5 Life-Changing Books about Guyana + Trinidad & Tobago, including Coolie Woman
I've been researching Guyana and Trinidad for years. This post is all about some of my favorite books, starting with Coolie Woman by Gaiutra Bahadur.
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"Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture" by Gaiutra Bahadur
It took me a few years to buy Coolie Woman because of the price but it is a powerful book that is worth every penny, and more! Now they have the Kindle version which often costs $3-$5.
This book tells the story of Indian indentured women who traveled to British Guiana and the Caribbean. It also offers a timeline and statistics for the system, which many descendants have not had access to prior to Ms. Bahadur's research.
She meticulously combed through the archives and summarized decades worth of valuable information.
This book has been rightfully recognized as an important contribution to our understanding of the British indentured servitude system and its lasting impacts.
If you only bought one history book, I'd definitely recommend this one.
India in the Caribbean by David Dabydeen and Brinsley Samaroo
India in the Caribbean by David Dabydeen and Brinsley Samaroo was one of the first history books I bought when I was eager to learn about my history.
It is a series of essays on the impacts of both indentured servitude and slavery in Guyana and the Caribbean.
The authors explain how the exploited Indian immigrants in 19th and 20th century helped to shape the cultural landscape of the region regarding food, religion, music, and more.
The Guyana Story: From Earliest Times to Independence by Odeen Ishmael
The Guyana Story: From Earliest Times to Independence by Odeen Ishmael is a text-book written by Mr. Ishmael based on education he came across during his lifetime.
The full copy of the book used to be available online for free. It was so amazing that I went ahead and bought it anyway because tangible books are my favorite.
This book traces the history of Guyana from its Natives to 1966. The book explores the history of the Natives, enslaved Africans, and Indian indentured servants.
One of my favorite parts of the book is that it also covers Guyana's struggle for independence from Britain, and key events leading up to Independence in 1966.
This book is a great place to find a high-level overview on the political, social, and cultural developments in British Guyana.
History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago by Dr. Eric Williams
History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago by Dr. Eric Williams was one of the most motivating books I ever read. Dr. Williams wrote this book in just 30 days to premiere it in time for Trinidad and Tobago's first Independence.
The book seems to be way ahead of its time, like its author.
It covers the indigenous peoples who inhabited the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago prior to European contact, colonization, and the struggles leading to independence.
Dr. Williams discusses how the Africans, Indians, and other immigrants shaped the country's political, social, and economic developments.
Dr. Eric Williams was Trinidad & Tobago's first Prime Minister. He served from 1962 until his death in 1981. His role as a historian was influential in analyzing the economic basis of the slave trade. Under his leadership, the country experienced significant social and economic progress.
The First East Indians to Trinidad by Dennison Moore
The First East Indians to Trinidad by Dennison Moore is about Captain Cubitt Sparkhall Rundle of the Fatel Rozack (the first ship that brought Indian indentured servants to Trinidad in 1845).
It is an amazing account of the life of the captain and his retirement in India.
I also appreciated that Mr. Moore writes in a contemporary style that aids in understanding this complicated history.
One of the most exciting aspects of the book is that it dives into an unknown controversy regarding the correct name, statistics, and dates of the Fatel Rozack.
This post was all about some of my favorite books, starting with Coolie Woman by Gaiutra Bahadur.
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