Chinese American History

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The first Chinese immigrants arrived in 1820 according to U.S. government records. 325 men are known to have arrived before the 1849 California Gold Rush[12] which drew the first significant number of laborers from China who mined for gold and performed menial labor.[13][14][15] There were 25,000 immigrants by 1852, and 105,465 by 1880, most of whom lived on the West Coast. They formed over a tenth of California's population. Nearly all the early immigrants were young males with low educational levels from six districts in the Guangdong province.[16] The Chinese came to California in large numbers during the California Gold Rush, with 40,400 being recorded as arriving from 1851–1860, and again in the 1860s when the Central Pacific Railroad recruited large labor gangs, many on five year contracts, to build its portion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The Chinese laborers worked out well and thousands more were recruited until the railroad's completion in 1869. Chinese labor provided the massive labor needed to build the majority of the Central Pacific's difficult railroad tracks through the Sierra Nevada mountains and across Nevada. The Chinese population rose from 2,716 in 1851 to 63,000 by 1871. In the decade 1861-70, 64,301 were recorded as arriving, followed by 123,201 in 1871-80 and 61,711 in 1881-1890. 77% were located in California, with the rest scattered across the West, the South, and New England.[17] Most came from Southern China looking for a better life; escaping a high rate of poverty left after the Taiping Rebellion. This immigration may have been as high as 90% male as most immigrated with the thought of returning home to start a new life. Those that stayed in America faced the lack of suitable Chinese brides as Chinese women were not allowed to emigrate in significant numbers after 1872. As a result, the mostly bachelor communities slowly aged in place with very low Chinese birth rates. As a result of the Fourteenth Amendment and the 1898 United...
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