1880 Cedula de Vecindad for a Matanzas Native Visiting the United States

1880 Cedula de Vecindad for a Matanzas Native Visiting the United States

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On offer is an identification document, a Cedula de vecindad, for a Cuban from Matanzas who is traveling to the United States. It is referred to as a passport on the document. 

The cedula is a typed form, dated 1880, filled in with ink. It includes identifying details of the Matanzas man D. Leoncio Junico. On the recto is a manuscript note dated 1881 indicating that the man is traveling to the USA. It is signed by a Cuban official and Junico. 

This cedula is from the early post-slavery era in Cuba and provides insight into the documents required by the average citizen at the time. 

The Chinese coolie trade, a system of indentured labor that targeted young, poor Chinese men, operated from 1847-1874. The coolie trade took place, in large part, between the shipping port in Macao (now a part of China, then under Portuguese rule) and Havana, Cuba (then under Spanish control). Coolies were transported from China on ships, many of which had formerly been used as African slave ships (Yun & Laremont, 2001). The coolie ships often had slave names (eg Africano, Mauritius) or ironic names (Dreams, Hope, Live Yankees, Wandering Jew) (Yun & Laremont, 2001, p. 110). Many did not survive the journey, with “approximately 16,400 Chinese coolies [dying] on European and American coolie ships to Cuba during a 26-year period” (Yun & Laremont, 2001, p. 111-112). This accounted for a mortality rate of 12-30%, though, on some voyages, the death rate reached 50% (as in the case of the Portuguese ship Cors in its 1857 sailing). These deaths were caused by violence, rebellions, thirst, suffocation and sickness (Yun & Laremont, 2001). To learn more about the Chinese coolie trade and its importance in world history, click here to read our in-depth research blog on the topic. 

This document measures 5.75x8.5 inches. It shows significant signs of age including age toning, folds and small punctures that do not impact readability. It is entirely legible. Spanish language. Overall Fair.

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