The Opium War (1839-42) ushered in the era of industrial capitalism. As it coincided with the death throes of African slavery, European colonial powers around the world as well as the United States all scrambled to find alternative sources of labor to supplement or replace slavery. Spaniards turned to Chinese labor—first under 8-year contracts, then as voluntary free labor migrants—to ensure production of sugar in Cuba. For almost three decades, these Chinese indentured laborers helped maintain the agricultural machine in Cuba, the product of which dominated the global sugar market. By the mid-1870s, however, the collective actions of both Chinese and some Western governments led to the collapse of Chinese labor migration to Cuba, which also marked the end of Cuban colonial economy. This panel examines how the various parties involved, Chinese immigrants, Spanish authorities and entrepreneurs, and the Qing government, approached the question and practice of introducing Chinese labor to Cuba, from mid-nineteenth century to 1898, primarily to work alongside slaves on sugar plantations. The papers and speakers brought together in this panel shape the multicultural and polyphonic variety of perspectives necessary to stimulate a long awaited scholarly debate on the problematization of ‘coolie’ and the ‘coolie trade’.