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chinese farmer

 

Chinese to Cuba

 

 

"No hubo un chino cubano desertor"
"No hubo un chino cubano traidor"

("There were no Cuban Chinese deserters"
"There were no Cuban Chinese traitors")

Gonzalo de Quesada

Inscription on the monument to chinese mambís who participateed in the Cuban Wars of Indepencence, located on Linea street, at the entrance of the Vedado, Habana.

 

dingShips Carrying Chinese to Cuba

After the abolition of slavery, thousands of chinese laborers were brought to Cuba primarily to work the sugar cane fields replacing black slaves. One reference states that 124,813 chinese "coolies" arrived in Cuba between 1848 and 18745. According to Napoleon Seuc3 "They were manual laborers contracted for eight years to replace the black slaves, whose importation was prohibited following the Treaty signed between England, then the top naval and imperial power in the world and the Spanish Crown, whose empire had been reduced to a minimum after the independence of all of Central and South America and establishment of independent republics."

Chinese laborers usually signed contracts for 8 years in "cuadrillas" (squads) of 8 workers. The workers were usually loaded onto ships in Macao and received by their consignatories in the port of Mariel. From there they were brough to Habana and their contracts sold and assigned to plantation owners or their agents. The names of these workers were not published in the newspapers and can rarely be found in other documents. To further complicate matters the original chinese names were "translated" to unrelated Spanish names.

On 27 April 1871 a Royal Order2 was issued mandating the departure from the island, at government expense, of all chinese who, having competed their work contract, had not renewed same, thus becoming "a disturbing element". This may be why you probably see small groups of chinese listed on some passengers lists, not identified by name.

Generally these Chinese workers were treated in a manner similar to the slaves that they were replacing. The numerous compaints eventually caused an investigation of a Commission of the Government of China in 1873, which issued their report on 20 Oct 1874.

According to the Commission's Report3, 4:

"The investigations were conducte in person, 8 of 10 workers said they had been kidnapped or swindled. The mortality of the trip exceeded 10%.. upon arrival in Habana they were sold like slaves. - the great majority were bought for work in the sugar cane plantations, where the work was excessive and the food insufficient, the punishments with rods, lashes, chains or stocks. On visual inspection we verified fractures and loss of extremities, blindness, skulls full of scars, missing teeth due to blows, mutilated ears, lacerations of the skin and flesh, these were patent proof of continuous cruelty on the part of the employers. Upon completion of the contract, the employers, in the majority of cases, would retain the certificate of having compelted the contract, and insisted on re-enlistment. Those that refused were sent "in chains" to the deposits, forced to repair roads wihtout receiving compensation for their labor; they were treated - they said- as criminals in prisons. When they finished their first contract they were forced to "re-enlist", that is, to sign a new contract with another employer, and so forth. The return to therir country -China- or to lead an independent life were practically impossible."

The Commission's Report resulted in a complete cessation of the trade and embarcation of coolies in 1874.

 

Passenger Lists

One of our readers, Maria Krane, in 2009 provided us with the following partial scan of a document that she had acquired on the Internet. The document is titled "Nomenclature of the Farmers Embarqued Aboard the Spanish Barca Anduizas with Destination to Habana". The document contains the names of 359 men with their ages and towns of origin. It is signed (illegiblly) and dated in Macao on 14 Jan 1873. More recently, in 2012, Maria has provided us with a list of Asian farmers who arrived in Habana on board the american frigate Francis P. Sage on 19 Mar 1861. Both of these documtns are available here:

Thank you, Maria!

 

Census of Chinese Coolies

Maria Krane also provided us with the following copy of a census of chinese coolies taken in Ganajay in 1855 that she acquired:

 

Ships with Chinese Laborers

This are ships carrying chinese laborers to Cuba that we found while transcribing passenger lists. We also know, from Maria Krane, that the US ships "Kate Hooper" and "Ticonderoga" also took chinese coolies to Cuba. There is an intersting story about one of the trips of the "Kate Hooper" in the US National Archives web site. You can reach this story through the following link:

http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2001/summer/coolie-ship-kate-hooper-1.html

 

date ship type ship name origin
carrying
3 Jun 1847 frigate Oquendo Macao (?) 206 chinese (first expedition of Chinese to Cuba1)
12 Jun 1847   Dupec of Argile Macao (?) 365 chinese (2nd expedition of Chinese to Cuba1)
19 May 1861 american frigate Francis P. Sage   104 asian farmers
06 Apr 1864 portuguese frigate Maria de la Gloria Macao & Buena Esperanza 148 asians
10 Apr 1864 portuguese frigate D. Fernando Macao & Maurice (continued to Mariel) 475 asians
23 Apr 1864 portuguese frigate Maria de la Gloria Mariel 133 asians
24 Apr 1864 spanish frigate Arizona Macao (continued to Mariel) 280 asians
4 Feb 1865 french corvette Medoc

Macao & Buena Esperanza

(from Mariel on 12 Feb 1865)

315 asian farmers

(305 arrive from Mariel)

21 Feb 1865 french frigate St. Joseph

Macao & Buena Esperanza

(from Mariel on 26 Feb 1865)

363 asian farmers

(362 arrive from Mariel)

23 Feb 1865 belgian frigate Leopold Catteauk

Macao & Batavia

(from Mariel on 5 Mar 1865)

416 asian farmers

(407 arrive from Mariel)

4 Mar 1865 spanish frigate Emigrante Macao & Buena Esperanza 360 asian farmers
12 Mar 1865 french corvette Isabel Macao & Santa Elena (continued to Mariel) 268 asians
15 Mar 1865 portuguese frigate Josefita Almira Mariel 566 asian farmers
28 Mar 1865 french corvette Charlotte Mariel 264 asian farmers
9 Apr 1865 spanish frigate Guadalupe Mariel 431 asian farmers
5 May 1865 portuguese frigate Sequeira Mariel ?31 asian farmers (illegible)
6 May 1865 french frigate Lombard Mariel 239 asian farmers
18 May 1865 french barque Port Duran Macao & Mariel 177 asian farmers
17 Jun 1865 french barque Nouvelle Pallas Macao & Mariel 192 asians
18 Jun 1865 italian frigate Avon Macao & Mariel 530 asians
23 Jun 1865 italian frigate Queen of England Mariel 548 asians
11 Jul 1865 french barque Emmannuel Macao & Mariel 144 asian farmers
17 Jul 1865 H.M. transport frigate Marigalante Santo Domingo soldiers, familis, asians, etc.
25 Feb 1866 french frigate A.L. Cezard Macao - sent on to Mariel 315 asians
7 Apr 1866 french corvette St. Julian Macao (?) & Mariel 256 chinese for the gas company
1 Jul 1866 french barque Bengali Macao (?) & Mariel 283 asian farmers
6 Jul 1866 french frigate Independant Macao (?) & Mariel 314 asian farmers
8 Jul 1866 spanish frigate Altagracia Macao (?) & Mariel 351 asian farmers
20 Jul 1866 spanish barque Burdeos & Habana Macao & Mariel 194 asian farmers
11 Aug 1866 french barque Flore Mariel 359 (?) asian farmers
15 Aug 1866 portuguese frigate Doña Maria Pia Macao & Mariel 291 asian farmers
26 Aug 1866 spanish barque Burdeo y Habana No. 2 Macao & Mariel 228 asian farmers
5 Sep 1866 french barque Granville Whampoa & Mariel 225 asian farmers
8 Sep 1866 spanish steamship Cataluña Macao & Mariel 409 asian farmers
14 Feb 1867 russian frigate Suomi Macao & Mariel 508 chinese
10 Mar 1867 portuguese frigate Nina Macao & Mariel 510 asian farmers
10 Mar 1867 spanish barque Loyola Macao & Mariel 311 asian farmers
14 Mar 1867 portuguese frigate Joven Thomas Macao & Mariel 356 asian farmers
21 Mar 1867 russian barque Glenlec Macao & Mariel 393 asian farmers
27 Mar 1867 french frigate Eugenie Adele Macao & Mariel 876 asians
12 Apr 1867 portuguese frigate San Vicente de Paulo Macao 287 asians
16 Apr 1867 spanish frigate Bilbaina Mariel 377 asians
20 Apr 1867 belgian frigate Egmont & Hoorn Mariel asians
20 Apr 1867 spanish bergantin Dos Hermanos Mariel

20? asians

20 Apr 1867 french frigate Sagilhane Mariel 123 asians
21 Apr 1867 french frigate Henry IV Mariel 496 asians
22 Apr 1867 spanish corvette Hong Kong Mariel 470 chinese
7 May 1867 Bremen frigate Confucius Macao 218 asians
12 May 1867 Bremen frigate Confucius Mariel (see preceding entry) 206 asian farmers
25 May 1867 french frigate Bank Kok Mariel 218 asians
3 Jun 1867 spanish frigate Reina de los Angeles Macao & Mariel 343 asian farmers
8 Jun 1867 portugese frigate Josefita & Almira Macao & Mariel 511 asian farmers
12 Jun 1867 spanish barque Mina Macao & Mariel 282 asians
13 Jun 1867 austrian barque Victoria Macao & Mariel 274 asian farmers
27 Jun 1867 dutch barque Kiempened Leck Mariel 363 farmers
19 Jul 1867 spanish frigate Justa Macao & Mariel 273 asian farmers
20 Jul 1867 spanish frigate J.A.U. Macao & Mariel 312 asian farmers
20 Jul 1867 spanish frigate Encarnacion Macao & Mariel 298 asian farmers
28 Jul 1867 spanish frigate Alavesa Macao & Mariel 415 asian farmers
13 Aug 1867 austrian barca Niemen Macao & Mariel 396 asian farmers
20 Aug 1867 french frigate Ariosta Macao & Mariel 409 asians
28 Aug 1867 dutch barque Onrust Macao & Mariel 436 asian farmers
1 Sep 1867 spanish frigate Cervantes Mariel 370 farmers
5 Oct 1867 spanish steamship Cataluña Macao & Mariel 430 asian farmers
8 Oct 1867 french barque Nouvelle Penelope Saigon & Mariel 318 asian farmers
26 Jan 1868 french barque Claire Macao & Mariel 214 asian farmers
10 Feb 1868 french barque Tamatave Macao & Mariel 255 asian farmers
12 Feb 1868 large american sailing vessel Kate Hooper Macao 612 asian farmers
19 Feb 1868 french barque Antifet Mariel 245 asians
18 Mar 1868 french frigate Nelly Macao & Mariel 429 asian farmers
10 Jun 1868 russian frigate Avon Macao & Mariel 538 asian farmers
23 Jun 1868 spanish barque Altagracia Macao & Mariel 326 asian farmers
27 Jun 1868 french barque Ville de St. Lo Macao & Mariel 274 asian farmers
21 Feb 1869 salvadoran frigate Dolores Ugarte Macao & Mariel 563 asian farmers
3 Mar 1869 dutch barque Confucius Macao & Mariel 196 asian farmers
17 Mar 1869 french corvette Antares Macao & Mariel 195 asians
26 Mar 1869 salvadoran frigate Aurora Macao & Mariel 384 asians
10 Apr 1869 french barque Pactole Macao & Mariel 220 asians
10 Apr 1869 french barque Luise Macao & Mariel 327 asians
18 Apr 1869 russian frigate Vistula Macao & Mariel 368 asians
21 Apr 1869 dutch barque Onrust Macao & Mariel 380 asians
28 Apr 1869 french barque Maria Morton Macao & Mariel 160 asians
30 Apr 1869 russian frigate Neva Mariel 484 asians for the Compañia La Alianza
20 May 1869 russian barque Naderda (Nadesda?) Macao & Mariel 307 asian farmers
21Jun 1869 french barque Chine & Havane Macao & Mariel 396 asian farmers
9 Oct 1869 french frigate Mongol Macao & Mariel 339 asian farmers
22 Oct 1869 french frigate Nelly Macao & Mariel 171 asian farmers
11 Nov 1869 salvadoran frigate Macao Amoy; Santa Helena; Puerto Rico; Habana & Mariel 400 asian farmers
17 Nov 1869 spanish frigate Villa de Comillas Mariel 207 asian farmers
13 May 1871 spanish steamship Cataluña Macao & Mariel 505 asian farmers
26 May 1871 spanish barque Altagracia Macao & Mariel 313 asian farmers
11 Jul 1871 spanish barque Encarnacion Macao & Mariel 310 asian farmers
26 Jul 1871 american steamship Juniata departure to Philadelphia 10 asians
09 Sep 1871 american steamship Morro Castle departure to New York 23 asians
14 Sep 1871 american steamship Margaret departure to New Orleans & Cayo Hueso 4 asians
16 Sep 1871 american steamship Columbia departure to New York 2 asians
22 Sep 1871 english steamship Corsica departure to Veracruz & Tampico 7 asians
30 Sep 1871 american steamship Bienville departure to New York 17 asians
04 Oct 1871 american steamship Margaret departure to New Orleans 7 asians
07 Oct 1871 american steamship Columbia departure to New York 10 asians
15 Oct 1871 american steamship Missouri departure to New York 18 asians
21 Oct 1871 american steamship Morro Castle departure to New York 2 asians
22 Oct 1871 american steamship Juniata departure to PHiladelphia 2 asians
18 Nov 1871 american steamship Columbia departure to New York 5 asians
25 Nov 1871 american steamship Missouri departure to New York & Nassau 1 asian
02 Dec 1871 american steamship Morro Castle departure to New York 3 asians
13 Feb 1872 russian frigate Naples Macao & Mariel 432 asian farmers
13 Feb 1872 french barque Rene Macao & Mariel
270 asian farmers
17 Feb 1872 french frigate Blanche Macao & Mariel
321 chinese
25 Feb 1872 american steamship Morro Castle departure to New York
7 asians

 

 

Notes & References:

1. According to letter from the Marques de San Miguel published in the Diario de La Marina on 20 April 1870.

2. Diario de la Marina, 19 Sep 1871.

3. La Colonia China de Cuba 1930-1960, Napolen Seuc, Ahora Printing (privately printed), Miami, FL 1998, ISBN 0-9666333-0, LOC 98-73431.

4. The Cuban Commission Report, a Hidden History of the Chinese in Cuba, John Hopkin's University Press, Baltimore, MD, 1993.

5. The Voyage of the "Coolie" Ship Kate Hooper October 3, 1857 - March 26, 1858, Robert J. Plowman, Prologue Magazine Vol 33 No. 2, Summer 2001, US National Archives.

 

We wish to also specially acknowledge the contributions of Maria Krane to the material in this page. Thank you Maria!

 

 

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Chinese to Cuba - Updated 27-May-2012

Copyright © 2007-2013 - Ed Elizondo
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