Skip to main content

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
1858 1874


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

A contract between Enrique, a Chinese settler, and Juan, a Cuban landowner. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Juan noted that Enrique completed a contract with Miguel Tabra previously. Juan was originally from Canton. Contract signed by Juan, Juan Gonzales, Carlos Gonzales. Signed by the settler in Chinese.

Created Date
1868-05-20

A contract between Critobal, a Chinese immigrant, and Serafin Gomez. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Cristobal completed a contract with Felipe Mulhice. Cristobal was originally from Canton. Signed by Serafin Gomez, the governor, and Cristobal, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866-05-20

This is a labor contract that was shared between Higiorio, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Pedro del Campo; the term of the contract was for one year. 1866.

Created Date
1866-05-30

A contract between Guillermo, a Chinese settler, and Felipe Macao. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Guillermo was originally from Canton. Signed by Jose de Garcia, Felipe Macau, Acarpo Aloansa, and Guillermo, who signed in Chinese

Created Date
1868

A contract between Marcelino, a Chinese immigrant, and Felipe Macao. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Marcelino was originally from Canton. Notes that Marcelino had completed a contract with Jose Manuel Laos previously. Contract signed by Felipe Macao, Jose de Garcia, Acarpo Aloansa, and Marcelino. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866

A contract between Roque, a Chinese immigrant and Miguel Plana. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Roque was originally from Canton. Roque did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. The contract is signed by Miguel Plana, Valentin Mortin, Anastacio Gonzales, and Luis Torres.

Created Date
1868-08-24

A contract between Apiselo Alpa, a Chinese immigrant and Paulino Ligarreta. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Apiselo was originally from Canton. Notes that Apiselo completed a contract with Tomas Alogila previously. The contract is signed by Apiselo Alpa, Paulino Ligarreta, and Juan Caña. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1868-07-08

A contract between Serafin, a Chinese settler, and Vidal Delioguez. The contract was to last for a year of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that the company Serafin completed a contract with La Pura y Limpia previously. Signed by Vidal Delioguez and Serafin, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1865

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

A contract between Judas, a Chinese settler, and Manuel Bello. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Judas completed a contract with Manuel Bello previously. Signed by Manuel Bello, Jose Lopez Francais, and Judas, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1874

A contract between Vongcheong Lon, a Chinese settler, and R. Solares. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Vongcheong Lon was originally from Fayune. Also features contract in Chinese.

Contributors
黃, 昌龍
Created Date
1866

A contract between Ricardo, a Chinese settler, and Angel Garcia. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Ricardo was originally from Canton. Notes that Ricardo completed a contract with Joaquin Forcano previously.

Created Date
1867-11-26

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

Contributors
蔡, 亞應
Created Date
1866-01-15

A contract between Jose, a Chinese settler, and Manuel Gil. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted Jose was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1865-04-26

A contract between Sebastian, a Chinese settler, and the Company of the Urban Railroad (Ferrocarril Urbano). The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Sebastian was originally from Canton. Signed by Franco Ortega and Sebastian, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1865

A contract between, Low Li Yang, a Chinese settler, and B. Solares. 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 B. Solares and Jose A. de Orbeta.

Created Date
1866

Certifies that Fernando, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Francisco Arrieta.

Created Date
1868-09-06

A contract between Ro Moore, a Chinese settler and Pedro Reynaldo. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Ro Moore did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Carlos Catalan and Pedro Reynaldo.

Created Date
1858

Chinese settler contract signed in Canton in 1866. Written is Castilian and Chinese. Visible defects. The Chinese, Liang Riquan was willing to go to Cuba as a worker. This contract was issued to him and he was requested to follow the instruction.

Contributors
粱, 日全
Created Date
1866