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"Asian Indians were present in American colonies as early as the beginning of the 17th century, brought here by British colonists as their indentured servants or personal slaves," reports an amazed Ruchira Paul at Shunya's Notes. How come it's news to us?
"Unlike the indentured labor populations of Africa, the Caribbeans and Fiji, the newcomers to America were young, single men who either followed their English masters as servants or were poor ship hands shanghaied to the New World by mercenaries. The men had neither the opportunity to marry Indian women in America nor the wherewithal to travel back to India to bring over relatives. They thus lacked the critical mass of compatriots needed to form a community reflecting their cultural roots. Grouped together with other slaves, mostly from Africa, unable to keep alive an Indian identity, the Indian servants gradually 'disappeared' into the African slave population."
Here's the full article from India Currents.