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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
1855 1992


This is a bank book from the Bank of China in Havana, Cuba, that belonged to a man named J. Chan. Havana- 1958

Created Date
1958-12-30

A money script for Loreto Silva for 10 and a half pesos. It was given to his workers as payment for their monthly wages.

Created Date
1895-05-06

This is a monthly check for wages given to Chinese settlers by their owners. The wage amounts were stipulated in their labor contracts. 1863

Created Date
1863-09-30

This is a check that was written for a Chinese settler named Ysidoro, and it was paid to him by his owner. The amount was 4 pesos and 50 cents.

Created Date
1863-07-31

This is an example of the checks that were issued for Chinese settlers by their owners. This check was issued in the favor of Constantino for the amount of five pesos. 1863

Created Date
1863-08-31

This is a check for a thousand pesos made out to Bustamante and Cardena. It was to be used to pay their workers their wages.

Created Date
1878

Four examples of Chinese currency. All of them are of equal value (1000 dollars).

Prosecution of a group of Chinese settlers for running an illegal lottery. Police Officer Pablo Delgado discovered the lottery and details those involved, including a settler named Damien.

Created Date
1886

Records pertaining to the arrest and trial of Jose Afa, who was arrested in connection with an illegal Chinese lottery. The trial was overseen by Judge Jose Maria Lanazabal y Alvarez de Toledo from the Prado district. Two police chiefs investigated the crimes. Some of Afa's paperwork was written in Chinese and was requested by the Chinese Consul.

Created Date
1886-03-31

Jose Afa, a Chinese settler, was arrested and jailed for running an illegal lottery.

Created Date
1886