Mar 29, 2018 - Sale 2471

Sale 2471 - Lot 70

Price Realized: $ 5,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 600 - $ 900
(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION--CUBA.) Contract for a Chinese indentured laborer bound to Cuba. Printed contract completed in manuscript, 2 pages on one sheet, 12 1/2 x 8 inches, in Spanish on one side and Chinese on the other, issued to Chan Song, 29 years of age from the town of Sanon [Xin'an, now Bao'an], passenger aboard the ship Nate Hooper; signed by agent J.R. Vargas for A.R. Ferran, and by Mr. Chan with his thumbprint; minor wear. Macao, 12 October 1857

Additional Details

An early contract for a Chinese "coolie" laborer in Cuba, an extremely harsh form of indentured servitude closely approximating slavery. Many of these laborers were kidnapped, many did not survive the long passage from China to Cuba, and of those who arrived alive, many did not survive the period of their indenture. From 1847 to 1874, approximately 125,000 Chinese laborers were imported to Cuba. The trade was initially under English control, but blossomed after the Portuguese assumed control in 1853 from their colony in Macao. Here, Chan Song agrees to serve for eight years. He also agrees to pay back charges for his passage and clothing, arriving with a debt of 14 pesos, to be deducted from his salary of 8 pesos a month. See Evelyn Hu-Dehart, "Chinese Coolie Labor in Cuba in the Nineteenth Century" in Contributions to Black Studies 12 (1994).