Sunday, July 10, 2011

Notes from the Leper Asylum - Part III

Here's some reading to start your work week.  The notes are incomplete, but these notes are all from sifting through Barbadian Colonial Reports.  Boring as hell and even more tedious to organize and set the information in tables, but this is crucial information to set my argument of the push factors for emigration and what will aid in making my dissertation unique from what's been written before.

And for whatever reason, blogger won't let me post my tables (the stuff that took me the most time to put together.  Ah well.  Enjoy the blank space)

Enjoy and please don't steal my stuff!

Colonial Reports: 1927-1957

This section of notes mainly reflects and contextualizes the Barbadian social, political, and economic environment in which Barbadians lived and emigrated.  Highlighted here will be notes on population demographics (including birthrates, death-rates, population density) and economic and financial statistics.  This is the nitty-gritty number crutching and fact filled part of the dissertation.  This is the boring stuff that needs to be said and analyzed, but is historically rich and will solidify my argument of the push factor for emigration.  ***The argument stating that it was overpopulation and unemployment in Barbados, government sponsored emigration and employment schemes, the natural movement of a highly skilled and educated populace with little opportunity for upward social and economic movement due to the Island’s literal and figurative small size, and an individual’s want and desire for social mobility abroad and for those back home, and not a  loosely based and ideological “culture of migration”, which was the push for emigration***.   The Colonial Reports span for a thirty year period from 1927 to 1957 with some years unavailable at the Barbados National Archives.

This section also highlights Barbadian-Canadian relations which will be used in a stand-alone category of notes and section on the Canadian-West Indian League.  I will clearly highlight the notes that will be used for my section on Canadian-Barbadian foreign relations.  

***Unemployment and Migration will be a linked section***

Barbadian Population Demographics, Labour, and Migration
Information collected from the Barbadian Colonial Reports at the Barbados National Archives, Barbados.
·         Population Demographics Notes:
·         Glossary of Terms:
o   Total Population: Total Population of Barbados as of December 31st of the year in question.  The reader must be aware that some of the figures are said to be estimations within the Colonial Reports and may not be completely accurate.
o   Density: Population density.  Number of persons per square mile.
o   Immigrants: Number of persons entering the Island
o   Emigrants: Number of persons leaving the Island
o   Net M. Growth: Net Migration Growth.  The population increase through immigration in excess of emigration
o   Birthrate: Rate per one thousand people
o   Ill. BR%: Illegitimate Birthrate percentage: The number of births out of wedlock
o   Death-rate: Rate per one thousand people
o   I. Mortality: Infant Mortality.  Deaths per one thousand live births
o   IM from Syphilis: Infant Mortality caused by syphilis.  The overall number of deaths (or percentage as stated in 1927) caused by syphilis – one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of five.

·         ***Notes on population demographics and its impact on overpopulation, labour and unemployment and emigration***:
·         1927:
o   “The aptitude of the Barbadian as a skilled worker is abundantly in evidence, and it is by the development of this feature that he can hope to advance if, as many easily be the case, he should some day meet with disappointment in securing employment in Barbados of a kind of sufficient to place him on a higher social plane than that from which, in the peculiar circumstances of life in his over populated country, he may otherwise find it difficult to emerge.  For the present the education system provides for each succeeding vacant junior clerkship in the Public Service a comparatively large number of well-educated candidates of whom some have reached to the highest educational standards attainable locally and many have for considerable periods been unsuccessful in obtaining clerical appointments.” (p.23)  A highly educated populous needed the opportunity to succeed.  With limited opportunities in Barbados due to geographical size and overpopulation, emigration was a means for socio-economic mobility and prosperity.  (For section on education)
o   Labour:
§  “Notwithstanding the emigration which takes place annually to Cuba and other West Indian islands there is an abundant supply of labour for the requirements of the Colony.” (p.25).   Barbados not short of labour.
·         1928:
o   January 24th, 1928, first meeting of the West Indies Standing Conference at Barbados.  Representatives from all West Indian colonies, British Guiana, and Bermuda.
§  Migration (p.8):
§  Proposed establishment of an organization to help and “serve the interests” of West Indians in Cuba.
§  Establishing a permit system for emigrants in foreign countries and a “fund for defraying the cost of relief of destitute West Indians in foreign countries and the cost of their repatriation in certain cases.” A safety net for West Indians emigrating abroad.
·         1929:
o   Migration and unemployment (The Depression) linked (p.5):
§  Possible schemes to stem the effects of the Depression from the sugar industry: “the measures incidental thereto, including any schemes of migration of labourers or land settlements.”  Migration proposed as a solution to the effects of the Depression and unemployment in Barbados.
o   Labour (p.31):
§  “Abundant supply of labour” in Barbados
§  No immigration to Barbados for labour.
·         1931:
o   Race (p.6 ):
§  Census of 1921 states the racial characteristics of Barbados as 71% Black, 22% Mixed, and 7% White.
o   Illiterates (p.6):
§  17.71% of population in 1930; 15.07% of population illiterate in 1931
o   Population increase in the 1920s due to immigration exceeding emigration (p.7):
§  Each year of the 1920s (notwithstanding 1923 & 1928), “shows an increase of immigration over emigration”.
§  Average net increase of the 1920s: 972.
o   Surplus of labourers, but “door to emigration is closed”. (p.16)
o   Barbadians employed on Canadian ships (p.17):
§  “A number of Barbadian seamen are employed on ships of the Canadian National Steamships and the Furness Wilthy Line.”  Temporary migrant workers and Barbadian sojourners.
·         1932:
o   Canadian employment for Barbadian seamen reduced (p.17):
§  “During the year the chances of employment for Barbadian seamen were further reduced by the decision of the Canadian National Steamships to carry Canadian crews on their passenger steamers calling at West Indian ports.”  Prosperity and employment for Barbadian seamen intrinsically linked to Canadian economic and labour decisions.
·         1933:
o   ***No Emigration = Unemployment(p.34)***
§  The causes of unemployment in Barbados are chiefly the discontinuance of emigration to foreign countries, the discontinuance of employment of local seamen by the Lampart and Holt and Canadian National Steamship Companies, the decline of the coaling trade of the port, and the wide-spread disinclination of the inhabitants to undertake agricultural work.  The absence of adequate vocational training in the educational system of the Island is also a contributing factor.”  The Colonial Report of 1933-34 explicitly stated the relationship
·         1934:
o   Employment Agency (p.34):
§  Since 1934: 41,096 people registered for employment
·         1937:
o   Overpopulation, Labour, and Employment (p.17):
§  Canada used to be a solution for both issues of Barbadian overpopulation and a means of employment, however, “opportunities for employment…have practically ceased and Barbados has now to look within for the solution of its problem of over-population.”
·         1938:
o   Government sponsored and facilitated Emigration for Overpopulation (p.8)
§  Barbadian government bought a property at Vieux Port, St. Lucia to settle Barbadian peasantry for work
§  As of this publication in 1938, no Barbadians had settled as yet.
o   Legislated Acts for employment (p.18) Barbadian government regulating employment:
§  The Labour (Minimum Wage) Act, 1938-18.  In place as of May 6th, 1938
§  The Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act, 1938-42.  In place July 13th, 1938.
o   Employment Agency (p.19):
§  7,412 people registered since Employment Agency opened 5 years previous
·         WWII up to 1947:
o   Government sponsored emigration, Labour, Temporary Workers Abroad for the Allied War Effort (p.8):
o   1944:
§  Arrangements made with American War Food Administration and War Manpower Commission by the Anglo-American Caribbean Commission for agricultural and industrial work in the US
§  3,605 labourers in US in 1944
o   1946:
§  3,086 workers employed in Florida with United States Sugar Corporation
o   1947:
§  End of 1947, 188 Barbadians working in Florida (p.9)
§  516 men recruited for work abroad, mostly in the Caribbean
·         1949:
o   Emigration for employment to the US on a smaller scale than previous years (p.10).  End of WWII.
·         1950:
o   ***Emigration (21,040 persons) exceeds Immigration (20,734).  First time in recorded history (within the period studied of the Colonial Reports). (p.9)***
o   Employment abroad (p.11)
§  Barbadians in “short-term” contracts in US.  Analogous to present day temporary and/or migrant worker contracts in Canada and the United States.
o   5000 Barbadian men in Barbados either unemployed or underemployed.

Sections on Barbados from written Colonial Reports notes still to be typed and organized:
Need to go through Reports from 1952-1957
Social welfare (housing, cost of living, wages, social welfare programmes, voting) table and notes
Education table and notes
Finance/Commerce/Public Debt table

Barbadian-Canadian Trade
Goods Imported from Canada and Their Value in £ (1927-1936)
Information collected from the Barbadian Colonial Reports at the Barbados National Archives, Barbados.
·         Canadian Goods Imported in 1937 & 1938 (no financial figures were provided for the subsequent years, nor were they listed explicitly following 1938 and the suspension of the Colonial Reports in 1940-1946.)  All of that in a footnote.  Could even put the whole bit of this info in a footnote as well:
o   Boots & Shoes
o   Fish: dried, salted, smoked (includes Newfoundland)
o   Flour
o   Pork salted
o   Motor Cars
o   Wood and Timber
·         1938:
o   Imports:
§  “Large importation of foodstuffs continues and is essential to meet the requirements of the dense population of the Island.” (p.13)
·         1946:
o   Canadian imports valued at £1,297,396
·         1947:
o   Canadian imports valued at £1,540,647
·         1948:
o   Favoured Canadian import: Flour (p.23)
o   Canadian imports valued at £1,670,604  
·         1949:
o   Favoured Canadian import: Flour
o   Canadian imports valued at $6,711,940 (note change in currency from pounds to dollars)
·         1950:
o   Favoured Canadian import: Flour (p.26)
o   Canadian imports valued at $5,588,959
o   Expansion of trade liberalization with North America (p.7):
§  Salt fish and animal feed (Canadian products) placed on open general license, price decontrolled and commodities no longer subsided.  Hence the drop in Canadian imports by over one million dollars.
·         1951:
o   Favoured Canadian import: Flour (p.26)
o   Canadian imports valued at $8,314,894

Barbadian Total Trade and Total Domestic Exports (Sugar & Molasses) to Canada (1927-1936):
Information collected from the Barbadian Colonial Reports at the Barbados Archives, Barbados.
·         Export and Trade notes:
o   1927:
§  “Competitive conditions favour generally the Dominion of Canada which, as indicated above, has absorbed wholly that portion of the Colony’s produce represented by the falling off in exports to the United Kingdom and other places named.” (p.15)
o   1928:
§  Canada the largest purchases of Barbadian sugar and molasses.  Barbados conducts the majority of its export trade with Canada. (p.24)
o   1929:
§  Depression and falling sugar prices (p.4-5):
§  The world overproduction of sugar, “dropped in price to a level lower than the cost of production”
§  House of Assembly urging the British government to buy more Barbadian sugar: “the only immediate available means of reducing the heavy loss to producers, and thereby enabling them to continue the cultivation of their lands, provide work for and pay a living wage to the labouring population during the present depression.”
o   1930:
§  Price of sugar down from previous year (p.4)
§  Also the driest year on record did not help sugar production (p.4)
§  Canada still the largest purchaser of Barbadian domestic exports (sugar and molasses) (p.16)
o   1931:
§  Canada still the largest purchaser of Barbadian domestic exports (sugar and molasses) (p.16)
o   1932:
§  Canada still the largest purchaser, however, “increased preferences on sugar granted by the United Kingdom diverted some of the produce from Canada to the United Kingdom.” (p.16)
o   1933:
§  More UK imports of Barbadian sugar, but Canada still imports the most molasses. (p.14)
o   1934 & 1936-1937:
§  Canada chief buyer of Barbadian molasses and sugar (p.11)
o   1938:
§  Exports:
·         UK now the largest purchaser of Barbadian domestic exports (p.15):
·         46.6% (UK) vs. 41.6% (Canada)
o   1948:
§  Domestic Exports: £3,048,165

Sections on Barbadian-Canadian relations still to be typed and organized from written notes:
Postal Service
Custom Act (1932)


  1. Educated population, small island with limited employment opportunities = emigration.

    Is that the argument?

  2. Exacto mundo. Throw in overpopulation and those are the push factors I'm looking at. Guess I'm doing something right that the argument is coming through in my notes. ;)