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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
Mime Type
Resource Type
  • Image
Status
  • Public
Date Range
1806 1987


Identification card for Wong Git issues in 1987. He was born in 1917 in China. He came to Cuba in 1948 and was a permanent resident of Cuba.

Created Date
1987

This is a certificate from the executive secretary of the Municipal Director of Education. This certificate was for Hector Fund for completing his class evaluations.

Created Date
1983

This is a certificate of completion from the Congress of the Center of Workers of Cuba to Hector Fund.

Created Date
1983

This documents the hiring Chinese settlers for public work projects. Not dated.

Created Date
1973

A contract between Fang-Achat, a Chinese settler, and L. Miguel Gonzalez. The contract does not state how long it was supposed to last, but it lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Contract signed by L. Miguel Gonzalez and two others, but not the settler. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Contributors
鄧, 七

The cedula or identity card for Cesares, a Chinese immigrant working in Cuba. He worked for Jesus Alalli.

An election roll from the Association of the Chinese settlers' Palma Soriano delegation of the Society of Instruction and Recreation. It lists the President, Vice President, Secretary, Vice Secretary, Treasurer, Vice Treasurer, and speakers. Sent to the Provincial Government of Oriente.

This is a certificate from the executive secretary of the Municipal Director of Education. This certificate was for Hector Fund for completing his class evaluations.

A letter from Francisco Changsoy and Jorge F. Hands, the President and the Secretary of the Delegation of Guantanamo. It lists the President, Vice President, Secretary, the Vice Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice Treasurer.

Identity card for foreigners, issued to Wing Git Wong, born in 1917. He entered Cuba in 1948 and became a permanent resident. His parents names are listed and he is said to reside in Soltero

Certified for the Consul General of Portugal.

This document contains a record of payments that were made out to several Chinese workers by their owner. While being indentured servants, Chinese settlers were given monthly wages for their services.

An identity record, or cedula, for a Chinese settler, Pelayo. He was brought from Soltero, China to Cuba to work for Nicolas Martines Valdivieso for eight years.

Records for the ship Carmencita, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Troncaso Bustamante. The ship was captained by Captain Garcia.

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 recommendation letter from an unnamed employer concerning the Chinese settlers he employed and their permanent residency status. Does not mention the names of the Chinese settlers.

Shipping records of Torices, Puentes y Co. regarding the ships they contracted to bring Chinese settlers from China to Cuba to work. Includes letters from captains of some of these ships detailing to the government their contracts with Torices, Puente y Co.

Describes changes to laws detailing the legal rights of Chinese settlers in Cuba. These changes focused on the working and religious rights as lawmakers hoped to instill in the settlers "good moral and religious" principles.

Shipping records for the frigates, Live Yankee and Wake, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co. These workers were contracted in Macao. They were to be contracted out to other employers.

Business records for Doctors Eugenio Gonzales and Carlos Belot, professors of Medicine. They hired six Chinese settlers to work for them at their office.

Payment records of an unnamed employer. Lists the Chinese settlers employed, how much they are owed, and the total amount of pesos.

Certifies that the signer of this documents has been accepted as a member of the Mason Order with the degree of Master Mason in the China Masonry. He fulfilled the requirements of the order to become the Master Mason

A contract between Aqui, a Chinese settler, and Carlo Flotard, who worked as an agent for Campbell and Caro. Campbell and Caro gave Carlo Flotard the ability to contract Chinese workers and bring them from China to Cuba to work. The contract lists the legal requirements of both the settler and the company. Aqui was originally from Poloe. Aqui did not negotiation or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Flotard, A. de Garza, and Cañete y Morales. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Contributors
亞, 之

Relates that several Chinese settlers were granted permanent residency in Cuba after meeting the legal requirements. Most of the document is a list of the settlers who received their residency.

This is a series of documents written in Chinese and Spanish, including a deposit certificate from Bank of China and an inviting letter to Chinese naval staff for a banquet. Other two welcome letters from Havana tobacco company to the Chinese naval are also included.

A photograph of a couple with a note "Foto Dore Real No. 119 Marianao". It is presumed that it was taken in the Marianao municipality in Havana.

Francisco Plazaola, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. In his baptism, he offered his loyalty to the Cuban government and the church in order to eventually receive permanent residency in Cuba, a legal requirement. He also dedicated his life and fealty to God.

Official naturalization document of Simon, a Chinese settler, who was granted his carta de naturaleza, or naturalization documents. Relates that Simon had take an oath of loyalty and obedience to the Cuban government that was required of him.

Serapio, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. In his baptism, he offered his loyalty to the Cuban government and the church in order to eventually receive permanent residency in Cuba, a legal requirement. He was baptized by Sebastian Juanenea.

Relates that Vicente, a Chinese settler, was granted permanent residency in Cuba after fulfilling the legal requirements.

A contract between Narceso, a Chinese settler, and A. R. Ferran and Rafael R. Torices. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Signed by Narceso, who signed in Chinese. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Record of business deal for Agapita Ruiz Gonzalez, Domingo Rios, and Juan Garcia concerning the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work.

Record of business deals for Jose Garcia and Agapita Ruiz Gonzalez with the Society of Asian Colonization concerning the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work.

Relates that the civil government regulated the ability of Chinese settlers to marry. If they possessed a cedula, or identity record (meaning they were legally employed in Cuba, but had not yet become a permanent resident), they needed permission to marry anyone who was considered to be of a different race. Chinese settlers could only marry other Chinese settlers without permission

Report on the efforts of Manuel B. de Pereda to bring Chinese settlers to Cuba to work. The Civil Government had to consider what ships could be allowed to import settlers, who could sponsor them, and the laws concerning their rights and work privileges.

Report on the efforts of Manuel B. de Pereda to bring Chinese settlers to Cuba to work. The Civil Government had to consider what ships could be allowed to import settlers, who could sponsor them, and the laws concerning their rights and work privileges.

A letter from Eugenio Ponton from the port of Havana to the mayor's office. It details a dispute between Gregorio Tejedor and the Society of Pereda, Machado y Co over compensation for some Chinese settlers that Tejedor contracted from the company.

A letter from C. J. Vallin to the governor. It details the arrival of a ship in Havana's harbor and the examination of the Chinese settlers onboard. The Administration of Sanity was satisfied with their health.

Relates that Juan Ley Acheu, a Chinese settler, was granted permanent residency in Cuba after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Records for the ship Flora, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with D. I. M. Zangroniz. On this trip, Flora brought settlers from China to work.

Records for the ship Flora, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Flora brought three hundred and nine settlers from China to work.

Records for the ship Flora, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Flora brought three hundred and nine settlers from China to work.

Records pertaining to the unfair arrest and trials of Chinese settlers, who the author believed made the society much less corrupt. However, the Cubans treat the settlers badly and as a result, they tend to lack the moral and religious principles the written wanted them to have. The author hopes that new laws and regulations will improve the situation of Chinese settlers in Cuba.

Records for the ship Live Yankee, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co.

This document contains a record of payments that were made out to several Chinese workers by their owner. Chinese settlers were given monthly wages for their services.

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.

This document contains a record of payments that were made out to several Chinese workers by their owner. While being indentured servants, Chinese settlers were given monthly wages for their services.

Burial records for Chinese settlers, overseen by a bishop. They were buried in a cemetery in Havana. The bishop asked for their to be a special cemetery for Chinese settlers that was to be set up by the Superior Government.

A shipping manifest from an unknown ship.

List of Chinese settlers who ran away from their owners and were later captured. After capture, they were held in the Municipal Slave Deposit in Santa Maria del Rosario. Their names, ages, and nationality are listed along with the dates of their escape and capture.

Identity card for the Bono de Cuota Voluntaria.

This is an identification card for Alejandro Eng and issued by the Center for Labor. Undated.

This is an identification card showing that Alejandro is part of a pension system. Undated.

These are work identification cards issues by Joaquin Hon, listing his home address. They are issued by the Ministry of Work.

This is an identification card for Jorge Eng, a Cuban national. Undated.

Postcard from Hong Kong to Cuba. Undated.

This is a tarjeta de residente or a residency card for the Republic of Cuba, or resident card, that belonged to a Chinese citizen named Alejandro Eng.

A contract between Damian, a Chinese settler, and Martin de Cardenas y Laya. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Martin de Cardenas and Damian, who signed in Chinese.

A blank contract for employees working with agents Mariano del Pielago and Merino Gelledo. It has two language versions: Spanish and Chinese. It indicates the instructions that the employees should follow.

An identity card, or cedula, for Jose, originally from Achony. Jose was nineteen years old when this card was issued.

A contract between Antonio, a Chinese settler, and Elias Lolano y Garcia. Antonio was originally from Macao. Noted that Antonio completed a contract with Juan Oxaca previously. Antonio did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by the governor, Elias Lolano y Garcia, and two witnesses.

This is a second work contract that was shared between Antonio- a Chinese settler, and his owner, D. Martin de Cardenas y Layas. Prior to entering this agreement, Antonio was being held in the municipal deposit of the capital; according to the fourth and fifth articles in the contract, and it is possible that he was required to enter this contract as a punishment for past transgressions against his owner. The length of this contract was for six months. Signed in Chinese.

This is a blank copy of the identity cards (cedulas) that were assigned to Chinese settlers in Cuba.

This document describe the hiring Chinese settlers for public projects. Not dated.

This is a document hiring Chinese settlers for public work projects. Not dated.

This is a series of reports files by the mayor of Guanabacoa concerning the treatment of Chinese settlers in Cuba, including punishment for crimes and the death penalty.

Records for the ship, Ville de Lima, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Bauraw, the agent for Pellier, Bastand and the Company of Marsella. On this trip, Ville de Lima brought 500 from China to work. The ship stopped in Macao before going to Cuba.

This is a money script for Juan Jose for six pesos.

Records for the ship, Messenger, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co. The Messenger stopped in Macao before going to Cuba.

This is the second contract between Ramon, a Chinese settler, and Martin de Cardenas y Layas for the period of six months. This contract is undated and signed in Chinese.

Permission to enter the island of Cuba in a shipment of Chinese settlers in the English ship “Carpentaria”. Contractual printed in Chinese and Castilian.

Dossier formed to enter the island of Cuba in a shipment of Chinese settlers in the French ship “Eugene & Adele”. General information to the Captain of the island that has hired a French ship to bring Cuba Chinese settlers: boarding list of the 466 Chinese settlers in Macao; some official communications on the subject; list of the 466 boarding Chinese settlers received in Havana; superior civil government documents on the authorization of the shipment; investigation into the death of 43 Chinese settlers on the trip to Cuba; list of the dead with their data, latitude and longitude; research (appointment …

List of 590 Chinese settlers brought from China to Cuba to serve as indentured servants. They arrived in Havana abroad the American frigate, the Sky Lark. 1855.

List of Chinese workers brought to Cuba abroad the frigate the "Kate Hooper".

This is a labor identification card issues by the Labor Ministry to Alejandro Eng to work in public administration.

Created Date
1969

Visa for Julio Eng. Photo included.

Created Date
1968
Created Date
1965-11-03

This is an ID card for Julio Eng.

Created Date
1965

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. The Governor rules that children born to one white parent were to be considered the same racial classification in terms of …

Created Date
1964-04-29

Records for Luis Wong Chi, a Chinese immigrant. It includes his fingerprints, photo, and physical description.

Created Date
1962

Records for Luis Wong Chi. He was originally from China, but traveled to New York in 1962. His occupation is listed as commercial business.

Created Date
1962

Happy New Years Card

Created Date
1961

An identity card for an unknown man. This card does not allow him to travel outside of Cuba.

Created Date
1960-07-05

A letter from Armando Lay and Alfredo Chang of the Kuo Min Tang, the Chinese Nationalist Party in Manzanillo to the Provincial Commission of Oriente. It details their registration payments in 1958, 1959, and 1960.

Created Date
1960
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This is the immunization records for Jorge Eng, a Chinese natural. The document lists three immunizations given to Jorge Eng on the 7th, 14th, and 21st of March, 1960 that were recorded by the Ministry of Health of Cuba.

Created Date
1960

A letter about Carlita, who is the descendant of immigrants from Asia and Africa. The letter notes that she went to Madrid

Created Date
1959

This is a bank book from the Bank of China in Havana, Cuba, that belonged to a man named J. Chan. Havana- 1958

Created Date
1958-12-30

This is the registry for Casino Chung Wah with the Provincial Government of the Orient. It lists the names of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Vice Secretary, Treasurer, Vice Treasurer, and the speakers for 1958 and 1958.

Created Date
1958-04-09

Second half of a letter from Felix Hung, the president of Kuo Min Tang. It concerns how the group wants to "rehabilitate" the delegation of Bayamo and how they want to be to be registered with the Provincial Government's Registry of Associations. This letter was addressed to the Civil Provincial Commissioner.

Created Date
1958

This is a savings account book for the Bank of China in Havana that belonged to Santiago Crespo A. A few bank transactions were documented on the first page of the booklet. Bank of China, Havana, Cuba- 1957

Created Date
1957-07-11

A letter from Armando Lay and Alfredo Joa, the President and the Secretary of the Kuo Min Tang's Manzanillo Delegation to the Provincial Government of Oriente. It lists the President, Vice President, Secretary, the Vice Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice Treasurer.

Created Date
1957

A letter from Armando Lay and Alfredo Joa, the President and Secretary of Kuo Min Tang to Fernando Cuesta Nora, the Secretary of the Government of the Province of Oriente in Santiago. This letter details how the party sent $14 in dues. Additionally, they sent the balance sheets for the year 1953-1956 and documents concerning the leadership in 1954 and 1956.

Created Date
1957

Notice from Dr. Jesus M Gonzalez y Fuente, doctor and lawyer, to Vicente Lee and Manuel Chiang allowing them to open their store, Lee and Chiang in Guanabacoa.

Created Date
1956-07-16

These are insurance documents that pertained to a Chinese settler, Antonio Lau Wah.

Created Date
1956-06-18

Record of Josefa Lam Chang, who was originally from Kwangtung. Her parents were Sitsi and Wai Chau. She applied for residency in Havana.

Created Date
1956-04-06

Letter from Felix Hung, the President of the Casino Chung Wah, to the secretary of the Provincial Government of the Orient in Santiago. While not included in this document, the letter explains that Felix Hung was sending the Treasury Balance for Casino Chung Wah to the secretary.

Created Date
1956-02-27

Election roll from the Kuo Min Tang's 1956 leadership election. It lists the names of the President, Secretary, Treasurer, and the Speakers. Sent to the Government of Oriente.

Created Date
1956-02-01

Letter from Felix Hung, the President of Casino Chung Wah's Bayamo delegation, to the Provincial Governor of the Provincial Government in Santiago.

Created Date
1956-01-31

Election roll from the Casino Chung Wah's 1956 leadership election. It lists the names of the President, Secretary, Treasurer, and the Speakers.

Created Date
1956

4 Cuban bonds worth 100 pesos each from the Bank of Cuba. Given to the Bank of China for commercial activities in Cuba.

Created Date
1956