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Relatable World History: Local-Global Migration Histories of La Crosse, Wisconsin, the Malay Peninsula, and Barbados (ca 1620s–1930s)

Tiffany Trimmer


     What follows is intended to spark the world history teacher's imagination. It is not meant as a prescription or an instant, whole-cloth, replacement for existing content in someone's courses. Instead, what I'm doing is "reasoning with content," by starting with historical information I have access to as a consequence of the trajectory of my teaching and research career thus far. My aim is to model a "bottom up" approach to world history that incorporates the ground underneath our students' feet (wherever they may be) by highlighting a selected world historical process that can be used to link their locality to other places and times in world history. The world historian's goal of illustrating how the local and the global interact can be brought home to where we teach.

     La Crosse, Wisconsin is the community where my students are, and migration is the historical process that much of my previous teaching and research has centered around. So, this place and process became the launching point for this essay.  The other two places in the title represent history learned via a prior research project (Malaya) or through teaching efforts (Barbados as a destination for the Trans-Atlantic direction of the African Slave Trade). But the reader's own prior teaching and learning experiences may suggest alternatives.   It is written by someone who was a dealt a pretty privileged hand: I teach in a city that has two excellent local history archival centers.1 But while readers circumstances—state standards, age of students, calendar and workload constraints, prior content knowledge—will vary, my goal is to inspire other teachers to experiment with integrating their own communities into their teaching. What could you do where you are?

Case Studies and Patterns in Local-Global Migration History

     Investigating human migration provides a direct way for teachers and students to experiment with three of world history's primary goals.  First, analyzing migrations leads to an understanding of how connections between parts of the world emerge, are sustained, and can potentially change over time. Second, learning about migrations past and present helps us better understand what we have in common as human beings.2 Third, exploring historical migrations invites us to compare and contrast: the global scope of movement, homo sapiens 250,000-year propensity to relocate, and the myriad ways migrating shaped the lives of movers, those they encountered, and those left behind offer seemingly endless prospects for identifying world historical patterns and divergences.3

     Yet comparison for comparison's sake does more pedagogical harm than good. Modeling the kind of analytical processes that make world historical comparisons possible (question-asking, evidence-seeking, evidence interpretation, synthesis of what is discovered) is imperative if we want to empower our students to approach history as something other than a collection of disparate facts.  Classroom exploration of several migration history case studies (or other long distance, long timeframe historical processes) can help us move students towards an understanding of "the difference between learning content and learning to reason with content." They become actively involved in thinking about potential relationships (common patterns or parallels, divergences) among the historical situations we explore with them.4 Analyzing multiple case studies of migrant behaviors offers a way to bring "an extra dimension to those histories" rather than merely cataloging a list of what does, or does not, match up from one historical time and place to another.5

     For this reason, I use the term relatable rather than comparable when describing the analytical work involved in linking world historical case studies. As Peter Stearns has argued, "world history comparisons require equal openness to similarity and difference…there's no automatic balance between similarity and difference; the point…is to test both aspects."6 Case studies may be relatable because a similar historical process or dynamic affects several distinct times and places. Yet why they are affected (historical causes and dynamics) and the end results (historical consequences) can vary slightly or significantly.

     I also want to use the word relatable in the hope that it will make it easier to follow why I'm discussing these three case studies: La Crosse, Wisconsin (ca 1850s1860s), the Malay Peninsula (ca 1900s1930s), and Barbados (ca the 1620s1690s). Why these three locations? My original interest in these three places is explained by the vicissitudes of my teaching and research career. At one level, this essay is a story about my own experiences reasoning with different kinds of historical content. As a world migration historian, I've researched intra-imperial labor migration policies shaping the Malay Peninsula as a way to understand how the global juggernaut of the British Empire shaped—and was shaped by—the labor diasporas of its colonial subjects. As a teacher of world history survey courses, the transformation of Barbados during the "sugar revolution" of the mid-late seventeenth century has offered a concrete way to highlight the role enslaved Africans, and indentured Europeans and Asians, played in the development of the Atlantic Plantation Complex.7 As a teacher of undergraduate students in the American Midwest who struggle to see themselves and their immediate surroundings as part of world history, researching and teaching the migration history of La Crosse, Wisconsin has helped me combat the sense of alienation my students sometimes bring into the classroom.

     In this sense I'm practicing what Lynn Hunt calls the "bottom-up" approach to world history: (1) beginning in a distinct, local, historically contextualized place connected to primary and secondary sources; and then (2) identifying how the local migration story related to that place fits into longer distance and longer timeframe world historical trends.8 Because migration is such an inherently personal process (stretching family and community relationships across space) and an inherently social one (requiring individuals and groups to leave one set of community power dynamics and navigate several others before settling or returning home), beginning a world historical investigation at something closer to a local level makes sense.9 As A. G. Hopkins has noted, globalization is a long-developing, multi-centered, series of processes that are jointly produced by all the parties involved.10 The places that migrants moved to, through, and out of need to be the starting points for world history so we don't lose sight of those participating in the story we are inviting our students to learn about.

     After studying each of these three places, the thing that makes them relatable emerged: migration as a historical process that can either encourage—or discourage—people to become part of a much larger demographic, economic, and cultural project.  In Barbados, the Malay Peninsula, and La Crosse, Wisconsin, intensive focus on agricultural and commercial development led local residents to seek out the wider world—devising schemes to attract capital, labor, technology and infrastructure from afar.  In mid seventeenth century Barbados, colonists' integration of the island into Trans-Atlantic shipping networks facilitated the arrival of English, Scottish, and Irish settlers and indentures and enslaved Africans; made possible the transfer of Dutch sugar production technology; and channeled needed infusions of European capital to planters. In mid-nineteenth century La Crosse, town boosters targeted two audiences simultaneously (residents of the eastern U. S. and prospective immigrants from northwestern Europe) as they attempted to attract skilled labor, investment, and transportation and manufacturing infrastructure. In early twentieth century British Malaya, planters and colonial civil servants repeatedly tried to leverage intra-imperial relationships to encourage the migration of plantation laborers (from areas in and around the Madras Presidency in India), and administrators, technological experts, and investment (from across the British Isles).

     It's not surprising that human migration would factor into the story of the economic and community development in each of these places. As Robert Ostergren observed, "movements of large numbers of people are usually not random. They are in response to certain events and opportunities that are connected in space."11 Yet what really makes Barbados, La Crosse, and the Malay Peninsula relatable is the simultaneous coexistence of immigration and emigration during the transformation of each location.  In all three cases, volatility—rather than consistency—best characterizes the unfolding migration story. In Barbados, a multi-decade exodus of former indentured servants and planters simultaneously coexisted with the sharp increase in the arrival of enslaved Africans. This small, but significant, Barbadian diaspora ended up reinforcing the colony's integration into the wider Atlantic world as emigrants relocated to established parts of the English empire (British Isles, Massachusetts, Antigua, Jamaica) or helped found new colonies (what would become South Carolina).12

     In La Crosse, the "boom-and-bust" cycle of an early pioneer settlement led one historian to label the city "a mecca for transients." The city's population grew from 745 to about 6,000 in three years (18541857) then appears to have shrunk from 6,000 to 3,860 in the subsequent three years (18571860).13 La Crosse's oft-celebrated founder Nathan Myrick only stayed six years. The city's front-row seat on the Mississippi River turned out to have disadvantages as well as advantages: the same steamboats that deposited prospective settlers in La Crosse could just as easily take residents to St. Louis or Minneapolis (Myrick's subsequent home) if they decided to try their luck elsewhere.14

     In colonial Malaya, British civil servants lamented the high turnover rate of the immigrant plantation labor force as contracts expired and workers moved on. But beneath this general sense of the rhythms of life-under-contract, competing imperial labor recruitment policies yielded contradictory outcomes. In the 1920s and 1930s, civil servants in Malaya repatriated rubber plantation workers back to the Indian Subcontinent when commodity prices dropped, slowing or halting production. Yet they simultaneously encouraged the emigration of women to counteract the colony's reputation as a predominately male, and generally temporary, migrant destination.15

     Analyzing the relationships between world history case studies (i.e., the parallels and the contrasts) poses a challenge: the generalizations arrived at have to be specific enough to actually be meaningful to our students. Otherwise, they (and we as their teachers) get no closer to actually understanding world historical causes and consequences.16 In the brief overview of Barbados, La Crosse, and Malaya I've just given, people moved to—and away from—these specific locations because clusters of economic, political, and social factors made them rethink their prospects for life in those communities.

     The following factors shaped migration patterns in all three locations: boom-and-bust cycles of agricultural and commercial development; socioeconomic stratification that led certain groups to believe a permanent home could not be made there; and well-established transportation networks that made moving on to another location feasible. All these factors are consequences of the set of processes we commonly call "globalization."  Ultimately, my goal here is to model a more nuanced investigation of how multiple local places are transformed by world historical processes associated with settlement and labor migration ca the 1620s1930s. In addition, by showing how a specific locality like La Crosse, Wisconsin can be written into a world historical narrative, I want to encourage other teachers to experiment with integrating their own communities into their teaching about migration (or other historical processes) as part of world history. For this reason, I begin my story with La Crosse, rather than with the earliest case study (Barbados).

La Crosse, Wisconsin ca 1850s1860s

     In 1854, Reverend Spencer Carr published a promotional guide to attract migrants to La Crosse, Wisconsin.  At that point the settlement was thirteen years old. A recent immigrant from Pennsylvania, Carr used the 28 pages of A Brief Sketch of La Crosse, Wisc'n to entice people from multiple occupational backgrounds: farmers would be awed by the quality of the topsoil; lumberjacks and carpenters would find massive pine forests to keep them infinitely busy; masons could harvest stone from the nearby bluffs; La Crosse's front-row seat on the Mississippi River would make it easy for business owners to get provisions and ship their products.  In Carr's not unbiased opinion, western Wisconsin was the place to be in 1854. He conceded that there was community-building work that still needed to be done, writing that "social and moral improvements must be made here, and they will cost some labor." But Carr encouraged prospective immigrants from the Eastern United States and Northwestern Europe to think about themselves as part of a much larger demographic, economic, and cultural project. "For what nobler object can any man live?" he asked, then to participate in the long-distance migrations transforming the North American Midwest.17

     Granted, not every community has its own version of A Brief Sketch that can serve as a launching point for the kind of local-global historical contextualization I present below.18 But, any component of a local community's "founding" narrative (whether preserved in oral traditions, visual representations, or written accounts) could spark a similar thought process. Due to the systematic pattern of violence, land appropriation, and forced migration indigenous peoples faced preceding Euro-American settlement, the primary sources from La Crosse's founding era that are easiest to put into students' hands also have a serious limitation: they un-diversify the community's shared past by writing the Ho-Chunk out of the city's history.19 Other localities may therefore have different configurations of voices to use as a starting point.

     So how do we sync a La Crosse-centered migrant's guidebook up with world history? As Adam McKeown characterized it, the world of the 1840s1940s was "a world on the move, flowing into factories, construction projects, mines, plantations, agricultural frontiers, and commercial networks across the globe."20 In A Brief Sketch, Carr sought to convince his readers La Crosse was already a functioning part of this world on the move. In an extended section on the settlement's commercial advantages, Carr asked "is there any easy communication between La Crosse and the world?  Or, if not the whole world, of any considerable part of it?" Determined civic booster that he was, Carr tried to convince readers that the answer was: of course, La Crosse was an integral part of this emerging, and increasingly interconnected, world. He played up La Crosse's integration into the vast Mississippi River trade and travel networks that moved people, merchandise, and information all the way from New Orleans to Minneapolis.21   

     How did the potential future residents of La Crosse fit into this world on the move?  Carr knew that La Crosse had tough competition when trying to attract migrants: Chicago and St. Louis were repeatedly referenced as competitors, as was Milwaukee (211 miles closer to the eastern U. S.). The population of Cleveland, for example, was about 23 times larger than La Crosse in the early 1850s.22  As a real person trying to convince other real people to emigrate to La Crosse, Carr emphasized the long-distance cultural bonds, and financial and transportation networks that helped him envision La Crosse as part of the wider world. Although he and his wife had left the eastern U. S. behind, as a Baptist minister and schoolteacher Carr emphasized the contributions European-descended, Christian, immigrants could make by "civilizing" the interior of the North American continent—a Manifest Destiny Era emigration of cultural values along with people.23 He also repeatedly referenced the migration of financial resources (inviting capitalists as well as laborers) from the eastern and southern U. S. to create an economic lifeline between the new settlement and the rest of the world.  And perhaps most important in terms of facilitating actual human movement, Carr assured readers that the newest modern transportation technologies available—steamboats and railroads—would allow them to move to La Crosse but still make trips elsewhere if needed.24 But the key thing to pay attention to is the immigrant envisioning his new home as firmly embedded into multiple kinds of networks and cultural formations which made La Crosse part of the wider world.  For Carr, migration was a way for the individual to change both their own life and the wider world.  

     A Brief Sketch represents one distinct moment in time during the much longer era of settlement migrations that encompassed much of the sixteenth through early twentieth centuries. Here I'm thinking about a global migration story that could begin with early Spanish settlement in the Americas followed by the creation of rival European trans-Atlantic empires, Russian emigration to Siberia, European emigration into Australia, New Zealand and then Africa, Chinese, Japanese and Korean emigration to Manchuria, and persist all the way through the mid 1970s and early 1980s with the reverse migrations of Portuguese colonists and their descendants from Angola and of British colonists and their descendants from Zimbabwe during the process of decolonization. It's a long story, and it's a global story. One could make it even longer by beginning, as Alfred Crosby did, with Viking emigration ca the late ninth century.25  These global population movements linked to settlement migration were designed to further the authority of empires or nation states in far-flung interior regions, provide outlets for population pressures at home, and incentivize emigration with the potential of improved economic prospects. They were also facilitated by systems of legalized unfree migration including indenture, enslavement, and forced relocations of indigenous peoples to support labor demands, or to make way for settlers' appropriation of the land for farming or access to natural resources.

     Carr suggested there was an inevitability to the growth of La Crosse because of the nineteenth century westward migrations that were part of this unfolding world historical story. "Every year swells the number of native citizens, who must and will seek a home in the West, and the ports of the old world are constantly opening wider and wider, to discharge their thousands of enterprising immigrants, most of whom are sure to find a resting place in this part of the country," he wrote.26  To further world historicize this we could add references to the interior of Canada, Argentina, Brazil and other parts of the Americas.  And, we could link Carr's reference to "thousands of emigrants" ca the 1850s to the approximately 57,000,000 to 60,500,000 million people crossing either the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean to live in the Americas, (permanently or temporarily) between 1840 and 1940. Since these numbers don't include regional migrations within individual continents—the European and Asian equivalents of Carr's journey from Pennsylvania to the interior of North America—potentially even more people's experiences could be added to the story.27

     To return to Hopkins' point about globalization being jointly produced by all the parties involved, analyzing part of a primary source like Carr's A Brief Sketch with my students lets us work together to investigate how the local and the global interact.28 There are two levels to this exploration. First, as described above, Carr quite literally tried to write La Crosse and western Wisconsin into the unfolding events of world history. He lamented that "the public mind does not truly appreciate the gigantic work" taking place in the North American Midwest during the 1850s; he seems to have viewed A Brief Sketch as his opportunity to correct that oversight. His confident sense of inevitability offers my students the chance to critically examine a pro-globalization viewpoint, analyzing the advantages and disadvantages associated with it (individual and family opportunity, alteration of the environment, loss of indigenous people's land and autonomy). Juxtaposing Carr's account with evidence related to the experiences of indigenous peoples (in La Crosse's case, the Ho-Chunk) and excluded racial minorities (in La Crosse's case, African-Americans) helps students identify the limitations of Carr's perspective, and the gendered and racial privilege involved.29

     The second thing Carr did that helps my students visualize how the local and the global interact was to make the residents of La Crosse a central part of the strategy for attracting prospective migrants. A Brief Sketch include three population registers of La Crosse residents: married couples, single men over eighteen, and single women over eighteen.  Each population register lists the names, birthplaces, religious affiliations, and occupations of La Crosse's adult residents.  We know that this was an on-purpose choice because in his "Preface," Carr explained that his goal was to use the "nativity and &c., of the inhabitants" as part of the "facts" about La Crosse which, once brought into view, would "enable [the reader] to see for himself, what La Crosse is now, and what it is destined hereafter to become."30  By listing the diverse personal characteristics of residents, Carr permitted prospective readers to imagine themselves moving to, and building lives in, La Crosse. Because residents' birthplaces were included in the population registers, he was also able to present La Crosse as a local community with ties to other parts of the world: Norway, Germany, Ireland, England, Holland, France, Wales, Sweden, and Switzerland appear repeatedly throughout the birthplace column of the registers.31 Granted, not all localities' founding documents come with such ready-made ways to visualize the points of origin for prior generations of residents. But the point is to find a way to let students see where people lived before and consider how that embeds a given locality into wider networks that facilitated the movement of information, people, and everything migrants brought along with them. For example, could pages from a census be used to accomplish the same kind of "world in your town" investigation with students?

     In terms of his immediate goal of encouraging readers of A Brief Sketch to see La Crosse as a place they should want to move to, showcasing the range of sending societies, occupations, and religious affiliations of its current inhabitants made sense.   Eighteen different Christian denominations appear in the registers; as do speakers of eight languages increasing the likelihood those considering a move to La Crosse might find community members to ease their integration.  For unmarried readers or families with marriage-age children, it might have been the 78 single gentleman and 38 single ladies listed in the second and third population registers who caught their attention.  Prospective husbands and wives from 10 states and 7 countries working in 25 different occupations were explicitly emphasized as a crucial component of La Crosse's future development in the same manner that the proximity to the Mississippi and the plentiful natural resources were.32

     The population registers in A Brief Sketch are an admittedly imperfect approximation of the diversity of immigrants in early La Crosse.  The religious affiliation of a Jewish founding father is omitted, and no reference is made to the region's Native American residents, the Ho-Chunk.  La Crosse's first African American immigrants, John and Elizabeth Williams, do not appear in the register of married couples.33 But Carr did leave a lasting legacy for world historians of migration by making it much easier for us to imagine La Crosse as an immigrant receiving society where people from different parts of the world interacted.  

     In his attempt to write his home community into world history, Carr presented La Crosse as destined to continually expand. As a determined civic booster trying to attract prospective migrants, that approach makes sense. And in the very short term, he likely assumed he was on solid factual ground: between 1846 and 1854 (when he published A Brief Sketch), the population of La Crosse grew from 13 people to 745.34 In the three years after that, the population may have increased by as much as eight hundred percent from 745 to 6,000. But in the rest of the nineteenth century, population numbers were sometimes more volatile. Between 1857 and 1860, some kind of exodus appears to have happened: the population decreased to 3,860.35 

     In 1857 two fires destroyed an entire block of the downtown and a saw mill. In addition, the financial panic that began that year resulted in a "depressing period of stagnation." In his Memoirs of La Crosse County, early twentieth century local historian Benjamin Bryant described a regional economic crisis that began in the lumber industry and quickly spread throughout the community. Money "was owed to the lumbermen from parties down the river, principally. The lumbermen owed the farmers, banks, mechanics, laborers, and could not pay."  The consequence of this economic crisis was an exodus of recently-arrived immigrants. Bryant explained that foreigners (northwestern Europeans) "scattered throughout the country and began the cultivation of farms instead of augmenting the population of the towns."36  This exodus was in direct contrast to the steady streams of westward-bound migrants Carr had hoped to attract to La Crosse three years earlier. Reading Carr and then trying to draw a map of 1850s era migration patterns might lead students to have all the arrows pointing inward to La Crosse, making it the center of the story. But adding Bryant's account ca 18571860 would result in a new set of arrows being added, those depicting La Crosse as the starting point for emigration rather than showing La Crosse as solely an immigrant destination.

     La Crosse's population volatility in the second half of the 1850s earned it a reputation as a "mecca for transients." After the U. S. Civil War (18611865), the population began growing again. Just under 29,000 people lived in the city by 1900.37 But the exodus of 18571860 complicates the neat, steadily-expanding, story of settlement migration that my students tend to associate with their part of the world.  In reality, La Crosse functioned as a different kind of local place for different people in different phases of their migration journeys: it was simultaneously a permanent destination for farmers and cabinetmakers who found a stable livelihood, and a zone of emigration for migrants heading to Minnesota or Iowa after what they hoped for in La Crosse didn't work out.

     La Crosse, Wisconsin may initially seem irrelevant to world historians of migration.   But reading A Brief Sketch allowed me to envision La Crosse as a mid-nineteenth century migrant receiving society very consciously concerned about attracting skilled labor and capital from other parts of the world in order to secure its future. The underlying historical dynamics at work within La Crosse are relatable to other parts of the world where residents also tried to integrate their new homes into wider transportation and communication networks, resulting in both immigration and emigration.  La Crosse's late 1850s reputation as a "mecca for transients" reminds us that this process didn't always go as neatly, and consistently, as planned. And, so do the world migration histories of the Malay Peninsula and Barbados.

British Malaya, 1900s1930s

     Although they used different vocabulary, commentators describing British Malaya in the early twentieth century also tended to evoke the "mecca for transients" idea. In this timeframe, the Malay Peninsula was the site of intensive, cash-crop style, agricultural development. Sugar plantations emerged first, then were replaced by rubber plantations ca the 1900s1910s. C. A. Vlieland, director of the 1931 colonial census referred to the colony as an "Eldorado" and lamented the high turnover among immigrant residents. A labor migrant from the India, China, or Java, he wrote, hoped "to amass in Malaya a competence, if not a fortune, with which to return to his own country and live at a standard which he could not hope to attain by remaining there."38  K. A. Neelakandha Aiyer, Secretary of the Central Indian Association of Malaya, also cast it as an abnormal place. "In a country where the trend of population follows the normal lines, imported labor may be regarded as a last resort. In Malaya it is the first preoccupation of the [colonial] administration."39 Indian political economist Lanka Sundaram lamented the "prevailing habit" whereby "a considerable percentage of Indians in Malaya regard the colony as a temporary home for adventure and profit."40 These adventure-seekers and profit-seekers were generally young men traveling without their families. Male immigrants outnumbered female immigrants by a ratio of 2:1 in 1911 and 3:2 during the 1920s through early 1930s.41  The Malay Peninsula was not thought of as a place for Indians, especially Indian families, to seek a home.

     A complicated mix of factors explain why planters became reliant upon temporary immigrant laborers. Indigenous Malays were dissuaded by local rulers from working for foreign planters because they sought to maintain control over their subjects.  The prevalence of subsistence agriculture also made it feasible for indigenous residents to avoid wage labor jobs (and the working conditions associated with them) on plantations.42 As a consequence, planters turned to immigrant labor. By the early 1930s, foreign-born residents outnumbered indigenous Malays and Eurasians by a ratio of 2:1.43

     Geographic proximity partially explains Malaya's early twentieth century reputation as a temporary, rather than permanent, migration destination.  Observers drew a clear contrast between plantation labor destinations such as Trinidad and Fiji where Indian immigrants were more likely to have a difficult time returning to the subcontinent, and Malaya and Burma where well-established transportation routes across the Bay of Bengal made sojourning more feasible.44 But underlying historical forces related to the boom-and-bust nature of the plantation complex also played a significant role in Malaya's reputation as a place where one would only want to live temporarily. Wages fluctuated in relation to the volume of sugar or rubber on the world market. Planters sometimes cut corners when providing food, housing, and medical care. Migrants who arrived in Malaya via the assistance of labor recruiters or money lenders faced crippling debt before they even began their employment. Sundaram insisted that Indian plantation laborers had little chance of leading an "un-anxious" life unless their working and living conditions improved.45

     In the meantime, census director Vlieland summarized British Malaya as a location with a "constantly changing" population.46 While the number of people living in British Malaya at the start of the 1930s totaled about 4,346,000, the colony may have actually seen several times that number of migrant workers come and go in the preceding seven decades. As many as eleven million Chinese, four million Indians, and perhaps as many as 100,000 or more Javanese and Sumatrans may have temporarily emigrated to the colony in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  If we zoom out to consider the larger scale of migrations back and forth across the Bay of Bengal ca 18401940, approximately 28,000,000 people were involved. In the same century, somewhere between 48,000,000 to 52,000,000 people migrated throughout Southeast Asia, and the Indian and Pacific Ocean basins.47

     It makes sense that census director Vlieland would be bothered by the volatile character of Malayan migration patterns: as the person tasked with making definitive statements about how many people lived where, their tendency to move on made his job more difficult. But during the Global Great Depression, decisions made by planters and British civil servants tasked with managing trans-imperial labor migration increased the mobility of Indian laborers. As plantations scaled back production or shut down entirely, the British authorities repatriated Indian laborers back to the Subcontinent.  Between 1930 and the end of 1933, colonial authorities arranged for as many as 250,000 laborers and any dependents they had to leave Malaya. Repatriation was not a new tactic in the 1930s, it began as early as 1913, heightened during a glut in the global rubber supply in the mid 1920s, and ultimately continued through the 1950s. When economic conditions improved, planters and British civil servants often tried to re-recruit the same laborers they had previously paid to send away.48

     Indian-born authors who saw themselves as advocates for Indian migrant laborers in Malaya were particularly critical of British colonial repatriation tactics.  Sundaram, the political economist, commented that while British civil servants "were able to get out of an awkward situation" by paying for laborers to leave, "wholesale repatriation of these unfortunate people to India does not solve the problem." He thought the British were undercutting their own future prospects for reviving the Malayan economy because "disillusioned repatriates" were likely to become "hostile propagandists" discouraging their neighbors from emigrating once the Depression ended.49

     While "surplus" laborers were sent back to the Subcontinent periodically throughout the first decades of the twentieth century, an attempt was also being made to encourage more women and families to settle in Malaya. The colonial legislature in India passed a series of acts in 1922 and 1923 encouraging labor recruiters and civil servants overseeing assisted emigration to arrange passage for at least one female migrant per every five men going to British Malaya. In practice, these stipulations don't appear to have been followed very closely.50 But the writings of Indian-born supporters of migration reform in Malaya highlight several reasons why the issue had arisen in the first place. Sundaram argued that ignoring the "family principle" in Indian emigration to Malaya was having an adverse effect on the political and socioeconomic standing of the immigrant community. "A disproportionate sex ratio among the emigrants would demoralize our community and impede their rising to the proper civic status in their land of adoption," he wrote. In addition to the local concern for the Indian immigrant community in Malaya, Sundaram also repeatedly tied the status of individual immigrant communities to the early twentieth century Indian Independence Movement. The constellation of "Indians Overseas" communities that were part of the Subcontinent's global labor diaspora all needed to represent a model of productive, independent people or else nationalist arguments about fitness for self-rule would be undermined.51

     Aiyer, the immigrant association secretary, seemed to have more pragmatic economic concerns in mind. If a boom-and-bust plantation economy were to start booming again, he wondered where the labor force would come from. Both he and Sundaram thought it made more sense for a stable community of permanently-resident agricultural laborers to already be in Malaya.52 Expanding the number of Indian merchants, business owners, religious officials, civil servants and other occupations would also help. But British Malaya's "Eldorado" reputation made it difficult to encourage women and families to settle permanently in Malaya. The periodic repatriation campaigns of the mid 1920s and early 1930s also didn't inspire confidence in Malaya as an ideal place to settle and build a new life.

     This narrative I've developed about Malaya's population upheavals comes from my own prior research; other teachers may reach for other content they are more comfortable with. But the thing I want emphasize is that, for me, helping students analyze this back-and-forth labor migration between the Indian Subcontinent and the Malay Peninsula lets me challenge them to think more critically about the kinds of historical situations that lead to temporary—rather than permanent—migration.  In the case of the failed implementation of the "family principle" in attracting Indian immigrants to British Malaya in the 1920s and 1930s, students also come to appreciate the historically-contingent nature of migrant community building. What Spencer Carr had tried to imply was inevitable for La Crosse due to the world historical forces of westward migration in North America was, in reality, susceptible to reversal in the rough years of the late 1850s. In early twentieth century British Malaya, the transition to a permanent Indian-Malayan community was hampered somewhat by the "Eldorado" reputation it had obtained. In seventeenth century Barbados, permanent settlement also became less likely for certain groups of immigrants.

Barbados, 1620s1690s

     In 1627, as part of English expansion into the Caribbean, fifty young English men and ten enslaved African men arrived in Barbados.53 A few dozen Arawaks joined the settlement shortly after, recruited to help settlers establish subsistence agriculture. With subsequent settlers making the Trans-Atlantic Passage, by 1629 the population had grown to about 1600.54 These early settlers focused on export-oriented agricultural production, experimenting with corn, ginger, grapes, figs, and pomegranates before settling on tobacco as their primary cash crop, augmented with some cotton production.55 As the cash crop economy developed between the late 1620s and 1650s, settlers who had acquired land began contracting with labor recruiters to bring indentured servants from the British Isles to Barbados (under a broad spectrum of agency ranging from those who willingly agreed to be transported, to those who were tricked or kidnapped).56 During the tumultuous era of the English Civil War (16421649) and subsequent campaigns against Ireland, Scottish, English and Irish political prisoners were sentenced to hard labor and deported to Barbados where planters purchased their prison sentences much like indenture contracts. By the first half of the 1650s, there were an estimated 12,000 to 13,000 white servants in Barbados, comprising at least half the total European-descended population on the island.57

     But as these indentured servants and political prisoners were arriving, Barbados began a second transformation that would last throughout the rest of the century. In 1640, Barbados was known largely as a source of New World tobacco and cotton.  But by the 1680s, it was the source of sixty-five percent of New World sugar for export to England and the North American colonies. In the late 1630s, as part of what Philip Curtin termed a "sugar revolution," Barbadian land owners tapped into Dutch expertise in agricultural production, engineering, and plantation management, and Trans-Atlantic commercial shipping networks which had previously been pivotal to developing the Brazilian sugar industry. In order to meet labor demands during the erratic migration era of 1640s, Barbadian planters turned to Dutch merchants who sold them enslaved Africans.  As Curtin explained, "would-be planters were about to make a large investment in machinery and land, and that investment could only be justified if an assured and cheap supply of labor were also available."58 In the 1660s1670s, English ships tied to the newly-chartered Company of Royal Adventurers (16601667) and the Royal African Company (1672) replaced Dutch slavers as the primary suppliers of enslaved African labor.59

     By the time the colonial slave trade was abolished in 1807, an estimated 360,000 Africans had arrived in Barbados. The consequence of this importation of human labor was a marked shift in the demographic profile of the island. In 1655 the ratio of African-descended to European-descended people in Barbados was about 1:1. In 1680, it was 2:1. By 1780 it had grown to 4:1.60

     For our students, the sheer scale of misery involved in the Trans-Atlantic direction of the African Slave Trade—an estimated 9,000,00012,000,000 forced migrants enduring the middle passage—can make it hard for them to imagine how specific local slave trade destinations were altered by this world historical process.  The role of tiny Barbados in this massive-scale story offers teachers a way to model how to structure local-global connections. Beginning with a map of the multi-directional slave trade out of Africa (showing the Trans-Saharan and East African as well as the Trans-Atlantic), students can visually start to situate Barbados in the midst of this multi-hemisphere forced migration story.61 To add in another layer of complexity to the history they are learning, additional lines showing the emigration of the Irish, English, and Scottish indentured servants and political prisoners to Barbados could be drawn. One could also have the students examine short excerpts of Richard Ligon's 1657 A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados, which contains firsthand observations about the working and living conditions of servants and slaves during the early phase of the sugar revolution.62

     But in Barbados, the story gets even more complicated.  Our map would also, ultimately, need to include lines depicting the emigration of Barbadians to other parts of the English-speaking Atlantic. An estimated 10,000 to 30,000 planters, settlers, and former indentured servants left the island in a sugar revolution-sparked exodus between the later 1640s and 1690s.63 As was the case with the La Crosse settler exodus of 18571860 and the repatriations of Indian plantation laborers from the Malaya Peninsula back to India in 1910s1930s, immigration and emigration coexisted in Barbados during the 1640s1690s.

     This dramatic alteration of who lived in Barbados, and in what proportions, was the result of sugar revolution dynamics playing out over several decades. After the 1640s, a small number of planter's families consolidated their control over the best sugar-growing land. By the 1680s, seven percent of land owners (175 families) controlled fifty-four percent of the island's arable land and the labor of the vast majority of enslaved Africans.64 As historian Otis Starkey explained, "the shift to sugar was often disadvantageous to the small planters who could not afford the slaves, the machinery, the purchase of imported provisions for slaves, or the year and a half or longer wait from the cane planting to the sale of the sugar." High disease rates also meant that when planters and their staff fell ill, slaves and indentured servants took the opportunity to escape.65 Crop destruction by insects, drought, and tropical storms further undermined struggling planters' chances of survival. In less than a decade, four fires ravaged the colony's commercial centers.66

     Trying to make a go of it in Barbados was, as Richard S. Dunn described it, "a boom-and-bust way of life." 67 While the enslaved African population more than doubled between 1655 and 1712, the European-descended population declined markedly. In the 1640s it may have been as high as 30,000. But by 1680 it had dropped to closer to 20,000. By 1700 it was approximately 15,500.68 The reasons for this population decline are complex: climate and disease resulted in periods where deaths exceeded births, nuclear families were rare (compared to mainland North American colonies) resulting in fewer children, the most successful planters had the option of retiring to England.69

     But a portion of this population decline is also attributable to the previously mentioned emigration of somewhere between 10,000 to 30,000 people. A Barbadian diaspora of sorts emerged as planters and settlers who lost out during the land consolidations of the middle of the century left the island. Research also suggests that some of those who left were younger sons of wealthier planters: unlikely to inherit family land, they had a clear incentive to seek their fortunes elsewhere in the English-speaking Atlantic world. In doing so, they may have been attempting to expand their families' power and economic prospects by adding new locations into the mix—a family commercial empire within the English Atlantic empire.70 Indentured servants also had a very good reason to leave Barbados at the end of their terms of service: by the later 1640s, their masters were running out of land to give them when they fulfilled their contracts. From 1647 onward, those who survived their terms of service were generally being offered land on neighboring islands (Nevis or Antigua).71

     These emigrants created a seventeenth century Barbadian diaspora by relocating to other established parts of England's emerging Trans-Atlantic empire, scattering to Massachusetts, Virginia, the previously mentioned Nevis and Antigua, or returning to England. However, this Barbadian emigration, also resulted in the expansion of more recently-established colonies such as Jamaica, and helped foster new colonial undertakings including the planting of what would ultimately become South Carolina.72 To understand this dimension of the Barbadian diaspora—established colonists and freed servants moving to new areas of the Atlantic and beginning the work of colonization all over again—we need to go back to the underlying historical forces at work during the Barbados sugar revolution. By 1645, forty percent of the island's land was being used to grow sugar; but by 1767 that figure had risen to eighty percent.73

     The desire to solve a very specific local problem—a lack of timber and acres to grow food for the expanding slave populations—resulted in a very distinct relationship forming between Barbados and what ultimately became South Carolina after the 1660s.74 "Barbadian leaders began to look to the unoccupied portions of the southeastern mainland of North America as a potential site for new settlements that would be able to supply the provisions and other necessities required to sustain the island's sugar economy."75 Historians of South Carolina have called it "the colony of a colony" and an "adjunct to the Barbadian economy."76 Thinking of this one, particular, location within the wider Barbadian diaspora in this way, helps us understand the experiences of the early immigrants who settled there. Just as the 1620s era immigrants to Barbados had experimented with multiple potential cash crops before making sugar their primary focus, early settlers in South Carolina tried planting cotton, indigo, ginger, grapes, olives and rice.  Ultimately, though, in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, they ended up focusing in on two kinds of cash crops: timber and animal products (beef and pork) as their primary exports back to Barbados.77  In this sense, the Barbadian expats among them escaped the island, but not the way of living so precariously tied to exploitation of the natural environment. One historian of the colony concluded that "those who moved to Carolina may have sought escape from this style of life, yet they surely carried much of it with them."78

     The other thing the Barbadian immigrants to South Carolina carried with them was a pressing need for physical labor, and a belief that the pre-existing imperial labor acquisition strategies available in Barbados (indenture, slavery) should also be imported to the new colony. The proprietors of the colony offered extra land to free migrants who brought servants or slaves along when they settled.79 Consequently, when Barbadian planters and merchants emigrated, they took their slaves and indentured servants with them. In the decade of 16701680, at least 150 individuals in some kind of unfree labor status (whether indentured or enslaved) accompanied the 175 free persons who settled there.80

     Agnes Leland Baldwin's First Settlers of South Carolina, 16701700, offers a glimpse into this aspect of the exodus from Barbados that I can share with my students. The book is an alphabetical list of free persons settling in the colony. Yet it also offers evidence for the immigration of servants and slaves as part of the Barbadian diaspora. The entry for Stephen Fox, a tanner, notes that when he and his wife Phillis arrived from Barbados in March 1679, 12 slaves accompanied them (four men, four women, two young boys, and two young girls). Colonel John Godfrey (later a Deputy Governor) brought five indentured servants with him when he arrived in 1670.81  As was the case for the population registers in Carr's A Brief Sketch, the entries in First Settlers allow my students to imagine the actual people who lived these world historical migration stories. Seeing the "from Barbados" designations among the list of South Carolina settlers, and their slaves and servants, reminds them to consider the unexpected twists and turns in historical migration experiences shaped by the boom-and-bust nature of specific local communities integrating themselves into the world economy ca the 1620s1930s.

Conclusion: Relating Local Patterns within a Global "World on the Move"

     Analyzing the migration histories of these three distinct locations in relation to each other opens up extra dimensions of world historical understanding that are obscured when they remain isolated in their temporal, regional, imperial, or national narratives. Individuals in Barbados ca the 1620s1690s, La Crosse, Wisconsin ca the1850s1860s, and British Malaya ca the 1900s1930s were trying to envision what they thought their communities' places in the wider world should be. But it became apparent that a single location could mean different things to different people in different phases of their lives as migrants.  La Crosse had its "mecca for transients" era in the late 1850s when economic collapse seemed to unravel what Spencer Carr had so confidently predicted, arguing that Euro-American and northwestern European immigrants "must and will seek a home in the West."  In the "Eldorado" of British Malaya ca the 1900s1930s, census director Vlieland lamented the "constantly changing" character of the immigrant labor force. Meanwhile Indian-born advocates Sundaram and Aiyer criticized colonial repatriation schemes because they undermined prospects for permanent Indian settlement in Malaya. And then there was the Barbadian exodus of the 1640s1690s when settlers, along with their slaves and indentured laborers, left the island as consequence of land and labor consolidations of the unfolding sugar revolution.

     All three of these migration histories can be used to complicate students' understandings of what migration meant during the Global Settlement Migration era.  In a "world on the move" people living in places like La Crosse who hoped immigrants would remain permanently, didn't always get their wish. Colonial officials in India and Malaya, who had initially been tolerant of the high turnover rates among Indian immigrant laborers in the early 1900s, changed course and tried to encourage more women and families to permanently settle by the 1920s1930s. The development of the plantation complex in Barbados made wealthy planters of some but led others to start over again elsewhere in the Americas, sometimes by repurposing the labor-intensive exploitation of natural resources that hadn't worked out for them the first time.

     Migrants changed course and changed their plans, or were repatriated by imperial governments, or were brought along with their masters when they moved on, depending on how economic and political dynamics played out in their time and place. This suggests that one of the common world historical experiences of migration is that the journey may not be over after the first destination is arrived at.

     This world historical reality—the variability in migration patterns and migration experiences shaped by local circumstances—helps us avoid oversimplification of the personal experiences of migrants. Understanding migration as a multi-phase process where local circumstances can continually intervene to alter someone's prospects in positive or negative ways helps us imagine the personal scale and the local scale as counterbalances to the global scale. Migration involves a range of inter-related processes where individual agency can vary significantly. There's the decision to leave or the process of being coerced, making preparations and beginning the journey, the journey itself, arrival, the process of trying to get acclimated and determine one's next move, the potential for multiple next moves, and then there's the rest of one's life which could include putting down roots, moving on, or going back home. At each phase local level dynamics intervene and alter how individuals and communities experience world history. And each time local dynamics intervene in a way that leaves us some trace of prior residents' experiences, there's a potential opportunity to help our students write the ground beneath their feet into world history.

Tiffany Trimmer is Assistant Professor of History and Executive Director of the Oral History Program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Her teaching efforts center around migration, imperialism, and the social history of everyday commodities in world historical context. Her current research project is a local-global study demonstrating how analysis of human migration can be used to write Wisconsin into world history.  She can be contacted at


1 This essay began as a keynote address for the April 2016 Teacher Symposium "Migration in Global Context: History, Narrative, and Project Based Learning" held at Cleveland State University. I'd like to thank Dr. Shelley E. Rose and the participating teachers for hosting me at such an engaging forum. I'd also like to acknowledge the archivists and archives in La Crosse, Wisconsin that make it possible to do the kind of local-global history I describe in this essay: Laura Godden and Paul Beck at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Murphy Library Area Research Center, and Anita Taylor Doering, Scott Brouwer, and Jenny DeRocher of the La Crosse Public Library Archives.

2 Emphasizing the historical role of people in receiving societies (the places where immigrants settle temporarily or permanently) in migration history offers a way to capture the attention of students who don't personally identify with immigrant experience or heritage.

3 or w York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 317. A Global Pastinking the analyses of these scales to each otherl but rather that of d The timeframe for 250,000 years of human mobility comes from the periodization in David Christian, This Fleeting World: A History of Humanity (Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing, 2008), 103. For more on the logistics of world historical comparisons see Patrick Manning, Navigating World History: World Historians Create A Global Past (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 315316; Lauren Benton, "How to Write the History of the World," in Donald A. Yerxa, ed., Recent Themes in World History and The History of the West: Historians in Conversation, (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2009), 1620; Peter N. Stearns, World History: The Basics (New York: Routledge, 2011), 6670.

4 Gaea Leinhardt, "History: A Time to Be Mindful," in Gaea Leinhardt, Isabel L. Beck, and Catherine Stanton, eds., Teaching and Learning History (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994), 253. Additional calls for pedagogical mindfulness in history-teaching include: Peter Seixas, "Conceptualizing the Growth of Historical Understanding," in David R. Olson and Nancy Torrance, eds., The Handbook of Human Development: New Models of Learning, Teaching and Schooling, (Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers, 1996), 765783; Peter N. Stearns, "Getting Specific About Training in Historical Analysis: A Case Study in World History," in Peter N. Stearns, Peter Seixas, and Sam Wineburgeds. Knowing, Teaching & Learning History: National and International Perspective. (New York: New York University Press, 2000), 422424; Sam Wineburg, Historical Thinking And Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001), 110; David Pace, "The Amateur in the Operating Room: History and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning," American Historical Review 109: 4 (October 2004), 1183.

5 James Belich, Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo World, 17831939 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 221.

6 Stearns, World History, 69.

7 See Philip D. Curtin, The Rise and Fall of the Atlantic Plantation Complex: Essays in Atlantic History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 7385.

8 Lynn Hunt, Writing History in the Global Era (New York: W. W. Norton, 2014), 6371. See Manning, Navigating World History, 317 for the argument that, "for world historians the issue of scale is not so much that of insisting on analysis at the planetary level but rather that of developing analysis of the past at a range of scales and linking the analyses of these scales to each other." For an alternate way of thinking about connecting the local and the global, see the discussion of the "concentric circles" shaping an individual's life in David E. Kyvig and Myron A. Marty, Nearby History: Exploring the Past Around You (Lanham, MD: Altamira Press, 3rd edition, 2010), 8.

9 For more on the conceptualization of migration as a social process see: Patrick Manning, Migration in World History (New York: Routledge, 2nd edition,  2013), 2; Adam McKeown, "Global Migration, 18461940," Journal of World History, 15:2 (June 2004): 173, 178; Dirk Hoerder, Cultures in Contact: World Migrations in the Second Millennium (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002), 1516, 1921; and John Bodnar, The Transplanted: A History of Immigrants in Urban America (Bloomington: Indian University Press, 1987), Chapter 2: "Families Enter America."

10 A. G. Global History: Interactions Between the Universal and the Local (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 5.

11 Robert C. Ostergren, "The Euro-American Settlement of Wisconsin, 18301920," in Robert C. Ostergren and Thomas R. Vale, eds., Wisconsin Land and Life, (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997), 150.

12 Jack P. Greene, "Colonial South Carolina and the Caribbean Connection," The South Carolina Historical Magazine 88:4 (October 1987): 197; Richard S. Dunn, "The Barbados Census of 1680: Profile of the Richest Colony in English America," The William and Mary Quarterly, 26:1 (January 1969): 27.

13 Albert H. Sanford, H. J. Hirshheimer, and Robert F. Fries, A History of La Crosse, Wisconsin, 18411900 (La Crosse, WI: La Crosse, County Historical Society, 1951), 77; Benjamin F. Bryant, ed., Memoirs of La Crosse County: from the earliest historical times down to the present with special chapters on various subjects, including each of the different towns, and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families in the county, prepared from data obtained from original sources of information, (Madison: Western Historical Association, 1907), 186188. For an online version, see

14 Eric J. Morser, Hinterland Dreams: The Political Economy of Midwestern City (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), 37.

15 Kernial Sandhu Singh, Indians in Malaya: Some Aspects of Their Immigration and Settlement, 17861957 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), 106, 316317; Lanka Sundaram, Indians Overseas: A Study in Economic Sociology (Madras: G. A. Natesan & Co, 1933), 6275.

16 Benton, "How to Write the History of the World," 19, 18.

17 Reverend Spencer Carr, A Brief Sketch of La Crosse, Wisc'n: Showing the Location of The Place, Its Surrounding Scenery, Commercial Advantages, Early History, And the Social, Moral, Literary, And Religious Character of the Inhabitants, And Various Other Interesting Themes (La Crosse: W. C. Rogers, Printer, 1854), 14. For an online version, see the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse's Murphy Library Digital Collections:

18 Because the Euro-American settlement of La Crosse started in the mid-nineteenth century and involved the immigration of people from more industrialized parts of the eastern U.S. and northwestern Europe, Carr had little difficulty finding a printing press that churned out enough copies of his guide that one made it into the university archive. The title page of the 1854 edition of Carr's A Brief Sketch indicates it was published in collaboration with, and likely on the printing press of, one of the city's newspapers.

19 On the Ho-Chunk see Amy Lonetree, "Visualizing Native Survivance: Encounters with My Native Ancestors in the Family Photographs of Charles Van Schaik," in eds. Tom Jones, Charles Van Schaick, Michael Schmudlach, Matthew Daniel Mason, and Amy Lonetree, eds., People of the Big Voice: Photographs of Ho-Chunk Families by Charles Van Schaik, 18791942, (Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2011), 1322.

20 McKeown, "Global Migration,<" 167.

21 Carr, A Brief Sketch, 9, 1011. On civic boosterism, see William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (New York: W.W. Norton, 1991), 47, 5354.

22 Carr, A Brief Sketch, 9; Campbell Gibson, "Population of the 100 Largest Cities And Other Urban Places In The United States; 1790 To 1990," Detailed Table No. 8: Population of the 100 Largest Urban Places: 1850,

23 Carr, A Brief Sketch, 9; in this sense, it's possible to think about North American westward migration as a kind of colonization migration whereby people leaving the home community "establish a new community that replicates the home community."  See Manning, Migration In World History, 5 For the eplicates the home community." interconnected with . For the broader context of "white settlement migrations," see Belich, Replenishing the Earth; Alfred W. Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 9001900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition, 2004); and John C. Weaver, The Great Land Rush and the Making of the Modern World, 16501900 (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2003).

24 He was actually overly optimistic about the railroad, which wouldn't arrive for another four years. See Morser, Hinterland Dreams, 8788.

25 See for example, Crosby, Ecological Imperialism, 45; Weaver, The Great Land Rush; Belich, Replenishing the Earth; Manning, Migration in World History, 109133; Hoerder, Cultures in Contact, 187256, 306322, 366404, 490496, 499504.

26 Carr, A Brief Sketch, 1314. Carr's rhetoric illustrates how La Crosse fits into the transregional juggernaut of white settler emigration which transformed Canada, the U. S., South Africa, Australia and New Zealand in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. James Belich has demonstrated how a "progress industry"—a diverse, but complementary set of transportation, commercial, and land use innovations—facilitated the spread of new settlements in the Anglophone world. See Belich, Replenishing the Earth, 185192; Hoerder, Cultures in Contact, 400404; and Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds, Drawing the Global Colour Line: White Men's Countries and the Challenge of International Racial Equality (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

27 McKeown, "Global Migration,<" 156.

28 I assign Carr in a freshman-level world history survey course on migration that covers the Crusades era to the present.

29 Lonetree, "Visualizing Native Survivance," 1322; On African Americans in La Crosse, see Bruce L. Mouser, "Chapter VI: Black La Crosse: From Trading Post to Boom Town, 18501865" in Black La Crosse, Wisconsin: Settlers, Entrepreneurs, and Exodusters (La Crosse County Historical Society Occasional Papers Series No.1, 2002), 111130.

30 Carr, A Brief Sketch, "Preface."

31 Carr, A Brief Sketch, 1928.

32 Carr, A Brief Sketch, 2528; Mouser, "Chapter VI: Black La Crosse," 115.

33 Mouser, "Chapter VI: Black La Crosse," 119120.

34 Carr, A Brief Sketch, 12, 28.

35 Bryant, Memoirs of La Crosse County,187.

36 Bryant, Memoirs of La Crosse County, 187. For more on world historical dimensions of these bust parts of the "boom-and-bust" cycles associated with white settler societies ca the late eighteenth through early twentieth centuries, see Belich, Replenishing the Earth, 87, 9495.

37 Sanford, Hirshheimer, and Fries, A History of La Crosse, 77, 206.  After the 1870s much of this population growth was a result of the Trans-Atlantic direction of the Proletarian Mass Migrations.  See Hoerder, Cultures in Contact, 343357; and Manning, Migration in World History, 149154.

38 C.A. Vlieland, British Malaya (The Colony of the Straits Settlements and the Malay States under British Protection, Namely the Federates States of Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Pahang and the States of Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Trengganu, Perlis and Brunei): a report on the 1931 census and on certain problems of vital statistics (London: Crown Agent for the Colonies, 1932), 8.

39 K. A. Neelakandha Aiyer, Indian Problems in Malaya: A Brief Survey in Relation to Emigration (The Indian Office: Kuala Lumpur, 1938), 12.

40 Sundaram, Indians Overseas, 72.

41 C. A. Vleiland, "The Population of the Malay Peninsula: A Study in Human Migration," Geographical Review 24:1 (January 1934), 77.

42 For a discussion of potential reasons why Malays were able to avoid work on foreign-owned plantations, see Chai Hon Chan, The Development of British Malaya, (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1964), 98102, and John Tully, The Devil's Milk: A Social History of Rubber (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2011), 230231.

43 Vlieland, "The Population of the Malay Peninsula," 6566, 69.

44 C. Kondapi, Indians Overseas, 18381949 (London: Oxford University Press, 1951), 6.  For a recent history of Indian-Malayan migration patterns see Sunil S. Amrith Crossing the Bay of Bengal: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants (Boston: Harvard University Press, 2013).

45 Sundaram, Indians Overseas, 70, 66. Also see Tully, The Devil's Milk, 239279.

46 Vleiland, "The Population of the Malay Peninsula," 66.

47 McKeown, "Global Migration," 158, 156; Amrith Crossing the Bay of Bengal, 2..arketlso antation labor destinay twentieth centuriesgn" cut corners lume of sugar on the world marketlso antation labor destina f the Malay Peninsula: A Study iy twentieth centuriesgn" cut corners lume of sugar on the world marketlso antation labor destina

48 Singh, Indians in Malaya, 106, 316317.

49 Sundaram, Indians Overseas, 7172.

50 Singh, Indians in Malaya, 9799.

51 Sundaram, Indians Overseas, 66. On Sundaram's attempts to improve the reputation of the Indians Overseas communities see his "The International Aspects of Indian Emigration," Asiatic Review, October 1930, 3637.

52 Aiyer, Indian Problems in Malaya, 12; Sundaram, Indians Overseas, 7374.

53 The island's Amerindian residents disappeared in the early 1500s as a result of Spanish slave-raiding and disease exchanges; the island was generally uninhabited for about a century until 1627. The ten enslaved Africans were apparently captured at sea in a skirmish with another ship en route to Barbados. David Watts, The West Indies: Patterns of Development, Culture and Environmental Change Since 1492 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 109, 142143; Hilary McD. Beckles, A History of Barbados: From Amerindian Settlement to Nation State (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 1, 6.

54 Otis Starkey, The Economic Geography of Barbados: A Study of the Relationships Between Environmental Variations and Economic Development (Westport CT: Negro University Press, 1971 [1939]), 53; Beckles, A History of Barbados, 18.

55 Watts, The West Indies, 156162; Beckles, A History of Barbados, 1314.

56 The story of bound labor in the seventeenth century Caribbean defies easy characterizations of free -vs- unfree. On the many different labor migration circumstances for white servants, see Vincent T. Harlow, A History of Barbados, 16251685 (New York: Negro University Press, 1969 [1926]), 292309.

57 Watts, The West Indies, 200; Beckles, A History of Barbados, 29; Dunn, "The Barbados Census of 1680," 7.

58 Curtin, Rise and Fall, 8183.

59 English mercantile efforts to replace Dutch slave traders passed through several phases: the English Guinea Company was chartered in 1651, and the Company of Royal Adventurers appeared around 1660. But the Royal African Company ultimately became the predominant supplier of enslaved Africans to English Caribbean colonies. See Philippa Levine, The British Empire: Sunrise to Sunset (New York: Pearson/Longman, 2007), 26, and Peter H. Wood, Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1974), 30, fn 54.

60 Curtin, Rise and Fall, 83; Dunn, "The Barbados Census of 1680," 7; Greene, "Colonial South Carolina," 202.

61 I use Map 134 "The African Slave Trade, 14401867" in Robert Tignor et al., Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of the World from the Beginning of Humankind to the Present, Volume Two (New York: W. W. Norton, 2nd edition 2008), 568569.

62 An accessible version, edited by Karen Ordahl Kupperman, is Richard Ligon, A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados, (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2011).

63 Curtin, Rise and Fall, 83 gives the figure of 30,000 while Richard Dunn argues this number is "certainly inflated" and argues for 10,000 instead. See Richard S. Dunn, "The English Sugar Islands and the Founding of South Carolina," The South Carolina Historical Magazine 72:2 (April 1971): 83. On the complexity of sorting out which Barbadian residents were temporarily leaving -vs- which ones were not planning to return, see Dunn, "The Barbados Census of 1680."laborers along when they left Barbados.e contracts of indentures briught their nd former indentured servants left the isalnd ou

64 Dunn, "The Barbados Census of 1680," 4, 13, 17, 1920. Describing the island during the transformation of the 1640s1680s, Dunn noted "the correlation between economic wealth, social privilege, and political power in Barbados is very striking."

65 Curtin, Rise And Fall, 83; Starkey, The Economic Geography of Barbados, 63; Dunn, "The English Sugar Islands,"84; Greene, "Colonial South Carolina," 194.

66 Wood, Black Majority, 89; Dunn, "The Barbados Census of 1680," 14.  Planter and settler concerns about the viability of life in Barbados were further exacerbated by an attempted slave rebellion in 1675. The plot was uncovered before the rebellion actually began. See Beckles, A History of Barbados, 37.

67 Dunn, "The English Sugar Islands," 92.

68 Early population figures vary widely in the secondary sources. Starkey, The Economic Geography of Barbados, 57 cites a figure of 37,700 whites ca 1743.  By contrast, Watts, The West Indies, 151 gives an estimate of 18,300 in 1645. Ultimately, the European-descended population did begin to grow again after the 1710s.  By the 1770s it had again reached about 18,500, a fifty percent increase over the 1680s. For summaries of the overall population decline, see Greene, "Colonial South Carolina," 195, 200, and Dunn, "The Barbados Census of 1680," 7.

69 On the complexities of determining the reasons behind the overall population decline, see Dunn, "The Barbados Census of 1680."

70 Wood, Black Majority, 9; Dunn, "The Barbados Census of 1680," 29; Dunn, "The English Sugar Islands," 85.

71 Starkey, The Economic Geography of Barbados, 6162.

72 Greene, "Colonial South Carolina," 193, 209.

73 Curtin, Rise and Fall, 83.

74 Barbadian planters were among the courtiers seeking new land grants after Charles II returned to the English throne in 1660, and they ultimately secured permission to plant new settlements in a land they named Carolina in 1663. See Greene, "Colonial South Carolina," 196197; Dunn, "The Barbados Census of 1680," 27; Wood, Black Majority, 1314.

75 Greene, "Colonial South Carolina," 197.

76 Chapter 1 of Wood's Black Majority is titled "The Colony of a Colony"; Greene, "Colonial South Carolina,"198.

77 Wood, Black Majority, 2732.

78 Dunn, "The English Sugar Islands," 92.

79 Wood, Black Majority, 16.

80 Dunn, "The English Sugar Islands," 83.

81 Agnes Leland Baldwin, First Settlers of South Carolina, 16701700 (Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1985), 93, 102103.

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