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Editor's Note

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Dorothy Shineberg's The People Trade: Pacific Island Laborers and New Caledonia, 1865-1930, the sixteenth volume in the Pacific Islands Monograph Series (PIMS), is a most welcome addition to the scholarly literature on Pacific history in general and on the indentured labor ...

Contents

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Illustrations

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pp. xiii-xvi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xvii-xviii

My thanks are due to many people for their cooperation during the long period of research for this book. I am grateful to the staff of libraries and archives who helped me gather material: in Sydney the Mitchell Library; in Canberra the Australian National Library, the ...

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Conventions

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pp. xix-xx

Unless otherwise stated, sums of money are expressed in French francs. The United States dollar was worth about 5.26 francs and the pound sterling about 25 francs (or 1 franc=US 19 cents or 9.6 British pence) for most of the period studied. After the First World War, the ...

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Note on Sources

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pp. xxi-xxiv

Systematic records relating to immigrant labor are extant for the British colonies of Queensland and Figi but not for the French colony of New Caledonia. It seems important therefore to begin by describing the sources and the methods used to establish the basic frame-work of this book....

Part One. Recruiting for New Caledonia

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Chapter 1. The Pacific Island Labor Trade and New Caledonia

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pp. 3-10

In the travelers' tales of the nineteenth century, visitors to New Caledonia mentioned the New Hebridean laborers who carried their luggage, rowed them ashore, waited at table, dressed up on Sundays to parade in the Place des Cocotiers, or worked in plantations or mines. Nowadays their place in the history of migrant labor has slipped from ...

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Chapter 2. The Colony Established

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pp. 11-24

At the beginning of September 1774, Captain Cook sailed southwest from Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides on a return visit to New Zealand. On his way he encountered the northern end of a large uncharted island surrounded by a reef. Nobody knows why he named it New Caledonia. It bears little resemblance to Scotland - called ...

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Chapter 3. Entrepreneurial Recruiting in the 1870s

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pp. 25-35

A number of factors came together in the 1870s to increase the likelihood of malpractice in the New Caledonian labor trade. Not only had passage money risen substantially, attracting greedy as well as inexperienced operators, and not only had control decreased, but at the same time recruiters were seeking new reserves of labor. Like their ...

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Chapter 4. The Kidnapping Inquiries and the Suspension of the Labor Trade, 1880-1882

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pp. 36-49

Abuses came to light in 1880 through a complaint of Commodore Wilson of the Royal Navy to the British consul in Noumea. Wilson enclosed extracts from journals of British labor ships, a letter from the missionary Daniel Macdonald, and an article in the Sydney Evening News describing incidents in the northern New Hebrides involving ...

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Chapter 5. Settlers Triumphant: The Labor Trade Revived

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pp. 50-65

Governor Courbet and the minister for the Navy and Colonies underestimated the outrage of the settlers in being denied the labor of their choice. Persistent efforts to regain access to New Hebridean workers twice successfully overcame government policy. Notwithstanding considerable efforts to meet colonists' labor needs in alternate...

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Chapter 6. The New Century

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pp. 66-72

In 1901, the number of imported Oceanian laborers still exceeded the combined totals of Asian workers, but local Kanaks - most of them from the Loyalty Islands - had begun to outnumber them both.1 A mix of Asian, Hebridean, and Kanak labor, especially in agriculture, became common early in the century (photo 7). With the extension ...

Part Two. Profile of Recruits

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Chapter 7. Men and Motives

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pp. 75-89

As in Fiji and Queensland, settlers in New Caledonia hoped that recruiting ships would bring them strong young men. But different conditions and regulations in the French colony ensured that female and child workers were also in demand there. Because both the recruitment and the experience at the workplace of women and child workers ...

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Chapter 8. The Women

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pp. 90-115

Even ordinary shipping notices recording the arrival of a recruiting ship from Oceania rarely neglected to report the number of women among its recruits as a form of advertisement. Some variation in the demand for female workers over the period related to the kind of service required, but the main problem was one of supply. ...

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Chapter 9. The Children

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pp. 116-122

The legal indenture of unaccompanied children was a phenomenon peculiar to the New Caledonian segment of the labor trade. Young children formed a substantial proportion of imported labor for the first thirty years of recruiting. Child labor was not unusual in nineteenth-century Europe, and in France itself, very young children ...

Part Three. At the Workplace

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Chapter 10. Work in New Caledonia

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pp. 125-145

In April 1866, Brother Aime Mallet happened to see a parade of New Hebrideans passing the presbytery. They were an early shipload of recruits to be offered for indenture to employers in New Caledonia, under the Henry contract of 1865. Mallet recognized the Hebrideans by their dress, for he had been part of a short-lived Catholic mission at ...

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Chapter 11. Living and Working in New Caledonia: By Law or Custom?

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pp. 146-165

When the recruits arrived at their workplace, an entirely new life began. They had to conform to a totally foreign regime, work set hours at strange tasks, adapt to a different climate, eat different food, obey orders from an employer who spoke a foreign tongue, and more often than not work and live with Islanders from other places whose ...

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Chapter 12. "Perpetual Theft"

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pp. 166-181

The hardships borne by indentured laborers were, in theory, compensated by wages that could be converted into coveted goods to be taken home. In the first few years, no complaints were recorded about the rewards given for their labor. But after the state opted out of its managerial role at the end of the 1860s, there was a grave problem ...

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Chapter 13. Sickness and Death

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pp. 182-202

No one disputed the fact that the rate of sickness and death among indentured laborers, especially mine workers, was extremely high. The habit of listing the names of dead foreign workers among those in the "Trusteeship of unclaimed estates" (Curatelle aux successions et biens vacants), regularly published in the Moniteur, publicized the extraordinary ...

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Chapter 14. "Hebrideans" in Colonial Society

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pp. 203-220

The imported laborers occupied a lowly rank in New Caledonian society in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but they were only one of a number of underclasses. There were also the convicts, the liberes, the Asian workers, and the indigenous Kanaks. The free whites saw the New Hebrideans as the least sinister of all their inferiors, ...

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Chapter 15. Life after Indenture

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pp. 221-228

At the end of their term, workers had the option of reengaging or returning home. After eight years of continuous indenture, they were eligible to apply for free residence provided they had not been convicted of any crimes or had not incurred any disciplinary penalty during their last two years of employment, a rule that seems to have been ...

Appendix: Tables

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pp. 239-248

Notes

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pp. 249-274

References

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pp. 275-298

Index

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pp. 299-309