Irish immigration to Barbados

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The first Irish in Barbados came to the island in the seventeenth century as slaves and indentured servants of the British planters. Many Irish rebels, Catholics and stubborn landowners and tenants were sold as slaves to English Caribbean. The number of Irish slaves in Barbados is unknown but the figure is estimated at between 12,000 and 60,000 people.


The Irish arrived on the island alongside African slaves and prisoners of war. So, in 1662 arrived the first 12,000 Irish prisoners to the island. [1]Once on the island, the English had not control about of the years in which the Irish (and Africans) had to serve. [2] They were hit by the planters, mortgaged and sold, for example, to pay the debts.[3]

Due to the harshness of slavery to which they were subjected, in 1649 they joined in rebellion with the Africans, against the British colonists. [2]However, in response to the rebellion, they were hung, drawn and quartered and their heads were deposited on pikes, on high ground so they could be seen by the entire population of Bridgetown, as a warning of what might happen if they rebel against the English owners. [1] Still so, Also the Spanish and French pirate attacks and loss of crops due to climatic shocks, led slave revolts and Irish against the British, when slave owners, sent other slaves or people for help, temporarily forgetting of his own slaves. Rebellions increased fear of white slave owners, creating the design on them that the Africans and Irish were savages.[2]

In the 60s, some 52,000 Irish slaves, mostly women and sturdy boys and girls, were arrived to Barbados and Virginia alone.[1]

However, although African slavery in Barbados remained until 1834, Irish slavery seems to have disappeared into time. The 1880 census identified no Barbadian as Irish.[2]


Currently, descendents of the Irish slaves are called, along, in lesser measure, with other descendants of white slaves, Red Legs. This community, ethnically blended between itself, is formed by 400 people. This community lives in poverty and is prey to infections and diseases. Due to the poor diet of Red Legs and lack of dental care, most of them have bad teeth or simply lack teeth. Also, frequent illness and premature death caused by hemophilia and diabetes, that the community has experienced, have caused blindness, and even falls extremities or amputations, to many of the members of this community in Barbados. So today the Red Legs are characterized by these physical anomalies and illness. In addition, school absenteeism, health problems, marriage between persons of the same family (which produce negative genetic consequences), large families and the lack of jobs in the country, making it difficult for many people, have maintained the population in poverty.[3] In addition, many are addicted to crack and alcohol. [4]Only from the second half of the twentieth century has there begun an integration and hodgepodge with black people in the community.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Race and history. News views. Posted by Jim Cavanaugh, in 28, May 05, at 9:50 p.m.
  2. ^ a b c d Tangled Roots: "Barbadosed": Africans and Irish in Barbados
  3. ^ a b c Sligo heritage. To Hell or Barbados: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ireland. Retrieved April 30, 2013, to 22:45 pm.
  4. ^ History: THE REDLEGS OF BARBADOS. Posted by Turtle Bunbury.

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