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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 1970


This is an identity card, known as a cedula, that was issued for a Chinese settler named Lucas. At the time that this cedula was assigned to Lucas, he was 29 years old, and in the process of completing his eight year contract as an indentured servant. The names of two of his past landlords and his current one were listed on the cedula. Originally, when he arrived in Cuba, his contract had been transferred to M. B. Pereda who then transferred the contract to Juan Peyra. Jose M. Criado was Lucas's present owner at the time that this cedula …

Created Date
1864-12-16

This is a neighborhood identity card (cedula) that belonged to Francisco- a Chinese settler, who was 33 years old, and in the process of completing his eight year labor contract as an indentured servant working for a railroad company at the time that the ID card was issued. 1864.

Created Date
1864

This report was written by a member of the local board of health of Havana- Junta Local de Sanidad de la Habana, to a government official regarding the procedures and regulations for ships that arrived into the port of Havana with Chinese settlers on board, and the importance of those procedures. The board member explained that once the ships were docked in the port, the company introducing the settlers was required to provide ship manifests, the settlers' contracts, lists of the settlers who died during the journey and the causes of their deaths, and other documents to support that the …

Created Date
1860-03-14

Reports about migration from China sent to Captain General of the island of Cuba on the state of emigration of China in 1863. The first page is missing

Created Date
1863

This document from the police commissioner of Santiago de las Vegas, Luis Quesada states that all Chinese settlers who arrived in the city prior to July, 1860 must be notified of a change to contract documents, especially concerning a Chinese settler named Crispin, who signed a contract with Quesada.

Created Date
1863

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

This is a cedula, or an ID card, that belonged to a Chinese settler named Dionisio. Dionisio was brought to Cuba by la Compania and was then contracted to M. del Cobre. 1865.

Created Date
1865

A letter from F. Fernandez to the governor detailing new information about the legal rights of Chinese settlers in Cuba. It details how most settlers are contracted several times and work in agriculture or industry in the hopes of instilling in them good work habits.

Contributors
Fernandez, F.
Created Date
1861

Cedula or identification card for Toribio, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Soltero and is in the process of of fulfilling a contract with a Cuban landowner. 1869.

Created Date
1869

An identity card for Manuel, originally from Macao. Manuel was twenty-four years old when this card was issued. He worked for the Society of Immigration for eight years.

Created Date
1860