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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.

These death and identity records pertain to Felipe, a Chinese settler. The first document indicates that when Felipe died he was 51 years old, in the process of completing his preliminary eight year contract as an indentured servant, and he was working as a fieldworker for D. Antonio G. Solar. The second document in this selection is the death certificate that was written for Felipe on March 29, 1861; the cause of his death was described within this record. The final document in this selection is Felipe's cedula, or neighborhood identity card. According to the cedula, Felipe originally shared his …

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Certifies that several settlers completed their eight-year-contracts with Rita Barberia at the sugar factory, Carmencita. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements. Their cedulas or identity records and contracts were originally included with the letter, but are not included in this document. The Chinese settlers were named Felipe, Leon Juan, and Victoriano.

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