Indian Arrival Day – by Shan Razack

On January 13, 1838 the Whitby left the shores of India with 249 immigrants on board and arrived in Guyana on the 5th May 1838 after a voyage of 112 days. Five immigrants died during the voyage. The Whitby proceeded first to Berbice and landed 164 passengers at Hilbury, East Bank Berbice, nearly 12 miles from New Amsterdam. East of the capital, the same day it returned to Vreed-en-hoop, West Demerara and landed 80 passengers. Out of the 244 immigrants that came with the Whitby they were 233 men, 5 women and 6 children. The first man to step on shore in Berbice was Anant Ram while in Demerara the first man to disembark was Nutha Khan.

On January 29, 1838, the Hesperus (picture) sailed from Calcutta-sixteen days later than the Whitby, with 165 persons on board. It arrived at Port Georgetown on the night of May 5th 1838, 13 immigrants died during the voyage including two persons who fell over-board. Out of the 152 immigrants that came on board the Hesperus, were 135 men, 6 women and 11 children!

On January 26, 1845 ‘Lord Hunger’ left Calcutta with 162 passengers on board, the ship arrived in Georgetown on May 4, 1845, and ten persons died on the way. Next ship was the ‘Success’, which arrived on July 21, 1845 with 231 passengers, 14 died on the way. Next was the ‘Nester’, which arrived on December 26, 1845 with 233 persons and brought 500 bags of rice.

On February 2, 1846 ‘Manchester’ then the ‘Thetis’ followed by the ‘Tamerlane’ the ‘Martin Luther’ and ‘Troy” in succession, then the ‘John Wickliffe’, the ‘Bussorary Merchant’, the ‘Aurora’, ‘Lady Mekennaway’ and lastly the ‘SS Ganges’, which docked in Georgetown on April 18, 1917. Bringing that period, 79 years- 238,979 indentured labourers journeyed from India to Guyana to work under colonial administration. They were distributed to various locations on the coastland of Guyana. The plantation system and conditions were not favorable at all.

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