The Arrival of East Indians in the Caribbean – By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine

The Arrival of East Indians in the Caribbean – By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine


If you took a plane from JFK Airport to Calcutta the chances are you will be tired by the time you get there. On May 5th 1838 the history of the Caribbean changed dramatically as 396 East Indians landed on the shores of British Guiana.

This was no joyride and there was no time for niceties. The journey from Calcutta to British Guiana was fraught with hardships, and like the slave ships of an earlier era there were deaths on the way. The two ships that landed were the Whitby and the Hesperus. Their cargo was to usher in a new form of slavery that changed the complexion of the colony.

READ MORE: The Arrival of East Indians in the Caribbean


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  • Trevor  On November 17, 2018 at 3:17 am

    The so-called Indian from South-Asia and the so-called African from West Africa would never accept those who were sent to work for the White colonists. The so-called African man looks at us (tribe of Benjamin) with contempt, and so does the Industani man looks at Indo Guyanese, Trinis and Caribbean people.

  • michael hawkins  On November 17, 2018 at 5:29 am

    The Africans were slaves and most of them were sold into slavery by their tribal leaders or taken by other tribes and sold to the Arabs, who in turn sold them as slaves. While serving in the British Army I went to Kenya in East Africa and outside of Mombasa there was an old slave market and what was the slave pens. Not a pretty place.
    But the Indians left for Guyana of their own free will, and they did far better than if they had remained in India. As for been transported by ship that was the mode of transportation of the day. Some returned to India after their contracts were over. Others were given land.
    Think you are done by, then read what they did to their own people. It was and is a money thing.

  • dhanpaul narine  On November 17, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    Trevor and Michael,
    Thanks for your comments. I have heard a number of Indians say ‘thank God for those ships or else we would have had to suffer in India.’ But we have reached a stage where we have to look beyond that and discuss seriously how we can live according to the motto of our country.
    I said at UG last year that we can have all the oil and gas in the world but if we do not put an end to racism we are going nowhere. Eddy Grant said the same thing at UG last week in his speech. Race is the bogeyman. Like the sun and the stars we are locked by gravity but unlike them we are locked in Guyana by race.
    We cannot escape race. We fight with each other, blame each other, and look suspiciously at each other. This has been going on for too long. It’s time to address race.
    Here is a suggestion: Let’s get a group of young people ( 25 yr olds), from all the races, and convene a conference among them. Their job would be to discuss the race situation and suggest to the politicians the way forward. What do others think?

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