Oliver Cromwell's Attitude Towards The People Of Ireland

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Oliver Cromwell is today in Britain held with great merit. He is seen by many Britons as the father of modern British democracy. However, his reputation in Ireland is quite different. Cromwell only spent nine months in Ireland yet even still he is seen by many Irish people as someone who was a genocidal monster hell-bent on massacring the Irish population. Cromwell’s attitude towards the people of Ireland can be seen through his writings. However, even when these are read confusion is still apparent. Having heard of soldiers murdering ‘the country people’ a proclamation was sent throughout Ireland on August 24th 1649 Cromwell declared to his forces , ‘I do hearby warn and require all Officers, Soldiers and others under my command henceforth…show more content…
Sinnot the commander of the Wexford garrison. In this letter Cromwell informs Sinnot that he should surrender if he did not want Wexford to be destroyed. Cromwell also informs Sinnot that if he were not to surrender he would be at fault for the spilling of innocent blood. It therefore seems likely that Cromwell did not care what happened to ordinary the ordinary people of Ireland so long as he was able to justify their killing. At both Wexford and Drogheda however the slaughter of innocent civillians was brutal and even by 17th century standards it was in no way justifiable. Even still certain facts must be pointed out. . This however is a very simplistic view of history. Oliver Cromwell’s methods were brutal; moreover, he certainly had both racist and sectarian attitudes. However, it seems that Oliver Cromwell was in Ireland on a revenge mission. He sought revenge for three reasons: the massacres of 1641, the setting up of the confederacy and Ireland Royalist position during the War of the Three Kingdoms. Yes, many people were targeted by the New Model Army because of their faith and ethnic background but there is no evidence that any policy of religious or ethnic cleansing was carried out. Cromwell’s invasion of Ireland is cannot be understood without first of all looking to the massacres of 1641. Cromwell himself referred to the Irish as ‘barbarous wretches’ because of the massacres that took place in Portadown of that year. It must be remembered that Cromwell possibly believed that 100,000 Protestants were massacred in the town as was said in England at the

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