How did the English experience at colonizing Ireland affect English colonization in America?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The English re-conquest of Ireland began under King Henry VIII, a Tudor and the first Protestant king, in the 1530s. Henry took over the government of Ireland by only allowing Irish lords into the Parliament who had recognized him as their leader. Further monarchs, including Elizabeth, spread their rule over Ireland through often brutal means, including creating a famine in the county of Munster when the native people resisted the imposition of English rule.

The English tried to convert the Irish from Catholicism to Protestantism, often through violent methods, but they were unsuccessful. Instead, the British set up plantations in Ulster and other counties in Ireland that involved sending Scots and English people to colonize Ireland. When Ulster resisted English rule, the revolt was crushed in the early 1600s. The land of Catholic leaders was confiscated and given to Scots. The Scots were commonly Presbyterian, while the English colonists were Anglican. In the late 1600s and early 1700s, English laws made it illegal for Irish people to hold positions of power, including holding public office, serving as lawyers, or being soldiers. The native Irish population became disenfranchised and devastatingly poor. What the English learned from this experience was to use brutality to crush native populations and to use the land to the English advantage to drain natural resources.

When the English began to colonize America, they used brutality to control native populations, whom they generally considered inferior. They took away the land of native people and did not allow them any access to power. For example, the government of the colonies was entirely in the hands of English people. The English carried out military actions against natives, such as the Powhatan around Jamestown, Virginia, to take away their lands. The English were interested in dominating the land and extracting materials to export to England, leaving the natives to live in poverty.