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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 1899


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

Simon, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity in the city of Matanzas. He was baptized by Sebastian Junena.

Created Date
1866-06-28

Atay or Cayetano, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity in the city of Matanzas. 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
1871

Lucas, a Chinese settler, converted to Christianity in the city of Matanzas. 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
1868

Documents pertaining to the hiring of Chinese settlers by the sugar factory, Carmelita, owned by Rita Barbaria de Lara.

Created Date
1861

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

This is a Certificate of Nationality that belonged to Adolfo Abreu- a Chinese settler. The certificate served as a record indicating that Adolfo 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 Adolfo was 44 years old, single, a laborer, and considered a non-resident. He was from Canton in China, and lived in Matanzas in Cuba. Havana, 1884.

Created Date
1879-04-09

An identity card, or cedula, for Santiago Auy, originally from Canton. He was 26 years old when this card was issued.

Created Date
1880

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, Pedro Duarte. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1884-12-13

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

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, Adolfo Abreu. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1884-12-18

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, 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, Ambrosio Achin. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Canton.

Created Date
1884-12-13

This is a Certificate of Nationality that belonged to Diego Achin- a Chinese settler. The certificate served as a record indicating that Diego 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 Diego was 41 years old, single, and considered a non-resident. He was from Canton in China, and lived in Matanzas in Cuba. 1884

Created Date
1884-12-06

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

Created Date
1884

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

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

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

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

Created Date
1865

This contract is between Pedro, a Chinese settler, and Arcuna. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Pedro did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him.

Created Date
1870-01-15

A contract between Justo, a Chinese immigrant, and Gaspar Vinals. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Justo did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Jose Lopes Francas, Manuel de la Fuente, and Gaspar Vinals.

Created Date
1871

A contract between Pablo, a Chinese settler, and Juan Hernandez. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Noted that Pablo completed a contract with Juan Hernandez previously. Pablo did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Contract signed by Enrique Morales.

Created Date
1871

A contract between Melanio, a Chinese settler, and Juan Poey. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Melanio completed a contract with Juan Poey previously. Melanio did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Enrique Morales.

Created Date
1871

A contract between Fernando, a Chinese settler, and Jose de la Espinoza. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Noted that Fernando completed a contract with Jose de la Espinoza previously. Signed by Enrique Morales.

Created Date
1871

A contract between Achung, a Chinese settler, and Juan Poey. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements for both the employee and the employer. Notes that Achung completed this contract and was granted a cedula or identity card a few years later. Achung did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him.

Created Date
1871

A contract between Fabian, a Chinese settler, and Juan Laudaluca. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Fabian completed a contract with Domingo y Gener previously. Fabian did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Juan de Laudalua.

Created Date
1877

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 a second labor contract that was shared between Pablo or Juy Leng- a Chinese settler, and Gavino Hernandez- his new owner. The document was written and signed upon the completion of Pablo's first eight year contract with another owner. The term of this labor contract was for two years. Gavino Hernandez wrote on the back of the contract that Pablo seemed to be performing well in his duties. 1863. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1863-06-13

A contract between Camilo, a Chinese settler, and Ricardo Alfonso. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes Camila completed a contract with Ricardo Alfonso previously. Signed by Ricardo Alfonso, the Administrator, Señor Ramos, and Camilo, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1877-08-27

A contract between Patricio, a Chinese settler, and Joaquin Ruiz. The contract was to last for one year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Patricio completed a contract with Roque Corral previously. Signed by Joaquin Ruiz and Patricio, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1870-05-30

A contract between Jacinto, a Chinese settler, and Jose Olauo. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Jose Olauo wrote a letter of good conduct for a future employer. Signed by Jose Olauo and Jacinto, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1875-10-26

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 Yldefonio, a Chinese settler, and Pedro Guibas. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Yldefonio was originally from Macao. Yldefonio did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Jose Lopez Francas, Guillermo Gomez, and Pedro Luibus.

Created Date
1865-07-05

A contract between Romualdo, a Chinese settler, and Francisco Garcia Rey. Notes that Romulado completed a contract with Francisco Garcia Rey previously. Romulado did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Francisco Garcia Rey

Created Date
1870-10-16

A contract between Joaquin, a Chinese settler, and Antonio Fernandez. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer.

Created Date
1863-02-11

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

A contract between Marcelo, a Chinese settler, and Jose Landalica. The contract was to last for two years and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer.

Created Date
1867-02-17

A contract between Afat, a Chinese settler and Domingo E. Maelan. he contract was to last for an undisclosed amount of time and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Afat did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Domingo E. Maelan, the governor of Cuba, and two witnesses.

Created Date
1864

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

Created Date
1871-05-06

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

Created Date
1867-02-17

This is a second labor contract that belonged to a Chinese settler named Leonio, and his owner, Felicito Perez; the term of this contract was for six months. 1867.

Created Date
1867-06-19

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Faustino- a Chinese settler, and his owner, Jose Serrate; the term of the contract was not specified. 1867.

Created Date
1867-06-13

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

Created Date
1867-09-21

A contract between Laureano, a Chinese settler, and Francisco Aballi. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes Laureano completed a contract with Francisco Aballi previously. Laureano did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Antonio Laucinca and Antonio Liney.

Created Date
1868-10-15

A contract between Julian, a Chinese settler, and Valentin de la Villa. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Julian did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Manuel, Valentin de la Villa, Jose Lope Francas, Guillermo Manuel Gomez.

Created Date
1865-07-22

A contract between Jose, a Chinese settler, and Julian Maresma. The contract was to last for six months and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Jose did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Jose Lopez Francas, Guillermo Gomez, Julian Maresma.

Created Date
1865-07-19