When did the last indentured servant ship arrive in Guyana and Trinidad?
By: Attorney Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth | MDGR Trademark Law Firm
Dates of Our Past
105 years ago, on April 18, 1917, the last ship to carry Indian indentured servants arrived in Georgetown, Guyana. Then on April 22, 1917, it arrived at Nelson Island, Trinidad. The SS Ganges left India less than two months prior on March 8, 1917.
There were about 400 passengers, and approximately 7 persons died during the voyage. Notable sources have conflicting numbers as to the amount of passengers.
But a couple journeys prior is where we find a gruesome tale of colonial horrors.
Dr. William Holman was a surgeon on the ship in charge of policing the nightly activities of the crew and emigrants. Holman spent 40 years as a surgeon despite his inhumane treatment of emigrants.
He regularly whipped the emigrants. In 1857, 31% of the servants died during his care, and most of the rest had to be sent to the hospital. He was forced off another ship for violating women. His lasting career was due to his family ties and the fact that authorities accepted his position despite overwhelming and continuous evidence to the contrary.
On a 1895 SS Ganges journey, Holman mysteriously died in an apoplectic fit foaming at the mouth.
Coolie Woman by Gaitura Bahadur
Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq. is a trademark and contracts attorney. She primarily helps growing businesses with trademarks, contracts, and name clearance searches.
She writes articles on the importance of trademarks, trademark law updates, and also West Indian history (with an emphasis on India, Trinidad, Guyana, and the United States).
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