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The Children of ChinatownGrowing Up Chinese American in San Francisco, 1850-1920$
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Wendy Rouse Jorae

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833131

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807898581_jorae

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The Immigration of Chinese Children and the Chinese Question

The Immigration of Chinese Children and the Chinese Question

(p.9) 1 The Immigration of Chinese Children and the Chinese Question
The Children of Chinatown

Wendy Rouse Jorae

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shows that the vast majority of Chinese immigrants to the United States in the nineteenth century came from the Guangdong province in southeastern China. In the mid-nineteenth century, this region of China experienced the ravages of the Opium Wars, internal rebellions, and natural calamities such as droughts, floods, typhoons, and crop failures. In addition, an increase in population of 79.5 percent from the late eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century in Guangdong created a crisis in the availability of cultivable land. Farmers also faced oppressive taxation from the struggling Qing government. These combined pressures encouraged the mass migration of individuals from China to various regions of the world during the latter half of the nineteenth century. An examination of individual narratives is necessary to fully understand the motives behind Chinese emigration. Individuals weighed the substantial risks and costs of emigration and developed strategies that provided the most benefit for the entire family.

Keywords:   Chinese immigrants, Guangdong province, Opium Wars, cultivable land, oppressive taxation, Qing government

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