Chinese Immigration Essay

Submitted By shortasianlong
Words: 551
Pages: 3

Many may wonder why there are so many Chinatowns and Asians in general in California today. I also used to ponder this question too, for I used to be a Chinese immigrant. What did California have that so many Chinese and other immigrants wanted? The answer today may mainly be because of freedom or opportunity, but what about back then? The Chinese had no knowledge of America’s freedom, but instead they heard of a golden opportunity to own a mass amount of wealth. In 1848, word flew by to the Chinese that there was a “Gold Mountain” in California and that everyone around the world was rushing there to collect as much gold as they could before it ran out. Known as “Gum Saan” in Cantonese, a language many people from southern China Spoke, it was a perfect opportunity for individuals in southern China to travel there and send money back to their families who were suffering from poverty and famine because of a the Taping Rebellion. The news of discovery of gold in California was carried across the Pacific during the summer of 1848. Trading vessels from the docks of the British colony and Hong Kong helped quickly spread the word throughout China. By 1851, “25,000 Chinese had left their homes for California, the land of gum saan, or “Gold Mountain.”” ( Most of these Chinese were either suffering from the Taiping Rebellion, in search of political freedom, or better economic opportunities. However, sailing to California for the Chinese was very dreadful and relentless. Those that were poor had to herd together in the hold of the ship with no sanitation, their food consisted of just rice, water was scarce, and there was almost no light source. If there was ever a storm, Chinese emigrants either died or were thrown into the sea. “How many died and drowned will never be known.” (Spilvalo, 5) Those that endured the treacherous journey first arrived to California in the harbors of San Francisco, where the first Chinatown was established. In 1850, San Francisco Mayor John W. Geary invited the “China Boys” to a ceremony to acknowledge the Chinese immigrants’ work