Summary of migration between Britain and Africa/Asia

Four maps illustrating the migrations between Britain and South Asia and Africa

1600-1860: English adventurers of the East India Company move to India

  • British traders were motivated by the hope of making money in India.
  • The East India Company (EIC) employed the majority of Britons who migrated to India between 1600 and 1860.
  • The EIC eventually gained control of large parts of India and by 1860 the British government took direct control and expanded rule over almost all of India.

19th century: The transfer of Indian workers by the British to Africa

  • British companies were encouraged by the government to build railways to help govern India more effectively.
  • In the late 19th century the British began to colonise Africa.
  • Indian labourers were sent to British territories in Africa to work on building railways and other building projects, mostly in East Africa.

Early 20th century: Migration of English settlers to East Africa

  • The railways made migration to East Africa more appealing to white Britons who began to settle in Kenya and Uganda to become farmers.
  • Many of the Indian labourers who built the railways stayed in Africa and formed their own communities.

1968 and 1972: Migration of East African Asians to the UK

  • After Kenya and Uganda gained independence from Britain in the 1960s, many of the white Britons left and the new African leaders such as Idi Amin forced Indian workers to leave.
  • Kenyan and Ugandan Asians had strong connections to Britain and chose to migrate there between 1968 and 1972.