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History in Context


The 1880 U.S. Census showed 3,187 Chinese living in Washington ‒ 4.2% of the state's total population at that time.

The Northern Pacific Railway


As many as 15,000 Chinese workers were employed in Washington state in the 1880's to help build the Northern Pacific Railway. They were often the lead crews in the highly dangerous work of blasting out tunnels and passes through the Cascade Mountains.

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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