CSEC History sba


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  1. 1. 1 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT All the materials for this project were available due to the overwhelming support and cooperation of many persons. The researcher considers herself very fortunate. The researcher extends gratitude to both her nuclear and extended family. They have been the main source of encouragement and support, morally and financially. To her parents and siblings she extends a special thank you for relieving her from household duties and for being very helpful in reviewing her work and ensuring that all necessary modifications were done. To the Staff at the Cheddi Jagan Researcher Centre, the National Library and the Walter Rodney Archive she is very grateful for the substantial support and valuable time spent in retrieving history books, newspaper and research paper. This was an extremely tiring job but they did it without complaint. Lastly, a special thank you is extended to the History teacher, Ms. Goodman, who guided the researcher every step of the way throughout this exercise by giving clear guidelines and explanation.
  2. 2. 2 INTRODUCTION The work done by salves and indentured servants proved almost invaluable in the development of the country and creating a better economic climate. However, the struggles and oppression endured by these two peoples would be the focus of this project. This School Based Assessment is based on local History before 1985. African slaves endured cruelty second to none. Almost all the slaves were treated in a bad way, from the time they were captured up until their “contract” ended. As a result, for the most part they were very subservient. No one knows the exact date when slaves were brought to British Guiana but many textbooks contemplate that slaves were brought to these shores by the Dutch settlers who came from Tobago and settled in Essequibo, Dutch planters from Brazil who settled in the Pomeroon and Dutch Slave Traders, during the mid seventeenth century1 . On the abolition of slavery in 1833, plantation owners imported labour. East Indian immigrant replaced the slaves. Unlike the slaves, arguably, the treatment of the Indian Immigrants was far better than that meted out to the Slaves. History advises that the Indian immigrant arrived here on May 5, 1838. 1 Daly, Vere T. A Short History of the Guyanese People, Macmillan Education Limited, London. p,. 53.
  3. 3. 3 AREA OF RESEARCH  Local History before 1985 Aim To highlight the struggles and oppression of the African slaves and East Indian Immigrants and do a comparative analysis thereof
  4. 4. 4 RATIONALE During the four (4) years of secondary school the researcher was captivated by Caribbean History, more so, the contrast of Slavery and Indentureship. The researcher hails from a village purchased by slave. When given her School based Assessment, she already knew the topic she would focus on. It was another way of refreshing her knowledge and become even more enlighten about the area of research. Information about this topic is easily accessible. Her parent‟s home has many textbooks relating to the Cheddi Jagan Researcher Centre. Additionally, the researcher was confident that she will obtain assistance from her colleagues, subject teacher and family.
  5. 5. 5 COLLECTION OF DATA Data for this SBA was accumulated from a number of books. These books were made available by the National Library, the Archive and the textbooks used to study history at school. On the 23 September, 2011, the candidate visited the National Library where the kind librarians provided her with a number of books. She was able to obtained valuable information. The following Friday, she visited the Walter Rodney Archive and also received ample information. The candidate perused her History text and gathered information there from. The researcher analyzed all the information in her possession and completed her SBA successfully.
  6. 6. 6 ANALYSIS OF DATA THE STRUGGLE OF THE AFRICA SLAVES vs. THE STRUGGLE OF EAST INDIAN IMMIGRANTS IN BRITISH GUIANA Many large plantations were established by the Dutch who settled in Guiana in the seventeenth century. The plantations need labourers. Plantation owners imported slaves to work on the plantations. The slave trade was booming. People from Africa were captured and sold into slavery. Slavery in Guiana was a cruel institution. The slave endured insanitary conditions and inhumane treatment. From the time they were captured and all during the journey to where they were headed the slaves suffered unspeakable cruelty. Many died during the journey and were tossed in to the sea. Upon arrival in the Caribbean Slaves were auctioned off to Plantation owners. There was separation of families. Many of those captured never saw their families again. Slaves were brought to Guiana by the Dutch Traders and Settlers. On the plantation, slaves occupied a small area where their houses were clustered. This area was called the “niggeryard”2 . Their dwellings were built of very flimsy materials and were poorly ventilated. Everything was done and kept within these dwellings, including poultry.3 2 Ibid 3 Arokium, Alvilda. New Horizon in Social Studies Bk 2, Ministry of Education, Guyana, 1999, p., 45.
  7. 7. 7 Each family was given one iron pot and each occupant one blanket to sleep on at night. They received no wages. The slaves‟ diet consisted mainly of vegetables or plantain when grown and salt fish all year round. On plantations where plantain did not strive other ground provisions were used. During Christian festivals, an additional allowance of about a pound beef or pork and a little sugar was given to each occupant4 . Slaves usually received an allowance of clothing once every twelve or eighteen months. The women received the same kind and quantity as men. Children under nine years were left naked. Mothers would receive a “babba”, a piece of cloth to wrap their young children on to them5 . Work on the plantations was rigid. At the stroke of six o‟clock the slaves were summoned to work by the sound of a horn and were marched to the fields by a slave driver. The slave driver was himself a slave who achieved slave driver status. He was equipped with a whip and a horse. Those who displayed reluctance and tardiness were administered lashes by the slave driver as he rode alongside them. The slaves endured 4 Daly, Vere T. A Short History of the Guyanese People, Macmillan Education Limited, London, 1975. p., 131. 5 Ibid Housing of slaves on the plantation
  8. 8. 8 hard labour, suffering the heat of the broiling sun, under the watchful eyes of the slave driver who was accompanied by a white overseer. They would work non-stop until midday, when they would take a break for their first meal of the day6 . After about an hour they would continue working until sunset. On completion of a day‟s job, it was mandatory for each slave to cut or pick a bundle of grass for the master‟s horse.7 They were allowed to go to their huts only if there was no other work to be done. During the six months of sugar production slave had to work until midnight. The hardship endured by punishment and the burdensome and tireless work caused the slaves to age prematurely8 . By the age of fifty they were seldom capable of carrying out any field work. The Africans never accepted the institution of slavery and was opposed to the bondage of enslavement. Slaves were not allowed to congregate, practise their culture 6 Ibid 7 Ibid 8 ibid Slaves on the sugar cane field
  9. 9. 9 or carry weapons, and bear evidence against a White person. Anyone who showed opposition was punished legally, punitively and psychologically9 . Slaves endured severe punishment for which there was no justice. Whipping was the most common form of punishment and when it was administered it was done with cruelty. Enslaved Africans were punished for the slightest offence and many times for nothing at all. The penalties varied. For striking a white man a hand could be cut off. For absconding for the first time a slave would be branded on one shoulder and have his ears cut off, a second time the other shoulder would be branded and a third offence was punishable by death. Africans found guilty of rebellion were executed. Dr. George Pinckard, in the “Amsterdam Story” described a form of sentence as “sentenced to be burnt alive, first having his flesh torn from his limbs with red hot pincers...”10 Even the horses owned by Plantation Owners were treated better than the slaves. 9 Dr Taylor-Kanarick, Yvette. Caribbean History Core course for CSec, Caribbean Educational Publishers. Pp, 141-146. 10 Daly, Vere T. A Short History of the Guyanese People, Macmillan Education Limited, London,1975.p.,134. Whipping of a baby for the wrong done by the parent Woman tied to a tree to be made a mockery
  10. 10. 10 When ill there were sent to the hospital, a place more suited to be called a „charnel- house‟ (where human skeletal remains are stored). It was dirty and poorly ventilated. Everyone was given medicine but there was a limited amount of food for the sick labourers. Only the critically ill ones were given sugar, barley, fowl soup and perhaps a little wine11 . The Europeans maintained slavery by a system of “divide and rule”. They separated enslaved Africans of the same tribe and dialect. Slaves could not leave the plantation without being in company of a White person12 . After the abolition of slavery in 1834 Slaves were compelled to continue working on the plantations. The “freed” slaves continued to work under the system of apprenticeship. The emancipation Act of 1833 compelled the freed slaves to work with the plantation owners for a specific period13 . They were not paid and there were strict laws governing the movements of slaves. As the period of apprenticeship was coming to an end, the Plantation owners began to foresee acute labour shortage. It was the idea of John Gladstone, a sugar plantation owner in West Demerara who applied to recruit Indians to work in Guiana for a five-year period of indenture. 11 Arokium, Alvilda. New Horizon in Social Studies Bk 2, Ministry of Education, Guyana, 1999, p.,47. 12 Dr Taylor-Kanarick, Yvette. Caribbean History Core course for CSec, Caribbean Educational Publishers. p., 141. 13 Carter, E.H. History of the west Indian Peoples 3- From Earliest Times to the 17 th Century, Thomas Nelson Ltd, Great Britain, 1972, pp. 69-68.
  11. 11. 11 The first East Indians immigrants arrived in Guiana aboard the Whitby and Hesperus on May 5 of 1938 and were distributed to several sugar plantations. They inherited the critical conditions under which the slaves lived. However, unlike the Africans, the immigrants were paid for their labour and given daily or weekly allowance of ration. They were also given clothing and household utensils. The East Indian critics labelled the indenture system as the “Cooley Slave Trade”. . The European planters had no experience with free or semi-free labourer so the immigrants were viewed as the new slaves. The labourers were subjected to curfews and harsh labour laws were introduced by the planters14 . They endured harsh treatment and punishment. The immigrants were flogged, not as terrible as the Africans but bad enough to warrant the accusation of cruelty. After flogging salt pickle was rubbed into the wounds. Laws were implemented to stop the maltreatment. However, harsh labour laws were introduced by the planters and the laws took full control over the work and social life of the labourers. From the youngest to the eldest had to work under the hardship of labour, only the very young below the age of five stayed at home. They were expected to be at work except if they were hospitalized or jailed. Their wages were often reduced by the planter for failing to carry out their duties, breaking the labour laws and many other offences. They had to work from sunrise to sunset and some for eight hours, this varied depending on 14 Arokium, Alvilda. New Horizon in Social Studies Bk 2, Ministry of Education, Guyana, 1999, p., 54.
  12. 12. 12 the plantation. They were housed in thatched houses built on the ground called „logies‟ on a small part of the plantation, called bound yard. The planters tried closely to control the lives of the labourers. The East Indian like the Africans ran away and rioted because of the harsh conditions and punishment. When the labourers were captured they were beaten and imprisoned. Those who could not handle the harsh realities of plantation life resorted to alcohol while others who lost the urge to go on committed suicide. The cruel treatment, malnutrition and illness resulted in the loss of life. The planters saw it in their interest to isolate the immigrants so as to increase the chances of reindenturing by encouraging the religious beliefs of the Indians and helping them to build mosques and temples. They were totally enclosed from the outside world so as to get all the work out of them and not influence by outsiders15 . 15 Daly, Vere T. A Short History of the Guyanese People, Macmillan Education Limited, London, 1975. Pp, 222-3. East Indians at workEast Indian women in the field
  13. 13. 13 CONCLUSION While both the African Slaves and the Indian immigrants suffered untold cruelty and undue hardship, there were marked differences in the treatment of these two peoples. Africans were captured and forced into slavery. They endured unspeakable cruelty from plantation owners. This cruelty was second to none. They were deprived of their family and could not engage in the culture to which they were accustomed. Even after emancipation they were still not free because laws were introduced to keep them in subjection, at least for five years. They were unable to earn wages during apprenticeship. The money they earned after apprenticeship was pooled to purchase plantations on which they built their homes and farmed. The Indian immigrants on the other hand came on their own free will, but history says they were deceived into coming. They, nevertheless, came and were treated better than the slaves were after emancipation. They were allowed to practice their religion, were even assisted by the “deceitful plantation” owners to build their places of worship. They were paid wages for their labour and unlike the slaves who received only measly allowances
  14. 14. 14 of ration, clothing and were given insanitary and poorly ventilated dwellings, the Indians were issued daily or weekly rations in addition to their wages. They were given better clothing and living accommodations. Some of these are still evident in some communities. They had a choice to repatriate and many did. Nowhere in history there is evidence of Slaves repatriation. The conclusion arrived at is that this nation is stronger because of the struggles of the two peoples.
  15. 15. 15 BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Arokium, Alvilda. New Horizon in Social Studies Bk 2, Ministry of Education, Guyana, 1999, pp. 43-47,53-55. 2. Carter, E.H. History of the west Indian Peoples 2- The Story Of Our Islands, Thomas Nelson Ltd, Great Britain, 1967, pp. 88-90. 3. Carter, E.H. History of the west Indian Peoples 3- From Earliest Times to the 17th Century, Thomas Nelson Ltd, Great Britain, 1972, pp. 69-74. 4. Daly, Vere T. A Short History of the Guyanese People, Macmillan Education Limited, London, 1975. pp, 128-137, 176. 5. Dr Taylor-Kanarick, Yvette. Caribbean History Core course for CSec, Caribbean Educational Publishers. pp, 141-146.