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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.


Certifies that Valentin, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1871

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

Certifies that Lee, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1861-06-27

Certifies that Simon Perez, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer. He then applied for permanent residency.

Created Date
1866-06-28

Certifies that Ventura Lici Kie, a Chinese settler, completed a contract with his employer, La Panchita. He was contracted soon after with Jose Ruiz.

Created Date
1866-04-16

Letter to the governor from Diez, discussing the legal requirements for Chinese settlers to be granted permanent residency in Cuba. Mentions that most settlers, after completing an eight year contract and being granted residency, preferred to enter into more contracts rather than seek work separately. Also discusses the abuses by employers who break their contracts with Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1861

Diez, an agent for the governor, recommends that some Chinese settlers who completed their contracts with their employer be granted permanent residency. They met the legal requirements of completing an eight year contract with one employer. The letter also states that these workers always exhibited good conduct and behavior.

Created Date
1860

Records indicating that the chief of police had a meeting with the Governor to discuss new laws that affect the employers of Chinese settlers and the granting of permanent residency to those settlers. The settlers had to fulfill certain requirements, usually with concerns to their jobs, religion, and moral conduct, in order to gain permanent residency. The police were charged with removing any settlers who did not maintain jobs or contracts with their employers before or after being granted permanent residency.

Created Date
1861-06-18

A recommendation letter from an unnamed employer concerning the Chinese settlers he employed and their permanent residency status.

Created Date
1861

This collection of personal documents belonging to Antonio, a Chinese settler, forms his application for permanent residence in Cuba. The documents in this collection include his first contract, baptism certificate, and "reviews" written by his past owners attesting to his good conduct. The second to lat page in this selection certifies that Antonio sought to become a Spanish subject and obey Spanish laws; it is signed by an official who accepted Antonio's request for permanent residence in Cuba. 1863

Created Date
1863-09-10