From 1838 to 1917, over half a million Indians from the former British Raj or British India, were brought to the British West Indies as indentured servants to address the demand for labour following the abolition of slavery. The first two shiploads arrived in British Guiana (now Guyana) on May 5, 1838, which makes 2008 the 170th anniversary.
The majority of the Indians living in the English-speaking Caribbean came from eastern Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar, while those brought to Guadeloupe and Martinique were mostly from, but not only, from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. A minority emigrated from other parts of South Asia, including present-day Pakistan and Bangladesh. Other Indo-Caribbean people descend from later migrants, including Indian doctors, Gujarati businessmen and migrants from Kenya and Uganda.
Indo-Caribbeans are the largest ethnic group in Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. They are the second largest group in Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and other countries. There are populations in Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, French Guiana, Grenada, Panama, Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia, Martinique, Netherlands Antilles, and Guadeloupe. There are also small groups often called "mulatts" who are of Indian descent in Haiti.
The indentured Indians and their descendants have actively contributed to the evolution of their adopted lands in spite of many difficulties. Jamaica has always celebrated the arrival of Indians in Old Harbour Bay on May 13th.
In 2003, Martinique celebrated the 150th anniversary of Indian arrival. Guadeloupe did the same in 2004. These celebrations were not the fact of just the Indian minority but the official recognition by the French and local authorities of their integration and their wide-scale contribution in various fields from Agriculture to Education, Politics, and to the diversification of the Creole culture. Thus the noted participation of the whole multi-ethnic population of the two islands in these events.
In Canada, notable Indo Caribbeans include:
In Britain, notable Indo-Caribbeans include: