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Wage-Earning SlavesCoartación in Nineteenth-Century Cuba$
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Claudia Varella and Manuel Barcia

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781683401650

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683401650.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Freeing Oneself

Freeing Oneself

The Meaning and Practice of Coartación

(p.15) 1 Freeing Oneself
Wage-Earning Slaves

Claudia Varella

Manuel Barcia

University Press of Florida

In the nineteenth century, coartación had taken a legal leap from being an option requiring the master’s consent to being a demand slaves could make on their masters. Paradoxically, this qualitative leap made the slaves’ subjection to their owners all the more acute. As the century progressed, enforced emancipation of the slaves driven by masters became more widespread in the society. Equally, however, coartación processes were blocked, at the master’s whim. Slaves’ self-purchase became a problem on large plantations, and the movement of slaves from city to country and from country to city was increasingly common. This indicator underscores the fact that slave hiring in rural areas became more widespread. Within the sugar estates, coartados could not earn money as easily because they were not allowed to leave without a consent letter from the masters, and, because on rural areas, commerce and the exercise of the trades that allowed them to earn wages were limited.

Keywords:   coartación, self purchase, slave hiring, sugar estates, coartados, emancipation

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