In the 19th century, the promise of gold brought Chinese immigrants to the west in unprecedented numbers. But before long, friction emerged on the gold fields. Speaking to Ellie Cawthorne, Mae Ngai explores how gold rushes helped shape racist attitudes towards Chinese people in the west, culminating in exclusionary immigration policies and shaping the course of international relations between China and the west.

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Mae Ngai is the author of The Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes and Global Politics (W. W. Norton & Company, 2021)

Authors

Ellie CawthornePodcast editor, HistoryExtra

Ellie Cawthorne is HistoryExtra’s podcast editor. She also contributes to BBC History Magazine, runs the podcast newsletter and hosts several live and virtual BBC History Magazine events.

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