The Goan community of London
Imperial civil servants
These photographs were taken at Zanzibar in 1875 from the HMS London. In 1881 there were eight Goans aboard this Royal Navy depot ship. There were also Goans on board the HMS Malacca, to the left.
Mackinnon and the BISNC
In 1891 Duncan Mackinnon (nephew of William Mackinnon) took over the BISNC, managing a fleet of 81 ships. Mackinnon increased the BISNC services between India and East Africa, moving the East African base from Zanzibar to Mombasa.
The BISNC was so pleased with the Goans' loyalty that it began to rely on Goan staff to run its offices in East Africa.
Between 1890 and 1895, when the British colonial government took over the IBEAC administration in East Africa, the policy of employing Goans in the colonial civil service and telegraph offices of East Africa was already established.
In fact, by 1890 there were 160 Goans in Mombasa forming the backbone of the ports and harbour administration.
The Imperial British East African Company was also behind the construction of the Uganda Railway in 1896.
When the colonial government began this venture, Goans were employed as stewards and administrative staff for the East African Railways & Harbours.
East African settlers
In East Africa the BISNC continued to operate as the Smith, Mackenzie & Co. Ltd. It was the main local shipping agency for the P&O, BI and Union Lines.
By 1950 the BI fleet was the largest in the British Merchant Navy, but operated mainly east of Suez. In an event known as 'BI Sunday' on 16 September 1951, there were seven BI ships occupying every berth at Mombasa, and over 200 Goan seamen in port.
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