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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