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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Indian Immigrants and the Legacy of Marronage: Illegal Absence, Desertion and Vagrancy in Mauritius, 1835-1900
Author:Allen, Richard B.ISNI
Periodical:Itinerario: European Journal of Overseas History
Geographic terms:Mauritius
Great Britain
contract labour
History and Exploration
Ethnic and Race Relations
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Urbanization and Migration
Labor and Employment
Abstract:The 75 Indian indentured labourers who landed on Mauritius in 1834 proved to be the vanguard of more than 451,000 men, women and children who reached the colony before immigration formally came to an end in 1910. Upon their arrival, these immigrants quickly fell victim to the conditions of what many historians have characterized as 'a new system of slavery'. Faced with the need to control a large alien work force, Mauritian planters and their allies in the colonial administration relied upon the same kinds of practices that had been used to control the island's slave population. The 'new immigrants', for their part, resorted just as quickly to the same tactics the colony's bondsmen had used to resist exploitation and oppression. Flight from their employers was the most common of these stratagems and, until the advent of the 20th century, the struggle between 'masters and servants' on Mauritius was epitomized by the local preoccupation with illegal absence, desertion and vagrancy. In this paper, illegal absence, desertion and vagrancy on post-emancipation Mauritius are placed against a background of rapid demographic change, new colonial attitudes toward Indians, and the economic fortunes of the colony's sugar industry. Notes, ref.