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Indian Girls In Jamaica

Over 36,000 Indians were taken to Jamaica as indentured workers between 1845 and 1917, with around two thirds of them remaining on the island.. The demand for their labour came after the end of slavery in 1830 and the failure to attract workers from Europe. Indian labourers, who had proved their worth in similar conditions in Mauritius were sought by the Jamaican Government, in addition to workers coming from China. Indian workers were actually paid less than the former West African slaves and were firmly at the bottom on the social ladder. The legacy of these social divisions was to linger for many decades.

The Indian Government encouraged indentured labour and recruiting depots were established in Calcutta and Madras although agents were paid significantly less, per recruit, than for a European workers. Most Indians who signed contracts did so in the hope of returning to India with the fruits of their labour, rather than intending to migrate permanently. The Indian Government appointed a Protector of Immigrants in Jamaica, although this office tended to protect the interests of the employers rather than the workers. Although technically the workers had to appear before a magistrate and fully understand their terms and conditions, these were written in English and many workers, signing only with a thumb print, did not comprehend the nature of their service.

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