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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 1880


Records of business deals between Troncaso, Bustamanta y Co and other companies, specifically relating to the contracting of Chinese workers or moving settlers from the employment of one company to another. Many of these settlers were between 19 and 40 years of age.

Created Date
1860

Records indicating that La Alianza, before taking that name, was called Vice Director. Marcial Dupierris was in charge of the importation of Chinese settlers.

Created Date
1858

Certificate of nationality of Chinese settler, Alejandro Asaun. It was signed by the Consulate General. He was originally from Cealin, but lived in Sagua la Grande.

Created Date
1880

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 Primo, a Chinese settler, and Manuel Cono. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Manuel Cono noted that Primo completed a contract with D. Luis previously. Primo was originally from Amoy. Primo did not negotiation or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Contract signed by Manuel Chao and Manuel Cono, who signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1868-06-12

A contract between Domingo, a Chinese settler, and Pedro J. Garcia. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Domingo completed a contract with Pedro J. Garcia previously. Contract signed by Pedro J. Garcia, Domingo, and the governor. Signed in Chinese.

Created Date
1868

A contract between Carlos, a Chinese immigrant and Jose Oteza. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Contract signed by Jose Manuel Gonzales, Carlos, and the governor.

Created Date
1868

A contract between Fernando, a Chinese settler, and Francisco Cairo. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Notes that Junio completed a contract with Domingo Morales previously. Signed by two witnesses, the governor, and the new owner. Sagua de Grande.

Created Date
1868-03-20

Contract between Turbino, a Chinese settler, and Ramon and Carlos. The contract was to last for a year and lists the legal requirements of both the employee and the employer. Noted that Turbino completed a contract with Ramon and Carlos previously. Turbino did not negotiate or sign the contract as the signature stipulates that someone else signed for him. Signed by Manuel Chino and Juan Alara.

Created Date
1868

This is a second labor contract that was shared between Federico, a Chinese settler, and his owner, Francisco Cairo. Federico was brought to Cuba from China to serve as an indentured servant and the term of the contract was for one year. Details regarding Federico's wage, food, clothes, and work hours were stipulated in the document. 1868. Signed in Chinese by Federico.

Created Date
1868-03-28