Motives for Chinese population to immigrate to United States have been same as for most other immigrants. Many immigrants shifted to United States to for the gold rush, while others came to seek better economic opportunities. Many others were forced to leave China as either refugees or contract workers.
Chinese immigration began decades ago and was divided into three periods: 1849-1882, 1882-1965, and 1965 to the present. The first period started very shortly after the California Gold Rush and ended unexpectedly with Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Through this period, many young male peasants left their villages and became laborers in the western part of America.
These peasants were recruited to extract metals and minerals, retrieve swamplands, construct railway networks, develop the fishing industry, and work for extremely competitive manufacturing industries. Chinese population at the end of the first period was approximately 110,000 in United States.
Economic development and racial prohibition characterized the pattern of settlement for Chinese Americans. Manner of settlement was influenced by the pattern of economic development in the western states that took place before the Chinese Exclusion Act. Chinese immigrants resided in most parts of California while others settled in the states west of Rocky Mountains.
Though most Chinese immigrants faced many hardships in the late nineteenth century, they had an immense effect on America. Language, culture, social institutions, and customs came along with these Chinese immigrants. These immigrants tried to become a vibrant part of the population of United States and contributed a lot towards their adopted country.
Chinese workers have played an important role in supplying the labor force for the growing industry of America. They converted most of the land they lived in into rich green farmland. Chinese methods of cultivation were applied on most farms. Approximately eighty percent of Chinese population was found in Chinatowns, which were situated in all major cities in United States in the early twentieth century.