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Trinidad surprise

I've been reading a book of Caribbean history. So, in the 1800s slavery started getting abolished, and it was hard to still find workers on sugar plantations. Paying ex-slaves enough to work made the sugar more expensive than slave-produced sugar, and they were frankly not very enthusiastic about doing sugar work at any wage, preferring to be independent peasants, and who can blame them? There were various adaptations, for example Haiti tried inventing state socialism way early, conscripting the population into sugar work -- replacing private slavery with state slavery, woo.

Down in Trinidad, they somehow found it economical to import indentured laborers across the world from India. After 10 years the workers got a subsidized trip back to India, but many stayed; as a result Trinidad is now plurality (Asian) Indian, (38% or so), and also 18% Hindu. (Also 5% Muslim, and noticeable minorities of Bahai and Sikh.) I vaguely knew something like this had happened but not that there was a significantly Hindu-minority country south of the US. I feel kind of like when I discovered, in senior year of high school, that Belize existed and spoke English.

(I would swear that it simply never came up in my MacNeil-Lehrer watching childhood, unlike every other Central American country. And my parents' old globe probably had "Brit. Hond.")

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Damien Sullivan
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