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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 1961


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 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 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

This is a first contract that was signed by Jang, a Chinese settler, in which he agreed to leave China and travel to Cuba to work as an indentured servant for eight years. He signed his contract with Ignacio-Fernandez de Castro of Cadiz.

Created Date
1853-01-11

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 contract between Chey, a Chinese settler, and Ignacio F. de Castro, the agent of Manuel Pereda. Manuel Pereda was to bring Chey from China to Cuba to work and the contract lists the legal requirements of both the settler and the patron. Chey was originally from Tokein. Signed by Ignacio F. de Castro and Chey, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1855

A contract between Lini-Tsai, a Chinese settler, and an agent of Ygnacio 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 Lini-Tsai, who signed in Chinese.

Contributors
亦, 在
Created Date
1855

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

Details the commercial activity of Manuel Pereda and his involvement with the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work as indentured servants from 1854 to 1855.

Created Date
1856

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

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

Records of business deals between the United Asian Colonization and Ferran, Dupierris y Co, concerning the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba.

Created Date
1858

A Chinese settler asks for release from his contract by paying the cost of his hire.

Created Date
1858

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

Created Date
1858

This is a list of Chinese settlers who were imprisoned in a particular jail from April to August 1858 in Cienfuegos for running away from their masters and breaking their contracts. These runaways are referred to as "maroons". One was reported as requiring a stay in the hospital while five others were returned to their owners.

Created Date
1858

This was a request written on the behalf of Eloy- a Chinese settler, who having just won 1,000 pesos in a lottery was seeking to buy out his eight year contract with D. Joaquin Garcia Anguerica for the 219 pesos needed to do so. The request spurred a lot of conversation between Spanish officials in Cuba about whether or not Eloy's request could legally be granted; there were concerns about his minor status and about some contradictions between articles 27 and 28 of the cedulas, and the seventh clause within the contracts. Ultimately, Eloy's request was not granted.

Created Date
1858-02-12

Records of business deals for the Settlement Commission, the United Asiatic Colonization, and La Positiva. La Positiva became La Alianza under Marcial Dupierris.

Created Date
1859-04-08

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