During the 19th century, Bihar was one of the four sub-provinces of the Bengal Presidency of British India. Bihar was the most important regional source of indentured labourers who worked and lived on the sugar estates of Mauritius. Between 1834 and 1890, the indentured workers from Bihar consisted around 40% of all the contractual labourers who were brought to the island.
During that period, it is estimated that more than 170,000 indentured labourers out of the more than 430,000 workers who were landed in Port Louis were from districts located in Bihar. In addition, between 1849 and 1890, more than 130,000 of these Bihari workers passed through the Aapravasi Ghat site. In Calcutta, the majority among them transitted through the Mauritius Emigration Depot at Bhawanipur and the majority of these workers were adult males between the age of 18 and 50.he Bihari indentured labourers who came to Mauritius were mostly Hindus with some Muslims and Christians. They came from districts located within Bihar such as Gaya, Ghazipur, Arrah, Gorakpur, Sahabad, Azmbargh, Patna, Ranchi, Murzaffurpur. There is also archival evidence to show that as early as the mid-1830s and early 1840s, there were thousands of tribals who were brought as contractual workers. Between 1834 and 1870, more than 60,000 tribals coming mostly from Bihar were landed in Port Louis.
On 2nd November 1834, 36 hill coolies from Bihar arrived in Port Louis harbour on board the ship the Atlas. They were landed near the present-day surviving stone structures of the Customs House by Mr. Arbuthnot, a British planter settled in Mauritius with the approval of Governor Nicolay. The arrival of these indentured labourers is commemorated as a national public holiday each 2nd November in Mauritius. Between 1834 and 1839, or during the first period of Indian immigration, around 15,000 out of the total of 25,000 indentured workers came from Bihar. The bulk of the Bihari indentured workers migrated to Mauritius between 1834 and 1890.
Today, more than 33% of the Mauritian population are direct descendants of these Bihari contractual labourers. In 1968, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, the son of Moheeth (Immigrant No.353639), a Bihari indentured labourer who arrived in Mauritius and passed through the Aapravasi Ghat in 1871, became the first Prime Minister of Mauritius.