Unveiling of Plaque at the Aapravasi Ghat World Heritage Site
A plaque marking the inscription of the Indenture Immigration Records of the Republic of Mauritius on UNESCO’s Memory of the World International Register will be unveiled at the Aapravasi Ghat World Heritage Site, Port-Louis on 09 June 2016.
The inscription of the Indenture Immigration Records of the Republic of Mauritius in the Register places Mauritius on the World Documentary Heritage Map, and will among others, lead to improved conservation of the documentary heritage; encourage its preservation and digitisation; and promote its dissemination by making the documents accessible to users.
The Indenture Immigration Records of the Republic of Mauritius, covering the period 1834 to 1930‟s, provide a unique and comprehensive documentation of the “Great Experiment” undertaken in Mauritius by the British, during the 19th Century.
Aapravasi Ghat was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List on 16 July 2006. It is among the oldest surviving immigration depots associated with indenture. This architectural ensemble stands for the “Great Experiment” initiated by the British Government to demonstrate the superiority of ‘free’ over slave labour after the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1834.
The Aapravasi Ghat symbolises the Great Experiment and the first large-scale use of indentured labour in the modern world. The World Heritage Site is associated with the story of more than 457,000 indentured labourers from China, the Comoros, India, Madagascar, Mozambique and South East Asia who were recruited to work on Mauritius’s sugar plantations between 1834 and 1910.
The success of the Mauritian experiment led to the migration of more than 2.1 million indentured labourers elsewhere around the world, including the Carribbean, South America, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. This international migration represents not only the development of the modern system of contractual labour but also, led to the emergence of several multicultural societies in which the memories, traditions and values of these men, women and children bequeathed to their descendants.