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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
  • Image
Date Range
1854 1951


These are the documents for permanent residency for Saturnino, a Chinese settler in 1865. He lives in Soltero and Cardenas. His application includes his identity card.

Created Date
1865

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

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers. Also relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Some of these settlers produced false documents claiming to be older than they were. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals of the Society of Bustamante y Froncaso, specifically relating to their contracts and hiring practices concerning Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1860

Records of business deals between Francaso, Bustamanta y Co and other companies, specifically relating to their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal. Also relates other hiring practices and how many companies would rehire or share their Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1870

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1860-10-04

Records of business deals of the Society of Troncaso Bustamante, specifically relating to their hiring practices and the ages of their settlers. Relates their illegal hiring of settlers under the age of 14. Article 8 of the laws concerning the hiring of Chinese settlers stated that the hiring of people under the age of 14 was illegal.

Created Date
1854-03-24

Certifies that Valentin, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1871

Certifies that Justo, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Jose de Cannabaco who owned a business.

Created Date
1860

Certifies that Lee, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer, Roque de Lara. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1861-07-02

Certifies that Lei, a Chinese settler, completed an eight-year-contract with his employer. He was eventually granted permanent residency after fulfilling the legal requirements.

Created Date
1861-06-19

A contract between Victor Jatu, a Chinese immigrant, and Pedro Chacon in Guanajay. Signed by the governor, Romero, Victor Jatu, and Pedro Chacon. Pedro signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1869-07-20

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 contract between Ventura, a Chinese settler, and Jose Ruiz. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Ventura completed a contract with La Panchita previously. Signed by Jose Ruiz and Ventura, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866

A contract between Marcos, a Chinese settler, and Jose Gomez. The contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Marcos did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him.

Created Date
1866-04-05

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Sabel, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Ramon Recio de Oguendo. Sabel was brought to Cuba from China to serve as an indentured servant and the term of the contract was for one year, in which Sabel was hired to do fieldwork. Details regarding Sabel's wage, food, and clothes that would be provided to him by Ramon Recio de Oguendo as well as the work hours required of him were stipulated in the document. 1867. Signed the governor, Ramon Recio de Oguendo, and in Chinese by Sabel,.

Created Date
1867-01-06

A contract between Anselmo, a Chinese settler and Jose Romero. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Signed by the governor of Colon, Joaquin, and Anselmo, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1866

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 letter to the Brigadier General Governor concerning the permanent residency of Saturnina, a Chinese settler who completed her eight year control with Marques Duqueme. Her contract, in Spanish and Chinese, is also included. 1855.

Contributors
林, 贵
Created Date
1855