Chinese Miners

Creator: Charles Christian Nahl

Context: This 1857 illustration appeared near the end of the California Gold Rush and reflected some of the difficulties caused by thrusting different cultural groups such as white Americans, Native Americans and Chinese immigrants into close proximity with each other.

Audience: Middle-class American readers of Harper's Weekly during the 1850s.

Purpose: To explain how the Chinese were replacing Native Americans as the primary labor source for the California mines and to reassert American dominance over both groups.

Historical Significance: This picture acknowledges the difficulties caused by interactions of diverse cultures in California, and displays the common presumption of the time that white Americans would continue to preside over all other groups.