Asian Pacific Americans
During the early 1840’s, Chinese suffered numerous calamities which made it almost impossible to survive there. With the discovery of gold in California and other economic opportunities in America, the Chinese started to migrate in search of greener pastures. The first Chinese immigrants to America were attracted by the newly discovered gold mines. However, later on, more Asians from China moved to the United States as railways workers and even fishermen. This paper discusses the pull factors for the early immigrants from China to Hawaii and the United States as a whole.
What is Asian Pacific American
The discovery of gold mines in California was the main and first thing which attracted Chinese immigrants to move to the United States of America. The discovery of gold in California was good news to most people across the world. As citizens from other countries moved to America to work in the gold mines, the Chinese too were not left out (Hunsicker, 2008). At least 350 Chinese immigrants moved to California during the late 1840’s. All these first settlers from Asia worked in the gold fields. In the early 1850’s, the number of the settlers of Asia decent increased significantly. The number was roughly 2,000 as at 1851. Interestingly, most of these settlers from China were male since the females could not work in the gold fields. Thirty years later, the Chinese population in America stood at 300, 000 (Hunsicker, 2008). This even made the whites who were the original settlers to start to complain because of competition. The government had to impose strict taxes to the Chinese settlers so as to reduce competition upon the original citizens.
Some Chinese migrants moved to the United States to construct the transcontinental railroad. During the 1860’s the American government decided to construct the transcontinental railroad since they believed the country was stable after the civil war. Various companies were given the tenders to work on the railroad, and one of them was the Central Pacific Railroad Company. This company is the one which introduced the Chinese to this job after employing 50 of them in 1865 (Hunsicker, 2008). These Chinese performed very well in their tasks as drillers and drivers among other job descriptions. Since the company liked the way the Chinese performed, they decided to hire more workers of Asian origin. They increased the number to 12,000 which made at least 90% of the workers at the transcontinental railroad. Although most of the Chinese workers at the railroad were fresh from China, some had just shifted from working in the gold fields. They had seen better opportunities at the railroad construction.
Other Chinese immigrants were attracted to different economic activities in the United States. There are those families that decided to settle at Monterey Bay to work as fishermen. They fished at the bay and sold the fish to the Americans (Hunsicker, 2008). In 1869, the railroad construction was completed, and this brought up another economic activity. The Chinese started working in the White farms as labourers.
In conclusion, there are various things which attracted early Chinese settlers to Hawaii and America in general. Firstly, some Chinese migrants moved to the United States to construct the transcontinental railroad. Central Pacific Railroad Company is the one which introduced the Chinese to this job after employing 50 of them in 1865. Secondly, gold mines in California too attracted the early migrants from Asia. They worked in the gold mines during their early days of migration. Later on, Chinese settlers also moved to America to work as labourer and fishers. This was especially after the completion of the construction of the railroad.
Hunsicker, K. (2008). Chinese Immigrants in America. New York: Capstone.
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