National Trust of Guyana

Chinese Immigration Monument

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Location: Windsor Forest, West Coast Demerara

Classification: Commemorative Monument

Period/ Year Built:1986

Historical Background / Description:

With slavery coming to an end throughout British colonies, planters began to grow weary of the mass exodus of slaves that were expected on the various plantations. Portuguese from Madeira and East Indians from India were brought to British Guiana to work as Indentured Servants. Some planters toyed with the idea of using Chinese labour, but the cost for transporting Chinese indentured servants from China was deemed too costly. Chinese were not seriously considered until a suspension was placed on East Indian indentured servants in the late 1840s. 

The first group of Chinese Indentured servants arrived in British Guiana in 1853, on the vessels of the Glentanner, Lord Elgin and the Samuel Boddington. The ship, Lord Elgin was the first to depart the shore of Amoy (now known as Xiamen), a small settlement off the southern-eastern coastline of Fujian, China. The ship was owned by Messrs. Bookers & Brothers and had the longest voyage of the three vessels. It left Amoy on July 23, 1852 with 154 Chinese and arrived in Demerara on January 17, 1853. Due to the long voyage, 69 Chinese died at sea. 

The second ship, the Glentanner, departed the shores of Amoy on September 1, 1852, with 305 Chinese on board and arrived in Demerara on January 12, 1853, with 262 servants. The third ship the Samuel Boddington, which was owned by Messrs. Hyde, Hodge and Company, departed Amoy on November 25, 1852 with 352 Chinese and landed in Demerara on March 4, 1853 with 300 servants.

The first group of servants, 647 in total were dispatched to work on various plantations. The first to receive Chinese servants were the plantations of Windsor Forest, Klien Pouderoyen, La Jalousie, Blankenburg among others. The Chinese Immigration Monument was unveiled in 1986 by the Guyana-China Friendship Society to commemorate the coming of the first Chinese immigrants to Guyana. The monument is located in the Windsor Forest Primary School compound along the Windsor Forest Highway, West Coast Demerara.