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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.


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

Report detailing the regulations and laws concerning the burial of Chinese settlers and the efforts of the Commission to establish these laws.

Created Date
1867-02-17

Report on the efforts of Manuel B. de Pereda to bring Chinese settlers to Cuba to work. The Civil Government had to consider what ships could be allowed to import settlers, who could sponsor them, and the laws concerning their rights and work privileges.

Laws pertaining to the legal rights of of landowners living in a certain area and their obligations. This includes how owners are supposed to write their contracts with their Chinese workers, including informing them of their payment and the terms of their contracts.

Created Date
1886

A letter detailing the changes to laws concerning Chinese settlers and their legal rights as workers in Cuba. Settlers were not allowed to go more than two or three months without being under contract with an employer; otherwise they were considered vagrants. Once a contract has expired, the Chinese settler is considered to be liberated from the legal bounds of that contract and is free to enter into another with the same employer or another. The governor replied to the letter and formally adopted these laws into the legal code.

Created Date
1861

A letter from F. Fernandez to the governor detailing new information about the legal rights of Chinese settlers in Cuba. It details how most settlers are contracted several times and work in agriculture or industry in the hopes of instilling in them good work habits.

Contributors
Fernandez, F.
Created Date
1861

Relates that several Chinese settlers were granted permanent residency in Cuba after meeting the legal requirements. Most of the document is a list of the settlers who received their residency.

Records for the ship Live Yankee, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices Puente y Co. Upon arrival, Torices Puente y Co. instructed the settlers as to their legal status as was required by the government. The government also required that the company check on the mental health of their settlers after arriving in Cuba. Also lists the amounts paid to ships, captains, etc. by Torices Puente y Co for this shipment and a shipment of settlers aboard the P Wakefield.

Created Date
1861

Records for a shipment of Chinese settlers brought to Cuba from China under contract with Torices Puente y Co. These workers were contracted and given cedulas, or identity records, to stay in Cuba.

Created Date
1861