East Indians

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The earliest evidence of the influx of East Indians in Belize was in 1858 when the British Parliament arranged for the transport of some one thousand mutineers with their wives and families after the suppression of the Indian mutiny. The East Indian that came again in the 1880s were from Jamaica, brought mainly to work on the sugar estates of ex-confederates who settled in the Toledo district after fleeing the Civil War in the U.S.A.

About the same time, some East Indians who had previously been employed in Guatemala planting coffee also settled in Toledo. By the turn of the 20th century, East Indian had also settled in Calcutta and San Antonio in the Corozal District in northern Belize cultivating a variety of fruits and vegetables for sale.

As laborers, it was proven over and over again in the Caribbean and Belize that for light fieldwork the East Indian was an invaluable worker. Today, they live mostly in communities in the Toledo district in places like Forest Home and Manfredi. In the Corozal district, they occupy the villages of San Antonio, Carolina, and Calcutta; while in Belize City they are more diversified.

Within the past two decades, there have been recent Hindu immigrants to Belize, engaged mostly in merchandising. Many of the young East Indian working in their stores were brought as indentured workers.

Presently comprising about three percent of the population, the East Indian has almost completely intermixed in terms of marriage and culture.