Wednesday, November 5, 2008

From Manila to Mexico

From Manila to Mexico
By Go Bon Juan

When people talk about the galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco (1565 to 1815), much attention is placed on the trade itself, its economic significance, and, to a certain degree, its cultural influence. Little attention is given to the movement of people, especially of the ethnic Chinese.

In volume 2 of the five-volume work entitled Five Thousand Years of History of China and Foreign Cultural Exchange from China’s World Knowledge Publishing House, section six of chapter 10 narrates the settlement of the Chinese in Latin America.

According to documents that date back to around the late 16th century and first half of the 17th century, Chinese merchants, artisans, sailors and helpers arrived in Mexico and Peru to do business or work there, through the Manila galleon trade.

Since Spanish colonizers monopolized the trade between the Philippines and Mexico, the Chinese who went to Latin America had to pass through Manila. Consequently, they were called Manila Chinese. They were mostly merchants, serfs and sailors.

In the late 16th century, in order to develop and exploit Latin America, the Spanish colonizers ordered and allowed Chinese artisans to enter Latin America. Thus, thousands of Chinese artisans, including weavers, tailors, carpenters, masons, blacksmiths, jewelry smiths and barbers were continuously transferred from Manila to work there.

Not only that, as it was said that there were some Chinese sailors on the Manila galleon who could not bear slave labor and the torture they suffered from the Spanish colonizers. Thus, they often escaped when the galleon reached the Acapulco port and settled down across Latin America. It was estimated that in the middle of the 17th century, Manila Chinese who moved to the Americas were about 5,000 to 6,000.

Persecution also encouraged the Chinese to catch the galleon out of Manila. There were periodic mass expulsions, plus five massacres during the 17th and 18th centuries when 70,000 to 80,000 Chinese were killed.

This is the role played by Manila in the history of the Chinese in Latin America. It is safe to say that the forefathers of the Chinese in Latin America, especially those in Mexico, were Chinese from the Philippines or the Manila Chinese.

Manila Times Article

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Chinese Community in Mazatlan - Part 2

(PART 2 - The present generation)
By May Q. Wong

While few are comfortable talking about how their families were affected by the backlash of anti-Chinese legislation in Sonora between 1929 and 1931 which forced a mass exodus of families, Juan Chong, a second generation Chinese-Mexican born and raised in Mazatlán, is an exception. Francisco Chong, his grandfather, came to Mazatlán in the 1920s from Hong Kong.

Again - I was asked by May to not use the whole article. Please follow the link

Pacific Pearl article part II

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Chinese Community in Mazatlan - Part 1

By May Q. Wong

Imagine strolling the Plazuela Machado, watching families socializing, kids playing…but wait… the faces look more Asian than Mexican! If you were here in the late 1920s, you would have seen more Chinese than Americans or Canadians. Chinese faces may be rare here now, but they have graced this part of the hemisphere since the 1600s when the “Manila Galleons” plied the luxury trade route between the Spanish ports of Manila and Acapulco.

I was asked by May to not use the whole article so here's a link -

Sunday, February 10, 2008

2007 sees colorful Chinese cultural events in Mexico

By Lisa Fournier 2007-12-17 10:09:24

MEXICO CITY, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Marking the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Mexico, 2007 has seen a series of colorful and exciting cultural and artistic performances by Chinese artists, such as the "Experience China in Mexico" events and several major Chinese shows during the Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato in October.

During the "Experience China in Mexico" festival, which ran from July 20 to Aug. 18 in Mexico City, about 23,000 people watched four major Chinese shows in the City Theatre and in the city's central square, the Zocalo, according to the local culture department.

The shows, "My Dream", "Shaolin Kung Fu", "Heavenly Beauty of Chinese Music" and "Traditional Clothing and Formal Dress from Chinese Dynasties and Ethnic Minorities," attracted great interest from the Mexican audience, offering them a glimpse of a totally different and fascinating culture by way of music, action and fashion shows.

The festival "was an excellent experience and a magnificent opportunity to reevaluate the culture of that country (China)," said Elena Saenz, director of the city's People's Cultures Museum, which hosted the China Craft Treasures exhibition.

While Mexico City hosted China's traditional culture shows, the Oct. 3 to Oct. 21 Cervantino Festival in the central city of Guanajuato showed off the charm of China's contemporary culture, performed by Jilin Song and the Dance Ensemble, the Chinese National Ballet, the Beijing Modern Dance Company, the National Theatre of China and the Sichuan Puppets Group. The festival also hosted the 50-piece Contemporary Chinese Ceramics Show and the Chinese Shadow play for Mexican children.

Some 180 tons of equipment were shipped to Mexico in six containers for the show.

"We overcame the language barriers with subtitling. There were memorable presentations which those of all sensibilities enjoyed, because the language of art is universal," said Cervantino director Mini Caire.

"The Guanajuato shows were a rich and representative selection of China's current art: that of a millennia-old country going through thousands of changes while fighting every day to preserve its traditions," she added.

According to Mexican art experts, 2007 is a model year in China-Mexico cultural relations, with some 700 Chinese artists having passionately showcased their work in various Mexican cities, helping the Mexican people to get to know more about ancient and modern China.

Editor: Sun Yunlong

Mexico: Chinese Community Celebrates New Year

Se prepara comunidad China en México para recibir el Año de la Rata

Cuadernos de Silicio [es] describes the events surrounding preparations for the Chinese New Year in Mexico City, and that 2008 corresponds to “the Year of the Rat,” a year that members of the Chinese community think “could be favorable for having a lot of children, as it is characteristic of this animal”, he reports.

Mexico City - True to its tradition, the Chinese community in Mexico will be ready to receive the Lunar New Year from 7 to February 10 in Chinatown, the holiday that binds the embassy of the People's Republic of China in Mexico organizing a grand parade.

Traders who are members of the Chinese district of Mexico City since 1980, organized in conjunction with the Delegación Cuauhtémoc and Territorial Historic Center of Mexico City, this event marked by the burning rocket, as well as the traditional dancing lions and Chinese dragons .

There will also be exhibitions of martial arts (kung fu) and other disciplines as tai chi, which involves the management of energy in the body, as well as traditional Chinese dances and fashion shows of traditional Chinese costumes, among others.

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This blog is a continuation of one started by the proprietor of The Mex Files. With not enough time he offered to pass it along and here we are. If anyone has info to contribute, please leave it in the form of a comment

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