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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
1858 1874


This is the second contract between Ramon, a Chinese settler, and Martin de Cardenas y Layas for the period of six months. This contract is undated and signed in Chinese.

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

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

Certifies that Fernando, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Francisco Arrieta.

Created Date
1868-09-06

A contract between Roque, a Chinese immigrant and Miguel Plana. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Roque was originally from Canton. Roque did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. The contract is signed by Miguel Plana, Valentin Mortin, Anastacio Gonzales, and Luis Torres.

Created Date
1868-08-24

A contract between Apiselo Alpa, a Chinese immigrant and Paulino Ligarreta. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Apiselo was originally from Canton. Notes that Apiselo completed a contract with Tomas Alogila previously. The contract is signed by Apiselo Alpa, Paulino Ligarreta, and Juan Caña. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1868-07-08

A contract between Enrique, a Chinese settler, and Juan, a Cuban landowner. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Juan noted that Enrique completed a contract with Miguel Tabra previously. Juan was originally from Canton. Contract signed by Juan, Juan Gonzales, Carlos Gonzales. Signed by the settler in Chinese.

Created Date
1868-05-20

A contract between Guillermo, a Chinese settler, and Felipe Macao. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Guillermo was originally from Canton. Signed by Jose de Garcia, Felipe Macau, Acarpo Aloansa, and Guillermo, who signed in Chinese

Created Date
1868

A contract between Ricardo, a Chinese settler, and Angel Garcia. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Ricardo was originally from Canton. Notes that Ricardo completed a contract with Joaquin Forcano previously.

Created Date
1867-11-26

This is a labor contract that was shared between Higiorio, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Pedro del Campo; the term of the contract was for one year. 1866.

Created Date
1866-05-30