[TIMELINE] History of Chinese Americans (1850 - 1943)
1839: Start of the Opium War between China and Great Britain.
1842: reaty of Nanking, first "Unequal Treaty" after China met
defeat in Opium War. Opened ports of Canton, Foochow, Amoy, Ningpo,
and Shanghai to trade. China ceded Hong Kong to the British.
1848: ames Marshall discovered gold at John Sutter's sawmill on the
American River at Coloma. This discovery triggered the California
1850: Some 500 immigrants out of 57,787 arriving in California were
Chinese. California state legislature passed the first Foreign
Miners' Tax Law, levying a $20-per-month tax on each foreigner
engaged in mining.
1851-1864: The T'aip'ing Rebellion. Insurgents seized control of the
middle and lower Yangtze Basin. Millions of lives lost.
1852 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.
Re-enactment of the Foreign Miners' Tax Law aimed at controlling
the Chinese and other immigrant populations in California.
1854 People v. Hall. California Supreme Court ruled that a white man
charged with murder could not be convicted on the testimony of a
Weaverville War of 1854 in California between the people of Sze
Yup and Heung Shan. Also fighting at Chinese Camp between the Hakkas
and Sam Yup People.
1860s: The Six Chinese Companies called Tongs formed to represent
and organize Chinese interests in San Francisco and California.
1862: Pacific Railroad Bill provided government aid to build
1863: On January 3, the Central Pacific Railroad broke ground.
1865: 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.
1867: 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.
1868: The Burlingame Treaty recognized the right of free immigration
on the part of citizens of the United States and China.
Governor John Bigley delivered anti-Chinese speech; Lai Chun Chuen,
Chinese merchants in San Francisco, issued pamphlet in response.
Twelve thousand Chinese working in construction of the railroad.
Union Pacific joined the Central Pacific at Promontory Point, Utah,
on May 10.
1870: By this time, 3,536 Chinese women had emigrated to California,
61 percent (2,157) listed as prostitutes.
Foreign Miners' Tax represented 25 to 50 percent of all state
revenue. Chinese constituted the largest racial group in the mines,
9,087 out of 36,339.
1870s: Diversification of crops developed after railroad was
completed. Chinese aided in cultivation techniques as well as
harvest of these crops.
Record unemployment hit California.
Chinese involved in commercial fishing along the West Coast. In
1888, there were more than 2,000 Chinese in thirty camps, mostly
along the San Francisco Bay and in the Monterey and San Diego areas.
1871: Fifteen Chinese hanged in anti-Chinese riots in Los Angeles.
1872: Central Pacific Railroad started the Occidental and Oriental
shipping lines to enter Asiatic trade and competed with the Pacific
Mail Company, finally purchasing the latter in 1880.
1876: State printing office issued the publication "Chinese
Southern Pacific Railroad constructed railroad to Los Angeles, using
many Chinese as construction workers.
1878: Workingmen's Party Resolution connected cheap Chinese labor
1882: The Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited Chinese laborers from
entering the United States.
1892: The Chinese Exclusion Law of 1882 renewed in 1892 through the
Geary Act. It is renewed again in 1902, and extended indefinitely in
1900: Boxer Rebellion.
Japanese began to replace Chinese as agricultural workers.
1906: San Francisco earthquake and fire; destruction of municipal
records led to phenomenon of "Paper Sons." Concern over relocating
Chinatown after the earthquake.
Use of Angel Island as immigration station began.
1911: Wuchang Uprising, overthrow of the Manchu dynasty, and the
establishment of the Republic of China. The culmination of the
effort led by Sun Yat-sen, beginning in the 1880s, to overthrow the
1914-1918: Some Chinese Americans served in the U.S. Armed Forces in
World War I and became heroes.
1924: The Immigration Exclusion Act was passed, continuing
discrimination against Asian immigrants.
1930s: Restrictions against Chinese immigrants began to ease. In
1930, Congress passed an act providing for admission of Chinese
wives who were married to American citizens before May 26, 1924.
1935: Public Law 162 granted several hundred Asian veterans who
served in the United States Armed Forces during World War I the
right to apply for United States citizenship through naturalization.
1943: The Magnuson Act resulted in the repeal of the Chinese