Indentured workers and the bubonic plague in New Caledonia


Today I was sorting through my huge collection of notes gathered from various archives over the years. While I was reconnecting with many of the documents and stories that I have written about, I also came across some of those random archival snippets – the stories you stumble upon that are not directly relevant to your research but are so interesting that you note them down anyway just in case they might be someday. One of these was a decree issued in 1900 on the preventative measures and monitoring to be undertaken on the “Asian” and “Oceanic” population during an outbreak of bubonic plague in New Caledonia.

From 1899 to 1941, there were eight bubonic plague epidemics in New Caledonia. The first was the most lethal with 140 cases recorded and 120 deaths (Rageau 1957, 8). What steps were taken to prevent the transmission of the plague among the “Asian”…

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