Indentureship vs. Slavery

Topics: Slavery, Caribbean, Indentured servant Pages: 7 (1981 words) Published: June 12, 2013
S.B.A QUESTION: According to the views of Hugh Tinker, East Indian Indentureship 1845-1917 incorporated many of the repressive features of African enslavement, which induced the East Indians to resort to many of the responses and actions of their African counterparts in bondage. With reference to any one British Caribbean colony, to what extent do you support this view?

Statement of Aim______________________________________________________1 Rationale_____________________________________________________________2 Introduction__________________________________________________________3 Terms under which indentured servants were bound to labour in comparison to those which bounded the enslaved __________________________________________________5 Conditions faced by the indentured servants in the middle passage in comparison to those faced by the enslaved_______________________________________________________6 Conditions faced by the indentured servants on the plantations in comparison to those faced by the enslaved_________________________________________________________7 Resistance methods by the indentured in contrast to the enslaved_______________8 Conclusion__________________________________________________________9

In this project the reader should have a clear understanding of the similarities and differences between indentureship and enslavement. They should be able to gain a better awareness of the treatment of the enslaved Africans and that of the indentured East Indians. They should be able to derive their own conclusion on whether or not East Indian Indentureship was just a new system of enslavement.

The reason for this topic being chosen was to identify, analyze, interpret and understand the view made by Hugh Tinker that indentureship was just ‘a new system of slavery.’ History encourages the brain to utilize information, whether views or facts, given and analyze it in order to acquire you own view on the topic; this topic, for me, brought out the ability to do this. Although there are various similarities between the both systems, there are also many factual differences between them; this therefore allowed me to use my skills as a historian. This topic was very appealing which brought about my interest in doing this project.

After the abolition of the enslaved trade and enslavement, planters had to find a new source of labour. In response to many reasons, the employers decided to import labourers from abroad. One of the reasons was that the ex-enslaved were then free and able to choose their own employers and thus, very few returned to the plantations on which they were enslaved. Thereby, the plantocracy found difficulties in getting labour on terms that they could control and resorted in immigrant labour. The most consequential immigration strategy involved the Indians; Madeirans, Chinese and Europeans were also imported but the Indians were larger in numbers and proved more effective. The first group of 226 Indians arrived in Trinidad in 1845 on the Fatel Rozack. The planters thought that they made a very positive contribution to the economy and requested 4,000 more in 1846; in total the number of Indian labourers imported to Trinidad was 143, 939 during the period of 1845- 1917 (refer to Appendix 1). The emigrants came to the Caribbean in order to escape harsh economic distress in India. They hoped for higher wages and a better lifestyle. Additionally, some women emigrated to escape stifling marriages or family life. Recruiters were appointed to find emigrants and were supposed to be truthful about the conditions they would face and places they were to go. However, most Indians consented to emigration based on false promises. Recruiters were paid in accordance the number of people they persuaded to leave India. They had difficulties in finding female emigrants...

Bibliography: 1. La Guerre, John G., and Ann Marie Bissessar. Calcutta to Caroni and the Indian Diaspora. St.Augustine, Trinidad: School of Continuing Studies,The University of the West Indies, 2005. Print.
4. Shepherd, Verene A. Maharani’s Misery, Narratives of a passage from India to the Caribbean. Mona Kingston 7, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2002. Print.
5. Tinker,Hugh. A New System of Slavery 1830-1920 The Export of Indian Labour Overseas. U.S.A: The Hansib Publishing Company Limited, London, 1993. Print.
6. Roopnarine, Lomarsh. Indo-Caribbean Indenture: Resistance and Acommodations. Kingston 7, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2007. Print.
7. Sookdeo, Neil A. Freedom, Festivals and Caste in Trinidad After Slavery: A Society in Transition. Trinidad: Neil A. Sookdeo, 2000. Print.
8. Samaroo, Brinsley, Dr. Kusha Haracksingh, Prof. Ken Ramchand, Gérard Beson, and Dianne Quentrall-Thomas. In Celebration of 150yrs of The Indian Contribution to Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad: Diane Quentrall-Thomas, 1995. Print.
9. Beckles, Hilary McD and Verene Shepherd. Freedoms Won- Caribbean Emancipations, Ethnicities and Nationhood. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.
APPENDIX 1: Table showing the number of Indians imported to the Caribbean, 1838-1917
APPENDIX 2: Cross-section of a coolie ship. 1880
Source: Roopnarine, Lomarsh
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