National Trust of Guyana

Indian Arrival Monument

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Location: Bourda (Merriman’s Mall) Georgetown

Classification: Commemorative Monument

Period/ Year Built: 1997

Historical Background / Description:

The Indian Arrival Monument is located on Merriman’s Mall with its main entrance on Camp Street, Bourda, Georgetown. This monument honours the Indian indentured immigrants who came to British Guiana during the period 1838-1917. In anticipation of the Emancipation of slaves in 1838, plantation owners were fearful of the mass exodus of slaves from the plantations and the effects of such on their earnings. Portuguese immigrants worked as indentured servants on various plantations since 1835. However, they were determined to be unsuitable for the rigors of plantation life and the Indians were sourced as an alternative replacement. 

The first batch of Indians arrived in British Guiana on May 5, 1838, on vessels named Whitby and Hesperus. These immigrants were dispersed throughout the counties of Berbice, Essequibo and Demerara. 

The bronze sculpture which rests on a black granite pedestal represents the Whitby ship that transported the first batch of Indian Indentured Immigrants to Guyana on May 5, 1838. It was designed in India with the assistance of Guyanese architect, Mr. Albert Rodrigues, and transported to Guyana in 1996. Mr. Yesu Persaud unveiled this monument on May 5, 1997.