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Indian Arrival Day – Trinidad and Tobago

A Brief History

30 May 2022|Vidya Birkhoff

On May 30th, 1845, and approximately 8 years after the abolition of slavery, “The Fatel Razack” sailed into the Gulf of Paria, bringing the first Indian Indentured labourers from India to Trinidad.

“The Fatel Razack”

The Indians travelled along the Ganges via Calcutta, and although most were of Hindu faith, a significant number were Muslims. They came from every caste in Indian society and were recruited to come to the island through false or misleading information they’d been given by the British, who promised return passage to India after the contracted terms of employment were met.

The last ship to sail from India to Trinidad was “The SS-Ganges”, which docked in Trinidad on April 22, 1917. On board there were 274 men, 115 women, 12 boys, 10 girls and 10 infants – 7 persons died during the voyage. The British made it impossible for the indentured immigrants to return home so many stayed in Trinidad and the Caribbean.

“The SS-Ganges”

During the period of 1845-1917, over 147,000 Indians were transported to the island, and not only did they bring a new labour force to assist in the economic development of Trinidad, they came with a new culture, in their food, dress, language, music, dance, and religious customs.

“Indian Dancers”

Today, the “New People” represent close to 44% of Trinidad and Tobago’s population, and have forever changed the political, socio-cultural and economic landscape of the island.

Happy Indian Arrival Day Trinidad and Tobago!

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