Migration, Mining, and the African Diaspora: Guyana in the by Barbara P. Josiah (auth.)

By Barbara P. Josiah (auth.)

From the overdue 1800s, African employees migrated to the mineral-rich hinterland components of Guyana, mined gold, diamonds, and bauxite; diverse the country's economic climate; and contributed to nationwide improvement. using genuine property, monetary, and loss of life documents, in addition to oral debts of the exertions migrants in addition to colonial officers and mining businesses' info saved in nationwide information in Guyana, nice Britain, and the U.S. Library of Congress, the learn situates miners into the historic constitution of the country's fiscal improvement. It analyzes the staff allure to mining from agriculture, their options of "order and progress," and the way they formed their lives in confident methods instead of turning into mere sufferers of colonialism. during this contentious plantation society suffering from adverse kin among the commercial elites and the laboring type, as well as generating the strategically very important bauxite for the aviation period of global Wars I & II, for nearly a century the employees braved the ecologically opposed and occasionally lethal environments of the gold and diamond fields within the quest for El Dorado in Guyana.

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24 28 G u ya n a : M i g r at i o n a n d M i n i n g Sentiments expressed about the unsuitability and repeated denigrations of Asian labor by several witnesses to the labor commissioners were contradictions at best, and at worse, insidious utterances. At the onset of the migratory movement from the coast to the interior, planters and their allies were concerned about the loss of labor from sugar production. Hence, the expressions about the unsuitability of East Indians for gold and diamond mining belied the true intentions of keeping this segment of the workforce permanently in coastal sugar and other agricultural production.

Europeans were investors and businesspersons, as well as agents and managers involved in the transportation of people, goods, and services between the coast and hinterland. 65 In the 1850s, the first group of Chinese indentured immigrants arrived. By 1891, a total of 13,434 Chinese immigrants had come to Guyana, but owing to factors including high mortality rates, only 3,714 of them were present that year. Chinese immigrants became associated with businesses in the interior of the colony. ”66 By 1913, many Chinese were investors in gold and diamond mining, held gold mining grants, concessions, and prospecting licenses, or were claim-holders.

23 Agricultural and mining interests were amenable to recruiting and organizing workers of a particular profile and to exerting as much control over them as possible. The evidence and findings of the commission underscored the value of the labor of Africans to Guyana’s existence and prosperity. Although the labor migrants who were recruited seemed destined for plantations, it was a ruse to acclimatize them to local conditions in coastal agriculture production before sending them to work in interior gold and diamond fields.

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