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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.


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

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 is a list of runaway slaves that has been caught and placed in a slave prison in March 1858.

Created Date
1858

List of Chinese settlers who ran away from their owners and were later captured. After capture, they were held in the Municipal Slave Deposit in Jaruco. Their names, ages, and nationality are listed along with the dates of their escape and capture.

Created Date
1858

A contract between Manuel, a Chinese settler, and Gabriel Vivo y Fuentes. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Manuel completed a contract with Dona Lorna previously. Manuel did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Vivo y Fuentes, the governor, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1869-08-04

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 Benito, a Chinese settler, and Gabriel Vivo y Fuentes. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Benito completed a contract with another employer previously.

Created Date
1869-08-04

A contract between Timoteo, a Chinese settler, and Manuel Paredes. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by the governor, Manuel Paredes, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1869-10-12

A contract between Celestino, a Chinese settler, and Gabriel Nevo. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Celestino did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by the governor, Gabriel Nevo, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1869-08-04

A contract between Salomi, a Chinese settler, and Ramon Flores Apodaca. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Salomi did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by the governor, Ramon Flores Apodaca, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1869-08-05

A contract between Serafin, a Chinese settler, and D. Ramon Flores Apodaca. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes Serafin completed a contract with Ramon previously. Serafin did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Ramon Flores Apodaca, the Governor, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1869-08-05

A contract between Cariano, a Chinese settler, and Ramon Flores Apodaca. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Cariano did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by the governor of Jaruco, Ramon Flores Apodaca, and two witnesses, but not Cariano.

Created Date
1869-08-05

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 contract between Francisco, a Chinese settler, and Juan Ocarco y Arango. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Francisco did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Fermin Franco, Manuel Ruiz, Vicente, and Julio.

Created Date
1869-08-09

This was a second labor contract that belonged to Lotesa- a Chinese settler, and D. Desiderio Casusa, his owner; the term of the contract was for two years.

Created Date
1869-09-20

This is a labor contract that was shared between Plutarco- a Chinese settler, and his owner, Julian Ramos; the term of the contract was for one year. Prior to this contract, Plutarco had completed another labor contract doing fieldwork for Manuel Arias. 1869.

Created Date
1869-11-05

A contract between Benigno, a Chinese settler, and Gabriel Vivo y Fuentes. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted Benigno completed a contract with Teresa Sermanat previously. Beigno was originally from Canton. Benigno did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Juan Gellamano, Luis Alcantara, and Manuel Ruiz.

Created Date
1869

This is the first labor contract between Marcelo, a Chinese settler, and Ramon Flores Apodaca, his owner. Marcelo was brought to Cuba from China to work as an indentured servant in the fields. The term of the contract was for one year and, according to the document, Marcelo had completed a previous contract with a different owner.

Created Date
1869-08-05

A contract between Joaquin, a Chinese settler, and Ramon Flores Apodaca. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Joaquin did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Julian Gellanea, Vicente, and Manuel Arey.

Created Date
1869-08-05

This is the second labor contract between Gavino, a Chinese settler, and D. Ramon Flores Apodaca, his owner. Gavino was brought to Cuba from Hay Fon in China to serve as an indentured servant. The term of this contract was for one year, and according to the document, Gavino and D. Ramon shared a previous labor contract prior to this one. This contract is signed by Ramon Flores Apodaca, the governor of Jaruco, and two witnesses, but not Gavino himself.

Created Date
1869-08-05