This made the Irish the preferred “livestock” for English slave traders for 200 years.In 1641, one of the periodic wars in which the Irish tried to overthrow the English misrule in their land took place. As a result, in the 12 years following the revolt, known as the Confederation War, the Irish population fell from 1,466,000 to 616,000.(3) The earliest record of Irish slaves in America was in 1620, with the arrival of 200 slaves.Most of the documentation, however, comes from the West Indies.In 1742, a document entitled Thurloe’s State Papers, published in London, opined that: “..It was a measure beneficial to Ireland, which was thus relieved of a population that might trouble the planters; it was a benefit to the people removed, which might thus be made English and Christians …
So James I encouraged the sale of the Irish as slaves to the New World colonies, not only America but Barbados and South America.The Irish had a tendency to die in the heat, and were not as well suited to the work as African slaves, but African slaves had to be bought.Irish slaves could be kidnapped if there weren’t enough prisoners, and of course, it was easy enough to make Irish prisoners by manufacturing some petty crime or other.Typical death rates on the ships were from 37% to 50%.
In the West Indies, the African and Irish slaves were housed together, but because the African slaves were much more costly, they were treated much better than the Irish slaves.
Also, the Irish were Catholic, and Papists were hated among the Protestant planters.