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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.


Language
Resource Type
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Date Range
1832 1886


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.

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.

This is a document hiring Chinese settlers for public work projects. Not dated.

This is the second contract between Ramon, a Chinese settler, and Martin de Cardenas y Layas for the period of six months. This contract is undated and signed in Chinese.

Permission to enter the island of Cuba in a shipment of Chinese settlers in the English ship “Carpentaria”. Contractual printed in Chinese and Castilian.

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigates Pedro Amador's past records. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Bernardo certified that Pedro Amador appeared to complete a previous work contract.

Created Date
1886

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

Joribio Padron, a Chinese settler, fulfilled a contract with Juan Diez. Diez recommended that Joribio 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 Joribio always exhibited good conduct and behavior.

Created Date
1873-10-16

Certifies that several Chinese settlers completed contracts with the Military Path of Este.

Created Date
1873

Relates that an unnamed Chinese settler was granted permanent residency in Cuba after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1873

Benigno, a Chinese settler, completed a contact with Antonio Handruga and was seeking to sign a new labor contract with his original owner.

Created Date
1872

This is a rehire request for Bernardo, a Chinese settler, and Amado, a Chinese landowner.

Created Date
1871

This is a contract for Feliciano Luisi with Jose de la Portilla. May 1871.

Created Date
1871

A contract between Polomo O. Avoin, a Chinese immigrant, and Jose Armiros. Noted Polomo completed a contract with Calvo previously. Signed by Jose Quivos, Jose Mendez, Jose Armiros, and Polomo, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1870-12-08

A contract between Jose Leon, a Chinese settler, and Jose Quintera. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer.

Created Date
1870

A contract between Zhu Nam, a Chinese settler, and Tuton y Hijo and agents of La Alianza. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Zhu Nam did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Tuton y Hijo. Also features contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1870

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. The bishop of Matanzas supports that companies should not pay for burials because it is a church job.

Created Date
1868-07-09

A contract between Higinio Crispin, a Chinese immigrant, and Vicente Vega. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Higinio was originally from Canton. Noted Higinio completed a contract with Jacinto Larrinago previously. Signed by Vicente Vega and Higinio.

Created Date
1868-05-27

Contract between Aurelio, a Chinese settler, and Antonio Elena, a Cuban landowner. This contract was for one year and is signed by Antonio Elena, the governor of Cuba, and Aurelio. Aurelio signed in Chinese. 1868.

Created Date
1868