Decolonisation

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1 Description of the migration movement
2 Causes of migration
3 Consequences of migration
4 Reactions on migration

CHARACTERISTICS

Decolonisation was another political development that had important consequences with respect to migration. In the short period between 1922 and 1975 the colonies of England, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, Italy and Belgium became independent states. The first signs of revolt against colonialism were already present before the First World War, but during the interbellum resistance grew to the extent that after the Second World War it could no longer be ignored. The Allies had fought the First and Second World War under the flag of the right of self-determination. Also, Western countries had been beaten by Japan, a country of coloured people, and had at any rate lost much prestige. France and England had already loosened the bond between motherland and colony in the thirties, but these reformations did not reach far enough. Independence became the only solution and was eventually granted to the remaining colonies between 1950 and 1975, often preceded by armed conflict.

EFFECT OF CHARACTERISTICS ON MIGRATION

Decolonisation caused migration since people who had been officials in the colonies returned to their home country, as did locals who had worked with them. Many natives from the ex-colonies went to the former "motherland" to obtain a better education or to find work. Because they were often still officially recognized as being citizens of the motherland countries they were allowed to come at will. All through the period of decolonisation (1922 - 1975) migrants came from the former colonies towards the rich countries in the West. Especially after 1950, the number of migrants caused by decolonisation grew.

The first countries to regain independence were in the Middle East: England lost Egypt in 1922, Iraq in 1932, Trans-Jordan in 1946, Palestine in 1948. France lost Syria and Lebanon in 1946. The second wave took place in Asia: The Netherlands lost Indonesia in 1949, France lost Indochina (Vietnam) in 1954 as well as Laos and Cambodia. England had to let India go in 1947. Ceylon became independent in 1947, Burma in 1948, Malaysia after big internal conflicts in 1957 and Singapore in 1958. The third wave took place in Africa: in 1951 Libya became independent of Italy. France lost Tunisia and Morocco in 1956 and Algeria in 1962. The areas below the Sahara and Madagascar became independent in 1960. England lost Ghana Goldcoast in 1954, Malawi "Nyasalan" and Zambia (North-Rhodesia) in 1964. Portugal lost Angola and Mozambique in 1975. Belgium lost Zaire (Congo) in 1960. This migration changed the situation in the former "motherlands"; people from other continents with other religions and a different culture had to be integrated into society.

Up1. DESCRIPTION OF THE MIGRATION MOVEMENT

1.1 Who were they and where did they come from: ethnic origin, geographical background, religion, adults, men or women, special qualities?
West Indies
British Caribbean
The migrants to Britain were predominantly adults in their fifties. In the 1960's, the rate of unemployment under emigrant men and women was rather high: 19 per cent of the men and 27 per cent of the women.
In 1961 and 1962 went many emigrants to the UK.

Surinam
During the seventies many people from Surinam went to the Netherlands.

Africa
West Africa

* 1960: Only a small number of people from Belgian Congo went to Belgium. {Mor}
* 1970s: The immigrants coming from the ex-colonies signified the arrival of a young and qualified population (African students), as well as a population of non-qualified workers (mainly from Cape Verde), who came to Portugal to fill the gaps in the labour market left by Portuguese workers who had moved to Europe. (Survey, 316)
* 1970s: The bulk of the legal immigrants came from Portuguese speaking countries with a colonial background: Cape Verde, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tomé and Principe and from the European Union. (Survey, 316) When Belgian Congo became independent in the sixties, only a small number of people went to Belgium. The immigrants coming to Portugal from the ex-colonies marked the arrival of a young and qualified population -African students - as well as a population of non-qualified workers - mainly from Cape Verde, but also from Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tomé and Principe. They came to Portugal to fill the gaps in the labour market left by Portuguese workers who had moved to Europe. Nowadays people from the European Union come to Portugal.

East Africa
The East African Asians have migrated during the sixties to the UK later in life: 29% aged 35 years or more. 62% were Hindus, 19% were Sikhs and 15% Muslims.

Asia
India
From 1945 on natives of India came to England. In the 1950s the vast majority of the Indian minority in Britain were of Sikh origin and came mainly from two districts in the eastern Punjab in the north of the sub-continent. Among other groups were Hindus from Gujarat, in the west of India. A small number of Muslims and Parsees added to the mixture of the Indian population.
The migratory population from Pakistan was composed in its early stages overwhelmingly of men from rural backgrounds, with a low level of literacy. The majority of Pakistanis who came to Britain from 1947 until 1960 originated in the hill districts in the west and east of the country, from Mirpur and Sylhet, respectively.
The colonial immigrants who entered the UK before the 1962 act were predominantly economically active persons.

China
From 1949 onwards, in addition to Chinese workers the size of the Chinese minority was increased by the influx of students and nurses -mainly from Hong Kong and Malaysia- who had their own educational reasons for coming to Britain. By the 1960s there was for the first time a significant presence of Chinese families in the UK; this development marked a departure from the previous settlement pattern in which solitary Chinese men had predominated.

Indonesia
People from the Dutch East Indies went to the Netherlands in seven years: 1945-1952.

1.2 How did they travel: transport, circumstances of travelling?

1.3 When?
West Indies
Between the beginning of 1961 and the middle of 1962, when the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 came in force, 98,000 persons migrated to the UK from the West Indies.
Surinam: In the late 1960s the flow from Surinam started to increase.

Asia
India: Immigration from India and Pakistan started later than from the West Indies, but also reached a very high level from 1960 onwards.

1.4 How many?

Western Europe
UK
In seventeen years (1945 - 1962), 330.000 left the British colonies. So in 1968, England had a total of 1.113.000 coloured people. Between July 1962 and December 1968, only 77,966 voucher holders were admitted with 257,220 dependants. This meant a drastic decline in the number of immigrants coming as workers.

France
1.4 million returned to France between 1945 and 1962

Netherlands
During the same period, 300.000 returned to the Netherlands

Belgium
Only 100.000 left the Belgian colonies.

Southern Europe
Portugal
800.000 returned to Portugal or went to Brazil or South Africa during the same years.

Italy
From the Italian colonies 200.000 people migrated from 1945 until 1962.

Greece
In 1968, 100.000 Cypriots lived in England.

West Indies
From 1945 till 1990, 500.000 people migrated from former colonies to motherlands.

British Caribbean
By the beginning of 1966, West Indian-born persons in Britain numbered about 330,000.

Surinam
In total, 237.000 people from Surinam went to the Netherlands during the seventies. (33% of Surinam population left).

Dutch Antilles

* 1990s: About 100,000 islanders of the Antilles now live in the Netherlands, of them 84.000 moved during the seventies.

Africa
North Africa
During 45 years (1945-1990), 516.400 people from Morocco migrated to the motherland. During the same years, 202.600 Tunisians left for their motherland.
The 1.75 million North African whites began to leave during the Algerian war and most fled after 1962. Their dispersion during the early 1960s to France, Latin America and Spain represents one of the largest population movements in post-war European history.

West Africa
50.000 West-Africans lived in England in 1968.
In five years, more than a half million Portuguese returned from the colonies from 1974 to 1979.

East Africa
Britain had accepted nearly 29,000 East African Asians for immediate resettlement during the sixties.

Asia
India
223.000 people from India, 60.000 People from the Far East and 119.000 Pakistani lived in England in 1968. In 1980 there were 500.000 of them in England.
In 45 years (1945-1990), 436.000 Pakistani and 780.000 people from India came to Britain.

China
In the mid-1960s, it was estimated that there were between 30-50,000 Chinese in Britain.
Between 1945 and 1990, 130.000 people from China went to the UK

Indonesia
People from the Dutch East Indies went to the Netherlands between 1945 and 1952. 300.000 repatriates, natives of the Dutch East Indies and 3.578 Moluccans.
101.500 people from the Dutch Indies were in the Netherlands in 1980.

1.5 Permanent or temporary?
Most migrants that went to the motherland of their country went there for good.

West Indies
Dutch Antilles
Beginning in 1954 until now, the return migration to the Dutch Antilles was high.

Asia
India
The early male pioneers were not generally intent on a long stay in Britain during the fifties and sixties: the widespread expectation was that earnings made in Britain would provide for a triumphant return to a better life at a later date on the sub-continent.

Indonesia
During the fifties and beyond, the Moluccans awaited their eventual return in the Netherlands. But it became clear to all involved that a return was not to be expected.

1.6 Where did they go and where did they stay?
West Indies
British Caribbean
In the fifties, the coloured immigrants to the UK settled in London and the Southeast, Midlands, north Midland and East and West Riding. They lived mostly in the largest cities.

Asia
India
In the fifties, the coloured immigrants to the UK settled in London and the Southeast, Midlands, north Midland and East and West Riding. They lived mostly in the largest cities.

Up2. CAUSES OF MIGRATION

2.1 Circumstances that favoured migration
Migrants from former colonies came mostly during periods when the mother countries needed labourers.
Western Europe
UK
Between 1945 and 1960, Commonwealth citizens had free entry into the UK under the Commonwealth rules.

Southern Europe
Portugal
The 'Carnation Revolution' and the return of democracy to Portugal in the seventies are the root of Portugal's present immigratory phenomenon.

West Indies
British Caribbean
It is apparent that would-be migrants in the West Indies during the fifties must have had a fairly accurate indication of conditions in the UK. Letters must have played a important part in this. All these factors resulted in a mass migration of people from the West Indies during the sixties due to the sponsorship and patronage of friends and relatives who were already in the UK.
As a consequence of the debate on immigration control, more and more West Indians immigrated to the UK to beat the impending ban.
Before the Immigration Act in 1962 was enacted, West Indians were speeding the UK towards a declining economy.

French Caribbean
Guadeloupe and Martinique were given the status of Overseas Departments after the Second World War, with French citizenship for the people and full political integration with the métropole, including free movement of citizens from the islands. A considerable migration to France began in the early 1960s. Surinam
In 1954, Surinam, the Antilles and the Netherlands signed the Statute of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The inhabitants of both West Indian territories obtained full Dutch citizenship, permitting them to take up residence in the 'mother country' without any restrictions. People from Surinam could therefore migrate to the Netherlands easily, including after 1975, which is when Surinam became independent.
An exodus seemed imminent during the 1970's and the 1980's as more people in the Dutch West Indies began to discover the advantages of free settlement in the Netherlands.

Asia
India
After the Second World War, people from British ex-colonies went to England attracted both by the prospect of being reunified with their family resident there, and because of much more favourable economy.
The sponsorship and patronage of friends and relatives by those who were already in the UK resulted in a mass migration of people from the Indian sub-continent during the sixties.
Before the Immigration Act was enacted in 1962, Pakistani and Indians sped the UK towards a declining economy.

Indonesia
People from the Dutch East Indies were easily able to move to the Netherlands between 1945 and 1952 because it was officiall their motherland and because they had received a Dutch education.

2.2 Circumstances that hindered migration
West Indies
West Indies

* 1961/2: As a response to social pressure, the Conservative government introduced the Commonwealth Immigrants legislation in 1961, which came into effect on 1 July 1962. Under the Act, persons from the Commonwealth wishing to work in the UK needed work vouchers. (w.i. migration Britain, 51)
* 1962/3: The low demand for labour in the UK was responsible for the low number of West Indian arrivals. (m.i. migration Britain,55)
* 1965: The most severe measures were announced in August 1965 in a White Paper, Immigration from the commonwealth. The White Paper announced that the total number of vouchers issued was to be limited to 8,500 per year. (m.i. migration Britain,59)
* 1971: The UK introduced the Immigration Act and the significant rules of 1973, which injected a clear, indiscreet racial distinction into official immigration policy. (John Bull, 309)
As a response to social pressure, the Conservative government introduced the Commonwealth Immigrants legislation in 1961, which came into effect on 1 July 1962. Under the Act, persons from the Commonwealth wishing to work in the UK needed work vouchers. The low demand for labour in the UK was responsible for the low number of West Indian arrivals in 1962 and 1963.
The most severe measures against immigration were announced in August 1965 in a White Paper, Immigration from the commonwealth. The White Paper announced that the total number of vouchers issued was to be limited to 8,500 per year.
The UK introduced the Immigration Act and the significant rules of 1973, which injected a clear as opposed to a discreet racial distinction into official immigration policy.

Surinam
In an attempt to stop Surinam emigration to the Netherlands, Surinam was given independence in 1975.

Africa
West Africa
People from the Congo never received the Belgian nationality, which may explain the relatively small number of migrants from the ex-colony to Belgium during the sixties.

East Africa
The Labour government passed the second Commonwealth Immigration Act in 1968 restricting the entry of Kenyan Asians with British passports. In 1971, this Immigration Act was passed. Then followed the expulsion of Asians from Uganda in 1972, in which 27,000 entered the UK.

2.3 Direct causes of migration
The independence of many former colonies caused a large stream of repatriates to several European countries between 1945 and 1962: France, England, the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium and Italy.
The independence of former colonies caused political and economic instability in many of these countries, causing migration towards the motherland and other secure places.

West Indies
British Caribbean
Important causes of migration to Britain during the fifties were population pressure, the high level of un- and underemployment and, in the West Indian territories, doors to other countries having been closed, all while a demand for labourers existed in Britain. The British economy though, rather than conditions in the Caribbean, was the main determinant in the fluctuation of the volume of immigration from that area.

Surinam
The fear of people in Surinam that the Dutch borders would close in the seventies speeded the migration to the Netherlands. When the military took over the country at the beginning of the eighties, the emigration in Surinam started again.

Dutch Antilles
Immigrants from the Dutch Antilles came from the beginning in 1954 until 1997 for education or because they had no economic prospects in the Antilles.

Africa
North Africa
The early 1960s saw the unprecedented immigration of large numbers of 'pieds noirs' (French citizens forced to leave Algeria after independence), as well as a large number of harkis (Algerians who had sided with the French and who were eventually given full nationality rights).

West Africa
Political factors combined with a population explosion may have triggered Cape Verdian emigration in the seventies, yet other factors always caused dissatisfaction with the social, economic and political situation. During the 1960's and 1970's, nationalisation as well as the confiscation and occupation of private property in Cape Verde were followed by intimidation, psychological and physical pressure, causing panic to spread among the Portuguese population.

East Africa
The East African crisis during the sixties involved a relatively large number of acute refugees who were not white, and many of whom still held British citizenship and needed to be resettled immediately.

Asia
India
The opportunities that existed in Britain to gain work and make money pulled the Pakistanis between 1947 and 1960 towards that destination. Another influence was the reports sent back to India which portrayed Britain as a land of milk and honey and the appearance of 'England houses' in the Punjab built with remittances of those who had travelled the seas encouraged other more hesitant individuals to follow.
The threat of immigration controls resulted in the arrival of women and children from India and Pakistan at the beginning of the sixties.

China
Population pressures on Hong Kong caused by the large build-up of refugees from the Chinese mainland ince the Communist victory in 1949 combined with economic competition in agriculture to force out some of the more conservative class, who turned to emigration as an alternative to adapting to the new techniques. The economic prosperity in Britain coupled with the more sophisticated eating habits of the British people led to a demand for Chinese food. These economic and social changes all helped pull the Chinese from Hong Kong.

Indonesia
In 1945, Indonesia declared itself independent; this was recognised by the Netherlands in 1949, after a bloody military intervention. In the following period, practically everyone of European descent felt obliged to leave the country. Non-Europeans in the Dutch East Indies had to choose between the Netherlands and the newly formed republic of Indonesia. Many of them thought they would have a better life in the Netherlands. The Moluccans were forced to go to the Netherlands.
In late 1957, any remaining Dutch people were asked to leave and all Dutch property was nationalised.

The following quote of a Surinam entertainer in the Netherlands shows that the ethnic conflict continues in the motherland:

"People from Java
work less hard than Hindus,
but they are not
as lazy as niggers"

Up3. CONSEQUENCES OF MIGRATION

3.1 Short term consequences
Positive consequences
- for the migrants (first generation)
- for their new environment / native born
- for the country they left

Western Europe
UK
- for the migrants (first generation)
Most New Commonwealth workers were economic migrants and they filled a gap for labour in the unskilled sectors and poorly paid jobs as a result of the reconstruction and expansion of British industry after the war.
Netherlands
- for their new environment / native born
Decolonisation brought large groups of people who could not be ignored to the Netherlands. Between 1948 and 1975, action had to be taken to give these people homes and an opportunity on the job market.

Negative consequences
- for the migrants (first generation)
- for their new environment / native born
- for the country they left

Western Europe
UK
- for the migrants (first generation)
The groups who came from beyond Europe between 1945 and 1960 also had to concentrate their energies on securing accommodation without government assistance... The black minority occupied the poorest housing property. 25% of the heads of household (East African Asians in the UK) were still unemployed in the sixties and seventies, 75% were housed unsatisfactorily, and three-quarters were living below the poverty line. There was a social isolation of those who had been dispersed.
- for their new environment / native born
West Indians acted in the fifties as a replacement population in the UK. Geographically, they were drawn to those regions, which, in spite of demand for labour, have not been able to attract much net population from other parts of the country.
For countries such as Britain, the East African crisis in the sixties represented a new and unwelcome departure, which required new attitudes, new legislation and new policies.

3.2 Long term consequences
Positive consequences
- for the migrants (second and third generation)
- for their new environment
- for the country they left

Western Europe
- for their new environment
Decolonisation brought many coloured people to Europe. Many countries in Europe became multi-cultural and multi-ethnic countries.
UK
- for the migrants (second and third generation)
Despite the powerful forces of racial exclusionism at work in every facet of life in Britain, the national profile of the group had changed considerably between the early 1970s and the mid 1980s. East Africans and Asians had acquired better formal qualifications than their Indian or white counterparts, were over-represented in self-employment and had transformed their socio-economic status.
- for their new environment
The groups who arrived in Britain after 1945 included larger numbers than ever before who had their origins outside Europe and these newcomers together with the immigrants and refugees from Europe, added to the cultural diversity of British society.
Netherlands
- for the migrants (second and third generation)

Nowadays, little is left of Indonesian habits and culture in the Netherlands.

Negative consequences
- for the migrants (second and third generation)
- for their new environment
- for the country they left

Western Europe
Netherlands
- for their new environment
The situation of temporality of the Moluccans in the Netherlands was the main motivation behind a series of terrorist acts committed by Moluccan youngsters in the mid-70s.

Up4. REACTIONS TO MIGRATION

4.1 Reactions of the receiving society to the immigrants
- official reaction
- reaction of the common people

Western Europe
- reaction of the common people
Migrants that came because of decolonisation had to deal with discrimination, however, they were usually better accepted than other immigrants.
UK
- official reaction
The Conservative government, elected in 1951, encouraged both emigration and immigration, but some concern was expressed about the number of coloured immigrants during that period.
During the sixties, there was general agreement that social difficulties arose out of tendency of coloured people to cluster together. There was a fear of the growth of overcrowded coloured quarters and of the consequent problems of integration.
After a long delay, the state did begin in the 1960s to take the first faltering steps against racial discrimination.
27,000 Asians from Uganda entered the UK in 1972. There was intense media coverage of this development and Powell and his supporters used the opportunity to exploit public feelings about non-white immigrants. As a consequence the right-wing Monday Club started a 'Halt Immigration Now' campaign in 1972.

- reaction of the common people
Indian migrants were very diverse. This diversity, evident in serious and sharp differences in religion and custom, was often unappreciated by the White British during the fifties and sixties.
There is evidence that West Indians who are housed by councils in this same period (a small minority) are generally found in the poorest council houses rather than new estates. In addition, there is also evidence to show that estate agents often try to divert prospective West Indian house-buyers away from better class areas.
It is clear that the attitude of the majority of the population was against coloured immigration; as far as housing was concerned, the country had permanent shortage and the educational facilities had been chronically filled beyond capacity.
The Chinese minority however encountered relatively little hostility in this period because few Chinese competed directly with the British workers in the labour market, and the social separation of the Chinese has been regarded as a cushion against hostility.
The issue of non-white immigration in the UK also led to the formation of several active anti-immigrant organisations during the seventies.
British public reactions to immigration from the New Commonwealth have been harsh in the nineties. Signs such as 'All blacks go home' and 'Send them back' were quite common. In spite of the economic and other contributions, they have made to society, non-white people are still seen as 'outsiders' and responsible for the higher unemployment, bad housing or lack of it, and the inadequate and poor quality schools. They were used as scapegoats for the ills of society while they themselves were in fact the victims of these ills.
Netherlands

- official reaction
In the early 1980s, the Dutch government launched a 'minorities policy' aimed at fuller integration as well at promoting respect for the cultural identities of all repatriates. To integrate the people from Surinam, the Dutch government had a special policy. Housing and social work were important elements.

Southern Europe
Portugal
- official reaction
In 1975, the Portuguese government installed I.A.R.N. The daily tasks of this committee was receiving thousands of exhausting passengers, providing them with a place to rest, feeding them, supplying them with basic goods, finding them temporary shelter. Parallel to this immediate action it was necessary to create job opportunities for those already settled or help them establish their own business.

4.2 Reactions of the immigrants on their new environment
- integration / assimilation
- maintaining their own identity
- differences between first, second and third generation

Western Europe
- integration / assimilation
Immigrants from former colonies seem to have integrated more easily than other immigrants.
UK

- integration / assimilation
But if the groups that came to Britain after 1945 influenced the shape and tone of British society, they were themselves often changed in the process of their interaction with their new environment.

- maintaining their own identity
Main positive factors encouraging clustering during the fifties and sixties: - The movement of West Indians was caused by demand for labour at the lowest end of the occupational ladder so that it would be expected that they would be concentrated at the lowest end of the residential ladder. - The movement was directed along family and town or village lines so that groups from the same family or area would tend to clot together. - The greater the contrast in social and economic environment between the homeland and the new area, the greater the probable degree of clustering. - The movement of West Indians to Britain took place over a relatively short period. A rapid rate of immigration seems, in practice, to lead to a greater degree of clustering.
Given a rising West Indian population in areas of decreasing white population, it is inevitable that the degree of segregation will increase.
There was little evidence that the newcomers had managed to make much impression on the prevailing elite structures and in politics in Britain. It is under these circumstances that Black Power made its appearance in Britain during the seventies. This radicalisation was the beginning of a process that was to increase in the following decade.
Some of the immigrant minorities continued to involve themselves in the politics of their homeland. This involvement was evident, for example, among groups from the Indian sub-continent in the seventies and eighties.
Netherlands

- integration / assimilation
Once the Dutch had accepted that repatriation was unavoidable, an effort was made to integrate the new arrivals into Dutch society as quickly as possible. People from the Dutch colonies had to adjust to Dutch society. They integrated fast and had many economic opportunities. Most of the repatriates themselves were highly motivated to integrate, understanding that there was no chance of returning. The intermarriage rate was also extremely high. The immigrants from Indonesia were then considered to be completely integrated in Dutch society.

- maintaining their own identity
Only Moluccans were put aside in isolated areas between 1948 and 1973, because they thought they would go back to their own republic after a while. They were housed in camps, segregated from Dutch society.
They became restless when they realised that their wish to return to a free Moluccan republic would not come true. Some of them even turned to violent actions like high jacking trains and taking children in school hostage.
- differences between first, second and third generation
The third generation of Moluccans seemed better integrated educationally and occupationally than the first and second.

Southern Europe
Portugal
- integration / assimilation
Finally, an important factor in the successful integration of retornados into Portuguese society during the seventies was the network of interpersonal relations that they were able to establish and maintain among themselves which have lasted to this day.

 
 

Dr. Marlou Schrover