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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.


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Date Range
1855 1892


This is a letter that was written by Antonio de Barcaiztegui certifying that the Spanish ship "La Encarnacion" that sailed from Macao to Cuba arrived in Havana on April 15, 1854, and that the arrival was documented in the official book of ship entries.

Created Date
1855-10-12

This is a first labor contract that was signed by Aman- a Chinese settler, in which he agreed to relocate to Cuba to work as an indentured servant for eight years. Originally signed 1855. El Bircantin Paquita was the agent for the original contract. On the second page, Julian a Pulueta states that this contract was transferred to Ramon de Gueregiaga for reasons unstated on April 18, 1856.

Created Date
1855-12-07

A contract between Wan, a Chinese settler, and Joaquin Pedroso y Echeverra, Luis Pedroso and Jose Maria Morales. The contract was signed to bring Wan from China to Cuba to work. Wan was contracted in Havana by Merced Casanova, which was then transferred to Joaquin de Soto and Nicolas Garcia Valdez. Signed by Wan in Chinese.

Created Date
1857

A contract between Apony, a Chinese settler and Carlo Flotard, an agent for the company "Campbell and Caro." Campbell and Caro was to bring Apony from China to Cuba to work and the contract lists the legal requirements of both the settler and the company. Apony was later contracted upon arrival in Havana by J. P. Marques. Contract issued in Macao. Also features contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1857

A contract between Justino Campbell and the government of Cuba. The contract granted Justino Campbell the right to recruit Chinese settlers to come to Cuba to work. Campbell was permitted to use the ship Hoggersbank under Captain Achenback.

Created Date
1857-03-30

Records for the ship Hoggenbark, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Campbell y Co. On this trip, the Hoggenbank brought settlers from China to work in Havana.

Created Date
1857-06-06

Records for the ship Hong Kong, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Campbell y Co. On this trip, the Hong Kong brought settlers from China to work in Havana.

Created Date
1857-10-05

Records for the ship Hoggenbark, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Campbell y Co. On this trip, the Hoggenbark brought settlers from China to work in Havana.

Created Date
1857-12-01

A contract between Afno, a Chinese settler, and F. Valdez. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes the contract was transferred to Jose Gomez. Afno did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by H. Velez.

Created Date
1858-01-18

A contract between Amoy, a Chinese settler, and F Velez. The contract was to last for eight years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Amoy's labor contract had been transferred between various owners throughout the first year of his term. Amoy did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him.

Contributors
亞梅
Created Date
1858-01-18

A contract between Mauricio, a Chinese settler, and A. R. Ferran and Rafael R. Torices. The contract was to last for eight years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes the contract was transferred to Filipe de Mena. Signed by A. R. Ferran, J. R. Vargas, and Mauricio, who signed in Chinese. Also the contract is featured in Chinese.

Created Date
1858-03-03

Records for the ship Francois, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Campbell y Co. On this trip, the Francios brought settlers from China to work in Havana.

Created Date
1859-02-10

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

An identity card for Manuel, originally from Macao. Manuel was twenty-four years old when this card was issued. He worked for the Society of Immigration for eight years.

Created Date
1860

Records for the ship, Ville de Lisna, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Banzan, the agent for the Company of Marsella. On this trip, Ville de Lisna brought settlers from China to work. The ship stopped in Macao before going to Cuba.

Created Date
1860

A contract between Vicente, a Chinese settler, and D. Martin de Cardenas y Layas. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Renewal of Vicente's initial labor contract of six months. Signed by Martin de Cardenas y Layas and Vicente, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1860

A contract between Jose, a Chinese settler, and Martin de Cardenas y Layas. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes thatJose was required to enter this contract to correct his deficiencies in his previous work contracts, and for being disobedient.

Created Date
1860

An identity card, or cedula, for Manuel, originally from Macao. Manuel was twenty-four years old when this card was issued.

Created Date
1860-05-17

Records for the ships Solide de Dieppa, Bitty Sriapera, and Messenger, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with various employers.

Created Date
1860-05-24

Records for the ships Solide of Dieppe, Bitty Sriapera, and Messenger, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with various employers. On this trip, the Solide of Dieppe brought 184 settlers from China to work for ___.

Created Date
1860-05-24

Ship manifest of the Spanish ship “Encarnacion”. General information to the Captain of the island that has hired a Spanish ship to bring Cuba Chinese settlers; some official communications on the authorization of the shipment; document the Spanish Consulate in Macao on cargo; boarding list of the 289 Chinese settlers in Macao; boarding list of the 289 Chinese settlers received in Havana; record to investigate the conditions under which they have been hired Chinese settlers

Created Date
1861

A contract between Dionisio, a Chinese settler, and Jose Sanchez. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Dionisio was required to enter this contract to correct his deficiencies his previous work contracts, and for being disobedient. Signed by Jose Sanchez and Dionisio, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1861-06-10

A contract between, Vong Ahony, a Chinese settler and Torices y Co. Notes the contract was transferred to Carmen Segueira. Vong Ahony did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by L. Manuel and Jose.

Created Date
1861-06-14

Burial records for Manuel Corp, originally from Macao. Their records indicate they were baptized into the Catholic church and buried in the general cemetery of Havana.

Created Date
1861-08-14

A contract between Ju Seu, a Chinese settler, and R. Calderon, agent of La Alianza. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. He was to be hired by another employer upon arrival. Contracted featured in Chinese.

Contributors
陶, 平
Created Date
1863

A contract between Zuan-Tae, a Chinese settler, and Ignacio Fernandes 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. Zuan-Tae did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Nicario Canete y Moral. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1863-09-22

This is a ship manifest detailing the 290 Chinese colonists expected to arrive in Cuba aboard the Portuguese ship "Gica". The ship arrived in the port of Havana on March 8, 1864, with 281 of the colonists listed in the ship manifest; seven died during the journey and two remained in Macao.

Created Date
1864-03-08

An identity card, or cedula, for Manuel, originally from Macao. Manuel was twenty four years old when this card was issued. He had an eight year contract with the Society of Immigration.

Created Date
1866-05-07

A contract between Justino Campbell and the government of Cuba. The contract granted Justino Campbell the right to recruit Chinese settlers to come to Cuba to work. Campbell was permitted to use the ship Hoggersbank under Captain Achenback.

Created Date
1866-12-09

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.

Created Date
1866-12-29

A contract between Chung, a Chinese settler, and R. Calderon, an agent for La Alianza. La Alianza brought Chung from China to Cuba to work. He was to be hired by another employer upon arrival.

Contributors
鍾, 大嬌
Created Date
1867

Permission to enter Cuba with a shipment of Chinese settlers in on the Bremen ship “Confucius”. The Captain General hired hired a German ship to bring Chinese settlers; some official communications on the subject; superior civil government documents on the authorization of the shipment; list of the 218 boarding Chinese settlers in Macao; document the Spanish consulate in Macao on cargo; list of the 218 boarding Chinese settlers in Macao, received in Havana landing-released Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1867

This collection of records pertain to the Russian ship "Suomi" that departed from Macao in Jaunary of 1867 with 526 Chinese settlers, and arrived in Havana in March of 1867. Suomi- 1867.

Created Date
1867-01-02

A contract between Vong Cari, a Chinese settler, and Tanco Armero, the agent for Limbillo, Montalvo, y Co. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Vong Cari did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by N. Tanco Armero and J. de Agustin.

Created Date
1867-09-30

Records for the ship Italia, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Jose A. Tuton. On this trip, the Italia brought five hundred and twenty settlers from China to work for.

Created Date
1869

Medical report announcing the death of 46 Chinese settlers aboard the Spanish frigate, Serafina. Two were thrown overboard. The Serafina was sailing to Havana from Macao.

Created Date
1869

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

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 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

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

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

A death certificate for Valentino, a Chinese settler. He died in the General Hospital of Our Lady of Mercy in Havana.

Created Date
1876-03-25

Records from government meetings, notes taken by the Secretary, Juan. He has a meeting with the Fiscal Developer, Ramon de Mondoza, Manuel Martinez, and Pedro Martinez. These meetings related to the living situation of Chinese settlers, entry into Cuba, and other political discussions.

Created Date
1886

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

A contract between Fang-Achat, a Chinese settler, and L. Miguel Gonzalez. The contract does not state how long it was supposed to last, but it lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Contract signed by L. Miguel Gonzalez and two others, but not the settler. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Contributors
鄧, 七

A contract between Damian, a Chinese settler, and Martin de Cardenas y Laya. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Martin de Cardenas and Damian, who signed in Chinese.

A blank contract for employees working with agents Mariano del Pielago and Merino Gelledo. It has two language versions: Spanish and Chinese. It indicates the instructions that the employees should follow.

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.