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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


A contract between Mae Asan or Jose Yris, a Chinese settler, and the agent of Ignacio Fernandez de Castro. The contract was to last for a disclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Yris was to be brought aboard to Viajante. He was originally from Chen-Chuin. The contract was later transferred to Manuel B. a Pereda in Havana. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1859-04-02

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

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

This is a list of Chinese workers who upon arrival in Havana, Cuba, were contracted to Tomas Gutierrez. The duration of the eight year contracts, including the start and end dates, as well as the the type of work they would be doing (fieldwork) were stipulated within the list. The Chinese and Spanish names of each settler, as well as their age and origin were also included in the list. 1865

Created Date
1865-03-28

This document pertains to the recruitment and transfer of the eight year contracts of 172 newly arrived Chinese settlers in Cuba. Details regarding the Cuban landlords who received the settlers' contracts are not included in this document. 1866.

Created Date
1866-03-12

List of 47 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba on the ship "Auguste y Gustave" they were hired to work on the Ingenio Faith in 1864.

Created Date
1864

Paper and hiring of 25 Chinese Settlers brought to Cuba aboard the Italian ship "Queen of England" They were hired to work on the field in 1864 and then contracted by Jose Antonio S. Argudin and Pedro Morales in August 1865.

Created Date
1863

List of 29 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba aboard the ship "David". They were hired to work on the factory San Pablo in 1864 by Alejandro de la Torriente.

Created Date
1864

These documents pertain to a Chinese settler named Chin Chin who was brought to Cuba aboard the ship "Luisita", and whose eight year contract was ceded to Jose Belen Fernandez upon arrival in Havana. 1864

Created Date
1864-07-08

List of 4 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba aboard the ship "David". They were hired to work in the field in 1864 for Antonio de Lordova.

Created Date
1864