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, cooly
1. a cheaply hired unskilled Oriental labourer
2. Derogatory an Indian living in South Africa



a term used to designate low-paid, unskilled workers (including porters, stevedores, manual laborers, rickshaw-boys, and day laborers) in China (prior to 1949), India, and other countries of eastern and southeastern Asia. The name was also used for unskilled workers who signed contracts to work in America, South Africa, and Australia. The workers included Chinese, Indians, Malays, and Negroes, who performed the hardest jobs on plantations and in mines. The institution of contracted coolies arose during the 1830’s and 1840’s, after the abolition of slavery in the British, Dutch, and French colonies, and it grew considerably during the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th.

References in periodicals archive ?
Elliott Young, Alien Nation: Chinese Migration in the Americas from the Coolie Era through World War II (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press 2014)
Coolies of Capitalism: Assam Tea and the Making of Coolie Labour
I would rather cut the Gordian Knot with the sword, and place our kafirs under military law than would assist in the slightest degree to bring them in contaminating connection with the refuse of the Mahommedan world which the coolies really are.
Gangu gains a fairly low level of consciousness while at the plantation, largely by visits to his neighbor, Narain, who gathers the coolies in his hut in the evenings and talks of resistance and unionization.
He said teams of Sanitation Directorate comprised of nullah coolies will carry out the cleanliness work and lifting of garbage from different nullahs on war footing.
The coolies, luggage carriers or porters, have been renamed " sahayak", assistants or helpers.
3) Coolies also included some circulatory migrants to the Philippines and even natives indigenous to Mexico.
Our coolies at once jumped to the conclusion that this must be "The Wild Man of the Snows" to which they gave the name of Metoh-kangmi--the abominable snowman--who interested the newspapers so much,' he reported.
The coolies who laboured on Indonesia's colonial plantations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century have oft been portrayed as enduring a wretched and miserable existence.
5) Keith Windschuttle's recent The White Australia Policy (2004) described opposition to coolie labour before 1854 as rooted in the campaigns against transportation and slavery; characterising coolies as 'inferior and servile' rested on 'a clear legal and economic basis' rather than on racial prejudice.
2) The Coolie Speaks, not written specifically for historians, is essentially a learned interdisciplinary meditation on the text of the testimonies themselves, probing the existential roots of the indenture system as it were, and the complex states of mind of the coolies, as revealed in the testimonies' style and substance.
Warren could also have highlighted his archival sources for his studies on the coolies and the prostitutes even more.