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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.

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