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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 contract between Francisco, a Chinese settler, and Juan Ocarco y Arango. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Francisco did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Fermin Franco, Manuel Ruiz, Vicente, and Julio.

Created Date
1869-08-09

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Francisco- a Chinese settler, and a Cuban landlord named D. Pedro L. Garcia; the contract term, as specified within the contract, was for one year. 1968. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1868-06-28

Records for the ship Granvilles, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Y. M. Zangroniz y Compania. On this trip, the Granvilles brought workers from China to work as field workers.

Created Date
1866-10-03

Ancate, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. He was contracted by Felix Garcia y Co and chose the name Francisco.

Created Date
1865-06-11

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

Created Date
1864

This is a neighborhood identity card (cedula) that belonged to Francisco- a Chinese settler, who was 33 years old, and in the process of completing his eight year labor contract as an indentured servant working for a railroad company at the time that the ID card was issued. 1864.

Created Date
1864

The cedula or an identity record for a Chinese settler, Francisco. He was brought from Soltero, China to Cuba to work for M. B. Pereda for eight years. Then, his contract was transfered to R. A. Leull for an additional eight years. 1864

Created Date
1864

A complaint filed by Francisco Orta in the name of three Chinese settlers, Francisco, Manuel, and Pablo concerning their contracts.

Created Date
1861

A contract between Cheng or Francisco, 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. Signed by Vargas y Co and Francisco, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1859-06-30