Los Chinos en Puerto Rico – A compelling story that needed to be told

The second edition of Los chinos en Puerto Rico by Jose Lee Borges which is the one that I read. Tells an incredible story about how a unique mix of civilization happened in Puerto Rico. We are always Told about the mix of Spanish, Taino and African that happened in the island. But all the other ones tend to be ignored.

This book goes into detail about the Chinese population got into the island. With its beginnings on bringing workers that had been accused of a crime for the most part in Cuba and then it moves and covers the other big migrations that happened that brought more of this culture. This part of the story starts as early as the 19th Century and continues till the present.

What I found the most interesting is the focus on cause and effect in terms of culture. The explanation and distinction of what is unique due to the mix in the island and what was just imported when the population came.

The fact that the author uses a mix of personal anecdote and historical fact makes it extremely easy to read even without too much knowledge of the events that happened during that time or of Chinese or puertorican culture. In terms of style one thing that I found is that in some parts the description where a bit longer than what I would had preferred causing a few chapters to lag a bit on Pace.

If you like history and want a new look at a part of Puerto Rico that has brought a lot of uniqueness to the island. I recommend you grab this book and set a few days to read it.


  • It was a fascinating read, with eye-opening historical context touching China, Cuba and Puerto Rico. I found the distinction between the sugar-cane barons in Cuba and the ones in Puerto Rico important for so many reasons. Has the book been translated? Perhaps the review could clarify that, as some readers might think they can read it in English. I look forward the Prof. Lee’s sequel to Los Chinos en Puerto Rico.