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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.


An identity card, or cedula, for Jan Bak, originally from So Sin. Jan Bak was twenty seven years old when this card was issued. He had an eight year contract with Rodrigo Laray and then Antonio de Valle. He lived in Soltero.

Created Date
1861

The cedula or an identity record for a Chinese settler, Francisco. He was brought from Soltero, China to Cuba to work for M. B. Pereda for eight years. Then, his contract was transfered to R. A. Leull for an additional eight years. 1864

Created Date
1864

An identity card for Pelayo, a Chinese settler. Pelayo was thirty-eight years old when this card was issued and worked for Nicolas Martinez Valdiviero. He had completed an eight-year contract yet with B. Pereda.

Created Date
1866

An identity card, or cedula, for Manuel, originally from Macao. Manuel was twenty four years old when this card was issued. He had an eight year contract with the Society of Immigration.

Created Date
1866-05-07

This is the first labor contract that was shared between a Chinese settler named Leopoldo, and his owner, Felipe Macau, presumably a freed Chinese settler. Leopoldo had already completed a contract with Joaquin Tiago. He was brought from Canton to Cuba to work as an indentured servant in Soltero. The term of the contract with Don Felipe was for six months. 1866. Signed in Chinese by Leopoldo.

Created Date
1866-05-20

This is a labor contract that was shared between Higiorio, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Pedro del Campo; the term of the contract was for one year. 1866.

Created Date
1866-05-30

A contract between Ysidoro, a Chinese settler, and Francisco Fernandez. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Ysidoro completed a contract with another owner previously. Signed by Francisco Fernandez, the governor and Ysidoro, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1867-08-12

A contract between Ricardo, a Chinese settler, and Angel Garcia. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Ricardo was originally from Canton. Notes that Ricardo completed a contract with Joaquin Forcano previously.

Created Date
1867-11-26

This is the first labor contract that belonged to a Chinese settler named Benigno, and his owner, Ramon Felipe. Benigno was brought from Soltero to Cuba to work as an indentured servant. The term of the contract was for one year. 1868. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1868-07-30

Cedula or identification card for Toribio, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Soltero and is in the process of of fulfilling a contract with a Cuban landowner. 1869.

Created Date
1869