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Cuba: immigration and emigration

Migration A–Z


  1. José C. Moya

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm154

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Moya, J. C. 2013. Cuba: immigration and emigration. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


Immigration has been the single most important element in the historical formation of Cuba, and the island represents one of the most extreme examples of a global population crossroads in the history of human mobility. Amerindians from the mainland, Spanish conquerors and colonizers, African slaves, Chinese coolies, Maya Indians deported from Yucatan, laborers from Haiti and the British West Indies, and immigrants from Spain, other European countries, the Middle East, and North America have arrived in the island, often in the hundreds of thousands, throughout its history. Emigration also has a long tradition. The conquistadors of the Aztec Empire departed from Cuba. Cigar workers, merchants, and political refugees began settling in Key West, Tampa, and New York around the middle of the 19th century. More than a million exiles and emigrants have left the island since the Cuban Revolution of 1959, mainly for the United States, but also for Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Mexico, and Spain, among other destinations.


  • revolution;
  • class;
  • cultural diversity;
  • equality