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Coolie

From Academic Kids

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Newly_arrived_coolies_in_Trinidad.jpg
Newly arrived Indian coolies in Trinidad.

The term "coolie" refers to unskilled laborers from Asia in the 1800s to early 1900s who were sent to the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, North Africa and the West Indies. The term usually referred to Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Korean laborers and was often used in a derogatory way. The word is derived from the Chinese word 苦力 kuli which literally means "painstakingly hard work".

In the British Empire, a "coolie" was an indentured servant with conditions resembling slavery. In India and Africa, Mahatma Gandhi led a campaign against such indentured servitude.

Chinese coolies contributed to the building of the Transcontinental Railroad in the United States, but many of the Chinese laborers were not welcome to stay after its completion. California's Anti-Coolie Act of 1862 and Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 also contributed to the oppression of Chinese laborers in the United States.

Chinese coolies labored in Peru's coastal economy (guano, sugar, cotton) from the mid-1850s to the mid-1870s; about 100,000 came as indentured workers.

Chinese coolies labored in the sugarcane fields of Cuba well after the 1884 abolition of slavery in that country. Before the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Havana had Latin America's largest Chinatown.

In India, "coolie" refers to porters who work at railway stations. In Trinidad and Tobago, the word is considered an offensive term on par with "nigger."

See also

External links

pl:Kulis

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