The Caribbean is composed of people from all over the world including those taken there by force and those who migrated freely. Caribs lived in the Caribbean for thousands of years. There were many communities of people we now know as Caribs, including Galibi and various Arawakan speakers such as the Kalinago. Beginning in the 16th century, many were killed or expelled from the islands by European forces.
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There are also East Indian communities in Jamaica one estimate for gives the East Indian population as 50, , Grenada and the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe. Indians were first brought to the Caribbean from the mids to work on white-owned sugar plantations as indentured labour to replace newly freed African slaves. The majority of immigrants were young men; later disturbances on the plantations forced the authorities to try and correct the imbalance. After an initial number of years it was possible for the labourer to return to India but since many were offered land in order to entice them to stay near the estates, most stayed in their new country. The racial tensions and stereotypes of later years were formed during the colonial period. Indians worked for less than Africans and were regarded as cheap and malleable labour. While the Africans, who were more likely to be literate in English, filled the jobs in the urban and commercial sectors, Indians were most likely to remain labourers and small farmers.
So how did it come to this? For the past five years I have been interviewing the generation that came from the Indian subcontinent to postwar Britain. They are now elderly people. I have watched as they have grown older, frailer, their voices weaker.