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Lecture 8

Lecture 8: Asian Immigrants

Course Code
Ian Radforth

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Lecture 8: Asian Immigrants
-Trans-Pacific immigration
-Chinese immigration:
-push: hunger, natl disasters, warfare
-pull: jobs, aboard, the “coolie trade, gold rushes, and the railway construction jobs
-the Canadian Pacific Railway
-Boss Onderdonks 15 000 men
-sojourners and settlers
-rags to riches, Chang Toy, Sam Kee Company
-mutual aid, clan organizations
-Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
-one of the distinct feature of west coast immigration, was that it fronted on the Pacific, so Asian
immigration much more substantial
-Asian immigrants from China, Japan, India in the days of the gold rush to about 1908
-most were not looking to settle permanently, but looking to earn wages, and save money
to send/take back home to improve lives
-some Canadians welcomed these ppl, mostly employers, saw them as hard workers who
worked for much less then white counterparts
-many white Canadians in BC and elsewhere, didnt welcome them, saw them as
a threat to the whiteness of BC and the white future of BC
-organized against them, institutionalized racialism, with gov’t at all
-white Canada policy
-Chinese began immigrating to BC in the mid-19th c. in the days of the gold rush
-push factors like looking for employment abroad cause of home conditions, like too
much pop. growth outstripping food production with outright starvation, natl disasters like
droughts, typhoons led to more agri disasters, warfare with military conflicts instigated
by outsiders leading to civil war, and eco. chaos, and insecurity
-commerce of migration for Asians involved intermediaries with corps. involved
in the labour trade, arrange transport and jobs and translators and made profits off
them through facilitation
-btw. 1845-1873, about 325 000 moved abroad as contract workers, came from coastal
areas in the southeastern China, esp. Guadong, as troubled by eco disasters
-went to plantation jobs in southeast Asian and S. America, in the “coolie trade
-sent into motion this system of migration, commerce migration, with not
as bad contracts
-gold rush gave rep as place for Chinese to make money
-these Chinese usu. not contact workers, but independent migrants, but usu. assisted
-many of these Chinese made money by supplying other migrants, small traders for food,
supplies, transport
-another wave of Chinese immigrants, by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881-1885, built in a
great rush
-part of the deal to bring BC into the Dominion of Canada
-esp. built the western section thru the Rocky mountains and the coastal range
-recruited esp. by Boss (Andrew) Onderdonk, an American railway contractor, a wealthy
powerful man with experience in the US railways built by Chinese workers
-said not enough Canadian labourers, preferred the Chinese, saw them as highly
effective, which added to his profits
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