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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 1992


Records for the ship Emmanuel, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza. On this trip, the Emmanuel brought forty-six settlers from China to work for Ingenio Union.

Created Date
1865-07-13

Records for the ship Leopold Cateaux, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza. On this trip, the Leopold Cateaux brought two settlers from China to work for Jose C. Badia.

Created Date
1863-04-08

Records for the ship Mina, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza. On this trip, the Mina brought five settlers from China to work for Credito F. Cubano.

Created Date
1866-06-22

Records for the ship Alfonso de Albuquerque, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza. On this trip, the Alfonso Albuquerque brought five settlers from China to work for Ingenio America.

Created Date
1864-06-07

Records for the ship Encarnacion, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza. On this trip, the Encarnacion brought nine settlers from China to work for Pedro Reinaldo.

Created Date
1865-03-28

Records for the ship Alfonso de Albuquerque, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Alfonso de Albuquerque brought settlers from China to do fieldwork.

Created Date
1864-06-30

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

22 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the fields. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Francis P Sage under contract with Torices, Puente y Co y Ferran y Dupierris.

Created Date
1861

List of 14 chinese settlers brought to Cuba in the American ships "Live Yankee" and "Wakefield". They were hired to work in the field in 1861 for Pedro Lenoude.

Created Date
1861

Paper hiring a chinese settler brought to Cuba aboard the ship "Alfonso de Albuquerque". He was hired for the warehouse in 1864.

Created Date
1864

List of 32 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba aboard the ship "Auguste y Gustave". They were hired to work in the field in 1865 for various owners.

Created Date
1865

A list of contracted workers brought to Cuba aboard the ship "Camoens" who were later hired for field work.

Created Date
1865

List of 20 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba aboard the Spanish ship "Emigrante". They were hired to work in the field in 1865 for Jose Nicolas Gallart

Created Date
1865

Records for the ship Leopold de Cabeaux, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Leopold de Cabeaux brought twenty settlers from China to work for Julia Alfonso.

Created Date
1863

Records for the ship Port Durant, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Port Durant brought 179 settlers from China to work.

Created Date
1865

Records for the ship Queen of England, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Queen of England brought twenty-seven settlers from China to work.

Created Date
1865

Records for the ship Grey Hound, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Grey Hound brought four settlers from China to work for Francisco de Albear.

Created Date
1861

Records for the ship Queen of England, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Queen of England brought thirty-four settlers from China to work for Antonio Martinez.

Created Date
1865

Documents and hiring list of 24 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba in the Italian ship "Avon". They were hired to work in the field in 1865 for various owners.

Created Date
1865

Documents and procurement of 26 Chinese Settlers brought to Cuba on the Swedish ship "Mina". They were hired to work on the field in 1865. Some were also contracted to work in a warehouse in May 1866.

Created Date
1866

Records for the ship David, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the David brought 48 settlers from China to work in the fields.

Created Date
1866

12 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the field in 1861. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Mercedes. These workers were hired to work for Antonio Carrillo.

Created Date
1861

46 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the field in 1861. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ships Grey Hound and May Queen. These workers were hired to work for Juan Antonio.

Created Date
1861

41 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the field in 1861. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Auguste y Gustave. These workers were hired to work in the fields for Francisco Gonzales Arango and Antonio Camillo.

Created Date
1865

60 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the field in 1861. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Leopold Cateaux. These workers were hired to work for la Compania de la Regla.

Created Date
1863-04-13

1 Chinese settlers were hired to work. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Encarnacion. These workers were hired to work as domestic servants for Ramon Hernandez.

Created Date
1861

1 Chinese settlers were hired to work. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Mayotte. These workers were hired to work in the field Jose Ingarrisa y Vergara.

Created Date
1861

1 Chinese settlers were hired to work. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Encarnacion. These workers were hired to work as domestic servants for Luis Pan.

Created Date
1865

1 Chinese settler Chinese settlers were hired to work. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Encarnacion. These workers were hired to work as a domestic servant for Andres Suarez.

Created Date
1865

Chinese settlers were hired to work as domestic servants. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Francis P. Sage under contract with Torices, Puente y Co and Ferran y Dupierris. These workers were hired to work in the fields.

Created Date
1861

Listing of contract documents and 4 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba in the American ship "Luisita" they were hired to work in the field in 1864 for Francisco Rosell.

Created Date
1864

Listing of contract documents and 32 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba on the French vessel Granville. They were hired to work in the fields at the ingenio "Palma Cuban" in 1866. Some are then contracted for Jose Guerrero in September.

Created Date
1866

Listing of contract 90 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba in the Oldenburg, Germany boat "Ammerland." They were hired for field work in 1866 for Joaquin Pedroso y Echeverria.

Created Date
1866

Shipping contract between the company, La Alianza, and Ferran and Dupierris with the frigate, Luisita. The ship was to bring Chinese settlers contracted by la Alianza to Cuba from China for work.

Created Date
1864

Listing of hiring of 12 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba in the Portuguese ship "Vasco de Gama." They were hired to work in public works in 1864

Created Date
1864

Records for the ship Francasa Grambille, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Y. M. Zangroniz y Co. On this trip, the Francasa Grambille brought settlers from China to work in the countryside.

Created Date
1866

These documents pertain to 19 Chinese settlers who arrived in Havana aboard the American ship "Live Yankee" in 1861. Upon arrival in Cuba, their eight year labor contracts were ceded to a landowner named Juan Poey; he hired them to be fieldworkers. Havana, 1861.

Created Date
1861-03-04

Records for the ship A. N. Cesard, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the A. N. Cesard brought 184 settlers from China to work in the fields.

Created Date
1866

Records for the ship Grey Hound, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co. On this trip, the Grey Hound brought two hundred settlers from China to work for various employers.

Created Date
1861

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 complaint filed by Francisco Orta in the name of three Chinese settlers, Francisco, Manuel, and Pablo concerning their contracts.

Created Date
1861

This group of documents pertain to the disappearance of 14 Chinese settlers and their cedulas, and the search that ensued to locate them and return them to their owners. A claim was made by the owners of the cedulas- D. Antonio and Eduardo Betancourt, on November 27, 1858. Various authority figures in several of the Cuban towns responded to the report and promised to keep an active search, and to remain in constant communication regarding the missing 14 settlers. However, it was later established within the reports that D. Antonio Betancourt had provided fraudulent contracts about the 14 settlers, and …

Created Date
1858-11-27

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

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

Records for the ship Delangle, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza. On this trip, the Delangle brought 275 settlers from China to work.

Created Date
1861

Records for the ship Maria Clotilde, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Troncaso Bustamante and Company. On this trip, the Maria Clotilde brought 256 settlers from China to work. They were hired to be domestic servants.

Created Date
1861-04-22

Records for the ship Alice Thorndike, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co. On this trip, the Alice Thorndike brought 342 settlers from China to work.

Created Date
1861

Details the causes for Chinese immigration to Cuba and the experiences of the workers when they arrive. Mentions how the government of Cuba is involved in the contracts that bring Chinese settlers to Cuba to work as indentured servants and slaves

Created Date
1858

Relates that Federico, a Chinese settler, was granted permanent residency in Cuba after fulfilling the legal requirements. He worked for the Gran Azucaria, a sugar cane producer.

Created Date
1867

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

This is a formal rehire request that was written on behalf of Sebastian, a Chinese settler, who had just completed a labor contract and was seeking to sign a new one for the duration of one year. Sebastian sought to sign a new contract to work on the railroads with a railroad company under Maximo Mora. The subsequent documents include a second contract, his baptism certificate, and a formal written request for his carta de domicilio, or permanent residence card, that was signed on June 6, 1866. Other documents included in this selection are testimonies that were written by Sebastian's …

Created Date
1865-06-06

A letter to the Secretary of the Government of Cuba requesting naturalization of a Chinese settler, Leonardo Valdez. He was originally from Canton, but promises to renounce his rights as a citizen of China if he is make a Cuban citizen. Included are records of his past work contracts and letters of recommendation from past employers.

Created Date
1873

This file includes several document. One of them is a contract written in both Spanish and Chinese. According to the contract, Xie Tian was willing to go to Cuba as a worker. So he was requested to sign the contract and should follow the rules listed on it.

Created Date
1865

Documents pertaining to the Chinese settler, Desiderio from Vaij Chao. Contains: contract written in Spanish and Chinese, signed in Macao on October 23, 1865.

Created Date
1866

The cedula or an identity record for a Chinese settler, Francisco. He was brought from Soltero, China to Cuba to work for M. B. Pereda for eight years. Then, his contract was transfered to R. A. Leull for an additional eight years. 1864

Created Date
1864

A contract between Lilio, a Chinese settler and R. Calderon and 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. His contract was then passed to Domenech.

Created Date
1867

A contract between Chung, a Chinese settler, and R. Calderon, an agent for La Alianza. La Alianza brought Chung from China to Cuba to work. He was to be hired by another employer upon arrival.

Contributors
鍾, 大嬌
Created Date
1867

Contract of a Chinese settler, born in Nam today, China. Written in Spanish and Chinese.

Created Date
1872

A contract between Tau and Torices, Puente and Copamny. The contract was signed in Macao and Torices, Puente and Company agreed to bring Tau from China to Cuba to work. He was to be hired by another employer upon arrival.

Contributors
陶, 秀
Created Date
1861

A contract between Ju Seu, a Chinese settler, and R. Calderon, agent 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. He was to be hired by another employer upon arrival. Contracted featured in Chinese.

Contributors
陶, 平
Created Date
1863

A contract between Chau In, a Chinese settler, and R. Calderon, agent of La Alianza. La Alianza brought Chau In from China to Cuba to work. He was to be hired by another employer upon arrival. Written in Spanish and Chinese.

Created Date
1869

A contract between Chau-Ayon, a Chinese settler, and Campbell and Company. Campbell and Co was to bring settlers from China to Cuba to work. Chau-Ayon was originally from Nanhoi. The contract was written in Macao. Chau-Ayon did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by L. Miguel. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Contributors
周, 祥
Created Date
1860

A contract between Chan Jui, a Chinese settler, and R. Calderon, an agent for 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. Chan Jui did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him.

Created Date
1867

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

A contract between Baltasar, a Chinese settler, and Tomas M. The contract was to last for four years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Baltasar completed a contract with Manuel Pereda previously. Signed by Tomas M., two witnesses and the governor of Cuba.

Created Date
1862

A contract between Sebastiano, a Chinese settler, and Maximo Mora. The contract was to last for three months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Sebastiano completed a contract with Maximo Mora previously. Sebastiano was originally from Tokien. Signed by Maximo Mora and Sebastiano, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1865

A contract between Sebastian, a Chinese settler, and the Company of the Urban Railroad (Ferrocarril Urbano). The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Sebastian was originally from Canton. Signed by Franco Ortega and Sebastian, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1865

61 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the fields. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Sage Francis under contract with Torices, Puente y Co and Ferran y Dupierris.

Created Date
1861

21 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the field. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Kate Hooper under contract with Mr. John Dihigo. They were hired to work in the field in the city of Cardenas.

Created Date
1861

49 Chinese settlers were hired to work on public works. They were transported to Cuba aboard the Portuguese “Vasco de Gama". Were hired to work on public works in the city of Cardenas

Created Date
1861

Overview and minutes of meeting of 5 Chinese settlers hired to work in the field in 1861. They were transported to Cuba aboard the American ship “Francis P. Sage" under contract with Torices, Puente y Co and Ferran y Dupierris. These workers were hired to work in the fields in Bejucal.

Created Date
1861

Records for the ship Francis P. Sage, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co and Ferran y Dupierris. On this trip, the Francis P. Sage brought several settlers from China to work for Juan Gispert.

Created Date
1861

Chinese settlers were hired to work in Santiago. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Francis P. Sage under contract with Torices, Puente y Co and Ferran y Dupierris.

Created Date
1861

Records for the ship Francis P. Sage, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with the Empresa de Colonos Asiaticos. On this trip, the Francis P Sage brought Leo Lihon from China to work in the countryside. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Francis under contract with Hipoltio Teller. These workers were hired to work as a domestic servant

Created Date
1861

65 Chinese settlers were hired as fieldworkers. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Kate Hooper under contract with Sr. Marques de Almendares. These workers were hired to work in the fields in the cities of Colon and Guines.

Created Date
1861-05-24

10 Chinese settlers were hired as fieldworkers. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Kate Hooper under contract with Juan Gispert. These workers were hired to work in Havana.

Created Date
1861-05-24

13 Chinese settlers were hired to work in a warehouse. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Vasco de Gama under contract with D. Pedro Sanchez. These workers were hired to work in Havana.

Created Date
1864-03-18

Records for the ship Francis P. Sage, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co and Ferran y Dupierris. On this trip, the Francis P. Sage brought more than five hundred settlers from China to work for Jose Antonio Galamaga.

Created Date
1861-05-26

Records for the ship Francis P Sage, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co and Ferran y Dupierris. On this trip, the Francis P Sage brought settlers from China to work in the countryside.

Created Date
1861-05-27

Chinese settlers were brought to Cuba from China abroad the Francis P. Sage, under contract with Torices, Puente y Co and Ferran y Dupierris.

Created Date
1861-05-30

Chinese settlers were transported to Cuba aboard the Francis P. Sage under contract with Torices, Puente y Co and Ferran y Dupierris.

Created Date
1861-03-31

33 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the fields. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Maria Clotilde under contract with Pedro Lacoste. These workers were hired to work in Cardenas.

Created Date
1861-06-10

60 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the fields. They were transported to Cuba under contract with Mr. Maximo Mora.

Created Date
1861

56 Chinese settlers were hired to work for a company. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Avon under contract with Mamertus Pulido.

Created Date
1865

10 Chinese settlers were hired to work on public works. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Luisita under contract with la Alianza. These workers were hired to work in Havana.

Created Date
1864-04-10

32 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the fields. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Maria Clotilde under contract with Agustin Ariosa. These workers were hired to work in Havana.

Created Date
1861-06-04

363 Chinese settlers were hired to work for Rule Stores and Trade Bank. They were transported to Cuba board the ship S.A. Joseph.

Created Date
1865

13 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the fields. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Alonso de Albuquerque under contract with Ana Maria de Lanz.

Created Date
1864

A list of contracted workers by the government of Neuvitas in 1965. This lists the names of the workers, their age, physical descriptions, and other basic information.

Created Date
1865

This baptism certificate belonged to Acuam Jo, a Chinese settler, who upon being baptized was renamed Juan Bautista. Acuam Jo was originally from Canton in China, and arrived in Cuba as an indentured servant in May of the year 1853. His original owner for his first eight year labor contract was a man named Juan de Dios Gonzalez. During the time that he was baptized and this certificate was written, Acuam Jo was in the process of completing a second contract with Jose Barrera in public works. 1864

Created Date
1864-09-13

This document served to record personal details regarding Join Achain- a Chinese settler, who had just been baptized and renamed Jose. Originally from Yoncon in China, Jose began serving his eight year term as a contracted indentured servant on January 15, 1859. Jose Moneo y Delgado, the man who wrote this document, was Jose's contract owner and godfather for baptism.

Created Date
1859

A contract between Nicolas, a Chinese settler, and Jose Marrera. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Nicolas was brought from China to Cuba to work as an indentured servant and was contracted to work as a tobacconist for Marrera's tobacco shop. Signed by Marrera and Nicolas, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1867-01-06

A contract between Eduriges, a Chinese settler, and Jose Marrera. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Eduriges completed another contract previously. Signed by Jose Marrero and Eduriges, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1867

A contract between Ricardo, a Chinese settler, and Ramon Vila y Terrer. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Ricardo completed a contract with Ramon Vila y Terrer previously. Signed by Ramon Vila y Terrer and Ricardo, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1861

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

A contract between Choum-Atac, a Chinese settler, and Selles Crusellas and Company. The contract was to last for five years and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Notes that Choum-Atac was baptized as Francisco. This contract was signed by the governor, Joaquin Planas, and Selles Crusellas.

Created Date
1861