13.3 Immigration into Britain, 1945-75

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Britain has always been a nation of immigrants.After 1945, many different nationalities came to Britain in a new wave of immigrations. These post-war immigrants came mostly from:

  • Ireland- There had been a large number of Irish settlers since the 19th century, but from1945 to 1960, over 350,000 came to Britain.
  • E.Europe- ~200,000 eastern Europeans arrived in Britain in the 5 years after 1945.
  • Indian subcontinent- India had been a key part of the British Empire, but along with Pakistan became independent in 1947. Most immigrants from this region arrived in Britain in the 1960s
  • South-east Asia- By 1961, there were about 31, 000 immigrants from Hong Kong and Malaysia in Britain.
  • Africa- by 1970, there were approximately 70,000 Easy African Asians who had settled in Britain following politcal changes in Uganda and Kenya.
  • The Caribbean- by 1960 there were about 125,000 people from the British colonies in the West Indies who had settled in Britain.

Immigration cases studies

Immigrants from the Caribbean: why did they come to Britain?

  • At the end of Second World War, Britain was facing a labour shortage. 
  • About 10,000 West Indian troops served successfully in the British armed forces during the Second World War and many saw permanent employment opportunities.
  • Some British companies such s the NHS, London Transport, and the Hotels and Restaurant Association advertised for workers from the Caribbean.
  • Caribbean workers were also attracted to Britain because of the success of previous immigrants. Returning workers were very positive about their experiences of Britain and earned significantly more than those who stayed in Jamaica and West Indies.
  • Individuals who were interviewed later explained that whilst most were looking for work, many were also looking for adventure. 
  • Unemployment in Jamaica and the other islands was a major problem. Hurricanes devastated Jamaic in 1944 and in 1951. Then tourism was not a major industry, and most earned a poort living from fishing and growing food
  • There was a long history of West Indian immigration to the USA, but in 1952 citizens of the former empire unreststricted access to Britain.
  • British culture and history was so appealing. The British education system was widely respected and West Indians were inpressed by the British Empire and succes of British industry and commerce.
  • In 1954, 24,000 West Indians arrived in Britain. By 1958, there were 115,000 immigrants from the Caribbean in Britain.

Immigrants from East Africa and the Indian Subcontinent: why did they come to Britain?

  • Most Asian immigrants who had settled in Africa came to Britain because of persecution. Many had become successfull businessmen, but when British colonies began to achieve their independence inthe 1960s lots of Asian immigrants felt persecuted by the new laws. About 20,000 of them came to Britain.
  • In 1972, President Idiamin in Uganda simply expelled 50,000 Asians, most of whom came to Britain. 

East Asian Immigrants from India and Pakistan

  • Most Pakistani and Indian immigrants came to Britain for economic reasons.
  • The first group of settlers werer Eurasians- educated, middle class proffesionals who had inter-married…



Thank you! Very helpful.

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