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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.


Date Range
1832 1992


A contracts between Vidal, a Chinese settler, and Pedro. The contract was to last for eight years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Pedro and Vidal, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866

A contract between Cheng or Francisco, a Chinese settler, and Vargas y Co. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Vargas y Co and Francisco, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1859-06-30

Certifies that Lucas, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Benitez Diron y Co.

Created Date
1867-08-23

Certifies that Lucas, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Pedro Ybarra.

Created Date
1868-05-16

A contract between Lucas, a Chinese settler, and the Grand Sugar Production Society. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted Lucas completed a contract with Benitez Diran y Co previously. Signed by Pedro and Lucas, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1867

Certifies that Felipe, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Cristobal Madan.

Created Date
1866-06-01

A contract between Felipe, a Chinese settler, and Cristobal Madan. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes Felipe completed a contract with Yugenio la Rosa previously. Signed by Cristobal Madan and Felipe, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866

A contract between Felipe, a Chinese settler, and Pedro Rorello. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes Felipe completed a contract with Cristobal Madan previously. Signed by Pedro Rorello and Felipe, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1867

Certifies that Felipe, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Cristobal Madan.

Created Date
1868-08-30

Certifies that Felipe, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Ingenio La Rosa.

Created Date
1868-09-05

Certifies that Felipe, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Cristobal Madan.

Created Date
1868-08-29

Certifies that Fernando, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Francisco Arrieta.

Created Date
1863-09-09

Certifies that Fernando, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Francisco Arrieta.

Created Date
1868-09-06

Certifies that Simon Perez, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, the Sugar Refinery de Carmen.

Created Date
1866-08-28

Certifies that Simon Perez, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer. He then applied for permanent residency.

Created Date
1866-06-28

Certifies that Serapio, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer.

Created Date
1866-06-12

A contract between Serapio, a Chinese settler, and Joufa de Cardenas. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes Serapio completed a contract with Yugenio Toro previously. Signed by Senora de Carmello, Gabriel Cabrera, and Serapio, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1865-06-14

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

Created Date
1854-01-28

A contract between Fernando, a Chinese settler, and Francisco Cairo. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Junio completed a contract with Domingo Morales previously. Signed by two witnesses, the governor, and the new owner. Sagua de Grande.

Created Date
1868-03-20

A contract between Junio, a Chinese settler, and Juan Lairo. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Junio completed a contract with Domingo Morales previously. Signed by two witnesses, the governor, and the new owner. Sagua de Grande.

Created Date
1868-03-20

A contract between Vicente Guerra, a Chinese settler, and A. de MacKay. The contract was to last for undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by A. de MacKay and Vicente Guerra, who signed in Chinese. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1852-10-21

Certifies that Vicente, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Julian Jiuno.

Created Date
1863

A contract between, Sim Cheng Cristobal, a Chinese settler, and the agent of Ignacio Fernandez de Castro. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by MacKay, the agent, and Cristobal, who signed in Chinese. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Contributors
林, 清
Created Date
1854-03-06

A contract between Mariano, a Chinese settler, and Ignacio F. de Castro. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Ignacio F. de Castro and Mariano, who signed in Chinese. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1855-02-02

A contract between Lin-Whay Fernando, a Chinese settler, and the agent for Ignacio F. de Castro. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Ignacio F. de Castro and Lin- Way Fernando, who signed in Chinese. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1855-06-20

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 Benigno Gonzalez Alvarez and Luis Lusini with the Society of Asian Colonization concerning the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work.

Created Date
1855-01-30

Record of business deal for Cayetano and Luis Lusini with the Society of Asian Colonization concerning the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work.

Created Date
1855-01-30

Certifies that Cayetano, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Luis Suseni.

Created Date
1859

A contract between Justino Campbell and the government of Cuba. The contract granted Justino Campbell the right to recruit Chinese settlers to come to Cuba to work. Campbell was permitted to use the ship Hoggersbank under Captain Achenback.

Created Date
1857-03-30

A contract between Justino Campbell and the government of Cuba. The contract granted Justino Campbell the right to recruit Chinese settlers to come to Cuba to work. Campbell was permitted to use the ship Hoggersbank under Captain Achenback.

Created Date
1866-12-09

A contract between Serafin, a Chinese settler, and Vidal Delioguez. The contract was to last for a year of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that the company Serafin completed a contract with La Pura y Limpia previously. Signed by Vidal Delioguez and Serafin, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1865

A contract between Ly-Avom, a Chinese settler, and A. R. Ferran. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by A. R. Ferran, Manuel Antonio de Ganza, and Ly-Avom, who signed in Chinese. Also featured in Chinese.

Created Date
1857-06-18

A contract between Chan Achan, a Chinese settler, and A. R. Ferran. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by A. R. Ferran, J. R. Vargas, and Chan Achan, who signed in Chinese. Also featured in Chinese.

Created Date
1857-10-12

Relates that Leon, a Chinese settler, applied for permanent residency in Cuba after fulfilling the legal requirements. He completed an eight year contract with Leon Asan and was baptized into the Catholic Church.

Created Date
1866-03-21

A contract between Leon, a Chinese settler, and Telerforo Sotolonya. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Leon completed a contract with Leon Asan previously. Signed by Telerforo Sotolonya and Leon, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1876-05-14

A contract between Leon, a Chinese settler, and Telerforo Sotolonya. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Leon completed a contract with Leon Asan previously. Signed by Telerforo Sotolonya and Leon, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1877-03-15

Certifies that Leon Padron, a Chinese settler, completed a contract with his employer, the company Carolina.

Created Date
1868-03-15

Ventura, a Chinese settler, fulfilled a contract with various employers including Pedro Silvestre, Pedro Hernandez and Juom Juan. They recommended that Ventura be given permanent residency in Cuba because he met the legal requirements of completing an eight year contract with one employer. The letter also states that Ventura always exhibited good conduct and behavior.

Created Date
1866-04-25

Certifies that Ventura Lici Kie, a Chinese settler, completed a contract with his employer, La Panchita. He was contracted soon after with Jose Ruiz.

Created Date
1866-04-16

A contract between Ventura, a Chinese settler, and Jose Ruiz. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Ventura completed a contract with La Panchita previously. Signed by Jose Ruiz and Ventura, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866

Certifies that Ventura and Indaluis, two Chinese settlers, completed contracts with their employer, La Panchita under Agustin R. Ferran.

Created Date
1865-04-29

Certifies that Ventura, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Agustin R. Ferran.

Created Date
1865-04-28

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

Created Date
1857-04-28

Certifies that Pablo, a Chinese settler, completed an two-year-contract with his employer, Juan Nepom Ortega.

Created Date
1865-12-16

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.

Report on the efforts of Manuel B. de Pereda to bring Chinese settlers to Cuba to work, mostly to work on the Villoldo Wardrop y Co project.

Created Date
1853-10-18

A letter from Jose Vicente Jorge. It details the efforts Spain and the Royal Government took to encourage immigration to the Americas in general, with a special focus on the Chinese immigrating to Cuba. He specifically mentions a ship that was contracted to bring settlers to Cuba: the Viajante. Jose Vicente Jorge was the Knight Commander of the Order of Christ formed by Isabella, the Catholic.

Created Date
1853-01-10

A letter detailing the efforts of Villoldo Wardrop's project and the hiring of Chinese settlers for that project from Manuel B. de Pereda. 3000 settlers were contracted to work on the project.

Created Date
1832-05-23

A letter detailing the efforts of Villoldo Wardrop's project and the hiring of Chinese settlers for that project from Manuel B. de Pereda. Several settlers were contracted to work on the project.

Created Date
1852-03-23

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.

Created Date
1856-01-09

A contract between Asseng, a Chinese settler, and Carlos Flotard. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Asseng did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Jose R. Marquez.

Created Date
1851-10-05

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. The ages were left blank on their contracts.

Created Date
1860-10-07

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
1860-12-29

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
1860-12-29

Records for the ship Carmencita, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Troncaso Bustamante. 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
1860-02-04

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860-08-21

Certifies that Lee, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Roque de Lara. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1861-07-02

Certifies that Lee, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1861-06-27

Certifies that Lei, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1861-06-19

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.

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
1860-09-07

Contract between Turbino, a Chinese settler, and Ramon and Carlos. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Turbino completed a contract with Ramon and Carlos previously. Turbino did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Manuel Chino and Juan Alara.

Created Date
1868

Contract between Jose Miguel, a Chinese settler, and Francisco Glean. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Jose completed a contract previously. Signed by Francisco Glean and Jose Miguel, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1868

Contract between Elias, a Chinese settler, and Lorenzo de Castanede. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Elias completed a contract with Sr. Marcos previously. Elias did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Lorenzo de Castanedo and Vicente Sancho.

Created Date
1868-06-20

Contract between Gavino, a Chinese settler, and Luis de Alta. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Gavino completed a contract with Sr. Domingo previously. Gavino did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Domingo Sandina and Luis de Alta.

Created Date
1866-05-20

A contract between Fabian, a Chinese settler, and Juan Laudaluca. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Fabian completed a contract with Domingo y Gener previously. Fabian did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Juan de Laudalua.

Created Date
1877

A contract between At Atay Cayetano, a Chinese settler, and Luis Tapia. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Cayetano completed a contract with Florencio Tapia previously. Cayetano did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Luis Tapia, Domingo Garcia, Cecilio Lopez

Created Date
1879

Records for the ship Francasa, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Y. M. Zangroniz y Compania. On this trip, the Francasa brought workers from China to work as field workers.

Created Date
1866-10-12

Records for the ship Reina de Oceano, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Troncoso, Bustamante y Co. On this trip, the Reina de Oceano brought workers from China to work as field workers in Cardenas

Created Date
1861-06-10

Records for the ship Reina de Oceano, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Troncoso, Bustamante y Co. On this trip, the Reina de Oceano brought workers from China to work as field workers.

Created Date
1861

Records for the ship Reina de Oceano, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Troncoso, Bustamante y Co. On this trip, the Reina de Oceano brought workers from China to work as field workers for Bartolome Mujano.

Created Date
1861

Document describes how Diego Jimenez met with some Chinese settlers to discuss their contracts. He explained how they needed to fulfill eight-year contracts with the same employer in order to apply for permanent residency under Cuban law. These settlers all claimed to have completed their eight-year contracts. Diego Jimenez investigated their employer Froncaso Bustamante y Co considering whether their employment practices were legal, especially considering sick or injured workers.

Created Date
1868-09-15

Justino Campbell transferred his contracts with several Chinese settlers in Cardenas and Matanzas to the Superior Civil Government so that these workers may obtain their cedulas or personal identity cards.

Created Date
1861-05-08

Records for the ship Francis P Sage, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente and Ferran y Dupierris. This worker was to be employed in the countryside for Luisa de Mella.

Created Date
1861-05-18

Records for the ship Francis P. Sage, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente and Ferran y Dupierris. This worker was to be employed as a domestic servant.

Created Date
1861-05-22

Records for the ship Francis P Sage, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente and Ferran y Dupierris. This worker was to be employed as a domestic servant.

Created Date
1861-05-21

Records for the ship Luisita, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza and Ferran y Dupierris. One of these workers were contracted by Juan in Havana.

Created Date
1864-06-10

Records for the ship Vasco de Gama, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente and Ferran y Dupierris.

Created Date
1864-06-05

Records for the ship Francis P Sage, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente and Ferran y Dupierris. This worker was to be employed as a domestic servant.

Created Date
1861-03-15

Records for the ship Francis P. Sage, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente and Ferran y Dupierris. This worker was to be employed as a domestic servant.

Created Date
1861-03-15

Records for the ship Francis P Sage, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente and Ferran y Dupierris. These workers from China to work in the countryside

Created Date
1861-03-21

Records for the ship Francis P Sage, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente and Ferran y Dupierris. One worker from China to work as a domestic servant.

Created Date
1861-03-21

Records for the ship Kate Hooper, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente and Ferran y Dupierris. One worker from China to work as a domestic servant for Antonio M. Rodriguez in Matanzas.

Created Date
1861-06-04

Records for the ship Grey Hound, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente and Ferran y Dupierris. On this trip, the Grey Hound brought a worker to work as a domestic servant.

Created Date
1861-05-10

Records for the ship Kate Hooper, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente and Ferran y Dupierris. On this trip, the Kate Hooper brought workers from China to work as domestic servants for Antonio M. Rodriguez.

Created Date
1861-06-04

Records for the ship Grey Hound, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices y Puente. On this trip, the Grey Hound brought workers from China to work as domestic servants.

Created Date
1861-03-10

Records for the ship Luisita, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza and Ferran y Dupierris. Three of these workers were contracted by Fosca y Araoz in Sagua la Grande.

Created Date
1864-07-09

Records for the ship Vasco de Gama, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza and Ferran y Dupierris. On this trip, the Vasco de Gama brought six workers from China to work in the countryside for a sugar factory, Aguedita.

Created Date
1864-07-06

Records for the ship Vasco de Gama, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza and Ferran y Dupierris. On this trip, the Vasco de Gama brought workers from China to work in the countryside.

Created Date
1864-06-30

6 Chinese settlers were hired to work. They landed in Cuba in the port of Matanzas and were housed in the Depot. These workers were hired to work for an unnamed employer.

Created Date
1872-09-18

Certifies that Valentin, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1871

Certifies that Justo, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Jose de Cannabaco who owned a business.

Created Date
1860

Certifies that Justo, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Miguel Armona. He then entered into a contract with Gaspar Vinato.

Created Date
1861

Certifies that Justo, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Miguel Armona. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1865

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their contracts and hiring practices concerning Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals between Troncaso, Bustamanta y Co and other companies, specifically relating to the contracting of Chinese workers or moving settlers from the employment of one company to another. Many of these settlers were between 19 and 40 years of age.

Created Date
1860

A contract between Ricardo, a Chinese settler, and Ramon Vila y Terrer. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Ramon Vila y Terrer and Ricardo, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1869

A letter from the Society of Froncaso, Bustamante, and Company concerning the working and living conditions of Chinese settlers in Cuba, specifically looking at the ages of the youngest contracted workers. The report counts several contracted workers under the age of 18, the youngest being 13. The laws concerning Chinese settlers declared the hiring of settlers under the age of 14 illegal.

Created Date
1860