The history of Chinatowns

There are many Chinatowns all over the world including in the contents of Europe, Africa, America and Asia. The Chinese have a rich history of exploration and migration around the world, by 2003 there were 36,116,521 Chinese people living in other countries around the world. This was due to the ‘Treaty of Peking’ being signed in 1860, this opened the border for free movement.

A Chinatown is an Urban region populated mainly of Chinese people in a non-Chinese community, in areas such as San Fransisco, New York, London and Newcastle. The word ‘Chinatown’ translates to ‘The street of Tang people’ in Chinese, this refers to ‘Tang Dynasty’, this was part of China’s history regarded as a peak in the Chinese civilisation.

The first Chinatowns were not made out of choice but due to racial segregation and abuse, when the later ones were created they were more for a sense of home and community in the new countries that they would be living in. Within these Chinatowns they opened their own shops, restaurants and temples to support what they needed. Chinatowns vary in size, they may only be a couple of streets or a thriving city, however you can find one in most large cities. As conditions have improved many Chinatowns have lost their initial purpose, to provide a safe house and cultural security, also a transitional place as they were entering a new culture. Some of the smaller Chinatowns have no slowly faded into historical places and no longer surviving as ethnic enclaves.

Chinatowns today attract people of the Chinese origin and many tourists too, so the income of the shop/restaurant owners is very mixed between people of the Chinese community and other cultures too.

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