Irish immigration to Saint Kitts and Nevis

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The Irish immigration in Saint Kitts and Nevis begins in the 1600s when groups of people with that nationality are sent as slaves to the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Throughout the seventeenth century, about 25,000 Irish men and women came to the islands to work on the sugar plantations.


Oliver Cromwell's conquest of Ireland (1649-1653) reasserted English Parliamentary rule over the Irish population. Since the rebellion of 1641, Ireland had been primarily under the control of the Irish Catholic Federation, which had allied itself with the English Royalists against Cromwell. Cromwell's victory brought famine and poverty to Ireland and coupled with a breakout of bubonic plaque, Ireland's population was reduced by as much as 20-25 percent. In addition, harsh anti-Catholic laws were passed, lands were confiscated and some 50,000 Irish were exported as indentured servants and slaves, approximately half of which were sent to the island of St. Kitts. Many Irish slaves died from tropical heat of the island, by disease or by hard and excessive working hours. Any Irishman who tried to escape the FT was recognized as fugitive traitor in his forehead. There were slaves who were whipped, hung them hands and set fire to them, or beaten on the head until he came out blood. This caused the fear of the Irish in Saint Kitts to the British. The more than 150 Irish slaves discovered practicing Catholicism were sent to the small and uninhabitable Crab Island (West Virginia), where they were left to starve. Many of the Irish who survived and their descendants were sent to the new English colonies in South Carolina. [1]Also in 1667, many Irish and French from Montserrat came to the island of Nevis as prisoners of war.[2]

Because of the hardships endured by the Irish in St. Kitts, in 1997, the then minister of the island, G.A. Dwyer Astaphan, met with Tom Culhane of Union, New Jersey to discuss his proposal to erect a monument to the Irish slaves on the island, with the goal of remembering them, near where they had been offered for sale. The plan was for a monument with a Connemara marble base and a bronze statue, surrounded by four plates representing the provinces of Ireland. [1]


  1. ^ a b Island paradise recalls Irish slavery- AN Phoblacht. Publicated in Republican News, in Thursday 20 February 1997. Retrieved December 29, 2012, to 0:30 pm.
  2. ^ THE VOICE FOR AN INDEPENDENT MONTSERRAT. Published by Chedmond Browne. Retrieved April 29, 2013, to 23:15 pm.