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**Historical Context and Practices of Blackbirding:**
– Blackbirding involved coercion of people for cheap labor.
– Blackbirded individuals were taken from various Pacific islands.
– Demand for labor came from European colonists in multiple countries.
– Blackbirding ships operated from the 1840s to 1930s.
– Similar practices continue in Central America today.
– Robert Towns and other individuals exploited Melanesian labor for industries like cotton harvesting.
– High demand for cheap labor in sugar and pastoral industries led to the expansion of recruitment efforts.
– Recruitment was shifted to different regions like New Guinea islands due to various factors.

**Labor Recruitment and Exploitation:**
– Majority of Kanakas were male and recruited from Melanesia for labor in Queensland.
– Labor recruiters like Henry Ross Lewin and John Crossley facilitated the recruitment process.
– Kanakas were paid in trinkets instead of cash wages.
– Kanakas were employed in various industries like cane-fields, sheep stations, and pearl diving.
– Poor working conditions led to high mortality rates among the laborers.
– Resistance to recruitment efforts resulted in violence and conflicts between Islanders and recruiters.
– Legislation such as the Polynesian Labourers Act of Queensland aimed to regulate recruitment practices.

**Legislation, Controversy, and Government Intervention:**
– The Pacific Islanders Protection Acts of 1872 and 1875 were established to control coercive labor recruitment.
– The Acts aimed to work with existing laws to arrest blackbirding ships.
– The establishment of the Kanaka trade and the involvement of various vessels in recruitment.
– The Age’s 1882 Slave Trade Exposé heightened public awareness and scrutiny of blackbirding practices.
– The Royal Commission into Islander recruitment and the subsequent repatriation and deportation efforts.
– Legislative attempts to end the labor trade in 1890 and its recommencement in 1892.

**Resistance, Violence, and Impact:**
– Islanders resisted recruitment efforts, leading to violence against blackbirders and crew members.
– Violent incidents like the killing of missionary John Coleridge Patteson occurred.
– The disruption of local hierarchies and conflicts arising from the desire to take Islander children to mission schools.
– The detrimental impact of blackbirding activities on local communities and the increased awareness and pushback.
– Increased resistance among Islanders due to continued recruitment efforts and conflicts with anti-immigration sentiments.

**Consequences, Compensation, and Deportation:**
Plantation owners were compensated for returned workers despite evidence of high death rates.
– Legislation passed to end the labor trade in 1890, which was not effectively enforced.
– The compulsory deportation of Islanders mandated after 1906.
– The Burns Philp company’s involvement in deportation efforts and conflicts in regions like the Solomon Islands.
– Deportation of thousands of Islanders between 1906-1908 and exemptions based on specific criteria.

Blackbirding (Wikipedia)

Blackbirding is the coercion of people through deception or kidnapping to work as slaves or poorly paid labourers in countries distant from their native land. The practice took place on a large scale with the taking of people indigenous to the numerous islands in the Pacific Ocean during the 19th and 20th centuries. These blackbirded people were called Kanakas or South Sea Islanders. They were taken from places such as Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Niue, Easter Island, the Gilbert Islands, Tuvalu, Fiji, and the islands of the Bismarck Archipelago amongst others.

In 1869, HMS Rosario seized the blackbirding schooner Daphne and freed its passengers, who were bound for Queensland, Australia.

The owners, captains, and crews of the ships involved in the acquisition of these labourers were termed blackbirders. The demand for this kind of cheap labour principally came from European colonists in New South Wales, Queensland, Samoa, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, and New Zealand, as well as plantations in Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala. Labouring on sugar cane, cotton, and coffee plantations in these lands was the main usage of blackbirded labour, but they were also exploited in other industries. Blackbirding ships began operations in the Pacific from the 1840s which continued into the 1930s. Blackbirders from the Americas sought workers for their haciendas and to mine the guano deposits on the Chincha Islands, while the blackbirding trade organised by colonists in places like Queensland, Fiji, and New Caledonia used the labourers at plantations, particularly those producing sugar cane.

Examples of blackbirding outside the South Pacific include the early days of the pearling industry in Western Australia at Nickol Bay and Broome, where Aboriginal Australians were blackbirded from the surrounding areas. Chinese men were blackbirded from Amoy in the 1840s and 50s to work as unskilled labourers in the pearling, gold and farming industries.

Practices similar to blackbirding continue to the present day. One example is the kidnapping and coercion, often at gunpoint, of indigenous peoples in Central America to work as plantation labourers in the region. They are subjected to poor living conditions, are exposed to heavy pesticide loads, and do hard labour for very little pay.

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