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A) Describe the various schemes of immigration which Caribbean planters utilized to fill the vacuum

formed from emancipation. (10 marks) B) Outline the reasons why Indian Immigration was considered the
most viable form of indentured labour after slavery. (5 marks) C) Highlight those factors which may have
led the Indians to leave their homeland (10 marks)

The planters believed that their most serious post-emancipation problem was the scarcity of cheap
reliable estate labour caused by the flight of ex slaves from the plantations/estates after emancipation.
Many of the freemen formed an independent peasantry through land ownership. The planters responded
by importing indentured (an indenture was a formal legal agreement or contract) labourers from
densely populated agrarian (agricultural) communities and they petitioned the colonial governments to
support the various immigration schemes. Moreover, it was felt that in the longterm, immigration would
lead to reduced wages for labourers when a new set of labour was established.
China and India were the first places that Europeans checked for replacement labour after slavery ended.
The planters had already tried using other Europeans before the slave trade from Africa began and
already knew that this plan would not work because they would have to pay high wages to white
labourers. China and India seemed ideal sources of labour. Both were poor countries with large
populations, which meant that there were many people who would see even the hard labour on the sugar
plantations as an opportunity for a better life.
The first shipment of labourers left India just before the apprenticeship period drew to a close in 1838. Of
the 414 Indians who came, 18 died on board the ship and 98 died within 5 years of landing in the colony.
238 Indians later returned to the subcontinent and just 60 decided to stay in the Caribbean.Emigration
from India was suspended until 1844 because of this high mortality rate, while the authorities examined
the conditions of retirement and shipping.
Between 1845 and 1847, Jamaica received 4,551 Indians and 507 Chinese. By 1854 though, just over
1,800 of these immigrants had died or disappeared. It is likely that many of them were killed by a cholera
epidemic which swept through Jamaica in 1850. Between 1838 and 1917, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent
and Grenada received Indian labourers. Some people in Jamaica were against this importations of
immigrants. Some churches also opposed Indian immigration worrying about the effects the Indians
would have on African Christian converts. The Anti Slavery Society in England also opposed Indian
immigration, saying that it would reverse the social and moral gains made by abolition.
The planters however saw immigration as the key solution to their labour and financial problems.Only in
islands such as the Leewards, Barbados and Belize was there opposition to immigration schemes by the
ruling whites and this was only because the labour supply was adequate. Even this situation soon
changed because the freed blacks refused to work for low wages and became more independent so that
by the late 19th century planters in some small islands like Antigua, St Kitts and Nevis were also calling
for immigrant labour.
By the end of the 19th century, the West Indies had received over 300,000 Indian labourers. Some
Chinese and Portuguese labourers were also brought in but in small numbers. There were also small
numbers of European and African immigrants as well as ex slaves migrating to different islands for labour.
The Madierans
During 1835, a few hundred Portuguese from Madiera were sent to Trinidad and Guyana but in 1836,
Madieran authorities stopped the trade. However in 1841 the immigration was revived by the help of a
bounty (gift of money or bonus) and 4312 Madieran Portuguese had entered Guyana. Many suffered from

Yellow Fever and Malaria and from over work and inadequate food and therefore in 1842 the bounty was
withdrawn and recruitment ceased.
Four years later immigration began again in Madiera and larger numbers were bought to Guyana and
Trinidad while smaller numbers were bought to Grenada, St Vincent, Dominica, St Kitts, Nevis and
Antigua. Between 1835 and 1851, 40,971 Madierans came to the West Indies with the largest amount
going to Guyana.
The Chinese
In 1843, Chinese immigrants were recommended for the British West Indies but the Chinese refused to
come without contracts and due to the orders in council of 1838 contracts could only be made in colonies.
After 1844 they focused on immigration from India.
Chinese immigration to the British West Indies began in 1852. During 1854, Trinidad received 988
Chinese labourers, Guyana received 647 and Jamaica 100. One ship with all these labourers left from
Chinese ports Namoa and Whampoa. Chinese immigration and recruitment was expensive and the
mortality rate was high therefore in 1854 it was abandoned.
It was started again in 1858 when two ships were sent to Guyana with 761 Chinese. In 1859 the British
occupation of Canton made the trade easier therefore from Canton and Hong Kong, 11,282 Chinese were
sent to Guyana and 1557 to Trinidad by 1866.
After 1866, Chinese immigration to BWI ( British West Indies) declined due to difficulties in recruitment,
expensive transportation and competition from French and Spanish for Chinese Labour. Furthermore
many Chinese wanted emigration in order to leave to do agricultural work which we found in Java and the
Phillipines nearer to China.
The Africans
The British government did not want to recruit African labourers since if it was approved they believed that
a form of slavery would be reproduced. Nevertheless in December 1840, approval was granted due to
pressure for more labourers from colonial planters and governors. Immigration was hence introduced with
labourers brought in from Sierra Leone.
In 1841, the first set of African labourers arrived in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica by
merchant ships hired by private merchants. European timber merchants in Africa feared that they would
lose their best workers and Christan missionaries in Sierra Leone feared that they would lose prospective
converts. Furthermore A fricans showed little interest in emigration despite the efforts to persuade them
by offering high wages and free return passage to Sierra Leone.
Encouragement for immigration was absent in Gambia and on the Kru Coast so recruitment carried out in
1843 and 1847 was mostly successful in Sierra Leone.
The majority of Africans were obtained from seizures of foreign slave ships captured by British naval
patrols in the Atlantic.
East Indians
A major cause of the large influx of Indian immigrants to the Caribbean is the factors in India itself. There
were many people willing to leave India where there had been famines, high taxes and loss of land and
where poverty was worsening under the 'raj' leadership at that time. Also certain aspects of Indian society,
such as the caste system* and the difficulty widows had in remarrying, also made many people willing to
emigrate.Indian labourers were successfully recruited in villages as well as crowded cities where large
numbers of unemployed Indians could be found looking for jobs.

Indian emigrants left for the Caribbean from ports in the following cities; Calcutta, Madras, Bombay,
Lucknow, Bengal and Bihar.
Indian immigration introduced new cultures and religions into the British West Indies. During the late 19th
Century, the immigrants consisted of 86% Hindu and 14% Muslim. In May 1838, the ships called Whithey
and Hesperas arrived in Guyana with 896 Indian immigrants. This first group was to be shared among 6
sugar plantations under 5 year contracts.However, ill treatment of the Indians and diseases caused many
other deaths and in 1840, Indian immigration was stopped by the British and Indian governments.
Pressure from planters resulted in a second attempt at Indian immigration being made in 1845 and it
lasted until 1917. During this period, approximately half a million Indian indentured labourer came to the
Caribbean. They were contracted to work on the estates for 5 year periods and were entitled to free
passage back to India or a piece of land if they remained in the Caribbean once their contract was over. If
they arrived before 1898, males were granted half of the return passage while females were granted two
thirds. Their fixed wages were 1 shilling or 6 pence per day. They got free medical attention and housing.
The governments of the larger colonies (Trinidad and Guyana) appointed agents to recruit workers in
India who were shipped from Calcutta, Madras or Bombay. Men outnumbered the women and ships were
unhygienic and over crowded.
On the estates, the living conditions were slave like. Labourers could not leave estates without a pass and
they were subject to fines and imprisonment for being absent from work and for disobedience. There was
much disease which led to a significant number of deaths. Those who survived claimed their return
passage or acquired their own land.
The poor conditions for Immigrants led to the Indian legislative council in India passing the Abolition of
Indenture Act and this is why Indentureship ended in 1927.
West Indians
Planters in Guyana, Trinidad and to a lesser extent Jamaica decided to attract labourers from the smaller
islands with promises of work and higher wages.
These islands were losing many workers and in order to prevent this their governments tried to restrict
migration to other islands to work. But the British Government overruled their restrictions. The only
restriction was that people from small islands could only leave to go to the larger Caribbean islands to
work for 1 year.
This did not stop inter-island immigration because by 1837, the number of migrants was large. From 1839
to 1849, 10,278 West Indians emigrated to Trinidad, 1,582 to Guyana and 790 to Jamaica. Barbadians
went to Trinidad and Guyana while most Grenadians went to Trinidad.
The Effect of Immigration
Rising production of sugar and cocoa , particularly in British Guiana, Trinidad and St Kitts. But they
couldn't prevent Grenada's loss of its sugar industry and the industry in some other areas declined
This improvement in sugar production slowed down diversification of the economy.
A minority of Indians became fairly wealthy through business. Others joined the peasantry and introduced

crops such as rice, cocoa and coffee because of their knowledge of agriculture brought with them from
East Indians brought skills such as knowledge on immigration.
Many East Indians who finished indendureship remained in agriculture. They could do so because
between 1885 and 1912, 37,000 hectares of crown land were given to the East Indiaans. 8% worked in
agriculture. Some set up villages and grew rice and sugarcane.
Because the population was increasing the government improved public facilities, law enforcement and
larger markets were built.
Chinese and Portuguese immigrants later went on to start retail businesses or became merchants
Indians were numerically the largest group of immigrants but they settled in significant numbers only in 2
colonies - British Guiana (now Guyana) and Trinidad. In other islands, Indians were so few that they were
either absorbed into the wider society, kept so much to themselves that they had no social impact or
migrated to the 2 colonies that already had large Indian settlements.
Caribbean societies became plural societies or multi ethnic societies. In other words there are people in
the Caribbean who are citizens of the same country, but who belong to different racial groups, different
ancestral cultures, different religions or all of these.
For sometime, the different groups of immigrants worked together with the local population but by 1917
they were openly hostile to each other.
Various ethnic groups have enriched Caribbean culture. For instance the East Indians have maintained
the practice of their Hindu and Muslim religions. At first, the Muslim and Hindu religion were despised by
the Africans and the whites who were Christian. However, the West Indian immigrants who came to
Trinidad and Guyana alongside the East Indians had no problem with the East Indians and their culture
and had no conflict with them.
In the early years of immigration the East Indians were difficult to assimilate into West Indian society.
They tended to stick together and not mix with others in society. They remained separate because they
had a strong bond amongst family and friends.
The different cultures of the Africans and East Indians also kept them apart. Also the majority of Africans
had adopted Christianity while most East Indians did not. The whites intentionally created separations
between the Africans and East Indians to keep them apart. Also Africans despised the East Indians
because they were paid the lowest for jobs and they accepted the jobs that they saw as slavery work. The
East Indians despised the Africans because they believed them to be uneducated and shifting from one
job to the next.
At first there was little family life among East Indians partly because of a shortage of women. Traditional
Indian families re-established in 1870 with the free villages. There was still a shortage of women for some
years after this. In these Indian communities, each person had to contribute to a financial pool where the
oldeest member was in charge