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Our victories, obstacles and leaders

Discover additional specific info on the many links (outlined in "red" or "blue") listed below .

Zhang He
Chinese explorers discovered America
72 years before Christopher Columbus landed in 1492. There are reports that Chinese explorers came in 499 A.D., is based upon a curious historical statement in the works of Ma Twan-lin, one of the most notable of Chinese historians. It is professedly an extract from the official records of China, embracing a traveller's tale told in the year 499 A.D. by a Buddhist priest named Hwui Shin, on his return from a journey he had made to a country lying far to the east. This story seems to have been considered of sufficient importance to be recorded by the imperial historiographer, from whom Ma Twan-lin copied it. It describes the people and natural conditions of a country known as Fu-sang, and has given rise to considerable controversy, some writers asserting that Japan was the country visited, others claiming this honor for America. The literature of the subject is summed up in E. P. Vining's "An Inglorious Columbus," a recent work, in which the Chinese record is exhaustively reviewed, and the balance of proof shown to incline towards the American theory. Gavin Menzies, British historian and map expert, made these findings to the prestigious Royal Geographical Society (RGS) in 2002. Mr Menzie said the Chinese discoveries were made by ships of the Emperor Zhui Di. The fleet, under the command of top Chinese admiral Zheng He, set sail in the early 1420s to bring back treasures from foreign lands. The ships were the best and the fleet the biggest in the world at the time.

Zheng He was a eunuch for Emperor Yongli of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) before he was made an admiral. He was well-known at the time and his life was recorded in detail in the book "The History of Ming Dynasty." The evidence includes travel manuscripts, including maps, written in 1434 by Venetian merchant Nicolo da Conti, who was aboard one of the Chinese vessels. Other maps made by officers on the admiral's ships include those of America, the Cape of Good Hope and the Straits of Magellan, which links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

1565 to 1638 

The transformation of ancient Hawaii from a loose collection of chiefdoms into the beginnings of a formal society may have happened in as little as 30 years, according to new evidence from 400-year-old temples.

Researchers employed an unusual technique to test the age of eight temples on the islands of Maui and Molokai and found that all were apparently built from about 1565 to 1638. Polynesians first came to Hawaii in double-hulled canoes from the Marquesas Islands around A.D. 700, or possibly earlier. Agricultural chiefdoms emerged as the population grew from a few hundred to approximately 400,000 by the time Captain Cook arrived at the end of the 18th century.

Temple construction on Maui was particularly rapid, occurring during a 30-year period beginning in the early 1600s, the researchers said. The time frame coincided with the rise of Chief Pi'ilani, who is credited with unifying two Maui chiefdoms into an enduring political, religious and economic system that went on to encompass nearby islands, according to oral histories taken in the 1800s. The fact that two chiefdoms merged around the time of the temple-building boom strengthens the idea that the temples do, in fact, provide physical evidence for important shifts in ancient Hawaiian society.


Filipino American history began on October 18, 1587. Filipinos were the first Asians to cross the Pacific Ocean as early as 1587, fifty years before the first English settlement of Jamestown was established.

From 1565 to 1815, during the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade, Filipinos were forced to work as sailors and navigators on board Spanish Galleons. They arrived in Morro Bay, California. A landing party consisting of Filipino seamen, namely Luzon Indios (Luzon Indians ), were sent to the California shore to claim the land for the Spanish king.

In 1763, Filipinos made their first permanent settlement in the bayous and marshes of Louisiana. As sailors and navigators on board Spanish galleons, Filipinos--also known as Manilamen or Spanish-speaking Filipinos--jumped ship to escape the brutality of their Spanishmasters. They built houses on stilts along the gulf ports of New Orleans and were the first in the United States to introduce the sun-drying process of shrimp.

In 1781, Antonio Miranda Rodriguez Poblador, a Filipino, along with 44 other individuals were sent by the Spanish government from Mexico to establish what is now known as the city of Los Angeles.

During the War of 1812, Filipinos from Manila Village (near New Orleans) were among the Batarians who fought against the British with Jean Lafitte in the Battle of New Orleans. This was just the beginning of the first wave of Filipino immigration into the United States.

The second wave began from 1906 to 1934 with a heavy concentration going into California and Hawaii. But between these waves of immigration, it is through the colonization of our native land , the Philippines, that brought us here.

For over 300 years, Spain had colonized the Philippines using Manila Bay as their great seaport, trading silver and rich spices with other countries surrounding Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. In exchange for gold, the Spaniards gave Filipinos Christianity. We were called Filipinos after King Philip II of Spain. This is why we have Spanish surnames like Bautista, Calderon, Marquez, and Santos.


Chinese and
Filipinos reach Mexico on ships of the Manila galleon. The Chinese first contacted America in their Manila galleon trade. Chinese and Filipino sailors were employed to transport cargoes of Chinese luxury goods in the Manila galleons to Acapulco, Mexico, from 1565 to 1815. At that time, both Manila, Philippine and Acapulco were both Spanish colony.

By the 16th century, some Filipinos settled in Acapulco. In the 17th century, some Chinese became small store-owners in Mexico City. Some how, they migrated to New Orleans, and the Manilamen settled in the bayou of Louisiana's Barataria Bay, about thirty miles south of New Orleans around 1760. As a result, they were the descendants of the sailors of the Manila galleons. Additional Chinese workers (70) Chinese were recruited by Captain John Meares, Royal Navy, in his voyage in 1788-1789 for work in Nootka Sound - which is located on west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.


Filipino Americans were recorded to have settled in the US. The first recorded Asians in America arrived on ships that were part of the Manila Galleon trade, which was Spanish trade between Manila, Philippines and Acapulco, Mexico. During a stop-over on the Louisiana coast, some Filipino crew members jumped ship and ventured into the bayous. They escaped imprisonment aboard Spanish galleons by jumping ship in New Orleans and fleeing to the bayous. These "Manila Men" founded a village named Saint Malo that consisted of about a dozen small huts raised above the swamps. Eight generations later, some of their descendants can be found living in Louisiana today.


One of the 46 founders of the present day Los Angeles was Antonio Miranda of the Philippines.


On August 9, 1785, the ship Pallas, skippered by John O'Donnell, arrived in Baltimore, Maryland. After unloading his cargo, O'Donnell set sail immediately, leaving stranded in the city a crew of thirty-two East Indian lascars (Asians) and three Chinese seamen named Ashing, Achun and Aceun. It was not known whether these unfortunates ever left these shores and returned to their ancestral land. This was the first recorded instance of Chinese in the East Coast in the United States. {Source: Thomas W. Chinn, Editor, A History of the Chinese in California, Chinese Historical Society of America, 1969.}


The history of the
Chinese in Hawai'i begins just 10 years after Captain James Cook's 1778 landing in the Hawaiian Islands. The Chinese arrived on board the British ship lphiginia under Captain John Meares. This ship was engaged in the lucrative fur trade between the northwest coast of America and China and wintered in Hawai`i until Spring 1789. In celebration of the 200th anniversary of this early encounter, 1989 was heralded as the Year of the Chinese.

The relationship between Hawai`i and China grew with passing years as sailing ships bearing furs to China stopped in Hawai`i for food, supplies, fresh water and repairs during the winter months. It was also a place for crew members, which included Chinese, to go ashore to relax. Tales of Hawai`i were told in China and after 1791 when the Chinese learned of sandalwood in Hawai`i the islands became known as Tan Heong Shan (Sandalwood Mountain), a name that remains in use even to this day. This wood was an important material for Chinese craftsmen and between 1810-1825, the height of its trade the monarchy derived a substantial income from sandalwood. The trees were harvested but not replanted, and after 1840 sandalwood was not exported.

Enterprising Chinese considered Hawai`i a land of opportunity in contrast to conditions in China in the early 19th century. In 1802 Wong Tze-Chun settled on Lana`i and grew sugar cane. With simple equipment he extracted juice and processed the sugar. He decided it wasn't feasible, so packed his equipment and returned to China. Other entrepreneurs came and established small sugar plantations on Hawai`i, Maui and Kaua`i in the 1820s and 1830s. They also setup other businesses and stores, and operated their own ships which brought workers from China. Many of the workers were employed in stores owned by relatives. Money earned was dispatched back to China to support other family members.

On Maui, the Chinese worked on plantations and built tunnels and irrigation systems in the West Maui Mountains. They founded the Wo Hing Society as a chapter of the Chee Kung Tong, a fraternal organization dating back to the seventeenth century.

The Wo Hing Temple, the fraternal hall of the local Wo Hing Society, which is a chapter of the centuries-old Chee Kung Tong, was originally built in 1912 and served a the social center for the Chinese who had migrated to work in the sugar cane fields.

The Wo Hing Museum, where documentation of their arrival is stored, was restored by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation. The Museum features an altar room, artifacts, antiques and a cookhouse. A Chinese Hawaiian history film and early Hawaiian Islands films, made in 1898 and 1906 by Thomas Edison, are shown in the former cookhouse.

In the 1840s, some of the sugar plantations were sold to western companies who used efficient steam engines. There was a great need for cheap labor, so the first load of Chinese laborers recruited in the Fukien and Canton ports, were brought on contract to Hawai`i in 1852. Life on the sugar plantations was difficult, so at the end of their contract many workers returned to China or went into Hawai`i's urban areas to do other jobs.

Rice cultivation was easier and many found employment on rice plantations owned by fellow Chinese. Often these rice plantations were established on former taro lands. Rice grew well in the islands, and much was exported to California and even to China. The industry continued into the twentieth century and brought an excellent income to owners. Chinese were also active in the poi industry, frequently growing the taro for their poi factories.

With the increased demand for sugar and rice plantation laborers, the Chinese population greatly expanded in Hawai`i during the late 1870s and 1880s, with over 1,000 people a year arriving during this period. After Hawai`i's annexation in 1898 by the United States, that nation's labor exclusion law affected the number of laborers brought to Hawai`i, but many Chinese continued to come independently as teachers, craftsmen, doctors and business people as well as wives and children of those already in Hawai`i. They became settlers and their children received good educations and helped Hawai`i to become what it is today. Their impact economically, socially and politically was outstanding and well known.


This law stated that only "free white persons" can become US citizens.


During the 1800s, all persons entering the United States had to have their papers checked. They also needed to be examined by doctors to make sure that they were not ill nor coming with any diseases. The processing for the Chinese began with physical examination. Chinese were forced to go through tests for hookworm and liver flukes.

1800 - 1825 

From 1818 to 1825, the first group of students, native of the Canton Province attended the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut. In 1847, three Chinese students from the same province attended the Monson Academy in Massachusetts, including Yung Wing, who later became the first Chinese student to receive an American college degree.


In 1829,
Chang and Eng Bunkers left their country for America to settle in a small town in North Carolina name Wilkesboro to find peacefulness and a new home.

Chang and Eng Bunker were born in Siam — modern day Thailand — in 1811. Connected by a thin band of flesh at their chest, they were the original "Siamese Twins," a term now used to describe any two human beings joined at birth by living tissue.

When the twins were teenagers, they began traveling with two agents, Robert Hunter and Abel Coffin. With their savings of $10,000, Chang and Eng purchased a retail store and sold everything from linens to chewing tobacco. Unfortunately times were hard and the twins soon gave up their store and decided to take up farming, building a house in nearby Traphill. In 1839, Chang and Eng became American citizens and acquired their new last name, Bunker.

They each married one of the Yates sisters, Sallie and Adelaide.

After several years the foursome were married at the Yates house. Eng and Sallie welcomed their firstborn daughter. Six days later, Chang and Adelaide welcomed their first daughter. This continued until Eng and Sallie had produced 11 children. Chang and Adelaide were almost as productive, with 10 children.

Family and financial troubles eventually forced them to realize that two houses were needed. These houses were built in Surry County and less than one mile separated them. The wives and children lived apart. Eng and Chang shared three days with Sallie and her children and then three days with Adelaide and her children.

After many childhood and adult illness, including a stroke suffered by Chang, Eng woke one cold January morning in 1874 to find his brother cold. When he realized Chang was dead, Eng began to sweat and feel faint. He died a short time later: doctors attribute his death to shock.


Chinese "sugar masters" working in Hawaii. Chinese sailors and peddlers in New York.

1840 - 1870 

It is estimated that
one million Cantonese left the two provinces of South China between 1840 and 1875, the majority coming from Kwantung . . . The majority departed as free workers for the mines of California, Canada, or Australian Queensland, and for the French, Dutch, and English plantations of Southeast Asia. Some Cantonese were recruited by Surinam and other Dutch possessions, and the English and French islands such as Mauritius and R‚union. Of the total number of emigrants, roughly 100,000 persons signed contracts to work in Peru, and 142,000 went to Cuba.

Indeed, subsequent renewals of the act enlarged the meaning of the term "laborer" to include salesmen, clerks, buyers, bookkeepers, accountants, managers, storekeepers, apprentices, agents, cashiers, physicians, restauranteurs, and laundry operators, hardly "coolies" by any stretch of the verbal imagination, no matter how it might be attached to this kind of rhetorical imagery.

Moreover, the original act and subsequent as well as earlier judicial rulings, put two additional burdens on Chinese who wished to emigrate. The first was denial of citizenship: Section 14 of the Act provided "That hereafter no State court or court of the United States shall admit Chinese to citizenship; and all laws in conflict with this act are hereby repealed."

Organized labor from either the East or West Coasts did nothing to aid in the repeal of this law, and in fact did much to encourage its continuance. To give but one telling example: In 1924, Hugh Frayne, a New York representative of the A.F.L., told the Congressional committee holding hearings on immigration restriction, "Labor is for the entrance of suitable immigrants from all nations except the Asiatic ones."

To be sure, from time to time, the importation of Chinese under fixed contracts was proposed in order to supply certain regions with low paid agricultural workers the three outstanding instances being the abortive "Coolie Bill" proposed in California in 1862.

However, much like the Chinese indentured in the Caribbean in the same era, the few Chinese who were brought to the South in the post-Civil War era resisted confinement to their proposed serfdom on plantations, settled as shopkeepers in small Southern towns such as Greenville, Mississippi, and served for decades as middlemen proprietors selling goods to blacks, brokering commercial and occasionally local political relations between blacks and whites and, in the Delta region, inter-marrying with African American women and parenting what would become bi-racial families.

The Chinese coolie, as envisioned in the paranoia of the Sinophobes, and in the portrait of him provided by Gyory, was for the most part, a figment of the white racist's fertile and fetid imagination, an element in the propaganda taken up not only by politicians as Gyory would have us believe but also by organized and organizing labor's leaders regardless of party affiliation as a reading of the Proceedings of the Asiatic Exclusion League would reveal.

In one, the "credit-ticket" system, "passage money was advanced to the emigrant who then repaid his debt after arrival in the new land"; the other the coolie system proper, it might be called "involved emigrants signing term contracts of service in foreign lands in return for their passage." The distinction in practice was familiar to the peoples of Southeastern China, whose husbands and sons made up the bulk of Chinese going overseas.

In the latter system, "Chinese were frequently tricked or coerced into going abroad. Cantonese called these dealings maaijeutzai, meaning "selling pigs."

In fact, before the 1870s Chinese shoemakers had formed their own labor guild, the Li-Sheng Tang. In 1876 Chinese shoemakers engaged in a violent job action, demanding, among other things, a return of the money given to a contractor who had placed 750 of their fellow workers with two Euroamerican firms. In this action the Chinese strikers not only went out in open defiance of Yee Chung and Co., the contractors, but also directly opposed the actions taken by the "Chinese Six Companies," i.e., the community-wide confederation of traditional associations that held sway over Chinatown's denizens for decades and that supposedly kept all Chinese in supine thralldom. The Six Chinese Companies called Tongs formed to represent and organize Chinese interests in San Francisco and California were formed during the 1860s.


1840-60 / 1846: First American flag in California is raised in Portsmouth Square. It eventually becomes the city's canter for the next several decades. As a result, large numbers of Chinese Americans open up businesses nearby Portsmouth Square, laying down the foundations for the eventual formation of Chinatown.

1848: The Gold Rush of 1849. When gold is discovered at Sutter's Mill in 1848, the lure of economic prosperity aboard encourages tens of thousands of Chinese to emigrate to the U.S., most of them coming through San Francisco, but also settling in Sacramento and Marysville.

1849-54: Chinatown Benevolent Associations (Six Companies) are established in Chinatown. These family and district associations are founded to faciliate organization within the local communities. In 1901, Benevolent Association.

1850-1864: Taiping Rebellion leaves 20,000,000 Chinese dead and spurs mass immigration out of China.

1852: Foreign Miner's Tax levied against Chinese and Mexican miners to protect white miners' interests. Chinese masons hold first labor strike in San Francisco history. Hong Fook Tong theater company of China ships over and build a theatre for Chinatown, reflecting that a permanent community is developing in the nascent neighborhood.

1857: Kong Chow Temple becomes the first Buddhist temple in S.F.

1864-1869: Central Pacific Railroad Company, which is 90% Chinese laborers, helps build and complete the Transcontinental Railway. Thousands of Chinese lives are lost in the dangerous working conditions. In 1867, Chinese railway laborers stage an unsuccessful, but massive two-week strike.

1870: Anti-Chinese ordinances are passed in S.F. to curtail their housing and employment options. Queues are banned.

1877: Angry white workers riot in Chinatown in protest of a perceived labor threat by Chinese workers. This is only one among many cases of anti-Chinese violence around the West. Cases like this further forced Chinese Americans into ethnic enclaves like Chinatown for their protection.

1906: The Great Earthquakes of 1906 is a watershed event for Chinatown. Meanwhile, the destruction of municipal records allows for the forging of birth certificates that promptly the influx of thousands of more Chinese, who became known as paper sons.

1907: First Canton Bank opens.

1908: Chinese Chamber of Commerce formed.

1910-11: Chinese revolutionary leader Sun Yat Sen comes and lives in Chinatown.

1910-1940: Angel Island, in SF Bay, operates as a detention and processing center for Chinese immigration. Thousands of Chinese immigrants spend weeks and months detained, undergoing rigorous interrogations by U.S. immigration officials.

1911: Chinatown YMCA founded its headquarters, on Sacramento St., is completed in 1926.

1915: The segregated Oriental School is opened in Chinatown. This is SF's attempt to provide for the educational needs of Chinatown youth, but though a segregated system in order to prevent them from accessing white schools.

1916: Chinatown YMCA founded.

1921: Chinatown Public Library opens.

1927: The Chinese Playground, on Sacramento St., is built.

1950s: The prosperous economy of the 1950s allows all an emerging middle-class Chinese Americans to leave Chinatown in large numbers for suburban neighborhoods. In S.F., the Sunset and Richmond districts are the neighborhoods of choice. Chinatown remained as low- income neighborhoods, often for newly arrived immigrants.

1965-present: Congress passes the Immigration Act of 1965, heralding a new era in Asian immigration. Among its significant changes, the Act dramatically increase the quota set for Asian immigration, but it also favors middle class immigrants, thus influenced the changing demographics of Chinese Americans over the next 30 years. The new influx of low-skilled Chinese immigrants repopulates Chinatown with a new generation of Chinese Americans.


April 12, 1847: First Asians arrive in the United States A group of three Chinese students arrived in New York City, becoming the first Asians officially entering the United States. However, Chinese records show that Chinese Buddhist priests traveled along the West Coast from present-day Brtish Columbia down to Baja California in 450 A.D. Spanish records show the existence of Chinese shipbuilders in present-day southern California between 1541 and 1746. Chinese shopkeepers were already in Los Angeles when the first Anglo Americans arrived.

The discovery of gold at Sutter's Creek, California on January 24, 1848 would bring the first significant influx of Chinese to the United States. That wave was led by two men and a woman arriving in San Francisco on February 2, 1948 on the brig Eagle. The next significant wave of Chinese immigrants were laborers recruited from Amoy by 94 Hawaiian sugar companies in January of 1852.

Yung Wing was one of three Chinese students that arrive in New York for school. In 1854, his graduation from Yale marked the first such event for Chinese Americans


Although Chinese may have arrived in Cuba earlier, the first large group of Chinese arrived on the Spanish frigate Oquendo in 1847 to work on sugar plantations. When the ship dropped anchor in Havana harbor, only 206 of the original 300 contract laborers from Guangdong province had survived to work the sugar fields. These indentured workers and those who followed were recruited to fill the gap created by the termination of African slave trade. Estimates of this immigration over the next quarter century range from 50,000 to 130,000. About 13 percent died during the voyage or shortly after arrival. Between 1860 and 1875, a second wave of Chinese immigrants arrived: about 5,000 who fled anti-Chinese sentiment and legislation in California. “The Californians,” as these relatively wealthy newcomers came to be called, laid the economic foundation of Havana’s Chinatown. Havana’s Chinatown became the largest Chinese enclave in Latin America. A third wave of Chinese immigrants to Cuba resulted from the political and economic upheavals between the establishment of Sun Yat Sen’s republic in 1912 through the early years of the Chinese revolution. At its height, the ethnic Chinese population in Cuba was about 40,000.


Gold discovered in California and the
Chinese begin to arrive. Gold is discovered at Sutter's Mill, California. Chinese in the Canton area were lured by pamphlets distributed by opportunistic ship owners who hoped to fill their passenger vessels. Chinese eager to escape overpopulation, famine, and poverty that resulted from the Taiping rebellion came to California to make their fortunes in California's "Gam Saan" - Gold Mountain.


Charles Gillespie's female Chinese servant stepped off the brig Eagle from Hong Kong at the San Francisco wharf and became the first Chinese servant on the West Coast of North America. Many of the Chinese servants who followed her on the West Coastwere almost entirely men, unlike the case on the East Coast where most servants were women. Domestic service involved cooking, cleaning, waiting table, laundry, child care, and the hundreds of other asks that the primary caregiver in each home provided.

(In an 1868 statistical report approximately 7 per cent of the Chinese immigrants in California were domestic servants; cited in Tsai, Shih-shan. China and the Overseas Chinese in the United States, 1868-1911. Fayetteville, University of Arkansas Press, 1983. 21.)

They acquired a good reputation of providing good service as seen in the following comments - "The Chinese barbarians have captured Boise and will soon rule the whites. I would like to know if this is a free and independent country? If so, why should the Chinamen carry on their bull-dosing [sic] operations? I went to Boise city to try and get employment but the answer at each house was, "We've got a Chinaman." I inquired the amount of wages paid. The answer usually was $8 a week. I asked several of them what they would give a good cook and house keeper if they could get a white woman. The reply was about $4 a week. I left them disgusted. . "

Many cities had employment agencies, often run by entrepreneurial Chinese, that brokered opportunities and vacancies.("Idaho Recorder on April 18 of 1894, further noted that a Chinese company called Fong Kee & Co. had opened an employment agency for Chinese cooks and laborers. [p.2,c.3],"

As James Robinson Jewell noted, "The resentment demonstrated against the Chinese domestics was in part a bitterness towards the lifestyle it took to employ them."

Anti-Chinese agitation, common throughout the West, made a complicated mistress-servant relationship even more difficult. As a result, the language used to refer to the Chinese servants in contemporary newspaper accounts, magazines, books, even private letters, was, as was common at the time, emotionally charged and negative in tone. Frequent terms were "Chinaboy," "John," "Chinaman," "Celestials." While these terms are rightly avoided today, because of the connotations which have accreted to them over the years, they do not necessarily reflect the whole of the relationship. Some, in spite of using the same racist terminology at times, defended them from such stereotyping. Ironically, even one writer, who widely and commonly used such terms in a single article about Chinese servants, could conclude "yet, as has so often been said, in many respects they are the best servants that we ever have had."

Employer suspicion and employee theft were translated into a racial characteristic: all Chinese or blacks or Irish were thieves. Unlike other immigrant groups, Chinese laborers, by law and custom, generally could not bring wives here to establish families. Thus, they were unable to participate in what has been called one of the great "defining themes" of western history, that of "underclass exploitation followed by accommodation and finally assimilation."

Entrepreneurship is the ability to see value where others do not. It is also the ability to "make lemonade when life hands you lemons." Living on the margins of the culture attunes one to the imbalance of goods and services. Domestic service provided the Chinese with an experience at the heart of the culture, within the Caucasian home, in the bosom of the family; an experience that offered glimpses of needs that could be fulfilled from the margin. Many seized the entrepreneurial moment and made a successful life for themselves in a strange land among a strange people.

The American ship Eagle arrived at San Francisco on April 1, 1848. Among the passengers were 3 Chinese, two men and one woman. When the news of the discovery of gold came, the men left for the hill. A passenger of Eagle, named Charles V. Gillespie hired the Chinese woman as a servant of his household. It is believed that she was the first known Asian woman arrived in the San Francisco.

The first recorded of these women, Marie Seise, stepped off a ship named The Eagle in San Francisco in 1848 as the servant of a family of traders, the Gillespies of New York. Before she worked with the Gillespies, she ran away from her parents in China to avoid being sold, worked as a servant in Macao, married a Portuguese sailor, and moved as a servant with another family to the Sandwich Islands after the sailor deserted her. Marie Seise was obviously determined, at whatever expense, to chart her own course.

Nor was Seise alone. Another "China Mary" - a generic name ascribed to many Chinese immigrant women by their new frontier neighbors-ran away from her home in China when she was nine, had made her way to Canada at age 13, outlived two husbands and moved to Sitka, Alaska - where she survived as a fisherwoman, hunter and prospector, restaurant keeper, nurse, laundress, and official matron of the Sitka jail.

Yet another, Yuen, similarly outlived three husbands and was said to have been "the toast of her countrymen" in the Wyoming mining and railroad camps where she cooked during Pony Express days. Another notable woman was Mary Tape, who sailed from Shanghai with missionaries at age 11, then married and lived in California. Mary Tape worked as an interpreter and contractor of labor, taught herself photography and telegraphy. When they tried to bar her daughter from public schools, she won a case against the San Francisco Board of Education in court.

During this time there was a brief period of free competition where Chinese women had the opportunity to be a free agent and entrepeneurs (as oppose to prostitutes/sexual slaves) before the (sex) trade became totally controlled by males. This is seen in books/articles describing the life story of the heroine (Ah Toy) in this initial brief period depicted as a twenty-year-old prostitute from Hong Kong who landed in San Francisco late in 1848. A free agent serving a predominantly non-Chinese clientele during a period of affluence, she accumulated enough money to buy a brothel within two years and retired the widow of a wealthy Chinese man.
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Just like other noteworthy prostitutes of the West such as Sarah Bowman or Dona "La Tules" Gertrudis Barcelo, Ah Toy succeeded by adapting to the changing conditions of her environment. Many historians hypothesize that she was the first Chinese prostitute in America. She arrived in San Francisco in late 1848. Ah Toy maintained her independence and freedom from perils of most Chinese prostitutes brought to the US. She became the most popular and successful courtesan in San Francisco who set up her own brothel of Chinese women.

She gave no favors to anyone but charged an ounce of gold dust (at $18 an ounce) just for the privilege of looking at her face. Men lined up in an queue that stretched for a block or more. At the height of her fame in the early 1850s, when the boat from Sacramento touched shore men would leap from their ships/boats and race to her courtyard in hopes of catching a glimpse of her. She was as famous in her day as Lola Montez the dancer was in hers.
Tall and with an ivory complexion, Ah Toy in her youth was so beautiful that when news of her arrival reached the goldfields in that land bereft of women, miners put away their picks and shovels and traveled a hundred miles to San Francisco just to look at her. Her English language skills and her understanding and employment of the American judicial system set her apart as a most unusual Chinese woman. Ah Toy used the court system to win legal battles and defend herself and her flourishing practice. This very public and smart person was capable of manipulating the very system which made her a victim, just like the many other Chinese immigrant women!

Ah Toy was a successful entrepreneur. Unlike most Chinese prostitutes, she independently operated establishments of "commercial vice" and resisted attempts by the male-dominated society (i.e. tongs) to control her business or extort "protection money from her." Ah Toy began her business from a humble residence in a small shanty on an alley off Clay Street (near Kearny). As her business grew she was increasingly sensationalized in newspapers and was described as "strangely alluring" by foreign visitors to San Francisco.

In 1850 - Ah Toy expanded her business employing two recently arrived prostitutes. Within two or three years, she was doing sufficiently well to move into bigger quarters. In 1852, she was listed as being the proprietor of two "boardinghouses." That year, she was also blamed for the immigration of several hundred Chinese prostitutes. Despite the increasing involvement of Tongs in the industry, Ah Toy maintained control of her business operations for at least two more years. Benson Tong notes that she even "procured prostitutes for other Chinese brothels."

Ah Toy, the second Chinese woman in San Francisco, joined the ranks of prosperous immigrant prostitutes who had such professional names as Bowlegged Mary and Squirrel Tooth Alice (who got her moniker posing for photographs with her pet squirrel) - along with the other "Madams" listed above.

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One of the greatest achievements of Yung's Unbound Feet is the more complete life story of Ah Toy through oral interviews of witnesses and careful search of local newspapers. She was the second Chinese woman to arrive in the United States in 1855. Speaking English and having bound feet, she came to the United States from Hong Kong to "better her condition", and had a rather long career from 1848 to the 1860s. She was last seen selling clams on a beach in Santa Clara before she died. Yung also recovers Ah Toy's obituary in a local newspaper in 1928 that shows Ah Toy lived a long life (almost one hundred years old when she died). Judy Yung also identifies her picture in one of Genthe's photographs taken in San Francisco's old Chinatown.
Around 1854, Tongs began importing women for prostitution, marking the beginning of the end of the period of "laissez-faire" practices, and the increasing rarity of prostitutes operating as autonomous entrepreneurs. While competition and tong control eventually brought about Ah Toy's downfall and removal from the spotlight in San Francisco prostitution, her story indicates that the dynamics and foundations of the industry are much more complicated than is commonly assumed. After a few years in the Bay Area, Toy departed San Francisco in 1854, leaving litigation in her wake. In one suit, she accused a client of trying to pay her with brass filings instead of gold dust. She left before it came to trial.

Madam Ah Toy, several times married, lived to a venerable age. Unlike tens of thousands [of women] in her line of work, she is now enshrined in the hall of famous memories of this remarkable city, which admires enterprise, courage, and the sort of character that could cope with the hazards of survival in the Wild West. It is a commentary on the times that the business she engaged in was one of the very few that in those days could give her an independent living.


Chun Afong, the first Chinese millionaire in Hawai'i, came to Honolulu from the Pearl River Delta region in China in 1849 and within six years he became well known because he made a fortune in retailing, real estate, sugar, rice and opium. He was a member of King Kalakaua's privy council, married Julia Fayerweather, of royal Hawaiian blood and became one of the richest and most prominent members of Hawaii's Chinese community. Together they had thirteen daughters and three sons while living on their home located close to Ka'ihikapu loko, the largest fishpond in Waikiki on thirteen acres - in addition to his mansions in Macau, Oahu's Nuuanu Valley and his villa on Waikiki.

The people who pass through Afong's life are a historical Who's Who of Hawaii. Afong arrived during the reign of Kamehameha III and left during the final days of King David Kalakaua. Other familiar names of prominent people in Hawaii such as Dole, Davies, Alexander, Baldwin, Bishop, Dillingham, Judd, Schofield, Spreckles, Wilder, Castle, Cooke and more are integrated within Afong's everyday life.

Afong prospered in businesses that bankrupted others. Where other entrepreneurs saw Hawaii to be at the periphery of empire, Afong saw the Islands as the strategic center of a dynamic East-West market, free from the costly revolutions and wars that plagued other regions." Afong had 20 children (16 by his Hawaiian-American wife, Julia, four more born in China); his son Alung was the first Chinese student to attend Hawaii's famous Punahou School. A part owner of the Pepeekeo Sugar Plantation on the island of Hawai`i for many years, he eventually sold his business holdings and in 1890 returned to China to spend the rest of his days, a goal desired by most men who came from China.

In 1893 (the year Queen Lili'uokalani was illegally deposed by American businessmen), one of the Afong daughters, Henrietta Patrinella Kealaiki, married naval officer William Henry Whiting, a descendant of George Washington and a Civil War hero.

Bob Dye's book "Hawaii's Merchant Prince" describes the life of Chun Afong.

KA'IHIKAPU LOKO - The loko was named for one of Waikiki's pre-contact chiefs and celebrated in the legend of `Ouha and Mamala. `Ouha went to ka'ihikapu loko after the great surfrider Mamala left him for Chief Honokaupu. At the pond, `Ouha offered a basket of shrimp and fish to the women of the area. When he opened the basket, the creatures leaped out, and `Ouha fled in shame as the women laughed at him. He shed his human form and became the great shark-god who patrolled the coast between Waikiki and Koko Head.


The second Chinese woman arrived in San Francisco and the first civil law suit filed by a Chinese against another Chinese in California happen in 1849. The Chinese female, 20 years old sing-song girl name Ah Toy, arrived by masted ship in San Francisco in 1849. She was also known as China Mary, and later, Madam Ah Toy. She accused two of her Chinese men customers each paid her one ounce of brass fillings instead of one ounce of gold dust as agreed upon, on the business transaction. Judge George Baker heard her case. This is the first civil law suit filed by a Chinese against another Chinese in California. (Source: Silvia Anne Sheafer, Chinese and the Gold Rush, Historical Califirnia Journal Publications,1977.)


Chinese Camp is the site of the first outbreak of anti-Chinese violence in the United States. Depression in mining leads to the attempted expulsion of Chinese miners in more than a dozen mining communities.


About 322,000 Chinese came to the United States between 1850 and 1882. Most nineteenth-century Chinese sojourners came from the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian in South China. Many Chinese Americans today trace their roots to the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong Province. This region consists of eight districts, each roughly the size of an American county. Early immigrants to the continental United States were predominantly from the Sze Yup District, while Hawaii attracted people from Zhongshan.


In the 1850s, farmers hired Chinese farmers that left the gold fields to drain the marshlands in the Sacramento and San Joanquin valleys and paid each worker $1 a day. The Chinese helped to develop agriculture. They have had discovered many different kinds of fruits. It was a great contribution to American agriculture. The Chinese's agriculture helped to grow up United States economic.

They brought new kinds of food. At first the farmers in California only planted wheat. Later, they grew large quantities of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Some of the food were grew more and sold all over the country, such as plums, sugar beets, peanuts, chrysanthemums and peas.

Because Chinese farmers contributed their expertise to the infant fruit and vegetables agribusiness, they saved California from economic disasters that hit the rest of the nation. Often the seeds of many fruits and vegetables as from cherries and teas to celery and asparagus-made the botanical journey from China to America easily.

Villagers or farmers were sometimes brought to the Americans specifically for the purpose of planting and growing tea and only the Chinese grew it. These Chinese farmers contributed their knowledge of agricultural science and technology as well.

The Chinese were not only forced to work for next to nothing - they proved to be extremely capable. "They are the mainstay of the orchardist," said the Pacific Rural Press, "The only supply of labor he can depend upon. They are pickers and packers of fruit. It is difficult to see how our annual fruit crop could be harvested and prepared for market without 'Chinaman'." By the 1870s, 75% of farmers in California were Chinese. In the vineyards, they harvested the grapes, and they dug the underground wines cellars. They picked apples, peaches, pears, cherries olives, citrus fruited, and cotton. They grew pumpkins celery, asparagus, and cabbages. Most Chinese worked as field hands. They were employed as field pickers, pears, and strawberries. The Pacific Rural Express on September 16, 1893, wrote, "It is difficult to see how our.. Nevertheless, they were often poorly paid for their talent and hard work."

"The Chinese actually taught their overloads skills to American farmer how to plant, cultivate, and harvest or chard and garden crops," wrote Carey McWilliams, a historian who has studied California agriculture. It was a skill the Chinese did not pick up overnight in America. They came from a land where intensive cultivation was an ancient tradition.

It was
Chinese farmers who first tried hatching eggs by using artificial heat. And the Red Bluff Beacon in 1870 said that the Tehama County peanuts which were grown by the Chinese were "the sweetest we ever tasted."

America had copied a lot of things from Chinese agriculture. Not only for the best, for example: Wheat, millet, and barley were grown in China many centuries before Europeans learned about them. All of our cereals but maize, sorghum, and some forms of oats originated in Asia. The common fruit trees of temperate zone, except for pecan and the persimmon, came from Asia, too.

Ah Bing: He was a Chinese Horticulturist who succeeded in crossbreeding a new cherry variety that called Bing Cherry in Oregon.

Lue Gim Gong - Father of Florida's Citrus Industry (1859 - 1925): He got his start while working as a strike breaker in a shoe factory in Massachusetts. On Sundays, he attend a Volunteer school started by the citizens of North Adams to Chinese factory workers English. Through the encoragement of Frances Burlingame, he developed many new and different kinds of Thanksgiving apples that were sweater than the ones other groves produced and raspberries that were a strange salmon pink color. People called him the wizard and in 1911 was awarded the Wilder Silver Medal by the American Pomological Society for his oranges. This orange could hang on tree for more than one year and did not spoil even when it took months to get to the market - it was called the "Lue Gim Gong" orange.

As "Truck Gardeners," the Chinese were rated the best. They worked plots on the edges towns and sold their vegetables form wagons, driving up and down the city streets.

In the 1870s, Polish novelist Henry Sienkieicz stated "labors of the Chinese has transformed the sterile sands into the most fertile blacks earth .... The fruit and vegetables, raspberries and strawberries under the care of Chinese gardens grow to a fabulous size. I have seen strawberries as large as small pears and beads of cabbages four time the size of European beads, and pumpkin the size of our tubs...."

The farmers understood that the key to the profit in any labor-intensive crop was the dependable, hard-working Chinese who were willing to crawl through the fields and give the beets the necessary care and attention.

Watsonville would become the sugar capital of Northern California, thanks in large part to the Chinese workers willing to bloody their knees in the fields.

When the first crews of Chinese farm laborers entered the Sacramento / San Joaquin region in the summer of 1866, they brought the same resourceful attitude toward working the land that they brought to harvesting the abundance of the sea. From 1866 to 1900, the Chinese farm laborer was the mainstay of agriculture on the Monterey Bay Region, providing labor to plant, tend, and harvest crops and reclaim land and his experience to show Yankee farmers the vast agricultural potential of the region.

Strawberries: The Santa Cruz County strawberry industry's first bigger and successful planting of strawberries in the Pajaro Valley came late in 1880 and the introduction of irrigation, totally with the surplus of Chinese farm laborers freed up by the worker of the soquel beet sugar factory, caused the strawberry get jumped to 268 acres from 42 by 1885.

Chinese farm laborers preferred to be paid a piece-rate rather than a daily wage, and sharecropping arrangements were even more desirable. But the most highly prized working arrangements for the capital-poor Chinese were leases under which they reclaimed the land in exchange for its free use for its free use for four or five years.

The Chinese began to employ in highly skilled land reclamation crew in l870. They wielded shovels and worked waist-deep in water, and they drained the tule, swamps and marshes and transformed them into agricultural lands by l877. They had succeeded in creating a full five million acres of valuable farmland. They reclaimed eighty-eight thousand acres of rich delta land from 1860 to 1880.

The Chinese were the first to devise the tule shoe, an oversized horseshoe, which distributed the horse's weight over a large area and prevented it from sinking into marshland. Once the land became fit for agriculture, the Chinese remained in the area to plant, harvest, and preserve the crops.

By the late of 1880s the Chinese were clearing the willows and tules out of the sloughs country west of Watsonille and bringing marginal land into berry and vegetables production.

In 1890 a Chinese crew planted one acre of raspberries on reclaimed land and sold the berries for $1,300. Another piece of reclaimed sloughs land produced 200 sacks of potatoes (one hundred pounds per sack) to the acre in 1888 and 180 sacks to the acre the following year. The crop of choice seem to have been berries.

Whenever Chinese cleared land in the sloughs district they put in raspberries, and they leased desirable tracts of land in different parts of the valley, paying cash rent in advance to cultivate blackberries. When the reclamation leases expired, landowners rarely renewed them on a long-term basis with the Chinese farmers, preferring instead of growing berries or vegetables themselves.


As the vast majority of the early
Chinese headed for the gold mines, California's first assertion of white supremacy against the Chinese focused on control of the mines. In 1850, California passed the Foreign Miners Tax. The letter of this tax was nativist and applied to all foreigners. In practice it was mainly collected from the Chinese in an attempt to drive them from the mines. This contradiction undermined its usefulness as social policy or law. Still, once the Hall case (more on this below) and common practice made clear that the Chinese had no protection of any sort, they were regularly victimized by white miners and extorted by tax collectors.

California imposes Foreign Miner's Tax and enforces it mainly against Chinese miners, who often had to pay more than once. The taxes bring in up to 50% of the entire state revenues. The U.S. District Court in Northern California upheld laws against Asian immigrants, including a tax on foreign miners and a bar on Chinese from testifying against whites in criminal cases. Between 1850 and 1870, before the law was voided by an amendment to the UnitedStates Constitution, half the state's income was derived from this source. Fishermen were also taxed a monthly license fee of $4.00. California state legislature passed the first Foreign Miners' Tax Law, levying a $20-per-month tax on each foreigner engaged in mining.

This happened in California, an antislavery territory dominated by "free soilers," while they were attempting to determine the precise social status of the Chinese and their place in U.S. society. Whites were divided among themselves between those (mainly capitalists) who desired easy access to cheap Chinese labor and those (mainly labor, that is white labor) who wished them excluded from the country.

They were stymied by the fact that existing law covered only Negroes, Whites and American Indians by the fact that white California's racial conditions and concerns did not completely match those of the federal government. These were conditions they had to sort through, by means of political and ideological struggle, with tremendous, though often overlooked, opposition from the Chinese themselves.

It is this process that constitutes what is here referred to as the "racing," "racialization," or "racial formation" of the Chinese into Asian Americans. This process eventually produced a social category of a new type, one that was neither simply national/ethnic nor strictly racial, but a combination of the two: by the end of the nineteenth century, the Chinese were racialized as "aliens (hence national) ineligible to citizenship (based on race)."

At key junctures the U.S. state has defined racial groups and dictated the race relations of which they are part. But it has done so not in a vacuum, but in accordance with racialized socio-economic and political struggles. The culmination of the process of developing the racial category appropriate to the Chinese, not surprisingly, paralleled and eventually settled the fight over whether or not to exclude Chinese from entering the country and/or attaining U.S. citizenship.


On September 9, California gains statehood. Some
500 immigrants out of 57,787 arriving in California were Chinese. First US census: 2 Chinese house servants listed: Ali Fou and Ah Luce. It wasn't until the first Chinese woman arrived, on Oct. 22, 1859, that the city's only newspaper, the Los Angeles Star, acknowledged the existence of a Chinese community.

In 1850, approximately 450 Chinese men entered California; in 1852, 2,716 more arrived; and in 1852, 20,000 Chinese men crossed from China to the Pacific Northwest. By 1880, the ratio of male to female Chinese immigrants was approximately 20:1. They lived and worked in Chinatowns, in groups according to their district or region and dialect.

Two years later (1861), when merchant Chung Chick opened the city's first Chinese store, on Spring Street, the population had grown to 21 men and eight women, all working as servants or laundrymen. Within a few years, more Chinese came, most winding up as railroad workers, shopkeepers or farmers.

During the 1850s after the Gold Rush, the
first Chinese immigrants (predominantely male laundrymen/market gardeners/agricultural & ranch workers/road builders) seeking work to send money back to their families in China) to Los Angeles established their community in the area where the El Pueblo Historical Monument and Union Station currently exist. Within this same area, numerous immigrants from Mexico celebrated through Olvera St.), Italy (celebrated through Italian Hall at El Pueblo), and France also settled and built their own little cultural enclaves during the mid- to late-1800s. By 1870 (where the Census "officially" reported 5,728 citizens in Los Angles where 172 were Chinese), a more defined "Chinatown" of 200 or so was situated on Calle de Los Negros - Street of the Dark Hued Ones - a short alley 50 feet wide and one block long between El Pueblo Plaza and Old Arcadia Street. Despite the heavy discrimination in the late 19th century, Chinese held a dominant economic position in the Los Angeles laundry and produce industries for several years of this period. Consequently, old Chinatown flourished, expanding eastward from the Plaza across Alameda Street and eventually attaining a population of over 3000.

The thriving Chinatown was the site of terrible violence on October 24, 1871 known as the "Chinese Massacre of 1871.". A gunfight between rival Chinese factions over the abduction of a woman resulted in the accidental death of a white man. This enraged the bystanders, and a mob of about 500 Anglos and Latinos descended on Chinatown. They randomly lynched 18/19 Chinese men and boys, only one of whom may have been involved in the original killing. Homes and businesses were looted. Only ten rioters were tried. Eight were convicted of manslaughter, but their convictions were overturned the following year on a legal technicality.

Reaching its heyday from 1890 to 1910, Chinatown grew to approximately 15 streets and alleys containing 200 buildings. It was large enough to boast a Chinese Opera theatre, three temples, its own newspaper, and a telephone exchange. But laws prohibiting most Chinese from citizenship and property ownership, and Exclusion Acts curtailing immigration, inhibited future growth for the district.

From the early 1910s Chinatown began to decline. Symptoms of a corrupt Los Angeles discolored the public's view of Chinatown; gambling houses, opium dens, and a fierce tong warfare severely reduced business in the area. As tenants and lessees rather than outright owners, the residents of Old Chinatown were threatened with impending redevelopment and as a result the owners neglected upkeep on their buildings. Eventually, the entire area was sold and resold, as entrepreneurs and town developers fought over usage of the area. After 30 years of continual decay, a Supreme Court ruling approved condemnation of the entire area to allow for the construction of the new major rail terminal, Union Station. Seven years passed before an acceptable relocation proposal was put into place, situating Chinatown in its present day location. During that long hiatus, the entire area of Old Chinatown was demolished, leaving many businesses without a location, and forcing some of them to close permanently. "The original Chinatown's only remaining edifice is the two-story Garnier Building, once a residence and meeting place for immigrant Chinese," according to Angels Walk – Union Station/El Pueblo/Little Tokyo/Civic Center guide book.

Historical Footnote: The history of urban renewal in American cities is also a legacy of "racial removal" of racial and ethnic minorities. Los Angeles Chinatown was twice subjected to clearance during the era of Chinese immigrant exclusion. Despite these challenges, the ethnic entrepreneurs and leaders of Chinatown created new Chinatowns, and periodically reached out to local business leaders and booster organizations to market Chinatown for urban tourism.


The four-page
Los Angeles Star — two pages in English and two in Spanish, also called La Estrella — debuted May 17, 1851. One of its founders was William H. Rand, a mapmaker who left to start Rand McNally Co. Pro-slavery and hot-tempered, Irish native Henry Hamilton (the other founder) was an outspoken critic of President Lincoln. He was a Southern sympathizer whose weapon of choice was the city's first newspaper, the Los Angeles Star. Armed with his printing press and a vision of a pure white society, Hamilton aimed to divide California into two states, one slave and one free. In 1856, Hamilton took over the foundering Star and turned it into a thriving paper that espoused Southern causes, including states' rights, secession, tariffs and slavery.

First group of 195 Chinese contract laborers land in Hawaii. Of the 11,794 Chinese living in California, only
7 were women. Chinese immigration increased to 20,000 this year with most individuals proceeding to mining regions. This number decreased to under 8,000 annually during the next two decades. Over 20,000 Chinese enter California. Chinese first appear in court in California. Missionary Willian Speer opens Presbyterian mission for Chinese in San Francisco. Chinese workers being shipped to San Francisco mutiny on the Robert Browne, drawing attention to the "coolie trade." It is San Francisco's first major strike!

Racially Coerced Labor Force to Exclusion
It was into the above situation that the early Chinese immigrants unwittingly thrust themselves. The Gold Mountain had a racial cordon and a developing ethnic/nationality one as well. The experience of the Chinese in California in the nineteenth century was to break new ground.

NOTE: Contrary to the myth that the early Chinese were part of the odious coolie labor trade that flourished between 1847 and 1874, most of the early Chinese immigrants bought their tickets to the United States on credit and were not contract laborers per se. Once they paid off their debts, they were more or less free. And, owing to the rather free-flowing, frontier character of Gold Rush-era California, as well as the crying shortage of labor, racial constraints were not nearly so entrenched or immediate as in the more settled parts of the country.


Territorial law passed banning Chinese from voting in


As the news of the discovery of gold reached Guangzhou,
thousands of Chinese came to America and joined the Gold Rush, about 25,000 Chinese arrived at San Francisco, taking along their harvesting tools, dreaming of became millionaires by the mining of gold. The period, which the later historians called "The Gold Rush", started. San Francisco, at that time, were also called as "Gold Mountain" by some of the Chinese.

During the mid-19th Century, the Chinese Government had raised taxes, in which the farmers were unable to pay for them. And also, natural disaster such as flood happened. Crops were destroyed, the Chinese could not produce enough rice to feed themselves. So as they heard about the news of the Gold Rush in America, they came to the U.S. in swarm, hoped to mine the gold.

At first, the Chinese were cheerfully welcomed as ''The China Boys,'' invited to official functions and praised for the quality of their work. The next thing they knew, the governor was denouncing them as avaricious ''coolies,'' whites were chasing them out of the mines and legislators were targeting them with punitive taxes.

To lower the quantity of exported gold and balance the national trade, the Federal Government imposed the "Foreigner Miners' License Tax" in 1852, which, stated that you should register to become a licensed miner before you could actually started mining. The law aimed mostly at the Chinese miners to increase the State's revenue. It required every foreign miner who did not choose to become a U.S. citizen to pay $3 every month to the state.

In mining, the Chinese worked for companies for gold silver. The huge taxes discouraged their business, but the Chinese managed to pay the levies and gathered as much gold and other metal nuggets as they could. New ore veins were opened too, and the European miners grew angry at the Chinese for becoming rich while they grew poorer.

When employment in mining, railroad building and timbering was closed to Chinese, they turned to manufacturing. California had just begun to develop consumer industries and free from the economic control of the Eastern States. Before the turn of the century, one half of California's labour force engaged in manufacturing was of Chinese origain.

From 1869 there was a small community of Chinese miners living in Arrowtown. They were originally invited as workers when the West Coast gold rush depleted local labour and helped build such buildings as the St John's Presbyterian Church. The Chinese were largely segregated from the European miners and created their own settlement near Bush Creek. Many worked on a large sluicing in Arrow Flat. The population of Chinese was entirely men, and the proceeds from their labours was sent home to families in China. The Chinese were regarded as successful miners, which was mainly due to their hard work.


Bok Kai Temple is the oldest active Chinese Taoist temple in California. Bok Kai is the Chinese water god, the bringer of rain, the preventer of floods and the banisher of evil. Since the temple was built in 1854, and rebuilt in 1880), in Marysville has been stated that this is "where the saints can best watch over the town to see that nothing good flows away and that nothing bad flows in."

The Yuba River courses down the hills from Gold Country and pours into the Feather River, about 40 miles north of Sacramento. Marysville was founded at the confluence of the two rivers in 1851 and during the Gold Rush briefly swelled into one of the largest cities in the state. Many of those drawn to the gold fields were Chinese immigrants from the Canton province, who made up about a quarter of Marysville's population of about 5,000 people and built the second-largest Chinatown in California after San Francisco's.

In 1880 the Chinese community built the Bok Kai Temple, replacing a smaller temple from 1854. The new temple faced the Yuba River, along the bridge leading into town. The building itself was unremarkable, but the inside of the front porch was painted with a lyrical mural showing robed figures, flying birds and graceful calligraphy. The main altar featured the figurines of Bok Kai and six other deities, intricate carvings, ceremonial weapons and other artifacts imported from southern China. In 2001, the National Trust for Historic Preservation declared the temple one of the 11 most endangered sites in the nation.


Another attempt to define the legal status of Chinese took racial, not nativist, form. In late 1853, a "free white citizen" named George Hall was convicted of murdering a Chinese man, but the next year the California Supreme Court reversed the conviction on the grounds that Hall had been "convicted upon the testimony of a Chinese person." California Supreme Court ruled that a white man charged with murder could not be convicted on the testimony of a Chinese witness.

The chief justice ruled that Indians had originated from Asia before crossing the Bering Strait and that therefore the laws barring testimony by Indians applied to the "whole of the Mongolian race," that Chinese were covered by the generic term "Black" and that the court should not turn "loose upon the community" the Chinese "whose mendacity is proverbial; a race of people whom nature has marked as inferior, and who are incapable of progress or intellectual development..." (People v. Hall). Here was convoluted American racial logic attempting to grapple with the "racing" of a set of people seen as entirely foreign. No concern whatsoever was evinced for the Chinese murder victim. Again, the Chinese were stripped of crucial constitutional rights, but the means for doing so were inadequate and inconsistent.

Lalu means either Islam or Long Life, and Nathoy is pronounced Nasoi indicates that she was a Daur (a minority in Mongolia that is related to the Mongols and Tungus-Manchu-speaking communities that settled in Han that gave up the Mongolian faith and Lamaism to become followers of Islam). Their nomadic and farming backgrounds provided the ability to survive, apparent alienation from most of Warrens' Chinese and her affectin for her home in the Salmon River canyon.


Idaho's Polly Bemis was the Pacific Northwest's most famous Chinese American woman, overcoming the fact that "Orientals" (Asians/Chinese) were not well respected in mining camps. Her reputation were comparable to others in her hometown's (Warren) storied past that also revolved around other characters of the time and place named Judge Poe, Three-Fingered Jack and Cougar Dave.

Polly Bemis (Lalu Nathoy) was born on September 11,1853, in Northern China (apart from the many other Chinese that came from Southern China/Canton), near one of the upper rivers.

Lalu's impoverished farmer parents had her feet had been bound as if she were from a family of means, then unbound. When Lalu was eighteen, a prolonged drought forced her father was forced to sell her to bandits in exchange for enough seed to plant another crop to save his family. It is reported that when the bandits take her away from home, she was not obedient and stoop to them while trying many times to escape from the bandits as many times as she can. It is reported that she let (Chen), the leader of the bandits, keep her for himself as a wife instead of making her a common whore.

Through Shanghai (China), San Francisco (United States) and Idaho City (United States) - she arrived at Warrens (a rip-roaring camp - northeast of McCall - during the Gold Rush days that started in 1861 in Idaho), where the bandit (Hong King) either died or deserted Polly while operating a restaurant/dance hall/saloon/gambling house for several years. Polly, however, stated "Old woman smuggle me into Portland. I cost $2,500. . . . Old Chineeman he took me to Warrens in a pack train."

According to reports, Polly gained her freedom long before she married Bemis, "Big Jim was sitting out in front of his place one afternoon, sunning himself, when he suddenly toppled over. He was dead when he was picked up. The doctor said it was his heart. As a result, Polly and the other girls no longer belonged to anyone. For four of the five, it was just a matter of changing hands, and they continued their whoring. Polly opened a little restaurant and did well until she fell in love with Charley Bemis."

For Chinese men, not only were there not Chinese women here, but they also had laws that forbid interracial marriage between Chinese and whites. It creates a situation where there are criminal Tongs, secret societies, set up where they could bring these girls to who had been sold by their parents to the United States and women were literary sold into prostitution.

Some of the women tried to run away with the help of men who befriended them or who loved them. The only other way and some of the women did this, was to commit suicide rather than continue to work and endure these conditions as a sex slave.

There is also another story. Acknowledging that the Chinese women who labored as prostitutes, the majority worked as chattel for masters who'd bought them. Beginning in 1861, California passed a series of codes aimed at restricting the importation of Chinese women for prostitution that motivated the smuggling trade between "importers" (often Chinese) and recruiting agents. She could have followed the paths of other Chinese women where she stayed at San Francisco's Chinatown (in barracoons) where enslaved Chinese women were either held while awaiting distribution or auctioned off to the highest bidder. This would result in her traveling by boat up the Columbia River from Portland to Lewiston, Idaho, and then by pack train to Warrens.

Pioneers A. W. Talkington stated "Polly was a good woman and entitled to a good deal of consideration because of her upright conduct in rather difficult circumstances" and George Bancroft claimed "got money from women's time-honored methods." Other pioneers insisted Polly had never worked as a prostitute. "Polly Nathoy was brought from China to Warrens for the world's oldest profession. When taken to (Hong King's) saloon, she was terrified! Charlie Bemis was present and protected her from unwanted advances." (Bertha Long)

Polly's longing for freedom is seen as she determines to buy herself back from the whore house; saves money for her freedom when she is sold to the saloon; even tries to kill Hong King, her master, to make herself free. When Charlie wins her from Hong King in a card game, she doesn't feel happy or grateful but angry that Charlie "forces her to break her promise that when she leaves Hong King, she would become a free woman." She doesn't want to belong to Charlie though he loves her and will never make her a slave. She wants to be a self-sufficient woman with her own business, a boarding house. For the desire for independence, Polly has refused three times Charlie's proposal of marriage and still keeps her own place after eighteen years of living with him.

On July 8, 1872 - Charles Bemis (whose "fearless personality, coupled with his skill at shooting, enabled him to maintain order without getting into trouble owned the saloon and was the town's deputy sheriff) bought Lalu from the Chinese owner (Hong King) as payment resulting from a poker game (according to legend) - who was introduced as "Polly" and thereafter was called by this name as his "poker bride."


In its heyday, the population of Warrens reached 3,000, roughly one third of which were Chinese who had relocated after the railroads were complete. There wasn't a single white woman in the camp which was rife with violence and bloodletting. Probably because of the rough passage, the women were all either Lapwai (Sheepeater) Native American girls, stolen or possibly purchased from their tribe, or Chinese slaves owned by "Big Jim," the boss of the Chinese colony. He worked his slaves as prostitutes. The most famous of these was China Polly, who Big Jim had bought, along with four other women, in San Francisco, taking them first to Idaho City and eventually downriver to Warrens.

Polly was just one of fifty Chinese in Warrens who pleaded not guilty to "the alleged violation of Section 6 of Act November 3rd, 1893 of the Statutes of the United States."

All fifty blamed their failure to register on the government official's inability to come to Warrens as promised because "the roads were impassible owing to the snows and rains and they were represented by the same attorney, D. Worth."

All the descriptions of Polly in her youth remark on her beauty, and she was renowned even in her old age for her wit and charm. By the 1880s they were living together. Polly remained financially independent on Bemis (who died in October 29,1922) by taking in laundry from miners and ran a boardinghouse.

After living together for years, they were married in 1894 after Idaho modified its law against mixed-race unions. Some say as the result of Polly's medical care (with the assistance of Al Kan/Lee Dick - credited as "healers") resulting from an injury resulting from a poker game with John Cox, above-listed "poker bride" and/or the result of the 1895's Geary Act that required Chinese legally residing in the United States to carry a certificate of residence at all times.

The couple was renowned for their generous hospitality with Polly's bright-eyed warmth and humor - whether injured, ill and/or nursing them back to health. As pioneer John Carrey put it, "There was nobody in my day who carried the respect Polly earned through her kindness to everybody." The Bemis ranch became known as Polly Place, and a overnment survey party named the creek running through the property for Polly in 1911.

On May 13,1896, the case United States v Polly Bemiss [sic], (one of fifty Chinese who pleaded not guilty to the "alleged violation of Section 6 of Act November 3rd, 1893 of the Statutes of the United States") in the matter of the arrest and deportation of said defendant, was heard in Moscow, Idaho. As required by law, Polly had a white witness who testified that she had already been living in the United States when the Geary Act passed, that she was a "peaceable law abiding Chinaman, inoffensive, and has been continuously engaged in laundrying [sic] for ten years in Idaho County." Her witness was a resident of Grangeville, and his testimony was given on May 7,1896, before W. A. Hall, U.S. Circuit Court Commissioner for the District of Idaho. Polly also presented testimony before Hall that same day.

Although Polly is a woman with strength and courage, she was afraid of having children. What she's worrying about was not about herself but the children. She believed that her children, who would be Chinese-Americans, would live under racism and violence against the Asians.

Polly died at 3:00 A.M. on November 6,1933 and buried at Grangeville's Prairie View Cemetery.

In 1987 the Department of the Interior deemed the cabin significant in Idaho's heritage, and at the museum's dedication ceremonies Governor Cecil Andrus declared, "The history of Polly Bemis is a great part of the legacy of central Idaho. She is the foremost pioneer on the rugged Salmon River."


The first Chinese woman to arrive in the American West, in 1854, worked as a domestic servant to a missionary family. The second one arrived in 1855 is from Hong Kong. the famous Madame Ah Toy.

From 1880 to 1920, about 49,000 Chinese entered the United States and about 5 percent of them were women. According to the census data in 1860 to 1900, many women were categorized as prostitutes.

Mission Home claimed to save about 3000 Chinese women from the 1890 to 1900, which meant that one eighth of Chinese women in the US were rescued and reformed by Mission Home.


In the summer of 1854,
Yung received his B.A. degree and became the first Chinese student to be graduated from an American university. Yung Wing initially enrolled at the Monson Academy in Monson, Massachusetts. Upon his graduation in the summer of 1850, he entered Yale University. Yung Wing (also known as Rong Hong, 1828-1912) was born to a poor farming family, in the village of Nanping, in Xiangshan County, Guangdong Province, in southern China. became a naturalized American citizen on October 30, 1852, while a sophomore at Yale University. Later, in 1875, he married Mary Louise Kellogg from East Windsor, Connecticut. As the first Chinese graduate of an American university, Yung Wing received from Yale first his B.A. in 1854, and then was conferred an LL.D. in 1876. He played an important role to build Sino-American relations. Yung later returned to China and organized the Chinese Educational Mission, which brought over 100 Chinese boys to New England for schooling in the 1870s and 1880s.


Chinese in Hawaii establish a funeral society, their first community association in the islands.
People v. Hall rules that Chinese can't give testimony in court after the testimonies of Chinese witnesses resulted in the murder conviction of a white man. The judge reversed the verdict citing the Criminal Act of 1850, which had previously prohibited blacks, mulattos, and Indians from testifying for or against a white man.

This was the worst of the early laws because it addressed a state statute barring the testimony of blacks, mulattoes, and Indians against white defendants. Reasoning that the Chinese were descended from the same racial stock as Indians and that, as nonwhites, they were the legal equivalent of blacks. The court ruled that they were similarly excluded from giving evidence against whites. The decision, which became law in California by 1860, meant that whites could attack Chinese with impunity.


On April 7, 1855, Charley Ah You, of Thung Shung Tung Co., and Miss Sag Sung were married by Justice O. Bailey; believed to be the first
civil marriage of Chinese in California" and in America. (Courtesy of Gordon Kwock


By 1855, Chinese merchants began organizing to protest these and other discriminatory acts. Eventually this organization became known as the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, or the Chinese Six Companies. The Chinese Six Companies settled arguments within their own community, negotiated between the Chinese people and the federal and state governments, and hired lawyers to challenge unfair practices in court.

The main sources of anti-Chinese sentiment during this time were workers' groups who described the influx of Asian workers to the United States as "yellow peril." In addition to widespread intolerance for people of color, many labor groups held that cheap immigrant labor would lower wages for American workers.

However, home-country elites also took advantage of the racist isolation of Asians in America to extend their influence and control over these communities. For example, excluded from participation in almost all American institutions, traditions, and organizations, the Chinese community was rife with district, family, and clan associations, as well as secret societies, schools, public festivals and rituals, and China-based political organizations.

At the apex of this pyramid, the Chinese Benevolent Association (in some places known as the Six Companies) ruled over the Chinese-American communities. The Six Companies, in turn, was an instrument of the Kuomintang (China's Nationalist Party) which, as an ally of the United States against the Chinese Communists, was given almost free reign over the overseas Chinese up to and including regular violations of the Constitutional rights of those who it perceived opposed them.

To one degree or another, all the Asian communities in the United States were faced with a "dual structure of domination" in which a homeland government or political party was allowed by the United States to be its junior partner and overseer with a great range of powers to develop and enforce the interests both of U.S. racism and overseas loyalty. These dual structures were especially strong during the exclusion/enclave period, and only in the current phase of Asian-American history are they being broken down. Dual domination, like exclusion, is a unique combination of racial and national oppression.


San Francisco opens a school for Chinese children (changed to an evening school two years later). Missionary Augustus Loomis arrives to serve the Chinese in San Francisco.


California passes a law to bar entry of Chinese and "Mongolians."


Hamada Hikozo becomes the first Japanese to be naturalized as an American citizen.


First Chinese restaurants, probably opened in the 1860s, when L.A. was a cow town of about 5,000 inhabitants. The cooks were just men who had come here to be gold miners or railroad workers and decided to open chow-chows (cook shacks marked with a traditional yellow banner).
Description: Just inside West Gate looking east on Gin Ling Way across Central Plaza toward Li-Po restaurant; General Lee's Man Jen Low restaurant is just beyond the tall tree on left; east of that is Forbidden Palace restaurant; benches; trees; potted plants in doorways; people strolling; sign in front right corner reads: Open Dining Room Upstairs;

The earliest restaurant known by name is Man Jen Low, simply because it survived down to 1987 (by then known as General Lee's Man Jen Low). In the 1950s, its menu gave the restaurant's founding date as 1890.

Many of these restaurants were humble noodle shops. Some 19th century restaurants were very grand inside, with carving and traditional furniture. Others were just a booth extending into the street from the shop front.

Very early menus show shark's fin and bird's nest, important luxury items for the Chinese and the Cantonese in particular. Early on, in order to please non-Chinese customers, restaurant owners developed bland, often sweet versions of Chinese dishes. Somewhere along the line, some cook introduced an inoffensive stir-fry he called chop suey (from Cantonese tsa sui, meaning various pieces): meat, celery, onions and bean sprouts, well doused with soy sauce.


In the late 1860s residents of Aizu Wakamatsu, Japan were forced to leave their homeland due to an ongoing civil war between the ruling emperor and the various samurai lords. They were led by John Henry Schnell, a Dutchman married to a Japanese woman, who purchased 160 acres of California land to establish an agricultural settlement.

Schnell, along with the 21 other Japanese colonists, established a tea and silk farm colony at Gold Hill. At first they experienced much success but several factors would lead to the colony's ultimate demise a few years later. Soon after their arrival, vandalism from some local miners, a drought that soon followed, and little monetary support from Japan led to the colony's collapse.

Although very little is known about what eventually happened to the Japanese colonists, Okei-san's gravesite with the marker - "In Memory of Okei, Died 1871, Age 19 Years, a Japanese Girl" - still sits on top of Gold Hill. It is rumored that Okei-san would often go to this area to watch the setting sun and look towards her homeland.


In 1860, two discriminatory laws were passed in California. One forbade Chinese American children to attend public schools. The other re quired a special license to be purchased by Chinese American fishermen. It was called a license instead of a tax because unequal taxation was for bidden by law (in other words, it was illegal to tax Chinese fishermen and not Italian or Portuguese fishermen).


Chinese started to arrive in Jamaica in 1860. By the year 1930, four thousand emigrated to Jamaica. In the next 6 years and additional 2,000 arrived. Compared with the African-Jamaican population and even with the number of Indians, the figure was relatively small but the Jamaican Government, facing economic pressures of the depression years with thousands of unemployed having no prospects of jobs in the immediate future, decided to close its doors to Chinese immigrants.

After January 1931, only children under 14 yrs old were allowed in on a student permit. Returning Chinese residents were required to produce a re-entry permit which had to be obtained prior to departure. Restrictions were tightened further in 1940 when only diplomats, tourists and students with permits were allowed entry. Sometimes later, limited quotas were granted for wives, children and parents. Jamaican-born Chinese had to show proof of birth.


Discrimination forced Oakland's earliest Chinese Americans to keep moving, first to 14th and Washington streets -- where Oakland's first Chinatown (once known as Tong Yan Fow and one of the oldest Chinese American neighborhoods in California) began in the early 1860s -- then to the east side of Telegraph Avenue at 17th Street.


Chinese soldiers served in the "Avegno Tiger Zouaves" Company I, 14th Louisiana Infantry, in 1861. Those Zouaves companies started as companies of the Governor's Guard. They were combined into a battalion and then put in a Regiment.


Founded in
1861 by Solomon Gump, a German-Jewish immigrant, the son of a cultured Heidelberg linen merchant, Gump's had played a major role across the decades in informing the taste of the high provincial city of San Francisco and evolving its signature style. Solomon Gump brought art to a city emerging from its first frontier phase into provincial self-consciousness.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the store began to specialize in Asian furniture, jewelry, and object d'art. By the 1920s a distinctive style of blended European and Asian furniture and art characterized upscale interior design in San Francisco. Gump's longtime owner and chief executive, Abraham Livingston Gump, was a learned connoisseur with a specialty in jade. Even Edmund Wilson, who in general refused to be taken in by San Francisco during his 1947 visit, found in Gump's store a wonderland of exquisite objects.

The mere mention of Gump's launches us into the 1940s, for this signature style, this preference for an interface of Asian and European aesthetics, so suggestive of deeper San Francisco realities, persisted through the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1947, Abraham Livingston Gump — who along with actor-retailer Ching Wah Lee of Chinatown was the most learned Asian connoisseur of his generation in San Francisco — passed on, and the store came under the ownership and management of his son Richard Gump, forty-two.

An accomplished Orientalist like his father, Richard Gump's monograph Jade – Stone of Heaven, earned him the respect of experts in his field. Like his father, Richard Gump kept his store as a museum of Asian art and a destination-clearinghouse for people throughout the world interested in the field as either collectors or academics.

Commissioning agents to fan throughout Asia in search of art and furniture. The splendid Asian Art Museum of San Francisco is a direct result, then, of an aesthetic and imaginative legacy characteristic of this city that goes back to the 19th century.


Between 1861 and 1940, some 275,000 Japanese people moved to Hawaii and to the U.S. mainland. Many of the first Japanese immigrants were recruited to work in the sugar cane fields of Hawaii and fruit and vegetable farms of California. The Issei, or first generation immigrants from Japan, faced the difficulty of forging a new life that included elements of their traditional culture and the culture of their newly found homes.


His war experiences made Pierce the most renown and highest ranked (corporal) Chinese soldier to have fought in the Civil War. Although
Pierce was sold by his father at the age of ten to a sea captain, he did not spend his life at sea as a cabin boy or servant. Amos Peck for some reason took a liking to him and brought him to be raised by his mother in Berlin, Connecticut. Here he was treated as part of the Peck Family, attending the same country school with Peck's younger brothers and sisters.

Joseph Pierce in 1853 was most likely one of the few Chinese in New England and in Connecticut at the time. Although the first recorded Chinese began to come to America in 1848, the first significant immigration occurred in 1852, confining itself to the Pacific coast. The Pecks with whom he was raised was a prominent family, descendants of Deacon Paul Peck, one of the original proprietors, who along with Thomas Hooker, founded Hartford, Connecticut. Pierce was an accepted member of his community when he enlisted on July 26, 1862 for, undoubtedly, the same reasons the early volunteers had who answered President Lincoln's call for troops.

He was mustered into the Fourteenth Regiment, Company F of the Connecticut Volunteer Infantry that became part of the Second Brigade of the Third Division, Second Army Corps of the Army of the Potomac. From 1862 to 1865, Pierce unknowingly participated in what turned out to be many of the pivotal military events of the war, fighting in the major campaigns from Antietam to Gettysbury to Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House. He survived some of the bloodiest battles fought during the Civil War. The Fourteenth Connecticut participated in thirty-four battles and skirmishes, lost more men killed in battle in proportion to its size (only 215 (21%) of the original 1,040 men who left to fight returned home) and captured more prisoners, cannon and battle flags than any other Connecticut regiment.

CHINESE "POLICE TAX" (Anti-Coolie Tax)
Six Chinese district associations in San Francisco form loose federation. California imposes a "police tax" of $2.50 a month on every Chinese.


Territorial law banning Chinese from testifying in court cases involving whites in Washington.


Chinese men served and many died in the armies and navies during Civil War (Union and the Confederate army), along with German, Irish, French and African American soldiers. Ironically enough, they even served under the "Color Troups" division of the armies! Although the number of Chinese (50+ were documented) who served was small in relationship to the total Chinese American population of the time, a higher percentage served than in any other ethnic group is a source of pride for the Asian/Asian Pacific American communities.

People from other Asian countries also served during the war. They came from China, India, Singapore, Malaya and other nations in the region. (source: muster rolls in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and also from many other sources - such as State rosters, regimental histories, other histories and other sources). Detailed information (name, resident, state, enlisted rank, state served, enlisted age, enlisted date, enlisted place and if they survived the war can be found here) of the soldiers that servived for both the Union and Confederate armies and navies can be found HERE.

The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), a national Asian Pacific American (civil rights advocacy and educational organization unveiled on April 26, 2003 the first historical marker in the United States dedicated to commemorating the American Civil War solders of Asian descent in Columbus, Ohio. During the last Congress, Congressman Mike Honda (the event's honorary guest) introduced a Joint Resolution posthumously proclaiming soldiers of Asian descent who fought in the Civil War to be honorary citizens of the United States (H. J. Res. 125).


Delta Chinese, who arrived in the years immediately after the Civil War to work on the cotton plantations and then opened groceries. Being neither black nor white in the Jim Crow South, they navigated a confusing, sometimes inconsistent set of racism, exclusion, segregated schools, laws and social mores. Plessy v. Ferguson is known by all, while Gong Lum v. Rice, 275 U.S. 78 (1927) (denying legal challenge by Chinese student to whites-only state school), is known by relatively few. "The Chinese in Mississippi were a third race in a system built for two," said James Loewen, a historian and the author of "The Mississippi Chinese: Between Black and White" (Harvard University Press, 1971). "Neither they nor the system knew what to do about that."


Territorial law enacting poll tax for Chinese in


Philip Jaisohn was born. He was the first Korean to become an American citizen and first Korean American to receive an American medical degree. Jaisohn was born Suh Jae-pil in the South Cholla Province of Korea, the son of parents who were members of the most privileged social class in Korea. He used an Anglicized version of his name upon his arrival in the United States in 1885, becoming Philip Jaisohn. He received his medical degree in 1892 and four years later returned to Korea to establish the first Korean newspaper. He became involved in the fight to keep Korea independent of China and, after 1910, to liberate it from Japan. Jaisohn devoted the majority of his life to the cause of Korean independence. His work in medical research and pathology (the study of diseases) and for Korean causes gained respect in both his homeland and his adopted country, the United States. Jaisohn died in 1951

Chinese Railroad Workers


Central Pacific Railroad Co. recruits Chinese workers from Kwantung Province for the first transcontinental railroad. 10,000 workers were hired, of which 9,000 were Chinese. 1,000 workers dies on the job.

The Central Pacific group started from Sacramento and eastward to the Missouri River, but they had problems of money and labor.

At first Charles Crocker had no problem in hiring workmen because shipload of Irishmen were arriving in San Francisco. Crocker hired first 50 Chinese men in response to white workers' threatening a strike; within two years, 90 percent of the work force on the Central Pacific Railroad was Chinese. However, railroad work was very dangerous. Hiring Chinese labor was the only choice for them. Governor Leland Stanford decided to hire Chinese workers, and so fifty Chinese labors worked on the railroad. They were trained to do all kinds of work such as blasting, using horses, handing rock, laying tiles, etc. About 15,000 Chinese had been hired.

Many Chinese were killed during the railroad building. After the first easy 23 miles of traveling, the Central Pacific Railroad had to cross the mountain of Sierra. It had a rise 7,000 feet in 100 miles. Thousands of Chinese were killed by accident, intense heat and cold, diseases or being overworked.

The Chinese worked from sunrise to sunset, six days a week. They worked much harder than anyone. The Chinese worked in gangs of 12 to 20 men and their wages were $30 to $35 a month per man. They brought their own food and supplies from San Francisco. They were healthy because they drank tea instead of unboiled water. When cliffs end the road, they had to climb down with basket to blow the cliff off.

The Chinese workers were usually small and skinny so they could easily go down on a basket to put dynamite to blow it. After they put the dynamite, they had to get back up in a hurry of they might be blown into pieces.

The Chinese railroad workers used techniques like making metal on the road they had used in China. For those dangerious work, many laborers were killed by snow slides and avalanches. The company lost count of the number dead and there was no record of how many died when building the railroad.

The Chinese worked from sunrise to sunset and get only $26 a month while the white men were getting $36 a month. At the start, their wages were $26-28 per month. Many Chinese men had saved $13-20 a month and returned as soon as possible to China.

The railroad between the west and East coasts were finally finished in 1869. There was a huge celebration from coasts to coasts. The Chinese cheered when the engine from the West and the one from the East rolled toward one another and touched. The transcontinental railroad was finally finished. The Chinese, however, were excluded from participating and they were not even mentioned during the ceremonies.

Chinese first came to the Delta during Reconstruction (1865 - 1877), when plantation owners, looking for cheap labor and worried that black workers were acting like free people rather than slaves, lured the immigrants with promises of jobs. They could never make money and send any home competing against America's lowest-paid work force, blacks in the Mississippi Delta, so they opened grocery stores. Ninety-five percent of the Chinese operated grocery stores, mostly for black clientele."

The first Chinese grocery store in Mississippi was opened sometime in the early 1870s. Tax records show several Chinese landowners in Rosedale, in Boliver County.

In 1880, the U.S. Census reported that there were 51 Chinese in Washington County, Miss. Many of the Chinese immigrants were from the southern provinces of China. There are two stories concerning the naming of Canton Mississipi (in the Mississipi Delta), and both attribute the name to Chinese origin. One states that Canton, Mississippi, is the exact opposite side of the world as Canton, China, and was thus named. The other story states the daughter of a Chinese family died in the area and the sympathetic community named the town for the family. There is really no more proof for one over the other; it's just which one you wish to believe. (The town enjoyed notoriety for having as visitors the celebrated original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng, who ordered two custom suits from Perlinsky's Tailor Shop.


Sun, who was born on Nov. 12, 1866 in Xiangshan County (now Zhongshan City) in south China's Guangdong Province, and died of illness in Beijing (then called Beiping) on March 12, 1925. He is regarded as a great man for his leadership over the 1911 revolution to overthrow China's last feudalistic dynasty of Qing (1644-1911), his advocacy of cooperation between the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) and the Communist Party of China (CPC), his first call for "Rejuvenating China", and his strong personality, lofty spirit and style. Finally - Dr. Sun is known across the country as a "great revolutionist and statesman" (along with his wife Soong Ling Ching) who fought against feudalism and imperialist aggression and for the independence and freedom of the Chinese people with the help of prominent Chinese Americans such as Ng Poon Chew.

Born in Kentucky in 1831 as one of 16 children in a family that later settled in Texas, Dye began his life of violence in his 20s For more info on Joseph Dye, click HERE to purchase the book
In 1867, impressed with Dye's tracking and shooting skills, Los Angeles City Marshal Warren, a former Union soldier serving in a job equivalent to today's chief of police, hired Dye to patrol Chinatown, where gambling halls, saloons and bordellos flourished. One of the most feared men in 19th century Los Angeles wore a badge. Both his temper and his trigger finger were notoriously quick, and, after a business partner he had defrauded shot him to death, hundreds attended his funeral but few mourned him. "Hundreds showed up for his funeral," Secrest wrote in his book, "because they wanted to make sure a very bad man was really dead."


On June 25, railroad strike: the Chinese laborers, without support of other workers, won concession over wages. Workingmen's Party of California founded in San Francisco. Denis Kearney acted as its president. Four hundred men (associated with Workingmen's Party) attacked Chinese in San Francisco. As the result, two thousand Chinese railroad workers strike for a week.

June 24, 1867 - Between five and seven thousand Chinese laborers working on the Transcontinental Railroad staged a strike in the Sierras to protest overseers who whipped and restrained them from seeking other work. They won the right not to be whipped or beaten. A second strike in the Nevada desert won the Chinese the right to receive the same pay as Whites, $35 a month. But the Chinese were still required to buy their own supplies while Whites got free room, board and supplies.

BACKGROUND INFO: By 1865, the Central Pacific Railroad Company had hired over 3,000 Chinese workers to build the western portion of the transcontinental railroad. Many were former miners, and were actively recruited because of their low cost. At its peak, the project hired over 10,000 Chinese workers. They provided the bulk of the labor for dangerous tasks such as chiseling and dynamiting tunnels through solid granite.

Chinese workers who dug tunnels in the high Sierra worked six days a week for $30 a month. Paid less than their Euro-American counterparts, subjected to whippings, and forbidden from quitting their jobs, 2,000 of them went on strike. They demanded $40 a month, an 8-hour workday for those working inside the tunnels, a 10-hour work day for those working outdoors, an end to corporal punishment, and the right to quit the job whenever they wanted. The Central Pacific Railroad responded by cutting off their rations. The strike lasted one week until their food ran out, and they were forced back to work.

"Although few in America were aware of it at the time, [the Chinese working on the Central Pacific section of the Transcontinental railway] staged, in June 1867, one of the largest-scale strikes of the century. "As Montgomery goes on to observe, demanding a wage comparable to that being paid to white workers, insisting on a ten-hour day, and calling for abolition of whipping for those who quit, the Chinese refused to leave their makeshift tents for a week, won their wage demands, and returned to work.


During the 1860s, when California needed Chinese labor, the United States wanted to maintain good relations with China. American diplomats negotiated this treaty with China in 1868. This treaty agreed to Chinese immigration to American and American immigration to China.

U.S. and China (Ta-Tsing Empire) sign Burlingame - Seward Treaty recognizing rights of their citizens to immigrate. Burlingame's treaty sought to protect the rights of Chinese in America who were victims of popular animosity and discrimination. Article VII of the Burlingame Treaty in 1868 declared that "Chinese subjects shall enjoy all the privileges of the public educational institutions under the control of the Government of the United States." This was an effort to meet the urgent need for Chinese labor for the transcontinental railroad. This bill granted the right of free immigration with reciprocal privileges of residence, school and travel.


Chinese Christian evangelist S.P. Aheong starts preaching in Hawaii.


Photo courtesy of the Utah Organization of Chinese Americans
Members of the Organization of Chinese Americans gather at Golden Spike National Historic Site in 2001.
Chinese workers were excluded from a photo taken at the site in 1869.


Completion of first
trancontinental railroad.

One of the "Big Four," Charles Crocker, realized the advantages of Chinese labor -- it came cheap and the workers were extremely dependable. Again and again, as Crocker's Central Pacific raced toward the linkup in Utah, his Chinese crews performed prodigies of labor. "Crocker's Pets," as they were derisively called, advanced the "head of steel" as much as 10 miles a day in flat country, handily outperforming white crews working west.

  In the 1850's, it took six months to travel by wagon from the Missouri River to San Francisco. The US was in dire need of a transcontinental railroad, so construction began on the East and West Coasts with plans to meet somewhere in between. Chinese immigrants were hired to take on the task of building tracks from the West - they constructed 1,800 miles of track through the Sierra Nevada and the Rockies to link with the eastern line being built by the Irish.


The two lines were officially joined in Utah in 1869. The "Golden Spike" was driven at Promontory Point on May 10, 1869. The job of building was finished, and the crews were no longer needed.

This was the greatest race of the 19th century. The stakes were high. Each mile of track laid down meant land grants and hefty federal subsidies - more capitol for road construction. Blasting up from California came the Central Pacific Railroad, led by four eminent Sacramento businessmen with 10,000 Chinese laborers. Eastern money and rough immigrant track gangs pushed the Union Pacific Railroad out from Omaha, barreling across the plains and through the Rockies. Both competitors had one last obstacle - ascent of the Promontory Mountains, the steepest grade east of the Sierra Nevada.

This heroic work by Chinese Americans has been noted as the "greatest engineering feat of the 19th Century." Almost all of the work was done with picks, shovels, hammers and crowbars in intense heat and bone-numbing cold. It has been reported that a few thousand Chinese immigrants gave their lives during the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad.

The "Official Picture" that excluded the many Chinese workers who made this historical and greatest race of the 19th century a great reality.  

The two lines were officially joined in Utah in 1869. The "Golden Spike" was driven at Promontory Point on May 10, 1869. The job of building was finished, and the crews were no longer needed.

This heroic work by Chinese Americans has been noted as the "greatest engineering feat of the 19th Century." Almost all of the work was done with picks, shovels, hammers and crowbars in intense heat and bone-numbing cold. It has been reported that a few thousand Chinese immigrants gave their lives during the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad.

This limestone formation, known as Chinaman's Arch, has become a memorial to the thousands of Chinese who helped build the transcontinental railroad. Because of labor shortages in California Chinese we employed experimentally by the Central Pacific Railroad in 1865. The proved to be excellent workers, and by 1868 over 10,000 were working on the railroad.

Many of the Chinese remained with the Central Pacific after the completion of the railroad at Promontory. Travelers often noticed their tents along the route. Apparently one such camp was here during the 1880 s when this arch was given its special name.

The Utah Organization of Chinese Americans has submitted an application to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names seeking to change the arch's name to Chinese Arch.

"Our understanding was the arch was named in honor of the Chinese railroad workers. This is a term that does not honor them." Just how the 6-foot-by-20-foot rock arch came by its name is not recorded, says Melissa Cobern, chief ranger at the Golden Spike National Historic Site, 25 miles northwest of Brigham City.

It may have been named for the 11,000-plus Chinese workers who drove the teams, drilled through rock and hammered the spikes for 700 miles of Central Pacific rail from Sacramento, Calif., to Promontory. They outnumbered the CP's Irish laborers by 9 to 1.

  Chinaman's Arch
Soon to be Renamed Chinese Arch

The construction of the Central Pacific from Sacramento to Promontory brought the first Chinese into what is now the stale of Utah. At one point there were more than twelve thousand Chinese employed in the building of the Central Pacific.9 E. B. Crocker, brother of Charles Crocker, Central Pacific general superintendent, was among the first to suggest using Chinese laborers.10 Charles Crocker tried to persuade his Irish construction superintendent, J.H. Strobridge, to employ Chinese, but be resisted until labor became scarce and then consented to experiment with fifty Chinese. These fifty did so well that no limit was placed on Chinese employment.


First group of Japanese immigrants arrive in U.S. and establish the Wakamarsu Colony at Gold Hill in California.


Plantation owners hold a conference in Memphis, TN and propose substituting
Chinese labor for black slaves.


The first
Chinese legally executed in Nevada, Ah Fung and Ah Ung, were hanged in Unionville on December 16, 1870 for killing a fellow countryman. An estimated 300 persons watched the execution.


After the Civil War, defeated Southern plantation owners, knowing that the
Chinese had a reputation for hard work and that in America they had no legal rights, decided they would make perfect substitutes for their late-departed slaves.


Cerro Gordo's deadliest mine disaster struck in the early 1870s when a cave-in killed at least eight and as many as 35 Chinese miners. They were mining in limestone below the 200-foot level and failed to shore up the tunnel with timber, former Cerro Gordo mining foreman Fred Fisher told a Times reporter in 1950. Their bodies were never recovered.

"Let the coolies come," the Southerners wrote, and by 1870, about 2,000 did. It didn't last long. The Southern whites discovered that they couldn't beat the Chinese as they had their slaves, for the Chinese knew how to sue for their rights in the courts, and by 1915 there were no Chinese farm workers in the South.


In the 1870s, the Anti-Coolies Association and the Supreme Order of the Caucasians ran boycotts of Chinese businesses and laborers and caused riots in Chinatowns across the West. Many immigrants returned to China, while others fled to San Francisco, home to the largest Chinese community and Chinatown in the United States.

Fueling the anti-Chinese sentiment in the United States was the widespread economic depression of the 1870s. It was believed that overcapitalizing of railroads contributed to the Panic of 1873, and as a result the railroads, big businesses, and the Chinese laborers became targets. The public, upset with big business excesses and rampant unemployment, supported early labor organizations such as the Workingman's Party led by Denis Kearney, himself an Irish immigrant. Their particular scapegoat was the Chinese immigrant. In 1877, the Workingman's Party led several violent demonstrations in San Francisco alone.

Some courts did oppose attempts to harass and discriminate against the Chinese. In one San Francisco case, a judge denounced a ruling by the Board of Supervisors that required male prisoners' hair to be cut within one inch, unofficially referred to as the "Queue Ordinance." The judge described it as spiteful legislation intended to discourage immigration. He ruled that such a hair-cutting law purposely aimed at the Chinese, which was not enforced against any other prisoners, violated the Civil Rights Act of 1870, the 14th Amendment, and the Burlingame Treaty.


234 Chinese in
Washington state according to the US Census, comprising 1.0% of the population.


"Sensing that its opposition to black enfranchisement was . . . costing more votes than it was winning, especially among German workers . . . the
Tweed Ring switched its target to the Chinese. In 1870 it joined the unions in a huge rally against the immigration of 'coolie labor' to the United States." No less a figure than Selig Perlman had pointed out that "The National Labor Union came out against Chinese immigration in 1869, when the issue was brought home to the Eastern wage earners following the importation by a shoe manufacturer in North Adams, Massachusetts, of Chinese strike breakers" and that, writing to the same point, John R. Commons and his colleagues observed, "The general agitation which this action [i.e., the bringing of the Chinese shoemakers to Massachusetts] provoked among all classes of labour served to bring the national labour movement into closer sympathy with the California point of view." Commons et al., went on to note, "At the next convention of the National Labour Union in 1870 the general labour movement was ready to take the step from merely advocating the prohibition of Chinese importation to demanding total exclusion." Gyory's Eastern workers had not been then, and are not now, above reproach.


First Congressional debate over the rights of
Chinese in the US.


California passes a
law against the importation of Chinese, Japanese, and "Mongolian" women for prostitution. 3,536 Chinese women had emigrated to California, 61 percent (2,157) listed as prostitutes.

Chinese railroad workers in Texas sue company for failing to pay wages. While people born in Africa and/or of African descent became eligble for citizenship through the "Naturalization Act," Chinese are not eligible for citizenship and the Act also forbids the entry of the wives of laborers. Due to the economic recession that leads to labor shortages and protests against cheap labor, only 18% of the Chinese remain working as field labor. 72% establish self owned businesses in the laundry trade.

Chinese laborers reclaim tule swamps in the Sacramento delta, construct roads, rock wall, and reservoirs in Northern and Central portions of the state. Targeting Chinese, San Francisco's Cubic Air Ordinance requires 500 sq. feet for every adult in a dwelling.


In the 1870s, America no longer needed Chinese labor, but there was still a large number of Chinese immigrations came to San Francisco every year. The United States Congress wanted to stop Chinese immigration, so they passed this law to limit Chinese immigration.


In 1870,
Idaho's population had the highest percentage of Chinese of all the Western states. . . . . Asian immigration into Idaho continued from this initial foray in the 1810s, through the Chinese miners in the 1870s, and the first Japanese immigrants in the 1880s, to more recent immigration from the Phillipines, Korea, and Vietnam.


The revolutionary Reconstruction Congress passed the Fourteenth Amendment followed by the
Civil Rights Act of 1870. The act expressly gave Chinese the right to testify in court and forbade the imposition upon them of discriminatory "penalties, taxes, licenses and exactions of every kind." In addition, the Burlingame Treaty of 1868 between the United States and China guaranteed the right of emigration between the two countries. Together, these hindered white California's ability to institutionalize racially the social position of the Chinese.

The original U.S. Constitution defined naturalization as available only to "free, white persons," but the Civil Rights Act of 1870 finally extended the right of naturalization to "persons of African nativity or descent." Congress debated Chinese naturalization in the course of the Reconstruction era civil rights debates, but that august body of white men declined to extend citizenship rights to Asians. Asians were defined as "aliens ineligible to citizenship," which became the new racial-national legal category to exclude Asians from entering the United States, owning land, etc.


According to the
Census of 5,728 citizens, 172 are Chinese. Chinese cemetery is established on Fort Moore Hill.

In 1870, there were 3,536 Chinese women in California, and 2,157 or 61% of them were listed as "prostitutes" in the census. 2. Gold Rush - - Around 1849, many immigrants from all over the world came to California for the Gold Rush. Among those immigrants, many were Chinese who suffered from poverty when they were in China. They wanted to come to the California and get rich by finding gold. At the beginning, a few people did find some gold and became rich. They went back to China and showed what they found to their relatives and friends in China. Because people in China were poor at that time, they were so amazed by what those lucky miners had found. More and more people wanted to come to California because of what they saw.

The manual census data of 1870 revealed later that 71% of Chinese immigrant women were prostitutes, though it is speculated that the misconception and miscommunication of the census takers might have contributed to such a high percentage.


One recurring theme frequently found in trade cards is "pigtail pulling." The Chinese men wore queues that were often pulled or cut for white amusement. This mean-spiritedness shows up in a number of trade cards and hints at the violent tendencies many white people harbored toward Chinese immigrants. Violence was not just targeted against Chinese adults, but against Chinese children as well (i.e. Chinese boys with their pigtails being pulled by white boys, French trade card shows a Chinese boy's queue being pulled so hard that he is decapitated over a sharp rail (Courtesy of CHSC's Ching Project).

At the height of “trade cards” or “advertising cards’” popularity during the latter half of the nineteenth century, trade cards mirrored the social, cultural, and political attitudes of the era. During this period, white America was hostile toward Chinese Americans, and the portrayals of Chinese Americans in trade cards mirrored the racism of the times.

Between the 1870’s to the end of the 1890’s, "trade cards" or "advertising cards" were a popular form of promotion. On a post card with images on one side and slogans on the other advertising, they were directly or indirectly promote a commercial product, service, or event commonly distributed to the public at store counters, expositions, and through the mail."

Stereotypes were used within “trade cards” to elicit such emotions and ideas, whether or not the stereotypes have any logical connection to the product or service being advertised because it sought to persuade consumers to buy by eliciting particular emotions and ideas from within the consumer to influence him or her to buy.

One way to define the term "stereotype" is as a "loaded image," an image that is associated with a set of meanings and generalities. Thus, a racial stereotype is an image imposed on a racial group that defines that racial group according to a generality or a set of generalities become associated with an image and become stereotype? It occurs through repetition.

Within CHSC's Ching project - this a a trade card for a pest control product called ROUGH ON RATS. It shows a Chinese male about to eat a rodent. The advertising premise for this product is based on the stereotype that Chinese eat rats and mice and are therefore good rodent exterminators. The Chinese become part of the commercial image of the commodity, in other words, the Chinese have become COMMERCIAL MASCOTS.
Show an image of a Chinese person eating a dog to enough people enough times, and that image will become a stereotype. Eventually, the portrayal of a Chinese person eating a dog will no longer be needed to elicit the stereotype of the Chinese as dog-eaters. Simply show a Chinese person, and the stereotype of dog-eating will be invoked within the viewer's mind.

Trade cards manufacturers/advertisers played (exploited) on consumer fear that products and services are scarce and that another consumer Chinese or other) could have an advantage in procuring those scarce resources. The fact that a Chinese person has very little connection to the subject of furniture does not matter. What matters is the manipulation of consumer emotions to establish associations between the service and the emotions being played upon – hence exploisted racists stereotypes of the Chinese.

Trade cards depictions paralleled White labor’s efforts in the late nineteenth century to stop the flow of Chinese immigration into the United States and chanted "The Chinese Must Go!"

This rallying cry shows up in trade cards and demonstrates the political stance that trade cards often took. The above-mentioned Rough on Rats trade card uses the slogan "They Must Go" to refer not only to the rats, but also to the Chinese. Some cards advertised that their product was the solution to the "Chinese Question." Advertising cards for laundry products and laundry-related products tended to use this approach.

Trade cards with depictions of juvenile violence directed at Chinese and Chinese Americans indicate an overt and deeply rooted form of racist hate existing within white society at the time. The fact that white children would commit acts of hate against the Chinese demonstrates that overt racism was very much a part of American culture.

Trade card depictions of Chinese children as the recipients of hate violence demonstrate even more profoundly the high level of Sinophobia and racism that permeated American culture in the late nineteenth century.


Sheet Music Cover of 1871
Starting with a Bret Harte poem of 1871 titled
'The Heathen Chinee' (which was set to music) was indicative of a river of racism embedded in sheet music bought primarily by "well-to-do whites." Just the title and lyrics tell a lot about how Chinese Americans were perceived. Even the cover illustrations had caricatures of Chinese Americans that perpetuated ethnic stereotypes.

This is documented in a Darren Brown thesis that gathered a collection of sheet music that offered a sad social commentary on what was happening at the time - stereotypes at best, ugly racism at worst. These sheet music were purchased as the result of seeing them performed in vaudeville theater - which was how ideas were shared since it was before television and movies.

An example is the song "Since Ma is Playing Mah Jong." On the surface, it's a decorative cover that features a picture of Eddie Cantor, one of the most popular entertainers of the time. "It's about a non-Chinese family that's corrupted by mah jong," Brown explains, " and it turns the wife into a Chinese, and she wears a kimono, which is not Chinese, plays mah jong, starts cooking Chinese food and it drives the husband so crazy that he wants to kill chinks.

In these pieces of music, Chinese are seldom referred to with respect. In addition to the title piece, there is 'The Artful Chinee' which appears to show a man stealing a pig.. There is 'Chinky Chinee Bogie Man', in which a peaceful hamlet is threatened by the caricature of a Chinese man. There is 'Ching, Ching Chinaman' with Lon Chaney made up to look Chinese.

It is a recurring American theme, that those who were already here claimed the right to discriminate against those who came later. So people wrote the songs in this collection on Tin Pan Alley with names like Billy Rose and Con Conrad, Eve Unsell and Louis Gottschalk, all playing the same tune.


Beginning of construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad from Kalama to Tacoma,
Washington, using nearly 2000 Chinese laborers. Chinese miners in eastern Washington outnumbered white miners nearly two to one. After the railroads were constructed, the Chinese settled in the towns of Puget Sound and Portland. They worked in the fields, logging camps and fish canneries. They ran laundries and did manual labor that many whites were unwilling to do. Some Chinese began businesses and retail shops of their own. In Idaho, half the miners in 1870 were Chinese.


Nineteen Chinese were massacred by 500 Mexican and White Angelinos in Los Angeles' "Nigger Alley" in (aka "Calle de los Negros") October (23-30) 1871, despite the efforts of future L.A. Mayor Henry Hazard. October 24 marked the worst incident of Anti-Chinese violence in America up to that time. This was the result of a gunfight between two Chinese men claimed the life of an Anglo bystander. This incident was called the Chinese Massacre of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles massacre occurred before the emergence of anti-Chinese agitation in the city and at a time when the county's Chinese numbered no more than 300 - less than 2 percent of the total population and the total Chinese population in 1870 exceeded 12,000, forty times that of Los Angeles.

While 37 rioters were later indicted, only eight were convicted. All were released within a year when the state Supreme Court threw out the case for lack of proof that any person was actually murdered. Chinese witnesses were statutorily barred from testifying.

The Area: Pointing north past the Federal Courthouse toward Chinatown, people have described the mid-19th century lawlessness of the little settlement, whose crime rate earned it the nickname "Los Diablos," the Devils. In 25 years, Los Angeles recorded 35 vigilante hangings. (Note: The Chinese population of Los Angeles County in 1860 numbered only 11, approximately 0.01 percent of the population.)

The General Public/Politician's Percenptions of the Chinese
Here were men who would do the drudgery of life at a reasonable wage when every other man had but one idea—to work at the mines for gold. Here were cooks, laundrymen, and servants ready and willing. Just what early California civilization most wanted these men could and would supply.

The result was that the Chinaman was welcomed; he was considered quite indispensable. He was in demand as a laborer, as a carpenter, as a cook; the restaurants which he established were well patronized; his agricultural endeavors in draining and tilling the rich tule lands were praised. . . .

The Chinaman was welcomed as long as the surface gold was plentiful . . . But that happy situation was not long to continue. . . .

Various schemes were proposed for ridding the country of the Chinese as if they were a pest. It was seriously suggested that they be all returned to China, but as this would have involved an expense of about seven millions of dollars and ten or a dozen ships for every vessel that was available, it was reluctantly laid aside. . . .

Calmly handled, the Chinese question never would have caused a disturbance in California. In connection with a violent race hatred, it kept the state in turmoil for the first thirty years of its existence.


California's Civil Procedure Code drops law barring Chinese court testimony.


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