The Outstanding Universal Value of the Aapravasi Ghat World Heritage Property
The Aapravasi Ghat Immigration Depot is the site from where the modern indentured labour diaspora emerged. The Immigration Depot was built in 1849 to receive indentured labourers who arrived from India, Eastern Africa, Madagascar, China and Southeast Asia to work on the island’s sugar estates. The architectural ensemble stands for this 'Great Experiment', an attempt initiated by the British Government after the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1834 to demonstrate the superiority of ‘free’ over slave labour in its plantation colonies.
The success of the 'Great Experiment' in Mauritius led to its adoption by other colonial powers as from 1840s resulting in a world-wide migration of more than two million indentured labourers. Mauritius received the greatest number of indentured labourers thus preceding Guyana, South Africa, Trinidad, Cuba, Peru and Reunion Island. The property is unique because it is one of the only surviving examples of an Immigration Depot dating from this 19th century global labour migration. It stands for the symbol of the Great Experiment that led to the use of indenture throughout the world.
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The Great Experiment