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In the end of 19th century, henequen business, which was a raw material used in making rope etc, was the most prosperous one in Mexico. As the demand of henequen was constantly increased from Great powers such as U.S.A and the United Kingdom, Farms in Yucatan peninsula became short labor power to harvest henequen. Thus, they planned to secure labor force through importation of European. However, by the rumor of the local climate and cruelties of farmland proprietor, European disliked coming. Accordingly, they tried to import Asian labor force.

The farmland proprietors hired immigration broker John G. Meyers to recruit immigrants from China and Japan, but all in vain due to notorious reputations to Mexico immigration. At this time, Myers who stayed in Japan began to have interests in the Greater Korean Empire not knowing about Mexico at all. He recruited immigrants with false advertisement of high wage and good working conditions aiming at Korean who were ignorant of world. At last, he could be successful in sending around more than 1,000 Korean immigrants to Mexico in 1905. This was the first at the same time the last Korean immigration to Mexico.


Myers opened a general agent office in Seoul and hired Lee, Joon-Hyeok and Kwon, Byeong-Sook as interpreters. And then he started to devise wicked designs for an immigration fraud in earnest from 15 October 1905. At that time, the whole Joseon was economically troubled in poverty caused by poor harvests and draughts and politically was in a state of chaotic situation in the vortex of international politics by being deprived of all the diplomatic rights by Eulsa Treaty. Moreover, due to corruptions of covetous officials and repressive policies from government, it was the time when strong yearnings for new life rose to people's mind.


Myers detected these political situations at a glance and then advertised the recruitment of immigrants to Mexico extensively. It was apparently a false advertisement and also an exaggerative advertisement, however, lots of Korean applied for immigrants in pursuit of the illusion which Myers planted into people and by falling for the sweet talk that those who only just applied for immigrants will be given 150 won in Korean currency. By virtue of the effects of good rumors on Hawaii immigration which was initiated from 1902, more people applied for Mexico immigration.

As a result, total number of 1,033 people (male: 702, female: 135, children: 196) were applied. Mostly applicants applied it together with family. This was because the henequen farm proprietors wanted a family immigration to secure stable labor forces. Thus, while single applicants amounted only to 196 out of total applicants, the rest of 837 were family immigration applicants.

The applicants were largely sharecroppers who lived in city but some the jobless and beggars, and loafers were mixed. And retired army officers who were wandering without jobs and income since army dissolution, some Christians who applied looking for the freedom of religion, some Yangbans, and ex-government officers were also included.


At last, more than 1,000 Koreans left Chemulpo harbor for Henequen farms at Yucatan peninsula in Mexico boarding in the British merchant ship of Ilford on 04 April 1905. Two young men and one child died by waterbone disease on the way to there. But the ship arrived safely at the port of Salina Cruz located in southern part of Mexico on 15 May 1905. After landing from the ship, they took train and then finally they were transported to Merida which was the capital city of Yucatan State by another boat. At there, Koreans were scattered over to 22 henequen farms and worked for 4 years of contract period.


No more immigration to Mexico was made since this immigration. This was totally because Japan prohibited further immigration to Mexico. On the surface reason, Japan explained that Mexican climate was not fit for Korean and also labor was too harder than they expected. But in reality, it was caused by the intentional and political obstruction of Japanese government to interrupt Korean immigration to Hawaii.
As soon as the resolution to prohibit Japanese immigration to California was passed in 1905, Japan needed to prohibit Korean immigration to Hawaii who could replace Japanese labor force accordingly. In case that Korean was flowed into U.S.A. Mainland paying high wage, Japan Government judged that this fund would be sent back to Korea and would badly affect on their colonial rule. On the excuse of Mexico immigration, they thoroughly prohibited Hawaii immigration. With this, Mexico immigration was done only once and it became a sad history of immigration which couldn't be succeeded.
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