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An Apprenticeship in ArmsThe Origins of the British Army 1585-1702$
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Roger B. Manning

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199261499

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199261499.001.0001

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Recruiting in the British Isles for mainland European armies

Recruiting in the British Isles for mainland European armies

(p.62) 4 Recruiting in the British Isles for mainland European armies
An Apprenticeship in Arms

Roger B. Manning

Oxford University Press

During the Thirty Years War, continental European armies recruited extensively in the British Isles, with religious allegiance often determining which army a recruit served in. Impressment was employed as a means of removing demobilized soldiers, vagrants, paupers, and other undesirable persons from the realm. But in Scotland and Ireland, lairds and clan chieftains could compel clansmen, kinsmen, and tenants to volunteer. The Scots comprised one-sixth of the Swedish army in the time of Gustavus Adolphus, while the Catholic Irish were encouraged by their priests and the English government in Ireland to serve in the Spanish and, after 1635, the French armies. Between 55,000 and 80,000 soldiers were recruited in the British Isles for service in the Thirty Years War. Service in particular foreign armies helped determine the allegiance of those who returned after 1638 to fight in the British and Irish civil wars, but the experience of English and Scots serving together in various mainland armies ultimately helped to forge a British identity.

Keywords:   religious allegiance, recruitment, foreign armies, social cleansing, Swedish army, Gustavus Adolphus, British civil war, Irish civil wars, British identity

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