Building peace in the minds of men and women

© The Barbados Museum and Historical Society, Culebra Cut at Empire, Herbert Hutchinson Panama Canal Postcard Collection.

Silver Men: West Indian Labourers at the Panama Canal

Registration year: 2011
Submission year: 
2010

Collection information

Submitted by: 
Barbados
Jamaica
Panama
Saint Lucia
United Kingdom
United States

The documentary heritage concerning West Indians and their experience in and contribution to the Panama Canal represents one of the most significant movements of voluntary migration to emerge during the post emancipation period after 1838. These records document the movement of over one hundred thousand people to the Isthmus of Panama, the majority of whom never returned. The highly successful recruiting process set in motion by the Isthmian Commission was ultimately responsible, both directly and indirectly, for the extraordinary pattern of West Indian emigration to Panama to work on the Canal project and the efforts of the colonial governments to control and mitigate this phenomenon, the magnitude and scale of which had the potential to erode further the power of the British Empire.

Collection locations

silver_men_panama_canal_builders.jpg

© The Barbados Museum and Historical Society, The builders of the Panama Canal, Balboa, Canal Zone. Hutchinson Panama Canal Postcard Collection.
The builders of the Panama Canal, Balboa, Canal Zone. Hutchinson Panama Canal Postcard Collection.
© The Barbados Museum and Historical Society

silver_men_panama_canal_jamaican_laborers_culebra_cut.jpg

© The Barbados Museum and Historical Society, Culebra Cut at Empire, Herbert Hutchinson Panama Canal Postcard Collection.
Culebra Cut at Empire, Herbert Hutchinson Panama Canal Postcard Collection.
© The Barbados Museum and Historical Society

silver_men_panama_canal_preparing_for_a_blast.jpg

© The Barbados Museum and Historical Society, Herbert Hutchinson Panama Canal Postcard Collection. Preparing for a blast.
Herbert Hutchinson Panama Canal Postcard Collection. Preparing for a blast.
© The Barbados Museum and Historical Society

silver_men_panama_canal_cemetery_ancon_panama.jpg

© The Barbados Museum and Historical Society, Herbert Hutchinson Panama Canal Postcard Collection (Cemetery at Ancon, Panama).
Herbert Hutchinson Panama Canal Postcard Collection (Cemetery at Ancon, Panama).
© The Barbados Museum and Historical Society

silver_men_panama_canal_postcard_charles_muller_collection_0.jpg

© Museo del Canal Interoceanico de Panama, Postcard, Charles Muller Collection.
Postcard, Charles Muller Collection.
© Museo del Canal Interoceanico de Panama

silver_men_panama_canal_emigrants_register_cover.jpg

© Barbados Department of Archives Collection, Cover of District 'A' Emigrants Register 1906-1907.
Cover of District 'A' Emigrants Register 1906-1907
© Barbados Department of Archives Collection

silver_men_panama_canal_emigrants_register.jpg

© Barbados Department of Archives Collection, One of the three District 'A' Emigrants Registers 1906-1912. Evident are the names and addresses of some of a few of the thousands of Barbadians who migrated to Panama.
One of the three District 'A' Emigrants Registers 1906-1912. Evident are the names and addresses of some of a few of the thousands of Barbadians who migrated to Panama.
© Barbados Department of Archives Collection

silver_men_panama_canal_barbados_savings_banks_register2.jpg

© Barbados Department of Archives Collection, Barbados Savings Banks Register of Depositors 1853-1918, 20 volumes.
Barbados Savings Banks Register of Depositors 1853-1918, 20 volumes.
© Barbados Department of Archives Collection

silver_men_panama_canal_inner_cover_barbados_savings_banks_register.jpg

© Barbados Department of Archives Collection, Inner cover of one of the volumes of the Barbados Savings Banks Register of Depositors 1853-1918, 20 volumes.
Inner cover of one of the volumes of the Barbados Savings Banks Register of Depositors 1853-1918, 20 volumes.
© Barbados Department of Archives Collection

silver_men_panama_canal_stamp.jpg

© The Barbados Museum and Historical Society, An example of one of the thousands of Panamanian Stamps which were 'overprinted' with the demarcation Canal Zone. Herbert Hutchinson Panama Canal stamp collection.
An example of one of the thousands of Panamanian Stamps which were 'overprinted' with the demarcation Canal Zone. Herbert Hutchinson Panama Canal stamp collection.
© The Barbados Museum and Historical Society

silver_men_panama_canal_overprints.jpg

© The Barbados Museum and Historical Society, An example of one of the thousands of Panamanian Stamps which were 'overprinted' with the demarcation Canal Zone. Herbert Hutchinson Panama Canal stamp collection.
An example of one of the thousands of Panamanian Stamps which were 'overprinted' with the demarcation Canal Zone. Herbert Hutchinson Panama Canal stamp collection.
© The Barbados Museum and Historical Society

silver_men_panama_canal_overprints2.jpg

© The Barbados Museum and Historical Society, A collection of 'overprints', Herbert Hutchinson Panama Canal stamp collection.
A collection of 'overprints', Herbert Hutchinson Panama Canal stamp collection.
© The Barbados Museum and Historical Society
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