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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
1858 1874


Record of business deals for Jose Garcia and Agapita Ruiz Gonzalez with the Society of Asian Colonization concerning the importation of Chinese settlers to Cuba to work.

This is a contract between Antonio, a Chinese settler, and J. Smith for the term of one year. 1861. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1861

Contract between Antonio, a Chinese settler, and Petrona Hernandes for six months in the countryside. The contract is signed by Petrona Hernandes, Antonio, and the governor of Cuba. Antonio signed in Chinese. 1866.

Created Date
1866

A contract between Antonio, a Chinese settler, and Pedro R. Casanas. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Benito completed a contract with Pedro previously. Antonio did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Pedro Casanas, Manuel Ruiz, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1869-09-29

A contract between Antonio, a Chinese settler, and Elias Lolano y Garcia. Antonio was originally from Macao. Noted that Antonio completed a contract with Juan Oxaca previously. Antonio did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by the governor, Elias Lolano y Garcia, and two witnesses.

A death certificate for Caledorio Voney, a Chinese immigrant. He died in the Royal Hospital of San Felipe y Santiago. Antonio, the administrator signed the document.

Created Date
1872-03-22

Death certificate for Antonio, a Chinese immigrant. He died in the Hospital of San Felipe and Santiago.

Created Date
1874

Death certificate for Antonio, a Chinese settler. He was buried in the general cemetery in Havana. The cause of his death is not stated.

Created Date
1866

A document indicating a fine given to the Chinese settler, Antonio. He ran away from his employer and was later recaptured. He was then held at the “Deposito de Cimarrones de Matanzas” or the prison in Matanzas for runaway slaves. Antonio signed in Chinese indicating that he paid the fine.

Created Date
1874

Identity card for foreigners, issued to Wing Git Wong, born in 1917. He entered Cuba in 1948 and became a permanent resident. His parents names are listed and he is said to reside in Soltero