Timeline: Ancestors, Part 1

COOLIES, SAILORS, SETTLERS: Voyage to the New World

1510: Portuguese arrive in Goa, on the coast of India, signaling their rise to power in the Indian Ocean.

1565: The Spanish, who took possession of the Philippines, begin their lucrative trade between China, Hawaii, the Philippines and Acapulco. Chinese and Filipinos work as sailors and navigators on board Spanish galleons until 1815.

1595: First Dutch voyage to the Indies.

1600: English East India Company’s charter established.

1602: Dutch East Indian Company sends great numbers of ships into the Indian Ocean and Indo-West Pacific to trade. The Dutch eventually replace the Portuguese as the primary European presence there. They also establish territorial control in Indonesia.

1644: French East India Company founded.

1717: In response to declining Mughal power, the British East Indian Company is granted the privilege of free trade and free coining in Bengal. Later, British extend their control over India, acquiring a vast empire for the East Indian trading company.

1779: British navigator James Cook’s third voyage to the Pacific ends. His meticulous exploration brings this part of the world into the political theaters of Europe.

1831: The British end the international African slave trade. Atlantic traders go to India and China to get laborers for the plantations in the New World.

1842-52: The British Empire defeats China, in the first Opium War. China is forced to pay indemnities of 21 million silver dollars, cede Hong Kong and Kowloon, and open five ports to foreign commerce. As a result peasant farmers are heavily taxed. A series of floods and crop failures in southern China leads to poverty and famine among peasant farmers. British are given the power to preside over the immigration of Chinese people. Eventually 12 treaty ports are opened to Westerners. Western missionaries begin to arrive in China, paving the way for Chinese youth to receive western training abroad.

1844: The Treaty of Wanghsia, the First commercial treaty between China and the United States, is signed.

1848-52: Strike of gold at Sutter’s Mill, California. Chinese immigrants drawn to the West Coast to mine gold. Later Chinese immigrants come as a source of cheap labor to work the railroads, mines, and other industries.

1852: Chinese contract laborers are sought to work in Hawaii.

1854: Admiral Perry of the US Navy comes to Japan with four battle ships forcing the nation to open up to foreign trade. Japan-U.S. Peace and Aminity Treaty signed.

1857: Uprising in Northern India. The political mandate of the East India Company is revoked; the British crown government now assumes the direct ruling of India.

1861-1865: Civil War in the United States begins, eventually ending the institution of slave labor. Americans search for new sources of cheap labor.

1868: Burlingame Treaty between the U.S. and China. The citizens of both countries have the right of free immigration with reciprocal privileges of residence, school and travel. Japanese laborers are illegally shipped to Hawaii.

1887: French join the states of Cambodia and Vietnam into a union called French Indochina. Laos is added to the union in 1893.

1898: Treaty of Paris concludes the Spanish-American War. Spain sells the Philippines to the United States for $20 million. The Philippine Islands become a protectorate of the United States. Hawaii is annexed to the United States.

1898-1902: Filipino-America War. After the Filipino defeat, elite Filipinos are allowed to come to the America to learn in American universities.


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