By C. Anderson

Whilst the British took keep an eye on of the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius quickly after the abolition of the slave alternate, they have been confronted with a labour-hungry and most likely adversarial Franco-Mauritian plantocracy. This ebook explores the context within which Indian convicts have been transported to the island and positioned to paintings development the infrastructure essential to gasoline the growth of the sugar undefined. Drawing on hitherto unexplored archival fabric, it truly is proven how convicts skilled transportation and built-in into the Mauritian social and monetary cloth.

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Extra resources for Convicts in the Indian Ocean: Transportation from South Asia to Mauritius, 1815–53

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Some members of the Franco-Mauritian dominated Conseil (council) even suggested all the convicts be returned to Bengal. 37 Previously, slave owners had also been under the obligation of providing corveÂe labour at the rate of three days per slave per year, though this was never strictly enforced. On assuming temporary governorship when Farquhar left Mauritius in 1817, the Acting Governor, Major-General Hall, threatened strict enforcement of the corveÂe, if slave owners did not agree, in lieu of providing labour, to assume financial responsibility for the maintenance of the convicts in each quartier.

The weak government control which resulted in Bombay increased ecological pressure on the hills and led to periodic looting and a spiralling pattern of raids by oppressed peasant groups. 144 These were soldiers in mercenary gangs transported for various offences, probably also contributing to later characterisation of convicts as `sepoys'; resistance against the imposition of penal authority (escaping jail, escaping public work gangs or returning from transportation); and, perhaps most conclusively, several gangs of tribal adivasis transported for rebellion in regions known to have been locked in conflict against British incursions into the forests.

In 1834, they were found guilty of Origins of Transportation in South Asia 31 cattle-rustling and `assisting in an attack made by banditti on a ness [temporary village] inhabited by certain rybarrees [cattle-herders]'. 146 Others made direct attacks on British detachments. 149 Wounds resulting from such offences were sometimes detailed in convicts' physical descriptions. 150 Before 1760, large areas of western Midnapore were dense jungle tracts, largely free of Mughal interference. 152 In Mughal India the santal and bhumij tribals practised shifting (swidden) cultivation, as well as hunter-gathering.

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