Chinese Contractors

We just released Ah King’s story on our website this month. Under the sub-category of Contractors, you will now find three new independent pages we added recently for Ah King, Chin Gee Hee, and Gong Dip. It happens that they all were successful Chinese merchants and probably knew each other working in Seattle at the turn of the twentith century. These stories of Chinese contractors from the northwest will greatly complement and argument the other stories of Chinese contractors and workers in California that we have compiled. In addition, there is a new page on Chinese Contractors under the tab of Canning History, which focuses on the Chinese contractors as a collective entity rather than individuals.

Thanks, in great part, to the work done by CINARC, we are able to bring these additions to you. CINARC (Chinese in Northwest American Research Committee) is headed by historians Bennet Bronson and Chime Ho. They have collected, interpreted, and organized significant primary sources and artifacts that document the Chinese and Chinese American experience in the northwestern states. They have written and published extensively and their webpage contain a wealth of information. They have generously granted us the permission to incorporate portions of their work in our website which are related to Chinese involvement in the salmon canning trade.

It is our hope that we can provide a platform for the general public who are interested in the history of Chinese in the salmon canning industry. Broadly speaking, there are three parts of the Chinese sphere of influence in the salmon canning industry. First is the Chinese contractors who provided and supervised the Chinese workers; then there were the Chinese workers who labored inside the canneries, finally there was the Chinese contract system whereby the Chinese contractors made contractual deals with the white canners and took over all responsibilities of providing the labor force — all played out against a larger historical background of the development of the West Coast and the salmon canning industry.

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