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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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Free Laborers

Free Laborers

(p.54) Chapter Two Free Laborers
Chinese Cubans

Kathleen López

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shows how tens of thousands of Chinese, who survived indenture and remained on the island of Cuba during the 1870s and 1880s after becoming free slaves, experienced physical, occupational, and even social mobility. After the 1877 treaty between Spain and China, coolies who completed their term of service could no longer be forcibly recontracted, and the entry of new Chinese contract labor was prohibited. This change in the official status of the Chinese overlapped with the gradual end of slavery in Cuba. For years, slaves had been gaining their freedom through a variety of mechanisms, including self-purchase. The 1870 Moret Law granted liberty to any child born to a slave mother after 1868 and to any slave over the age of sixty. Slaves were freed by the emancipation law of 1880 but obligated to serve their owners under the patronato, or apprenticeship system, until final emancipation, scheduled to occur in stages between 1884 and 1888.

Keywords:   Chinese slaves, indenture, social mobility, Monet Law, coolies, patronato, emancipation law

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