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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
1851 1902


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
1886

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

Created Date
1861

Details the causes for Chinese immigration to Cuba and the experiences of the workers when they arrive. Mentions how the government of Cuba is involved in the contracts that bring Chinese settlers to Cuba to work as indentured servants and slaves

Created Date
1858

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. The ages were left blank on their contracts.

Created Date
1860-10-07

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
1861-06-18

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
1868-05-09

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
1865

Record of Carlos de Zaldo, who contracted Chinese settlers to move to Cuba to work. He worked with Ferran, Dupierris y Co.

Created Date
1858

Record of Carlos de Zaldo, who contracted Chinese settlers to move to Cuba to work. He worked with Ferran, Dupierris y Co.

Created Date
1858

Record of Carlos de Zaldo, who contracted Chinese settlers to move to Cuba to work. He worked with Ferran, Dupierris y Co.

Created Date
1858

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

Record of Luis Susim, who contracted Chinese settlers to move to Cuba to work. He worked with Ferran, Dupierris y Co and Carlos de Zaldo.

Created Date
1858

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 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
1882-02-05

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
1857-12-10

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
1851-12-19

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.

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
1855-11-28

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