Cromwell’s son, Henry was made Major General in command of his forces in Ireland and it was under his reign that hundreds of thousands of Irish men and women were shipped to the West Indies.
From 1648 – 1655 over 12,000 Irish political prisoners were shipped to Barbados. Although indentured servants (Irish included) have been coming to Barbados since 1627, this new wave of arrivals were the first to come involuntarily. The Irish prisoners made up for a serious labour shortage caused by English Planters, lack of access to African slaves. The Dutch and Portuguese dominated the slave trade in the early 17th century, and most white land owners in Barbados and the neighbouring islands were unable to purchase slaves of African origin.


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