The origins of Caribbean creoles in Britain and British Black English
There have been Caribbeans living in Britain for several centuries, and cities such as London, Bristol, Cardiff and Liverpool have long-established Caribbean communities dating back to the era of slavery. However, the present-day African-Caribbean community dates mainly from the period following World War II. From 1948 onwards, to compensate for labour shortages in Britain, workers were recruited in the former British Empire in the West Indies. According to census returns, in 1951 there were 15,000 persons born in the West Indies living in England and Wales. By the end of 1958, an estimated 117,000 West Indians had entered Britain (Wood 1960). However, by 1962, the labour shortage over, legislation had been passed with a view to limiting immigration from the New Commonwealth, and migration from the West Indies began to decline.
The fact that migration from the Caribbean area was regulated, by employment opportunities on the one hand and by immigration laws on the other, means that the first, second and subsequent generations of African-Caribbeans are relatively easy to distinguish by age. Thus typical first-generation members will have been born by about 1950, and members of the second generation from 1960 onwards, probably with a peak in the 1970s. A third generation is reaching maturity.
The language situation in the Commonwealth Caribbean
Standard English is the language of administration and education in all of the Caribbean territories which were formerly part of the British Empire.