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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.


Resource Type
Date Range
1852 1969


Juan, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity in the city of Laguanillas. Juan was originally from Macao. In his baptism, he offered his loyalty to the Cuban government and the church in order to eventually receive permanent residency in Cuba, a legal requirement.

Created Date
1867

Documents pertaining to the hiring of Chinese settlers by Carmelita, the sugar factory owned by Rita Barbaria de Lara in Guanabana. These workers were hired for a eight year contract.

Created Date
1852

A contract between Enrique, a Chinese settler, and Juan, a Cuban landowner. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Juan noted that Enrique completed a contract with Miguel Tabra previously. Juan was originally from Canton. Contract signed by Juan, Juan Gonzales, Carlos Gonzales. Signed by the settler in Chinese.

Created Date
1868-05-20

A contract between Jose Tomas, a Chinese immigrant, and Juan. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Jose Tomas completed a contract previously. Contract signed by Juan, the governor, and Jose Tomas. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1867

A contract between Juan, a Chinese settler, and Julian Garcia. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. He was originally from Canton. Noted he completed a contract with Jose Lopez Francesa previously. Juan did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Julian Garcia, the governor, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1863-08-27

A contract between Felix, a Chinese settler, and Juan. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes Felix completed a contract with Juan previously. Felix did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by the governor, two witnesses, and Juan.

Created Date
1867-02-17

A contract between Juan, a Chinese settler and Luis Alonso. The contract allowed Luis Alonso to bring Juan from China to Cuba to work. Juan was contracted by an employer upon arrival in Havana, a contract that lasted for two years.

Created Date
1865

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigated Amador's past records.

Created Date
1886-02-13

Record of the investigation initiated by the death of 54 Chinese settlers on their way to Cuba in the Spanish ship “Juan” in 1873. The investigators complied a list of the dead Chinese settlers and the location (latitude and longitude) and date of their deaths. In their investigation, the investigators questioned the captain, the ship's pilot, the sailors, the ship doctor and some Chinese settlers with the help of a translator.

Created Date
1873

These are two separate first labor contracts that belonged to two Chinese settlers, in which they agreed to travel to Cuba to work as indentured servants for eight years. One contract was signed in 1867 and the other in 1861. La Alianza were the agents for these contracts.

Contributors
吳, 才
Created Date
1867

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigated Amador's past records.

Created Date
1886-01-28

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

Created Date
1858

Report detailing meetings of the Secretary of the Governor, Manuel Martinez and various Cuban citizens. These citizens usually voice concerns about certain laws or the alteration of laws.

Created Date
1886-01-28

Loyalty oath taken by Ramon de Mendoza, a Chinese settler, who become a naturalized Cuban citizen. In exchange, he pledged his loyalty to Cuba. He was to observe correct and moral conduct. The Secretary of the Superior Civil Government witnessed.

Created Date
1886-01-08

Loyalty oath taken by Manuel Martines y Pima, Juan, and Antonia, and Pedro Martinez, Chinese settlers, who become naturalized Cuban citizens. In exchange, they pledged their loyalty to Cuba. They were to observe correct and moral conduct. The Secretary of the Superior Civil Government witnessed.

Created Date
1880

Relates that Lorenzo, a Chinese settler, was granted permanent residency in Cuba after fulfilling the legal requirements. His paperwork was signed by his employer, Felix Ferrer, who mentions other past employers, Juan and Jose.

Created Date
1871
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The back reads: "I dedicate this little portrait to my friends, Juan and Olga. Of my friend Alfredo Cox."

Created Date
1969-06-08
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The back reads: "I dedicate this little portrait to my friends, Juan and Olga, from their friend, Alfredo Cox"

Created Date
1969-06-08

Letters from prior employers of Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. A judge was investigating Pedro Amador's past records.

Created Date
1886

Eight Chinese settlers completed contracts with Tedeo Morales and were seeking to sign new labor contracts with their owner.

Created Date
1872