiently narrow to avoid repetition.

However, I read General Urko's question [post #5] as being about the flesh trade incoming, rather than outgoing:
Question for ye all, was there enslavement of people from Africa here to any great extent prior to abolition in The UK?
Ibn Hawqal describes a Viking raid in 977AD, where the 'product' may well have passed through the slave-markets of Cork, Waterford or Dublin. It seems that being black improved sex-appeal for women captives, and field-labour-potential for men.
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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Question for ye all, was there enslavement of people from Africa here to any great extent prior to abolition in The UK?
Cork city, Blackamoor Lane, near Sullivan’s Quay in the south of the city. The earliest named reference that I can find on a map is that of Roque’s 1759 but the course of the lane is apparent on an earlier map(1726) and it probably dates earlier again than that. Intriguing name....imported slaves or named after coloured sailors and their shore lodgings?

 
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Barroso

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Yes. Over 200 Irish people were taken as captive and later sold as slaves by pirates from Africa in the late 17th century.

Correct me if I'm wrong - but weren't the people taken captive actually English?
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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Regarding the presence of coloured people in Ireland in previous centuries here’s an interesting article from the Freeman’s Journal concerning an incident in St Stephen’s Green, Dublin of 19th Oct 1777....

“A female black and child was so closely pressed by the multitude of people crowding round, and staring at her that much affrighted, in vain she endeavoured to retire, the child was so terrified as to burst into tears, and not withstanding such evident signs of fear, it was with utmost difficulty a few reasonable persons could extricate her from the crowd and get her safe of the walks. Had she in any manner differed from other of her colour and country so common to meet with, it might have been some apology, to gratify curiosity; that not being the case, it reflects both scandal and ignorance on the company, and the more so, as the time and the place considered, much better behaviour might be expected.”

A coloured mother and child out for a stroll(servant, slave?) in 18th century Dublin obviously provoked curiosity but it seems, given the journalists outrage, it should not have been that remarkable.
 

Dame_Enda

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Slavery had existed in Pre-Christian times, being abolished sometime after Christianisation before being reintroduced by the Vikings and abolished under Henry II.

Of course feudalism had slave-like institutions like serfdom.
 

General Urko

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Yes. Over 200 Irish people were taken as captive and later sold as slaves by pirates from Africa in the late 17th century.

My question was the reverse of your point, African originating slaves held n slavery her?
Obviously Irish People were sent as slaves to The Caribbean and to Australia for petty crime
St Patrick of course came here as a slave for the first time.
Also Dublin was a major slave trading port during the Viking times
 

recedite

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Niall of the Nine Hostages was a famous Irish enslaver (hostage being a somewhat more flattering translation of slave)

This interesting article appeared quite recently, suggesting St. Patrick might have been more of a slave trader than a slave.
Tax collector, slave trader, and then cult leader. If only banking had been invented then, bankster or vulture fund manager would have been a respectable career for him.
If Patrick had left Britain for Ireland of his own free will, the best way to take his wealth with him would be in the form of slaves, Dr Flechner argued.
Patrick himself said his family owned slaves, which was common for aristocratic families in this period.
"Your property would have been hereditary and in the form of land, but if you had wanted to transport the value of the property, it is more likely you would have traded a more 'liquid asset', in this case slaves.
"In a slightly later period where we do have more sources, slaves had become a very important social institution and quite ubiquitous in Ireland."
 

Dame_Enda

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Niall of the Nine Hostages was a famous Irish enslaver (hostage being a somewhat more flattering translation of slave)

This interesting article appeared quite recently, suggesting St. Patrick might have been more of a slave trader than a slave.
Tax collector, slave trader, and then cult leader. If only banking had been invented then, bankster or vulture fund manager would have been a respectable career for him.

It can't be completely ruled out that St.Patrick's claim of having been enslaved was a cover story but that is unproven.

One recent theory is that he was a local councillor (a decurion). Decurions in the late Roman period were civil servants responsible mainly for tax collection. In the early Roman empire, this was a popular career path for aristocrats looking to climb the political ladder. But since Diocletian (284-305) it was an unpopular one, because decurions were expected to pay for tax shortfalls out of their personal wealth. Many illegally resigned this office to prevent their families being financially ruined by this, even though the punishment could be imprisonment or death.

So according to a recent theory, St.Patrick resigned from this office and went on the run to avoid financial ruin, and made up the story of his enslavement as cover.
 
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recedite

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It can't be completely ruled out that St.Patrick's claim of having been enslaved was a cover story but that is unproven.
Nothing can ever be proven either way. But I thought it was an interesting little article, all the same.
 

Old Mr Grouser

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Are you not all forgetting that within the last ten years some Irish families were found to be keeping slaves, and to be treating them appallingly. And according to investigators at the time they seemed to see it as a part of their culture, and the ownership of slaves enhanced their social status.

For example,
and UK men in 'modern slavery' abroad
 
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Lumpy Talbot

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No
It is still seen in some cultures as a mark of status to have servants who are de facto slaves. I've seen traces of that here and there and particularly in certain communities- the Indian community or some elements within it are fiercely status conscious. Infamous also for having an expensive Mercedes on the drive but otherwise fairly brassic, long on bull and short on the readies.

Every now and then some horror of a case comes to light where some poor devil from a lower caste in the subcontinent way of seeing things is discovered, usually by mischance, sleeping on a floor somewhere in London and working a 16hr day as a servant for a pittance, and usually being badly treated as well.

There are few things more repugnant in human affairs than slavery, and those tend to happen more often to slaves than anyone else. A pure gateway to dehumanisation if ever there was one, both for slave and enslaver.
 

Catahualpa

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Niall of the Nine Hostages was a famous Irish enslaver (hostage being a somewhat more flattering translation of slave)

This interesting article appeared quite recently, suggesting St. Patrick might have been more of a slave trader than a slave.
Tax collector, slave trader, and then cult leader. If only banking had been invented then, bankster or vulture fund manager would have been a respectable career for him.

That story is an invention by a Jewish 'scholar'

- there is not a shred of historical evidence to back it up.
 


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