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19th Century History Of Chinese In Cali

2061 words - 9 pages

Nineteenth Century
History of Chinese in California

The very first immigrants to migrate from china to the united states of America were mainly from the Guangdong province in the South eastern areas of china, most came to sought out ways to make money to send home for their families and hopefully strike it rich to go back to their mainland wealthy. During eighteen forty-nine the opium war against the British has finally resolved after a long three years, but in the favor of the British empire, they forced the Chinese to open there ports for outside trade which lead to a higher western influence and political dominance. The living conditions and quality of living changed drastically ...view middle of the document...

The Chinese immigrants looked for any work opportunity they can get their hands on for a much lower wage compared to the European Americans, from cooking to working in plantations but the most known work of the Chinese immigrant was there involvement in the building of the Central Pacific Railroad during the 1860s.
Most of the early railroad workers were Irish immigrants but due to the high attraction rate they could only hold about eight hundred workers at a time but the operation could provide enough jobs for four thousand men, this caused for a very slow progression of the railroad as well as overburdened workers, which made the Irish workers unpleased and agitated over wages. The solution for this problem was they hired a few Chinese immigrants to do simple tasks such as wagon fillers because, they were thought to be inferior and could only do simple errand. After watching the progress of the Chinese immigrant they were very impressed with their work ethic thus proving the capability and effectiveness of the Chinese immigrant. Soon they began to hire the Chinese for other phases of the Continental Railroad Building task, Leveling Road beds, blasting mountain, Digging tunnels, and laying tracks, by 1868 several thousand Chinese men had signed on and the number of Chinese laborers rose as high as twelve thousand. According to the article Chinese in California by the library of congress “the Irish workers compared to the Chinese were thought to be much more dependable and they accepted a much lower wage thirty dollars a month, minus the cost of food and board in oppose to the Irish workers thirty-five dollars a month with the cost of board provided.”
The living and working conditions of a railroad worker were very strenuous, they lived in canvas camps near their work site and wooden bunkhouses during the winters. The living environment where very harsh in these camps, they can face extreme heat in the summer to unbearable colds in the winter time. In each of these camps there were one provided chef that was in charged with the duties of cooking for the whole crew, many of the Chinese chefs would purchase dried foods from the Chinese district of San Francisco to prepare fresh dishes on site, that fit the Chinese palate, some camps site would occasionally have live chicken for weekend meal for the crew. Instead of regular water the Chinese immigrants preferred to drink lukewarm water with tea leaves, which they boiled in the morning and dispensed throughout the day, which greatly reduced the chance of waterborne pathogens and helped the Chinese immigrants avoid dysentery that plagued the European American railroad workers.
By the early summer of April twenty-eight, eighteen sixty-eight the building of the Central Pacific railroad was almost complete in its full entirety, all but ten miles of track that stop them from the completion of the railroad. The four thousand Irish and Chinese immigrants where so accustomed and skilled at...

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