The Coolie Trade: The Traffic in Chinese Laborers to Latin America

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The Coolie Trade The phenomenon of indentured labor, which followed upon the abolition of slavery, spread throughout the Western world in the latter two-thirds of the nineteenth century, appearing in such far-flung places as Mauritius, South Africa, Latin America, Australia, Malaya, and the Fiji Islands. Indentured labor, i.e., labor contracted under penal sanctions, was essentially a compulsory system of labor, which in practice differed little from slavery. Unlike slaves, indentured workers were supposed to receive a monthly wage, and their term of service, at least in principle, was for a fixed period of from five to eight years; but these provisions were not always adhered to, and in all other respects, indentured workers were no better off than the slaves they replaced. The widespread appearance of indentured labor is not adequately accounted for by either of the two major schools of thought in the controversy over the downfall of slavery. If the primary motivations for the abolition of slavery were humanitarian, then why did humanitarians look the other way when slave owners resorted to another form of forced labor in the system of indenture? If, on the other hand, the abolition of slavery was an economic consequence of the rise of industrialism and capitalism, as Eric Williams in his Capitalism and Slavery would have us believe, then why did the same factors, which rejected forced African labor, so easily accept forced Chinese and Indian labor? Did the principles of humanitarianism not also extend to the peoples of Asia? Or did some latent racism preclude "Asiatics" (as Chinese and Indians were called), or at least preclude them from being defended with the same vigor as Africans? Or, lulled into a false sense of security and accomplishment, were humanitarians taken in by the trappings of indenture-the written contract, the monthly wage, and the limitation on the period of service? The latter could be an out for the humanitarian interpretation of the abolitio

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The author grew up in Ireland's heartland and immigrated to the United States in 1957 when he was twenty-four years old. He got a PhD in Latin American History from the University of California, Davis Campus. For a short while, he taught history at the University of Houston, Clearlake campus; but for most of his career, he worked in communications and proposal writing for the business world. He lives with his wife, Jackie Devlin, in Eufaula, Alabama.

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Kirkus Discoveries Review Date: MARCH 12, 2008 Publisher:Xlibris (477 pp.) Publication Date: May 2008 ISBN (paperback): 978-1-4363-0942-4 Classification: Non-Fiction: History THE COOLIE TRADE Author: Meagher, Arnold J. A thorough study of the roots of modern human trafficking and Chinese emigration. Against the backdrop of China s rapid advance to the forefront of the world economy and sharp scrutiny over global trends in human trafficking, Meagher s exhaustive survey of Chinese indentured labor is a richly informative, timely release. His volume, much broader in scope than the Latin America in his subtitle indicates, is a careful examination of cultural, political and socioeconomic factors that contributed to this phenomenon. Meagher argues that the termination of the African slave trade, an urgent need for laborers in the West and a deteriorating Chinese economy conspired to spawn the emigration of more than a quarter million Chinese laborers to Latin America in the span of 28 years. Beginning in 1847, Chinese emigration quickly evolved into a prosperous black market cottage industry that, alongside the illicit opium trade, attracted enterprising, often dubious characters. These overlords relentlessly plundered China s human resources to satisfy a labor vacuum in the West. Scheming brokers often used any means available false promises, deceit and fraud to lure prey aboard ships. Victims of kidnapping account for more than a quarter of the human cargo, while appalling prison-like conditions, mutinies and disease resulted in a 12 percent mortality rate during the nine-month voyage. Great Britain and the United States abandoned the coolie trade in the mid 1860s after much public outcry. Trafficking, however, continued to flourish until 1874 aboard other ships sailing for Latin America, often destined for Cuba and Peru, where booming sugar, guano and mining industries demanded a steady flow of fresh workers. This authoritative account is acutely critical of the coolie trade as a means by which the slave trade continued in the West, but suggests it did have its advantages: challenging draconian Chinese taboos that once forbade emigration and introducing Chinese culture to Western society. The author s fluid, conversational style elevates Meagher s work from the weight that often bogs down other academic texts. Engaging and topical fare. --Kirkus Discoveries Review

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Book Description Xlibris Corporation. Paperback. Condition: New. 488 pages. Dimensions: 9.0in. x 5.8in. x 1.3in.The Coolie Trade The phenomenon of indentured labor, which followed upon the abolition of slavery, spread throughout the Western world in the latter two-thirds of the nineteenth century, appearing in such far-flung places as Mauritius, South Africa, Latin America, Australia, Malaya, and the Fiji Islands. Indentured labor, i. e. , labor contracted under penal sanctions, was essentially a compulsory system of labor, which in practice differed little from slavery. Unlike slaves, indentured workers were supposed to receive a monthly wage, and their term of service, at least in principle, was for a fixed period of from five to eight years; but these provisions were not always adhered to, and in all other respects, indentured workers were no better off than the slaves they replaced. The widespread appearance of indentured labor is not adequately accounted for by either of the two major schools of thought in the controversy over the downfall of slavery. If the primary motivations for the abolition of slavery were humanitarian, then why did humanitarians look the other way when slave owners resorted to another form of forced labor in the system of indenture If, on the other hand, the abolition of slavery was an economic consequence of the rise of industrialism and capitalism, as Eric Williams in his Capitalism and Slavery would have us believe, then why did the same factors, which rejected forced African labor, so easily accept forced Chinese and Indian labor Did the principles of humanitarianism not also extend to the peoples of Asia Or did some latent racism preclude Asiatics (as Chinese and Indians were called), or at least preclude them from being defended with the same vigor as Africans Or, lulled into a false sense of security and accomplishment, were humanitarians taken in by the trappings of indenture-the written contract, the monthly wage, and the limitation on the period of service The latter could be an out for the humanitarian interpretation of the abolitio This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9781436309424

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