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Introduction: The Rhythms Of The Transpacific

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Chapter Summary

Between 1830 and 1930, migrants speaking various dialects of Chinese originating in a small number of regions in Guangdong province dominated transpacific labor migrations. By the 1880s the Cantonese Pacific was firmly established, and Hong Kong was its main port of origination. It is a great historical irony of the nineteenth century Pacific World that from the west coast of North America eastward the Cantonese built the very means of transportation that was to produce the demise of the World they had created for themselves. The first downbeat of anti-Chinese legislation coincided with the arrivals of large numbers of European migrants to each of the four colonies in the 1870s and 1880s. One of the most subtle and effective distortions effected by anti-Asian rhetoric was the alteration of the status of Asian workers.

Keywords:anti-Asian rhetoric; anti-Chinese legislation; Cantonese Pacific; European migrants; Guangdong province; North America; Pacific World

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