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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
1858 1874


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

Created Date
1868-06-11

This collection of personal documents that belonged to Ricardo, a Chinese settler, specifically his application for permanent residence in Cuba. The documents in this collection include his first contract, personal ID card, baptism certificate, and several "reviews" written by his past owners attesting to good conduct. The final document in this selection is a testimony of Ricardo's promise to abide by Cuban and Spanish laws; he signed it upon the approval of his request for permanent residence.

Created Date
1863-10-10

This baptism certificate belonged to Acuam Jo, a Chinese settler, who upon being baptized was renamed Juan Bautista. Acuam Jo was originally from Canton in China, and arrived in Cuba as an indentured servant in May of the year 1853. His original owner for his first eight year labor contract was a man named Juan de Dios Gonzalez. During the time that he was baptized and this certificate was written, Acuam Jo was in the process of completing a second contract with Jose Barrera in public works. 1864

Created Date
1864-09-13

These death and identity records pertain to Felipe, a Chinese settler. The first document indicates that when Felipe died he was 51 years old, in the process of completing his preliminary eight year contract as an indentured servant, and he was working as a fieldworker for D. Antonio G. Solar. The second document in this selection is the death certificate that was written for Felipe on March 29, 1861; the cause of his death was described within this record. The final document in this selection is Felipe's cedula, or neighborhood identity card. According to the cedula, Felipe originally shared his ...

Created Date
1861-05-20

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

This is an application for permanent residency for Pascual, a Chinese settler. It includes the settler's original contract signed in Macao, a letter of recommendation from a previous owner, stating that he had completed an eight year contract, his cedula or identity card, and a certificate of baptism.

Created Date
1865

This document served to record personal details regarding Join Achain- a Chinese settler, who had just been baptized and renamed Jose. Originally from Yoncon in China, Jose began serving his eight year term as a contracted indentured servant on January 15, 1859. Jose Moneo y Delgado, the man who wrote this document, was Jose's contract owner and godfather for baptism.

Created Date
1859

Record of a Chinese settler letter for home. Contains: application for a certificate of naturalization of Chinese settlers. Signed in Chinese, chinese settler original contract in spanish Cardenas 1867 signed in chinese, Record of baptism 1866, recommendations of good conduct from the Captaincy of Lagunillas, nature tasting request signed in Chinese, original contract Macao Chinese settler written in Chinese and Spanish in 1858 and signed in Chinese, pledge of allegiance to the Spanish crown Chinese settler

Created Date
1858

Record the death of a Chinese settler in 1865. contains: other documents; identity card Chinese settlers; original contract written in Chinese and Castilian, Macao 1860.

Created Date
1865

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