Skip to main content

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.


Five Chinese settlers completed a contract with their original employer and were seeking to sign a new labor contract. Their owner agreed to sign a new one.

Created Date
1875-10-07

This is a request made to the Cuban government on the behalf of Trinidad Amador, a Spanish bussinessman, in which he sought permission to renew the contracts of five of his Chinese workers. 1875

Created Date
1875-10-07

5 Chinese settlers completed a contract with Trinidad Amador and was seeking to sign a new labor contract with his original owner. His owner agreed to sign a new one.

Created Date
1875-04-23

This is a response to a rehire request made by Trinidad Amador, the owner of Yela de Pinos, written and signed by the the count Lagunilla, governor of Cuba. It states that the contracts of five indentured servants, Bernarndo, Candido, Teofilo, Amado, and Alicio will be renewed. No date given.

Created Date
1875

This is a formal request that was made on the behalf of Pedro, a Chinese settler, who sought permission to be rehired by his original owner under a new labor contract. 1872.

Created Date
1872-04-20

This collection of official documents formed the application for a carta de domicilio, or permanent residence card, that belonged to a Chinese settler named Fermin. The documents included in the application packet include two of Fermin's second labor contracts from 1860 and 1867, his baptism certificate that was signed in 1867, a rehire request signed in 1867, a certificate written by one of his past owners that certified that Fermin had completed two labor contracts with satisfactory conduct, and a written request for his carta de domicilio that was signed on April 6, 1868.

Created Date
1868-04-06

These compiled records formed the application for permanent residence on the island of Cuba that belonged to a Chinese settler named Feliciano. Included in this collection are the formal written request for Feliciano's permanent residence card, his baptism certificate, several documents written by his past owners attesting to his good conduct during the completion of his labor contracts, and two copies of two of his second labor contracts. The last document in this collection is the written acceptance of his request for permanent residence that was signed in 1868.

Created Date
1868-04-01

Upon the completion of a labor contract with a Cuban landlord, this rehire request was issued for Rufino- a Chinese settler, who wished to enter a new labor contract with Manuel G. Portocarrero for the duration of one year. The request was accepted, and a one year labor contract was signed by both men. Havana- 1868. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1868-02-08

This collection of official documents formed the application for a carta de domicilio, or permission to permanently reside in Cuba, that belonged to a Chinese settler named Wencerlao Calderin. The documents that are included in this selection are Calderin's official request for his carta de domicilio that was signed on June 26, 1866, a rehire request that was signed in 1855, and five separate certifications of contract completion and good conduct that were written by his past owners.

Created Date
1866-06-26

Salvador, a Chinese settler, completed a contract with Ruiz Hermano y Co and was seeking to sign a new labor contract with his original owner. His owner agreed to sign a new one.

Created Date
1865-04-25