Natural disasters, war, and high unemployment in China drove many Chinese labourers overseas in search of work. In May 1858, Chinese men prospecting for gold in California moved north to British Columbia to join thousands of others in the Fraser Valley gold rush. They were soon joined by miners arriving directly from China. The Chinese called North America Gum San – ‘Gold Mountain’ – a land of prosperity.
Early Chinese migration and head tax: 1858–1922
Chinese immigrants on the deck of the Black Diamond sailing vessel bound for British Columbia, c. 1899. Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada / PA–118185
Early Chinese immigration (May 1858)
Family Reunifications and Illegal Immigration: