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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
1860 1877


A contract between Antonio, a Chinese settler, and Elias Lolano y Garcia. Antonio was originally from Macao. Noted that Antonio completed a contract with Juan Oxaca previously. Antonio did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by the governor, Elias Lolano y Garcia, and two witnesses.

This is a second work contract that was shared between Antonio- a Chinese settler, and his owner, D. Martin de Cardenas y Layas. Prior to entering this agreement, Antonio was being held in the municipal deposit of the capital; according to the fourth and fifth articles in the contract, and it is possible that he was required to enter this contract as a punishment for past transgressions against his owner. The length of this contract was for six months. Signed in Chinese.

A contract between Adan, a Chinese settler, and Juan Calisto Oxamendi. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Juan Calisto Oxamendi and Adan, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1877-09-16

A contract between Camilo, a Chinese settler, and Ricardo Alfonso. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes Camila completed a contract with Ricardo Alfonso previously. Signed by Ricardo Alfonso, the Administrator, Señor Ramos, and Camilo, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1877-08-27

This is a labor contract signed by Jobita, a Chinese settler, in which he agreed to work for a new owner for one year. This contract was issued between Jobita and his new owner after he completed an initial labor contract with another owner. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1877-05-05

A contract between Jacinto, a Chinese settler, and Jose Olauo. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Jose Olauo wrote a letter of good conduct for a future employer. Signed by Jose Olauo and Jacinto, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1875-10-26

A contract between Onofre, a Chinese settler, and El Marques Du Luerne. The contract was to last for four years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Onofre completed a contract with el Marques Du Luerne previously. Signed by Onofre, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1875-06-08

A contract between Paluas, a Chinese settler, and el Marques de Guesme. The contract was to last for four years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Paluas completed a contract with el Marques de Guesme previously.

Created Date
1875-06-08

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

A contract between Hipolito, a Chinese settler, and Pedro Reynaldos. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Hipolito completed the contract at the end of its proposed term. Hipolito did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Carlos Catalan and Pedro Reynaldo. Handwritten.

Created Date
1872-08-05