Aapravasi Ghat

Location: Mauritius

Year added to World Heritage list: 2006

Criteria site was nominated for: vi–to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);

Total number of heritage sites in mauritius: two

Size: 1640 sq. meters with a 28.9 ha buffer zone

Time period: 1830s-1920

Archaeological summary:

From 1834 to 1920 The British government used this site to indenture labor from India. It was the first site that began using free labor instead of slavery. Some of the people brought here from India would remain on the island’s sugar plantations, while some would be transported to Australia, south eastern Africa, or the Caribbean. This site is unique because it’s the only surviving example of the global labor system the British government created.

Today the site consists of the remains of three buldings; the entrance gateway and hospital block, the immigration sheds, and the service quarters. It also contains the Wharf wall and steps, which are considered to be the symbolic gateway to the island. The property was given the name Aapravasi Ghat in 1987, meaning immigration shore or depot in Hindi.

In 2001 archaeological excavations were begun by the Mahatma Gandhi Institute. Also in 2001 the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund was established, which had led to more intensive archaeological work being carried out and a project to reverse inappropriate work carried out in the 1990s.


The biggest threat to this site is urban development. All of the buildings to the west of the core area are vacant and in some cases approaching a state of dereliction, while for the most part they are protected as national monuments.






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