Irish immigration to Saint Kitts and Nevis
The Irish immigration in Saint Kitts and Nevis begins in the 17th century when groups of people with that nationality are sent as indentured servants to the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Throughout the 17th 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 plague, Ireland's native population was reduced by as much as 20-25 percent. In addition, harsh anti-Catholic laws were passed, lands were confiscated and many Irish were deported as indentured servants, approximately half of which were sent to the island of St. Kitts. Many Irish laborers died from the island's tropical heat, disease, or hard and excessive working hours. Any Irishman who tried to escape was marked with an "FT" on his forehead, marking him as a "fugitive traitor." Many of the Irish and their descendants were sent to the new English colonies in South Carolina. Also in 1667, many Irish and French from Montserrat came to the island of Nevis as prisoners of war.
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 laborers 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.
- Island paradise recalls Irish indentured servitude - AN Phoblacht. Publicated in Republican News, in Thursday 20 February 1997. Retrieved December 29, 2012, to 0:30 pm.