Little India

History of Little India


Overview

It is a vibrant and culturally rich neighbourhood that can be found in various cities around the world. It serves as a hub for the Indian community, featuring a plethora of Indian businesses, shops, restaurants, and temples. Waves of immigration from the Indian subcontinent have shaped the history of Little India, which dates back several centuries.


Colonial Period:

The establishment of Little India in different parts of the world can be attributed to the colonial period, when European powers had significant influence over many regions. During this time, people from the Indian subcontinent were brought to colonies as indentured labourers or soldiers to serve British, Dutch, French, and Portuguese interests.


Migration Waves:

Southeast Asia: In Southeast Asia, particularly in countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, Indians migrated during British colonial rule. They worked on plantations and became an integral part of building infrastructure projects.


Africa: Indian immigrants also played a major role in constructing railways and working on agricultural plantations during colonisation in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda) and Southern Africa (South Africa).

Caribbean: Another significant wave occurred when Indians were taken as indentured labourers to work on sugar plantations primarily for British colonies such as Guyana (formerly British Guiana), Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname (formerly Dutch Guiana), and Jamaica.


Settlements Formation:

As these communities grew larger over time through successive migration waves across generations with varying degrees of integration into local societies maintaining their cultural identity, they established settlements, forming what is known today as 'Little Indias.'


Cultural Centres:

These settlements started developing into cultural centres where migrants could find familiar food items like spices and ingredients; shops selling traditional clothing; music stores offering popular Bollywood songs; places where religious festivals could be celebrated with fervour; temples providing spiritual guidance; and theatres screening movies from India—all giving residents a sense of home away from home.


Modern-day Little India:

Today, it has evolved into an important and vibrant cultural enclave within the larger cities where it exists. It continues to be a destination for locals and tourists interested in exploring the rich Indian heritage, cuisine, arts, crafts, and traditions.


History of Little India: Early Settlements


Overview

It is a vibrant and culturally rich neighbourhood that can be found in various cities around the world. It serves as a hub for the Indian community, offering a taste of their traditions, cuisine, and way of life. The history of Little India's early settlements dates back to several centuries ago when Indian migrants started to settle in different parts of the world.


Early Migration