Skip to main content

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 1957


A contract between Jose, a Chinese settler, and Martin de Cardenas y Layas. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes thatJose was required to enter this contract to correct his deficiencies in his previous work contracts, and for being disobedient.

Created Date
1860

A contract between Dionisio, a Chinese settler, and Jose Sanchez. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Dionisio was required to enter this contract to correct his deficiencies his previous work contracts, and for being disobedient. Signed by Jose Sanchez and Dionisio, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1861-06-10

A contract between, Vong Ahony, a Chinese settler and Torices y Co. Notes the contract was transferred to Carmen Segueira. Vong Ahony did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by L. Manuel and Jose.

Created Date
1861-06-14

A contract between Jose, a Chinese settler, and Martin de Cardenas y Layas. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Martin de Cardenas y Layas and Jose, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1860

A contract between Octavio, a Chinese settler, and la Compania de Caminos de hierro de la Habana, a Cuban company. A contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by Manuel Roque and Octavio, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1867

A contract between Afno, a Chinese settler, and F. Valdez. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes the contract was transferred to Jose Gomez. Afno did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by H. Velez.

Created Date
1858-01-18

This is a first labor contract that was signed by Aman- a Chinese settler, in which he agreed to relocate to Cuba to work as an indentured servant for eight years. Originally signed 1855. El Bircantin Paquita was the agent for the original contract. On the second page, Julian a Pulueta states that this contract was transferred to Ramon de Gueregiaga for reasons unstated on April 18, 1856.

Created Date
1855-12-07

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Paulino- a Chinese settler, and Martin de Cardenas y Layas. In this contract, Paulino renewed a previous labor contract with Martin for six months. No date was included in the contract.

Created Date
1860

A contract between Vong Cari, a Chinese settler, and Tanco Armero, the agent for Limbillo, Montalvo, y Co. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Vong Cari did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by N. Tanco Armero and J. de Agustin.

Created Date
1867-09-30

A contract between Zuan-Tae, a Chinese settler, and Ignacio Fernandes de Castro. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Zuan-Tae did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Nicario Canete y Moral. Also features the contract in Chinese.

Created Date
1863-09-22