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HomeNewsArchivesTHE IRISH ON SAINT-BARTHELEMY

THE IRISH ON SAINT-BARTHELEMY

On Jan. 1, 1666, the Sieur Guery went to Saint-Barhtelemy, having been assigned charge by the Sieur Beauplan, the then commandant. Both men are listed in the Roll of inhabitants of 18 July, 1681.
But before the year 1666 ended, there was again a conflict between the English and the French on the island of Saint-Christophe. The French prevailed and the English were forced out of Saint-Christophe.
All the inhabitants of Saint-Barthellemy and Saint-Martin were ordered to return to Saint Christophe to occupy the estates vacated by the English.
"Descoudrelles, commander in chief of the Isles of Saint-Barthelemy and Saint-Martin, declared a century later, that this act almost put an end to the French presence on Saint-Barthelemy."…J.D.
Against their will, all the inhabitants of Saint-Barthelemy and Saint, Martin, were forced to abandon their homes and return to Saint- Christophe. But no sooner had the French arrived on Saint-Christophe, than the English recaptured their possessions. The French settlers now had to leave again. Some were sent to Martinique and the other near-by islands but the majority were sent to Saint-Domingue ( now Haiti).
Rather than allow the settlers of Saint-Barthelemy to return to their island, there was attempted a colonization of Saint-Barthelemy by a group of about 800 Irish Catholics, who had been evacuated from Saint Christophe. These Irish had been brought as prisoners by the English and they were not anxious to be re-united with their former masters, the English.
Father Du Tertre reports, "seven or eight hundred Catholics, Irish, were put on Saint-Barthelemy to occupy the habitations left vacant by the French. These Irish hated their English masters so much that they hired a French Officer to be their commander."
History does not tell us how long the Irish were on Saint-Barthelemy but once the French returned to their island, most of the Irish had, for the most part, to find another island to inhabit. Not all the Irish left the island of Saint-Barthelemy. Some chose to inter-marry with the French.
At the beginning of 1700, the French Royal Power was reluctant to allow the repopulation of Saint-Barthelemy. The Marine Minister of, France wrote on 13 January, 1700, to M. Amblimont, governor general, or had informed him of the pitiable state of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthelemy, whose inhabitants had been dispersed during the preceeding conflicts." The King wishes that you allow to remain on Saint-Barthelemy, those inhabitants who have wished to return, since your exhortations have not decided them to return to Saint-Christophe. You could offer them land in Marie-Galante or they could find the same facility of surviving where they are. I want M. Robert to keep a priest on each of the islands."
On 18 August, 1700, to M. Gennes, governor of Saint-Christophe: "There shall be no other commandant but a captain of militia, who shall be subordinate to the major officers of Saint-Christophe."
Who were these Irish who had been put on Saint-Barthelemy to inhabit the vacated French habitations? When England decided to colonize the islands, she sent convicts under guards and military officers. Among the convicts, were thousands of Irish Catholics, who had refused to recognize the religion of the Protestant Church of England. Some had revolted and had been arrested and brought to Saint- Christophe as prisoners. They were more or less enslaved by the English, whom they hated with a vengeance.
As often as they could escape, they joined the French, who also were Catholics.
A little over a century later, England, wanting to expand her territory and to prevent the French from acquiring the Island Continent, sent the First Fleet to claim the Island Continent of Australia. Once again it was convicts that she sent, and once again it was mostly Irish Catholics.

Anne-Marie Danet

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On Jan. 1, 1666, the Sieur Guery went to Saint-Barhtelemy, having been assigned charge by the Sieur Beauplan, the then commandant. Both men are listed in the Roll of inhabitants of 18 July, 1681.
But before the year 1666 ended, there was again a conflict between the English and the French on the island of Saint-Christophe. The French prevailed and the English were forced out of Saint-Christophe.
All the inhabitants of Saint-Barthellemy and Saint-Martin were ordered to return to Saint Christophe to occupy the estates vacated by the English.
"Descoudrelles, commander in chief of the Isles of Saint-Barthelemy and Saint-Martin, declared a century later, that this act almost put an end to the French presence on Saint-Barthelemy."...J.D.
Against their will, all the inhabitants of Saint-Barthelemy and Saint, Martin, were forced to abandon their homes and return to Saint- Christophe. But no sooner had the French arrived on Saint-Christophe, than the English recaptured their possessions. The French settlers now had to leave again. Some were sent to Martinique and the other near-by islands but the majority were sent to Saint-Domingue ( now Haiti).
Rather than allow the settlers of Saint-Barthelemy to return to their island, there was attempted a colonization of Saint-Barthelemy by a group of about 800 Irish Catholics, who had been evacuated from Saint Christophe. These Irish had been brought as prisoners by the English and they were not anxious to be re-united with their former masters, the English.
Father Du Tertre reports, "seven or eight hundred Catholics, Irish, were put on Saint-Barthelemy to occupy the habitations left vacant by the French. These Irish hated their English masters so much that they hired a French Officer to be their commander."
History does not tell us how long the Irish were on Saint-Barthelemy but once the French returned to their island, most of the Irish had, for the most part, to find another island to inhabit. Not all the Irish left the island of Saint-Barthelemy. Some chose to inter-marry with the French.
At the beginning of 1700, the French Royal Power was reluctant to allow the repopulation of Saint-Barthelemy. The Marine Minister of, France wrote on 13 January, 1700, to M. Amblimont, governor general, or had informed him of the pitiable state of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthelemy, whose inhabitants had been dispersed during the preceeding conflicts." The King wishes that you allow to remain on Saint-Barthelemy, those inhabitants who have wished to return, since your exhortations have not decided them to return to Saint-Christophe. You could offer them land in Marie-Galante or they could find the same facility of surviving where they are. I want M. Robert to keep a priest on each of the islands."
On 18 August, 1700, to M. Gennes, governor of Saint-Christophe: "There shall be no other commandant but a captain of militia, who shall be subordinate to the major officers of Saint-Christophe."
Who were these Irish who had been put on Saint-Barthelemy to inhabit the vacated French habitations? When England decided to colonize the islands, she sent convicts under guards and military officers. Among the convicts, were thousands of Irish Catholics, who had refused to recognize the religion of the Protestant Church of England. Some had revolted and had been arrested and brought to Saint- Christophe as prisoners. They were more or less enslaved by the English, whom they hated with a vengeance.
As often as they could escape, they joined the French, who also were Catholics.
A little over a century later, England, wanting to expand her territory and to prevent the French from acquiring the Island Continent, sent the First Fleet to claim the Island Continent of Australia. Once again it was convicts that she sent, and once again it was mostly Irish Catholics.


Anne-Marie Danet