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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
1860 1879


List of workers who were recently hired by various employers. It lists the name of the employer or company, the name of the settler and their personal details.

Created Date
1862

A contract between Simon, a Chinese settler, and Miguel. The contract was to last for eight months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Simon completed a contract with the Sugar Refinery del Carmen previously. Signed by Miguel and Suireon.

Created Date
1865

A contract between Sebastian, a Chinese settler, and the Company of the Urban Railroad (Ferrocarril Urbano). The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Sebastian was originally from Canton. Signed by Franco Ortega and Sebastian, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1865

A contract between Sebastiano, a Chinese settler, and Maximo Mora. The contract was to last for three months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Sebastiano completed a contract with Maximo Mora previously. Sebastiano was originally from Tokien. Signed by Maximo Mora and Sebastiano, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1865

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 list of sixty Chinese settlers whose eight year labor contracts were transferred to Banco de San Carlos upon their arrival in Havana. The settlers were transported to Cuba aboard the Spanish ship "Emigrante", and they were required to work as indentured servants for eight years. These settlers were hired by the bank to do fieldwork in Matanzas, Cuba. 1865.

Created Date
1865-03-15

A contract between Le Chan, a Chinese settler, and Domingo. The contract was to last an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Le Chan had completed a contract with Domingo previously. Signed by Domingo, the governor of Matanzas, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1864-03-30

A contract between Lan Tazar, a Chinese settler, and Ricardo Ferrero. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Lan Tazar completed a contract with another owner previously. Signed by the governor of Matanzas, Ricardo Ferrero, and Lan Tazar, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1864-03-10

Record of a Chinese settler letter home. Contains: recontract request signed in Chinese in 1865, Chinese settler original contract in Matanzas in 1864, Identity card for Chinese settlers in 1864, Chinese settler original contract in Matanzas in 1865, record of baptism of Chinese settler 1865, Request for a letter of address- he said he was hired at the ingenio Carmen oliva, compliance with contract document in the sugar mill with carmen olivia 1866, recommendations of good conduct from previous owners, pledge of allegiance the the Spanish crown signed in chinese

Created Date
1865

A contract between Judas, a Chinese settler, and Manuel Bello. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Judas completed a contract with Manuel Bello previously. Signed by Manuel Bello, Jose Lopez Francais, and Judas, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1874