Skip to main content

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 contract between Mariano, a Chinese settler, and Ignacio F. de Castro. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Ignacio F. de Castro and Mariano, who signed in Chinese. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1855-02-02

Details the commercial activity of Manuel Pereda and his involvement with the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work as indentured servants from 1854 to 1855.

Created Date
1856

A contract between Chey, a Chinese settler, and Ignacio F. de Castro, the agent of Manuel Pereda. Manuel Pereda was to bring Chey from China to Cuba to work and the contract lists the legal requirements of both the settler and the patron. Chey was originally from Tokein. Signed by Ignacio F. de Castro and Chey, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1855

A contract between Baltasar, a Chinese settler, and Tomas M. The contract was to last for four years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Baltasar completed a contract with Manuel Pereda previously. Signed by Tomas M., two witnesses and the governor of Cuba.

Created Date
1862

This is a first contract signed by El Cheah- a Chinese settler, in which he agreed to relocate to Cuba to work as an indentured servant for a term of eight years.

Created Date
1855-02-27

A contract between San Bo Bartolo, a Chinese settler, and the agent for Ignacio F. de Castro. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Ignacio F. de Castro and San Bo Bartolo, who signed in Chinese

Created Date
1855-02-02