Ethnic Texans

Institute of Texan Cultures' Texans Series

The Irish have a long history of being controlled by outside forces. In 1602 the Irish lost the Battle of Kinsale to the English. For the next 320 years, the English controlled Ireland and denied its people opportunities for education and political representation. The Irish also experienced religious persecution under English control. The Anglican Church was the official Church of England, while the Irish were predominately Catholic.

 The Irish attempted to overthrow English rule many times. Each time the Irish were defeated, a new wave of emigrants left Ireland. Some Irish moved to France, Spain and Austria, and then later waves of immigrants moved to New Spain and Texas.

Many emigrants left Ireland in the 1840s as a result of The Potato Famine. Potatoes were the main staple of the Irish diet, and when crops failed, starvation and sickness destroyed the population. 750,000 Irish died as a result of the famine and another 2 million emigrated. Many believed that the British failed to respond to the seriousness of the Potato Famine, and some Irish moved to Texas in search of a better life.


Handbook of Texas