Fri . 19 Nov 2019
TR | RU | UK | KK | BE |


indo vincentian home, indo vincentian academy
Indo-Vincentians are an ethnic group in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines who are mainly descendants of indentured laborers from India There are about 5,900 people of Indian origin living in the country1


  • 1 Indenture
    • 11 Origin
    • 12 Immigration
    • 13 Living conditions
    • 14 Protests
    • 15 End of indenture
  • 2 Assimilation and post-indenture life
  • 3 Emigration
  • 4 Present day
  • 5 Culture
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 Further reading


Further information: Indian indenture system


The French established sugar cane plantations in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 18th century using African slave labour France ceded the colony to the British through the Treat of Versailles in 1783 The arrival of the British also brought many Scottish slave owners to the island2 Following the abolition of slavery in British colonies in the West Indies on 1 August 1838, plantation owners in the region sought to find an alternative to African slave labour The British established Crown Rule in India in 1858 Shortly thereafter, the British began offering Indians contract work in the West Indies Poor economic conditions in colonial India, which were exacerbated by famines in the 1870s, resulted in many Indians signing up for contracts The British Indian government required St Vincent to enact laws regarding terms and conditions of contract service, which were enacted by in 1857 The St Vincent Legislature also enacted export taxes to fund the acquisition of indentured workers from India Planters who requested the service of Indian indentured workers were required to pay GBP1,807 towards acquisition costs, while the remaining GBP2,418 was funded through the export taxes and other government revenue St Vincent spent more than GBP80,600 to procure Indian workers by 1890 The expenditure had significant financial impact on the colony, and the cost of acquiring indentured workers led to the government neglecting to spend money on infrastructure, health and education3

Per the terms of the contracts offered, the Indian workers would be paid 10 pence per day working on the plantation estate The indenture period was five years, during which they were required to live on the estate at which they worked and were prohibited from leaving it without permission They were also barred from traveling to other Caribbean islands even after the end of their indenture period At the end of the five-year period, Indian workers were required to sign a three-year extension, or pay a fee to exempt them from the extension Those that agreed to the extension would also receive free housing, medical care and a free return trip to India at the end of the three-year indenture period The system was intended to ensure that the maximum number of workers extended their contracts The indenture contracts were amended in 1874 to increase the length of the extension period to five-years To further persuade Indians to remain on the plantations for as long as possible, a one-time signing fee of GBP10 was also provided to workers who extended their contracts Around 400 Indians were re-indentured in 18753


The first ship carrying indentured workers from India, the Travancore, departed from Madras on 26 February 1861 with 258 South Indians on board - 160 adult males, 62 adult females, 18 boys, 13 girls, and 5 infants It arrived at the western end of the Kingstown harbour in the suburb of Edinboro on 1 June 1861 Today, the area of the landing site is known as Indian Bay Unlike most other immigrant ships that suffered from high mortality rates, no one died during the voyage on board the Travancore In fact, two births occurred during the voyage, meaning that the ship arrived in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with more passengers than when it departed Madras The Travancore was the only ship carrying Indian indentured workers to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines that departed from Madras; the other departed from Calcutta Despite departing from Madras, official records show only a few of the passengers came from the city The majority were from the districts of Vizagapatam, North Arcot, Madura, Chittoor, Vellore, Bangalore, and Barempore456

The next ship carrying Indian indentured workers to the country, the Castle Howard, arrived on 11 April 1862 at Kingstown harbour with 307 Indians on board En route from India, the ship had stopped at St Helena where 14 Kru African men were taken on board This led to protests from the British India government which had paid for the voyage of its dominion residents7 Other ships that carried Indian indentured workers include the Countess of Ripon arrived in 1866 with 214 Indians, the Newcastle arrived on 3 June 1867 with 473 Indians, the Imperatrice Eugenie arrived on 12 July 1869 with 349 Indians, the Dover Castle arrived on 27 June 1871 with 325 Indians, and the Lincelles arrived on 8 January 1875 with 333 Indians The last ship carrying indentured Indian immigrants, the Lightning, arrived on 22 May 1880 with 214 Indians on board89

In total, 8 ships transported 2,474 Indians to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines between 1861 and 1880, excluding those who died during the voyage4 By 1884, around 1,100 returned to India after completing their indenture period The Indians that remained in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are the origin of the Indo-Vincentian community4

Living conditionsedit

Living conditions for Indian workers on the plantation estates were harsh Many Indians died within a year of arriving in Saint Vincent Although plantation owners were required to maintain detailed records of work done, and food and medical care provided, this was never done and most plantation owners only kept partial records, if any There were no medical facilities for Indian workers A large number of Indians died as a result of bowel diseases such yaw and worm infections Others died from ulcers that were not treated and did not heal British Colonial Office records from 1879 mention that many Indians who contracted yaws were expelled from the estates and left to die Plantation owners generally lacked empathy for and mistreated indentured workers, a legacy of slavery Plantations owners also complained that Indians did less work than Creoles, and illegally lowered their wages in violation of the contract terms For instance, the owner of the Rutland Vale Estate claimed that Indians did only half work assigned to them and cut their wages in half Similar practices occurred on other estates in Saint Vincent Plantation owners who paid monthly wages often made illegal deductions to wages paid out to workers Most estate owners provided poor housing conditions for workers and their families3 Owners also manipulated workers' contracts to deny them their right of free passage to India5

Indian workers complained that they had been deceived about the nature of work in Saint Vincent, and that the wages they received were less than those paid to indentured workers on other Caribbean islands However, Indians had limited avenues for redress as they were barred from leaving the estates and therefore could not visit a magistrate's office The only colonial administration official they came into contact with, the Immigration Agent, was also apathetic to their plight For instance, following an inspection of an estate that employed Indian workers, Immigration Agent E Musson described the worker's diet as "garbage" because they were vegitarians, and also described them as having "great filthiness of habit" which held responsible for the low quality of their housing Immigration Agents routinely ignored the rapidly deteriorating conditions of workers' housing in estates across the island3

Female Indian workers suffered additional hardships Plantation owners did not provide any child care options for women with children If women took time off from work to attend to their children, owners deducted their wages As result, women typically earned less than the men and were more malnourished and more likely to fall ill They were also in danger of being sexually exploited and were offered little protection by the colonial administration who viewed the women were "immoral" Lieutenant-Governor Rennie wrote that female Indian migrants came from a class which was "not very rigid in their morality" Despite there being twice as many male Indian workers on an estate as females, Rennie wrote that the women "are quite sufficient for the men they accompany" because of their class and could be "expected to provide at least two men with sexual relations" In 1870, a female Indian indentured worker on the Agyll Estate named Saberchanney was reportedly held down by several men and flogged on her back 18 times by English overseer Samuel Parsons This reportedly a punishment for refusing to have sex with another Indian worker Saberchanney did not report the incident, but it came to light after a carpenter witnessed the flogging and complained Lieutenant-Governor Berkeley Parsons was later prosecuted for his actions3

Following repeated complaints of maltreatment, Governor Robinson appointed RP Cropper, the St Lucia Protector of Indians, to investigate the conditions of Indian indentured labourers in Saint Vincent Cropper's report found that poverty and disease were widespread among the workers, yaws were common, and many workers were abnormally thin and malnourished Cropper stated that living and working conditions failed to meet the requirements set by the Immigration Act He found that most worker housing was unfit for living and required urgent repairs or had to be demolished and rebuilt entirely3 Despite the damning report, conditions for workers worsened in the subsequent years3


Indentured workers who attempted to complain about their living and working conditions were often prosecuted and imprisoned or sentenced to hard labour, as the terms of their contracts barred from leaving their assigned estates Magistrates in Saint Vincentian courts were often biased towards plantation owners, as they belonged to the same social class A group of Indian male labourers protested by marching to Kingstown from their estate in 1861 This is first known instance of an organized protest by the indentured workers in Saint Vincent The workers demanded that their work load be reduced However, authorities arrested their leader He was convicted of breach of contract and sentenced to 20 days of hard labour A group led by George Gordon who may have been a Creole and including 7 Indian indentured workers went on strike at the Cane Grove Estate in 1873 All of them were convicted of breaching their contract3

In 1861, a group of male labourers from one estate marched into Kingstown to demand a reduction in their work load, their leader was sentenced to twenty days hard labour for breaking his contract In 1873, seven Indians were convicted of breaking their contract after they attempted to strike on Cane Grove Estate Their leader was George Gordon who was possibly a creole The next protest by Indian indentured workers occurred nearly a decade later on 7 October 188235 A group of 30-50 Indian male workers marched from the Argyll and Calder estates into Kingstown, attempting to present their concerns directly to Lieutenant-Governor Gore Their primary concerns were their living and working conditions, and denial of their right of return to India As with previous protests, magistrates ordered the arrest of the workers and convicted them for breaching their contracts by leaving their assigned estates The leaders of the groups were also fined US$5 each3

Despite the failure of the workers to reach Lieutenant-Governor Gore, the 1882 protest would achieve some success afterward A group of 7 Indian workers from the Argyll Estate who had been convicted for breach of contract managed to file a petition with the Colonial Office, with the assistance of a barrister named George Smith The petition was successful, and the 7 workers successfully won their right of return to India The group was popularly known as the "Argyle Seven" Their case also revealed that plantation owners had failed to keep detailed records as required by law This led to the Colonial Office declaring that Indian workers that had no work or housing in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines should be granted the right to return to India5 Nearly 1,000 Indians were able to return to India because of this declaration3

A much more common and subtle form of protest was also employed by Indian workers, referred to by Immigration Agents as "skulking" or "idleness" For instance, colonial records from November 1861, show that only 111 of the 258 Indian indentured workers residing on 11 estates in the country were working Twenty-four of the workers who were not working were recorded as "skulking", and another 14 had absconded from the estate Colonial records for 1871 show that Indian workers worked only 93,354 out the 154,774 days that they were scheduled to work, with nearly 15% of Indian workers recorded as "skulking" Plantation owners attempted to curb "skulking" by flogging workers, however, records show that practice continued regardless and many estate owners were unable to enforce a full work week

Violent protests by Indian indentured workers was rare, however, there are some recorded instances of arson and physical assault committed by Indian indentured workers3

End of indentureedit

By 1875, nearly 30% of the Indians who arrived in Saint Vincent since 1861 had emigrated to other Caribbean countries, particularly Trinidad3 However, the colonial government wanted Indians to remain in Saint Vincent, and in 1879, an Act of Parliament was enacted to bar ships from transporting Indians out of Saint Vincent5 Saint Vincent was unable to import any more Indian indentured workers after 1880, as the Government did not have sufficient funds The severe decline in the price of sugar in 1882 made the venture even more uneconomical3

By 1884, around 1,100 people returned to India after completing their indenture period4 The ship transporting Indian indentured workers back to India departed from Kingstown on 1 August 1885 The harbour was lined with armed officers and milita who sought to prevent Indians that were still indentured or those that had forfeited their right of return in exchange for a one-time payment of GBP10 from leaving3

By the beginning of the 20th century, there were around 500 Indians in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,10 mostly residing in the estates surrounding the Soufriere volcano, on Lot 14, Tourama, Waterloo, and Orange Hill Two natural disasters near the turn of the century had a significant impact on the Indian population Many Indians were killed by a hurricane in 1898 and the eruption of the Soufriere volcano in 19024 The natural disasters also heavily damaged the sugar industry The Government disbanded the estate system and introduced a new land settlement scheme that permitted Indians to purchase property in other parts of the island Most of the Indo-Vincentian community left the estates and moved to near Kingstown, settling at areas such as Calder, Akers, Argyle, Richland Park, Park Hill, Georgetown and Rose Bank Others chose to emigrate to Trinidad and Guyana which had larger Indian communities, higher wages and legal rights for Indians The indenture system was abolished in the Caribbean in the 1920s3

Assimilation and post-indenture lifeedit

The Indians that remained in the country have assimilated with the local population and do not retain aspects of Indian culture or language3 This is a common phenomenon among Indo-Carribeans in nations with small Indian populations Indo-Carribeans in countries with larger populations such as Trinidad, Guyana and Suriname maintain Indian cultural and religious practices even today Indo-Vincentian historian Arnold Thomas attributes the loss of Indian heritage to conversion by Christian churches, lack of an Indian school or temple, lack of ties with India, and change in cuisine

Christian churches were active in converting Indians and baptising Indian infants Within a year of the first Indians arriving in Saint Vincent, churches had converted many of the indentured workers and new-bor children of workers were baptised and given Anglo-Saxon names after the plantation owners or the overseers The Anglican and Wesleyan Churches competed with each other for followers, and often re-baptised an Indian who had been baptised by the other church Although immigration laws permitted Indian workers to practice any faith, much like the rest of the West Indies, colonial authorities generally encouraged churches to convert workers Further, unlike Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname, no temples or mosques were established for Indians in Saint Vincent Another issue was the difficulty Indians in Saint Vincent had to maintain ties with their homeland Letters took several months to send and receive, and were often not sent or delivered by colonial authorities or plantation owners They also spread propaganda about poor conditions in India such as outbreaks of famines and disease Although school was established for Indian children at the Argylle Estate, it closed within a year The lack of an Indian school accelerated the loss of Indian languages Indian workers in Saint Vincent were also forced alter their cuisine and switch Creole cuisine, as they were unable to obtain ingredients to prepare Indian food4

Relations between Indians and Creoles was strained from the arrival of the first Indian indentured workers in the country Creole workers resented the fact that Indian workers received higher wages In the early 1860s, Immigration Agent E Musson noted that the Indian community was "unaware of the jealousy that local labourers felt towards them" Following protests by Indian workers in 1862, Creole workers blamed them for rising poverty and unemployment in the country They also chased some Indian workers off estates through intimidation and threats3


The Indo-Vincentian population reached an estimated 5,000-10,000 by the 1950s10 However, a combination of societal discrimination and a lack of economic opportunities in the country led to most the community emigrating to the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and other nations According to historian Richard B Cheddie, "Faced with economic, cultural intolerance, and the mother nature's wrath, they Indians had to depend on each other more Also, the missionaries were actively working on converting them to Christianity which is why most bear European surnames today The Indians there face still some overt and subtly forms of racism and are sometimes regard as the lowest class citizens Over time many to moved off the island to seek greener pasture"11 Today, a sizeable Indo-Vincentian community is found in the High Wycombe Urban Area of Buckinghamshire in England, New York City in the United States, the Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands, as well as parts of Canada4

Present dayedit

According to a 2016 estimate, Indo-Vincentians made up 6% of the country's population and were the third largest ethnic group in country, after Africans 66% and people of mixed race 19%12 As a result of interracial marriages, it is estimated that around 15% of the total population of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is at least partially of Indian descent13 The Saint Vincent and Grenadines Indian Heritage Foundation, established in October 2006, is the most prominent organization representing the Indo-Vincentian community13

The Parliament of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines enacted an Act of Parliament on 26 March 2007 officially declaring the 1st of June as Indian Arrival Day The first official commemoration of the event was held on 1 June that year14 The day is marked annually by a re-enactment of the landing of Indians at Indian Bay, Kingstown, followed by a procession to Heritage Square Several Indian cultural events are also held to mark the occasion15 The first International Indian Diaspora Conference was held for the first time on 1-3 June 2012 It was organized by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin International GOPIO-SVG, in partnership with the SVG Indian Heritage Foundation, and under the patronage of the SVG Ministry of Tourism and Culture This was the first international conference for the Indian diaspora held in the country Similar conferences had been held in other Caribbean nations since 19751617

The Government of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines officially designated the 7th of October as Indian Heritage Day13


Most of the Indo-Vincentian community no longer speak Indian languages However, some Indian words, particularly those relating to food such as roti bread, channa chick pea, and karela bitter gourd have influenced the Vincentian language and are still used today The term dougla used to refer to persons of mixed African and Asian race is of Hindi origin18 Indian food such as curry, roti, rice and daal are a commonly consumed as part of Vincentian cuisine5

See alsoedit

  • India–Saint Vincent and the Grenadines relations
  • Indo-Caribbean
  • Hinduism in the West Indies
  • Islam in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines


  1. ^ Joshua Project - East Indian of St Vincent and Grenadinesunreliable source
  2. ^ Fodor's 28 December 2010 "ST VINCENT" Fodor's Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent, the Grenadines & Grenada Travel Distribution ISBN 9780307928030 Retrieved 23 April 2017 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Indian Indentured Labour" Georgetownsvgrevisited Retrieved 23 April 2017 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Thomas, Arnold 1 June 2010 "Left, or right of the hyphen" New Global Indian Retrieved 23 April 2017 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Thomas, Lenroy "East Indians in SVG" Searchlight Retrieved 23 April 2017 
  6. ^ Cheddie, Richard B "CARIBBEAN-L Names of 20 Indians who arrived on the Travancore to St Vincent June 1, 1861" RootsWeb Retrieved 23 April 2017 
  7. ^ Binose, Peter August 14, 2013 "Is the call for reparations in SVG fraudulent" Caribbean News Now! Retrieved 23 April 2017 
  8. ^ Cheddie, Richard B Shiva-Ram 1 August 2002 "Ships Transporting East Indians to St Vincent" Ancestrycouk Retrieved 23 April 2017 
  9. ^ Cheddie, Richard B 27 August 2000 "CARIBBEAN-L Updated List of Ships that Transported East Indian Laborers to the Caribbean Basin 8-27-00" RootsWeb Retrieved 23 April 2017 
  10. ^ a b "St Vincent and the Grenadines celebrates its Indian heritage" Yahoo! News Retrieved 2017-04-23 
  11. ^ Cheddie, Richard B 16 January 2005 "Updated list of over 400 voyages of East Indian Laborers" Ancestrycom Retrieved 23 April 2017 
  12. ^ Central Intelligence Agency "St Vincent and the Grenadines" The World Factbook 
  13. ^ a b c "India - Saint Vincent and the Grenadines" PDF Ministry of External Affairs India December 2016 Retrieved 23 April 2017 
  14. ^ Haynes, Abigail 2016-06-06 "Indian Arrival Day Celebrated Today" NBC SVG Retrieved 2017-04-23 
  15. ^ "Indian Arrival Day to be significantly different" thevincentiancom Retrieved 2017-04-23 
  16. ^ "Diaspora conference marks St Vincent's Indian Arrival Day" Antigua Observer Newspaper 2012-06-03 Retrieved 2017-04-23 
  17. ^ "St Vincent celebrates Indian Arrival with cultural show | The Trinidad Guardian Newspaper" wwwguardiancott Retrieved 2017-04-23 
  18. ^ Prescod, Paula, ed 10 November 2016 Language Issues in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines John Benjamins Publishing Company p 22 ISBN 9789027269003 Retrieved 23 April 2017 

Further readingedit

  • Stone, Linda S 1973 "East Indian Adaptations on St Vincent: Richland Park" University of Massachusetts - Amherst 

indo vincentian academy, indo vincentian home, indo vincentian priests, indo vincentian reflections

Indo-Vincentian Information about


  • user icon

    Indo-Vincentian beatiful post thanks!


Indo-Vincentian viewing the topic.
Indo-Vincentian what, Indo-Vincentian who, Indo-Vincentian explanation

There are excerpts from wikipedia on this article and video

Random Posts

Amorphous metal

Amorphous metal

An amorphous metal also known as metallic glass or glassy metal is a solid metallic material, usuall...
Arthur Lake (bishop)

Arthur Lake (bishop)

Arthur Lake September 1569 – 4 May 1626 was Bishop of Bath and Wells and a translator of the King Ja...
John Hawkins (author)

John Hawkins (author)

Sir John Hawkins 29 March 1719 – 21 May 1789 was an English author and friend of Dr Samuel Johnson a...
McDonnell Douglas MD-12

McDonnell Douglas MD-12

The McDonnell Douglas MD-12 was an aircraft design study undertaken by the McDonnell Douglas company...