Coolies – How Britain re-invented slavery – videos
This story tells you how England recruited people from India under “contract” to replace the African labour in agriculture after slavery was abolished in 1834. It is believed that these Indians were tricked into leaving India to go places like Guyana, Fiji & Africa, to work as “Indentured Labourers”.
In this documentary one man is looking for any sign of his great grand father who came to Guyana. Another man also looks for his roots in Fiji. Indians had to deal with SOME of the same living conditions and cruelty that the Africans, and others, endured earlier under slavery, before 1834
In this case, however, unlike under African based slavery, there was a time limit for their labour, even though it was harsh at times. They were free after their five year “contract” to renew their contract, or return to India or accept land in lieu of their passage home as was the case in in British Guiana (Guyana).
In British Guiana, After slavery was abolished the Africans got their “freedom” but no land or compensation for over 200 years labour by them and their ancestors. They had to work and save to buy abandoned estates to form their first villages like Victoria, Beterverwagting and Buxton on the East Coast of Demerara.
In Guyana’s 2002 Census, people claiming to be East Indian made up 43.45% of the population of 751,233. ( see Census Reports here)