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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.


This is a work contract between Anaeleto, a Chinese immigrant working in Cuba and a company that builds roads. Anaeleto originally was from Laui-sin. The contract is signed by Anaeleto in Chinese, Manuel Borque, and the governor, Jose Lope.

Created Date
1864

A contract between Serafin, a Chinese settler, and Vidal Delioguez. The contract was to last for a year of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that the company Serafin completed a contract with La Pura y Limpia previously. Signed by Vidal Delioguez and Serafin, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1865

Certifies that Leon Padron, a Chinese settler, completed a contract with his employer, the company Carolina.

Created Date
1868-03-15

Record of Luis Susim, who contracted Chinese settlers to move to Cuba to work. He worked with Ferran, Dupierris y Co and Carlos de Zaldo.

Created Date
1858

Records pertaining to the right of a company to not pay for the burial of their employees if they die while contracted. The company in question is a railroad and has been solicited by the government concerning the case.

Created Date
1867-12-16

Relates that Leon, a Chinese settler, applied for permanent residency in Cuba after fulfilling the legal requirements. He completed an eight year contract with Leon Asan and was baptized into the Catholic Church.

Created Date
1866-03-21

Records for the ship Alice Thorndike, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co. On this trip, the Alice Thorndike brought 342 settlers from China to work.

Created Date
1861

Records pertaining to the right of a company to not pay for the burial of their employees if they die while contracted. The company in question is a railroad and has been solicited by the government concerning the case. The bishop of Matanzas supports that companies should not pay for burials because it is a church job.

Created Date
1868-07-09

Records pertaining to the right of a company to not pay for the burial of their employees if they die while contracted. The court ruling does mention that many settlers are poor and that the parish has struggled to find resources to help the poor, but that the bishop did not help the parishes. The Deposit of Immigrants has been persisting in changing public and legal perception of Chinese settlers as humans who have rights. However, companies are not legally obligated to fulfill a church job.

Created Date
1867

Relates that Serafin, a Chinese settler, was granted permanent residency in Cuba after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1866-06-06

Record of business deal for Benigno Gonzalez Alvarez and Luis Lusini with the Society of Asian Colonization concerning the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work.

Created Date
1855-01-30