Chinese Guyanese

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Chinese Guyanese
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Georgetown · Enterprise
English (Guyanese Creole)
Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism
Related ethnic groups
Chinese Caribbean

The Chinese community of Guyana consists mainly of descendants of Chinese laborers who were taken to British Guiana in the 19th century.


Between 1853 and 1879, 14,000 Chinese laborers mostly Cantonese arrived to the British Caribbean as part of a larger system of contract labor bound for the sugar plantations. Most of the laborers were destined for British Guiana (Guyana), taken from the Dutch in the Napoleonic Wars, and Trinidad, captured from Spain in 1797.[1] In British Guiana, they stayed on the plantations much longer compared to other British colonies in the Caribbean because other occupational outlets such as retail trade and market gardening were monopolized by the Portuguese and were thus closed to Chinese. [2] Because almost all of the Chinese indentured immigrants were men, they tended to intermarry with both East Indians and Africans, and thus the Chinese of Guyana did not remain as physically distinct as other groups. [3] Most of the Chinese laborers initially went to British Guiana; however, importation ended in 1879, and the population declined steadily. [4] In the 1960s the Chinese comprised 0.6 percent (i.e., about 4,800) of the Guyanese population of 800,000.

In Guyana, many Indian women marry Chinese men due to the lack of Chinese women in the early days of settlement.[5] Creole sexual relationships and marriages with Chinese and Indians was rare,[6] however, more common was Indian women and Chinese men establishing sexual relations with each other and some Chinese men took their Indian wives back with them to China.[7] Marriages between Indian women and Chinese men in 1892 numbered six as reported by Immigration Agent Gladwin.[8] In Guyana, while marriages between Indian women and black African men is socially shameful to Indians, Chinese-Indian marriages are considered acceptable as reported by Joseph Nevadomsky in 1983.[9] "Chiney-dougla" is the Indian Guyanese term for mixed Chinese-Indian children.[10]

Culture and religion[edit]

The Chinese in Guyana have been described as "scarcely Chinese" in matters of culture. In the realm of kinship, for instance, although a broad range of kin ties was recognized and kin were scattered throughout the colony in separate households, there were no clans, no attempt to trace lineages or to keep genealogies, no ancestral tablets or ancestor worship, and no common burial ground. There was no Chinese newspaper, nor were there Chinese schools to teach Chinese language and culture or to provide other features of a formal Chinese education. There was no Chinatown nor a concentration of Chinese businesses.[11]

The Chinese, including those born in China, were quick to convert to Christianity. By 1891, a majority had become Anglican, and many had become Catholic, the two major denominations, whereas a few became Presbyterians, Methodists, and so on.[12]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chinese in the English-Speaking Caribbean - Orientation
  2. ^ [
  3. ^ Chinese in the English-Speaking Caribbean - Settlements
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Brian L. Moore (1995). Cultural Power, Resistance, and Pluralism: Colonial Guyana, 1838-1900. Volume 22 of McGill-Queen's studies in ethnic history (illustrated ed.). McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 272-273. ISBN 077351354X. ISSN 0846-8869. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  6. ^ Brian L. Moore (1987). Race, Power, and Social Segmentation in Colonial Society: Guyana After Slavery, 1838-1891. Volume 4 of Caribbean studies (illustrated ed.). Gordon & Breach Science Publishers. p. 181. ISBN 0677219806. ISSN 0275-5793. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  7. ^ Brian L. Moore (1987). Race, Power, and Social Segmentation in Colonial Society: Guyana After Slavery, 1838-1891. Volume 4 of Caribbean studies (illustrated ed.). Gordon & Breach Science Publishers. p. 182. ISBN 0677219806. ISSN 0275-5793. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  8. ^ D. A. Bisnauth (2000). The settlement of Indians in Guyana, 1890-1930 (illustrated ed.). Peepul Tree. p. 213. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  9. ^ Preethy Sarah Samuel (2000). Cultural Continuity Or Assimilation in the Familial Domain of the Indo-Guyanese. Wayne State University. Sociology (illustrated ed.). ProQuest. p. 38. ISBN 0549387625. Retrieved June 1, 2006. 
  10. ^ JCAS Symposium Series, Issue 13. Kokuritsu Minzokugaku Hakubutsukan. Chiiki Kenkyū Kikaku Kōryū Sentā (illustrated ed.). Japan Center for Area Studies, National Museum of Ethnology. 2002. p. 209. Archived from the original on 2014. Retrieved June 1, 2006. 
  11. ^ Chinese in the English-Speaking Caribbean - Kinship
  12. ^ Chinese in the English-Speaking Caribbean - Religion and Expressive Culture

Further reading[edit]

  • Hall, Laura Jane (1995), The Chinese in Guyana: the making of a Creole community, Ph.D. dissertation, Berkeley: University of California, OCLC 34438537 
  • Moore, Brian L. (1988), "The settlement of Chinese in Guyana in the Nineteenth Century", in Johnson, Howard, After the crossing: immigrants and minorities in Caribbean Creole society, Routledge, pp. 41–56, ISBN 978-0-7146-3357-2