Sunday, July 12, 2009


The Chinese coolies came to Cuba in the mid-nineteenth century. 150 000 Chinese were brought to Cuba and scattered in the areas of sugar industry of Havana and Matanzas. Many of the coolies were kidnapped or decoyed in their homeland. On their voyage to Cuba the mortality were over 10 percent (28 percent mortality on the first ships arriving to Cuba), when with African slaves it was between 2-5 percent. On their arrival to Cuba many of the coolies were sold into slavery.

The conditions of the contract were hard for the emigrants. They were pledged to work for eight years, must repay the cost of their ticket and all other costs incurred by the migration. Coolie thus became subject to exploitation. The material situation of the Chinese immigrants was even worse than the African slaves.

Corneta china is Asiatic instrument introduced in Cuba by the many Chinese groups arrived in Cuba in colonial times. Its original location was in the Chinese district of the city of Havana. Around 1910 corneta china was taken to Santiago de Cuba with congas and comparsas from Havana and Matanzas by soldiers of “ejército permanente”. Since then it has remained as a major element in congas of Santiago de Cuba. video

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