East Indian Indentureship
On May 30th 1845, the Fath Al Razak docked in the Port of Spain harbour in Trinidad and Tobago with 225 adult passengers on board. The passengers were immigrants from India who had come to the British colony to work in the sugarcane plantations after the abolition of African slavery.
Over the next 70 years, 147,596 Indians came. They were promised a free return passage back home, but about 75 percent of them stayed and settled, they brought India to the Caribbean. They continued with their traditions of Hinduism and Islam.
During this period, indentured workers were permitted to bring their families with them and it was not uncommon to place people from the same districts in India on the same estates.
On completion of the five years of indenture, the Indians in Trinidad had a choice of remaining in the country with a 'gift' of ten acres of land or returning home. The majority decided to remain and take the free grant of land.
The East Indian Immigrants arrived with the Emigration Pass which was completed in India. In Trinidad, his/her General Register Number, estate of indenture and details of sickness, if any, were added. Even those who died at sea had their Emigration Passes brought to Trinidad and kept there.