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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.

32 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the fields. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Maria Clotilde under contract with Agustin Ariosa. These workers were hired to work in Havana.

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Records for the ship Carmencita, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Troncaso Bustamante. The settlers were to be contracted out to other employers upon arrival.

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Records for the ship Encarnacion, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza. On this trip, the Encarnacion brought 325 settlers from China to work.

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These records pertain to the Spanish ship "Loyola" that left Macao in February 1867 with 372 Chinese settlers, and arrived in Havana on March 11, 1867. The first notice of the leasing of the ship to the company shipping the Chinese settlers was in late December of 1866. Afterwards, the ship set sail in and arrived in Havana, where a small inspection ensued, and the settlers and crew were authorized to disembark.

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