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Chinese Immigration to America Timeline

The Chinese History Timeline of Immigration to America provides a fast overview of the immigrants from China who helped to build America.

The History Timeline of Chinese Immigration to America is extremely important and reflect dates and events that prompted the emigration of people from China.Trade with China was highly lucrative and therefore important to America and Europe.

Trade agreements brought additional wealth to China but the country was exposed as weak and technologically backward compared to western nations.Political unrest in China led to rebellions and the country was hit by terrible famines, droughts and floods leading to millions of deaths and dire poverty.

News of the California gold rush reached the ports of Southern China in 1848 and opportunist American trading companies increased their profits by returning to America with Chinese emigrants.

There were no restrictions on US immigration in the 1840's as Chinese immigration to America began but within forty years the US would pass the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Chinese Immigration to America Timeline
The History Timeline of Chinese Immigration to America includes important dates and events in the history of China that contributed to the push and pull factors which led to mass immigration from China. What were the reasons for Chinese immigration to America and what was happening in China to prompt the drastic action of leaving home for an unknown life in America?

The Chinese Immigration to America Timeline provides dates and important events that provide the history of US immigration from China. Famous historical events include the famines and floods in China, the California gold rush, the workers who toiled on the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad and the opening of the Angel Island center for immigrants.

The Chinese Immigration to America Timeline highlights the Push and Pull factors of immigration such as political persecution, wars that occured in China together with dates of any natural disasters such as floods, disease, earthquakes, crop failures and famine. The dates and types of political conflicts and the natural disasters that afflicted China are highlighted in the Chinese Immigration to America Timeline enabling kids and students to understand the history of immigration to the United States.

Chinese Immigration to America Timeline
Between 1820 - 2000 Chinese Immigration to America totalled 1 million. According to the US Bureau of the Census of 2011 a total of 3,245,080 Americans claimed to be solely or partially of Chinese descent. Chinese-Americans made a significant impact on the culture of Americans and the history of the United States as can be seen in the following timeline detailing these immigrants to America.  



The country was often subjected to earthquakes, an example of the devastation caused by this type of natural disaster was deadly Shandong earthquake that killed nearly 50,000 people.

  • The country was also vulnerable to great flooding by rivers such as the Huang He (Yellow River) and the Yangtze River. The floods led to famine, dire poverty, disease and the deaths of literally millions of people



China, with a population of over 300 million, was under the rule of the imperial Qing dynasty (also known as the Ch’ing or Manchu dynasty)



The first recorded Chinese in the United States were three sailors who arrived on merchant trading vessel. They 'jumped ship' due to escape the harsh treatment and their enforced labor.



The Opium Wars (1839 - 1842) between China and European countries opened trade and began the western domination of ports in China and resulted in widespread opium addiction in China. The country was also struck by a series of flooding, crop failures and famine.



The California Gold Rush began as gold was discovered by James Marshall at Sutter's timber Millon January 24, 1848.



The first wave of immigrants to the US arrived at the San Francisco customs house during the summer of 1848. News of the 'Gam Saan', or gold mountain had been spread by pamphlets issued by opportunistic ship owners in Canton who wanted to fill their vessels on the return voyage to America.



Anti-immigrant sentiment grew as they gold began to run out and the California legislature passed the Foreign Miners Tax that charged foreigners $20 a month for the right to work their claims.



The Taiping Rebellion (1850 - 1864) was a massive civil war in south-eastern China. The rebellion against the Qing dynasty led to the deaths of at least 20 million peasants.



Flooding of the Huang He river in the Shandong Peninsula led to disastrous crop failures in southern China sparking increased migration to the US - over 20,000 reach the United States.



The California Supreme Court limited the rights of racial minorities.



The end of the California gold rush and the prospectors looked for alternative employment in the cities and on farms.



San Francisco's Chinatown became established and early immigrants from southern China joined their countrymen for help to find jobs in the US.



Most immigrants found work on the farms in California - by the 1870s, 75% of farm workers in California were immigrants from China. Between 1850 and 1882 about 322,000 Chinese came to America



Construction started on the Central Pacific section of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1863 but the Nevada silver rush caused a serious labor shortage. On January 20, 1865 Charles Crocker, the founder of the Central Pacific Railroad started to hire Chinese immigrants to work on the Transcontinental Railroad.



Anson Burlingame negotiated the Burlingame Treaty of friendship with China that encouraged and guaranteed the right of Chinese immigration, but not the right of naturalization.



The construction of the Transcontinental Railroad was completed on May 10, 1869 by which time 11,000 of the railroad workers were from China.



Chinese migrants constituted 25% of the labor force in California



San Francisco's Chinatown was the site of riots and violence on October 24, 1871 which became known as the "Chinese Massacre of 1871"



The financial Panic of 1873 began the 6 year period called the 'Long Depression' that led to riots and strikes and an increase in anti-immigrant sentiments.



The Northern Chinese Famine of 1876 - 79 devastated China and between 9 - 13 million people are estimated to have died of starvation and disease.



The San Francisco Riot of 1877 was fuelled by increased unemployment during the the Long Depression and ethnic violence swept through the Chinatown district of San Francisco



The Burlingame Treaty was revised in 1880 allowing the United States to limit the entry of Chinese labor, but not to ban it.



The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act 'temporarily' suspended immigration of unskilled Chinese laborers for a period of 10 years. Originally intended as temporary measure, additional immigration laws were passed extending the period of exclusion.



The 1887 Yellow River flood claimed between 0.9 million to 2 million lives.



The Scott Act was passed prohibiting Chinese from re-entering the US after a temporary departure.



The 1891 Immigration Act provided for the inspection and deportation of immigrants



The Boxer Rebellion erupted (1899 - 7 September 1901) aiming to oust foreigners from China. 2,500 US troops fought to protect US interests in Peking creating further hostility to migrants from China.



Chinese immigrants were permanently excluded from naturalization



The San Francisco earthquake, and the devastating fire that followed, destroyed immigration records and led to the trend known as "Paper Sons" and "Paper Daughters". Papers of new immigrants were forged claiming the parents were in America which allowed entry into the United States.



Another devastating famine occurred in China in 1907 and was believed to have claimed 24 million lives



The restrictive Immigration Act of 1907 was passed and also created the Dillingham Commission to review U.S. immigration policy.



The Angel Island Immigration Station (1910 - 1940) was opened in San Francisco Bay California - between 11% and 30% of immigrants who were vetted at Angel Island were refused entry into the United States and returned to China.



The Dillingham Commission report was issued stating that "New Immigrants" from China, Asia and southern Europe were inferior, uneducated and unskilled compared to "Old Immigrants" from Northern Europe and that "New Immigrants" had failed to integrate with Americans. The Dillingham Commission report concluded that "New Immigrants" posed a serious threat to American society and culture and that the number of such immigrants should be greatly reduced.



The Qing dynasty was overthrown in China and the Communist Chinese Republic (1912 - 1949) was established following violent clashes and the the deaths of thousands.



The immigration law of 1924 excluded all classes of Chinese immigrants.



A drought in Northwest China (1928 - 1930) resulted in over 3 million deaths by famine and disease.



The Great Flood of the Huang He (Yellow River) caused between 800,000 and 4,000,000 deaths.



The 1936 drought in the Sichuan Province resulted in 5 million deaths



The 1941 drought in the Sichuan Province resulted in 2.5 million deaths



The Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed by the 1943 Magnuson Act that set an annual immigration quota and extended citizenship privileges to Chinese.



The Immigration and Nationality Act (Hart-Celler Law) abolished the nation-of-origin restrictions on immigrants.



From 1965 to Present: Open Chinese Immigration

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