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Chinese in the Caribbean

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Top Surnames

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  • Wong a Tsoi (1905 - 1991)
  • Maria Josefa Chea (deceased)
    Sources==* "Bahamas Civil Registration, 1850-1959", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 3 August 2015), Charles Chea, 1923. Accessed 18 September 2016.
  • Louis Chea (deceased)
    Sources==* "Bahamas Civil Registration, 1850-1959", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 3 August 2015), Charles Chea, 1923. Accessed 18 September 2016.

In the 1800s, Chinese migrated to the Caribbean-bordered areas, including the Caribbean islands, Central America, and Mainland Caribbean (South America), including Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Trinidad, and Guyana. See Chinese Caribbean - Wikipedia

The Bahamas

Chinese-Bahamians have a long history, dating back to at least 1879. The original Chinese immigrants came from Cuba -- explaining why Hispanic surnames are not uncommon -- and got their start in the restaurant, laundry, and cleaning industries. Originally known to Bahamians as "Celestials," the Chinese quickly established themselves as hard-working members of Bahamian society. By the 1920s, they were major business figures. Additional immigration came later from Chinese communities in the U.S. and from Hong Kong.

The main surnames used by Chinese-Bahamians are Chea (pronounced in the Bahamas like the Irish "Shea") and Wong. Some Chinese-Bahamians have married into non-Chinese Bahamian families, though overall they tend to maintain unique aspects of their own culture.

Ethnic tensions persist between Chinese-Bahamians and others. Business-owners in particular have historically felt threatened by the success of the Chinese community in the country, leading to Chinese-Bahamians being somewhat socially ostracized. This has in turn led to more social self-segregation by the Chinese-Bahamian community.

Costa Rica





Most Chinese Jamaicans are Hakka; they have a long history in Jamaica. Between 1845 and 1884, nearly 5000 Hakka arrived in Jamaica in three major voyages. Most came to Jamaica under contract as indentured servants. The terms of the contracts made free return-passage available for any Hakka who wanted to return to China. Most of them did.[29] In 1854, 205 Chinese workers who had been working on the Panama canal arrived in Jamaica. They had demanded re-settlement due to the threat of yellow fever in Panama. Many were ill upon arrival in Jamaica and were immediately hospitalized in Kingston. Fewer than 50 of these immigrants survived - the rest died of yellow fever.

Chin Pa-kung (a.k.a. Jackson Chin), opened a wholesale business in Kingston where the Desnoes and Geddes building now stands. Chang Si-Pah and Lyn Sam opened groceries nearby. These gentleman provided guidance for other Chinese immigrants to Jamaica.[30]

During the 1960s and 1970s substantial migration of Hakka Jamaican Chinese to the USA and Canada occurred




Puerto Rico


Trinidad & Tobago