My expanded response to CNN reporters’ questions about a DeSantis appointee’s endorsement of “Irish slaves” disinformation

Liam Hogan
8 min readAug 6, 2023
“What to expect at my hands.” — Oliver Cromwell (1650). Within three years his promise had been reneged on as his administration widened their penal transportation policy in Ireland. Source: From Certaine acts and declarations made by the Ecclesiasticall Congregation of the Archbishops, Bishops, and other prelates met at Clonmacnoise, the 4 day of December 1649. Together with A declaration of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1650)

Last week I was contacted by a CNN journalist about a recent Ron DeSantis appointee who has previously endorsed “Irish slaves” disinformation in an anti-Critical Race Theory broadcast. You can read this report here. Below are the expanded versions of the answers I sent back to help support their work in shining a light on this continuing trend by the Right in the U.S. to deny African American history via historical negationism.

  1. What is the historical basis for the “Irish slaves” myth?

The very real history which the contemporary “Irish slaves” mythos abuses is the Cromwellian policy of forced exile, penal transportation and colonial indentured servitude, which was unleashed by the occupying Parliamentarian forces during, but predominately in the wake of, their military conquest of Confederate and Royalist Ireland (1649–’59).

Transporting POWs to serve a term of indentured servitude in the West Indies was not a new policy for the Parliamentarian government. For instance in the aftermath of the Battle of Preston (1648) we find an order giving Bristol merchants licence to transport upwards of 500 Scottish prisoners to the Plantations.

“…concerning the Disposal of the Scotts Prisoners…It is Ordered…that the Plantations may be first furnished, and then the Service of Venice: And that they that give the best Security be first served…the Gentlemen of Bristoll, according to their Desires, may have Liberty to transport Five hundred, giving the like good Security as others.”

— Journal of the House of Commons, 4 September 1648

The basis for such a policy for the “disposal” of those “burdensome to the State” was discussed soon after the English Civil War broke out in 1642.

“Mr. Rigby, Morley, Holland, Ven, Fountaine, Vassal, Pye, Whitacre, are appointed to consider of the fittest and most convenient way of disposing of such Prisoners as are taken by the Army, and are burdensome to the State, either by sending them to the Indies, or otherwise; and to treat with such Citizens, concerning his Business, as they shall think fit: And have Power to send for Parties, &c.”

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Liam Hogan

Librarian & Historian. Researching and writing about slavery, memory and power. Ko-Fi https://ko-fi.com/liamhogan