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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.


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

Record with multiple documents about a Chinese settler including christening record; labor-hire document; successful completion of term-contract certification; certificate of good conduct; and other documents

Created Date
1866

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 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 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

Contracts of Lorenzo, a Chinese settler and his employer, Juan Moreno. Each contract was to last for six months and each lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Lorenzo had completed a previous contract with Juan Moreno not included in this document. Signed by Alejandro, Juan Moreno, and Jose Jorge.

Created Date
1879

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

This collection of personal documents belonged to Pascual Guerra, a Chinese settler, and comprised his application for permanent residence in Cuba. The documents in this collection include his first contract, baptism certificate, and a review written by one past owner attesting to his poor conduct. The final document in this selection certifies that Pascual sought to become a Spanish subject and obey Spanish laws; it is signed by an official who accepted Pascual's request for permanent residence in Cuba. 1863

Created Date
1863-09-09

This is a document requesting permanent residency for Antonio, a Chinese settler, who has completed his contract with Jorge Harris.

Created Date
1863