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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


This is a second labor contract that was shared between a Chinese settler and his owner, Ramon; the term of the contract was for one year. 1867. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1867-01-06

This is the first labor contract that was shared between a Chinese settler named Leopoldo, and his owner, Felipe Macau, presumably a freed Chinese settler. Leopoldo had already completed a contract with Joaquin Tiago. He was brought from Canton to Cuba to work as an indentured servant in Soltero. The term of the contract with Don Felipe was for six months. 1866. Signed in Chinese by Leopoldo.

Created Date
1866-05-20

This is a second labor contract that was shared between a Chinese settler named Leonardo, and his owner, Peliona Fernandez; the term of the contract was for six months. 1866. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866-12-30

A contract between Marcos, a Chinese settler, and Jose Gomez. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Marcos did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him.

Created Date
1866-04-05

A contract between Matias, a Chinese settler, and Jose Gomez. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer.

Created Date
1866-04-05

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Desiderio- a Chinese settler, and his owner, Jose Gomez; the term of the contract was for one year. Details regarding Desiderio's wage, food, clothes, and work hours were stipulated in the document. 1866. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866-04-05

A contract between Nicasio, a Chinese settler, and Jose Romero. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Nicasio did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him.

Created Date
1866

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Federico, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Francisco Cairo. Federico was brought to Cuba from China to serve as an indentured servant and the term of the contract was for one year. Details regarding Federico's wage, food, clothes, and work hours were stipulated in the document. 1868. Signed in Chinese by Federico.

Created Date
1868-03-28

A contract between Melitin, a Chinese settler, and la Compania de Caminos de Hierro. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Melitin completed a contract previously. Signed by Manuel Barque and Melitin, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1869

This is the first labor contract that between a Chinese settler named Eleuterio, also known as Santiago, and his owner, Don Juan. The term of the contract was for one year. This document is signed by the governor of Colon, Don Juan and Eleuterio. 1867.

Created Date
1867-01-06

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Sabel, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Ramon Recio de Oguendo. Sabel was brought to Cuba from China to serve as an indentured servant and the term of the contract was for one year, in which Sabel was hired to do fieldwork. Details regarding Sabel's wage, food, and clothes that would be provided to him by Ramon Recio de Oguendo as well as the work hours required of him were stipulated in the document. 1867. Signed the governor, Ramon Recio de Oguendo, and in Chinese by Sabel,.

Created Date
1867-01-06

This is a contract between Jou, a Chinese settler, and Tomas Oliva in 1867. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1867

Contract between Aurelio, a Chinese settler, and Antonio Elena, a Cuban landowner. This contract was for one year and is signed by Antonio Elena, the governor of Cuba, and Aurelio. Aurelio signed in Chinese. 1868.

Created Date
1868

Contract of Marcelo, a Chinese settler, for one year. 1868.

Created Date
1868

Contract between Agustin Soatao, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Juan Cabranes, for one year. Signed July 2, 1866.

Created Date
1866

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

Created Date
1866

A contract between Santiago, a Chinese settler, and Julian Aranga. The contract to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Julian Aranga, Benardo Martinez, and Santiago, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866

Contract between Damian, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Julian Frango, to last one year. April 4, 1866.

Created Date
1866

A contract between Telechino, a Chinese settler, and Jose Gomez Rochel. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Jose Gomez Rochel and Telechino, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866

A contract between Anselmo, a Chinese settler and Jose Romero. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by the governor of Colon, Joaquin, and Anselmo, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866