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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.


Mime Type
  • application/pdf
Date Range
1855 1878


Record of business deal for Cayetano and Luis Lusini with the Society of Asian Colonization concerning the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work.

Created Date
1855-01-30

An identity card, or cedula, for Pedro. Pedro was twenty eight years old when this card was issued.

Created Date
1866

An identity card, or cedula, for Manuel, originally from Macao. Manuel was twenty four years old when this card was issued. He had an eight year contract with the Society of Immigration.

Created Date
1866-05-07

Justino Campbell transferred his contracts with several Chinese settlers in Cardenas and Matanzas to the Superior Civil Government so that these workers may obtain their cedulas or personal identity cards.

Created Date
1861-05-08

An identity card for Pelayo, a Chinese settler. Pelayo was thirty-eight years old when this card was issued and worked for Nicolas Martinez Valdiviero. He had completed an eight-year contract yet with B. Pereda.

Created Date
1866

Certifies that Valentin, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1871

A contract between Pablo, a Chinese settler, and Juan Hernandez. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Noted that Pablo completed a contract with Juan Hernandez previously. Pablo did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Contract signed by Enrique Morales.

Created Date
1871

A contract between Achung, a Chinese settler, and Juan Poey. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Notes that Achung completed this contract and was granted a cedula or identity card a few years later. Achung did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him.

Created Date
1871

Certifies that several settlers completed their eight-year-contracts with Rita Barberia at the sugar factory, Carmencita. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements. Their cedulas or identity records and contracts were originally included with the letter, but are not included in this document. The Chinese settlers were named Felipe, Leon Juan, and Victoriano.

Created Date
1861

Cedula or identification card for Toribio, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Soltero and is in the process of of fulfilling a contract with a Cuban landowner. 1869.

Created Date
1869