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From The Birth Of The Ilois To The “Footprint Of Freedom”: A History Of Chagos And The Chagossians

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Chapter Summary

In 1783, enslaved peoples from Africa became the first settlers in Chagos, brought to the middle of the Indian Ocean by Franco-Mauritians to work on the archipelago's largest island, Diego Garcia. This chapter tells the history of the Chagossians, from the the initial settlement and development of their society in Chagos to the destruction of their way of life through forced expulsion. It provides the context in which the expulsion, the military base, and the Chagossians' lives in exile must be understood. Colonial Parliamentary papers from 1826 (below) provide a picture of the population, including the nature of the islands as absolute slave plantation societies. By the mid-20th century, Chagos had moved from being relatively isolated to having increasing connections with Mauritius, other islands in the Indian Ocean, and the rest of the world.

Keywords: Chagos; Chagossians; Ilois

10.1163/ej.9789004202603.i-293.15
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