Caribbean London

Caribbean London

By the end of the 20th century, the Black Caribbean community had become one of London's largest ethnic groups. By 2001, it numbered around 345,000 people, representing 7% of all Londoners and 61% of all people of Caribbean descent living in the United Kingdom.

Many of today's community are the second or third generations of Caribbean families who came to London after the Second World War. But the links with London go back much further. Africans were brought to London from the Caribbean in the late 16th century because of Britain's role in the slave trade. There were Africans (free and enslaved) in London at this time, but few in number. Those who came via the Caribbean had been transported from Africa to work on the Caribbean plantations as slave labour. After slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire in 1833, Caribbeans continued to come to London, chiefly as students, professionals and government officials.

By the early 20th century, London's prominent Caribbean citizens included John Archer, who pioneered African and Caribbean involvement in local politics when he became Mayor of Battersea in 1913. In 1931, Dr Harold Moody founded the League of Coloured Peoples, the first Black pressure group.

George Padmore and C L R James, from Trinidad and Jamaica respectively, were central figures in the fight for African independence. The Jamaican pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey ended his days in London.

Over 15,000 Caribbean men fought in the British West Indies Regiment in the First World War. This number doubled during the Second World War, while many others carried out essential work in Britain.

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