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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
1832 1992


This was a second labor contract that belonged to Lotesa- a Chinese settler, and D. Desiderio Casusa, his owner; the term of the contract was for two years.

Created Date
1869-09-20

A contract between Tomas, a Chinese settler, and Narciso Gelado. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Tomas did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Narciso Gelado, the governor of Matanzas, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1867-09-21

Five Chinese settlers completed a contract with their original employer and were seeking to sign a new labor contract. Their owner agreed to sign a new one.

Created Date
1875-10-07

Records for the ship Encarnacion, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with La Alianza. On this trip, the Encarnacion brought 325 settlers from China to work.

Created Date
1871-07-12

A contract between Francisco, a Chinese settler, and Juan Ocarco y Arango. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Francisco did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Fermin Franco, Manuel Ruiz, Vicente, and Julio.

Created Date
1869-08-09

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Faustino- a Chinese settler, and his owner, Jose Serrate; the term of the contract was not specified. 1867.

Created Date
1867-06-13

This is a second labor contract that belonged to a Chinese settler named Leonio, and his owner, Felicito Perez; the term of this contract was for six months. 1867.

Created Date
1867-06-19

This is a ship manifest that detailed the 361 Chinese settlers who were taken to Cuba aboard the Spanish ship "Altagracia". Each settler on the ship was destined to work as an indentured servant for eight years under a strict contract with an owner. Prior to boarding the ship, each of them signed an eight year labor contract. Upon arrival in Cuba, their contracts would be ceded to various owners throughout Cuba. Included in the list are the ages, assigned numbers, names and origins of each settler.

Created Date
1871-01-16

A contract between Antonio, a Chinese settler, and Elias Lolano y Garcia. Antonio was originally from Macao. Noted that Antonio completed a contract with Juan Oxaca previously. Antonio did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by the governor, Elias Lolano y Garcia, and two witnesses.

This is a ship manifest that contained details of 305 Chinese settlers who boarded the Dutch ship "Vrow Johanna" with the intention of sailing to Havana, Cuba. Upon arrival in Cuba, each settler would be contracted to work as an indentured servant for eight years by various property owners in Cuba. The age, name, and origin of each settler were included in the list, and the settlers who died during the journey were marked as deceased. 1854.

Created Date
1854-03-31