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Los Angeles

General Area Where the 1871 Riot Started


On October 24, 1871, a frenzied mob of Anglos and Latinos attacked Los Angeles' Chinatown. The incident began in an area called Calle de Los Negros when a policeman tried to stop a gunfight between two groups of Chinese men. When the policeman was wounded, a local businessman named Robert Thompson came to his aid. Thompson fired back at the Chinese, and in the course of gun battle he was mortally wounded.


After the shooting subsided, citizen guards were placed the area around to keep anyone from escaping. When Thompson died a short while later, the guards and the crowd that had gathered began to riot. Led by City Councilman George Fall, the crowd began viciously attacking any Chinese person in sight, regardless of their involvement in the earlier gunfight.


Several Chinese had barricaded themselves in a building called the Coronel Block, and soon several of the crowd climbed onto the roof of the building, chopped holes in it with pickaxes and started shooting anything that moved inside the building. The Chinese inside tried to escape, but they were quickly captured by the waiting crowd, now numbering in the hundreds.

Sources: DeFalla, Dorland, Mullen, Zesch



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About this site: The original location of the Coronel Block was in what is now the middle of North Los Angeles Street by the Santa Ana Freeway. This location has been documented by local historians in Los Angeles.

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