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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.


This is a second labor contract that belonged to Severo- a Chinese settler, and his owner, D. Francisco Gandarilla. The purpose of this second contract was to renew and extend Severo's original eight year labor contract with Gandarilla for six months. 1869.

Created Date
1869-11-15

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 response to a rehire request made by Trinidad Amador, the owner of Yela de Pinos, written and signed by the the count Lagunilla, governor of Cuba. It states that the contracts of five indentured servants, Bernarndo, Candido, Teofilo, Amado, and Alicio will be renewed. No date given.

Created Date
1875

A contract between Jacinto, a Chinese settler, and Jose Olauo. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Jose Olauo wrote a letter of good conduct for a future employer. Signed by Jose Olauo and Jacinto, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1875-10-26

A contract between Dionisio, a Chinese settler, and Jose Sanchez. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Jose Sanchez and Dionisio, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1861-06-10

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Paulino- a Chinese settler, and Martin de Cardenas y Layas. In this contract, Paulino renewed a previous labor contract with Martin for six months. No date was included in the contract.

Created Date
1860

A contract between Octavio, a Chinese settler, and la Compania de Caminos de hierro de la Habana, a Cuban company. A contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Manuel Roque and Octavio, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1867

A contract between Jose, a Chinese settler, and Martin de Cardenas y Layas. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Martin de Cardenas y Layas and Jose, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1860

A contract between Dionisio, a Chinese settler, and Jose Sanchez. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Dionisio was required to enter this contract to correct his deficiencies his previous work contracts, and for being disobedient. Signed by Jose Sanchez and Dionisio, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1861-06-10

A contract between Jose, a Chinese settler, and Martin de Cardenas y Layas. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes thatJose was required to enter this contract to correct his deficiencies in his previous work contracts, and for being disobedient.

Created Date
1860

A contract between Vicente, a Chinese settler, and Jose Sanchez Mezodio. The contract was to last for two and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes Vicente completed a contract with Jose Sanchez Mezodio previously. Signed by Jose Sanchez Mezodio and Vicente, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1861-06-03

A contract between Carlos Lo Agou, a Chinese settler, and Antonio Marin. The contract was to last for four years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Carlos was required to enter into this contract to correct his deficiencies in his previous work contracts, and for being disobedient. Signed by Antonio Marin and Carlos, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1862

A labor contract between Claudio, a Chinese settler, and Jose Morales. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Jose Morales and Claudio, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1863-04-23

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. Noted that Ricardo completed a contract with Ramon Vila y Terrer previously. Signed by Ramon Vila y Terrer and Ricardo, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1861

This is a second work contract that was shared between Antonio- a Chinese settler, and his owner, D. Martin de Cardenas y Layas. Prior to entering this agreement, Antonio was being held in the municipal deposit of the capital; according to the fourth and fifth articles in the contract, and it is possible that he was required to enter this contract as a punishment for past transgressions against his owner. The length of this contract was for six months. Signed in Chinese.

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