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Chinese Immigrants in Cuba: Documents from the James and Ana Melikian Collection


The Chinese Immigrants in Cuba collection includes hundreds of original documents, manuscripts and photos covering the migration of 125,000 Chinese who signed up to be cheap labor in Cuba from 1847 until the later 1890s. The archive continues until the 1970s and records the Chinese community in Cuba and is rich with photos. This massive collection, from the archive of James and Ana Melikian Collection, is probably the largest one in private hands concerning Chinese in Cuba. At present the collection contains over 1341 records and about 8,000-9,000 pages.


Language
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  • application/pdf
Date Range
1854 1964


Relates that Leonardo Sanchez, a permanent resident of Cuba and a baptized Catholic, married Marcelina Diaz. She was born in Matanzas and they had two daughters, who were both baptized and registered in the book for those of European descent in their parish church. Report concerns whether or not their children, who were of "mixed race," could be considered white, determined by which book their baptisms are recorded in. Churches would use different books for Europeans, whites, and minorities.

Created Date
1864-02-29

Records indicating that the courts requested paperwork and information on Pedro o Poncho, a Chinese settler, from the Chinese Consul in Havana. He was originally from Canton. He ran away from his employer, was captured, and held in the Deposit of Runaways.

Created Date
1870-10-14

Describes the actions of the District Attorney in Havana to prosecute Chinese settlers caught dealing in illegal Chinese lotteries, especially the lottery "Chiffa." Pedro Amador was prosecuted in relation to the Chiffa case.

Created Date
1886

Records indicating that the courts requested paperwork and information on Chinese settlers associated with Chiffe, an illegal Chinese lottery. The court requested that Chinese Consulate in Havana sent for translators for the settlers.

Created Date
1886-02-18

Records indicating that the courts requested paperwork and information on a Chinese settler who is accused of theft and murder. His baptism certificate was requested from the Chinese Consul in Havana.

Created Date
1889

Records pertaining to the right of a company to not pay for the burial of their employees if they die while contracted. The court ruling does mention that many settlers are poor and that the parish has struggled to find resources to help the poor, but that the bishop did not help the parishes. The Deposit of Immigrants has been persisting in changing public and legal perception of Chinese settlers as humans who have rights. However, companies are not legally obligated to fulfill a church job.

Created Date
1867

This is a request for a certificate of naturalization that was made by a Chinese settler named Agustin Cisneros. According to the handwritten request form (which begins on page six), Agustin had already been granted his carta de domicilio, or permanent residence card, five years prior to this request. The document also reveals that Agustin was married to a woman named Lorenza Pastor, had four children with his wife, had been baptized, and worked as a cook. The document proceeding the official request for naturalization is the death certificate of Lorenza Pastor, which was signed on September 14, 1871. The …

Created Date
1871-04-15

This collection of documents pertains to the discovery of an illegal Chinese lottery in the home of a Chinese settler, and the ensuing investigation to determine the culprits and amass sufficient evidence against them to determine an appropriate punishment for the crime. An index was provided at the beginning of the packet to outline the various testimonies, minutes, evidence, and sentence included in the packet. Antonio Alli and Jose Alem were the two Chinese settlers who were charged with organizing the Chinese lottery and distributing the lottery ballots. The first document proceeding the index page is the testimony that was …

Created Date
1886-01-27

Prosecution of a group of Chinese settlers for running an illegal lottery. Police Officer Pablo Delgado discovered the lottery and details those involved, including a settler named Damien.

Created Date
1886

These letters detail investigations into illegal Chinese lotteries, including how the police should proceed and the names of people who were interviewed in the proceedings.

Created Date
1885

Records describing the will of Humberto Chiang, a buisnessman who died from a heart problem in 1930. He was pronounced dead by Dr. Manuel Barroso. There was a dispute over his will and business

Created Date
1930

Letter to the governor from Diez, discussing the legal requirements for Chinese settlers to be granted permanent residency in Cuba. Mentions that most settlers, after completing an eight year contract and being granted residency, preferred to enter into more contracts rather than seek work separately. Also discusses the abuses by employers who break their contracts with Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1861

A letter from the Society of Froncaso, Bustamante, and Company concerning the working and living conditions of Chinese settlers in Cuba, specifically looking at the ages of the youngest contracted workers. The report counts several contracted workers under the age of 18, the youngest being 13. The laws concerning Chinese settlers declared the hiring of settlers under the age of 14 illegal.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals between Francaso, Bustamanta y Co and other companies, specifically relating to their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal. Also relates other hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1870

Records of business deals of Alejandro Lagargett and Joaquin Boldan, specifically relating to their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal. Also relates other hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal. Also relates other hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Some of these settlers produced false documents claiming to be older than they were. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal. Also relates other hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers. Also relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Some of these settlers produced false documents claiming to be older than they were. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860

Letters from prior employers of Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. A judge was investigating Pedro Amador's past records.

Created Date
1886

Record pertaining to a judge's investigation of Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but lived in Havana. The court certified that Pedro Amador's records did not contain any concerning contents.

Created Date
1876

Record pertaining to a judge's investigation into the records of Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. The court certified that Pedro Amador's records did not contain any concerning contents.

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigated Amador's past records. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Manuel Baños certified that Pedro Amador did not appear to have a criminal record.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Pascual Herra certified that Pedro Amador did not appear to have a criminal record.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigates Pedro Amador's past records. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Bernardo certified that Pedro Amador appeared to complete a previous work contract.

Created Date
1886

Record pertaining to a judge's investigation into the records of Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. The court certified that Pedro Amador's records did not contain any concerning contents.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigated Amador's past records. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Luis Marona certified that Pedro Amador's cedula was current.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado. It details an ongoing investigating concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. Jesus Rodriguez certified that Pedro Amador did not appear to have any criminal history.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Pedro Amador did not appear to have any criminal history.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Pedro Amador did not appear to have any criminal history.

Created Date
1886

Records indicating that the police located and broke up an illegal Chinese raffle in Havana under the orders of the Chief of Police, Maria de Rala y Aranaz. The raffle, Chiffa, was located near a fruit stand and the Consulate in Havana. Jose Manuel Ledon investigated.

Created Date
1886-03-06

Records indicating police interactions with Chinese settler, Jose Afa, and his connection to the illegal raffle, Chiffe.

Created Date
1886-03-20

Records indicating police interactions with Chinese settler, Jose Afa, and his connection to the illegal raffle, Chiffe. He was originally from Canton. This document also gives investigators permission to access his records.

Created Date
1886-03-27

Records from the Royal Prison in Havana. Jose Afa, a Chinese settler, was arrested and jailed at the Royal Prison for running an illegal lottery.

Created Date
1886-03-28

Jose Afa, a Chinese settler, was arrested and jailed for running an illegal lottery.

Created Date
1886

Records indicating that Chinese Consul in Havana requested the paperwork of Jose Afa, a Chinese settler and permanent resident in Cuba, who was detained by police in connection to an illegal lottery.

Created Date
1886-03-30

Records indicating that the police located and broke up an illegal Chinese lottery in Havana. Jose Afa, a Chinese settler, was arrested in connection with the lottery and his records have been requested by the courts. Some of these records were written in Chinese.

Created Date
1886-03-21

Records pertaining to the arrest and trial of Jose Afa, who was arrested in connection with an illegal Chinese lottery. The trial was overseen by Judge Jose Maria Lanazabal y Alvarez de Toledo from the Prado district. Two police chiefs investigated the crimes. Some of Afa's paperwork was written in Chinese and was requested by the Chinese Consul.

Created Date
1886-03-31

Records of the court clerk, Ramon Barinaga y Urbaneja of the Prado district courts. Pertaining to the arrest and trial of Jose Afa, who was arrested in connection with an illegal Chinese lottery. The prosecutor dismissed the case against Jose Afa on the 31st of March, 1886

Created Date
1886-03-31

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-09-04

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-12-06

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-09-07

The Superior Civil Government investigates the Society of Bustmante y Troncaso's hiring practices, relating to the illegal hiring of Chinese settlers under the age of 14. Many of their contracts did not mention the age of the settlers as to avoid the legal age requirements.

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigated Amador's past records.

Created Date
1886-01-30

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigated Amador's past records.

Created Date
1886-01-30

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigated Amador's past records.

Created Date
1886-01-30

Record pertaining to a judge's investigation of Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but lived in Havana. The court certified that Pedro Amador's records did not contain any concerning contents.

Created Date
1886-01-30

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigated Amador's past records.

Created Date
1886-01-30

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigated Amador's past records.

Created Date
1886-01-30

Record pertaining to a judge's investigation of Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but lived in Havana. The court certified that Pedro Amador's records did not contain any concerning contents.

Created Date
1886-01-30

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigated Amador's past records.

Created Date
1880-01-30