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.


Resource Type
  • Image
Date Range
1860 1879


Contracts of Lorenzo, a Chinese settler and his employer, Juan Moreno. Each contract was to last for six months and each lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Lorenzo had completed a previous contract with Juan Moreno not included in this document. Signed by Alejandro, Juan Moreno, and Jose Jorge.

Created Date
1879

This contract is between Pedro, a Chinese settler, and Arcuna. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Pedro did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him.

Created Date
1870-01-15

A contract between Justo, a Chinese immigrant, and Gaspar Vinals. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Justo did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Jose Lopes Francas, Manuel de la Fuente, and Gaspar Vinals.

Created Date
1871

A contract between Pablo, a Chinese settler, and Juan Hernandez. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Noted that Pablo completed a contract with Juan Hernandez previously. Pablo did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Contract signed by Enrique Morales.

Created Date
1871

A contract between Melanio, a Chinese settler, and Juan Poey. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Melanio completed a contract with Juan Poey previously. Melanio did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Enrique Morales.

Created Date
1871

A contract between Fernando, a Chinese settler, and Jose de la Espinoza. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Noted that Fernando completed a contract with Jose de la Espinoza previously. Signed by Enrique Morales.

Created Date
1871

A contract between Achung, a Chinese settler, and Juan Poey. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Notes that Achung completed this contract and was granted a cedula or identity card a few years later. Achung did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him.

Created Date
1871

A contract between Fabian, a Chinese settler, and Juan Laudaluca. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Fabian completed a contract with Domingo y Gener previously. Fabian did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Juan de Laudalua.

Created Date
1877

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

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Pablo or Juy Leng- a Chinese settler, and Gavino Hernandez- his new owner. The document was written and signed upon the completion of Pablo's first eight year contract with another owner. The term of this labor contract was for two years. Gavino Hernandez wrote on the back of the contract that Pablo seemed to be performing well in his duties. 1863. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1863-06-13