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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 a collection of some news reported by Xinhua News Agency during 6/20/1999 and 6/24/1990.

Created Date
1999

A membership registration receipt of the Chinese Freemasons (Hongmen Society) of Cuba Branch.

Created Date
1992-12-28

Receipt of the membership registration fee to the Freemasonry society in Cuba.

Contributors
中國洪門民治黨駐古巴總支部
Created Date
1992-07-31

A younger brother sent a letter to his sister. He mentioned that he did not receive the reply of his sister and was afraid the letter was missed. So he hoped if his sister received it, please sent a letter to let him knew.

Created Date
1992-04-18

Notices issued by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association in Cuba. The first notice issued by the Chinese Pharmacy in Cuba. It indicated the instruction for buying drugs and enumerate the date that people in different places could buy drugs from it. The second notice issued by the department of oversea remittance. It listed the detail and instruction for remittance.

Created Date
1992

Letter written to Ramon Wong. At the beginning the writer thanks for Mr. Wong's help. After that, he hoped that Ramon Wong could drive his uncles to the airport so that they could go back to Hong Kong safely.

Created Date
1992

A writer wrote a letter to his/ her uncle and auntie. In this letter, the writer told them his/ her track. In the last part of this letter, he/ she told them to contact him/her if their would go to Cuba. And there was some contact which related to the money transfer.

Created Date
1991

The Union Family Benevolent Association Inc sent the Huang Clan Association of Jiangxia in Cuba an invitation to participate the sociable party. However, the representative of the latter said as the circumstance did not allow them to go. So they could only reject this invitation. But at the end, they also hope the party will be held successfully.

Created Date
1991

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

A membership license of Casino Chung Wah Association in Havana, the holder's name is Huang Zhiwen. On page 1 is the serial number of this license, together with the holder's photograph. On Page 2 is Huang's personal information, including name, gender, date of birth, address in China and address in Cuba. Page 3 and 4 are about medicine shopping record. On page 5 and 6 there is a list of names of Huang's relatives, and there gender, age, relationship, job and address.

Created Date
1990

Identification card for Wong Git issues in 1987. He was born in 1917 in China. He came to Cuba in 1948 and was a permanent resident of Cuba.

Created Date
1987

This is a copy of Statue of Casino Chung Wah. Casino Chung Wah, also called centro principal de la comunidad China en cuba, is the main association of Chinese immigrants in Cuba.

Created Date
1984-01-01

This is a certificate from the executive secretary of the Municipal Director of Education. This certificate was for Hector Fund for completing his class evaluations.

Created Date
1983

This is a certificate of completion from the Congress of the Center of Workers of Cuba to Hector Fund.

Created Date
1983

A newspaper draft of Kwong Wah Po, dating 5/18/1982.

Created Date
1982-05-18

page one to pages four are chapters from a famous Chinese martial novel written by Louis Cha Leung-yung. Page five is a section of the newspaper Kwong Wah Po.

Created Date
1982-05-11

Here is a sample of Kwong Wah Po, Guanghua Newspaper, dating 4/20/1982. There are mainly 7 sections, including world news, healthy comments, advertisement and a continued story.

Created Date
1982-04-20

This is a membership card of Casino Chung Wah(古巴中華總會館會員證). The owner's name is Kuang Minqiang. This membership card includes the owner and his relevant's basic personal information.

Created Date
1982

Wong Hungfai, the son of Wong Wunkui sent a letter to his father to ask about the issue of money transfer. As the amount of the money was not correct and made him confused, so he sent this letter to his father to ask for details.

Created Date
1977-03-14

The granduncle (Minjie 敏捷)had sent money to the writers (Songfang 松芳, Songzhan 松沾, and Songbin 松彬). The writers wrote a thank you letter to him.

Created Date
1977

A member of Cuban Overseas Chinese Socialist Alliance paid the member fee during that year, and the latter issued a receipt to confirm his payment.

Created Date
1975

A certificate of appointment which indicated that Min Qia had been appointed as the candidate of executive member of Gongce 共策 (Strategic Plan) Committee, Freemasonry Society in Cuba.

Created Date
1975

A letter written by a 84-year-old person and it was sent to Minqia. In the letter, the writer said he would try best to get the authorization. And he/ she told Minqia did not tell any person that he/ she complained to her as he/ she did not want to cause any inconvenience. Finally, he/ she said even he/ she are not as healthy as possible, he/ she also hoped the family members of Minqiu could have a good health.

Created Date
1974

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

This documents the hiring Chinese settlers for public work projects. Not dated.

Created Date
1973

Newspaper snippet from the Vietnam War, specifically an obituary.

Created Date
1971

A contract between Fang-Achat, a Chinese settler, and L. Miguel Gonzalez. The contract does not state how long it was supposed to last, but it lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Contract signed by L. Miguel Gonzalez and two others, but not the settler. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Contributors
鄧, 七

The cedula or identity card for Cesares, a Chinese immigrant working in Cuba. He worked for Jesus Alalli.

An election roll from the Association of the Chinese settlers' Palma Soriano delegation of the Society of Instruction and Recreation. It lists the President, Vice President, Secretary, Vice Secretary, Treasurer, Vice Treasurer, and speakers. Sent to the Provincial Government of Oriente.

This is a certificate from the executive secretary of the Municipal Director of Education. This certificate was for Hector Fund for completing his class evaluations.

A letter from Francisco Changsoy and Jorge F. Hands, the President and the Secretary of the Delegation of Guantanamo. It lists the President, Vice President, Secretary, the Vice Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice Treasurer.

Handwritten Chinese language lessons Text Book

The membership certificate of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association in Cuba (Zhonghua zonggonghui 古巴中華縂工會) This certificate belongs to Hang Zhifu 黃質父 with a Spanish name “Wong Man.” He was born on May 16th, 1899. According to the record, it seems that he married twice: His first wife was a Chinese who stayed in Taishan 台山 of Guangdong Province. His second wife was a local woman who lived with him and they had at least two kids: Jose and Maria. His wife’s name might be Liolida Gil.

Identity card for foreigners, issued to Wing Git Wong, born in 1917. He entered Cuba in 1948 and became a permanent resident. His parents names are listed and he is said to reside in Soltero

Certified for the Consul General of Portugal.

This document contains a record of payments that were made out to several Chinese workers by their owner. While being indentured servants, Chinese settlers were given monthly wages for their services.

An identity record, or cedula, for a Chinese settler, Pelayo. He was brought from Soltero, China to Cuba to work for Nicolas Martines Valdivieso for eight years.

Records for the ship Carmencita, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Troncaso Bustamante. The ship was captained by Captain Garcia.

Record pertaining to a judge's investigation into the records of Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. The court certified that Pedro Amador's records did not contain any concerning contents.

A recommendation letter from an unnamed employer concerning the Chinese settlers he employed and their permanent residency status. Does not mention the names of the Chinese settlers.

Shipping records of Torices, Puentes y Co. regarding the ships they contracted to bring Chinese settlers from China to Cuba to work. Includes letters from captains of some of these ships detailing to the government their contracts with Torices, Puente y Co.

Describes changes to laws detailing the legal rights of Chinese settlers in Cuba. These changes focused on the working and religious rights as lawmakers hoped to instill in the settlers "good moral and religious" principles.

Shipping records for the frigates, Live Yankee and Wake, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co. These workers were contracted in Macao. They were to be contracted out to other employers.

Business records for Doctors Eugenio Gonzales and Carlos Belot, professors of Medicine. They hired six Chinese settlers to work for them at their office.

Payment records of an unnamed employer. Lists the Chinese settlers employed, how much they are owed, and the total amount of pesos.

Certifies that the signer of this documents has been accepted as a member of the Mason Order with the degree of Master Mason in the China Masonry. He fulfilled the requirements of the order to become the Master Mason

A book, Logia Cosmopolita, owned by Ramón Gonzalez de la Gandara, translated by Juan Raul Pons Sou.