Chinese Immigrants in Cuba: Documents from the James and Ana Melikian Collection

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Date Range
1806 2015
Created Date: 1847-03-08
Description: 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: 1863-08-31
Description: This is an example of the checks that were issued for Chinese settlers by their owners. This check was issued in the favor of Constantino for the amount of five pesos. 1863

Created Date: 1868-05-30
Description: This is a second labor contract that belonged to Meco- a Chinese settler, and his owner; the term of the contract was for one year. 1868.

Created Date: 1855-10-12
Description: Records of the ship, "Julian de Murueta", which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. The Julian de Murueta stopped in Swatao and Santa Abalena before coming to Havana.

Created Date: 1865
Description: This is a cedula, or identity card, that belonged to a Chinese settler named Listo. At the time that this cedula was issued for him, Listo was 29 years old, and in the process of completing an eight year labor contract with Jose Aranguren. 1865.

Created Date: 1866-06-05
Description: This is a list of 154 Chinese workers who traveled to Cuba aboard the Mourne de Nantes, a French ship, and who upon arrival in Havana, Cuba, were ceded to Antonio Gutierrez. Details about the duration of the eight year contracts, including the start and end dates, as well as the the type of work they would be doing (fieldwork) were stipulated within the list. The Chinese and Spanish names of each settler, as well as their age and origin,L were also included in the list. Antonio Gutierrez, 1866

Created Date: 1871-02-16
Description: Neighborhood ID card (a cedula) that belonged to Benito Ramos- a Chinese settler.

Created Date: 1867-06-13
Description: This is the first labor contract between Sang, otherwise known as Faustino, a Chinese settler, and his new owner, Jose Serrate in Matanzas. This contract was issued after Faustino completed a separate labor contract with another owner. The contract was for one year and his salary was twelve pesos and seventy-five cents. At the bottom, the contract is signed by Jose Serrate, the governor of Matanzas, and two witnesses, but not Faustino himself.

Created Date: 1883-12-12
Description: This is a Certificate of Nationality that belonged to Jose Alli- a Chinese settler. The certificate served as a record indicating that Jose had been registered at the Consulate General of China in Cuba as a subject of the Emperor of China. According to the document, at the time it was issued Jose was 34 years old, single, and considered a non-resident. He was from Canton in China. Havana- 1883

Created Date: 1884-12-18
Description: This is a Certificate of Nationality that belonged to Adrian Achao- a Chinese settler. The certificate served as a record indicating that Adrian had been registered at the Consulate General of China in Cuba as a subject of the Emperor of China. According to the document, at the time it was issued Adrian was 45 years old, single, a laborer, and considered a non-resident. He was from Canton in China, and lived in Matanzas in Cuba. 1884.

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.