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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.


Date Range
1838 1889


These compiled records formed the application for a Cuban naturalization card that belonged to a Chinese settler named Ricardo Bernabal. The formal request for his naturalization card was made on March 18, 1872, at which time Ricardo was 26 years old and working as a cook. He was also given a permanent residence card before being naturalized. He was also baptized.

Created Date
1872-03-18

This is an application for permanent residency for Pascual, a Chinese settler. It includes the settler's original contract signed in Macao, a letter of recommendation from a previous owner, stating that he had completed an eight year contract, his cedula or identity card, and a certificate of baptism.

Created Date
1865

Marcos, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity in the city of Matanzas. He was originally from a rural part of China. In his baptism, he offered his loyalty to the Cuban government and the church in order to eventually receive permanent residency in Cuba, a legal requirement.

Created Date
1870

Pedro, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. Witnessed by Eugenio Domingues. Other Chinese settlers also were being baptized, including a settler named Ysidoro. 1868.

Created Date
1868

Juan, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity in the city of Laguanillas. Juan was originally from Macao. In his baptism, he offered his loyalty to the Cuban government and the church in order to eventually receive permanent residency in Cuba, a legal requirement.

Created Date
1867

This is a baptism certificate that was signed on November 27, 1867 by Don Jose Ramon de la Paz. The document describes the baptism of Felix, a Chinese settler. He is listed in the baptismal record book for people of color.

Created Date
1867

Concepcion was baptized into the Catholic church as a baby. She was the daughter of a Chinese settler, Ramon and a creole woman Yrene.

Created Date
1858-03-14

Lucas, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity in the city of Matanzas. In his baptism, he offered his loyalty to the Cuban government and the church in order to eventually receive permanent residency in Cuba, a legal requirement.

Created Date
1868

Record of baptism of Acuam Jo. His godfather was Juan de Diaz Gonzalez Larinaga. Signed by Padre Jose Barrera.

Created Date
1864

Maria, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. Maria offered her loyalty to the Cuban government and the church in order to eventually receive permanent residency in Cuba, a legal requirement. Ramon Ibarra Pastor is listed as her godfather.

Created Date
1867

Letters from the diocese in Remedios concerning the baptism of Chinese settlers who are brought to Cuba to work.

Created Date
1862

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

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

Record for Maria, the child of two Chinese settlers. Her parents worked for Jose Forca and Mercedes Valdes. Her godmother was Ana who worked for Encarnacion Martinez.

Created Date
1878-05-23

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

Burial records for an unnamed Chinese settler. Their records indicate they were baptized into the Catholic church and buried in the Cristobal Colon Cemetery of Havana.

Created Date
1872

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 complaint filed by several Chinese settlers concerning their employment under Tomas G. de la Pena.

Created Date
1866

This baptism record describes Cecilio, who had just been baptized, providing information about when he arrived in Cuba and the names of his godparents. The document was signed on August 13, 1865. Baptism document for Cecilio was signed in August 1865.

Created Date
1865

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