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Chinese CubansA Transnational History$
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Kathleen M. Lopez

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781469607122

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9781469607146_Lpez

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Introduction A Transnational History

Introduction A Transnational History

(p.1) Introduction A Transnational History
Chinese Cubans

Kathleen López

University of North Carolina Press

This book begins with the story of fifteen-year-old Tung Kun Sen (Dong Gongcheng), a native of Dongguan County in Guangdong Province, China, who was kidnapped and taken to the Spanish Caribbean colony of Cuba as part of the infamous coolie trade. He signed a contract of indenture that obligated him to work for eight years on a sugar estate in Cardenas, Matanzas Province. There he was baptized and given the name Pastor Pelayo, after Cuban planter Ramon Pelayo. After completing his term of service, he was forced to be recontracted for another eight years. When Pastor Pelayo finished his indenture, he was in his thirties and had no hope of returning to China. He migrated eastward to the sugar districts of central Cuba. There he moved from estate to estate, earning wages as part of a cuadrilla, or work gang, and eventually became a labor contractor. When out of bondage, the former indentured laborer came into daily contact with enslaved African men and women on the cusp of emancipation.

Keywords:   Tung Kun Sen, Dong Gongcheng, coolie trade, contract of indenture, cuadrilla, sugar estate

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