Other early immigrants worked as mine workers or independent prospectors hoping to strike it rich during the Gold Rush.
InTijuana's Chinatown formed as a result of availability of direct flights to China. As net migration has slowed into them, the smaller Chinatowns have slowly decayed, often to the point of becoming purely historical and no longer serving as ethnic enclaves.
It was initially referred to as a Chinatown but was subsequently renamed due to the influx of non-Chinese Asian Americans who opened businesses there. As the transcontinental railroad was built, more Chinatowns started casino palette appear in railroad towns such as St.
It served as a port of entry for early Chinese immigrants from the s to the s. With the passage of the Emancipation Proclamationmany southern states such as ArkansasLouisianaand Georgia began to hire Chinese for work in place of slave labor. In recent years, Chinese-themed shopping centers have started to take on a role as historical and touristic centers, though the centers themselves are not "Chinatowns" by definition, usually as they are built in areas where the Chinese populations are intermixed with the general population at large.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, a significant amount of Chinese emigration to North America originated from four counties called Sze Yuplocated west of the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong province, making Toishanese a dominant variety of the Chinese language spoken in Chinatowns in Canada and the United States.
The La Mesa District of Tijuana was formerly a small enclave, but has tripled in size as a result of direct flights to Shanghaiwith an ethnic Chinese population rise from 5, in to roughly 15, inovertaking Mexicali 's Chinatown as the largest Chinese enclave in Mexico.
Early emigrants came primarily from the coastal provinces of Guangdong Canton, Kwangtung and Fujian Fukien, Hokkien in southeastern China — where the people generally speak ToishaneseCantoneseHakkaTeochew Chiuchow and Hokkien. Economic opportunity drove the building of further Chinatowns in the United States.
The area acquired a bad reputation from exaggerated reports of opium dens and slum housing.
The commercial shipping line created strong trade links between the cities of ShanghaiHong Kong and Liverpool, mainly in the importation of silk, cotton and tea. France received a large settlement of Chinese immigrant laborers, mostly from the city of Wenzhouin the Zhejiang province of China.
As a result, many existing Chinatowns have become pan-Asian business districts and residential neighborhoods. An early enclave of Chinese people emerged in the s in LiverpoolEngland when the first direct trading vessel from China arrived in Liverpool's docks to trade in goods including silk and cotton wool.
Other cities in North America where Chinatowns were founded in the mid-nineteenth century include almost every major settlement along the West Coast from San Diego to Victoria. Emigration to other parts of the world from China accelerated in the s with the signing of the Treaty of Pekingwhich opened the border for free movement.
Many Chinese found jobs working for large companies seeking a source of labor, most famously as part of the Central Pacific  on the Transcontinental Railroad.