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Theoretical and Historical Sketches of Guyana and Trinidad

Theoretical and Historical Sketches of Guyana and Trinidad

(p.21) 1 Theoretical and Historical Sketches of Guyana and Trinidad
Caribbean Masala
Dave RamsaranLinden F. Lewis
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter presents theoretical and historical sketches of Guyana and Trinidad. Both countries share a similar colonial history and ethnic makeup, with people of Indian descent representing 39.3 percent of the total population in Guyana and 35 percent in Trinidad. The focus on Trinidad and Guyana, then, stems from the social and political significance of the Indian communities in these countries. The problematic coexistence of the dominant African creole culture and Indian culture in the Caribbean is central to explaining the location of Indo-Caribbean populations within their particular socioeconomic, political, and gendered spaces. In addressing the notion of “Indian identity,” both Indo-Trinidadians and Indo-Guyanese ask whether their respective identities reflect the “purity” of their Indian ancestry. In both spaces, the Indian community must determine the extent to which they want to associate their “Indianness” with India, or with the nation-state in which they were born.

Keywords:   Guyana, Trinidad, Indian communities, African creole culture, Indian culture, Indo-Caribbean populations, Indian identity, Indo-Trinidadians, Indo-Guyanese, Indian ancestry

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