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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.


Mime Type
Resource Type
  • Image
Date Range
1806 1999


This is the last page of a letter sent o China from a Chinese medical student in Cuba in 1973. In the letter, Wenchao 文超, the Chinese medical student expressed his sadness and regret in the sudden death of his grandmother and his deep appreciation for everything her mother had sacrificed for him. He also expected to find a job in the United States and meet his father there after his graduation.

Created Date
1973-01-17

A letter sent from a mother, whose husband’s family name is Chen 陳, to her son Chen Shubang 陳樹邦 who was working in Cuba with his father.

This is a letter from Peter Tan to the administrator of Kwong Wah Po( Guanghua newspaper). With an attached check of 20 Canadian dollars, Tan expressed his willing of subscribing to Guanghua Newspaper.

Created Date
1990-07-20

This is a story about a rich lady Josephine and her daily life.

There are several agreements and receipts in this file. They mainly focused on the transfer the ownership of one's treasure. And these transfers were because of several reasons.

Created Date
1928

This may be an abandoned politics news report draft of Kwong Wah Po, the local Chinese Cuban newspaper.

This image includes some statements on Japanese politician Morihiro Hosokawa. Maybe it is from an analysis report or a newspaper report.

This is a request for a certificate of naturalization that was made by a Chinese settler named Agustin Cisneros. According to the handwritten request form (which begins on page six), Agustin had already been granted his carta de domicilio, or permanent residence card, five years prior to this request. The document also reveals that Agustin was married to a woman named Lorenza Pastor, had four children with his wife, had been baptized, and worked as a cook. The document proceeding the official request for naturalization is the death certificate of Lorenza Pastor, which was signed on September 14, 1871. The …

Created Date
1871-04-15

A letter to the Secretary of the Government of Cuba requesting naturalization of a Chinese settler, Leonardo Valdez. He was originally from Canton, but promises to renounce his rights as a citizen of China if he is make a Cuban citizen. Included are records of his past work contracts and letters of recommendation from past employers.

Created Date
1873

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 a Chinese settler Ysidoro who worked for Dolores Hernan in Cardenas. 1868.

Created Date
1868

These are the documents for permanent residency for Saturnino, a Chinese settler in 1865. He lives in Soltero and Cardenas. His application includes his identity card.

Created Date
1865

These are the documents for permanent residency for a Chinese settler, Pablo Campo. Signed by the Colonel Governor.

Created Date
1866

These are documents for permanent residency for a Chinese settler, Vieter, originally from Canton in 1865.

Created Date
1865

Application for permanent residency for a Chinese settler, Francisco Echante in 1871.

Created Date
1871

This is an application for permanent residence for Jose Sole, a Chinese settler.

Created Date
1873

Record with multiple documents about a Chinese settler including christening record; labor-hire document; successful completion of term-contract certification; certificate of good conduct; and other documents

Created Date
1866

Application for permanent residence in Cuba for a Chinese settler, Roman. Included are his baptism certificate, a work contract and a request to be rehired, and several recommendations from the owners of the Sugar Refinery of Carmen.

Created Date
1865

These are the records of Jose Dolores, a Chinese settler brought from China to Cuba for work. The documents include handwritten contracts with various owners and recommendation letters, detailing his good behavior as a worker. His certificate of nationality is also included and was accepted by the governor of Cuba.

Created Date
1864

Application documents “Letter Home” (permanent residence on the island of Cuba) 1868. Contains: signed application documents in Chinese; certificate of baptism of the Catholic Church; Chinese settler contract in the city of Cardenas; several letters of recommendation from several owner certifying that their contracts fulfilled without problems

Created Date
1868

Application documents “Letter Home” (permanent residence on the island of Cuba) 1866. Contains: letters of recommendation from the owner certifying that fulfilled his contract of 8 years; Chinese settler contract in the city of Cardenas; identity card of Chinese settlers, legalized with a police seal; original contract written in Chinese and Castilian, Swaton 1857; identity card of Chinese settlers; other documents

Created Date
1857

5.Application Documents "Letter Home" (permanent residence on the island of Cuba) 1865. Contains: Identity card of Chinese settlers, legalized with a police seal; letter of recommendation from the owner certifying that fulfilled his contract of 8 years; Chinese settlers statements; Government contract Guanabacoa, have working conditions

Created Date
1865

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

This file includes several document. One of them is a contract written in both Spanish and Chinese. According to the contract, Xie Tian was willing to go to Cuba as a worker. So he was requested to sign the contract and should follow the rules listed on it.

Created Date
1865

Balance sheet for the Min Chih Tang or the Chinese Democratic Party's Guantanamo delegation detailing income and expenses of the group for the year. Sent to the Provincial Government of Oriente.

Created Date
1949-06-30

This is a balance sheet for the Casino Chung Wah's Society of Instruction and Recreation. It is based in Bayamo, Cuba in the Park of the Revolution. It shows the balance in the treasury for each month.

Created Date
1955

This balance sheet lists the monthly income of the Association of Chinese Settlers. Kong Ky, the treasurer certifies that the amounts are correct. Sent to the Provincial Government of Oriente.

Created Date
1952-01-31

Balance sheet for the Kuo Min Tang's Guantanamo delegation detailing income and expenses for 1954. Sent to the Provincial Government of Oriente.

Created Date
1955-02-01

Balance sheet for the Kuo Min Tang's Bayamo Delegation in 1946.

Created Date
1946

Balance sheet for the Association of the Chinese settlers. It includes the income, spending, and net worth of the group. Signed by the President, Treasurer, and Secretary of the group. Sent to the Provincial Government of Oriente.

Created Date
1929-01-02

Balance sheet for the Kuo Ming Tang or the Nationalist Party of China’s Jobado delegation detailing income and expenses for one year. Sent to the Provincial Government of Oriente.

Created Date
1926

Balance sheet for the Association of Chinese Settlers, detailing income and expenses for one year. Sent to the Provincial Government of Oriente. It also lists that the Association of Chinese Settlers changed its name to Casino Chong Wah

Created Date
1948-12-31

This is a bank book from the Bank of China in Havana, Cuba, that belonged to a man named J. Chan. Havana- 1958

Created Date
1958-12-30

An unnamed Chinese settler converted to Christianity in the city of Matanzas. They were originally from Canton. In their baptism, they offered their loyalty to the Cuban government and the church in order to eventually receive permanent residency in Cuba, a legal requirement. Candido Santa Olalla oversaw the baptism of this settler in the parish church of San Carlos in Matanzas.

Created Date
1874

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

Catalina Martin de Macuriges, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. In her baptism, she offered her loyalty to the Cuban government and the church in order to eventually receive permanent residency in Cuba, a legal requirement.

Created Date
1863-07-30

Luis Parodi, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. 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. Enrique Parodi was his godfather.

Created Date
1864-06-09

Francisco Plazaola, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. 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. He also dedicated his life and fealty to God.

Lucas, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. He was originally from Canton. 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
1866-11-27

Felipe, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. He was originally from Canton. 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
1868-06-06

Fernando, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. He was originally from Ankin. 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
1863-08-12

Fernando, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. 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
1863-09-16

Simon, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity in the city of Matanzas. He was baptized by Sebastian Junena.

Created Date
1866-06-28

Serapio, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. 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. He was baptized by Sebastian Juanenea.

Ancate, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. He was contracted by Felix Garcia y Co and chose the name Francisco.

Created Date
1865-06-11

Tan-Chuy, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. Tan-Chuy was originally from Hokom. He chose the name Pedro and his godfather was Sebastian Marques.

Created Date
1863-03-22

Jose, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. He was contracted by Francisco Morales and was baptized in the Church of Cerro. His godfather was Jose Molina.

Created Date
1860-12-02

Candelaria, a slave, converted to Christianity. She was the slave of Juan Sibario and was the daughter of the Chinese settler, Eustaguia. Her godmother was Merced Sonata Cruz, a creole slave. She was owned by Antonio Agustin Villa.

Created Date
1869-06-07

Valentin Salazar, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity in the city of Havana. He was originally from Canton. His godmother was Ceulia de la Piedra.

Created Date
1865-08-13