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On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
Print version ISSN 0018-229X


DU BOIS, Duncan. The "coolie curse": The evolution of white colonial attitudes towards the Indian question, 1860-1900. Historia [online]. 2012, vol.57, n.2, pp.37-67. ISSN 2309-8392.

Neither by accident nor design, Natal became home to over 50 000 Indian immigrants during the latter half of the nineteenth century. At the request of fewer than 50 sugar planters, colonial Natal embarked on a labour dispensation which was initially envisaged as "an experiment," on a small scale, as Governor John Scott saw it. Appreciated for their contribution as labourers to the success of sugar production, Indians nonetheless, were resented by white colonists as settlers after they had completed their indenture contracts. That resentment was heightened by the influx of traders and non-indentured Indians into Natal after 1875 and found expression in published opinion and in discriminatory legislation. By the 1890s Natal's anti-Indian legislation became an imperial controversy which also proved life-changing for M.K. Gandhi. This article attempts to track the evolution of white settler attitudes to what was termed the "coolie curse."

Keywords : Natal Colony; indentured labourers; settler; sugar industry; indenture system; franchise; Gandhi; Escombe; Robinson..

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