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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 1957


These are the records of Jose Dolores, a Chinese settler brought from China to Cuba for work. The documents include handwritten contracts with various owners and recommendation letters, detailing his good behavior as a worker. His certificate of nationality is also included and was accepted by the governor of Cuba.

Created Date
1864

Ancate, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. He was contracted by Felix Garcia y Co and chose the name Francisco.

Created Date
1865-06-11

A blank contract for employees working with agents Mariano del Pielago and Merino Gelledo. It has two language versions: Spanish and Chinese. It indicates the instructions that the employees should follow.

Record of business deal for Benigno Gonzalez Alvarez with the Society of Asian Colonization concerning the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work.

Created Date
1860-05-19

Record of business deal for Benigno Gonzalez Alvarez with the Society of Asian Colonization concerning the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work.

Created Date
1860-05-09

Record of business deal for Cayetano Corazion and Luis Lusini with the Society of Asian Colonization concerning the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work.

Created Date
1860-03-31

Record of business deal for Benigno Gonzalez Alvarez and Luis Lusini with the Society of Asian Colonization concerning the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work.

Created Date
1855-01-30

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their contracts and hiring practices concerning Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals between Troncaso, Bustamanta y Co and other companies, specifically relating to the contracting of Chinese workers or moving settlers from the employment of one company to another. Many of these settlers were between 19 and 40 years of age.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-12-29

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860-08-21

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-09-07

This is a neighborhood identity card (cedula) that belonged to a Chinese settler in Cuba. When this cedula was issued, the settler was 27 years old, a fieldworker, and in the process of completing his initial eight year labor contract as an indentured servant. The names of some of his contract owners are also listed on the cedula. Havana, 1861.

Created Date
1861-11-02

This is a neighborhood identity card (cedula) that belonged to Guan- a Chinese settler. Details included in the ID include his age, the type of work he did (domestic service), and information about his contract owners and their address.

Created Date
1861-01-02

This is an identity card, known as a cedula, that was issued for a Chinese settler named Lucas. At the time that this cedula was assigned to Lucas, he was 29 years old, and in the process of completing his eight year contract as an indentured servant. The names of two of his past landlords and his current one were listed on the cedula. Originally, when he arrived in Cuba, his contract had been transferred to M. B. Pereda who then transferred the contract to Juan Peyra. Jose M. Criado was Lucas's present owner at the time that this cedula …

Created Date
1864-12-16

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

Created Date
1861-06-27

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

A contract between Ricardo, a Chinese settler, and Ramon Vila y Terrer. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Ramon Vila y Terrer and Ricardo, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1869

A contract between, Sim Cheng Cristobal, a Chinese settler, and the 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 MacKay, the agent, and Cristobal, who signed in Chinese. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Contributors
林, 清
Created Date
1854-03-06

A contract between Mariano, 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. Signed by Ignacio F. de Castro and Mariano, who signed in Chinese. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1855-02-02