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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.


Contracts of Lorenzo, a Chinese settler and his employer, Juan Moreno. Each contract was to last for six months and each lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Lorenzo had completed a previous contract with Juan Moreno not included in this document. Signed by Alejandro, Juan Moreno, and Jose Jorge.

Created Date
1879

This is a document requesting permanent residency for Antonio, a Chinese settler, who has completed his contract with Jorge Harris.

Created Date
1863

This collection of documents formed an application packet for permanent residence in Cuba that belonged to a Chinese settler named Perfecto. Apart from the formal written request (which is page 16) for his carta de domicilio, or permanent residence card, other documents included in this selection include a formal request for a new labor contract, two copies of two of his work contracts, his baptism certificate, and a few certifications written by his past owners indicating that he had completed his work contracts with them in good terms. 1866.

Created Date
1866

This collection of personal records formed an application for permanent residence on the island of Cuba that belonged to a Chinese settler named Leoncio. The documents included in this collection are the formal written request for Leoncio's permanent residence card, his baptism certificate, several documents written by his past owners attesting to his good conduct during the completion of his labor contracts, and five copies of five of his second labor contracts. 1865.

Created Date
1865-09-02

These compiled records formed the application for permanent residence on the island of Cuba that belonged to a Chinese settler named Feliciano. Included in this collection are the formal written request for Feliciano's permanent residence card, his baptism certificate, several documents written by his past owners attesting to his good conduct during the completion of his labor contracts, and two copies of two of his second labor contracts. The last document in this collection is the written acceptance of his request for permanent residence that was signed in 1868.

Created Date
1868-04-01

This collection of official documents formed the application for a carta de domicilio, or permanent residence card, that belonged to a Chinese settler named Fermin. The documents included in the application packet include two of Fermin's second labor contracts from 1860 and 1867, his baptism certificate that was signed in 1867, a rehire request signed in 1867, a certificate written by one of his past owners that certified that Fermin had completed two labor contracts with satisfactory conduct, and a written request for his carta de domicilio that was signed on April 6, 1868.

Created Date
1868-04-06

This collection of official documents formed the application for a carta de domicilio, or permission to permanently reside in Cuba, that belonged to a Chinese settler named Wencerlao Calderin. The documents that are included in this selection are Calderin's official request for his carta de domicilio that was signed on June 26, 1866, a rehire request that was signed in 1855, and five separate certifications of contract completion and good conduct that were written by his past owners.

Created Date
1866-06-26

Relates that Federico, a Chinese settler, was granted permanent residency in Cuba after fulfilling the legal requirements. He worked for the Gran Azucaria, a sugar cane producer.

Created Date
1867

This is a formal rehire request that was written on behalf of Sebastian, a Chinese settler, who had just completed a labor contract and was seeking to sign a new one for the duration of one year. Sebastian sought to sign a new contract to work on the railroads with a railroad company under Maximo Mora. The subsequent documents include a second contract, his baptism certificate, and a formal written request for his carta de domicilio, or permanent residence card, that was signed on June 6, 1866. Other documents included in this selection are testimonies that were written by Sebastian's …

Created Date
1865-06-06

A letter to the Secretary of the Government of Cuba requesting naturalization of a Chinese settler, Leonardo Valdez. He was originally from Canton, but promises to renounce his rights as a citizen of China if he is make a Cuban citizen. Included are records of his past work contracts and letters of recommendation from past employers.

Created Date
1873