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Timeline: Asian-American History

Asian immigration to America, 1600s to the present

by David Johnson
1860 1870 1880 1890 Next: 20th Century

1860

Japan sends first diplomatic mission to U.S.

1862

Chinese community groups in San Francisco form federation. California imposes "police tax" on those of the "Mongolian race" to discourage immigration and protect white laborers from competition.

1867

50,000 Chinese reported living in California.

1868

U.S. and China sign Burlingame-Seward Treaty, affirming friendship between the two nations and guaranteeing the right of Chinese immigration, since inexpensive Chinese labor was popular among railroads and other employers.

1872

California ends law barring Chinese court testimony.

1877

People unhappy at competing with cheap Chinese labor, and fearful of being "overwhelmed" by non-white immigration, cause anti-Chinese riots in San Francisco and other California cities. Japanese Christians form group in San Francisco.

1878

Court rules Chinese not eligible for naturalized citizenship.

1880

As many people blamed the Chinese for taking away jobs and causing unemployment, the U.S. successfully amends the Burlingame Treaty, winning the right to limit or suspend Chinese immigration.

1881

Sit Moon becomes pastor of first Chinese Christian Church in Hawaii.

1882

Congress approves Chinese Exclusion Act, banning Chinese laborers for ten years. It was renewed for another ten years in 1892, and became permanent in 1902. U.S. and Korea sign first treaty.

1885

Irwin Convention allows Japanese contract laborers into Hawaii.

1886

Residents in Tacoma, Washington, forcibly expel Chinese.

1889

Court upholds constitutionality of Chinese exclusion laws.

1894

Massachusetts court holds Japanese ineligible for naturalization.

1898

U.S. wins Hawaii and the Philippines after Spanish-American War.

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The worst fire in American history took place in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, in 1871.

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