L' émigration irlandaise avant 1800

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Nowadays, seventy million people world wide are part of the Irish diaspora, even if a lot of them don't know they have Irish ancestors, a number which is no less than ten times the actual population of Ireland. Such a large number of people must have come from a long period of migrations. And so, the first Irish migrations date back at least to the early seventeenth century. On a first part, wewill talk about the migrations from the early seventeenth century until 1717, and then we will move on to the next period which is from 1717 to the end of the eighteenth century. In both parts, we will be discussing the push factors of emigration, the pull factors and the places of Irish settlement and the way in which the Irish settlers integrated or not.

As far as we know, the firstsignificant migrations from Ireland began in the early seventeenth century. After the battle of Kinsale of 1601, about seven to eight thousand Irish Catholics fled to Spain because of the English Protestants' repression. The next wave of migration was in the late 1620s, mainly to Brittany, because of years of food shortages in Ireland. One of the largest groups to leave Ireland in the sixteenth andseventeenth centuries is that of the Irish who went to serve in the huge continental armies of Europe. Between 1634 and 1660, more than 30,000 Irish men were recruited into the French army. And another estimated 30,000 soldiers left Ireland to fight in Irish brigades for France in 1691. These were mainly family groupings who tented to form clusters of Irish settlements in specific parts of cities. Themost popular destinations were Galicia, Brittany, Belgium, and the southwest of France. In the seventeenth century, as the trade between Ireland and the European Atlantic ports was becoming larger and larger, Irish families of merchants went to live in these countries. They settled in place like Saint-Malo or Bordeaux in France which they thought as being rights places for a better life. As they wereCatholic, they became integrated very easily in the host communities in terms of social position, intermarriage, and language, especially in France and Spain. The Irish not only fled to Continental Europe: they also took part in colonisation and they moved to North America from the beginning of the seventeenth century. From 50,000 to 100,000 people left Ireland for the American colonies, mostlyyoung single males. Most of them were Catholics and they mainly emigrated as indentured servants. In this period, people from the lower ranks of rural poor did not leave the country, so the people who left were mostly skilled workers, large numbers of them were artisans with trade considered useful in the colonies. They first went to Chesapeake Bay or to the Caribbeans _ especially from the 1630s _and then to colonies such as Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas. Presbyterians migrated to the Chesapeake, while Irish Quakers and Baptists sailed to Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In 1669, there were an estimated 12,000 Irish living in North America. But compared to the eighteenth century, and in terms of numbers of people who emigrated, the seventeenth was just what could be called anintroduction.

In the eighteenth century, Irish Catholic migration to Europe continued because of the Penal Laws: they were still persecuted by the Protestants, so they did not stop to emigrate, particularly to Europe. But the most significant migration was from Ulster to North America: the migration of the Presbytarians.

As for the Catholics who had stated to leave in the previous century, thePresbytarians were facing religious discriminations from the established Church of England, and restrictions including the Penal Laws. For example, they had to pay tithes to support the Anglican Church, or they were forbidden to teach in schools or enter universities. However, these push factors have to be attenuated as, in 1719, an act was passed to guarantee religious toleration for Presbytarians....