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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.


Mime Type
  • application/pdf
Resource Type
  • Image
Date Range
1832 1992


A letter to the Secretary of the Government of Cuba requesting naturalization of a Chinese settler, Leonardo Valdez. He was originally from Canton, but promises to renounce his rights as a citizen of China if he is make a Cuban citizen. Included are records of his past work contracts and letters of recommendation from past employers.

Created Date
1873

Application for permanent residence in Cuba for a Chinese settler, Roman. Included are his baptism certificate, a work contract and a request to be rehired, and several recommendations from the owners of the Sugar Refinery of Carmen.

Created Date
1865

These are the records of Jose Dolores, a Chinese settler brought from China to Cuba for work. The documents include handwritten contracts with various owners and recommendation letters, detailing his good behavior as a worker. His certificate of nationality is also included and was accepted by the governor of Cuba.

Created Date
1864

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 file includes several document. One of them is a contract written in both Spanish and Chinese. According to the contract, Xie Tian was willing to go to Cuba as a worker. So he was requested to sign the contract and should follow the rules listed on it.

Created Date
1865

A blank contract for employees working with agents Mariano del Pielago and Merino Gelledo. It has two language versions: Spanish and Chinese. It indicates the instructions that the employees should follow.

Documents pertaining to the hiring of Chinese settlers by the sugar factory, Carmelita, owned by Rita Barbaria de Lara.

Created Date
1861

Documents pertaining to the hiring of Chinese settlers by Carmelita, the sugar factory owned by Rita Barbaria de Lara in Guanabana. These workers were hired for a eight year contract.

Created Date
1852

Record of business deal for Benigno Gonzalez Alvarez and Luis Lusini with the Society of Asian Colonization concerning the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work.

Created Date
1855-01-30

Record of business deal for Cayetano and Luis Lusini with the Society of Asian Colonization concerning the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work.

Created Date
1855-01-30

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their contracts and hiring practices concerning Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals between Troncaso, Bustamanta y Co and other companies, specifically relating to the contracting of Chinese workers or moving settlers from the employment of one company to another. Many of these settlers were between 19 and 40 years of age.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal. The ages were left blank on their contracts.

Created Date
1860-10-07

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-12-29

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-12-29

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860-08-21

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-09-07

A complaint filed by several Chinese settlers concerning their contracts.

Created Date
1870

Records multiple documents that identify abuses on the Chinese settlers at the sugar plantation “San Laureano” in 1861 by Antonio Benitez, the owner of the planation. An investigation by the commission charged with looking into the complaints confirms that the workers were not paid the amount stated in their contracts. Letters signed by Julio Martina, a government agent.

Created Date
1861-12-27

Report of 23 Chinese settlers who breached their contracts with its owner Francisco Ferrer Calleja, Sugar Mill owner "Ojo de Agua". They ran away from Francisco Ferrer Calleja.

Created Date
1869

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, 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 then entered into a contract with Gaspar Vinato.

Created Date
1861

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, Roque de Lara. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1861-07-02

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

Created Date
1861-06-19

Certifies that several settlers completed their eight-year-contracts with Rita Barberia at the sugar factory, Carmencita. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements. Their cedulas or identity records and contracts were originally included with the letter, but are not included in this document. The Chinese settlers were named Felipe, Leon Juan, and Victoriano.

Created Date
1861

Certifies that Felipe, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Cristobal Madan.

Created Date
1868-08-30

A contract between Enrique, a Chinese settler, and Juan, a Cuban landowner. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Juan noted that Enrique completed a contract with Miguel Tabra previously. Juan was originally from Canton. Contract signed by Juan, Juan Gonzales, Carlos Gonzales. Signed by the settler in Chinese.

Created Date
1868-05-20

A contract between Vong-Ayon, a Chinese settler, and the Asian Company of Havana run by A. R. Ferran and Rafael R. Torices. The Asian Company of Havana was to bring Vong-Ayon from China to Cuba to work. The contract lists the legal requirements of both the settler and the company. Signed by Cañete y Morales, A. R. Ferran, and J. R. Vargas. Also written in Chinese.

Contributors
黃, 閠
Created Date
1857-11-26

A contract between Fang-Achat, a Chinese settler, and L. Miguel Gonzalez. The contract does not state how long it was supposed to last, but it lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Contract signed by L. Miguel Gonzalez and two others, but not the settler. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Contributors
鄧, 七

A contract between Primo, a Chinese settler, and Manuel Cono. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Manuel Cono noted that Primo completed a contract with D. Luis previously. Primo was originally from Amoy. Primo did not negotiation or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Contract signed by Manuel Chao and Manuel Cono, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1868-06-12

A contract between Juan Chan Asan, a Chinese immigrant, and Andro Valle. He already completed a contract with Gabriel Herrera. Sined by the governor, Juan Chan Asan, and Andro Valle.

Created Date
1868-05-04

A contract between Victor Jatu, a Chinese immigrant, and Pedro Chacon in Guanajay. Signed by the governor, Romero, Victor Jatu, and Pedro Chacon. Pedro signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1869-07-20

A contract between Critobal, a Chinese immigrant, and Serafin Gomez. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Cristobal completed a contract with Felipe Mulhice. Cristobal was originally from Canton. Signed by Serafin Gomez, the governor, and Cristobal, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866-05-20

This is a labor contract that was shared between Higiorio, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Pedro del Campo; the term of the contract was for one year. 1866.

Created Date
1866-05-30

A contract between Guillermo, a Chinese settler, and Felipe Macao. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Guillermo was originally from Canton. Signed by Jose de Garcia, Felipe Macau, Acarpo Aloansa, and Guillermo, who signed in Chinese

Created Date
1868

A contract between Marcelino, a Chinese immigrant, and Felipe Macao. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Marcelino was originally from Canton. Notes that Marcelino had completed a contract with Jose Manuel Laos previously. Contract signed by Felipe Macao, Jose de Garcia, Acarpo Aloansa, and Marcelino. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866

A contract between Jose Tomas, a Chinese immigrant, and Juan. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Jose Tomas completed a contract previously. Contract signed by Juan, the governor, and Jose Tomas. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1867

A contract between Domingo, a Chinese settler, and Pedro J. Garcia. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Domingo completed a contract with Pedro J. Garcia previously. Contract signed by Pedro J. Garcia, Domingo, and the governor. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1868

A contract between Carlos, a Chinese immigrant and Jose Oteza. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Contract signed by Jose Manuel Gonzales, Carlos, and the governor.

Created Date
1868

A contract between Roque, a Chinese immigrant and Miguel Plana. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Roque was originally from Canton. Roque did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. The contract is signed by Miguel Plana, Valentin Mortin, Anastacio Gonzales, and Luis Torres.

Created Date
1868-08-24

A contract between Apiselo Alpa, a Chinese immigrant and Paulino Ligarreta. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Apiselo was originally from Canton. Notes that Apiselo completed a contract with Tomas Alogila previously. The contract is signed by Apiselo Alpa, Paulino Ligarreta, and Juan Caña. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1868-07-08

A contract between Ambrosio, a Chinese immigrant and Jose Antonio Franco. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Jose Antonio Franco noted that Ambrosio completed a contract with Jose Hernandez previously. Ambrosio was original from Chon. Ambrosio did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates someone else signed for him. Contract signed by Jose A. Franco, Joaquin Lerpona, Tenunte Gabor, and Manuel Rave

Created Date
1876-05-12

A contract between Ambrosio, a Chinese settler, and Jose Franco. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Ambrosio completed a contract with Jose Hernandez previously. Ambrosio was originally from Chon. Ambrosio did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. The contract is signed by Jose Franco, Manuel Rave, and Joaquin.

Created Date
1866-05-20

A contract between Telefiro, a Chinese settler, and Luis de Alele. Telefiro was originally from Macao. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Telefiro completed a contract previously. Telefiro did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Domingo Sadaña, Andres Mendez, and Jose Ladele.

Created Date
1866-05-20

A contract between Remipo and Manuel Borgan. This contract is signed by Remipo in Chinese and Manuel Borgan.

Created Date
1869

A contract between Higinio Crispin, a Chinese immigrant, and Vicente Vega. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Higinio was originally from Canton. Noted Higinio completed a contract with Jacinto Larrinago previously. Signed by Vicente Vega and Higinio.

Created Date
1868-05-27

This is a work contract between Anaeleto, a Chinese immigrant working in Cuba and a company that builds roads. Anaeleto originally was from Laui-sin. The contract is signed by Anaeleto in Chinese, Manuel Borque, and the governor, Jose Lope.

Created Date
1864