A Chinaman's chance: the Chinese on the Rocky Mountain by Liping Zhu

By Liping Zhu

Writers and historians have characteristically portrayed chinese language immigrants within the nineteenth-century American West as sufferers. through investigating the early background of Idaho?‚?’s Boise Basin, Liping Zhu demanding situations this photo and gives another discourse to the research of this ethnic minority. among 1863 and 1910, a good number of chinese language immigrants resided within the Boise Basin to look for gold. As in lots of Rocky Mountain mining camps, they comprised a majority of the inhabitants. not like settlers in lots of different boom-and-bust western mining cities, the chinese language within the Boise Basin controlled to stick there for greater than part a century. therefore, the chinese language portrayed the entire stereotypical frontier roles-victors, sufferers, and villains. Their uncomplicated fabric wishes have been assured, and lots of contributors have been capable of climb up the commercial ladder. Frontier justice used to be used to settle disputes; Chinese-Americans usually challenged white rivals within the a number of courts in addition to in gun battles. attention-grabbing and provocative, A Chinaman?‚?’s likelihood not just bargains normal readers a story account of the Rocky Mountain mining frontier, but additionally introduces a clean interpretation of the chinese language event in nineteenth-century the USA to students attracted to Asian American stories, immigration background, and ethnicity within the American West.

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Extra info for A Chinaman's chance: the Chinese on the Rocky Mountain mining frontier

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50 California, the jumping-off point for many immigrants, served as a training camp for Chinese miners in the American West. S. residents in general, followed the advance of the mining strikes as they moved inland from California. Perhaps as early as 1852, the Chinese reached the gold fields of southwestern Oregon. The number of Chinese there remained small until 1857, when the Oregon gold rush was under way. The Oregonian alleged that "the Chinamen are about to take the country. There are from one thousand to twelve hundred in this county [Josephine] engaged in mining.

Richard White, "It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own ": A History of the American West (Norman: University of Page 6 Oklahoma Press, 1991), 285. Although discriminated against, Mormons, strikers, and radicals are not racial groups. Patricia Nelson Limerick, The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West (New York: W. W. Norton, 1987), 289. By contrast Randall E. Rohe has advised historians to "move away from the overworked theme of anti-Chinese discrimination" ("After the Gold Rush: Chinese Mining in the Far West, 1850-1890," Montana: The Magazine of Western History 32 [Autumn 1982]: 19).

58 Because they were saving money to purchase mining claims or had no cash to begin with, most of the Idaho-bound Chinese, affluent and poor alike, chose to travel on foot. Sometimes a few horses and wagons were used to haul supplies. 59 Even with fifty to seventy pounds of weight on their shoulders, the Chinese were able to walk quite a distance every day. The entire trip took some two to three months. Like other overland migrants, some Chinese perished before reaching their destination. In addition to illness, accident, and natural disaster, Indian war parties often threatened the safety of the travelers.

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