Indentured Labour in the British Empire, 1834-1920: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Indentured Labour in the British Empire, 1834-1920

1st Edition

Edited by Kay Saunders


344 pages

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First published in 1984. Indentured labour migration in the nineteenth century intersects many of the most serious issues of our own time - racism, Third World poverty, and the arrogance of a great world powers. Indenture suggests lack of freedom and the exploitation of people formed into exile or misadventure. Coming as it did after the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1834, in many respects it can be regarded as a replacement of the slave labour system. Indeed, both concerned humanitarians and officials in the nineteenth century, and many historians subsequently have regarded indentured labour merely as 'a new system of slavery'.

Many of the articles in this book address themselves to this assertion, whilst investigating the particular variations inherent in their geographic area. The differing patterns of Indian indenture in the West Indies and British Guiana, coming almost immediately after slavery, forms the first section of this book. Attention is given to the Indians engaged in the sugar industries in Mauritius and Fiji, and the rubber industry in Malaya. The use of Pacific Islanders in the Queensland industry is also examined, particularly in the sugar industry which, by the early twentieth century, contained the unique pattern of white, expensive, unionized labour. Other groups dealt with include the aboriginal workers in Australia and the Chinese workers in the Transvaal.

Overall, this book is comprehensive and far-reaching in its scope and the complex issues which it raises.

Table of Contents

List of Tables; List of Maps and Illustrations; Acknowledgements; List of Contributors; Introduction; 1. The West Indies and Indentured Labour Migration - The Jamaican Experience William A. Green 2. The Impact of Indentured Immigration on the Political Economy of British Guiana Alan H. Adamson 3. Indentured Labour in Trinidad 1880-1917 Marianne D. Ramesar 4. From Slavery to Indenture: Forced Labour in the Political Economy of Mauritius 1834-1867 M.D. North-Coombes 5. Labouring Men and Nothing More: Some Problems of Indian Indenture in Fiji Brij V Lal 6. South Indian Labour in Malaya, 1840-1920: Asylum Stability and Involution Ravindra K. Jain 7. 'Kings' in Brass Crescents. Defining Aboriginal Labour Patterns in Colonial Queensland Raymond Evans 8. The Workers' Paradox: Indentured Labour in the Queensland Sugar Industry to 1920 Kay Saunders 9. Chinese Indentured Labour in the Transvaal Gold Mining Industry 1904-1910 Peter Richardson; Index

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: The British Empire

The volumes in this set, originally published between 1968 and 1989, draw together research by leading academics in the area of the British Empire and provides an examination of related key issues. The volumes examine slavery in the British Empire, problems encountered in India in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, as well as the Empire at its most powerful. This set will be of particular interest to students of British, colonial, and world history.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General