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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 the second labor contract between Cipirian, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Gabriel Vivo y Fuentes in the city of Jaruco. Cipirian was originally from Canton and brought to Cuba to serve as an indentured servant. The length of the contract was for a year and details the rules of the contract under Cuban law. His salary was six and a half pesos. This document is signed by Gabriel Vivo y Fuentes, the governor of Jaruco and two witnesses, but not by Cipirian himself.

Created Date
1869-08-04

A contract between Ramon, a Chinese settler, and Francisco San Varilla. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Ramon was originally from Macao. Ramon did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Francisco San Varilla and the governor of Havana.

Created Date
1869-11-15

This is a second labor contract that belonged to Matias, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Ramon Flores Apodaca. Matias was brought from China to Cuba to work as an indentured servant and the term of the contract was for one year. This is signed by the governor, Ramon Flores Apodaca, and two witnesses. 1869.

Created Date
1869-08-05

A contract between Homobono, a Chinese settler, and Juan Serrate. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Homobono completed a contract with Angel previously.

Created Date
1867-06-13

This is a neighborhood identity card (cedula) that belonged to a Chinese settler named Paulino. At the time that this ID was issued for him, Paulino was 32 years old, and in the process of completing his eight year labor contract as an indentured servant.

Created Date
1865

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

A contract between Jose Maria, a Chinese settler, and Ramon Flores Apodaca. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by the governor, Ramon Flores Apodaca, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1869-08-05

This is the first contract between Feliciano Yam and Goicoaría y Hermano for an undisclosed amount of time. December 1854.

Created Date
1854

A contract between Modesto and Gabriel Vivo y Fuentes. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. He was originally from Macao.

Created Date
1869

This is a cedula or ID card for Joaquin, a Chinese settler, in 1865, listing how long he had been living in Cuba. He was hired for eight years by the Society of Immigration and contracted to a mining company.

Created Date
1865

This is the second labor contract between Gavino, a Chinese settler, and D. Ramon Flores Apodaca, his owner. Gavino was brought to Cuba from Hay Fon in China to serve as an indentured servant. The term of this contract was for one year, and according to the document, Gavino and D. Ramon shared a previous labor contract prior to this one. This contract is signed by Ramon Flores Apodaca, the governor of Jaruco, and two witnesses, but not Gavino himself.

Created Date
1869-08-05

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Laureano- a Chinese settler, and his owner Francisco Kalli; the term of the contract was for one year. 1867.

Created Date
1867-10-03

A contract between Felix, a Chinese settler, and Esteban Parody. The contract was to last for three years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Felix did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Esteban Pasos, Fernando, and Jose Herman.

Created Date
1862-02-10

A contract between Jose, 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. Jose did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Jose Lopez Francas, Guillermo Gomez, Julian Maresma.

Created Date
1865-07-19

A contract between Joaquin, a Chinese settler, and Ramon Flores Apodaca. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Joaquin did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Julian Gellanea, Vicente, and Manuel Arey.

Created Date
1869-08-05

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Blas, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Jose Maria Bosquet y Cara. Blas was brought from China to Cuba to work as an indentured servant and the length of the contract was for two years. This is signed by the governor, Jose Maria Bosquet y Cara, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1871-05-06

A contract between Hipolito, a Chinese settler, and Pedro Reynaldos. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Hipolito completed the contract at the end of its proposed term. Hipolito did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Carlos Catalan and Pedro Reynaldo. Handwritten.

Created Date
1872-08-05

This is the first labor contract between Marcelo, a Chinese settler, and Ramon Flores Apodaca, his owner. Marcelo was brought to Cuba from China to work as an indentured servant in the fields. The term of the contract was for one year and, according to the document, Marcelo had completed a previous contract with a different owner.

Created Date
1869-08-05

This is a list of Chinese settlers who have been rehired for use in public works. 1862.

Created Date
1862

A contract between Benigno, a Chinese settler, and Gabriel Vivo y Fuentes. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted Benigno completed a contract with Teresa Sermanat previously. Beigno was originally from Canton. Benigno did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Juan Gellamano, Luis Alcantara, and Manuel Ruiz.

Created Date
1869