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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.


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

These are the records of Jose Dolores, a Chinese settler brought from China to Cuba for work. The documents include handwritten contracts with various owners and recommendation letters, detailing his good behavior as a worker. His certificate of nationality is also included and was accepted by the governor of Cuba.

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

An identity card, or cedula, for Simon. Simon was twenty-three years old when this card was issued. He had a contract with Jose Maria Criado. Simon had begun his eight year contract with D. RR Torres, but his contract had been ceded to Jose Maria Criado.

Created Date
1864-12-16

Records for a shipment of Chinese settlers brought to Cuba from China under contract with Torices Puente y Co. These workers were contracted and given cedulas, or identity records, to stay in Cuba.

Created Date
1861

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 a Chinese settler in Cuba. When this cedula was issued, the settler was 27 years old, a fieldworker, and in the process of completing his initial eight year labor contract as an indentured servant. The names of some of his contract owners are also listed on the cedula. Havana, 1861.

Created Date
1861-11-02

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

Records for the ship Francois, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Mr. Laget, the agent for Casa Barin Leon Lay and Co.

Created Date
1859-04-04

An identity card, or cedula, for Manuel, originally from Macao. Manuel was twenty four years old when this card was issued. He had an eight year contract with the Society of Immigration.

Created Date
1866-05-07