In 1900-1906 there were 143,122 immigrants, of whom 124,863 were Spaniards, 4557 were from the United States, 2561 were Spanish Americans, and a few were Italian, Syrian, Chinese, French, English, &c. The Chinese element is a remnant of a former coolie population; their numbers in 1907 (11,217) were less than a fourth the number in 1887.
Coolie importation from China had been stopped in 1871.
Special laws have been passed for the benefit of the coolie immigrants.
The natives, at ease in their locations, did not volunteer in sufficient numbers, and recourse was had to coolie labour from India.
The discussions in the legislative council on the Chinese coolie question had been accompanied by a demand on the part of the Boers that such an important step should not be taken " without the constitutional approval of the white people of the Transvaal "; and after the importation of the coolies had begun, the agitation for the grant of representative institutions grew in volume.
Since the middle of the, 9th century, indeed, much of it has run in the most questionable channels; the nefarious coolie traffic gradually increased in extent and in cruelty from about 1848 till it was prohibited in 1874, and much of the actual trade is more or less of the nature of smuggling.
Shipbuilding is carried on at Las Palmas; and the minor industries include the manufacture of cloth, drawn-linen (calado) work, silk, baskets, hats, &c. A group of Indian merchants, who employ coolie labour, produce silken, jute and cotton goods, Oriental embroideries, wrought silver, brass-ware, porcelain, carved sandal-wood, &c. The United Kingdom heads the import trade in coal, textiles, hardware, iron, soap, candles and colonial products.
Though under government control the system of coolie labour led to many abuses.
This insoluble residue, called ` nai chai ' (opium dirt), is the perquisite of the head boiling coolie, who finds a ready market for it in Canton, where it is used for adulterating, or rather in manufacturing, the moist inferior kinds of prepared opium.