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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 1892


A contract between Wan, a Chinese settler, and Joaquin Pedroso y Echeverra, Luis Pedroso and Jose Maria Morales. The contract was signed to bring Wan from China to Cuba to work. Wan was contracted in Havana by Merced Casanova, which was then transferred to Joaquin de Soto and Nicolas Garcia Valdez. Signed by Wan in Chinese.

Created Date
1857

A contract between Choum-Atac, a Chinese settler, and Selles Crusellas and Company. The contract was to last for five years and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Notes that Choum-Atac was baptized as Francisco. This contract was signed by the governor, Joaquin Planas, and Selles Crusellas.

Created Date
1861

A contract between Lucas, a Chinese settler, and Manuel Betacourt. The contract was to last for eight years and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Signed by the governor, Manuel Betacourt, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1868

A contract between Zhu Nam, a Chinese settler, and Tuton y Hijo and agents of La Alianza. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Zhu Nam did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Tuton y Hijo. Also features contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1870

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

Record the death of a Chinese settler in 1865. contains: other documents; identity card Chinese settlers; original contract written in Chinese and Castilian, Macao 1860.

Created Date
1865

Certifies that Pedro Salgado, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Ignacio Calvo.

Created Date
1857

This is an application for permanent residency for Pascual, a Chinese settler. It includes the settler's original contract signed in Macao, a letter of recommendation from a previous owner, stating that he had completed an eight year contract, his cedula or identity card, and a certificate of baptism.

Created Date
1865

A contract between Justino Campbell and the government of Cuba. The contract granted Justino Campbell the right to recruit Chinese settlers to come to Cuba to work. Campbell was permitted to use the ship Hoggersbank under Captain Achenback.

Created Date
1857-03-30

A contract between Cheon Anan or Sixto, a Chinese settler, and Vargas y Co. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Cheon was originally from Sanoy. Also features contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1862