History in Context
The 1880 U. S. Census found 914 Chinese living in Wyoming ‒ about 4.4% of the population of the state at that time.
The Transcontinental Railroad
The first transcontinential railroad was built across southern Wyoming in the 1860's. Chinese laborers made up 80% of the workforce, but they moved from camp to camp with the construction and rarely settled in any one place. After the construction was completed more than a hundred Chinese settled in Rock Springs, a the mining town that provided coal to fuel the trains. Tensions mounted there between the Chinese and the white workers, and in 1885 a full-scale riot broke out that resulted in the death of many Chinese miners.
Note: City locations on this map are approximate. Click on a place name to learn about what happened there.