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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
1854 1873


A contract between Lau Telesforo, a Chinese settler, and Ignacio F. 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. Lau was originally from Tokien. Signed by Ignacio F. de Castro and Lau, who signed in Chinese. Also featured in Chinese.

Contributors
沈, 使
Created Date
1863-09-10

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

A contract between Jose or Ang Ki, a Chinese settler, and Ignacio T. de Casta and Manuel B. Pereda. 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 Ignacio T. de Casta and Ang Ki, who signed in Chinese. Contract also featured in Chinese.

Contributors
洪, 柿
Created Date
1863-09-10

A contract between Zuan-Tae, a Chinese settler, and Ignacio Fernandes 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. Zuan-Tae did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Nicario Canete y Moral. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1863-09-22

A letter to the Brigadier General Governor concerning the permanent residency of Saturnina, a Chinese settler who completed her eight year control with Marques Duqueme. Her contract, in Spanish and Chinese, is also included. 1855.

Contributors
林, 贵
Created Date
1855

Certifies that Valentin, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1871

Certifies that Justo, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Miguel Armona. He then entered into a contract with Gaspar Vinato.

Created Date
1861

Certifies that Justo, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Miguel Armona. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1865

Certifies that Francisco Colono, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Diego de Fonseca.

Created Date
1868

Certifies that Serafin, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, the company La Pura y Limpia. He had also completed a previous contract with Vidal Delioguez y Co.

Created Date
1865-06-23

Relates that Juan Ley Acheu, a Chinese settler, was granted permanent residency in Cuba after fulfilling the legal requirements.

This collection of personal documents that belonged to Ricardo, a Chinese settler, specifically his application for permanent residence in Cuba. The documents in this collection include his first contract, personal ID card, baptism certificate, and several "reviews" written by his past owners attesting to good conduct. The final document in this selection is a testimony of Ricardo's promise to abide by Cuban and Spanish laws; he signed it upon the approval of his request for permanent residence.

Created Date
1863-10-10

This collection of personal records formed an application for permanent residence on the island of Cuba that belonged to a Chinese settler named Leoncio. The documents included in this collection are the formal written request for Leoncio's permanent residence card, his baptism certificate, several documents written by his past owners attesting to his good conduct during the completion of his labor contracts, and five copies of five of his second labor contracts. 1865.

Created Date
1865-09-02

These compiled records formed the application for permanent residence on the island of Cuba that belonged to a Chinese settler named Feliciano. Included in this collection are the formal written request for Feliciano's permanent residence card, his baptism certificate, several documents written by his past owners attesting to his good conduct during the completion of his labor contracts, and two copies of two of his second labor contracts. The last document in this collection is the written acceptance of his request for permanent residence that was signed in 1868.

Created Date
1868-04-01

This collection of official documents formed the application for a carta de domicilio, or permanent residence card, that belonged to a Chinese settler named Fermin. The documents included in the application packet include two of Fermin's second labor contracts from 1860 and 1867, his baptism certificate that was signed in 1867, a rehire request signed in 1867, a certificate written by one of his past owners that certified that Fermin had completed two labor contracts with satisfactory conduct, and a written request for his carta de domicilio that was signed on April 6, 1868.

Created Date
1868-04-06

This collection of documents formed an application packet for permanent residence in Cuba that belonged to a Chinese settler named Perfecto. Apart from the formal written request (which is page 16) for his carta de domicilio, or permanent residence card, other documents included in this selection include a formal request for a new labor contract, two copies of two of his work contracts, his baptism certificate, and a few certifications written by his past owners indicating that he had completed his work contracts with them in good terms. 1866.

Created Date
1866

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

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

This compilation of documents represents Onofre's request to either be naturalized as a Spanish citizen, or to receive his permission for permanent residence in Cuba. The documents included are his first contract, baptism certificate, personal ID card, and his request for residency, among several other personal documents. The first page in this selection is the written request for his permanent residence of naturalization, and the second to last document is the acceptance of his request for permanent residence.1863.

Created Date
1863-09-22

This compilation of personal documents that belonged to Eustaquio- a Chinese settler, formed his application packet for his permanent residence card in Cuba. Included in the collection are his baptism certificate, his personal ID card, and his original first contract, among several other documents. The first page of this selection contains the written request for Eustaquio's permanent residence, and the last passage in the final page explains that his request was accepted. 1863

Created Date
1863-09-16