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On February 7, 1886, violence breaks out in Seattle as a mob starts to forcibly expel most of the city's Chinese population.
The next day one man dies and four are injured when they attack Home Guards protecting Chinese residents.
Though most of Seattle will rebound quickly from the crisis, it will take the city's Chinese community 20 years to recover.
Changing Sentiments Seattle's earliest Chinese residents are believed to have arrived in the early 1860s, but they didn't begin moving to the new city in significant numbers until the mid-1870s. The Chinese built railroads, graded streets, worked in logging camps and coal mines, and some worked as servants.
By 1885, there were an estimated 950 Chinese in Seattle -- roughly 10 percent of the city's population.
But sentiment turned against the Chinese as America struggled with hard economic times in the 1870s and again in the mid-1880s.
Caucasian workers, including many immigrants, came to view the Chinese as threats to the few available jobs.
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The Chinese were said to be "willing" to work for lower wages, though in fact they had no choice in the matter.The passage of the national Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 suspended for 10 years nearly all Chinese immigration into the country.By the mid-1880s, there was widespread anti-Chinese sentiment directed toward those still here, especially in the West.It was echoed in Seattle, where even the city's "better elements," led by Judge Thomas Burke (1849-1925) and Mayor Henry Yesler (1810-1892), agreed that the Chinese had to go.They advocated that the expulsion of the Chinese be accomplished by orderly and legal means, but not everyone agreed.A Rising Tide In September 1885, anti-Chinese violence broke out in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where a gang of white coal miners rampaged through the Chinese section of town, killing 28.The outbreak reached King County a few days later when a group of white and Native American hop pickers fired into the tents of Chinese hop pickers in Squak (renamed Issaquah in 1899), killing three.Later that month, Chinese miners in Black Diamond (located in southern King County) were run out of town.These incidents, far from arousing sympathy for the Chinese, instead stoked the conflagration building against them.On November 3, a mob drove out nearly all of Tacoma's 350 Chinese residents; to the north in Seattle, the threat of violence was so real that federal troops were stationed in the city for 10 days in November to keep the peace.Passions then seemed to cool, and by the beginning of 1886 some hoped that the crisis might have passed.