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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


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

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 An Sang Kio or Elisio from China to work for Francisco de Layas and Joaquin de Diago.

Created Date
1864-06-15

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
1860-08-24

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

This is a ship manifest that contained details of 305 Chinese settlers who boarded the Dutch ship "Vrow Johanna" with the intention of sailing to Havana, Cuba. Upon arrival in Cuba, each settler would be contracted to work as an indentured servant for eight years by various property owners in Cuba. The age, name, and origin of each settler were included in the list, and the settlers who died during the journey were marked as deceased. 1854.

Created Date
1854-03-31

Records for the ship Carmencita, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Troncaso Bustamante. The ship stopped in Manila before going to Cuba. The ship was captained by Captain Garcia. Also records the 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
1860-08-24

Records for the ship Live Yankee, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices Puente y Co. Upon arrival, Torices Puente y Co. instructed the settlers as to their legal status as was required by the government. The government also required that the company check on the mental health of their settlers after arriving in Cuba. Also lists the amounts paid to ships, captains, etc. by Torices Puente y Co for this shipment and a shipment of settlers aboard the P Wakefield.

Created Date
1861

These records pertain to the Spanish ship "Loyola" that left Macao in February 1867 with 372 Chinese settlers, and arrived in Havana on March 11, 1867. The first notice of the leasing of the ship to the company shipping the Chinese settlers was in late December of 1866. Afterwards, the ship set sail in and arrived in Havana, where a small inspection ensued, and the settlers and crew were authorized to disembark.

Created Date
1866-12-29

These documents relate to the French ship "Tamaris" that departed from Macao with 300 Chinese settlers in 1869. The first document is a letter of health that was written in Portuguese and issued by Lucio Augusto da Silva, a doctor, who inspected the conditions on the ship on February 6, 1869, before it departed the next day. He recorded that the ship carried 545 tons and 21 crew members, and the name of the captain was Felipe B. The doctor found the ship to be in a good sanitary condition, and did not speculate or find evidence of any infectious …

Created Date
1869-02-07