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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 1892


These documents pertain to the American ship "Norway" that arrived in Havana on March 30, 1860, with around 900 colonists from China. The purpose of these communications were to establish conditions that needed to be met for authorization to be granted for the Chinese settlers to disembark. A list of the passengers, their contracts, and a health inspection had to be completed before any of the settlers could be let off the ship. Ultimately, the final document in this selection reveals that the settlers were eventually let off the ship two days later, and were taken into a police station …

Created Date
1860-03-13

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.

Created Date
1867

This report was written by a member of the local board of health of Havana- Junta Local de Sanidad de la Habana, to a government official regarding the procedures and regulations for ships that arrived into the port of Havana with Chinese settlers on board, and the importance of those procedures. The board member explained that once the ships were docked in the port, the company introducing the settlers was required to provide ship manifests, the settlers' contracts, lists of the settlers who died during the journey and the causes of their deaths, and other documents to support that the …

Created Date
1860-03-14

This is a list of 87 Chinese settlers of which 86 of them, upon arrival in Cuba, were contracted to work as fieldworkers in Havana by a Cuban businessman named Y. Gasol; the 87th settler on the list was hired by a different person to be a bread baker. The settlers arrived to Cuba aboard a ship called "A. N. Cesard". The Chinese name, Christian name, contract number, origin, and age of each settler were included in the list. March 6, 1866.

Created Date
1866-03-10

Records for the ship Messenger, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co. On this trip, Messenger brought workers from China to work.

Created Date
1860

Records for the ship Glessanox, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Jose Playa, an agent for the Hernandez Company. On this trip, the Glessanox brought settlers from China to work. The ship was captained by Capello and docked in Macao before going to Havana.

Created Date
1870

Records for the ship Grey Hound, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co. On this trip, the Grey Hound brought five settlers from China to work in the countryside.

Created Date
1861

Records for the ship Alfonso de Albuquerque, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza. On this trip, the Alfonso de Albuquerque brought five settlers from China to work for Pedro Samberto.

Created Date
1864

Records for the ship Encarnacion, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Marino Gillado. On this trip, Encarnacion brought twenty settlers from China to work for Juan Vermay.

Created Date
1865-03-22

Records for the ship Encarnacion, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Marino Gillado. On this trip, the Encarnacion brought settlers from China to work for Arrengui Ganz.

Created Date
1865-03-24

Records for the ship Vasco de Gama, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza. On this trip, the Vasco de Gama brought settlers from China to work.

Created Date
1864

Records for the ship Vasco de Gama, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza. On this trip, the Vasco de Gama brought settlers from China to work for Juan P.

Created Date
1864

Records for the ship Emigrante, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Pedro Reinaldo. On this trip, the Emigrante brought six settlers from China to work for Marino Gillado.

Created Date
1865

Shipping records for the ship, the Carmelita, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. The Carmelita has fulfilled its contract for the shipment of these settlers on the 30th of October, 1852. These settlers were to be contracted by other employers.

Created Date
1860

Records for the ship Carmelita, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Rita Barbarca a la Lara. On this trip, Carmelita brought settlers from China to work in Matanzas.

Created Date
1861

Documents pertaining to the import of Chinese settlers to Cuba by the Cuban government and private companies, like the Society of la Alianza y Compania. One ship, a French frigate called Valace, captained by Andre, brought 265 settlers to Havana in one shipment. Many of the settlers were contracted in Macao.

Created Date
1892

Shipping records for the ship the Grey Hound, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with the Asian Company of Havana and Mr. Torices, Puente, Ferran and Dupierris. These workers were to work in the countryside for Antonio.

Created Date
1861

Shipping records for the ship the Grey Hound, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with the Asian Company of Havana and Mr. Torices, Puente, Ferran and Dupierris. These workers were to work in the countryside for Antonio Navamete.

Created Date
1861

Shipping records for the frigates, Live Yankee and Wake, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co. These workers were contracted in Macao. They were to be contracted out to other employers.

Shipping records of Torices, Puentes y Co. regarding the ships they contracted to bring Chinese settlers from China to Cuba to work. Includes letters from captains of some of these ships detailing to the government their contracts with Torices, Puente y Co.