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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.

Mime Type
Date Range
1806 1999

This is the last page of a letter sent o China from a Chinese medical student in Cuba in 1973. In the letter, Wenchao 文超, the Chinese medical student expressed his sadness and regret in the sudden death of his grandmother and his deep appreciation for everything her mother had sacrificed for him. He also expected to find a job in the United States and meet his father there after his graduation.

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A letter sent from a mother, whose husband’s family name is Chen 陳, to her son Chen Shubang 陳樹邦 who was working in Cuba with his father.

This is a letter from Peter Tan to the administrator of Kwong Wah Po( Guanghua newspaper). With an attached check of 20 Canadian dollars, Tan expressed his willing of subscribing to Guanghua Newspaper.

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This is a story about a rich lady Josephine and her daily life.

There are several agreements and receipts in this file. They mainly focused on the transfer the ownership of one's treasure. And these transfers were because of several reasons.

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This may be an abandoned politics news report draft of Kwong Wah Po, the local Chinese Cuban newspaper.

This image includes some statements on Japanese politician Morihiro Hosokawa. Maybe it is from an analysis report or a newspaper report.

This is a request for a certificate of naturalization that was made by a Chinese settler named Agustin Cisneros. According to the handwritten request form (which begins on page six), Agustin had already been granted his carta de domicilio, or permanent residence card, five years prior to this request. The document also reveals that Agustin was married to a woman named Lorenza Pastor, had four children with his wife, had been baptized, and worked as a cook. The document proceeding the official request for naturalization is the death certificate of Lorenza Pastor, which was signed on September 14, 1871. The …

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A letter to the Secretary of the Government of Cuba requesting naturalization of a Chinese settler, Leonardo Valdez. He was originally from Canton, but promises to renounce his rights as a citizen of China if he is make a Cuban citizen. Included are records of his past work contracts and letters of recommendation from past employers.

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These compiled records formed the application for a Cuban naturalization card that belonged to a Chinese settler named Ricardo Bernabal. The formal request for his naturalization card was made on March 18, 1872, at which time Ricardo was 26 years old and working as a cook. He was also given a permanent residence card before being naturalized. He was also baptized.

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