Ireland, slavery and the Caribbean

Interdisciplinary perspectives

Editors:
Finola O’Kane
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Ciaran O’Neill
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Ireland, slavery and the Caribbean draws together essays and arguments from a diverse group of contributors who seek to explore the many and varied ways in which Ireland and the Caribbean share an interlocking Atlantic history. This shared history is not always a comfortable one. Despite being victims of the first English empire, Irish people enslaved others throughout this period, and can be found at the cutting edge of extractive colonialism. They profited, exploited, traded, and trafficked with the very worst of European opportunists. Irish merchants and enslavers operated in the grey zone between empires. They could be found trading within the Danish, French and Dutch empires, as well as within the British empire, with which they were more properly connected. Irish people also shared an experience of colonialism themselves, and this opens a series of interesting avenues and rich ironies for the contributors to untangle and interrogate. The Caribbean had an outsized impact on Ireland itself, as many of the chapters argue. Irish estates were modelled or named for Caribbean precursors, just as the colonial engineering of the Irish landscapes affected those in Jamaica, Trinidad and elsewhere. The relationship was reciprocal and complex. This collection builds on the sterling work of the Legacies of British Slave-Ownership Project at University College London, as well as the pioneering scholarship of Nini Rodgers. It brings together literary scholars, architectural historians, historians of colonialism, and art historians. The result is a novel exploration of the deep and complex relationship between two island archipelagos in a period of peak colonialism.

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