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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 1951


This is a Certificate of Nationality that belonged to Miguel Hernandez- a Chinese settler. The certificate served as a record indicating that Miguel 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 Miguel was 38 years old, single, a laborer, and considered a non-resident. He was from Canton in China, and lived in Cuevitas in Cuba.

Created Date
1883-12-27

This is a certificate of nationality that belonged to Pedro Aloy, a Chinese settler. The certificate served as a record indicating that Pedro 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 Pedro was 42 years old, single, and considered a non-resident. He was from Canton in China, and lived in Matanzas in Cuba. 1884.

Created Date
1884-12-13

This is a Certificate of Nationality that belonged to Adrian Achao- a Chinese settler. The certificate served as a record indicating that Adrian 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 Adrian was 45 years old, single, a laborer, and considered a non-resident. He was from Canton in China, and lived in Matanzas in Cuba. 1884.

Created Date
1884-12-18

This is a Certificate of Nationality that belonged to Jose Alli- a Chinese settler. The certificate served as a record indicating that Jose 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 Jose was 34 years old, single, and considered a non-resident. He was from Canton in China. Havana- 1883

Created Date
1883-12-12

This is a Certificate of Nationality that belonged to Adrian Achao- a Chinese settler. The certificate served as a record indicating that Adrian 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 Adrian was 45 years old, single, a laborer, and considered a non-resident. He was from Canton in China, and lived in Matanzas in Cuba. 1884.

Created Date
1884-12-10

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Juan Agerin. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1884-01-08

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Manuel Aton. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1884-12-10

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Cirilo Torres. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1884

This is a Certificate of Nationality that belonged to D. Ramon Afa- a Chinese settler. The certificate served as a record indicating that Ramon 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 Ramon was 40 years old, single, a laborer, and considered a non-resident. He was from Canton in China.

Created Date
1880-05-08

A contract between Ro Moore, a Chinese settler and Pedro Reynaldo. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Ro Moore did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Carlos Catalan and Pedro Reynaldo.

Created Date
1858

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Jose Acuay. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1882-11-10

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Ambrosio Achin. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1884-12-13

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Manuel Apae. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1884

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Francisco Argudin. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1884-12-06

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Agustin Acosta. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1883-12-14

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Adolfo Abreu. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1884-12-18

The certificate of nationality for Liborio who was from Canton and moved to Soltero to be an indentured servant.

Created Date
1884

Certificate of Nationality of a Chinese settler, Lacanas Aung. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1884-12-11

An identity record or cedula for Jose Elias. He was originally from Canton. Jose was 43 years old when this card was issued.

Created Date
1881-10-03

A contract between Jose, a Chinese settler, and Manuel Gil. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted Jose was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1865-04-26

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Jose Acho. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton, but lived in Cuevitas in Cuba.

Created Date
1883-12-27

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Andres Afat. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton, but lived in Matanzas.

Created Date
1884-12-09

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Pedro Duarte. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1884-12-13

This is a Cuban Certificate of Nationality that belonged to Camilo Chong. He was originally from Canton and is forty years old. He lived in Matanzas. 1884.

Created Date
1884-12-13

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Domingo Mesa. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1882-09-09

This is a neighborhood identity card (cedula) that belonged to D. Ricardo Afo- a Chinese settler from Canton in China. At the time that this cedula was issued for him, Ricardo was considered a non-resident, and he was 39 years old. Havana, 1880.

Created Date
1880-04-12

Narciso, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity. He was originally from Canton. 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
1866-07-30

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Domingo Ley Mun. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1882

A contract between Choy Hieng, a Chinese settler, and B. Solares. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Choy did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by B. Solares and Jose A. de Orbeta.

Contributors
蔡, 亞應
Created Date
1866-01-15

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Jacinto Allo. It was signed by the Consulate General.

Created Date
1883-09-22

A contract between Ricardo, a Chinese settler, and Angel Garcia. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Ricardo was originally from Canton. Notes that Ricardo completed a contract with Joaquin Forcano previously.

Created Date
1867-11-26

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Jose Yan. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1884-12-06

Five certificates of nationality of Chinese settlers born in Canton and Kon Si. They immigrated to Cuba from China in 1880 to work as indentured servants. Each is signed in Chinese along the left side.

Certificate of nationality of a Chinese settler, Enrique. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1880-07-06

Certificate of Nationality of Chinese settler, Emeterio de Jesus. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton, but lived in Soltero.

Created Date
1880

Certificate of nationality of Chinese settler, Antonio Lopez. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1880-06-06

This is the second contract between Ramon, a Chinese settler, and Martin de Cardenas y Layas for the period of six months. This contract is undated and signed in Chinese.

Records indicating that the courts requested paperwork and information on Pedro o Poncho, a Chinese settler, from the Chinese Consul in Havana. He was originally from Canton. He ran away from his employer, was captured, and held in the Deposit of Runaways.

Created Date
1870-10-14

Certificate of nationality for Chinese settler, Jose Varquez. He was originally from Canton and lived in Soltero. Signed in Chinese. 1880.

Created Date
1880

Chinese settler contract signed in Canton in 1866. Written is Castilian and Chinese. Visible defects. The Chinese, Liang Riquan was willing to go to Cuba as a worker. This contract was issued to him and he was requested to follow the instruction.

Contributors
粱, 日全
Created Date
1866

A contract between, Low Li Yang, a Chinese settler, and B. Solares. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by B. Solares and Jose A. de Orbeta.

Created Date
1866

Quentin Madan, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity in the Church of Our Lady of the Ascension. Madan was originally from Canton. In his baptism, Madan offered his loyalty to the Cuban government and the church in order to eventually receive permanent residency in Cuba, a legal requirement. His godfather was Cristoval Madan and this form was signed by Manuel Miranda, priest of the Church of Our Lady of the Ascension. 1865.

Created Date
1865

This is a death certificate that was issued for Tomasm a free Chinese settler, who died at the Hospital de Caridad de San Felipe y Santiago. The reason is not explained. Tomas was 53 at the time of his death, and was admitted into the hospital on October 1, 1874. His body was buried in the general cemetery near the hospital on October 11.

Created Date
1874-10-11

A contract between Sebastian, a Chinese settler, and the Company of the Urban Railroad (Ferrocarril Urbano). The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Sebastian was originally from Canton. Signed by Franco Ortega and Sebastian, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1865

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.

Created Date
1873

These are documents for permanent residency for a Chinese settler, Vieter, originally from Canton in 1865.

Created Date
1865

This is an oath of allegiance signed by a Chinese settler in order to become a natural citizen of Cuba. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866

Records for the ship Grey Hound, which brought Chinese settlers from China to Cuba under contract with Torices, Puente y Co. On this trip, the Grey Hound brought two hundred settlers from China to work for various employers.

Created Date
1861

A contract between Vongcheong Lon, a Chinese settler, and R. Solares. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Vongcheong Lon was originally from Fayune. Also features contract in Chinese.

Contributors
黃, 昌龍
Created Date
1866

A contract between Judas, a Chinese settler, and Manuel Bello. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Judas completed a contract with Manuel Bello previously. Signed by Manuel Bello, Jose Lopez Francais, and Judas, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1874

This is the first labor contract that was shared between a Chinese settler named Leopoldo, and his owner, Felipe Macau, presumably a freed Chinese settler. Leopoldo had already completed a contract with Joaquin Tiago. He was brought from Canton to Cuba to work as an indentured servant in Soltero. The term of the contract with Don Felipe was for six months. 1866. Signed in Chinese by Leopoldo.

Created Date
1866-05-20

Josefa Lam Chang, a Chinese immigrant born in Canton, was granted citizenship in Cuba. The Ministry of Foreign Relations's Doctor Armando Garcias Garagarza confirmed her citizenship. Changs's parents were named Wong Fi Cho and Secci. Also features a small photo of Josefa Lam Chang.

Created Date
1861-04-28

Death certificate for Santosa Chinese immigrant. He died in the Hospital de Caridad de San Felipe.

Created Date
1874-11-20

This is a document stating that Joaquin Nong cannot make more than 600 pesos annually in accordance with the law.

Created Date
1938
thumbnail image

Photograph of family consisting of two older men, two younger women, and four younger men. The back states that his photo was taken in "Canton" or what is now known as GuangZhou. Same family photo as Melikain1313.

Created Date
1948-12-26

Death certificate for Ulpiano Cardelas, who died from tuberculosis.

Created Date
1890

Death certificate for a Chinese settler, Sonenro Acan, who died from cirrhosis. He lived in Saltero and was buried in the general cemetery of Havana.

Created Date
1890

Death certificate for Jose Asen, a Chinese settler. His body was examined at the Civil Hospital of Our Lady of Mercy. He died from heart problems.

Created Date
1889

Death certificate from Joaquin Perez, a Chinese settler. He died in the Hospital of Our Lady of Mercy from tuberculosis.

Created Date
1889

Death certificate for Canto Chay, a Chinese settler who died from internal bleeding.

Created Date
1890

This is a death certificate for Emilio Chong who died from tuberculosis.

Created Date
1889

This is a death certificate for Isidro Allan, a Chinese settler who died from tuberculosis.

Created Date
1889

This is a death certificate for Juan Leon Kan, a Chinese settler from Canton. He died from tuberculosis.

Created Date
1890

Detailing the death of Rafael, a Chinese settler. He was from Canton and thirty years old when he died. He was buried in the Cemetery of Christopher Columbus.

Created Date
1872

An identity card for Humberto Chiang, originally from Canton China. He was thirty-fix years old when this card was given to him and lists his profession in sales. This card gives him the right to be part of the association and do business in conjugation with it.

Created Date
1929

Wong Ming Ye, a Chinese immigrant born in Canton, was granted citizenship in 1951. She is also known by the name Amelia Wong and her parents were named Wong Wang Wa and Lai Si.

Created Date
1951

Death certificate for Joaquin Rereda, a Chinese settler. He died in the General Hospital of Our Lady of Mercy in Havana from tuberculosis.

Created Date
1891-09-16

Death certificate for Cristobal Sen, a Chinese settler. He died at the General Hospital of Our Lady of Mercy in Havana from tuberculosis.

Created Date
1898-12-15

Death certificate for Filomeno Asan, a Chinese settler. He died in the General Hospital of Our Lady of Mercy in Havana from tuberculosis.

Created Date
1891-12-15

Death certificate for Antonio San, a Chinese settler. He died in the General Hospital of Our Lady of Mercy in Havana from an illness.

Created Date
1891-08-18

A death certificate for Jose Camilo, a Chinese immigrant from Canton. He died in the General Hospital of Our Lady of Mercy in Havana from tuberculosis.

Created Date
1895-12-29

The cedula or identity card for Belen Anchin, a Chinese immigrant working in Cuba. She lived in the province of Matanzas, in the town of Cidra. Originally from Canton. This card lists Belen Anchin's current profession and place of residence.

Created Date
1882-04-09

A death certificate for Pancho, a Chinese immigrant from Canton. He died in the Royal Hospital of San Felipe y Santiago.

Created Date
1876-03-16

A death certificate for Francisco Asan, a Chinese immigrant from Canton. He died at the Civil Hospital of Our Lady of Mercy in Havana. He died from tuberculosis.

Created Date
1890-07-29

A death certificate for Ricolas, a Chinese immigrant from Canton. He died at the Royal Hospital of San Felipe y Santiago.

Created Date
1876-07-27

Death certificate for Magin Ang, a Chinese immigrant from Canton. He died in the General Hospital of Our Lady of Mercy in Havana. He died from a disease.

Created Date
1891-08-20

Death certificate for Nicolas Fang, a Chinese immigrant from Canton. He died in the Royal Hospital of San Felipe y Santiago.

Created Date
1890-06-28

A contract between Apiselo Alpa, a Chinese immigrant and Paulino Ligarreta. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Apiselo was originally from Canton. Notes that Apiselo completed a contract with Tomas Alogila previously. The contract is signed by Apiselo Alpa, Paulino Ligarreta, and Juan Caña. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1868-07-08

A contract between Roque, a Chinese immigrant and Miguel Plana. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Roque was originally from Canton. Roque did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. The contract is signed by Miguel Plana, Valentin Mortin, Anastacio Gonzales, and Luis Torres.

Created Date
1868-08-24

A contract between Marcelino, a Chinese immigrant, and Felipe Macao. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Marcelino was originally from Canton. Notes that Marcelino had completed a contract with Jose Manuel Laos previously. Contract signed by Felipe Macao, Jose de Garcia, Acarpo Aloansa, and Marcelino. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866

A contract between Guillermo, a Chinese settler, and Felipe Macao. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Guillermo was originally from Canton. Signed by Jose de Garcia, Felipe Macau, Acarpo Aloansa, and Guillermo, who signed in Chinese

Created Date
1868

This is a labor contract that was shared between Higiorio, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Pedro del Campo; the term of the contract was for one year. 1866.

Created Date
1866-05-30

A contract between Critobal, a Chinese immigrant, and Serafin Gomez. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Cristobal completed a contract with Felipe Mulhice. Cristobal was originally from Canton. Signed by Serafin Gomez, the governor, and Cristobal, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866-05-20

A death certificate for Horentio Bay, who died at the Civil Hospital of Our Lady of Mercy in Havana. He died from tuberculosis and was buried in the general cemetery.

Created Date
1889-07-23

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

An unnamed Chinese settler converted to Christianity in the city of Matanzas. They were originally from Canton. In their baptism, they offered their loyalty to the Cuban government and the church in order to eventually receive permanent residency in Cuba, a legal requirement. Candido Santa Olalla oversaw the baptism of this settler in the parish church of San Carlos in Matanzas.

Created Date
1874

Record pertaining to a judge's investigation of Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but lived in Havana. The court certified that Pedro Amador's records did not contain any concerning contents.

Created Date
1876

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigated Amador's past records. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana.

Created Date
1876-01-30

Record pertaining to a judge's investigation into the records of Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. The court certified that Pedro Amador's records did not contain any concerning contents.

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigated Amador's past records. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Manuel Baños certified that Pedro Amador did not appear to have a criminal record.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Pascual Herra certified that Pedro Amador did not appear to have a criminal record.

Created Date
1886

Record pertaining to a judge's investigation into the records of Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. The court certified that Pedro Amador's records did not contain any concerning contents.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler, as the judge investigated Amador's past records. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Luis Marona certified that Pedro Amador's cedula was current.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado. It details an ongoing investigating concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. Jesus Rodriguez certified that Pedro Amador did not appear to have any criminal history.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Pedro Amador did not appear to have any criminal history.

Created Date
1886

A letter to the judge of the District of Prado concerning Pedro Amador, a Chinese settler. He was originally from Canton, but was working in Havana. Pedro Amador did not appear to have any criminal history.

Created Date
1886

Certificate of nationality of Chinese settler, Antonio Achiou. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton, but lived in Soltero.

Created Date
1880-08-06

Records indicating police interactions with Chinese settler, Jose Afa, and his connection to the illegal raffle, Chiffe. He was originally from Canton. This document also gives investigators permission to access his records.

Created Date
1886-03-27

Records from the Royal Prison in Havana. Jose Afa, a Chinese settler, was arrested and jailed at the Royal Prison for running an illegal lottery.

Created Date
1886-03-28

Death certificate for Francisco Alan, a Chinese immigrant. He died in the General Hospital of Our Lady of Mercy from cirrhosis.

Created Date
1892-09-10