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.


A contract between Lau Telesforo, 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. Lau was originally from Tokien. Signed by Ignacio F. de Castro and Lau, who signed in Chinese. Also featured in Chinese.

Contributors
沈, 使
Created Date
1863-09-10

A contract between San Kim or Fernando Guerra, a Chinese settler, and an 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 Al MacKay and San Kim, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1854-06-05

A contract between Jose or Ang Ki, a Chinese settler, and Ignacio T. de Casta and Manuel B. Pereda. 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 T. de Casta and Ang Ki, who signed in Chinese. Contract also featured in Chinese.

Contributors
洪, 柿
Created Date
1863-09-10

A contract between Zuan-Tae, a Chinese settler, and Ignacio Fernandes 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. Zuan-Tae did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Nicario Canete y Moral. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1863-09-22

A letter to the Brigadier General Governor concerning the permanent residency of Saturnina, a Chinese settler who completed her eight year control with Marques Duqueme. Her contract, in Spanish and Chinese, is also included. 1855.

Contributors
林, 贵
Created Date
1855

Certifies that Francisco Colono, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Diego de Fonseca.

Created Date
1868

This collection of personal records formed an application for permanent residence on the island of Cuba that belonged to a Chinese settler named Leoncio. The documents included in this collection are the formal written request for Leoncio's permanent residence card, his baptism certificate, several documents written by his past owners attesting to his good conduct during the completion of his labor contracts, and five copies of five of his second labor contracts. 1865.

Created Date
1865-09-02

This collection of official documents formed the application for a carta de domicilio, or permanent residence card, that belonged to a Chinese settler named Fermin. The documents included in the application packet include two of Fermin's second labor contracts from 1860 and 1867, his baptism certificate that was signed in 1867, a rehire request signed in 1867, a certificate written by one of his past owners that certified that Fermin had completed two labor contracts with satisfactory conduct, and a written request for his carta de domicilio that was signed on April 6, 1868.

Created Date
1868-04-06

Application documents “Letter Home” (permanent residence on the island of Cuba) 1868. Contains: signed application documents in Chinese; certificate of baptism of the Catholic Church; Chinese settler contract in the city of Cardenas; several letters of recommendation from several owner certifying that their contracts fulfilled without problems

Created Date
1868

This compilation of documents represents Onofre's request to either be naturalized as a Spanish citizen, or to receive his permission for permanent residence in Cuba. The documents included are his first contract, baptism certificate, personal ID card, and his request for residency, among several other personal documents. The first page in this selection is the written request for his permanent residence of naturalization, and the second to last document is the acceptance of his request for permanent residence.1863.

Created Date
1863-09-22