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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.


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

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

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

A contract between Liborio or Yong-aun, a Chinese settler, and Juan Poey. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Leborio did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Contract signed by Enrique Morales.

Created Date
1878-07-15

Death certificate for Mamerto, a Chinese settler, who died from injuries to his femur in Ingenio Santisima Trinidad. He worked for Mrs. Gabriel Garcia before his death and was buried in the cemetery of the Church of our Lady of Torque without having been baptized. His cedula, or identity card, is included and lists him as having worked for M.C. Blanca when he was given the cedula. He was brought from Macao to Cuba by Torrices, Puente and Company.

Created Date
1861

A contract between Timoteo, 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. The contract is handwritten. Notes Timoteo was later granted a cedula, or identity card.

Created Date
1872-08-05

This is the first contract signed by Felis for a year. It mentions his wages, how he is to be treated by his owners, and the expectations of his work. Cardenas, June 1866

Created Date
1866