Irish Slave Trade

The Forgotten History of Irish Slavery Trade

The Contrary Claim of Irish Slavery

Hello Friends, have you ever heard about the Irish Slave Trade? Whether you have or not, there has been a claim that the Irish were also slaves in America just like the African slaves. The claim can be seen in various posts all over social media, stating the Irish came to America in a condition of slavery from the 17th to the 19th century.

The Truth of Irish Slavery

However, the idea of Irish slavery in America is contrary to the history and the fact that it was a part of the African Slave Trade. Irish people did come to America, but not as slaves. They came willingly, mostly as indentured servants. They had an agreement with their masters, typically for 7 to 10 years, to work for them in exchange for food, shelter, and new opportunities.

Irish Indentured Servitude

Indentured servitude was a common practice in Europe during the 17th century, where poor people could trade their labor for a new life in America. Many people were seeking out new opportunities to escape the poverty and famine of Ireland. So they would work for free for a period of time, after which they would become free and able to own land, start a business, or pursue other opportunities in America.

Brief History of Irish Immigration

The history of Irish immigration to America is a long and complicated one. It started in the early 17th century and continued throughout the 19th century. During that time, millions of people left Ireland to escape famine, poverty, and political turmoil. Many of them moved to America, where they hoped to find a better life.

The First Irish Immigrants in America

The first Irish immigrants to America were mostly Protestants, who came in search of religious freedom. They settled in Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas, where they worked as farmers and traders. They were not enslaved or indentured.

The Irish Famine

The majority of Irish immigrants came to America during the mid-19th century, seeking a way out of the famine that ravaged Ireland from 1845 to 1852. The famine was caused by the potato blight, which destroyed most of the crop, leaving people with nothing to eat. Over a million people died of starvation and disease, and another million decided to leave Ireland in search of a better life.

Irish Emigration to America

Most Irish immigrants to America during the 19th century were poor and unskilled. They settled in cities like New York, Boston, and Chicago, where they worked as laborers. They faced discrimination and hardship, but they were not slaves or indentured.

Irish Contribution to American Society

Irish immigrants played a significant role in building America. They worked on the railroads, built canals and bridges, and manned factories. They also served in the military, fighting in wars such as the Civil War, where they earned a reputation for bravery and loyalty.

Irish and African Americans Unity

The history of Irish immigration to America is closely tied to the history of African American slavery and civil rights. The Irish and African Americans faced similar struggles during their early years in America. They both faced discrimination and injustice, and they both fought for their rights. They also united in fighting for their labor rights in the late 19th century.


In conclusion, the Irish were never slaves in America. They came as indentured servants, but they were not treated like slaves. While they did face hardships and discrimination, they were able to build a new life for themselves and contribute to American society in many ways. We should not diminish the horrors of African American slavery by claiming that the Irish were also slaves. Instead, we should work together to fight against all forms of discrimination and injustice. Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you in another interesting article.

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