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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.


Mime Type
  • application/pdf
Date Range
1851 1892


Several records identifying mistreatment of Chinese settlers aboard the Bremen “Fides”. It contains the testimony of three Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1861

A contract between Mae Asan or Jose Yris, a Chinese settler, and the agent of Ignacio Fernandez de Castro. The contract was to last for a disclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Yris was to be brought aboard to Viajante. He was originally from Chen-Chuin. The contract was later transferred to Manuel B. a Pereda in Havana. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1859-04-02

Permission to enter the island of Cuba in a shipment of Chinese settlers in the English ship “Carpentaria”. Contractual printed in Chinese and Castilian.

Record of the investigation initiated by the death of 54 Chinese settlers on their way to Cuba in the Spanish ship “Juan” in 1873. The investigators complied a list of the dead Chinese settlers and the location (latitude and longitude) and date of their deaths. In their investigation, the investigators questioned the captain, the ship's pilot, the sailors, the ship doctor and some Chinese settlers with the help of a translator.

Created Date
1873

Record of the investigation initiated by the death of 84 Chinese settlers on their way to Cuba in the French ship “Guantanamo” in 1868. is: list of dead Chinese settlers killed by the location (latitude and longitude), date; research (appointment of scribe, translator; questions and answers from the captain; questions and answers from the pilot; questions and answers of several sailors; questions and answers of the translator; questions and answers from the Chinese translator; questions and answers from the ship’s doctor; questions and answers of some Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1868

Investigation of the origin of Francisco Macao, a Chinese settler who has escaped form his owner and later captured. He is imprisoned in the Depot of Cimarones in Bejucal.

Created Date
1870

Record of the investigation initiated by the deaths of 53 Chinese settlers on their way to Cuba in the Spanish ship “Amboto”.

Created Date
1873

A letter from C. J. Vallin to the governor. It details the arrival of a ship in Havana's harbor and the examination of the Chinese settlers onboard. The Administration of Sanity was satisfied with their health.

A letter from an unnamed man to the Governor of the Plaza. It details workers who escaped from the ship, Cora and were recaptured.

Created Date
1875

A letter from the State Ministry to the the Governor General of Cuba. It details a meeting between Spanish delegates and the Chinese government concerning the immigration of Chinese settlers to Cuba. After negotiations, both agreed that the legal provisions of the agreement need to be followed. The exact details of this agreement are not stated.

Created Date
1875

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.

Created Date
1866-03-10

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

Created Date
1865-03-28

This document pertains to the recruitment and transfer of the eight year contracts of 172 newly arrived Chinese settlers in Cuba. Details regarding the Cuban landlords who received the settlers' contracts are not included in this document. 1866.

Created Date
1866-03-12

List of 47 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba on the ship "Auguste y Gustave" they were hired to work on the Ingenio Faith in 1864.

Created Date
1864

Paper and hiring of 25 Chinese Settlers brought to Cuba aboard the Italian ship "Queen of England" They were hired to work on the field in 1864 and then contracted by Jose Antonio S. Argudin and Pedro Morales in August 1865.

Created Date
1863

List of 29 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba aboard the ship "David". They were hired to work on the factory San Pablo in 1864 by Alejandro de la Torriente.

Created Date
1864

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

Created Date
1864-07-08

List of 4 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba aboard the ship "David". They were hired to work in the field in 1864 for Antonio de Lordova.

Created Date
1864

22 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the fields. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Francis P Sage under contract with Torices, Puente y Co y Ferran y Dupierris.

Created Date
1861

List of 14 chinese settlers brought to Cuba in the American ships "Live Yankee" and "Wakefield". They were hired to work in the field in 1861 for Pedro Lenoude.

Created Date
1861

Paper hiring a chinese settler brought to Cuba aboard the ship "Alfonso de Albuquerque". He was hired for the warehouse in 1864.

Created Date
1864

List of 32 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba aboard the ship "Auguste y Gustave". They were hired to work in the field in 1865 for various owners.

Created Date
1865

A list of contracted workers brought to Cuba aboard the ship "Camoens" who were later hired for field work.

Created Date
1865

List of 20 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba aboard the Spanish ship "Emigrante". They were hired to work in the field in 1865 for Jose Nicolas Gallart

Created Date
1865

Documents and hiring list of 24 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba in the Italian ship "Avon". They were hired to work in the field in 1865 for various owners.

Created Date
1865

Documents and procurement of 26 Chinese Settlers brought to Cuba on the Swedish ship "Mina". They were hired to work on the field in 1865. Some were also contracted to work in a warehouse in May 1866.

Created Date
1866

12 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the field in 1861. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Mercedes. These workers were hired to work for Antonio Carrillo.

Created Date
1861

46 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the field in 1861. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ships Grey Hound and May Queen. These workers were hired to work for Juan Antonio.

Created Date
1861

41 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the field in 1861. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Auguste y Gustave. These workers were hired to work in the fields for Francisco Gonzales Arango and Antonio Camillo.

Created Date
1865

1 Chinese settlers were hired to work. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Encarnacion. These workers were hired to work as domestic servants for Ramon Hernandez.

Created Date
1861

1 Chinese settlers were hired to work. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Mayotte. These workers were hired to work in the field Jose Ingarrisa y Vergara.

Created Date
1861

1 Chinese settlers were hired to work. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Encarnacion. These workers were hired to work as domestic servants for Luis Pan.

Created Date
1865

1 Chinese settler Chinese settlers were hired to work. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Encarnacion. These workers were hired to work as a domestic servant for Andres Suarez.

Created Date
1865

Chinese settlers were hired to work as domestic servants. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Francis P. Sage under contract with Torices, Puente y Co and Ferran y Dupierris. These workers were hired to work in the fields.

Created Date
1861

Listing of contract documents and 4 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba in the American ship "Luisita" they were hired to work in the field in 1864 for Francisco Rosell.

Created Date
1864

Listing of contract documents and 32 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba on the French vessel Granville. They were hired to work in the fields at the ingenio "Palma Cuban" in 1866. Some are then contracted for Jose Guerrero in September.

Created Date
1866

Listing of contract 90 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba in the Oldenburg, Germany boat "Ammerland." They were hired for field work in 1866 for Joaquin Pedroso y Echeverria.

Created Date
1866

Listing of hiring of 12 Chinese settlers brought to Cuba in the Portuguese ship "Vasco de Gama." They were hired to work in public works in 1864

Created Date
1864

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.

Created Date
1861-03-04

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.

Created Date
1861

21 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the field. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Kate Hooper under contract with Mr. John Dihigo. They were hired to work in the field in the city of Cardenas.

Created Date
1861

49 Chinese settlers were hired to work on public works. They were transported to Cuba aboard the Portuguese “Vasco de Gama". Were hired to work on public works in the city of Cardenas

Created Date
1861

65 Chinese settlers were hired as fieldworkers. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Kate Hooper under contract with Sr. Marques de Almendares. These workers were hired to work in the fields in the cities of Colon and Guines.

Created Date
1861-05-24

10 Chinese settlers were hired as fieldworkers. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Kate Hooper under contract with Juan Gispert. These workers were hired to work in Havana.

Created Date
1861-05-24

13 Chinese settlers were hired to work in a warehouse. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Vasco de Gama under contract with D. Pedro Sanchez. These workers were hired to work in Havana.

Created Date
1864-03-18

Chinese settlers were brought to Cuba from China abroad the Francis P. Sage, under contract with Torices, Puente y Co and Ferran y Dupierris.

Created Date
1861-05-30

Chinese settlers were transported to Cuba aboard the Francis P. Sage under contract with Torices, Puente y Co and Ferran y Dupierris.

Created Date
1861-03-31

33 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the fields. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Maria Clotilde under contract with Pedro Lacoste. These workers were hired to work in Cardenas.

Created Date
1861-06-10

60 Chinese settlers were hired to work in the fields. They were transported to Cuba under contract with Mr. Maximo Mora.

Created Date
1861

56 Chinese settlers were hired to work for a company. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Avon under contract with Mamertus Pulido.

Created Date
1865