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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.


These documents pertain to the American ship "Norway" that arrived in Havana on March 30, 1860, with around 900 colonists from China. The purpose of these communications were to establish conditions that needed to be met for authorization to be granted for the Chinese settlers to disembark. A list of the passengers, their contracts, and a health inspection had to be completed before any of the settlers could be let off the ship. Ultimately, the final document in this selection reveals that the settlers were eventually let off the ship two days later, and were taken into a police station …

Created Date
1860-03-13

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

Records for the ship Huntreel and Mary Elisebe, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Sam Thomas.

Created Date
1858

Records for the ship, Messenger, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co. The Messenger stopped in Macao before going to Cuba.

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

Created Date
1860

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

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 Kate Hooper, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Ferran y Dupierris and Torices, Puente y Co. On this trip, the Kate Hooper brought six settlers from China to work in the fields.

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