Author: ???? (---.cpe.ga.charter.com)
Date: 03-16-05 15:09
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 fled into the bayous.
These "Manila Men" founded a village named Saint Malo that
consisted of about a dozen small huts raised above the swamps.
Known as Tagalas, they spoke Spanish and a Malay dialect.
The Filipinos built platforms for drying shrimp in an area southeast of New
Orleans in the early 1800s and started the shrimp drying industry in Louisiana
and the United States.
The Saint Malo settlement was destroyed by a strong hurricane in 1915 and
the Manila Village was washed away by Hurricane Betsy in 1965.
Eight generations later, some of their descendants can be found living in
Chinese were immigrating to California as early as 1820 and by 1870 over
49,000 Chinese lived in the state. That number increased to over 75,000 by
1880, amounting to nearly 10 percent of California's population. Of this
Chinese community, 40 percent, or about 30,000 people, lived in the San
Francisco Bay area.
The first anti-Chinese law passed was the Foreign Miner's License Tax of
1853, which placed a special burden on Chinese miners. The pace of these
discriminatory laws increased in the 1870s, leading to the banning of
Chinese from certain occupations and the adoption of anti-Chinese
provisions in the new state constitution of 1877.
Because of the many restrictions on them, Chinese tended to concentrate in
particular businesses; they constituted 97 percent of all persons working
in cigar-making in the San Francisco area, 84 percent of the boot and
shoemakers, 88 percent of the garment manufacturers and 89 percent of the
The California Gold Rush
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" -
In 1852, over 20,000 Chinese--Gam Saan Haak (Travelers to Gold
Mountain)--immigrated to California, looking for gold and work. That same
year, the California Assembly denounced "the concentration within our
state limits of vast numbers of the Asiatic races."
In May 1852, the legislature passed a second Foreign Miners' License
Tax--this time aimed at Chinese immigrants. The law required a monthly
payment from every miner who was not a citizen. By 1870, California had
collected $5 million from Chinese miners--amounting to between 25 and 50
per cent of all State revenues.
Many of them came from the Pearl River Delta in the province of Kwangtung
in South China, near Canton.
To finance their trip, most emigrants obtained credit-tickets, financed by
merchants, who demanded reimbursement from relatives.
Others obtained passage from future employers. In return for the price of a
ticket, the new arrivals worked until the debt was paid.
These immigrants thus became indentured servants, toiling like slaves for
the merchants, companies, or individuals whose main concern was a return on
Chinese participated in the festivities celebrating California’s admission
into the Union and in the Fourth of July Parade.
The first performance of Cantonese opera was held in San Francisco and the
first Chinese theatre building completed. Two Chinese-language newspapers
Yung Wing graduated from Yale, becoming the first Chinese to graduate from
a United States college or university. 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.
The Transcontinental Railroad
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
The Burlingame-Seward Treaty
In an effort to meet the urgent need for Chinese labor for the
transcontinental railroad, the United States and the Ta-Tsing Empire of
China signed a treaty granting citizens of both countries the right of free
immigration with reciprocal privileges of residence, school and travel.
The Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm Colony
California registered historical landmark No. 815
Thirty Japanese immigrants are smuggled out of Japan by a German merchant
named John Henry Schnell.
They establish the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony at the Granger Ranch in
Gold Hill, El Dorado County, California.
Although their initial agricultural efforts failed, they brought to the
region mulberry trees, silk cocoons, tea plants, bamboo roots, and other
products. According to the U.S. Census of 1870, 55 Japanese were living in
the United States, and 22 of them lived at Gold Hill.
According to the 1870 census, Idaho had the largest percentage of Chinese
residents in the nation - 28.5 percent - but in Boise Basin, the Chinese
population was 49.3 percent.
By 1890, only 410 Chinese remained, and by 1930, only four old-timers were
counted in Boise County.
Fukuin Kai - The Gospel Society
In San Francisco, the Gospel Society became the first Japanese American
community organization on record. They provided services for the immigrant
community, including English lessons, meeting rooms, and a boarding house.
The Japanese Christian churches that were established in the 1890s grew out
of this organization.
Sit Moon was a Chinese immigrant who converted to Christianity and worked
for 15 years in the Presbyterian Mission of San Francisco. He was hired by
the YMCA in 1875 to evangelize the Chinese laborers in Hawaii. Two years
later, he founded "the Chinese YMCA", You Hawk Jihu Taw Hui (the
Beginning Evangelical Society of Learners).
Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886)
Lee Yick, a Chinese immigrant, had been operating a laundry in San
Francisco for many years. At the time, it was against a city ordinance to
operate a laundry in a wooden building without a permit. However, the Board
of Supervisors had granted permits to all non-Chinese applicants except
one, and none to 200 Chinese applicants.
After Lee Yick was arrested and convicted for violating the ordinance, his
appeal reached the U.S. Supreme Court, where his conviction was overturned.
According to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Matthews, the ordinance was applied
in a discriminatory fashion.
The decision was the first time a law's application, rather than the law
itself, was determined to be discriminatory. This precedent was used in the
1960s in cases seeking to strike down statutes which discriminated against
U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898)
Wong Kim Ark was born in the United States to parents of Chinese descent.
In 1894, he travelled back to China to visit his parents, who had returned
to their homeland. Ark was barred from re-entering the U.S. because he was
not an American citizen.
Ark petitioned the Supreme Court, arguing that because he was born in the
United States, he was a citizen. The Court agreed based on the 14th
amendment of the Constitution, which stated:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to
the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the
State wherein they reside."
This landmark case reaffirmed the legal right of citizenship by birth for
The North American Buddhist Mission
Two Amida Buddhist missionaries arrived in San Francisco to serve Japanese
immigrants who had originally come from the southwestern prefectures of
Japan. They were incorporated under California law as the North American
Buddhist Mission, setting up Young Men's Buddhist Association (YMBA)
offices in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Fresno.
They held services in both Japanese and English, and grew to become the
Buddhist Churches of America.
There were numerous anti Chinese riots and many examples of citizens
protecting Chinese from rioters.
One notable example is an entire anti Chinese mop being disbursed by the
bravery of one man.
His Imperial Majesty Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector
of Mexico is reputed to have disbursed an anti Chinese mob by positioning
himself between the mob and their intended victims and praying until the
mob skulked off.
The ACLU is considering filing suit on behalf of the mob.