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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.


Resource Type
Status
  • Public
Date Range
1806 2015


Relates the marriage restrictions that were imposed in all of the settled communities. Several mixed marriages were either suspended or annulled by the government and the churches.

Created Date
1806-04-02

Describes a violent crime committed by a "gang" or small group in Chinese immigrants. The four men assaulted Joaquin Barals and Emilio Agostini. Details the government response to the violence. Signed by Felipe Arango, the Superintendent.

Created Date
1821-02-12

A letter detailing the efforts of Villoldo Wardrop's project and the hiring of Chinese settlers for that project from Manuel B. de Pereda. 3000 settlers were contracted to work on the project.

Created Date
1832-05-23

An identity card, or cedula, for Jacobo, originally from Jaum. Jacobo was thirty-five years old when this card was issued. He worked for eight years for Manuel B. Perez and Franco Iglesias.

Created Date
1836

Record for Sebastian, the child of an unknown father and a black slave, Paula. His mother worked for Dolores de la Cruz Nunor. His godmother was Maria de la Luz, who worked for Juana de Aller y Luz. He was baptized in Cerro.

Created Date
1838-01-24

A letter from Rafael Chiang, the president of Kuo Min Tang's Jobabo delegation to the Provincial Governor. It details how Chiang sent the balance sheet for his delegation to the Provincial Government in accordance with the laws.

Created Date
1840-05-28

The shipping records of Rosalia Hernandez. He records bringing workers from China to Cuba for a railway company.

Created Date
1845

These are the shipping records of Joaquin Pedrero. He was bringing a shipment of immigrants from Cuba into port. The records are written as a letter to the governor.

Created Date
1845

This document grants release to a Chinese settler that had been previously imprisoned.

Created Date
1845

This is a first labor contract that belonged to a Chinese settler, Fulano, in which he agreed to relocate to Cuba to work as an indentured servant for eight years. Unlike most of the first contracts in this series, this contract was completely handwritten. It states that this contract was then transferred to Martin Pedroso on July 26, 1847. Originally signed 1847.

Created Date
1847-03-08

These are the shipping records of Jose Fernandez y Nadal.

Created Date
1848

This is an excerpt from a booklet titled "Documentos para la historia de gentes sin historia: El Trafico de Culies Chinos". The book contains an introduction that was written by Juan Perez de la Riva, in which he described and presented two important articles regarding the expansion of Chinese indentured servants in Cuba that are reproduced in the booklet. Juan Perez de la Riva explained the importance of these articles, and provided background information regarding the men who authored them. The first article titled "Informe del Sr. Don Francisco Diago a la Real Junta de Fomento sobre el projecto de …

Created Date
1851

Records for the ship Carpenteria, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Pereda, Machado y Co .

Created Date
1851

Records for the ship Grey Hound, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Compania Asiatica and Torices Puente y Co. On this trip, the Grey Hound brought Nicolas, a Chinese settler, from China to work in the countryside.

Created Date
1851-04-30

A contract between Asseng, a Chinese settler, and Carlos Flotard. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Asseng did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Jose R. Marquez.

Created Date
1851-10-05

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
1851-12-19

Documents pertaining to the hiring of Chinese settlers by Carmelita, the sugar factory owned by Rita Barbaria de Lara in Guanabana. These workers were hired for a eight year contract.

Created Date
1852

A letter detailing the efforts of Villoldo Wardrop's project and the hiring of Chinese settlers for that project from Manuel B. de Pereda. Several settlers were contracted to work on the project.

Created Date
1852-03-23

A contract between Vicente Guerra, a Chinese settler, and A. de MacKay. The contract was to last for undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by A. de MacKay and Vicente Guerra, who signed in Chinese. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1852-10-21

This is a list of runaway Chinese settlers who escaped from their owners and were later captured. Their ages, appearance, and the names of their owners are listed as well.

Created Date
1853

This is a list of runaway Chinese settlers, their ages, appearance, and the names of their owners.

Created Date
1853

A letter from Mantega to the mayor of Havana. It details that a ship has arrived in the port of Havana and that there are sick Chinese settlers aboard.

Created Date
1853

A letter from Jose Vicente Jorge. It details the efforts Spain and the Royal Government took to encourage immigration to the Americas in general, with a special focus on the Chinese immigrating to Cuba. He specifically mentions a ship that was contracted to bring settlers to Cuba: the Viajante. Jose Vicente Jorge was the Knight Commander of the Order of Christ formed by Isabella, the Catholic.

Created Date
1853-01-10

This is a first contract that was signed by Jang, a Chinese settler, in which he agreed to leave China and travel to Cuba to work as an indentured servant for eight years. He signed his contract with Ignacio-Fernandez de Castro of Cadiz.

Created Date
1853-01-11

Records for the ship Cayrem, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Cayrem brought settlers from China to work. The Administration of Sanitation examined the settlers that left the ship and were satisfied with their overall health.

Created Date
1853-01-15

These are the baptismal records for several Chinese settlers who wanted to become Catholics. Their baptisms were overseen by Ingenio Dolores and signed by Federico Escobar, the Bishop of Havana. 1853.

Created Date
1853-08-23

Report on the efforts of Manuel B. de Pereda to bring Chinese settlers to Cuba to work, mostly to work on the Villoldo Wardrop y Co project.

Created Date
1853-10-18

Report on the efforts of several Cuban citizens to bring Chinese settlers to Cuba to work. These landowners and business men would sponsor several Chinese settlers at a time.

Created Date
1853-10-25

Details the completion of a contract between a Chinese settler and Fransisco Aranda, Commander of the Third Company of the Regiment of the Union. January 1854.

Created Date
1854

This is the first contract between Feliciano Yam and Goicoaría y Hermano for an undisclosed amount of time. December 1854.

Created Date
1854

A contract between Lim- Amec, a Chinese settler and Joaquin Barrera. Notes that Lim-Amec completed the contract. Signed by Juan Marquez and Lim Amec, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1854-01-23

A contract between Serapio, a Chinese settler, and the agents of A. R. Ferran and Rafael R. Torices. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Serapio, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1854-01-28

A contract between, Sim Cheng Cristobal, a Chinese settler, and the agent of Ignacio Fernandez de Castro. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by MacKay, the agent, and Cristobal, who signed in Chinese. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Contributors
林, 清
Created Date
1854-03-06

Records for the ship Martin Luther, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Martin Luther brought 580 settlers from China to work. Nineteen were hired by the police and ranchers.

Created Date
1854-03-22

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

This is a ship manifest that contained details of 305 Chinese settlers who boarded the Dutch ship "Vrow Johanna" with the intention of sailing to Havana, Cuba. Upon arrival in Cuba, each settler would be contracted to work as an indentured servant for eight years by various property owners in Cuba. The age, name, and origin of each settler were included in the list, and the settlers who died during the journey were marked as deceased. 1854.

Created Date
1854-03-31

A contract between San Kim or Fernando Guerra, a Chinese settler, and an agent of Ignacio Fernandez de Castro. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Al MacKay and San Kim, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1854-06-05

A cedula or identity record for Loreto, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Luai Sen. He worked for B. Solares to work in a copper factory.

Created Date
1855

A contract between Chey, a Chinese settler, and Ignacio F. de Castro, the agent of Manuel Pereda. Manuel Pereda was to bring Chey from China to Cuba to work and the contract lists the legal requirements of both the settler and the patron. Chey was originally from Tokein. Signed by Ignacio F. de Castro and Chey, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1855

This is a list of runaway Chinese settlers that has escaped their owners and were later captured.

Created Date
1855

This is a list of runaway workers who escaped from their owners.

Created Date
1855

Request for authorization for the shipment of Chinese settlers 1855. Also contains tax certificate for the shipment of 532 Chinese settlers in the American ship "Sky Lark", tax certificate for the shipment of 233 Chinese settlers in the Portuguese ship "Sophia" and tax certificate for the shipment of 249 Chinese settlers in the Portuguese ship "Viajante".

Created Date
1855

Records for the ship Carpentaria, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Carpentaria brought settlers from China to work. The ship was captained by Antonio de Barcaiztegui and stopped in Swateo and Puerto Rico before going to Havana.

Created Date
1855

The intent of this document was to stipulate the purposes and rules regarding cedulas (neighborhood identity cards).

Created Date
1855

Letter from the Captain General, stating what should be filled on the identity cards of Chinese settlers. 1855

Created Date
1855

A letter to the Brigadier General Governor concerning the permanent residency of Saturnina, a Chinese settler who completed her eight year control with Marques Duqueme. Her contract, in Spanish and Chinese, is also included. 1855.

Contributors
林, 贵
Created Date
1855

A contract between Lini-Tsai, a Chinese settler, and an agent of Ygnacio Fernandez de Castro. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Lini-Tsai, who signed in Chinese.

Contributors
亦, 在
Created Date
1855

Records for the ships Hound and Sky Lark, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Manuel B. de Pereda. On this trip, the Sky Lark brought 532 settlers from China to work.

Created Date
1855

List of workers who were recently hired by various employers. It lists the name of the employer or company, the name of the settler and their personal details.

Created Date
1855

List of Chinese settlers brought to Cuba abroad the "Martin Luther".

Created Date
1855