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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.


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 the first labor contract that belonged to a Chinese settler named Benigno, and his owner, Ramon Felipe. Benigno was brought from Soltero to Cuba to work as an indentured servant. The term of the contract was for one year. 1868. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1868-07-30

A contract between Benigno, a Chinese settler, and Gabriel Vivo y Fuentes. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted Benigno completed a contract with Teresa Sermanat previously. Beigno was originally from Canton. Benigno did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Juan Gellamano, Luis Alcantara, and Manuel Ruiz.

Created Date
1869

A contract between Modesto and Gabriel Vivo y Fuentes. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. He was originally from Macao.

Created Date
1869

A contract between Manuel, a Chinese settler, and Gabriel Vivo y Fuentes. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Manuel completed a contract with Dona Lorna previously. Manuel did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Vivo y Fuentes, the governor, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1869-08-04

A contract between Benito, a Chinese settler, and Gabriel Vivo y Fuentes. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Benito completed a contract with another employer previously.

Created Date
1869-08-04

A contract between Celestino, a Chinese settler, and Gabriel Nevo. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Celestino did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by the governor, Gabriel Nevo, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1869-08-04

This is the second labor contract between Cipirian, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Gabriel Vivo y Fuentes in the city of Jaruco. Cipirian was originally from Canton and brought to Cuba to serve as an indentured servant. The length of the contract was for a year and details the rules of the contract under Cuban law. His salary was six and a half pesos. This document is signed by Gabriel Vivo y Fuentes, the governor of Jaruco and two witnesses, but not by Cipirian himself.

Created Date
1869-08-04

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Brito, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Gabriel Vivo y Fuentes; the term of the contract was for one year. 1869.

Created Date
1869-08-04

A contract between Salomi, a Chinese settler, and Ramon Flores Apodaca. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Salomi did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by the governor, Ramon Flores Apodaca, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1869-08-05