3/7/2015  CINARC's first book is at the printers.  Coming Home in Gold Brocade: Chinese in Early Northwest America, by Bennet Bronson and Chuimei HoWith lots of new data and conclusions about how and why Chinese came to the Northwest between 1788 and 1911.  It should be on sale at Amazon.com within a couple of weeks.  Paperback.  Price: about $12.00.  ISBN-13: 978-1505228021, ISBN-10: 1505228026.

3/6/2015   A new opum brand, Wing Yick, on an opium can found in a new place for the 19th century opium ttade, southern Australia.

1/17/2015.   Products of the potters' guilds of Shiwan or Shek-wan in Foshan, south of Guangzhou. Pots and jars made in this large ceramic center were exported to North American Chinatowns in large quantities.  The present summary of wares in the Shiwan Ceramic Museum is presented here as a service to archaeologists, museums, collectors, and others seeking informaton on utilitatian brown- and green-glazed wares found at Chinese American and Chinese Canadian sites.

8/28/2014.  The Fusang Question: Was this mysterious ancient kingdom (AD 599) located in the Pacific Northwest? Did early Chinese travelers visit it?  No and no.  The idea that Chinese of that period visited North America is based on an 18th century mistranslation.

6/2/2014.  Lima, Peru, has now been added to the list of temples with gilded wood carvings by identified makers.  Between 1880 and 1910, the same Guangzhou workshops appear to have supplied carvings to temples in North and South America, Southeast Asia, and southern China.   Their names have not been published before.

6/1/2014.  An expanded table of opium brand names from opium cans found at North American and Australian sites.  Intended mainly for specialists, the list is currently the most complete anywhere.

1/20/2014.  The sudden appearance and disappearance of Canada's first Chinese clan associations in 1885.  Often seen as basic building blocks of Chinese communities in the Pacific  Northwest, such associations may not be as early as we usually think.


12/30/2013.  Three more iron temple bells in North America!  One is In the Courthouse Museum in Merced, California, formerly the property of that city's Suey Sing Tong.  The others are in Victoria's Dart Coon Club (formerly Chee Kung Tong) and Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.  All three were made in Foshan in the 1880s-1890s. 

12/27/2013.  New chronology of the main Chinese secret societies in California and the Pacific Northwest.  Some may not have originated in San Francisco.  Others are surprisingly early, although the supposed 1860s dates for the Hong Men Society in Barkerville seem to be purely fictional.  General discussion and details.

12/18/2013.  Another take on "Were Chinese fishermen in California and Puget Sound tankas?"   A new book by Elizabeth Sinn hints that the answer may be yes.  She notes that Tankas, though despised as outcasts in China, dominated Hong Kong harbors and marine services during the 1850s-1860s. This suggests (to the editors, not necessarily Sinn) that a good many ships sailing from Hong Kong to California must have had Tankas on  board. 

11/30/2013.  The secret society murder of Seid Bing: a rising Portland-Astoria merchant whose dismembered body was found in a  trunk in Seattle's King Street Station.

11/30/2013.  Portland's beautiful, notorious Oi Sen: treacherous killer or brave, intelligent woman caught between sides in a vicious tong war?

11/04/2013.  Lieshenggong -- "Multi-Deity Temples" -- rarely recognized or discussed, but the dominant type of early Chinese temple in North America.

09/15/2013.  Iron bells as markers of trade and migration.  A bell of Singapore's Ning Yang Huiguan, dated 1834, shows that Taishanese migrants were going to Southeast Asia long before the troubles at home that are supposed to have caused them to come to North America in the 1850s.

09/13/2013.  Li Gongbu on working in an Alaskan cannery: perhaps the only surviving early account by a Chinese cannery laborer.  Li was not only an excellent writer but an acute observer as well.

09/11/2013.  A puzzling question: Why was the repatriation of Chinese bodies more common in North America than in Southeast Asia?  Even though sojourners in those places often came from the same districts in Guangdong in the same years?

06/30/2013.  For the first time: the true story of Chin Gee Hee's early life.  He was a houseboy called Ah Ham in California.  He did not spend 11 years, as usually stated, in the lumber mill town of Port Gamble, Washington.

06/19/2013.  A first for Chinese American research: Chinese temple carvings in early Canadian and American shrines, with a list of known carvers.  Most previously unpublished, with photos. 1890-1911.

06/16/2013.  New biodata on Chin Chun Hock, the powerful but shadowy pioneer Seattle businessman.  Coming soon: revisions to accepted data about Chun Hock's famous partner and rival, Chin Gee Hee.

06/11/2013.  New contender for the "oldest Chinese temple in North America" title: the one in Oroville, with an inscribed date of 1863.   Marysville's Bok Kai temple is second oldest.  Neither of San Francisco's two contenders, its Kong Chow and Tin How/Tian Hou temples, can be shown on hard evidence to be that old.

06/04/2013.  Deaths of Chinese at Alaskan canneries, 1911-1921.  Most of the deceased were older and better paid than one would expect.  The fact that many were embalmed must have posed a problem.

05/19/2013.  Exciting Discovery! The first description by a Chinese, Xie Qingguo, of the British Columbian and Alaskan Coast.  Published in 1820!

05/22/2013.  Did European ships sail from Macao to the Northwest Coast between 1787 and 1795?  Yes, many.  And some had Chinese crew members like Xie.

04/21/2013.  The Chelan Massacre: The worst incident of anti-Chinese violence in U.S. history.  Several hundred Chinese miners were killed on the Columbia river in 1875.  The editors now believe that it actually happened.

04/18/2013.  Yet another result of Chinese interracial marriage: successful entertainers.  For instance, the four Kim Loo Sisters, the "Kimmies," whose grandfather, Louie Gar Hip, was a merchant in Seattle.  One sister, the lead singer, used the not-very-Chinese name "Bubbles."

03/18/2013.  New feature: a page on the role of Chinese imperial honors in North America before the 1911 revolution.  U. S. and Canadian Chinese were deeply interested in the right to wear dragon robes, mandarin squares, and officials' hats.  As far as the editors know, this is the first published discussion of that subject.

03/04/ & 03/13/2013.  The Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) sells off Chinese collection given in memory of the 1885 driving-out.  This website responds to the TAM's director's request "Help me understand how Chinese Imperial robes help to tell the story of the Chinese in the Northwest."

03/02/2013.  New date for the founding of the Chee Kung Tong in North America (in 1880; the parent Hongmen Society is older) and more data on the expansion of the Bing Kung Tong (from 1914 onward).  These are the only two secret societies that use the name "Chinese Masons."

The purpose of this site and of CINARC is to encourage
collaboration in exploring the history of Chinese in the Pacific Northwest - in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia, Alaska, etc. - between the first known arrival of Chinese in 1788 and the great changes in the regional Chinese population that followed the liberalizing of U.S. immigration laws in 1965. 美洲西岸华裔早期历史
金山西北角 -华裔研究中心
Chinese in Northwest America Research Committee

Chinese Herbal Medicine in the Early Northwest 早期
      Comments on a recent news article about the remedies preserved in the Kam Wah Chung Museum
      plus new information from the account books of a merchant and labor contractor, Chin Gee Hee
         a. An early herbal doctor in John Day, Oregon, ca. 1890-1930
         b. Early herbal remedies for contract laborers in Seattle, ca. 1890
Includes cures for shingles, toothache, swollen feet, and belly button wind
         c. Dr. Lamb in Butte (and Dr. Ah Fong in Boise), ca. 1870-1920 [Updated 03/24/09]

Chop Suey  杂碎 
       This famous food forms an important, though not always admired, part of American culinary history.
       New research shows that it was invented in New York and that it came late to the Northwest.
  a. Origins
  b. Rise of the Chop Suey restaurant in the U.S.
  c. Chinese restaurants and Chop Suey in the Pacific Northwest  西北角早期杂碎餐馆

A Research Aid: Chinese Place Names in the Northwest in 1880-1890 and 1901 中文地名
       Historians often have trouble identifying American place names in early Chinese-language writings.
       This section is offered as an aid to researchers, here and in China. [Updated 12/16/09]

Links with Chinese-American Museums and Historical Organizations  相关网址
       This will eventually include most of the U.S. and Canadian organizations that specialize in Chinese-
       North American history.

The First Chinese in Northwest America? - on Vancouver Island with Captain Meares in 1788 西北角最早华人在1788年登陆温哥华
       A good many Chinese sailors and skilled craftsmen worked for British traders on the west coast
       of Vancouver in the late 18th century.  The traders were collecting sea otter furs for sale in China. 
  a. Affee and Aehaw
  b. Does this picture show them?
  c. The First Chinese in Washington State (also in in 1788) [07/22/09]
  d: Ashing, Achun and Aceun in Baltimore in 1785
     (Chinese sailors visited the East Coast even earlier, in 1785)
  e. 27 named Chinese seized by the Spanish on Vancouver in 1789 [08/26/09]

Smuggling Chinese Immigrants   非法入境
       For many decades, the border between British Columbia and Washington State saw intense smuggling
       activity as well as spasmodic efforts to enforce immigration laws.  Here we present outstanding episodes
       in the long, sometimes comic and sometimes tragic war between coast guards and border patrolmen
       on the one hand and smugglers on the other.  While modern immigrant smugglers often belong to the
       ethnic group being smuggled, in the historic Northwest they were mostly European-Americans - sailors,
       fishermen, farmers, police, immigration officials, and just about any other sort of white citizen who had
       access to a boat or lived near a cross-border trail.. 
          a. Ralph's trailblazing investigation of immigrant smuggling, 1890 [Updated 03/11/09]
          b. Annals of Northwestern smuggling 1: by sea  [Latest entry: 04/7/09]
          c. Shootout at Sedro-Wooley: customs agents fight over smuggled Chinese (and opium) [10/28/09]
          d. Joking about the murder of smuggled Chinese at Deception Pass [02/12/09]

Fishing and Fish Processing 渔业
   a. Chinese fishermen In Washington Territory [11/10/09]
   b. Chinese workers at Columbia River canneries [11/10/09]
   c. Were Chinese fishermen greedy and irresponsible? [11/10/09; updated 02/08/10]

For the latest features, click on What's New.  For info on (1) the CINARC logo and (2) strange rows of boxes in the text, click here]
Why Chinese in the Early Pacific Northwest Died   亡命天涯
Historians agree that there were many deaths among Chinese sojourners in the Northwest during
the 19th and early 20th centuries.  However, we have little aggregated information about how many
died, and why.  The provincial archives preserved in Victoria, B.C., provide more complete data on early
Chinese mortality than do records in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or Alaska.
  The high Chinese suicide rate in Washington State, 1891-1907 [NEW 01/04/10]
  Violent Chinese deaths in British Columbia, 1879-1893 [Updated 01/04/10]
  Causes of Chinese deaths in Washington State [NEW 01/09/10]

"Does a Chinaman Do Your Washing? 替你洗烫的是中国人吗?
       If so, you're not carrying out the principles of unionism"  This quote from a 1906 union newspaper
       shows that the hostility of organized labor toward Chinese in Seattle even included laundries. [03/11/09]

Secret Societies or Chinese Freemasons
The goal of many secret societies in China was revolution against the Manchu dynasty thast ruled the
country.  In southern China, the most important such society was the Hongmen or Tiandihui.  In the
Americas, renamed the Chee Kung Tong, the society and its offshoots played central roles in Chinatowns
during the19th century
>   Should the subject be taboo?  秘密社会可谈不可谈? [10/01/09]
Secret society secrets 早期对秘密社会的报道 [09/23/10]
>   A 19th century secret society manual in Clinton, B.C. 加拿大卑斯省天地会会簿 [10/01/09] 
> "Tianyun"--secret dates for a revolutionary cause  '天运' 年号背后的革命意识 [07/22/10]
>   Membership certificates meant for concealment 洪门致公堂腰牌 [08/13/10]
>  A meeting notice you couldn't refuse 见签岂有不到会 [08/15/10]
>  The history of the Chee Kung Tong without the myths 致公堂来龙去脉 [09/22/10]
    >  The mother(s) of all secret societies [09/22/10]
    >  The mother society puts on a new face and changes her name 从洪门到致公堂 [09/22/10]
    >  The glory days of the Chee Kung Tong   1890年代致公堂如日冲天 [09/22/10]
>  Sun Yat-sen and the Chee Kung Tong: as early as 1897? [09/26/10]
Sun Yat-Sen and the "White Lily Society," 1897  [12/17/10]
The Chee Kung Tong and the American Masons in Helena, Montana  [12/06/10]

Prince Tsai Comes to Seattle, 1906  晚清出洋大臣:  镇国公戴泽抵西雅图
The visit by an Imperial Commission led by an actual prince, Tsai Tseh (or Tai Ze), improved relations
between European-American and Chinese-American leaders.  The commissioners were the highest-
ranking Chinese to visit Seattle until after World War II. [Updated 07/22/09]

The Chinese crew on the Great Northern's ill-fated super-ship
The Prince arrived on the Great Northern Railroad's steamship Dakota, then one of the two largest ships
on the Pacific.  As with its sister ship, the SS Minnesota, many sailors on the SS Dakota were Chinese.

Shrines, Temples and Halls 庙宇, 会馆
1852  Found!  The oldest temple inscription in the Americas [NEW 10/19/10]
1857 The earliest picture of a North (or South) American Chinese temple [NEW 10/15/10]
1866  The oldest surviving Chinese temple in North America: not in San Fancisco but (perhaps) the
       temple in Marysville! [01/25/10] 
1866-1892  The North God in North America. [10/26/10]
1870s-1904  Suijing Bo in the Northwest: A once-obscure deity makes it big [07/21/10]
1871- now  The North God: Bi Di, Bok Dai, Bok Kai, Beuk Aie
1874-1909  Cast iron bells in North American Chinese temples 西北角寺庙生铁法器 [3/10/2010]
1875-1887  The oldest Chinese temple in the Pacific Northwest: Victoria's Tam Kung temple
加拿 大卑斯省域多利谭公庙 A fire damaged much of the temple in the 1990s, but some of its most
               important antique furnishings survived which bear dates (In imperial reign years) that prove the temple
already existed in the 19th century. [11/30/2008]
1885  The CCBA's Shrine in Victoria, BC: Prestige from home-town heroes' calligraphy
        加拿大域多利埠中华会馆大堂 One of the finest shrines in Nortjh America features splendid
               calligraphy by notable persons back in China [12/14/2009]
1888  Lewiston's Beuk Aie Temple: A memorial to the Deep Creek massacre? [08/01/10]
1909  The Kong Chow Temple in San Francisco: Prestige from diplomats' calligraphy
               三藩市岡州会馆 - 权贵显赫门楣  Inscriptions by the great Wu Ting Fan and others at an important
                center of Daoist worship [01/26/10]
1911  An art nouveau landmark: The Hook Sin Tong Building in Victoria [05/24/10]

Detaining Asians at Seattle's "Angel Island," 1907-1916 舍路的天使岛 - 临时移民审查站
It turns out that a once-notorious detention center for Asian immigrants in Seattle still survives -- as a
mini-storage facility about a mile north of the city's central waterfront.  The editors visited it in the
company of historian John R. Litz, who rediscovered it recently through archival detective work. [01/15/09]

Victoria's vile detention facility 加拿大域多利华人拘留所
In the late nineteenth century, Canada ran one of the nastiest prisons on the continent for Chinese
awaiting deportation and for clarification of immigration status.  Neither the U.S. nor Canada kept
convicted murderers under worse conditions. [Updated 06/20/09]

Port Townsend's fine but doomed detention house  华盛顿州砵党顺华人拘留所
Compared with the one in Victoria, Port Townsend's facility for housing would-be Chinese immigrants
sounds relatively humane.  Unfortunately, it would soon be closed due to the clout of Seattle and the
Great Northern Railroad. [Updated 04/16/09]

Joking about the Murder of Smuggled Chinese at Deception Pass, 1880s
Ben Ure, famed smuggler and leading citizen of Whidby Island, is reputed to have routinely drowned his
       illegal Chinese passengers to avoid detection by the Customs Service.  Local folklore treats this as
       amusing.  We think it is not. [02/12/09]

A New Discovery -- the Great Parade Dragon from the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Still Exists!  龙头再现 - 西雅图1909 年赛会悠悠百年龙舞
The dragon's well-preserved remains, no longer in working condition, have been found at the Bok Kai
Temple in Marysville, CA.  It is the largest and most important surviving Asian artifact from the AYPE.[02/16/09]

The CINARC logo consists of  the character for "gold (jin in Mandarin; gum in Cantonese), as written by a famous Tang Dynasty calligrapher, over an image of Mt. Rainier. just south of Seattle.  "Gold Mountain" is what the Chinese still call San Francisco and formerly called the entire west coast of the U.S.
Rows of small squares like this --               -- in the text are actually Chinese characters in Microsoft's widely used Unicode format.  To see them as readable characters, you might like to activate the Chinese fonts that come with Windows XP, Vista, and Mac OS 9 and higher.    
The Seattle chapter of the Preserve-the-Emperor Association is founded, 1903
As it turned out, China needed revolution, not reformation.  Before that, however, the Baohuanghui, the
Preserve-the-Emperor Association, offered new status to U.S. and Canadian Chinese [Updated 07/30/09]

Many deceased Chinese were NOT sent back to China
落叶不归根 : 抓李抓嚹早期华人墓地
At least in Walla Walla, Washington, persons buried in the 1920s and 1930s often stayed there
rather than being exhumed and shipped back to their home towns in southern China [07/02/09]

Furuya House and Trees: The best-preserved early Asian-American home in the Pacific Northwest
The home (on Bainbridge Island) belonged to a wealthy Japanese-American, Masajiro Furuya.  It served as
a summer resort for many Seattle Japanese and as a private agricultural experiment station.  Some of the
trees he planted survive.  They may be the oldest living Asian-American plants in the region [07/15/09]

Chinese Women in the Northwest
Historians often depict early woman immigrants to is region as powerless victims of a rigid patriarchy and an
American society that was both racist and sexist.  The historians are right about the patriarchy and the
society but not, necessarily, about the women.  Many were neither slave-girl prostitutes nor submissive

"Retarded mental development" [10/30/10]
Women who were not down-trodden: the saga of Dong Oy and Maggie Chin [11/15/10]
A high-status courtesan flees via Portland [11/21/10]

Opium  鸦片烟
The drug played an important role in the lives and budgets of North American Chinese during the 19th
century.  For some modern Chinese-Americans it is a closed, forbidden subject.  We think it is time
that the subject be opened up.

  Producing and selling opium 煮烟
   Refining and packaging opium for sale   提煉. 包装 [08/9/09]
   Victoria: the biggest opium "manufacturer" outside Asia [11/16/09]
   Opium brand names [Updated 11/2/09]
   More opium brand names: from gold mining sites in the Cariboo [Updated 1/18/10]
   Opium cans or "tins" [08/14/09]
   Opium cans of the prohibited period [Updated 1/17/11]
   Fake opium brands in San Francisco [09/6/09]
   Opium Retailers in San Francisco, 1900-1904 [12/17/09]
   Triumph of 19th century chemistry: making Middle Eastern opium smokable [12/29/09]
    Direct evidence of a Middle East/Balkans to Pacific Northwest connection [12/29/09]

  Smuggling opium, 1880-1920    走私
  A future Prime Minister is shocked at Canada's opium refining and smuggling trade [09/2/09]
   A current Governor-General's wife is not at all shocked [Posted 11/12/09]
   Smuggling incidents 個案 [Updated 8/14/09]
   "A pretty smuggler and her pathetic story" [Posted 11/01/09]
   A fashionable young lady gets caught with a half-ton of opium [Updated 12/17/09]
   Diving for opium in Puget Sound: a true story   打捞 [Updated 10/1/09]

  Using opium 吸烟
   Opium equipment in the U.S., 1896   煙具 [Posted 8/1/09]
   How opium pipes worked [Posted 10/8/09]
   Opium pipe bowls hint at Chinese immigrants' middle-class values [Posted 10/8/09]  
   Connoisseurs' pipe bowls from Yixing and Shiwan [Updated 10/19/09]
   Brand dominance in the opium pipe bowl trade [Posted 10/27/09]
   North American opium lamps [Posted 11/3/09]
   Commerce in opium lamp chimneys [Posted 12/1/09]
   An addicted white prostitute testifies, 1885   煙友 [Updated 8/17/09]
   How much opium did white Americans use?  The Iowa case  [Posted 12/19/09]
   The opium addicts of Albany, NY [Posted 12/21/09]

  Banning opium and curing addicts 禁烟, 戒烟
   Turning point: the 1909 Shanghai Conference 上海万国禁烟会 [Posted 10/15/09]
   Addiction cures for North American Chinese [Posted 10/15/09]
   Curing addicts and outlawing the opium trade: the missionary connection [Posted 10/19/09]
   British Columbia defends Britain against Opium War slander [Posted 12/28/09]

   See above: opium pipe bowls 烟斗excavated in North America, from the famous
   kilns of Yixing 宜兴(Jiangsu province), Qinzhou 钦州(Guangxi province), and Shiwan/
   Shekwan 石湾 (Guangdong province), as used by Chinese immigrants in the U.S. and
   Canada,  We believe these Shiwan examples to be among the first pipe-bowls from
   that kiln center ever published, in or outside China.

  Opium and Anti-Chinese Propaganda
   Lurid pictures of opium dens [Posted 05/30/10]
   Exaggerating harm from opium use [Posted 05/30/10]

Anti-Chinese Violence  排华暴力事件
Threats from, and actual violence by, local whites bent on ethnic cleansing were a fact of life for Chinese
immigrants in the Pacific Northwest.   So why did Chinese come, though neither desperate nor poor?   Why
did they stay with such stubborn bravery?  One goal of this website is to seek answers to questions like
   Violence against Chinese in the Pacific Northwest: a new list and map [NEW 08/03/10]
    The Anti-Chinese conspirators 1885-1887 [Posted 1/17/10]
    The Anaconda explosions: Knights of Labor murder or private revenge? 1885 [Posted 02/01/10]
   The Rock Creek Massacre 1885 [Posted 9/1/09, revised 7/6/11]
   The Squak (Issaquah, Washington) Massacre 1885 [Posted 01/14/10]
    Coal and ethnic cleansing: driving Chinese from the Washington mines1885 [Posted 02/11/10]
   Evidence: Squak and Coal Creek were connected 1885 [Posted 02/12/10]
   The infamous "Tacoma Method" 1885 [NEW 06/30/10]
   The Seattle Anti-Chinese Riots 1886 [Updated 01/07/10]
    Portland tries (and fails) to purge all Chinese 1886  [Posted 1/07/10]
   The Deep Creek Massacre 1887 [Updated 10/21/09]

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Smuggling Chinese  PlaceNames     First Chinese     Why Chinese Died        Secret Society      Prince Tsai Comes
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Historical note; the fiirst "Chinatown," before 1844, was not in San Francisco 英语“唐人街“一词始自何时
In fact, the term is not even Ameican.  It was being used in Singapore by 1844. well before the Gold Rush
and the immigration of Chinese miners to California [07/2/10]
This page was last updated: March 8, 2015
For a detailed index to Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition features, click here