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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
1847 1872


Relates that Juan Ley Acheu, a Chinese settler, was granted permanent residency in Cuba after fulfilling the legal requirements.

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.

A contract between Leopoldo, a Chinese settler, and D. Fernando Tuton, an agent for la Compania de Hacendados. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Leopoldo did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by the agent and Manuel Mente.

Contributors
林, 士
Created Date
1872-12-05

This is a first contract that was signed by Li Naiye, a Chinese settler, in which he agreed to travel to Cuba to work as an indentured servant for eight years. He was brought to Cuba on the patronage of Rosendo Mayos and the Company of Hacendados. Several contracts ares included and it is later states that the contracts were fulfilled.

Created Date
1872

Contract of a Chinese settler, born in Nam today, China. Written in Spanish and Chinese.

Created Date
1872

This is a first contract signed by a Chinese settler, in which he agreed to travel to Cuba to work as an indentured servant for eight years. Macao

Created Date
1871-12-02

A contract between a Chinese settler and La Alianza. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer.

Contributors
鄭, 清
Created Date
1871-11-29

Marco, a Chinese settler, fulfilled a contract with Ramon Saladriga. Saladriga recommended that Marco be given permanent residency in Cuba because he met the legal requirements of completing an eight year contract with one employer. The letter also states that Marco has been contracted by Jose Gomez.

Created Date
1870

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

This is a first contract that was signed in Macao, China, by Jon Duag, a Chinese immigrant; the duration of the contract was for eight years. The second page of the contract reveals that upon arrival in Cuba, he was ceded to Jose Busquet on Sept. 3, 1869, and once again to another owner on May 28, 1873.

Created Date
1869-03-22

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

This is a second labor contract between a Chinese settler named Tadeo and Augustus de Sagua, a Chinese landlord. The term of the contract was for one year. It was signed by the governor of Cuba, Augustus de Sagua, and Tadeo. Signed in Chinese by Tadeo.

Created Date
1868-05-26

Contract between Jose Miguel, a Chinese settler, and Francisco Glean. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Jose completed a contract previously. Signed by Francisco Glean and Jose Miguel, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1868

This is the first contract between Nicolas Eblao and Vicente Vega in Guanajay. The length of the contract is not stated. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1868

This document states that Rufino, a Chinese settler, completed his contract with Dolores Jimenez and then was contracted by a new owner upon its completion. Rufino filed a complaint against his second owner, Jose Cardenas, for a missing payment promised in his contract. Rufino entered into several more contracts with other owners afterwards.

Created Date
1868

A contract between Li Afi, a Chinese settler, and Selles Cruellas and Company. The contract was to last for five years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that this contract was later transferred to Marcel Fremeda in Havana. Signed by the governor, two witnesses, and Selles Cruellas.

Created Date
1868

A contract between Ysidoro, a Chinese settler, and Francisco Fernandez. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Ysidoro completed a contract with another owner previously. Signed by Francisco Fernandez, the governor and Ysidoro, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1867-08-12

A contract between Lu, a Chinese settler, and La Alianza. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Transferred to Jose M. Paya and then to J. G. Domenech. Lu did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by an agent from La Alianza and the original owner.

Contributors
余, 合
Created Date
1867-03-26

A contract between Chiong Seug, a Chinese settler, and R. Calderon, the agent of La Alianza. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Chiong Sung did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Upon reaching Havana, this contract was ceded to Domenach and Co.

Created Date
1867-03-26

A contract between Lam Som, a Chinese settler, and La Alianza. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes this contract was then transferred to José Paya and then, to J. G. Domenech. He did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Jose M.

Created Date
1867-03-10

This is the first labor contract that between a Chinese settler named Eleuterio, also known as Santiago, and his owner, Don Juan. The term of the contract was for one year. This document is signed by the governor of Colon, Don Juan and Eleuterio. 1867.

Created Date
1867-01-06

This is the first contract between Napoleon, a Chinese settler, and Juan Smith, his owner for the term of one year of work in Colon.

Created Date
1867

A contract between Atanacio, a Chinese settler and Juan Becio. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by the governor, Juan Becio, and Atanacio, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1867

A contract between Lilio, a Chinese settler and R. Calderon and la Alianza. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. His contract was then passed to Domenech.

Created Date
1867

These are two first contracts that were issued for two Chinese settlers in 1866 and in 1867. Signed and dated in Spanish.

Created Date
1866-10-18

This is the first labor contract that was shared between a Chinese settler named Leopoldo, and his owner, Felipe Macau, presumably a freed Chinese settler. Leopoldo had already completed a contract with Joaquin Tiago. He was brought from Canton to Cuba to work as an indentured servant in Soltero. The term of the contract with Don Felipe was for six months. 1866. Signed in Chinese by Leopoldo.

Created Date
1866-05-20

A contract between Choy Hieng, a Chinese settler, and B. Solares. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Choy did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by B. Solares and Jose A. de Orbeta.

Contributors
蔡, 亞應
Created Date
1866-01-15

A contract between Felix, a Chinese settler, and Jose Gomez y Rochet. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Felix completed a contract with Jose Gomez previously. Felix did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Jose Gomez.

Created Date
1866

A contract between Vongcheong Lon, a Chinese settler, and R. Solares. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Vongcheong Lon was originally from Fayune. Also features contract in Chinese.

Contributors
黃, 昌龍
Created Date
1866

This is the first contract signed by Felis for a year. It mentions his wages, how he is to be treated by his owners, and the expectations of his work. Cardenas, June 1866

Created Date
1866

A contract between Peng Guanxie, a Chinese settler and B. Solares. 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 B. Solares. Also features contract in Chinese.

Contributors
彭, 觀謝
Created Date
1866

A contract between Leong Chowin, a Chinese settler, and B. Solares. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Leong Chowin did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Jose A. de Orbeta and B. Solares.

Created Date
1866

A contract between Juan, a Chinese settler and Luis Alonso. The contract allowed Luis Alonso to bring Juan from China to Cuba to work. Juan was contracted by an employer upon arrival in Havana, a contract that lasted for two years.

Created Date
1865

A contract between Chiong, a Chinese settler, and Domingo de Aldama. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Chiong did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him.

Contributors
葉, 章
Created Date
1864

This is a first contract between Francisco, a Chinese settler, and Miguel Alfonia in March 1864.

Created Date
1864

This collection of personal documents that belonged to Ricardo, a Chinese settler, specifically his application for permanent residence in Cuba. The documents in this collection include his first contract, personal ID card, baptism certificate, and several "reviews" written by his past owners attesting to good conduct. The final document in this selection is a testimony of Ricardo's promise to abide by Cuban and Spanish laws; he signed it upon the approval of his request for permanent residence.

Created Date
1863-10-10

A contract between Juan, a Chinese settler, and Julian Garcia. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. He was originally from Canton. Noted he completed a contract with Jose Lopez Francesa previously. Juan did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Julian Garcia, the governor, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1863-08-27

A contract between Cheon Anan or Sixto, a Chinese settler, and Vargas y Co. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Cheon was originally from Sanoy. Also features contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1862

A contract between, Vong Ahony, a Chinese settler and Torices y Co. Notes the contract was transferred to Carmen Segueira. Vong Ahony did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by L. Manuel and Jose.

Created Date
1861-06-14

A contract between Choum-Atac, a Chinese settler, and Selles Crusellas and Company. The contract was to last for five years and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Notes that Choum-Atac was baptized as Francisco. This contract was signed by the governor, Joaquin Planas, and Selles Crusellas.

Created Date
1861

A contract between Tam-afsoi, a Chinese settler, and J. Campbell. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer.

Contributors
谭, 瑞
Created Date
1860-12-22

A contract between Felix, a Chinese settler, and Verga y Co. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Transferred to Jose W. y Bardenas and then to someone else.

Contributors
余, 成
Created Date
1860-07-26

A contract between Nam-Acao, a Chinese settler, and L. Manuel. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Contract was transferred to Joel Charles Caro.

Created Date
1859-03-30

A contract between Yao Afon, a Chinese settler, and J. Campbell. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time. Yao Afon signed in Chinese.

Contributors
邱, 芳
Created Date
1858-10-31

A contract between Chiu Achu, a Chinese settler, and Peredo Machado y Co. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer.

Contributors
趙, 才
Created Date
1858-03-16

A contract between Llong Aueng, a Chinese settler and A. R. Ferran and Rafael R. Torices. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Also featured contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1858-03-13

A contract between Mauricio, a Chinese settler, and A. R. Ferran and Rafael R. Torices. The contract was to last for eight years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes the contract was transferred to Filipe de Mena. Signed by A. R. Ferran, J. R. Vargas, and Mauricio, who signed in Chinese. Also the contract is featured in Chinese.

Created Date
1858-03-03

A contract between Afno, a Chinese settler, and F. Valdez. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes the contract was transferred to Jose Gomez. Afno did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by H. Velez.

Created Date
1858-01-18

A contract between Longsu, a Chinese settler, and Joaquin Pedroso y Echevarria. Notes the contract was then transferred to Cristoval Madan. On the back of the last page, the name Quintin Peoroso and the date June, 1858 is also mentioned. Siged by N. Yanco Armero and Longsu, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1857-12-10

A contract between Mauricio, a Chinese settler, and A. R. Ferran and Rafael R. Torices. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Mauricio signed in Chinese. Also features contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1857-11-24

A contract between Koanhy, a Chinese settler, and Jose Maria Morales. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of tie and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Yana Amero and Koanhy, who signed in Chinese.

Contributors
官, 起
Created Date
1857-03-20

A contract between Wan, a Chinese settler, and Joaquin Pedroso y Echeverra, Luis Pedroso and Jose Maria Morales. The contract was signed to bring Wan from China to Cuba to work. Wan was contracted in Havana by Merced Casanova, which was then transferred to Joaquin de Soto and Nicolas Garcia Valdez. Signed by Wan in Chinese.

Created Date
1857

A contract between Ahou, a Chinese settler, and A. R. Ferran. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer.

Contributors
鄭, 合
Created Date
1856-11-16

A contract between Huno Afon, a Chinese settler and A. P. Achenbach. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer.

Contributors
吳, 邦
Created Date
1856-11-15

This is a first labor contract that was signed by a young, Chinese settler named Yong Wong, in which he agreed to leave China and relocate to Cuba where he would be required to work as an indentured servant for eight years. On the second page, Rafael R. Torices states that the contract was transferred to Juan Peiral on December 1, 1856 and then again to José Cria on January 4 of an unknown year. Originally signed 1856.

Contributors
楊, 王
Created Date
1856-04-17

Relates that Ham Jan, a Chinese settler, was granted permanent residency in Cuba after fulfilling the legal requirements. He completed an eight year contract with Manuel Bernabe Pereda.

Created Date
1856

This is a first labor contract that was signed by Aman- a Chinese settler, in which he agreed to relocate to Cuba to work as an indentured servant for eight years. Originally signed 1855. El Bircantin Paquita was the agent for the original contract. On the second page, Julian a Pulueta states that this contract was transferred to Ramon de Gueregiaga for reasons unstated on April 18, 1856.

Created Date
1855-12-07

A contract between O-Ah-Kaw, a Chinese settler, and A. R. Ferran and Rafael R. Torices. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. O-Ah-Kaw did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by A. R. Ferran.

Contributors
何, 锦
Created Date
1855-11-28

A contract between Jau Seoul, a Chinese settler, and Ygnacio 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. Notes the contract was transferred to Pablo Paneide. Signed by Jau Seoul, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1855-03-20

This is a first contract signed by El Cheah- a Chinese settler, in which he agreed to relocate to Cuba to work as an indentured servant for a term of eight years.

Created Date
1855-02-27

A contract between San Bo Bartolo, a Chinese settler, and the agent for Ignacio F. 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 Ignacio F. de Castro and San Bo Bartolo, who signed in Chinese

Created Date
1855-02-02

A contract between Lim- Amec, a Chinese settler and Joaquin Barrera. Notes that Lim-Amec completed the contract. Signed by Juan Marquez and Lim Amec, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1854-01-23

This is the first contract between Feliciano Yam and Goicoaría y Hermano for an undisclosed amount of time. December 1854.

Created Date
1854

This is a first labor contract that belonged to a Chinese settler, Fulano, in which he agreed to relocate to Cuba to work as an indentured servant for eight years. Unlike most of the first contracts in this series, this contract was completely handwritten. It states that this contract was then transferred to Martin Pedroso on July 26, 1847. Originally signed 1847.

Created Date
1847-03-08