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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
Resource Type
  • Image
Date Range
1854 1964


Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1854-03-24

A letter from Eugenio Ponton from the port of Havana to the mayor's office. It details a dispute between Gregorio Tejedor and the Society of Pereda, Machado y Co over compensation for some Chinese settlers that Tejedor contracted from the company.

Created Date
1856-01-09

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers. Also relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Some of these settlers produced false documents claiming to be older than they were. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Some of these settlers produced false documents claiming to be older than they were. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal. Also relates other hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal. Also relates other hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals of Alejandro Lagargett and Joaquin Boldan, specifically relating to their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal. Also relates other hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860

A letter from the Society of Froncaso, Bustamante, and Company concerning the working and living conditions of Chinese settlers in Cuba, specifically looking at the ages of the youngest contracted workers. The report counts several contracted workers under the age of 18, the youngest being 13. The laws concerning Chinese settlers declared the hiring of settlers under the age of 14 illegal.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-02-04

Records for the ship Carmencita, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Troncaso Bustamante. Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-02-04

Records for the ship Carmencita, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Troncaso Bustamante. Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal

Created Date
1860-08-24

Records for the ship Carmencita, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Troncaso Bustamante. The ship stopped in Manila before going to Cuba. The ship was captained by Captain Garcia. Also records the business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-08-24

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-09-04

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-09-07

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-09-27

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-10-04

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal. The ages were left blank on their contracts.

Created Date
1860-10-07

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-12-06

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-12-06

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-12-06

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-12-29

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-12-29

Letter to the governor from Diez, discussing the legal requirements for Chinese settlers to be granted permanent residency in Cuba. Mentions that most settlers, after completing an eight year contract and being granted residency, preferred to enter into more contracts rather than seek work separately. Also discusses the abuses by employers who break their contracts with Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1861

Relates that Leonardo Sanchez, a permanent resident of Cuba and a baptized Catholic, married Marcelina Diaz. She was born in Matanzas and they had two daughters, who were both baptized and registered in the book for those of European descent in their parish church. Report concerns whether or not their children, who were of "mixed race," could be considered white, determined by which book their baptisms are recorded in. Churches would use different books for Europeans, whites, and minorities.

Created Date
1864-02-29

Relates that Leonardo Sanchez, a permanent resident of Cuba and a baptized Catholic, married Marcelina Diaz. She was born in Matanzas and they had two daughters, who were both baptized and registered in the book for those of European descent in their parish church. Report concerns whether or not their children, who were of "mixed race," could be considered white, determined by which book their baptisms are recorded in. Churches would use different books for Europeans, whites, and minorities.

Created Date
1864-03-05

Relates that Leonardo Sanchez, a permanent resident of Cuba and a baptized Catholic, married Marcelina Diaz. She was born in Matanzas and they had two daughters, who were both baptized and registered in the book for those of European descent in their parish church. Report concerns whether or not their children, who were of "mixed race," could be considered white, determined by which book their baptisms are recorded in. Churches would use different books for Europeans, whites, and minorities.

Created Date
1864-03-07

Relates that Leonardo Sanchez, a permanent resident of Cuba and a baptized Catholic, married Marcelina Diaz. She was born in Matanzas and they had two daughters, who were both baptized and registered in the book for those of European descent in their parish church. Report concerns whether or not their children, who were of "mixed race," could be considered white, determined by which book their baptisms are recorded in. Churches would use different books for Europeans, whites, and minorities.

Created Date
1864-04-28

Two unnamed children, born from a Cuban and Chinese settler, were baptized in the city of Havana. There was debate over whether or not the parish church should record their baptisms in the book for those of European descent or in the book for minorities. Churches would use different books for Europeans, whites, and minorities.

Created Date
1864-04-29

Records pertaining to the right of a company to not pay for the burial of their employees if they die while contracted. The company in question is a railroad and the judge ruled that they did not have to pay for their worker's burial.

Created Date
1866-10-30

Records pertaining to the right of a company to not pay for the burial of their employees if they die while contracted. The court ruling does mention that many settlers are poor and that the parish has struggled to find resources to help the poor, but that the bishop did not help the parishes. The Deposit of Immigrants has been persisting in changing public and legal perception of Chinese settlers as humans who have rights. However, companies are not legally obligated to fulfill a church job.

Created Date
1867

Records pertaining to the right of a company to not pay for the burial of their employees if they die while contracted. The company in question is a railroad and has been solicited by the government concerning the case.

Created Date
1867-10-14

Records pertaining to the right of a company to not pay for the burial of their employees if they die while contracted. The company in question is a railroad and has been solicited by the government concerning the case.

Created Date
1867-12-16

Records pertaining to the right of a company to not pay for the burial of their employees if they die while contracted. The company in question is a railroad and has been solicited by the government concerning the case.

Created Date
1868-05-09

Records pertaining to the right of a company to not pay for the burial of their employees if they die while contracted. The company in question is a railroad and has been solicited by the government concerning the case. The bishop of Matanzas supports that companies should not pay for burials because it is a church job.

Created Date
1868-07-09

Records pertaining to the right of a company to not pay for the burial of their employees if they die while contracted. The company in question is a railroad and the judge ruled that they did not have to pay for their worker's burial. Two Chinese settlers, Rafael and Benrem filed the charges.

Created Date
1868-08-19

Records of business deals between Francaso, Bustamanta y Co and other companies, specifically relating to their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal. Also relates other hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1870

Records indicating that the courts requested paperwork and information on Pedro o Poncho, a Chinese settler, from the Chinese Consul in Havana. He was originally from Canton. He ran away from his employer, was captured, and held in the Deposit of Runaways.

Created Date
1870-10-14

Records indicating that the courts requested paperwork and information on Pedro o Poncho, a Chinese settler, from the Chinese Consul in Havana. He was originally from Canton. He ran away from his employer, was captured, and held in the Deposit of Runaways.

Created Date
1870-10-14

Records indicating that the courts requested paperwork and information on Pedro o Poncho, a Chinese settler, from the Chinese Consul in Havana. He was originally from Canton. He ran away from his employer, was captured, and held in the Deposit of Runaways.

Created Date
1870-10-14

This is a request for a certificate of naturalization that was made by a Chinese settler named Agustin Cisneros. According to the handwritten request form (which begins on page six), Agustin had already been granted his carta de domicilio, or permanent residence card, five years prior to this request. The document also reveals that Agustin was married to a woman named Lorenza Pastor, had four children with his wife, had been baptized, and worked as a cook. The document proceeding the official request for naturalization is the death certificate of Lorenza Pastor, which was signed on September 14, 1871. The …

Created Date
1871-04-15

Record pertaining to a judge's investigation of Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but lived in Havana. The court certified that Pedro Amador's records did not contain any concerning contents.

Created Date
1876

Records indicating that the courts requested paperwork and information on Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, from the Chinese Consul in Havana. He was originally from Canton and worked in the countryside.

Created Date
1876-01-30

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigated Amador's past records.

Created Date
1880-01-30

These letters detail investigations into illegal Chinese lotteries, including how the police should proceed and the names of people who were interviewed in the proceedings.

Created Date
1885

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Pedro Amador did not appear to have any criminal history.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Pedro Amador did not appear to have any criminal history.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado. It details an ongoing investigating concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. Jesus Rodriguez certified that Pedro Amador did not appear to have any criminal history.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigated Amador's past records. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Luis Marona certified that Pedro Amador's cedula was current.

Created Date
1886

Record pertaining to a judge's investigation into the records of Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. The court certified that Pedro Amador's records did not contain any concerning contents.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigates Pedro Amador's past records. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Bernardo certified that Pedro Amador appeared to complete a previous work contract.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Pascual Herra certified that Pedro Amador did not appear to have a criminal record.

Created Date
1886