“Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland in the middle of the seventeenth century made slaves as well as subjects of the Irish people. Over a hundred thousand men, women and children were seized by the English troops and shipped to the West Indies, where they were sold into slavery…” (George Novack, “Slavery in Colonial America,” America’s Revolutionary Heritage, p. 142).
On Sept. 11, 1655 came the following decree from the Puritan Protectorate by Henry Cromwell in London:
“Concerning the young (Irish) women, although we must use force in taking them up, yet it being so much for their own good, and likely to be of some great advantage to the public, it is not in the least doubted, that you may have such number of them as you think fit to make use upon this account.” The “account” was enslavement and transportation to the colonies.
A week later Henry Cromwell ordered that 1,500 Irish boys aged 12 to 14 also be shipped into slavery with the Irish girls in the steaming tropics of Jamaica and Barbados in circumstances which killed off white adult slaves by the thousands due to the rigors of field work in that climate and the savage brutality of their overseers. In October the Council of approved the plan.
Altogether more than one hundred thousand Irish were shipped to the West Indies where they died in slavery in horrible conditions. Children weren’t the only victims. Even eighty year old Irish women were deported to the West Indies and enslaved (D.M.R. Esson, The Curse of Cromwell: A History of the Ironside Conquest of Ireland, 1649-53, p. 176).
Irish religious leaders were herded into “internment camps throughout Ireland, and were then moved progressively to the ports for shipment overseas like cattle.” (D.M.R. Esson, p. 159). By the time Cromwell’s men had finished with the Irish people, only one-sixth of the Irish population remained on their lands. (Esson, p. 168).