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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.


Mime Type
  • application/pdf
Resource Type
  • Image
Date Range
1832 1992


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

This is a first labor contract that belonged to a Chinese settler, Fulano, in which he agreed to relocate to Cuba to work as an indentured servant for eight years. Unlike most of the first contracts in this series, this contract was completely handwritten. It states that this contract was then transferred to Martin Pedroso on July 26, 1847. Originally signed 1847.

Created Date
1847-03-08

This is an excerpt from a booklet titled "Documentos para la historia de gentes sin historia: El Trafico de Culies Chinos". The book contains an introduction that was written by Juan Perez de la Riva, in which he described and presented two important articles regarding the expansion of Chinese indentured servants in Cuba that are reproduced in the booklet. Juan Perez de la Riva explained the importance of these articles, and provided background information regarding the men who authored them. The first article titled "Informe del Sr. Don Francisco Diago a la Real Junta de Fomento sobre el projecto de …

Created Date
1851

Records for the ship Carpenteria, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Pereda, Machado y Co .

Created Date
1851

Records for the ship Grey Hound, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Compania Asiatica and Torices Puente y Co. On this trip, the Grey Hound brought Nicolas, a Chinese settler, from China to work in the countryside.

Created Date
1851-04-30

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

Created Date
1851-10-05

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

Documents pertaining to the hiring of Chinese settlers by Carmelita, the sugar factory owned by Rita Barbaria de Lara in Guanabana. These workers were hired for a eight year contract.

Created Date
1852

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

A contract between Vicente Guerra, a Chinese settler, and A. de MacKay. The contract was to last for undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by A. de MacKay and Vicente Guerra, who signed in Chinese. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1852-10-21

A letter from Jose Vicente Jorge. It details the efforts Spain and the Royal Government took to encourage immigration to the Americas in general, with a special focus on the Chinese immigrating to Cuba. He specifically mentions a ship that was contracted to bring settlers to Cuba: the Viajante. Jose Vicente Jorge was the Knight Commander of the Order of Christ formed by Isabella, the Catholic.

Created Date
1853-01-10

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

Details the completion of a contract between a Chinese settler and Fransisco Aranda, Commander of the Third Company of the Regiment of the Union. January 1854.

Created Date
1854

This is the first contract between Feliciano Yam and Goicoaría y Hermano for an undisclosed amount of time. December 1854.

Created Date
1854

A contract between Lim- Amec, a Chinese settler and Joaquin Barrera. Notes that Lim-Amec completed the contract. Signed by Juan Marquez and Lim Amec, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1854-01-23

A contract between Serapio, a Chinese settler, and the agents of A. R. Ferran and Rafael R. Torices. 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 Serapio, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1854-01-28

A contract between, Sim Cheng Cristobal, a Chinese settler, and the agent of Ignacio 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 MacKay, the agent, and Cristobal, who signed in Chinese. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Contributors
林, 清
Created Date
1854-03-06

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

A contract between San Kim or Fernando Guerra, a Chinese settler, and an agent of Ignacio 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 Al MacKay and San Kim, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1854-06-05

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 letter to the Brigadier General Governor concerning the permanent residency of Saturnina, a Chinese settler who completed her eight year control with Marques Duqueme. Her contract, in Spanish and Chinese, is also included. 1855.

Contributors
林, 贵
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

Records for the ships Hound and Sky Lark, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Manuel B. de Pereda. On this trip, the Sky Lark brought 532 settlers from China to work.

Created Date
1855

List of workers who were recently hired by various employers. It lists the name of the employer or company, the name of the settler and their personal details.

Created Date
1855

The ship "Bella Gallega" brought 395 Chinese settlers to Cuba in 1855. The ship is reported to have docked in Havana and many were contracted out to various owners, including a doctor.

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

Record of business deal for Cayetano and Luis Lusini with the Society of Asian Colonization concerning the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work.

Created Date
1855-01-30

A contract between Mariano, a Chinese settler, and Ignacio F. 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 Ignacio F. de Castro and Mariano, who signed in Chinese. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1855-02-02

A contract between San Bo Bartolo, a Chinese settler, and the agent for Ignacio F. 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 Ignacio F. de Castro and San Bo Bartolo, who signed in Chinese

Created Date
1855-02-02

This is a first contract signed by El Cheah- a Chinese settler, in which he agreed to relocate to Cuba to work as an indentured servant for a term of eight years.

Created Date
1855-02-27

A contract between Jau Seoul, a Chinese settler, and 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. Notes the contract was transferred to Pablo Paneide. Signed by Jau Seoul, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1855-03-20

A contract between Lin-Whay Fernando, a Chinese settler, and the agent for Ignacio F. 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 Ignacio F. de Castro and Lin- Way Fernando, who signed in Chinese. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1855-06-20

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
1855-11-28

A contract between O-Ah-Kaw, a Chinese settler, and A. R. Ferran and Rafael R. Torices. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. O-Ah-Kaw did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by A. R. Ferran.

Contributors
何, 锦
Created Date
1855-11-28

This is a first labor contract that was signed by Aman- a Chinese settler, in which he agreed to relocate to Cuba to work as an indentured servant for eight years. Originally signed 1855. El Bircantin Paquita was the agent for the original contract. On the second page, Julian a Pulueta states that this contract was transferred to Ramon de Gueregiaga for reasons unstated on April 18, 1856.

Created Date
1855-12-07

A contract between Wam-Asem, a Chinese settler, and the company of A. R. Ferran and Rafael R. Torices. The contract lists the legal requirements of both the settler and the company. Wam-Asam did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by A. R. Ferran, Manuel Antonio de Garza. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1856

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

Relates that Ham Jan, a Chinese settler, was granted permanent residency in Cuba after fulfilling the legal requirements. He completed an eight year contract with Manuel Bernabe Pereda.

Created Date
1856

Records for the ship American Eagle, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Jose Castro and Jose Manuel.

Created Date
1856

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
1856-01-09

This is a first labor contract that was signed by a young, Chinese settler named Yong Wong, in which he agreed to leave China and relocate to Cuba where he would be required to work as an indentured servant for eight years. On the second page, Rafael R. Torices states that the contract was transferred to Juan Peiral on December 1, 1856 and then again to José Cria on January 4 of an unknown year. Originally signed 1856.

Contributors
楊, 王
Created Date
1856-04-17

A contract between Huno Afon, a Chinese settler and A. P. Achenbach. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer.

Contributors
吳, 邦
Created Date
1856-11-15

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

Contributors
鄭, 合
Created Date
1856-11-16

A letter from Antonio M. Mora to the Superior Governor of Cuba. It details his displeasure concerning a fine that local authorities had imposed on him by for not having the appropriate identification (cedulas) for ten of his Chinese workers. Mora was fined a total of 100 pesos for not having cedulas for his contracted workers.

Created Date
1856-12-18

A contract between Gu-Lan-Guay, a Chinese settler, and A. R. Ferran and Rafael R. Torices. The contract lists the legal requirements of both the settler and the company. Gu Lan Guay was brought from China to Cuba aboard the Nate Hooper. Gu Lan Guay did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Contract signed by A. R. Ferran, J. R. Vargas, A. de Garza. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Contributors
古, 丁
Created Date
1857

A contract between Wan, a Chinese settler, and Joaquin Pedroso y Echeverra, Luis Pedroso and Jose Maria Morales. The contract was signed to bring Wan from China to Cuba to work. Wan was contracted in Havana by Merced Casanova, which was then transferred to Joaquin de Soto and Nicolas Garcia Valdez. Signed by Wan in Chinese.

Created Date
1857

Application documents “Letter Home” (permanent residence on the island of Cuba) 1866. Contains: letters of recommendation from the owner certifying that fulfilled his contract of 8 years; Chinese settler contract in the city of Cardenas; identity card of Chinese settlers, legalized with a police seal; original contract written in Chinese and Castilian, Swaton 1857; identity card of Chinese settlers; other documents

Created Date
1857

Certifies that Pedro Salgado, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Ignacio Calvo.

Created Date
1857

A contract between Apony, a Chinese settler and Carlo Flotard, an agent for the company "Campbell and Caro." Campbell and Caro was to bring Apony from China to Cuba to work and the contract lists the legal requirements of both the settler and the company. Apony was later contracted upon arrival in Havana by J. P. Marques. Contract issued in Macao. Also features contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1857