(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) CUBAN COOLIE LABOR CONTRACT. Digo Yo, Zheng [I state that I Zheng]. Long folio sheet, printed document, in Spanish on one side and Chinese on the other, accomplished by hand; an 8 year contract of indenture as a laborer; signed by the Spanish agent, De Castro and Zheng himself, age 28, with his signature or 'chop.' Tientsin, China, July 28, 1855
An early, very large and complex labor contract, under the new 1854 Spanish laws regulating Chinese workers, or 'colonists' as they were euphemistically called. Between 1847 and 1862, 600,000 Chinese yearly were shipped (mainly on American vessels) to Cuba alone - with a loss of 13 to 15% on the 9000 mile 'Pacific Passage.' Most worked for 4 pesos a month with as much as half or more of that subtracted for housing etc. Coolies were often re-named, as in this case, Zheng became 'Jacinto.'