Skip to main content

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.


Date Range
1851 1892


Records for the ship Altagracia, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Altagracia brought 361 settlers from China to work.

Created Date
1871-01-16

This is a list of Chinese workers who upon arrival in Havana, Cuba, were contracted to Tomas Gutierrez. The duration of the eight year contracts, including the start and end dates, as well as the the type of work they would be doing (fieldwork) were stipulated within the list. The Chinese and Spanish names of each settler, as well as their age and origin were also included in the list. 1865

Created Date
1865-03-28

Two separate records are included within these documents. One document is the record of the departure of Emigrante, a Spanish ship, from China for Cuba on April 6, 1859. The second document is a record of the departure of Daguerre and Yormose, both French ships, from China to Cuba on February 23, 1859. The intent of the three voyages was to transport Chinese settlers to Cuba, where they would begin working for several Spanish land and factory owners as indentured servants.

Created Date
1859

This is a list of 154 Chinese workers who traveled to Cuba aboard the Mourne de Nantes, a French ship, and who upon arrival in Havana, Cuba, were ceded to Antonio Gutierrez. Details about the duration of the eight year contracts, including the start and end dates, as well as the the type of work they would be doing (fieldwork) were stipulated within the list. The Chinese and Spanish names of each settler, as well as their age and origin,L were also included in the list. Antonio Gutierrez, 1866

Created Date
1866-06-05

Records of the ship, "Julian de Murueta", which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. The Julian de Murueta stopped in Swatao and Santa Abalena before coming to Havana.

Created Date
1855-10-12

This is a ship manifest of 352 Chinese settlers who traveled aboard an unknown ship from China to Cuba. The personal details of each settler included were their names, ages, origins, and type of labor they dedicated themselves to. Nine of these settlers died on the journey. 1857.

Created Date
1857-06-22

Records for the ship, San Andres, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. The San Andres stopped in Swatao and Santa Elena before coming to Havana.

Created Date
1855-10-12

This is a ship manifest that contained some details, such as age and origin, of several Chinese immigrants aboard the Peruvian ship "Maria Natividad". The ship arrived in the port of Havana on June 4, 1857, carrying at least 38 Chinese settlers. 1857.

Created Date
1857-06-04

This is a ship manifest of 218 Chinese settlers who arrived in the port of Havana on May 12, 1867, aboard the Bremen ship "Confucius." The list included the original Chinese name, new Christian name, and age of each settler. The settlers who died during the journey were marked within the list; only 5 settlers died. 1867.

Created Date
1867-05-12

This is a shipping manifest from the ship Veloci, detailing the Chinese settlers brought to Cuba. 1872.

Created Date
1872

Records for the ship Carpentaria, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Carpentaria brought settlers from China to work. The ship was captained by Antonio de Barcaiztegui and stopped in Swateo and Puerto Rico before going to Havana.

Created Date
1855

8 Chinese settlers were hired to work. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Auguste y Gustave. These workers were hired to work as fieldworkers.

Created Date
1865-04-27

Records for the ship Encarnacion, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza. On this trip, the Encarnacion brought 325 settlers from China to work.

Created Date
1871-07-12

This is a letter that was written by Antonio de Barcaiztegui certifying that the Spanish ship "La Encarnacion" that sailed from Macao to Cuba arrived in Havana on April 15, 1854, and that the arrival was documented in the official book of ship entries.

Created Date
1855-10-12

This is a ship manifest that detailed the 361 Chinese settlers who were taken to Cuba aboard the Spanish ship "Altagracia". Each settler on the ship was destined to work as an indentured servant for eight years under a strict contract with an owner. Prior to boarding the ship, each of them signed an eight year labor contract. Upon arrival in Cuba, their contracts would be ceded to various owners throughout Cuba. Included in the list are the ages, assigned numbers, names and origins of each settler.

Created Date
1871-01-16

The purpose of this record regarding the French ship "Malabar", was to document the end of a quarantine that was made for the 497 Chinese settlers aboard the ship who were suspected of carrying a contagious disease upon their arrival in Guanajay in Cuba. 1868.

Created Date
1868-04-23

This is a ship manifest that contained details of 305 Chinese settlers who boarded the Dutch ship "Vrow Johanna" with the intention of sailing to Havana, Cuba. Upon arrival in Cuba, each settler would be contracted to work as an indentured servant for eight years by various property owners in Cuba. The age, name, and origin of each settler were included in the list, and the settlers who died during the journey were marked as deceased. 1854.

Created Date
1854-03-31

This is a ship manifest detailing the 290 Chinese colonists expected to arrive in Cuba aboard the Portuguese ship "Gica". The ship arrived in the port of Havana on March 8, 1864, with 281 of the colonists listed in the ship manifest; seven died during the journey and two remained in Macao.

Created Date
1864-03-08

Records for the ship Queen of England, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with D. I. M. Zangroniz. On this trip, the Queen of England brought 500 settlers from China to work for various employers.

Created Date
1865

Records for the ship Veloce, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Veloce brought 256 settlers from China to work as indentured servants.

Created Date
1873-05-06