New document: Why the recruitment of Spaniards to Hawaii ended in 1913


Emmigrant Poster 16_20 frm_WEB


Transcription and translation of another gem from the Archivo General de la Administración, in Alcalá de Henares, Spain.


On July 1, 1913, the Spanish Consul of Hawaii files a report to the Consul of San Francisco who in turn forwards the document to the Ministry of State in Madrid.

“It is my honor to inform Your Excellency that, according to reports I have been able to obtain recently, Honolulu’s Board of Immigration plans on suspending, for now, the expeditions of Spanish emigrants from the port of Gibraltar to the Hawaiian Islands; expeditions which, as Your Excellency knows, said corporation has frequently directed and organized during these last years, with the cooperation of its European agents. Mr. Raymond Brown, the main agent and representative of the Honolulu’s Board of Immigration in Europe, has been ordered to move on to Cracow and other points in Austria and Russia, to continue there his propaganda efforts, offering to the peasants of those countries the opportunity to emigrate to these islands.

I believe that two factors have influenced said corporation to discontinue their efforts in Spain, to wit: 1, the crisis that threatens the sugarcane industry on the Hawaiian Islands, should the US Senate approve (which, in all likelihood, it will) the tariff reforms that are currently under discussion. Under those reforms, beginning in 1916, sugar will be able to enter freely [without duties or tariffs] into the United States. If this reform becomes policy, as it probably will, the sugar producers in this country will have serious difficulties competing with those of Cuba and other Central American countries. The unavoidable drop in sugar prices would greatly diminish the income that the Hawaiian islands currently derive from the sugarcane industry, and it is unlikely that they will be able to continue spending large sums of money to recruit and bring workers to this archipelago.

The second reason is that many of the Spanish emigrants, after working for one or two years on the cane plantations, emigrate to California, because there it is easy for the Spanish laborers to acquire cheap land, and to live independently, devoting themselves to the cultivation of the same crops that we have in South and Central Spain. During the first six months of the current year, more than 700 Spaniards (men, women and children) have left Hawaii, headed for San Francisco. Most of them have been on these islands for only one or two years. This without doubt has greatly discouraged the directors of the “Board of Immigration” who have decided that bringing Spanish emigrants is not an wise use of their funds.

If my reports are not confirmed, I will immediately inform Your Excellency of everything related to this matter which could be of interest to our Nation.”


Follow how the Spanish-Hawaiian saga was covered in the international press one hundred years ago here.

Learn more about one descendant of Spaniards taken to Hawaii as children here.

Order the documentary Dan Albert’s Paella/ La paella de Daniel Albert here.

Check out the amazing Facebook page organized by descendants of the Hawaiian Spaniards here.



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