The Hindus of the Caribbean: An Appreciation
On May 5, 1838, the Whitby, a British ship docked in British Guiana (now known as Guyana) with 249 human cargo after a nearly three-month voyage from the Port of Calcutta in India. Along the way, many of those on board were abused by the ship’s crew, and five died.
The Whitby was the first of many chartered ships that would bring Indians — mostly poor Hindus from rural northern India — to work on the sugar cane plantations in the British West Indies. Over the next 80 years, more than 500,000 Indians would make the trip to the Caribbean as indentured servants, primarily to places such as Guyana and Trinidad. Their story — shaped by the trauma of Transatlantic migration, struggles in a new environment, and eventually the triumph of forging a distinct identity — continues to be an overlooked part of colonial history. Continue reading