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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
1832 1992


This is a cedula, or identity card, that belonged to a Chinese settler named Listo. At the time that this cedula was issued for him, Listo was 29 years old, and in the process of completing an eight year labor contract with Jose Aranguren. 1865.

Created Date
1865

This is a neighborhood identity card (cedula) that belonged to Francisco- a Chinese settler, who was 33 years old, and in the process of completing his eight year labor contract as an indentured servant working for a railroad company at the time that the ID card was issued. 1864.

Created Date
1864

This is an identity card, known as a cedula, that was issued for a Chinese settler named Lucas. At the time that this cedula was assigned to Lucas, he was 29 years old, and in the process of completing his eight year contract as an indentured servant. The names of two of his past landlords and his current one were listed on the cedula. Originally, when he arrived in Cuba, his contract had been transferred to M. B. Pereda who then transferred the contract to Juan Peyra. Jose M. Criado was Lucas's present owner at the time that this cedula ...

Created Date
1864-12-16

The cedula or an identity record for a Chinese settler, Francisco. He was brought from Soltero, China to Cuba to work for M. B. Pereda for eight years. Then, his contract was transfered to R. A. Leull for an additional eight years. 1864

Created Date
1864

This is a monthly check for wages given to Chinese settlers by their owners. The wage amounts were stipulated in their labor contracts. 1863

Created Date
1863-09-30

This collection of documents pertains to the discovery of an illegal Chinese lottery in the home of a Chinese settler, and the ensuing investigation to determine the culprits and amass sufficient evidence against them to determine an appropriate punishment for the crime. An index was provided at the beginning of the packet to outline the various testimonies, minutes, evidence, and sentence included in the packet. Antonio Alli and Jose Alem were the two Chinese settlers who were charged with organizing the Chinese lottery and distributing the lottery ballots. The first document proceeding the index page is the testimony that was ...

Created Date
1886-01-27

A complaint filed by Francisco Orta in the name of three Chinese settlers, Francisco, Manuel, and Pablo concerning their contracts.

Created Date
1861

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