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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.

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.

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Records for the ship Maria Clotilde, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Troncaso Bustamante and Company. On this trip, the Maria Clotilde brought 256 settlers from China to work. They were hired to be domestic servants.

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Contained in this ship manifest is a list of 244 Chinese settlers who were brought to Cuba aboard the ship "Charlotte" in March 1865. The Chinese name, Christian name, contract number, age, origin, occupation, and length of contract of each settler were included in the list.

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These documents pertain to the Spanish ship "Manila" that left China with 248 Chinese colonists in March of 1867, and arrived in Havana with 236 Chinese colonists on April 15, 1867. The first document in this collection was the notification that the company that contracted the 248 Chinese colonists to work in Cuba had leased the Spanish ship in February of 1867, and were preparing the ship and crew to leave for Cuba. The subsequent documents are notifications of the ship's departure from China, and it's successive arrival in Cuba. 1867.

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