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Why in Europe they caught white slaves for America to replace black ones, and which peoples were unlucky
Why in Europe they caught white slaves for America to replace black ones, and which peoples were unlucky

Much of the history of Europeans in the United States dates back to the time of slavery. And, although the first slaves of aliens in the New World were local residents, and then blacks were in slavery for most of history, there is another period - when the same inhabitants of Europe were brought in as slaves. True, also predominantly those whom the British considered representatives of the lower races.

Black gold, white mud

When Christians, following Muslims, discovered the possibility of uninterrupted receipt of slaves from Africa - encouraging inter-tribal wars, after which prisoners could always be bought inexpensively, it became clear how the issue of the poor adaptation of Native Americans to work on plantations and their constant desire to escape would be resolved. Africans, perfectly tolerating the hot climate, were mostly familiar with agricultural and pastoralism; those who made it across the ocean alive were distinguished by strength and health; finally, they had nowhere to run - there was a foreign land all around, and this morally broke many.

To secure an influx of slaves, Europeans encouraged tribal wars in African coastal lands

The problem was that as long as black slaves had to be transported across the Atlantic, they remained expensive. In the future, with sufficient numbers, they could be "bred" in a new place, but before that the English planters replaced the precious black property with slaves, both poorer and cheaper. And they took them within the United Kingdom. These slaves were mainly Irish and Gypsies.

It is easy for a modern Eastern European to imagine why gypsies, outwardly different from the inhabitants of the northern islands, were regarded as creatures of a different, inferior, race, but the word "Irish" in our time, rather, there will be associations with several famous actors. It is hard to imagine that these completely European-looking people were ridiculed in caricatures until the beginning of the twentieth century, including caricatures of their phenotype: snub noses, for example. The Irishman was portrayed if it was necessary to draw an alcoholic, a bummer, a beggar, a loudmouth or a family tyrant.

The phenotypic features of the Irish were presented to the British as atavistic, animals. Typical caricature

The attitude of the Irish was based on the fact that, firstly, the Irish were colonized by the British - just as India and North America were later colonized, and secondly, they were Catholics, not Protestants. After the Irish became impoverished and malnourished under English rule, the British received another reason to despise these people - for their low standard of living.

Although many British celebrities emerged from among the Irish, such as the writers Jonathan Swift or Arthur Conan Doyle, the attitude towards the Irish was often so contemptuous that others, like the father of the Bronte sisters, hid their origins by remaking Celtic surnames into English or French.

Due to a diet almost entirely of potatoes, rickets and anemia have long been common illnesses in the Irish. Painting by Guy Rose

Age of abductions

Part of the slaves from Britain ended up in the New World thanks to the fact that judges began to replace many sentences with reference to American plantations. It was possible to get there for participation in a mutiny (as a substitute for the death penalty), theft (as a substitute for the death penalty), violation of the law against Roma, which, in general, boiled down to the fact that Roma could not exist (again, the death penalty was replaced by reference), for rental debts (for the sake of variety, the death penalty was not provided for).Thanks to this practice, slaves, including those of the titular nationality, appeared on the plantations. Yet the bulk of the plantation workers were Irish. They got to the New World not only through the courts.

Out of poverty, many Irish families came to England in search of work. The Irish took on the least prestigious and dirtiest work. Many children and young girls worked on the streets selling change, collecting certain types of rubbish, providing minor services like shoe cleaning. These children and adolescents turned out to be the prey of the kidnappers of living goods. They literally filled the hold.

Many of the hawkers on the English streets were Irish girls. Painting by Augustus Edwin Mulready

If the sweetest girls had a chance to reach the American coast in relatively comfortable conditions - they were intended as maids to a few ladies and as wives to still single (but rarely young) planters - then the rest traveled in nightmarish conditions. Without light, on a meager ration, defecating under oneself, close to their dying or deceased comrades. Both criminals and kidnapped children were cheap, junk goods that were meant to live on plantations for only a few years - from hard work in an unfamiliar climate, Roma, British and Irish simply died. So the ships were stuffed with them as tightly as possible.

Improving the breed

To reduce the cost of more profitable black slaves, they tried to breed them already in the New World. There was no question of creating families: Africans, and then their sons of both pure and mixed origin, were encouraged and even forced to actively mate. In the case of black slaves, the gentlemen did not even consider it necessary to reckon with family ties, forcing the sisters to give birth from brothers and daughters - from fathers.

Already in the very first generations of slaves born in the New World, there were many half-breeds

Slave women brought from Europe were also used to produce offspring from strong Africans. If young white girls fell into maids, concubines and even wives, then adult women and gypsy girls, even with the very first signs of maturation (eight to ten years old), were actively put under other slaves, making sure that they did not take it into their heads to give birth from “low-quality” white slaves … Moreover, the working conditions for pregnant women were not facilitated. Both girls and adult women died en masse, unable to endure such treatment, but some still gave birth to the delight of the owners.

Through such brutal methods, after several generations, the planters have achieved that they gradually ceased to need the bulk purchases of African slaves. New slaves were already appearing on the plantations by themselves. Since violence against female slaves flourished among the planters, some of these slaves were related to their masters, but this embarrassed the masters even less than the use of kidnapped Christian teenagers and women on the plantations. This did not stop them even when choosing new concubines, and incestuous relationships in the American South have long been commonplace - of course, if children were born of slaves.

The habit of picking up labor by abductions among English entrepreneurs has not gone anywhere, and there are cases when girls and boys were simply grabbed on the streets for hard labor at enterprises in the quite civilized nineteenth century.

It doesn't end there at all shameful pages in the history of the development of the New World: how was life for people who became slaves, they told themselves after being released.

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