The Chinese Commission to Cuba (1874): Reexamining International Relations in the Nineteenth Century from a Transcultural Perspective

  • Rudolph Ng (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


This paper describes the Chinese Commission to Cuba in 1874, investigating the international coolie trade between China and Cuba, the report of which would eventually bring down the human trade.  In using the case of the Commission to Cuba to better our understanding of Sino–foreign relations in the nineteenth century, the paper concludes that it is critical not to allow an essentially cross-border phenomenon be falsely observed through the lens of the nation-state. Moreover, the paper argues for the need to pay more attention to the ways in which Western and non-Western actors interacted in the nineteenth century, particularly in the context of Sino–foreign relations, in which the racial and national labels of the twentieth century might not always explain the motivations governing the actions of people in the previous century.


Academic discipline and sub-disciplines
Chinese history, History, Transcultural Studies, Sinology
slave trade, coolie trade, colonialism, Cuba, China, human rights