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date: 10 December 2022

South Asian Diaspora in the Caribbeanlocked

South Asian Diaspora in the Caribbeanlocked

  • Lomarsh RoopnarineLomarsh RoopnarineHistory and Philosophy, Jackson State University

Summary

Labor demands following the abolition of slavery in the 19th century led to the arrival of five hundred thousand indentured South Asians between 1838 and 1920 in the plantation zones of the Caribbean. Of this total, two-thirds of them stayed in the Caribbean when their five-year contract expired while a third went back to their homeland of India. These indentured servants used their one-sided contracts to revive the post-slavery plantation system and to develop themselves and their communities. By the Second World War, these once cyclical migrants turned settlers had become a majority population in Guyana, Trinidad, and Suriname, as well as visible minorities in the French Caribbean, Jamaica, and the Lesser Antilles. In so doing, they have retained substantial aspects of their culture, customs, and religion while adapting to a creolized Caribbean. These Indians have contributed to nation-building in the Southern Caribbean in fields including leadership, law, medicine, and business. However, political and ethnic tensions arising from poor governance have led to the steady out-migration of this population from the Caribbean to Europe and North America, where they have experienced new challenges of integration while sending remittances to their Caribbean homeland. Nonetheless, Indians of South Asian background have maintained a different and distinct identity whenever and wherever they have settled in the Caribbean and overseas.

Subjects

  • History of the Caribbean
  • Cultural History
  • Social History

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