English Civil War - Royalist prisoners sold as slaves

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Micawber, Feb 28, 2011.

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  1. I've just read my first heavyweight book on the Civil War - The War of Three Kingdoms by Trevor Royle and although it is all fascinating - oh dear, what a horribly bleak thing it was.

    One aspect I found genuinely shocking was that the majority, (certainly many, many thousands) of Royalist prisoners were immediately sold into slavery.

    As I say, I was genuinely shocked to hear of it, and I wondered if the panel knew who was buying them, where they were being sent and how they got on - presumably very badly.

    Were they put to work alongside the African slaves somewhere?
  2. Mr_Fingerz

    Mr_Fingerz LE Book Reviewer

    Probably sent as "indentured labourers" in the Cane plantations in the West Indies.
  3. Not entirely sure as most of the books I've read from that era make a big deal of the europeans being sent to africa as slaves (probably meaning med), I'm not aware of slaves coming the other direction at that time
  4. This is pre African Slave trade so nope to that one.

    The cane farms were producing a very valuable product with a damm decent tax take so ridding the country of unreformed Royalists, filthly Irish and nasty scots whilst ensuring a forced labour force was seen as a damm good thing.

    The West Coast Counties were being raided by Berber pirates into the late 17th Century for white slaves. Once the RN perfected the art of cruising at sea for months at a time, tricky in pre ipod times as jolly roger got bored, the Berbers got a a few damm good shoeings until they learnt to stay well clear of the Union Jack and the Red, White, Blue and Green Ensign. Which is theold way to mark out ships in a particular command.

    If you're really bored then I can chunk in the Imperial Spanish Terico (regiment of about 2,000 men) from the Hasburg lands in Germany that ended up serving under Elizabeth I in the late 1580's as the other option was death by hanging. Or the regiment raised in the West Counties in the 1640's by the Royalists by sweeping clean all the local jails. Includig various Turks and North Africa natives.....
  5. The same happened after the '45 in Scotland with many Highland Clansmen transported to the colonies in the West Indies and America. Convict labour, indentured labour or slavery - it all amounts to the same thing!
  6. Quite a few ended up in Barbados, and after slavery many settled in St. John parish, a pretty poor area.

    It's unnerving to hear them still with a strong west country accent.
  7. Having recently read Cromwell by Antonia Fraser there is talk of forcing Irish & Scottish Highlanders to go to Jamaica, as previous offers of 20 acres of land for each man & 10 acres of land for each woman who settled there, did not enduce enough volunteers to go because of very high mortality rates due to disease. But no talk of actually slavery!
    And "Polar's" comment on European Slaves being sent to Africa is probably the N. African pirate raids on Southern Europe, S. W. England & Ireland for Slaves, this plus the fact that European Shipping was very vulnerable to piracy off the coast of N. Africa in the 16th, 17th & 18thCenturies, with the resultant capture & enslavement of crews by Sallee & Barbary coast Pirates! According to Robert Davis between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by Barbary corsairs, who were vassals of the Ottoman Empire, and sold as slaves between the 16th and 19th centuries!
    This little article makes interesting reading and shows that the Arabs were by far the most prolific of Slavers continuing in the Sudan til the turn of this Century! Arab slave trade - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  8. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    The European Trade in African Slaves began in the first decade of the 1500s, primarily dominated by the Portuguese and Spaniards, but the English were involved too, Jon Lok being the first recorded Englishman to transport Africans to the England in 1555, then Towerson in 1556 and 1557, John Hawkins & Sir Francis Drake was also involved transporting Slaves for sale in the Spanish New World Colonies.

    Some interesting Maps and info can be found here: Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

    New revelations about slaves and slave trade - CNN.com

    Good books on the subject

    Patrick Manning: Slavery and African Life: Occidental, Oriental, and African Slave Trades
    Lovejoy, Paul :Transformations in Slavery
    Northrup, David (ed.): The Atlantic Slave Trade
  9. Many of the "slaves" or indentured servants found themselves in the colonies of New England. In Berwick you will find the town of Berwick, which originally started life as Unity - the name of the slave-ship which brought Scottish prisoners to the settlement. They were enslaved in the sawmills and then farms before being manumitted after completing their indentures.

    This batch of Scots were the same prisoners who were marched from Dunbar to be imprisoned briefly in Durham Cathedral - where they expressed their discontent with Anglicanism by smashing the noses of many of the effigies and statues.
  10. Thanks for the replies. It just struck me as a particularly vicious thing to do to fellow countrymen. In the midst of a national discourse about freedom and rights - which found expression in the Putney debates - here was the English parliament selling Englishmen into slavery.

    I must say I'm only just becoming aware of what a thoroughly disgraceful, oppressive, bloodstained and corrupt organisation Parliament has been for nearly all of it's working life.

    Motherfucker of Parliaments more like!
  11. The English Civil War made the American civil War look like a Whitsun picnic by comparison. Just over a million died in the US war, 3% of the population. In the ECW England suffered a 3.7% loss of population, Scotland a loss of 6%, while Ireland suffered a loss of 41% of its population.

    As a reference point it is estimated that the USSR lost 16% of its population during the "Great Patriotic War" 1941-1945.
  12. sirbhp

    sirbhp LE Book Reviewer

    if you read the story of lucky Peter Williamson from Aberdeen kidnapped with other kids you will see that up to the late 1700's about 40 % of slaves were white . But that's a bit of History that has been forgotten over the years . I GUESS THERE is A GOOD LINE OF RESEARCH FOR SOME ONE TO DO THERE OR IF YOU TOO BUSY SEND ME LOADS OF DOSH AND i will ferret a good book out of it .. grin
    aggh CAPLOCKS NOT TYPING ALL THAT AGAIN atl f3 doesn't work on here .
  13. At least they let them live, a few hundred years before that it was genocide... When what we now call the north was called the danelaw, it doesnt exist for a reason (see harrowing of the north)
  14. ....In addition to Redlegs the term underwent extensive progression in Barbados and the following terms were also used: "Redshanks", "Poor whites", "Poor Backra", "Backra Johnny", "Ecky-Becky", "Poor whites from below the hill", "Edey white mice" or "Beck-e Neck" (Baked-neck). Historically everything besides "poor whites" were used as derogatory insults, and the community was perceived as arrogant, alcoholic, and worthless.[3]

    Now that made me laff. ^_^