In 1830, the U.S. census recorded only three Chinese people living in the entire United States. However, after the United States gained control of significant western territory after the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and the discovery of gold in 1848, casual seekers from China joined the global migration to California. There were no national rules as to who could immigrate to the United States from abroad, so the Chinese were free along with everyone else. In 1851, 2,716 people came from China, the following year that number rose to 20,026. What they found in the California wilderness, however, was not an open and welcoming land.
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