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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
1851 1970


This is a membership license of Cuba Chinese association. The holder's name is Huang Wenfen. On the first two pages is a record of medicine shopping, including dates and amount of money. On the last two pages is the record Huang's relatives. His wife had died in his hometown and his younger brother was living in Guangzhou at that time.

Created Date
1970

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

Created Date
1866

Records of new Chinese settlers who arrived in Cuba ill. They disembarked from the ship and were treated at the Principle "Depot." Only their names are listed.

Created Date
1872-08-18

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

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

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

Created Date
1865

A recommendation letter from an unnamed employer concerning the Chinese settlers he employed and their permanent residency status.

Created Date
1861

Lee, a Chinese settler, fulfilled a contract with Agustin. Agustin recommended that Lee be given permanent residency in Cuba because he met the legal requirements of completing an eight year contract with one employer. The letter also states that Lee always exhibited good conduct and behavior. Lee's permanent residency was confirmed by the governor.

Created Date
1861

An identity card for Manuel, originally from Macao. Manuel was twenty-four years old when this card was issued. He worked for the Society of Immigration for eight years.

Created Date
1860