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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


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