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The Remains Of Chinese Laborers Found In Peruvian Pyramid

Archaeologists have discovered one strange fact regarding slavery that's rewriting many history books- Chinese slaves and indentured laborers appear to have more of an impression on the world than anyone thought.

We know Chinese laborers helped build the railroads that connected America, and they helped construct many of the major cities in the United States and Canada, but it appears North America was not their last stop in the West.

New evidence suggests around 100,000 Chinese laborers sailed to South America in the mid-19th century as the slave trade began to decline in England and America, and so many of them landed in Peru they soon accounted for ten percent of the population:

The landowners of Peru, though, still wanted cheap labor for their sugar and cotton plantations, for rich guano mines, and for the expansion of the railroad. The government eased the way for former slaveholders with financial grants and subsidies for bringing new indentured laborers to the country. Many of those new contracted workers came from China, where political unrest had created a population of displaced people in need of work. Between 1849 and 1874 around 100,000 Chinese contract laborers, mostly from the province of Guangdong, sailed to Peru under restrictive labor contracts that tied them to landowners from years.

By 1876, the Chinese community in the city had grown so much that it accounted for about 10 percent of total population. In the city, they worked as servants, artisans, or small business people, running stores and restaurants in what would become Lima’s Chinatown. A select few Chinese immigrants became planters and merchants themselves.

So why were the remains of Chinese laborers discovered in an ancient Peruvian pyramid?:

The remains discovered on the Lima pyramid reflect both the improving conditions for Chinese laborers and their exclusion from parts of Peruvian society. As their economic conditions improved, Chinese families were able to afford more than simple shrouds for their dead. But authorities would not have Chinese people buried in Catholic graveyards, and the ancient pyramids “had a sacred association that might have made them attractive places for burial by Chinese laborers,” Roxana Gomez, who led the archaeological team, told Reuters.

Read Found: The Remains Of Chinese Laborers Interred On A Peruvian Pyramid at Atlas Obscura


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