Opium and Social Control: Coolies on the Plantations of Peru and Cuba

in Journal of Chinese Overseas
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Abstract

The place of opium in the history of the Chinese diaspora in Latin America and the Caribbean has received scant attention. This article is a preliminary attempt to look into this history, based on fragmentary evidence available. From 1847 to l874, as many as 225,000 Chinese indentured or contract laborers (coolies), almost all men, were sent to Cuba, still a Spanish colony, and newly independent Peru. Both the human trade itself, as well as work and life on the plantations, closely resembled slavery; indeed, the coolies in Cuba worked alongside African slaves. Opium was part of the coolie trade from its inception, distributed in the holding pens in South China ports, on the long, arduous voyages across the Pacific or Atlantic, as well as on the plantations. Cuban and Peruvian planters permitted, even encouraged, the sale, barter and consumption of opium by their coolies, in effect creating a mechanism of social control by alternately distributing and withholding this very addictive substance to desperate men. But this cynical use of opium might also have backfired on them, as sustained and massive ingestion lowered productivity, caused premature death (often by suicide), and resulted in high absenteeism.

Opium and Social Control: Coolies on the Plantations of Peru and Cuba

in Journal of Chinese Overseas

Sections

Information

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 38 38 23
Full Text Views 62 62 39
PDF Downloads 18 18 11
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0