Throw Away Your Telescreen!

the truth is always subversive

Coolies – How Britain Reinvented Slavery

Posted by Dave (The Void) on August 18, 2007

The abolition of the slave trade should have put an end to the slave economies of Britain’s colonies.  Instead, as this BBC documentary (58 mins) shows, indentured Indian coolies were transported by slave-ship across the far-flung corners of the Empire. (h/t


7 Responses to “Coolies – How Britain Reinvented Slavery”

  1. Marlyn said

    Thanks for posting the entire documentary. This is the only documentary I’ve ever seen about my heritage. My family was brought to the Caribbean as indentured servants in the very late 1800’s

  2. Dave On Fire said

    Hi Marlyn,
    Thanks for the feedback; I hope this has helped you in rediscovering your roots. Imperial nostalgia being what it is, the mainstream media do often shy away from important topics like this, but there’s still some good stuff out there.
    Why not check out some of our other videos concerning the Caribbean or the British Empire?

  3. Lila said

    This documentary made me cry. My 20 year old daughter rec’d the site
    from a friend and saw it first, She said mom ” you will cry so much
    when you see, I did. Even though it was more on Guyana,Fiji and S.Africa, The Caribbean island that presently have the largest population of indians are Trinidad and Tobago.
    This is where I am from. The people of Fiji is back in time by allowing the Black people of Fiji to control there future,
    However, they are not alone, After the abolishment of slavery and the british lefted, The Indian have gone through massive amount of discrimination from the blacks, even today, This is why most of the Guyanese indians have left Guyana. Trinidad is following quickly, On the bright side Indians all over the world have proven that are powerful and well educated. I AM PROUD TO BE INDIAN.

    We should start a fund to keep our records in a safe place.
    Make the world aware of Indian slavery in North America.

    Thank you.

  4. Dave On Fire said

    Hi Lila, thanks for your comment.

    A century of neglect, as well as the Caribbean climate, has made preserving records difficult, but the Indian Caribbean Museum in Trinidad is doing its best, with the Jahajee Indentureship Database Program. Hope this helps :).

    It’s very sad to learn of the conflicts between Indians and Black people in the Caribbean, especially considering how similar their respective stories are.

  5. Maneesh said

    Thanks for sharing the link for the Indian Caribbean Museum above. I moved from Trinidad eight years ago, and I’m missing my culture like crazy!

  6. […] and powerful constituency of former slaveowners prodded for business as usual, and they got it: slavery rebranded as indentured labour, outsourced from Africa to India.  But far more disingenous is the misrepresentation of the […]

  7. Yaz said

    This is a very good website. It is time that the issues of race in Trinidad is made public. I am originally from Trinidad have been living in Canada for almost 39 years, both my children were born in Canada and grew up here.

    I know someone who did a CD tracing the ships leaving India and arriving at the port in T’dad she went there a couple of times and she said that the records are pretty specific
    and in fairly decent condition considering the lenth of time.
    Would appreciate a comment


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