England and Ireland after 1649




After 1649, Cromwell took away the land of every Irishman who had not supported the English Parliament.  He gave the land to his soldiers as payment. 

Catholics who lost their land were `transplanted' to live on poor land in the west of Ireland.  Many abandoned their children.  The Government sold the orphans to slave traders, who took them to Jamaica.  When the supply of orphans ran out, the traders started kidnapping Irish children just as they would kidnap Africans in the next century.

 Most of Ireland's land was now owned by English Protestants.  Many of these chose to be absentee landlords, who lived in England.  They were often bad landlords, who cared for nothing except getting the rent out of the tenants.


When the English threw out James II, the Irish rebelled. 

The 1689 rebellion failed, however.  James was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne (1 July 1690).


The English Parliament passed laws to punish the Irish:

  • Catholics were not allowed to vote, or to be MPs.

  • No Catholic was allowed to be a teacher, to sell books, or to own a gun.

  • Catholics could not own a horse worth 5 or more; if a Protestant offered 5 for a Catholic's horse, he could take it away without paying.

  • Worst of all, a Catholic could not leave his land to his eldest child when he died.  It had to be divided between all of his children.  This meant that the Catholics' farms got smaller every generation, until they were too tiny to feed a family.

  • The Irish were forbidden to export their cattle, milk and butter to England.. Irish agriculture and industry collapsed.

These laws made Ireland poor.