The Komagata Maru Incident

Larry Hannant describes a forgotten episode of conflict over immigration and race between two bastions of the British Empire, Canada and India, in the summer of 1914.

Komagata Maru

Half a brick is the only physical artefact that remains of a 1914 confrontation that forced a reluctant Britain into a conflict between two key members of its Empire. One was Canada, home to a majority of European immigrants who were determined to monitor their entry points and to enforce a policy of what they unabashedly called ‘White Canada’. The other was India, whose citizens had been migrating for decades to parts of the Empire and to whom seeking a new home in Canada would become a test of their true equality inside Britain’s imperial domain.

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