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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 1957

This is a second work contract that was shared between Antonio- a Chinese settler, and his owner, D. Martin de Cardenas y Layas. Prior to entering this agreement, Antonio was being held in the municipal deposit of the capital; according to the fourth and fifth articles in the contract, and it is possible that he was required to enter this contract as a punishment for past transgressions against his owner. The length of this contract was for six months. Signed in Chinese.

This is the second contract between Ramon, a Chinese settler, and Martin de Cardenas y Layas for the period of six months. This contract is undated and signed in Chinese.

This is a contract between La Alianza, Ferran and Dupierris and a frigate that was hired to bring Chinese settlers to Cuba.

Created Date

This is a list of 87 Chinese settlers of which 86 of them, upon arrival in Cuba, were contracted to work as fieldworkers in Havana by a Cuban businessman named Y. Gasol; the 87th settler on the list was hired by a different person to be a bread baker. The settlers arrived to Cuba aboard a ship called "A. N. Cesard". The Chinese name, Christian name, contract number, origin, and age of each settler were included in the list. March 6, 1866.

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This is a list of Chinese indentured servants whose eight year labor contracts upon arrival in Havana, Cuba, were ceded to Bartolome Casanas. 1865

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This is a list of Chinese workers who upon arrival in Havana, Cuba, were contracted to Tomas Gutierrez. The duration of the eight year contracts, including the start and end dates, as well as the the type of work they would be doing (fieldwork) were stipulated within the list. The Chinese and Spanish names of each settler, as well as their age and origin were also included in the list. 1865

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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