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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
1832 1992


A contract between Andres, a Chinese settler, and Juan Sanduala. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes Andres completed a contract with Juan Sanduala previously.

Created Date
1867-02-17

A contract between Facundo, a Chinese settler, and Julian Maresma. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer.

Created Date
1865-07-19

This is a list of 35 contracted Chinese workers who were working for a company in the jurisdiction of Trinidad in Cuba. The only personal details included for each settler were their names and origins. Trinidad- 1873

Created Date
1873-09-09

This is a request made to the Cuban government on the behalf of Trinidad Amador, a Spanish bussinessman, in which he sought permission to renew the contracts of five of his Chinese workers. 1875

Created Date
1875-10-07

A contract between Luis Esteban, a Chinese settler, and Santiago. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Luis Esteban completed a contract with Santiago previously. Luis Esteban did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. This is signed by the governor, Santiago, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1867-01-20

A contract between a Chinese settler and Jose de Cruz Torrez. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer.

Created Date
1864-07

A contract between Felix, a Chinese settler, and Juan. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes Felix completed a contract with Juan previously. Felix did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by the governor, two witnesses, and Juan.

Created Date
1867-02-17

This is a formal request that was made on the behalf of Pedro, a Chinese settler, who sought permission to be rehired by his original owner under a new labor contract. 1872.

Created Date
1872-04-20

A contract between Joaquin, a Chinese settler, and Domingo E. Madan. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted Joaquin completed a contract with a different employer previously.

Created Date
1868-04-14

This is a list of Chinese workers who upon arrival in Havana, Cuba, were contracted to Tomas Gutierrez. 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 were also included in the list. 1865

Created Date
1865-03-28

This is a second labor contract that belonged to Severo- a Chinese settler, and his owner, D. Francisco Gandarilla. The purpose of this second contract was to renew and extend Severo's original eight year labor contract with Gandarilla for six months. 1869.

Created Date
1869-11-15

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Brito, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Gabriel Vivo y Fuentes; the term of the contract was for one year. 1869.

Created Date
1869-08-04

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Daniel a Chinese settler, and Jose Valentin de Cabo, his new owner, in which Daniel agreed to work for Jose Valentin de Cabo for one year. The contract was issued after Daniel completed his original eight year labor contract with another owner. 1869.

Created Date
1869-09-21

This is a list of Chinese indentured servants whose eight year labor contracts upon arrival in Havana, Cuba, were ceded to Bartolome Casanas. 1865

Created Date
1865-05-27

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Anacleto- a Chinese settler, and Manuel Paredes, his owner. By signing the contract, Anacleto agreed to work under the orders of Paredes for one year. 1869.

Created Date
1869-10-11

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
1867-06-13

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
1866-06-05

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
1865

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
1868-05-30

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
1847-03-08