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.

  • Spanish
Date Range
1851 1886

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.

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.

Laws pertaining to the legal rights of of landowners living in a certain area and their obligations. This includes how owners are supposed to write their contracts with their Chinese workers, including informing them of their payment and the terms of their contracts.

Created Date

A letter from an unnamed office of the port of Havana to the Royal Administration. It details the arrival of a ship in the harbor that brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba to work under contract with Manuel B. de Pereda.

Created Date

Records of new Chinese settlers who arrived in Cuba ill. They disembarked from the ship and were treated at the Principle "Depot." Only their names are listed.

Created Date

Records pertaining to the right of a company to not pay for the burial of their employees if they die while contracted. The company in question is a railroad and has been solicited by the government concerning the case.

Created Date

A report on the results of Chinese immigration to Cuba, the average ages of these immigrants and what they have done since coming to Cuba. 1865.

Created Date

Records indicating that the chief of police had a meeting with the Governor to discuss new laws that affect the employers of Chinese settlers and the granting of permanent residency to those settlers. The settlers had to fulfill certain requirements, usually with concerns to their jobs, religion, and moral conduct, in order to gain permanent residency. The police were charged with removing any settlers who did not maintain jobs or contracts with their employers before or after being granted permanent residency.

Created Date

A complaint filed by Francisco Orta in the name of three Chinese settlers, Francisco, Manuel, and Pablo concerning their contracts.

Created Date

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