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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
1851 1893


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 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

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

This is a record that was written by Antonio de Barcaiztegui certifying that the American ship "Hound" that sailed from Macao to Cuba arrived in Havana with 228 Chinese settlers on July 22, 1855, and that the arrival was documented in the book of ship entries.

Created Date
1855-10-12

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

List of Chinese settlers brought to Cuba from China abroad the Spanish frigate, "Emigrante". These settlers are all from Macao.

Created Date
1856

Relates that Sirto, a Chinese settler, was granted permanent residency in Cuba after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1856

A contract between Huno Afon, a Chinese settler and A. P. Achenbach. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer.

Contributors
吳, 邦
Created Date
1856-11-15

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

Certifies that Pedro Salgado, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Ignacio Calvo.

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

A contract between Chan Achan, a Chinese settler, and A. R. Ferran. 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 A. R. Ferran, J. R. Vargas, and Chan Achan, who signed in Chinese. Also featured in Chinese.

Created Date
1857-10-12

A contract between Vong-Ayon, a Chinese settler, and the Asian Company of Havana run by A. R. Ferran and Rafael R. Torices. The Asian Company of Havana was to bring Vong-Ayon from China to Cuba to work. The contract lists the legal requirements of both the settler and the company. Signed by Cañete y Morales, A. R. Ferran, and J. R. Vargas. Also written in Chinese.

Contributors
黃, 閠
Created Date
1857-11-26

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

Record of a Chinese settler letter for home. Contains: application for a certificate of naturalization of Chinese settlers. Signed in Chinese, chinese settler original contract in spanish Cardenas 1867 signed in chinese, Record of baptism 1866, recommendations of good conduct from the Captaincy of Lagunillas, nature tasting request signed in Chinese, original contract Macao Chinese settler written in Chinese and Spanish in 1858 and signed in Chinese, pledge of allegiance to the Spanish crown Chinese settler

Created Date
1858

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

A contract between Llong Aueng, a Chinese settler and 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. Also featured contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1858-03-13

A contract between Chiu Achu, a Chinese settler, and Peredo Machado y Co. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer.

Contributors
趙, 才
Created Date
1858-03-16

A contract between Yao Afon, a Chinese settler, and J. Campbell. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time. Yao Afon signed in Chinese.

Contributors
邱, 芳
Created Date
1858-10-31

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 Nam-Acao, a Chinese settler, and L. Manuel. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Contract was transferred to Joel Charles Caro.

Created Date
1859-03-30

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

A contract between Chau-Ayon, a Chinese settler, and Campbell and Company. Campbell and Co was to bring settlers from China to Cuba to work. Chau-Ayon was originally from Nanhoi. The contract was written in Macao. Chau-Ayon did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by L. Miguel. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Contributors
周, 祥
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
1860-05-02

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

Records for the ship Serafina, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. On this trip, the Serafina brought 396 settlers from China. The ship was captained by Galdiz.

Created Date
1860-05-26

A contract between Felix, a Chinese settler, and Verga y Co. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Transferred to Jose W. y Bardenas and then to someone else.

Contributors
余, 成
Created Date
1860-07-26

A contract between Chon-Moe, a Chinese settler, and H. de Closmadeuc. The contract was to last for eight years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Chon-Moe completed a contract with P. Campbell previously.

Contributors
張, 亞
Created Date
1860-09-29

A contract between Tong-Atac, a Chinese settler, and H. de Closmadeuc and Campbell y Co. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Contributors
冯, 口得
Created Date
1860-11-19

A contract between Si-Quin, a Chinese settler, and H. de Cloumadeuc. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Si-Quin completed a contract with P. Campbell previously. Si-Quin did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by L. Miguel.

Contributors
李, 春
Created Date
1860-12-21

A contract between Tam-afsoi, a Chinese settler, and J. Campbell. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer.

Contributors
谭, 瑞
Created Date
1860-12-22

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

A contract between Choum-Atac, a Chinese settler, and Selles Crusellas and Company. The contract was to last for five years and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Notes that Choum-Atac was baptized as Francisco. This contract was signed by the governor, Joaquin Planas, and Selles Crusellas.

Created Date
1861

Death certificate for Mamerto, a Chinese settler, who died from injuries to his femur in Ingenio Santisima Trinidad. He worked for Mrs. Gabriel Garcia before his death and was buried in the cemetery of the Church of our Lady of Torque without having been baptized. His cedula, or identity card, is included and lists him as having worked for M.C. Blanca when he was given the cedula. He was brought from Macao to Cuba by Torrices, Puente and Company.

Created Date
1861

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

Shipping list of Chinese settlers brought to Cuba in the Spanish ship "Kate Hooper" in 1861 with 592 settlers from Macao

Created Date
1861

Records for the ship Maria Clotilde, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Troncaso Bustamante and Company. On this trip, the Maria Clotilde brought 256 settlers from China to work. They were hired to be domestic servants.

Created Date
1861-04-22