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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
1860 1879


A contract between Sebastiano, a Chinese settler, and Maximo Mora. The contract was to last for three months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Sebastiano completed a contract with Maximo Mora previously. Sebastiano was originally from Tokien. Signed by Maximo Mora and Sebastiano, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1865

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 Simon, a Chinese settler, and Miguel. The contract was to last for eight months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Simon completed a contract with the Sugar Refinery del Carmen previously. Signed by Miguel and Suireon.

Created Date
1865

Certifies that Justo, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Jose de Cannabaco who owned a business.

Created Date
1860

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

Justino Campbell transferred his contracts with several Chinese settlers in Cardenas and Matanzas to the Superior Civil Government so that these workers may obtain their cedulas or personal identity cards.

Created Date
1861-05-08

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

Records for the ship Grey Hound, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with the Company Asiatica, Torices Puente y Co, and Ferran y Duperris. On this trip, the Grey Hound brought settlers from China to work for the railroad in Matanzas.

Created Date
1861

Several Chinese settlers were hired to work. They were transported to Cuba aboard the ship Leopoldo Cateaux under contract with Juan Puey. These workers were hired to work in Matanzas.

Created Date
1863-03-20

This is a list of sixty Chinese settlers whose eight year labor contracts were transferred to Banco de San Carlos upon their arrival in Havana. The settlers were transported to Cuba aboard the Spanish ship "Emigrante", and they were required to work as indentured servants for eight years. These settlers were hired by the bank to do fieldwork in Matanzas, Cuba. 1865.

Created Date
1865-03-15

6 Chinese settlers were hired to work. They landed in Cuba in the port of Matanzas and were housed in the Depot. These workers were hired to work for an unnamed employer.

Created Date
1872-09-18

Records for the ship Encarnacion, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Marino Gillado. On this trip, Encarnacion brought twenty settlers from China to work for Juan Vermay.

Created Date
1865-03-22

Shipping records for the ship, the Carmelita, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. The Carmelita has fulfilled its contract for the shipment of these settlers on the 30th of October, 1852. These settlers were to be contracted by other employers.

Created Date
1860

Record of a Chinese settler letter home. Contains: recontract request signed in Chinese in 1865, Chinese settler original contract in Matanzas in 1864, Identity card for Chinese settlers in 1864, Chinese settler original contract in Matanzas in 1865, record of baptism of Chinese settler 1865, Request for a letter of address- he said he was hired at the ingenio Carmen oliva, compliance with contract document in the sugar mill with carmen olivia 1866, recommendations of good conduct from previous owners, pledge of allegiance the the Spanish crown signed in chinese

Created Date
1865

List of workers who were recently hired by various employers. It lists the name of the employer or company, the name of the settler and their personal details.

Created Date
1862

Records pertaining to the right of a company to not pay for the burial of their employees if they die while contracted. The company in question is a railroad and the judge ruled that they did not have to pay for their worker's burial.

Created Date
1866-10-30

Records pertaining to the right of a company to not pay for the burial of their employees if they die while contracted. The company in question is a railroad and has been solicited by the government concerning the case.

Created Date
1867-10-14

Records for the ship Encarnacion, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Marino Gillado. On this trip, the Encarnacion brought settlers from China to work for Arrengui Ganz.

Created Date
1865-03-24

Records for the ship Encarnacion, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Marino Gillado. On this trip, the Encarnacion brought settlers from China to work for Arrengui Ganz.

Created Date
1865-03-24

Records for the ship Carmelita, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Rita Barbarca a la Lara. On this trip, Carmelita brought settlers from China to work in Matanzas.

Created Date
1861