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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.

This is a ship manifest that detailed the 361 Chinese settlers who were taken to Cuba aboard the Spanish ship "Altagracia". Each settler on the ship was destined to work as an indentured servant for eight years under a strict contract with an owner. Prior to boarding the ship, each of them signed an eight year labor contract. Upon arrival in Cuba, their contracts would be ceded to various owners throughout Cuba. Included in the list are the ages, assigned numbers, names and origins of each settler.

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