Indians in Guadeloupe

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Indo-Guadeloupean
Total population
60,000[1]
Regions with significant populations
Basse-Terre · Capesterre-Belle-Eau · Saint-François
Languages
French · Antillean Creole
Religion
Hinduism & Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Tamil Diaspora · Indo-Caribbean

Indo-Guadeloupeans are mostly descended from indentured workers who came mostly from Tamil Nadu in the late 19th century. There are currently about 55,000 people of Indian origin living in Guadeloupe making it home to one of the largest Indian populations in Latin America.

History[edit]

Tamils in Guadeloupe trace their roots to over 40,000 indentured workers who were brought from India to Guadeloupe in 1861 to work on plantations through an agreement reached between France and the United Kingdom. The importation of Indian labor was gradually discontinued after 1883 as a result of adoption of a policy by the British Government against recruitment of labor in its territories and also because of high mobility of Indian labor.

Over 10,000 of them perished as a result of difficult living and working conditions and the rest continued to be treated harshly until they got some political rights in 1904 due to Henry Sidambarom's efforts. It was in 1923 that Guadeloupeans of Indian descent were granted citizenship and the right to vote. A few Indians were indentured to Saint Martin (prior to 2007 Saint Martin was a part of Guadeloupe).

After migration stopped, the Indian community gradually accultured to the rest of the population, so much so that few of the Indians on the island speak Tamil or other Indian languages any more. However, third or fourth generation persons of Indian origin still maintain links with India in many different ways, such as adopting Indian names. Many Indians in Guadeloupe adopted French and Christian names.

Current status[edit]

The city of Basse-Terre in Guadeloupe and Pondicherry in India have been designated as twin cities to promote cultural links and exchanges.[2]

The Indian community in Guadeloupe is estimated to be approximately 55,000 in a population of over 400,000. However, ethnicity statistics are not done by the French government. There are several associations to promote Indian culture in Guadeloupe, usually run by people of Indian origin. They are fairly active in organising cultural activities in all the principal towns, namely, Pointe-a-Pitre, Le Moule, Port-Louis, Capesterre-Belle-Eau and Saint-Claude.

An important one of these groups is L‘Association Culturelle Guadeloupéenne des Amis de L’Inde, which has over 300 members and 2000 associates.

There are a sizeable number of Hindu Tamil Temples that are located in Basse-Terre, and other regions.[3] Tamils in Guadeloupe started studying their own language and willing to preserving their culture and traditions. Guadeloupe Tamils started links with Tamil Canadians in developing their language and Culture.

Recently, the 152nd birthday of the arrival of the Hindus Tamil in Guadeloupe was held. The Indian Associations in the territory are in the process of forming a committee, which will start working to realise the event.

Famous Examples[edit]

Some of them have acceded to important posts in the public and private sectors. Dr. Henri Bangou held the post of Senator from Guadeloupe in the French Senate. Ernest Moutoussamy has been the Député of Guadeloupe in the National Assembly of France.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]