Skip to main content

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


Shipping records of Torices, Puentes y Co. regarding the ships they contracted to bring Chinese settlers from China to Cuba to work. Includes letters from captains of some of these ships detailing to the government their contracts with Torices, Puente y Co.

Shipping records for the frigates, Live Yankee and Wake, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co. These workers were contracted in Macao. They were to be contracted out to other employers.

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.

Records for the ship Flora, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with D. I. M. Zangroniz. On this trip, Flora brought settlers from China to work.

Records for the ship Flora, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Flora brought three hundred and nine settlers from China to work.

Records for the ship Flora, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Flora brought three hundred and nine settlers from China to work.

Records for the ship Live Yankee, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co.

A shipping manifest from an unknown ship.

Records for the ship, Ville de Lima, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Bauraw, the agent for Pellier, Bastand and the Company of Marsella. On this trip, Ville de Lima brought 500 from China to work. The ship 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. The Messenger stopped in Macao before going to Cuba.

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

List of 590 Chinese settlers brought from China to Cuba to serve as indentured servants. They arrived in Havana abroad the American frigate, the Sky Lark. 1855.

List of Chinese workers brought to Cuba abroad the frigate the "Kate Hooper".

Documents pertaining to the import of Chinese settlers to Cuba by the Cuban government and private companies, like the Society of la Alianza y Compania. One ship, a French frigate called Valace, captained by Andre, brought 265 settlers to Havana in one shipment. Many of the settlers were contracted in Macao.

Created Date
1892

Records for the ship Flora, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Flora brought three hundred and nine settlers from China to work.

Created Date
1886-08-07

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 record of the arrival of the Italian ship "Glensamore" into the port of Havana on January 5, 1874. Several Chinese settlers had been brought to Cuba aboard the ship, and before any of them could disembark an inspection of the sanitary and health conditions on the ship had to occur. An inspector and a Chinese interpreter were assigned to examine and interview the settlers, and inquire about the treatment they received from the crew throughout the voyage. Fourteen Chinese colonists died during the voyage to Cuba.

Created Date
1874-01-05

Records for the ship Glesannox, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Glesannox brought over seven hundred settlers from China to work for. The ship was captained by D. Capella.

Created Date
1874

Contained in this ship manifest are the names of 630 Chinese settlers who were brought to Cuba aboard an unknown ship in 1873. Of the 630 Chinese men who board the ship, 152 died along the way; their names are marked within the list. The number, Chinese name, age, and Christian name of each settler were included within the ship manifest.

Created Date
1873-06-14

Records for the ship Veloce, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Veloce brought 256 settlers from China to work as indentured servants.

Created Date
1873-05-06

Records for the ship Alexandre Lavalley, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Alexandre Lavalley brought 630 settlers from China to work in Havana.

Created Date
1873-02-15

Shipping records for a frigate that brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. These settlers were later contracted by other employers in Sagua la Grande.

Created Date
1873

Records for the ship Glessanox, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Glessanox brought 130 settlers from China to work. The ship was captained by D. Capella

Created Date
1873

Records for the ship Amboto, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Amboto brought twelve settlers from China to work. The ship was captained by Laureano Ausuatigue.

Created Date
1873

Records for the ship Juan, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with the agent of Aureliano Olano. On this trip, the Juan brought over eight hundred settlers from China to work.

Created Date
1873

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

Shipping list of Chinese settlers brought to Cuba in the Spanish ship "Juan" in 1873 with 727 settlers from Macao.

Created Date
1873

Shipping list of Chinese settlers brought to Cuba in the Spanish ship "Amboto" in 1873 with 900 settlers from Macao.

Created Date
1873

Shipping list of Chinese settlers brought to Cuba in the Spanish ship "Amboto" in 1873 with 900 settlers from Macao

Created Date
1873

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

List of Chinese settlers who were brought to Cuba abroad the frigate the "Carpentia". 1873

Created Date
1873

This document is a list of the Chinese immigrants on the French ship "Veloci". There are 265 names on this list. It is signed by Fernando Firtore. it is signed and stamped by the Spanish consul.

Created Date
1872-12-02

Records for the ship, Rosa de Furia, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Rosa de Furia docked in Havana.

Created Date
1872

Records for the ship, Viniveras, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Viniveras brought Li Vang from China and made port in Havana.

Created Date
1872

This is a shipping manifest from the ship Veloci, detailing the Chinese settlers brought to Cuba. 1872.

Created Date
1872

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.

Created Date
1871-07-12

This is a list of the food that was supplied for the Chinese settlers on their journey to Havana, Cuba, aboard the Spanish ship "Encarnacion" in July of 1871.

Created Date
1871-07-10

Records for the ship Encarnacion, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Fernando Tuton, an agent for La Alianza. On this trip, the Encarnacion brought 327 settlers from China to work. The ship was captained by Juan A. Gardoqui.

Created Date
1871-03-08

This is a ship manifest that detailed the 361 Chinese settlers who were taken to Cuba aboard the Spanish ship "Altagracia". Each settler on the ship was destined to work as an indentured servant for eight years under a strict contract with an owner. Prior to boarding the ship, each of them signed an eight year labor contract. Upon arrival in Cuba, their contracts would be ceded to various owners throughout Cuba. Included in the list are the ages, assigned numbers, names and origins of each settler.

Created Date
1871-01-16

Records for the ship Altagracia, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Altagracia brought 361 settlers from China to work.

Created Date
1871-01-16

This is a passenger list of the Spanish ship "Altagracia". It was captained by Juan Bautista Onain, with destination to Havana. It was recorded by the agent Don Fernando Guton. There are 361 names on the roster.

Created Date
1871-01-16

Records for the ship Lucie, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with the agent, Fernando. On this trip, the Lucie brought 360 settlers from China to work for ___. List of 360 Chinese settlers brought from Macao, China to Cuba on the French ship "Lucie".

Created Date
1871

Shipping list of Chinese settlers in the Spanish ship "Encarnation". Dated in Macao in 1871.

Created Date
1871

Records for the ship Glessanox, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Jose Playa, an agent for the Hernandez Company. On this trip, the Glessanox brought settlers from China to work. The ship was captained by Capello and docked in Macao before going to Havana.

Created Date
1870

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

Records for the ship Catalonia, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Catalonia brought 524 settlers from China to work. The ship was captained by Escajadillo.

Created Date
1870

Shipping list of Chinese settlers brought to Cuba in the Spanish ship "Neva" in 1870 with 537 settlers to Havana.

Created Date
1870

These documents relate to the French ship "Tamaris" that departed from Macao with 300 Chinese settlers in 1869. The first document is a letter of health that was written in Portuguese and issued by Lucio Augusto da Silva, a doctor, who inspected the conditions on the ship on February 6, 1869, before it departed the next day. He recorded that the ship carried 545 tons and 21 crew members, and the name of the captain was Felipe B. The doctor found the ship to be in a good sanitary condition, and did not speculate or find evidence of any infectious …

Created Date
1869-02-07

Records for the ship Tamaris, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Tamaris brought 300 settlers from China to work as indentured servants.

Created Date
1869-02-06