Tag Archives: sugar plantations

Ancestral Footprints: East Indian Indentureship – By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine

Ancestral Footprints: East Indian Indentureship – By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine

If you took a plane from JFK Air- port 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: Ancestral Footprints- East Indian Indentureship – By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine

Hindu Communities in Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad, South Africa, Fiji, and East Africa

New Homelands: Hindu Communities in Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad, South Africa, Fiji, and East Africa

Book  305 pages – By Paul Younger
Book cover New Homelands: Hindu Communities in Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad, South Africa, Fiji, and East Africa

When the colonial slave trade, and then slavery itself, were abolished early in the 19th century, the British empire brazenly set up a new system of trade using Indian rather than African laborers. The new system of “indentured” labor was supposed to be different from slavery because the indenture, or contract, was written for an initial period of five years and involved fixed wages and some specified conditions of work.
From the workers’ point of view, the one redeeming feature of the system was that most of their workmates spoke their language and came from the same area of India. Because this allowed them to develop some sense of community, by the end of the initial five years most of the Indian laborers chose to stay in the land to which they had been taken. In time that land became the place in which they joined with others to build a new homeland.
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The Overseer of British Guiana – by Gaiutra Bahadur

The Overseer of British Guiana

By Gaiutra Bahadur | Published in History Today Volume: 64 Issue: 1 2014  – Empire South America

In 1861 a young clergyman’s son arrived in British Guiana to oversee a sugar plantation. Over the next 30 years Henry Bullock’s letters home caught the texture of life in a remote backwater of Empire – though they don’t tell the whole story, as Gaiutra Bahadur explains.

New Amsterdam

The main street in New Amsterdam, of which Anthony Trollope wrote in 1860, ‘three persons in the street constitute a crowd’. Getty Images/Popperfoto     Continue reading

Book: Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture by Gaiutra Bahadur

Journey of the ‘coolie’ women in the history of the British empire

Coolie WomanBook:  The Odyssey of Indenture  – by Gaiutra Bahadur.   The author’s great-grandmother, born to indentured parents in 1905 during a voyage from Calcutta to British Guiana

Posted by Sara Wajid – Tuesday 19 November 2013  –The Guardian

The stories of women indentured as labourers at the turn of the last century have rarely been told. But a compelling new book brings their experiences on the sugar plantations to life.   Continue reading

Chinese in Guyana – Four Hakka families – by Trev Sue-A-Quan

The experiences of early Hakka immigrants in Guyana –

An account of four families.

Trev Sue-A-Quan

240 E. Woodstock Ave., Vancouver, BC, Canada V5W 1N1
Website: http://www.rootsweb.com/~guycigtr E-mail: Canereapers@Mailcity.com


Among the more than 13, 000 Chinese immigrants to arrive in Guyana between 1853 and 1879 were a significant number of Hakkas. They were taken there to work on the cane plantations replacing the freed slaves of African origin. The experiences of these Hakka immigrants are exemplified through the stories of four families, describing their recruitment, voyage and transition into settlers.

The Kong family

On 9 January 1860 the 854-ton ship Dora sailed from Hong Kong with 385 Chinese emigrants aboard. The Dora was not the first boat to take Chinese immigrants to Guyana (then called British Guiana) nor was it the first to take female Chinese emigrants, but it was the first to carry a boatload consisting entirely of Hakka families.

Prior to 1860 there had been 5 shipments of Chinese to Guyana. A total of 1,572 men were taken on board, most of them involuntarily, and 1,351 of them survived the long voyage to Georgetown, the capital of Guyana. These Chinese immigrants represented a new batch of labor recruits brought to the colony as replacements for the former slaves of African origin who had gained their freedom in 1842.   Continue reading

Emancipation – commentary



On August 1, 2013, it will be 179 years since slavery was abolished in this country – and in the rest of the British Empire, for that matter. As a national Public Holiday, we should be reminded that it is a day that should be commemorated by all Guyanese. Not only because we are citizens of this country but because we are the inheritors of the legacy of those who fought and died fighting that epitome of man’s inhumanity to man.

It was an institution of which the world had never seen before – and hopefully will never see again. There are those that like to mention that there was slavery before our “New World” slavery that dragged millions of Africans across the Atlantic and plunged them into a world in which even their humanity was denied.    Continue reading

History: The 1913 Rose Hall Uprising at Rose Hall

Fatally Policed Protest: The 1913 Rose Hall Uprising

In the Diaspora – March 11, 2013 · By Gaiutra Bahadur

In the DiasporaGaiutra Bahadur is a Guyanese-American journalist who has devoted much of her career to telling the stories of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The story reconstructed here, from archives in London, features in her book Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, to be published this autumn by The University of Chicago Press.

Wednesday marks a grim centenary in Guyanese history: a date that should have lived infamously, but has been forgotten, lost when the keepers of its memory were themselves lost to us. One hundred years ago, on 13 March 1913, resistance by Indian workers on Rose Hall Plantation ended in carnage, as British colonial police killed fifteen, including a woman they shot in the stomach, and injured another thirty-nine, seriously enough to warrant amputations. It was perhaps the deadliest indenture-era suppression of unrest in the Caribbean.    Continue reading

A Brief History of Portuguese in Buxton/Friendship:

A Brief History of Portuguese in Buxton/Friendship:

By:Rollo Younge. –youngefitzroy@gmail.com or 274 0572 (Guyana).

In the late 1834, a small group of Portuguese were recruited from the poverty-stricken island of Maderia, off the west Coast of Africa, to work on a sugar plantation in Demerara. On May 3, 1835, 40 indentured peasants arrived on the ship ‘Louisa Baillie’. Not only did they bring their agricultural expertise (especially sugar cane farming) but their faith as well. They were profoundly religious which brought new life into the Catholic Church in British Guiana. By the end of the year about 553 others had arrived and were contracted to various sugar plantations.

These “Madeirenses” as they were called, rarely remained on the sugar plantations after they completed their period of indenture. As soon as their two or four-year period ended, they moved off the plantations and on to their small plots of land as well as into the huckster and retail trade. Many were employed by white merchants in Georgetown and adopted very quickly to Commerce. By 1851 in Georgetown 173 out of the 296 (58.4%) shops belonged to Portuguese. In the villages they had 283 of the 432 (65.5%) shops.

About 55 years ago, the center of gravity of business in Georgetown was along Water and Lombard Streets and the greatest number and biggest businesses were owned by the “Madeirenses.” Firms such as D’Aguiar’s Imperial House, G. Bettencourt & Co., Demerara Pawnbroking & Trading Co., D.M. Fernandes Ltd.,The Eclipse, J.P. Santos, Ferreira & Gomes, Guiana Match and Rodrigues & Rodrigues once dominated the water front area. They are all gone now. Elsewhere, Portuguese owned many bakeries, pawnbrokeries, retail and rum shops. Between 1835 and 1882, over 30,645 persons of Portuguese descent were brought to British Guiana from Maderia, the Azores, the Cape Verde Islands and Brazil.   [more]  ->  go to link below

  [A_Brief_History_of_Portuguese_in_Buxton]  by Fitzroy “Rollo” Younge.

Also read:

Portuguese Immigration from Madiera to British Guiana  – from the January 2012 Guyanese Online Newsletter)

— Post #1182

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