Indenture and Mauritius

My research whilst here in Mauritius focuses on the Indentured Indian and time-expired (those who had completed their contracts) population on the island. Following the abolition of slavery, Mauritius required a labour force to produce the sugar that its economy had become so dependent on. Mauritius was the first British colony to recruit labourers from India to work on its sugar plantations in 1829 (shortly after its neighbour Réunion). Indians were recruited, principally from northern India (Bihar, Uttar Pradesh) through the port of Calcutta (Kolkata), from southern India (Tamil Nadu) through the port of Madras (Chennai) and also initially through the port of Bombay (Mumbai). Labourers were recruited for a determined number of years, after which they could renew their contract or return to India. This of course is a very general description of the Indian Indenture Scheme for those coming across the term for the first time and I hope to elaborate further on some of its peculiarities at a later date. One final point for now – whilst Indians make up the bulk of indentured labourers who were transported to various colonies throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries to work on sugar plantations, there were also other groups that worked as indentured labourers alongside them; Javanese in Surinam, Madeirans in British Guiana, Melanesians in Fiji, Chinese in Cuba…



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