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Today is International Tea Day, an occasion to focus on tea producers and plantation workers worldwide. In the early 19th century vast plantations were set up by the Dutch in Indonesia and the British in Assam, requiring huge numbers of labourers to tend them.  Workers cleared and prepared the land, planted, weeded, tended young plants, harvested leaves, and prepared them for consumption. 

The abhorrent working conditions caused the Assamese people to revolt, and the shortage of labour led to the transportation of people from other provinces, creating a ‘trade’ of indentured labour reminiscent of the Atlantic slave trade which had been abolished in 1807. Today, laws such as the Modern Slavery Act and Plantations Labour Act serve to protect such workers, holding employers accountable for providing certain working conditions for their employees welfare.

1. On a great tea plantation. Java. Carleton Harlow Graves & Universal Photo Art Co., 1902. Rijksmuseum. 
2. Tea caddy with ‘Tea picker’ design, silver, Charles Thomas Fox & George Fox, England, 1846. Chitra Collection  CCN7

You can find out more about the global history of tea on our website: https://chitracollection.com/tea-and-empire/

Today is International Tea Day, an occasion to focus on tea producers and plantation workers worldwide. In the early 19th century vast plantations were set up by the Dutch in Indonesia and the British in Assam, requiring huge numbers of labourers to tend them. Workers cleared and prepared the land, planted, weeded, tended young plants, harvested leaves, and prepared them for consumption.

The abhorrent working conditions caused the Assamese people to revolt, and the shortage of labour led to the transportation of people from other provinces, creating a ‘trade’ of indentured labour reminiscent of the Atlantic slave trade which had been abolished in 1807. Today, laws such as the Modern Slavery Act and Plantations Labour Act serve to protect such workers, holding employers accountable for providing certain working conditions for their employee's welfare.

1. On a great tea plantation. Java. Carleton Harlow Graves & Universal Photo Art Co., 1902. Rijksmuseum.
2. Tea caddy with ‘Tea picker’ design, silver, Charles Thomas Fox & George Fox, England, 1846. Chitra Collection CCN7

You can find out more about the global history of tea on our website: chitracollection.com/tea-and-empire/
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Clare Louise let’s have a Tea Day on Monday?

A good reminder to learn how the tea you purchase is produced.