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History in Context


The 1870 U. S. Census found 4,274 Chinese living in Idaho ‒ 29% of the total population of the state at that time.

What Did They Do?


Chinese immigrants were attracted to Idaho for many reasons. First were the lure of gold and the potential for wealth or prosperity. But the early Chinese did much more than mine ‒ they also provided services for other miners and for the growing population that went with the mining boom. They raised gardens and cooked food, carried water to homes, washed and mended aundry and, later on, built railroads.

Note: City locations on this map are approximate. Some of the distances between cities have been exaggerated in order to prevent overlapping names. Click on a place name to learn about what happened there.

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