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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.


A contracts between Vidal, a Chinese settler, and Pedro. The contract was to last for eight years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Pedro and Vidal, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866

Records for the ship Vasco de Gama, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza and Ferran y Dupierris. On this trip, the Vasco de Gama brought Chinese settlers to work in the countryside.

Created Date
1864-06-06

Contract between Gavino, a Chinese settler, and Luis de Alta. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Gavino completed a contract with Sr. Domingo previously. Gavino did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Domingo Sandina and Luis de Alta.

Created Date
1866-05-20

Records for the ship Vasco de Gama, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza and Ferran y Dupierris. On this trip, the Vasco de Gama brought six workers from China to work in the countryside for a sugar factory, Aguedita.

Created Date
1864-07-06

Shipping records for a frigate that brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba. These settlers were later contracted by other employers in Sagua la Grande.

Created Date
1873

A contract between Jose Tomas, a Chinese immigrant, and Juan. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Jose Tomas completed a contract previously. Contract signed by Juan, the governor, and Jose Tomas. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1867

This is a second labor contract that was shared between a Chinese settler and his owner, Ramon; the term of the contract was for one year. 1867. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1867-01-06

This is the first labor contract that was shared between a Chinese settler named Leopoldo, and his owner, Felipe Macau, presumably a freed Chinese settler. Leopoldo had already completed a contract with Joaquin Tiago. He was brought from Canton to Cuba to work as an indentured servant in Soltero. The term of the contract with Don Felipe was for six months. 1866. Signed in Chinese by Leopoldo.

Created Date
1866-05-20

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Ciriabo, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Felipe Macau. Ciriabo was brought to Colon in Cuba to serve as an indentured servant and the term of the contract was for one year. Details regarding Ciriabo's wage, food, clothes, and work hours were stipulated in the document. 1866. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866-04-24

This is a second labor contract that was shared between a Chinese settler named Leonardo, and his owner, Peliona Fernandez; the term of the contract was for six months. 1866. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866-12-30