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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
1836 1990


Application for permanent residence in Cuba for a Chinese settler, Roman. Included are his baptism certificate, a work contract and a request to be rehired, and several recommendations from the owners of the Sugar Refinery of Carmen.

Created Date
1865

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

This file includes several document. One of them is a contract written in both Spanish and Chinese. According to the contract, Xie Tian was willing to go to Cuba as a worker. So he was requested to sign the contract and should follow the rules listed on it.

Created Date
1865

This is a blank copy of the identity cards (cedulas) that were assigned to Chinese settlers in Cuba.

Burial records for Jorge. His records indicate they were baptized into the Catholic church and buried in the general cemetery of Havana. He was employed by Benito Nuguez.

Created Date
1862

Business card of Ramon Chan Koon. Undated.

Paperwork for the black worker, Jose, and the Chinese settler, Casimira.

Created Date
1860

This is a cedula, or an ID card, that belonged to a Chinese settler. Havana- 1869.

Created Date
1869-05-06

This is a cedula de vecinidad, or a neighborhood identity card, that belonged to a Chinese settler. At the time that this ID card was issued, the settler was single, 29 years old, and employed as a fieldworker. 1876.

Created Date
1876-05-24

This is a Certificate of Nationality that belonged to Adolfo Abreu- a Chinese settler. The certificate served as a record indicating that Adolfo had been registered at the Consulate General of China in Cuba as a subject of the Emperor of China. According to the document, at the time it was issued Adolfo was 44 years old, single, a laborer, and considered a non-resident. He was from Canton in China, and lived in Matanzas in Cuba. Havana, 1884.

Created Date
1879-04-09