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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
1832 1886


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

Justino Campbell transferred his contracts with several Chinese settlers in Cardenas and Matanzas to the Superior Civil Government so that these workers may obtain their cedulas or personal identity cards.

Created Date
1861-05-08

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.

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their contracts and hiring practices concerning Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860

These are the records of Jose Dolores, a Chinese settler brought from China to Cuba for work. The documents include handwritten contracts with various owners and recommendation letters, detailing his good behavior as a worker. His certificate of nationality is also included and was accepted by the governor of Cuba.

Created Date
1864

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860-08-21

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-09-07

An identity card for Manuel, originally from Macao. Manuel was twenty-four years old when this card was issued. He worked for the Society of Immigration for eight years.

Created Date
1860

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigates Pedro Amador's past records. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Bernardo certified that Pedro Amador appeared to complete a previous work contract.

Created Date
1886

A letter detailing the efforts of Villoldo Wardrop's project and the hiring of Chinese settlers for that project from Manuel B. de Pereda. 3000 settlers were contracted to work on the project.

Created Date
1832-05-23