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date: 16 June 2024

Asian Indentured Labor in the 19th and Early 20th Century Colonial Plantation Worldfree

Asian Indentured Labor in the 19th and Early 20th Century Colonial Plantation Worldfree

  • Richard B. AllenRichard B. AllenFramingham State University


The period between the mid-1830s and early 1920s witnessed the migration of some 3.7 million Africans, Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Melanesians, and other peoples throughout and beyond the colonial plantation world to work as laborers under long-term written and short-term oral contacts. Studies of this global labor migration over the last forty years have been heavily influenced by Hugh Tinker’s 1974 argument that the indentured labor system was essentially “a new system of slavery.” There has also been a propensity toward specialized and compartmentalized studies of the indentured experience in various parts of Africa, the Caribbean, the southwestern Indian Ocean, India, Southeast Asia, and Australasia, with a particular emphasis on systems of labor control and worker resistance. Recent scholarship reveals that this labor system began two decades earlier than previously believed, and illustrates the need to explore new topics and issues in more fully developed local, regional, and global contexts.


  • Economic/Business
  • Labor

The migration between the mid-1830s and early 1920s of more than 2.2 million Africans, Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Javanese, Melanesians, and other colonial subjects who worked under long-term written contracts had a profound impact on social, economic, cultural, and political life in many parts of the 19th- and early 20th-century colonial plantation world. While the great majority of these indentured men and women labored on sugar plantations in British, Dutch, French, and Spanish colonies in the Caribbean, South Africa, the southwestern Indian Ocean, and the South Pacific, others engaged in activities such as mining gold in the Transvaal and guano in Peru, as well as constructing railroads in East Africa and the Andes.1 Another 1.5 million Indians migrated to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Malaya to work as coffee and rubber plantation laborers on short-term oral contracts under what is commonly known as the kangani or maistry system, and within India to meet the demand for labor on Assam’s tea plantations.2 Indentured labor historians often treat these two contractual labor systems as separate entities, rather than viewing them as constituent elements of a global migrant labor system that encompassed the Caribbean (especially British Guiana [Guyana], Cuba, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Martinique, Suriname, Tobago, Trinidad), eastern and southern Africa (Kenya, Natal, Mozambique, Transvaal, Uganda), the southwestern Indian Ocean (Mayotte, Mauritius, Nosy Bé, Réunion), South and Southeast Asia (Assam, Burma [Myanmar], Ceylon [Sri Lanka], Malaya), Australasia (New Caledonia, Queensland), the central and southern Pacific (Fiji, Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, Vanuatu), and Central and South America (Mexico, Peru).


The migration of 400,000 to 460,000 or more mostly British indentured “servants” to North America and the Caribbean between the 1640s and 1775 established the precedent for the indentured labor trades that flourished during the 19th and early 20th centuries.3 While indentured labor migration across the Atlantic was closely associated with the establishment of European settler colonies in the Americas, the movement of such workers between the 1830s and 1920s entailed the migration of mostly non-Western colonial subjects to European colonies in Africa, the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. Many of these workers were expected, at least initially, to return to their homeland upon completing their contractually mandated period of “industrial residence.” However, hundreds of thousands of these men and women remained in the colonies where they worked and became an integral component of local populations.

The origins of this indentured labor diaspora are usually traced to British abolitionists’ desire to bring an end to slavery by demonstrating the superiority of “free” over slave labor in the production of tropical commodities, especially sugar, for imperial and global markets. Scholarship on this “great” or “mighty experiment” with the use of free contractual labor following slave emancipation in the British Empire in 1834 emphasizes the role that developments in Britain and the Caribbean played in encouraging this recourse to indentured labor.4 One consequence of this Atlantic centrism has been a tendency to ignore important developments in the Indian Ocean, some of which predated by a decade or more the large-scale introduction of indentured laborers into the Caribbean that began in 1838. The late 1820s, for example, witnessed the arrival of approximately 4,600 Chinese and Indian workers in the Mascarene Islands of Mauritius and Réunion as part of early, ultimately unsuccessful, attempts to secure agricultural laborers needed by the islands’ rapidly expanding sugar industries.5 The introduction of large numbers of indentured Indians into Mauritius beginning in 1834–1835 is commonly viewed as marking the real advent of the modern indentured labor system, and underpins the long-standing argument that Mauritius was the crucial test case for the use of indentured labor in the postemancipation colonial plantation world.6

Recent scholarship demonstrates that the use of indentured Asian labor in the colonial world predated the employment of such workers in the Mascarenes by more than twenty years.7 Europeans first attempted to employ Asians as contractual plantation laborers during the first decade of the 19th century when British authorities arranged the recruitment and transportation of 200 Chinese immigrants to Trinidad in 1806 in what proved to be a short-lived experiment with the use of such labor.8 Shortly thereafter, the British East India Company introduced Chinese laborers to its colony of St. Helena in the South Atlantic. By 1817, the island housed 643 Chinese residents, 184 of whom were described as “mechanics,” while the other 459 served as laborers in various capacities. The same period also witnessed two unsuccessful attempts to establish communities of Chinese laborers near the British naval base at Trincomalee in Ceylon. The early 1820s witnessed renewed interest in bringing such workers to the island, a development best illustrated by one British merchant assuring Ceylon’s government in 1826 that if he received the land grant he had requested, he was prepared to import as many as 5,000 Chinese to cultivate the property in question.9

British interest in Chinese labor was not new. As early as 1695, the East India Company’s directors instructed officials at their factory at Bencoolen ( Benkulen, Bengkulu) on Sumatra’s west coast to encourage Chinese merchants, craftsmen, and laborers to settle there, sentiments that they repeated on a number of occasions during the 18th century. The same century also found the company recruiting Chinese craftsmen and laborers for its other establishments in Southeast Asia. While the number of Chinese who reached British Indian Ocean settlements before 1800 remains unknown, their presence raises questions about the extent to which interest in and experience with such workers influenced the recourse to Asian indentured labor during the early 19th century. The existence of a system that reportedly funneled 10,000 to 12,000 Chinese emigrants to Southeast Asia each year at the beginning of the 19th century raises additional questions about how Chinese indentured or “credit-ticket” migration, which is usually viewed as basically a post-1850 phenomenon, should be conceptualized.10

Discussion of the Literature

The Atlantic centrism noted earlier is emblematic of a propensity in colonial migrant labor historiography in general and indentured labor studies in particular toward compartmentalized and tightly focused studies of the indentured experience. This “tyranny of the particular” manifests itself not only geographically but also conceptually and chronologically. The net result has been to hinder the development of a more fully rounded and sophisticated understanding of the indentured experience in all of its complexity and a deeper appreciation of its significance in modern world history. Histories of the Indian Ocean, for example, rarely refer to this large-scale labor migration despite its obvious importance in shaping social, economic, cultural, and political life in many parts of this oceanic basin.11 Asian indentured laborers likewise rarely, if ever, figure in discussions about the Atlantic “world” or how that world should be conceptualized following slave emancipation and the final demise of the transatlantic slave trades in the mid-1860s.12 Indentured workers also rarely figure in discussions about modern Asian diasporas.13

Recent scholarship on European slave trading, abolitionism, and the emergence of increasingly integrated systems of free and forced labor migration in the Indian Ocean, together with compelling new insights into the connections between the early 19th-century convict and indentured labor trades, highlights the need to reassess how indentured labor is studied and conceptualized.14 Transcending the limitations that currently hobble this field of study entails, in the first instance, moving beyond the confines of the paradigm that has dominated scholarly and public discourse about indentured labor since the mid-1970s, a paradigm articulated in Hugh Tinker’s classic 1974 study of the exportation of Indian labor between 1830 and 1920.15 Tinker was not the first historian to examine modern indentured labor migration,16 but his study firmly entrenched the notion, first advanced by 19th-century British abolitionists, that the post-emancipation era witnessed the creation and institutionalization of a “new system of slavery” that incorporated many of the repressive features of the slave systems that preceded the use of indentured labor in European plantation colonies.

The Tinkerian paradigm’s influence is readily discernible in many studies of indentured labor. The argument that the men, women, and children who participated in this migrant labor system were victimized by it figures prominently in scholarly and public perceptions of the indentured experience. Central to this discourse is a preoccupation with examining the legal and quasi-legal dimensions of indentured laborers’ lives and determining the extent to which these workers were “free” or “unfree” persons capable of exercising control over their own lives and destinies.17 Signal features of this approach include a tendency to view colonial systems of labor control as central to understanding the indentured experience and to engage in increasingly stale debates about whether indentured laborers were really free or unfree.

This paradigm has not been without its critics. A number of historians have argued that characterizing indentured labor as little more than a new system of slavery is at least something of a misnomer, that the indentured experience was far more complex and nuanced than is often supposed, and that assessing the extent to which it was or was not a new system requires examining other aspects of that experience, such as these immigrants’ “middle passage” from their homeland to colonial workplace.18 Scholarship on worker agency, and especially worker resistance, has likewise challenged, albeit often only implicitly, the notion that these laborers were little more than the hapless and helpless victims of unscrupulous labor recruiters, estate owners, and colonial officials.

There can be no doubt that tens of thousands of indentured laborers were subjected to abuse and exploitation because of colonial policies and practices designed to restrict their movement, maximize employers’ use of their labor, and limit their opportunities to escape the constraints of wage labor.19 Although reconstructing the indentured experience must necessarily entail coming to terms with such topics, focusing on this dimension of workers’ lives to the exclusion of other equally, if not ultimately more, important aspects of their existence results in a truncated and potentially distorted understanding of that experience. Despite the scholarly preoccupation with desertion, illegal absence, and vagrancy, all too often basic questions about the dynamics of these phenomena have remained unasked and unanswered. Meaningful discussions about labor relations, social control, and related subjects require a reasonable sense not only of the numbers, origins, status, and so on of those who engaged in such activities, but also of the extent to which and the reasons why such activity changed through time. Equally important is the need to appreciate that evidence of such activity can be interpreted in different ways. Data on high desertion, illegal absence, and vagrancy rates, for example, can be viewed as evidence not only of exploitation and oppression but also of laborers’ willingness to challenge the socioeconomic status quo, a point long appreciated by students of maroonage and other forms of slave resistance. Coming to grips with labor control and resistance requires, in essence, a willingness to explore not just the worldview and actions of employers and colonial authorities but also those of indentured immigrants themselves.20

This preoccupation with the legal and quasi-legal dimensions of immigrants’ lives raises another important conceptual problem: the tendency to examine the indentured experience within highly circumscribed social, economic, cultural, and political contexts. The emphasis on the role that slavery-inspired racism played in shaping colonial attitudes and policies about labor relations, to the exclusion of other socioeconomic and cultural variables, is indicative of this penchant toward highly compartmentalized approaches to the indentured experience. So, too, is the tendency to view these men and women only as agricultural laborers, to ignore their interactions with other groups such as emancipated slaves and/or indigenous populations that were an integral component of the colonial societies in which they lived, and to ignore the merchants and “free passengers” who also reached plantation colonies in tandem with indentured immigrants. Most historians of indentured labor have likewise paid little substantive attention to the ways in which structural changes in colonial economies and global markets, such as the dramatic increase in beet sugar production that began during the 1860s and the attendant decline of cane sugar, shaped local socioeconomic developments.

The necessity of doing so is illustrated by developments in Mauritius, where tens of thousands of Old Immigrants, that is, indentured workers who had completed their required five years of “industrial residence,” exploited the opportunities created by these changes to carve out new lives for themselves in ways that had a profound impact on the colony’s social and economic life.21 Their ability to do so cannot be viewed as peripheral to their experience but as an integral part of it. The presence of significant numbers of Indian merchants and other free passengers in colonies such as Natal and Transvaal likewise underscores the need to explore the increasingly important role such individuals could play, not only economically but also politically, in various colonies.22

These conceptual limitations are compounded by a chronological particularism that manifests itself in ahistorical approaches to the indentured experience and/or a propensity to draw a sharp dividing line between the pre- and postemancipation eras. The most obvious consequence of this chronological apartheid, in which the year 1834 has acquired mythic status, is an implicit, if not explicit, tendency to view the indentured experience as a historical phenomenon separate and distinct unto itself. To do so is to ignore David Northrup’s cogent observation that indentured migration must be examined in light of other large-scale human migrations during the 19th and early 20th centuries.23 This point is equally relevant to understanding this system’s origins. Europeans were well versed in using free contractual labor in the colonial world long before the early 19th century. As noted earlier, the period between the 1640s and mid-1770s witnessed the migration of 400,000 to 460,000 or more mostly British indentured “servants” to North America and the Caribbean, a fact that requires careful consideration of the ways in which this early experience with indentured labor influenced the system that developed during the early 19th century. Scholarship on “master–servant” legislation in Britain and the British Empire underscores this point as well.24

Recent scholarship on European slave trading in the Indian Ocean further illustrates the need for greater sensitivity to the complex chronologies of the indentured experience. Almost fifty years ago, Benedicte Hjejle argued in a seminal article on agricultural bondage in southern India that the recruitment of some indentured Indian laborers cannot be understood without reference to slave systems in the subcontinent, and that a significant number of the migrant workers who reached Ceylon between 1843 and 1873 came from the ranks of South India’s agricultural slave population.25 Mauritian immigration registers confirm that Indians of “slave” caste status reached that island in the late 1830s.26 There is good reason accordingly to view the exportation of perhaps as many as 24,000 Indian slaves to the Mascarenes during the 18th century, especially between 1773 and 1793, as establishing the institutional foundations upon which indentured labor migration from India rested during the 19th century.27

Additional evidence of such linkages dates to the mid- and late 1820s, a period that witnessed the recruitment of 3,100 Indian contractual laborers for Réunion, a process in which the former French slave-trading enclaves of Pondichéry, Karaikal, and Yanam figured prominently.28 Pondichéry and Karaikal subsequently played a key role in the migration of at least 79,000 indentured Indians to Réunion, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, and Martinique between 1849 and the mid-1880s. Structural links with slavery and slave-trading systems are likewise a hallmark of the engagé system, usually ignored by Anglophone historians, that entailed the recruitment of 50,000 ostensibly liberated East African and Malagasy slaves and free contractual laborers to work on the French-controlled islands of Mayotte in the Comoros, Nosy Bé off Madagascar’s northwest coast, and Réunion during the second half of the 19th century.29

New insights into the origins of Asian indentured labor migration further illustrate the need to transcend the constraints imposed by this chronological apartheid. As noted earlier, Europeans first made use of Asian contractual agricultural labor in 1806 when British authorities arranged the recruitment and transportation of 200 Chinese immigrants to Trinidad. Shortly thereafter, the British East India Company likewise began to make use of Chinese laborers on St. Helena, while the same era witnessed several ultimately abortive attempts to introduce Chinese laborers into Ceylon.

This British interest in Chinese labor was not new. As early as 1695, the East India Company’s directors instructed officials at their factory at Bencoolen on Sumatra’s west coast to encourage Chinese merchants, craftsmen, and laborers to settle there, sentiments that they repeated during the 18th century. The same century also witnessed company recruitment of Chinese craftsmen and laborers for its settlements elsewhere in Southeast Asia, while the French Compagnie des Indes secured the services of skilled Indian craftsmen and artisans to work in the Mascarenes.30 Although the number of Chinese and Indian contractual workers who reached British and French Indian Ocean establishments before 1800 remains unknown, their presence necessarily raises questions about the extent to which European interest in and experience with these workers influenced the recourse to indentured labor during the early 19th century. The existence of a system that reportedly funneled 10,000 to 12,000 Chinese emigrants to Southeast Asia each year at the beginning of the 19th century31 raises additional questions, not only about the origins of indentured labor migration in general but also about how Chinese indentured or “credit-ticket” migration, which is usually viewed as essentially a post-1850 phenomenon, should be viewed.

Indians soon replaced Chinese as indentured laborers in much of the colonial world, a development that raises the questions of how and why Indians came to be preferred as indentured laborers. Unfortunately, a lack of detailed knowledge about indentured labor recruitment in India before 1842 precludes addressing this question in any substantive way, at least for the time being. However, a partial explanation may rest with the fact that the late 18th and early 19th centuries witnessed the transportation of tens of thousands of Indian convicts throughout the Indian Ocean basin, in part to satisfy the relentless colonial demand for labor. British authorities first transported Indian prisoners overseas in 1787, and between that date and the early 20th century at least 74,800 and perhaps as many as 100,000 or more such individuals were shipped to the Andaman Islands, Bencoolen, Burma, Malacca, Mauritius, Penang, and Singapore.32 Recent scholarship on the similarities between the ways in which British officials processed Indian convicts and indentured laborers indicates that these two labor trades can no longer be viewed in isolation from one another.33

Coming to terms with this issue also requires considering the extent to which this reliance on Indian labor stemmed from the ability of recruiters to tap into internal migrant labor systems.34 Labor exporters who secured indentured Indian workers for Mauritius before 1838 exploited various indigenous migrant labor systems, including those that made use of dhangars, or tribal hill people. Approximately one-third of the 7,000 Indians who reached Mauritius during 1837–1838 were dhangars from the Chota Nagpur plateau in southern Bihar, a region that subsequently supplied 250,000 migrant workers for Assam’s tea plantations during the second half of the century.35 More than 50,000 of these tribal people reportedly reached Mauritius between 1834 and 1870.36 It should be noted that Nepalese and Assamese hill tribesmen were among those enslaved in early 19th-century India, a fact which suggests that the presence of such persons among early indentured Indian populations cannot be discounted pending further research.37

That hill tribesmen found their way to places as far away as Assam and Mauritius underscores the need to transcend the geographical, as well as conceptual and chronological, particularism that afflicts indentured labor studies. Perhaps the most prominent manifestation of this kind of compartmentalization is its pronounced Indo-centrism. While Indians comprised a substantial majority of indentured immigrants, studies on the recruitment of indentured African laborers for European colonies in the Caribbean, Javanese in Suriname and New Caledonia, Tonkinese in Vanuatu, and Chinese in Samoa and Cuba illustrate that significant numbers of peoples from elsewhere than India also participated in this system.38 Any attempt to understand the indentured experience must acknowledge this ethno-cultural diversity and consider the ways in which these different peoples interacted with one another and other local populations. In Mauritius, for example, laborers from diverse parts of northern and southern India labored alongside slaves and freed slave “apprentices” in the island’s cane fields during the 1830s, and next to individuals from China, the Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, Southeast Asia, and Yemen during the mid-19th century.

This geographical particularism also manifests itself in the tendency for scholars to focus on the indentured experience in individual colonies in isolation from one another. Case studies of British Guiana, Fiji, Malaya, Mauritius, Queensland, South Africa, Suriname, and Trinidad, for example, rarely attempt to compare the local experience with that of indentured labor elsewhere, either regionally or globally. An attendant preoccupation with the colonies that received the largest numbers of indentured immigrants has meant that the indentured experience in places such as Belize, the Danish Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mozambique, Samoa, Tahiti, and Vanuatu often remains only partially explored. As work on labor control in Belize illustrates, it is in such ostensibly peripheral locales where the dynamics of the indentured experience can be thrown into sharp relief in ways that make it possible to obtain profound insights that might otherwise escape notice.39

The need to escape the confines of this geographical particularism and explore the multifaceted connections between the constituent elements of this global labor system is likewise highlighted by work on 19th-century British imperial careerism.40 Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon’s career is a classic case in point. Gordon served as governor of Trinidad (1866–1870) before occupying Government House in Mauritius (1871–1874) from which he moved on to govern Fiji (1874–1880) where he oversaw the initial introduction of indentured Indian laborers before continuing on to New Zealand (1880–1882) and finally Ceylon (1883–1890), a colony which, like Trinidad, Mauritius, and Fiji, was also heavily dependent on Indian migrant labor.

The early development of the Natal sugar industry, to cite another example of such intercolonial connectivity, depended on canes and skilled workers imported from Mauritius, while the laborers recruited to work on the colony’s sugar estates and construct its railroads included Indians from Mauritius.41 Not only were Natal’s colonists keenly aware of developments in Mauritius when they campaigned for the right to import Indian labor, but the official responsible for establishing the colony’s recruitment system in India also visited the island en route to the subcontinent, where he toured several sugar estates and collected information about how Indian immigrants were treated.42

Réunionnais immigrants’ role in the development of New Caledonia’s plantation sector is a third example of such linkages, while the scandal that surrounded the kidnapping and introduction of sixty-five Pacific Islanders to Réunion in 1858 had profound implications for the development of the so-called “blackbird” trade in Melanesian workers to Queensland, a trade hitherto viewed only as a Melanesian or South Pacific phenomenon.43 That knowledge of the Mauritian experiment with Indian indentured labor influenced the debate over using such workers in New South Wales between 1836 and 1838 likewise attests to the complex, multidirectional, transnational linkages that were an integral component of this global migrant labor system.44

New Directions in Indentured Labor Research

This growing awareness of, and sensitivity to, transnational indentured labor migration attests to a willingness among some scholars to explore hitherto ignored topics and issues and situate their research in more fully developed local, regional, imperial, and comparative contexts. Additional evidence of this nascent trend can be found in recent studies of Sinhalese estate laborers in Ceylon, Tamil diasporas across the Bay of Bengal, and the role that local peasants and gentry played in shaping the demand for labor in the Assam tea industry.45 At the same time, other scholars have opened intriguing new avenues of inquiry on topics such as Indian indenture labor and the history of international rights regimes; the role that the “coolie question” played in the origins of the “White Australia” policy; the ways in which indentured Indians were co-opted into French debates about slavery after 1848; African reactions to Indian immigration to Natal; the ways in which Chinese immigration encouraged the creation of a common sense of racial identity between Afrikaners and English colonists in early 20th-century South Africa; and health and disease in 19th-century Mauritius.46

While these studies provide welcome new insights into the complexities of the indentured experience, the long-term viability of this emerging historiography will be contingent upon more than simply exploring topics that have hitherto elicited little scholarly interest. Central to this undertaking must be a willingness to draw on the insights by scholars who work on other forms of migrant labor, a commitment that must include asking some of the questions and pursuing the lines of research that have revolutionized slavery studies in recent years. Examples of such scholarship include work on consumerism and globalization in Zanzibar, Asian slaves in colonial Mexico, the intercolonial slave trade in British America, and the impact of malaria on slavery and agriculture in Arabia.47 Equally important must be a willingness to draw on the insights offered by other disciplines. Archaeological research on Seville plantation in Jamaica, to cite a particularly cogent example, has revealed insights into indentured immigrants’ worldview, a topic about which documentary sources usually shed little, if any, light.48 Anthropologists can likewise provide new perspectives on important aspects of indentured worker’s social and cultural lives and those of their descendants,49 as well as the indentured experience’s legacy, a topic which, unlike the growing popular and scholarly interest in the memory of slavery, has attracted little attention.50

Primary Sources

Existing scholarship on indentured labor draws heavily on a wide variety of official governmental documentation, including, but not limited to, dispatches between colonial governors and other officials and their metropolitan superiors; correspondence between the foreign ministries of different countries; correspondence, reports, and so on within and between colonial government departments, officials, and other colonial residents; the annual reports of colonial Protectors of Immigrants; the reports of royal and other commissions of enquiry; and colonial emigration/immigration registers. The most important collection of official primary sources about indentured immigration in the British Empire is housed in the Colonial Office (CO) series at the National Archives of the United Kingdom (NAUK) formerly known as the Public Record Office, at Kew. See Timothy N. Thomas’s 1985 guide for a now-dated introduction to these materials.51 A current guide to NAUK holdings can be accessed online.52 Some of these source materials were also printed in the British Parliament Sessional Papers.53 Comparable documentation for the French Empire is kept at the Centre des Archives d’Outre-Mer (CAOM) in Aix-en-Provence; a guide to these materials can be accessed online.54

Other collections of official documentation about indentured immigration can be found in national, state, or departmental archives of former colonies, the content of which is often discernible by carefully reviewing the bibliographies of case studies of these individual colonies. A review of these case studies can also indicate important nongovernmental sources of information about the indentured experience, such as immigrant petitions and notarial acts.55

Further Reading

  • Allen, Richard B. “Slaves, Convicts, Abolitionism and the Global Origins of the Post-Emancipation Indentured Labor System.” Slavery and Abolition 35.2 (2014): 328–348.
  • Allen, Richard B. Slaves, Freedmen and Indentured Laborers in Colonial Mauritius. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • Anderson, Clare. “Convicts and Coolies: Rethinking Indentured Labour in the Nineteenth Century.” Slavery and Abolition 30.1 (2009): 93–109.
  • Carter, Marina. Lakshmi’s Legacy: The Testimonies of Indian Women in 19th Century Mauritius. Rose Hill, Mauritius: Éditions de l’Océan Indien, 1994.
  • Carter, Marina. Servants, Sirdars and Settlers: Indians in Mauritius, 1834–1874. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • Carter, Marina. Voices from Indenture: Experiences of Indian Migrants in the British Empire. London: Leicester University Press, 1996.
  • Graves, Adrian. Cane and Labour: The Political Economy of the Queensland Sugar Industry. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1993.
  • Hoefte, Rosemarijn. In Place of Slavery: A Social History of British Indian and Javanese Laborers in Suriname. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1998.
  • Kale, Madhavi. Fragments of Empire: Capital, Slavery, and Indian Indentured Labor in the British Caribbean. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998.
  • Kuhn, Philip A. Chinese Among Others: Emigration in Modern Times. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.
  • Lal, Brij V. Girmitiyas: The Origins of the Fiji Indians. Canberra: Journal of Pacific History, 1983.
  • Look Lai, Walton. Indentured Labor, Caribbean Sugar: Chinese and Indian Migrants to the British West Indies, 1838–1918. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.
  • Northrup, David. Indentured Labor in the Age of Imperialism, 1834–1922. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • Richardson, Peter. Chinese Mine Labour in the Transvaal. London: Macmillan, 1982.
  • Sharma, Jayeeta. Empire’s Garden: Assam and the Making of India. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.
  • Shineberg, Dorothy. The People Trade: Pacific Island Laborers and New Caledonia, 1865–1930. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1999.
  • Tinker, Hugh. A New System of Slavery: The Export of Indian Labour Overseas, 1830–1920. 2d ed. London: Hansib, 1993.


  • 1. For an excellent survey of the indentured labor system, see David Northrup, Indentured Labor in the Age of Imperialism, 1834–1922 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1995). Prominent case studies include Peter Richardson, Chinese Mine Labour in the Transvaal (London: Macmillan, 1982); Brij V. Lal, Girmitiyas: The Origins of the Fiji Indians (Canberra: Journal of Pacific History, 1983); Adrian Graves, Cane and Labour: The Political Economy of the Queensland Sugar Industry (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1993); Walton Look Lai, Indentured Labor, Caribbean Sugar: Chinese and Indian Migrants to the British West Indies, 1838–1918 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993); K. O. Laurence, A Question of Labour: Indentured Immigration into Trinidad and British Guiana, 1875–1917 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994); Marina Carter, Servants, Sirdars and Settlers: Indians in Mauritius, 1834–1874 (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995); Rosemarijn Hoefte, In Place of Slavery: A Social History of British Indian and Javanese Laborers in Suriname (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1998); Richard B. Allen, Slaves, Freedmen, and Indentured Laborers in Colonial Mauritius (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Dorothy Shineberg, The People Trade: Pacific Island Laborers and New Caledonia, 1865–1930 (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1999); Karin Speedy, Colons, créoles et coolies: L’immigration réunionnaise en Nouvelle-Caledonie (XIXe siècle) et le tayo de Saint-Louis (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2007); Lisa Yun, The Coolie Speaks: Chinese Indentured Laborers and African Slaves in Cuba (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008); and Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vahed, Inside Indian Indenture: A South African Story, 1860–1914 (Cape Town: HSRC Press, 2010). Important early edited collections include Kay Saunders, ed., Indentured Labour in the British Empire, 1834–1920 (London: Croom Helm, 1984); and P. C. Emmer, ed., Colonialism and Migration: Indentured Labour Before and After Slavery (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1986).

  • 2. Kernial Singh Sandhu, Indians in Malaya: Some Aspects of Their Migration and Settlement (1786–1957) (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1969); Patrick Peebles, The Plantation Tamils of Ceylon (London: Leicester University Press, 2001); Jayeeta Sharma, Empire’s Garden: Assam and the Making of India (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011); and Jayawardena Kumari and Rachel Kurian, Class, Patriarchy and Ethnicity on Sri Lankan Plantations: Two Centuries of Power and Protest (Hyderabad, India: Orient BlackSwan, 2015).

  • 3. David W. Galenson, “The Rise and Fall of Indentured Servitude in the Americas: An Economic Analysis,” Journal of Economic History 44.1 (1984): 1–26; Sharon V. Salinger, “Labor, Markets, and Opportunity: Indentured Servitude in Early America,” Labor History 38.2–3 (1997): 311–338; and Christopher Tomlins, “Reconsidering Indentured Servitude: European Migration and the Early American Labor Force, 1600–1775,” Labor History 42.1 (2001): 5–43.

  • 4. William A. Green, British Slave Emancipation: The Sugar Colonies and the Great Experiment, 1830–1965 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976); Madhavi Kale, Fragments of Empire: Capital, Slavery, and Indian Indentured Labor in the British Caribbean (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998); and Seymour Drescher, The Mighty Experiment: Free Labor versus Slavery in British Emancipation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).

  • 5. Huguette Ly-Tio-Fane Pineo, Lured Away: The Life History of Indian Cane Workers in Mauritius (Moka, Mauritius: Mahatma Gandhi Press, 1984), 14–17; Marina Carter and James Ng Fong Kwong, Forging the Rainbow: Labour Immigrants in British Mauritius (Mauritius: Alfran, 1997), 4–5; Jacques Weber, “L’émigration indienne à La Réunion: ‘Contraire à la morale’ ou ‘utile à l’humanité’? (1829–1860),” in Esclavage et abolitions dans l’océan Indien, 1723–1860, ed. Edmond Maestri, 309–310 (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2002); and Satyendra Peerthum, “‘A Cheap Reservoir of Mankind for Labour’: The Genesis of the Indentured Labour System in Mauritius, 1826–1843,” in Angajé: Explorations into the History, Society and Culture of Indentured Immigrants and Their Descendants in Mauritius, 3 vols., eds. Vijayalakshmi Teelock et al., I: 158–159 (Port Louis, Mauritius: Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund, 2012).

  • 6. I. M. Cumpston, Indians Overseas in British Territories, 1834–1854 (London: Oxford University Press, 1953), 84.

  • 7. Richard B. Allen, “Slaves, Convicts, Abolitionism and the Global Origins of the Post-Emancipation Indentured Labor System,” Slavery and Abolition 35.2 (2014): 328–348.

  • 8. B. W. Higman, “The Chinese in Trinidad, 1806–1838,” Caribbean Studies 12.3 (1972): 21–44.

  • 9. Richard B. Allen, European Slave Trading in the Indian Ocean, 1500–1850 (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2014), 199–202. See also Allen, “Slaves, Convicts.”

  • 10. Allen, European Slave Trading, 197–203. On the need to pay attention to Chinese emigration before 1850, see Craig Lockard, “Chinese Migration and Settlement in Southeast Asia before 1850: Making Fields from the Sea,” History Compass 11.9 (2013): 765–781. Overviews of Chinese emigration include Persia Crawford Campbell, Chinese Coolie Emigration to Countries within the British Empire (London: Frank Cass, 1971); this is a reprint of the 1923 book published in London by P. S. King & Son. Another overview is Philip A. Kuhn, Chinese Among Others: Emigration in Modern Times (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008). See also Arnold J. Meagher, The Coolie Trade: The Traffic in Chinese Laborers to Latin America, 1847–1874 (Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2008).

  • 11. Recent examples include Michael Pearson, The Indian Ocean (London: Routledge, 2003); Milo Kearney, The Indian Ocean in World History (New York: Routledge, 2004); Sugata Bose, A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006); Philippe Beaujard, Les mondes de l’océan Indien, 2 vols. (Paris: Armand Colin, 2012); and Edward A. Alpers, The Indian Ocean in World History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

  • 12. See, for example, Alison Games, “Atlantic History: Definitions, Challenges, and Opportunities,” American Historical Review 111.1 (2006): 741–757; Games, “Beyond the Atlantic: English Globetrotters and Transoceanic Connections,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 63.4 (2006): 675–692; Philip J. Stern, “British Asia and British Atlantic: Comparisons and Connections,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 63.4 (2006): 693–712; and Peter A. Coclanis, “Atlantic World or Atlantic/World?” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser. 63.4 (2006): 725–742.

  • 13. E.g., Judith M. Brown, Global South Asians: Introducing the Modern Diaspora (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2006); and Sunil S. Amrith, Migration and Diaspora in Modern Asia (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

  • 14. Allen, European Slave Trading, 3; and Clare Anderson, “Convicts and Coolies: Rethinking Indentured Labour in the Nineteenth Century,” Slavery and Abolition 30.1 (2009): 93–109. On labor market integration in the eastern Indian Ocean between the 1880s and mid-1930s, see Gregg Huff and Giovanni Caggiano, “Globalization and Labor Market Integration in Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Asia,” Research in Economic History 25 (2008): 285–347.

  • 15. Hugh Tinker, A New System of Slavery: The Export of Indian Labour Overseas, 1830–1920, 2d ed. (London: Hansib, 1993).

  • 16. C. Kondapi, Indians Overseas, 1838–1949 (New Delhi: Indian Council of World Affairs, 1951); Cumpston, Indians Overseas; K. L. Gillion, Fiji’s Indian Migrants (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1962); Adrian C. Mayer, Indians in Fiji (London: Oxford University Press, 1963); and Panchanan Saha, Emigration of Indian Labour (1834–1900) (Delhi: People’s Publishing House, 1970).

  • 17. Paul E. Baak, “About Enslaved Ex-slaves, Uncaptured Contract Coolies and Unfreed Freedmen: Some Notes about ‘Free’ and ‘Unfree’ Labour in the Context of Plantation Development in Southwest India, Early Sixteenth Century–Mid 1990s,” Modern Asian Studies 33.1 (1999): 121–157; and Richard B. Allen, “Maroonage and Its Legacy in Mauritius and in the Colonial Plantation World,” Outre-mers, Revue d’histoire 89.2 (2002): 131–152.

  • 18. Bridget Brereton, “The Other Crossing: Asian Migrants in the Caribbean: A Review Essay,” Journal of Caribbean History 28.1 (1994): 99–122; Carter, Servants, Sirdars, 1–6; Northrup, Indentured Labor, 154. See also Marina Carter, “Indian Indentured Migration and the Forced Labour Debate,” Itinerario 21.1 (1997): 52–61. On the need to reconceptualize indentured labor, see Goolam Vahed and Ashwin Desai, “Indian Indenture: Speaking Across the Oceans,” Man in India 92.2 (2012): 195–213; and Richard B. Allen, “Re-conceptualizing the ‘New System of Slavery,’” Man in India 92.2 (2012): 225–245.

  • 19. Prominent works include David V. Trotman, Crime in Trinidad: Conflict and Control in a Plantation Society, 1838–1900 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1986); Jan Breman, Taming the Coolie Beast: Plantation Society and the Colonial Order in Southeast Asia (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1989); Brij V. Lal, Doug Munro, and Edward D. Beechert, eds., Plantation Workers: Resistance and Accommodation (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1993); Tracey Banivanua‑Mar, Violence and Colonial Dialogue: The Australian-Pacific Indentured Labor Trade (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2007); and Maurits S. Hassankhan, Brij V. Lal, and Doug Munro, eds., Resistance and Indian Indenture Experience: Comparative Perspectives (New Delhi: Manohar, 2014).

  • 20. Marina Carter, Lakshmi’s Legacy: The Testimonies of Indian Women in 19th Century Mauritius (Rose Hill, Mauritius: Éditions de l’Océan Indien, 1994); and Marina Carter, Voices from Indenture: Experiences of Indian Migrants in the British Empire (London: Leicester University Press, 1996).

  • 21. Allen, Slaves, Freedmen, 63–107. See also Richard B. Allen, “Capital, Illegal Slaves, Indentured Labourers and the Creation of a Sugar Plantation Economy in Mauritius, 1810–60,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 36.2 (2008): 151–170.

  • 22. E.g., Ramachandra Guha, Gandhi Before India (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014).

  • 23. Northrup, Indentured Labor, 7–10.

  • 24. Douglas Hay and Paul Craven, eds., Masters, Servants, and Magistrates in Britain and the Empire, 1562–1955 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004).

  • 25. Benedicte Hjejle, “Slavery and Agricultural Bondage in South India in the Nineteenth Century,” Scandinavian Economic History Review 15.1–2 (1967): 71–126.

  • 26. Allen, European Slave Trading, 195–196. The individuals in question were described as Palin and Pulaya. On Pulayas, see K. Saradamoni, Emergence of a Slave Caste: Pulayas of Kerala (New Delhi: People’s Publishing House, 1980).

  • 27. Richard B. Allen, “The Mascarene Slave-Trade and Labour Migration in the Indian Ocean during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries,” in The Structure of Slavery in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia, ed. Gwyn Campbell (London: Frank Cass, 2004), 41–42.

  • 28. André Scherer, Histoire de La Réunion (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1974), 68; Sudel Fuma, L’esclavagisme à La Réunion, 1794–1848 (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1992), 108; Northrup, Indentured Labor, 60; and Weber, “L’émigration indienne à La Réunion,” 309–310.

  • 29. Major studies include François Renault, Libération d’esclaves et nouvelle servitude: Les rachats de captives africains pour le compte des colonies françaises après l’abolition de l’esclavage (Paris: Les Nouvelles Éditions Africaines, 1976); Jehanne-Emmanuelle Monnier, Esclaves de la canne à sucre: Engagés et planteurs à Nossi-Bé, Madagascar, 1850–1880 (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2006). See also Hubert Gerbeau, “Engagees and Coolies in Réunion Island: Slavery’s Masks and Freedom’s Constraints,” in Colonialism and Migration: Indentured Labour Before and After Slavery, ed. P. C. Emmer, 209–236 (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1986); Sudel Fuma, “La traite des esclaves dans le bassin du sud-ouest de l’océan Indien et la France après 1848,” in La route des esclaves: Système servile et traite dans l’est malgache, ed. Ignace Rakoto, 247–261 (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2000); and Fuma, “Les responsabilités de la France dans les déportations d’esclaves africains dans le sud-est de l’océan Indien après 1848,” in Mozambique—Réunion: Esclavages, mémoire et patrimoines dans l’océan Indien, ed. Séverine Cachat, 63–73 (Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, France: Éditions Sépia, 2008).

  • 30. Richard B. Allen, “Lives of Neither Luxury nor Misery: Indians and Free Colored Marginality on the Ile de France (1728–1810),” Revue française d’histoire d’outre-mer 78.292 (1991): 343.

  • 31. Allen, European Slave Trading, 202.

  • 32. Clare Anderson, Convicts in the Indian Ocean: Transportation from South Asia to Mauritius, 1815–53 (London: Macmillan, 2000); Satadru Sen, Disciplining Punishment: Colonialism and Convict Society in the Andaman Islands (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000); Anand A. Yang, “Indian Convict Workers in Southeast Asia in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries,” Journal of World History 14.2 (2003): 179–208; Clare Anderson, The Indian Uprising of 1857–8: Prisons, Prisoners and Rebellion (London: Anthem, 2007); Anderson, “Sepoys, Servants and Settlers: Convict Transportation in the Indian Ocean, 1787–1945,” in Cultures of Confinement: A History of the Prison in Africa, Asia and Latin America, eds. Frank Dikötter and Ian Brown, 185–220 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007); Marcus Rediker, Cassandra Pybus, and Emma Christopher, “Introduction,” in Many Middle Passages: Forced Migration and the Making of the Modern World, eds. Emma Christopher, Cassandra Pybus, and Marcus Rediker, 1–19 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007); and Clare Anderson, Subaltern Lives: Biographies of Colonialism in the Indian Ocean World, 1790–1920 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 23, 25.

  • 33. Anderson, “Convicts and Coolies.”

  • 34. E.g., Ravi Ahuja, “‘Opening up the Country’? Patterns of Circulation and Politics of Communication in Early Colonial Orissa,” Studies in History, n.s., 20.1 (2004): 73–130; and Ian J. Kerr, “On the Move: Circulating Labor in Pre-Colonial, Colonial, and Post-Colonial India,” in Coolies, Capital, and Colonialism: Studies in Indian Labour History, eds. Rana P. Behal and Marcel van der Linden, 85–109 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

  • 35. Carter, Servants, Sirdars, 104; Jayeeta Sharma, “‘Lazy’ Natives, Coolie Labour, and the Assam Tea Industry,” Modern Asian Studies 43.6 (2009): 1305–1307.

  • 36. Pooja Ramchurn-Jokhun, “Tribal Migration,” in Angajé, I: 13.

  • 37. Allen, European Slave Trading, 196–197.

  • 38. Monica Schuler, “Alas, Alas, Kongo”: A Social History of Indentured African Immigration into Jamaica, 1841–1865 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980); Monica Schuler, “The Recruitment of African Indentured Labourers for European Colonies in the Nineteenth Century,” in Colonialism and Migration: Indentured Labour Before and After Slavery, ed. P. C. Emmer, 125–161 (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1986); Ben Featuna’i Liua’ana, “Dragons in Paradise: Chinese (Mis-)Fortunes in Samoa, 1900–1950,” Journal of Pacific History 32.1 (1997): 29–48; Hoefte, In Place of Slavery; Miriam Meyerhoff, “A Vanishing Act: Tonkinese Migrant Labour in Vanuatu in the Early 20th Century,” Journal of Pacific History 37.1 (2002): 45–56; and Yun, The Coolie Speaks; Jean-Luc Maurer, “The Thin Red Line between Indentured and Bonded Labour: Javanese Workers in New Caledonia in the Early 20th Century,” Asian Journal of Social Science 38.6 (2010): 866–879.

  • 39. O. Nigel Bolland, “Systems of Domination after Slavery: The Control of Land and Labor in the British West Indies after 1838,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 23.4 (1981): 591–619.

  • 40. David Lambert and Alan Lester, eds., Colonial Lives across the British Empire: Imperial Careering in the Long Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

  • 41. Surendra Bhana and Joy B. Brain, Setting Down Roots: Indian Migrants in South Africa, 1860–1911 (Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press, 1990), 21, 25. On indentured immigrant remigration/transcolonial labor migration, see Michael Mann, “Migration—Re-Migration—Circulation: South Asian Kulis in the Indian Ocean and Beyond, 1840–1940,” in Connecting Seas and Connected Ocean Rims: Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans and China Seas Migrations from the 1830s to the 1930s, eds. Donna R. Gabaccia and Dirk Hoerder, 108–133 (Leiden: Brill, 2011); Amarjit Kaur, “Indian Ocean Crossings: Indian Labor Migration and Settlement in Southeast Asia, 1870 to 1940,” in Connecting Seas and Connected Ocean Rims: Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans and China Seas Migrations from the 1830s to the 1930s, eds. Donna R. Gabaccia and Dirk Hoerder, 134–166 (Leiden: Brill, 2011); and Yoshina Hurgobin and Subho Basu, “‘Oceans without Borders’: Dialectics of Transcolonial Labor Migration from the Indian Ocean World to the Atlantic Ocean World,” International Labor and Working-Class History 87.1 (2015): 7–26.

  • 42. Thomas R. Metcalf, “‘Hard Hands and South Healthy Bodies’: Recruiting ‘Coolies’ for Natal, 1860–1911,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 30.3 (2002): 1, 3. On the competition between Natal and Mauritius for agricultural laborers, see Peter Richardson, “The Natal Sugar Industry in the Nineteenth Century,” in Crisis and Change in the International Sugar Economy, eds. Bill Albert and Adrian Graves, 238 (Norwich, U.K.: ISC, 1984).

  • 43. See the following by Karin Speedy: Colons, créoles et coolies; “Who Were the Réunion ‘Coolies’ of 19th-Century New Caledonia?” Journal of Pacific History 44.2 (2009): 123–140; “From the Indian Ocean to the Pacific: Affranchis and Petits-Blancs in New Caledonia,” PORTAL Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies 9.1 (2012); and “The Sutton Case: The First Franco-Australian Foray into Blackbirding,” Journal of Pacific History 50.3 (2015): 344–364.

  • 44. Rose Cullen, “Empire, Indian Indentured Labour and the Colony: The Debate over ‘Coolie’ Labour in New South Wales, 1836–1838,” History Australia 9.1 (2012): 84–109.

  • 45. See, respectively, Roland Wenzlhuemer, “The Sinhalese Contribution to Estate Labour in Ceylon, 1881–1891,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 48.3 (2005): 442–458; Sunil S. Amrith, Crossing the Bay of Bengal: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013); and Sharma, “‘Lazy’ Natives”; Raj Boodhoo, Health, Disease and Indian Immigrants in Nineteenth Century Mauritius (Port Louis, Mauritius: Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund, 2010).

  • 46. See, respectively, Rachel Sturman, “Indian Indentured Labor and the History of International Rights Regimes,” American Historical Review 111.5 (2014): 1439–1465; Tony Ohlsson, “The Origins of a White Australia: The Coolie Question, 1837–43,” Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society 97.2 (2011): 203–219; Kate Marsh, “‘Rights of the Individual’, Indentured Labour and Indian Workers: The French Antilles and the Rhetoric of Slavery Post 1848,” Slavery and Abolition 33.2 (2012): 221–231; Heather Hughes, “‘The Coolies Will Elbow Us Out of the Country’: African Reactions to Indian Immigration in the Colony of Natal, South Africa,” Labour History Review 72.2 (2007): 155–168; and Tu T. Huynh, “‘We Are Not a Docile People’: Chinese Resistance and Exclusion in the Re-Imagining of Whiteness in South Africa, 1903–1910,” Journal of Chinese Overseas 8.2 (2012): 137–168.

  • 47. See, respectively, Jeremy Prestholdt, Domesticating the World: African Consumerism and the Genealogies of Consumerism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008); Pedro Machado, Ocean of Trade: South Asian Merchants, Africa and the Indian Ocean, c. 1750–1850 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2014); Tatiana Seijas, Asian Slaves in Colonial Mexico (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2014); Gregory O’Malley, Final Passages: The Intercolonial Slave Trade of British America, 1619–1807 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014); and Benjamin Reilly, Slavery, Agriculture, and Malaria in the Arabian Peninsula (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2015).

  • 48. Douglas Armstrong and Mark W. Hauser, “An East Indian Laborers’ Household in Nineteenth-Century Jamaica: A Case for Understanding Cultural Diversity through Space, Chronology, and Material Analysis,” Historical Archaeology 38.2 (2004): 9–21.

  • 49. E.g., Chandra Jayawardena, “The Disintegration of Caste in Fiji Indian Rural Society,” in Anthropology in Oceania: Essays Presented to Ian Hogbin, eds. L. R. Hiatt and Chandra Jayawardena, 89–119 (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1971); Chandra Jayawardena, “Farm, Household and Family in Fiji Indian Rural Society,” in Overseas Indians: A Study in Adaptation, eds. George Kurian and Ram P. Srivastava, 141–179 (New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1983); John D. Kelly, “‘Coolie’ as a Labour Commodity: Race, Sex, and European Dignity in Colonial Fiji,” in Plantations, Proletarians and Peasants in Colonial Asia, eds. E. Valentine Daniel, Henry Bernstein, and Tom Brass, 246–267 (London: Frank Cass, 1992); Oddvar Hollup, Bonded Labor: Caste and Cultural Identity among Tamil Plantation Workers in Sri Lanka (New Delhi: Sterling, 1994); and Patrick Eisenlohr, Little India: Diaspora, Time, and Ethnolinguistic Belonging in Hindu Mauritius (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006).

  • 50. E.g., Douglas Hamilton, Kate Hodgson, and Joel Quirk, eds., Slavery, Memory and Identity: National Representations and Global Legacies (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2012).

  • 51. Timothy N. Thomas, Indians Overseas: A Guide to Source Materials in the India Office Records for the Study of Indian Emigration, 1830–1950 (London: British Library, 1985).

  • 52.

  • 53. For an example of the kind of documentation available in these papers, see Northrup, Indentured Labor, 167–168.

  • 54.

  • 55. For examples of the use of such documentation, see Carter, Lakshmi’s Legacy; Carter, Voices from Indenture; and Allen, Slaves, Freedmen.