6327 - Indentured labor in the rise of the Sugar Economy of British Guiana in the era of slave Expansion in the Americas.

This paper examines the relationship between the expansion of slavery in Cuba, Brazil, and the United States of America, and the imposition of a new form of coerced labor in British Guiana. Against the backdrop of abolition, and the expansion of slavery in non-British America, the indentured contract was used in British Guiana as a mechanism of labor control to thwart the voice of African labor (emancipated slaves) for a free and independent labor market. While Cuba became the pivotal point in the expansion of the nineteenth century global sugar economy, in colonies such as British Guiana a mono-crop sugar economy also developed despite the absence of a requisite supply of slaves on account of the abolition act. Statistical evidence points to the fact that over the period 1835 and 1917, 239, 909 East Indian indentured immigrants were imported into British Guiana from India. The influx of indentured labor not only supplemented and replaced African labor, but also altered the demographic make-up of the laboring population in the colony. Although this immigrant labor force presented problems for the future of African labor, it produced the momentum necessary for sugar to expand and hence for the colony to compete in the world sugar economy dominated by slave production.

Keywords: Coerced Labor in British Guiana.

Author: Mohamed, Wazir (Indiana University East, Ud States of Am / USA)


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