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International Journal of History

2019, Vol. 1, Issue 1, Part A

Labour migration from India to the British West Indies, 1834-1888


Author(s): Dr. Amita Esther David and Mansraj Ramphal

Abstract: Scores of Indians were taken to work on the plantations of the far-off British colonies. They were mostly lured by the arkatis or middlemen, who gave an enticing picture of working on the plantations. Most people fell into the trap of the arkati due to the abysmal socio-economic conditions prevailing in British India. This was compounded by vagaries of nature like famines, floods and epidemics, which aggravated their conditions further. This practice came to be known as indenture and the people who worked on plantations were called girmitiyas, taken from the word agreement. They were worse off than the people transported as slaves. Slavery officially ended in 1834. The indenture system enabled planters to gain access and control a body of Indian workers as ‘bounded coolies’. Their contracts were renewed after a period of 5 years. The first colony to get indentured labourers from India was Mauritius. This paper explores the problems that the Indian labourers experienced and endured during their indentureship period. The British Parliament contemplated several laws to allay the problems of the labourers as they too were British subjects.

Pages: 83-88 | Views: 10 | Downloads: 7

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How to cite this article:
Dr. Amita Esther David, Mansraj Ramphal. Labour migration from India to the British West Indies, 1834-1888. Int J Hist 2019;1(1):83-88.
International Journal of History