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
1832 1963

These are four separate death certificates that pertained to four Chinese settlers who died in November of the year 1872. The first three certificates were issued at the same hospital- Real Hospital de Cardiad de S. Felipe y Santiago, and date that the settlers were admitted into the hospital, the number of days they remained in the hospital before they expired, and the cause of their deaths, were well documented. The fourth certificate pertained to a Chinese settler named Juan de Dios who was not assisted by a hospital when he died, and therefore not a lot of details were …

Created Date

These documents relate to the French ship "Tamaris" that departed from Macao with 300 Chinese settlers in 1869. The first document is a letter of health that was written in Portuguese and issued by Lucio Augusto da Silva, a doctor, who inspected the conditions on the ship on February 6, 1869, before it departed the next day. He recorded that the ship carried 545 tons and 21 crew members, and the name of the captain was Felipe B. The doctor found the ship to be in a good sanitary condition, and did not speculate or find evidence of any infectious …

Created Date

This collection of documents pertains to the death of Zenon Porto; he was a free Chinese settler in Cuba who owned his own fish frying business. The first document in this group is an announcement of his death on July 28, 1971, that was made by a Cuban police official. Within the same document, the official explained that an investigation and interrogation into the matters of his death would take place. Several records of the interrogations are included in this collection. Three Chinese settlers who were familiar with Zenon Porto including his brother Nicolas, and two neighbors- Domingo and Pedro, …

Created Date

This is an excerpt from a booklet titled "Documentos para la historia de gentes sin historia: El Trafico de Culies Chinos". The book contains an introduction that was written by Juan Perez de la Riva, in which he described and presented two important articles regarding the expansion of Chinese indentured servants in Cuba that are reproduced in the booklet. Juan Perez de la Riva explained the importance of these articles, and provided background information regarding the men who authored them. The first article titled "Informe del Sr. Don Francisco Diago a la Real Junta de Fomento sobre el projecto de …

Created Date

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