Chinese Miners: Gam Saam Meets El Dorado


Gam Saam or "Gold Mountain" was the phrase the Chinese used in reference to the golden prospects California had to offer. Vast numbers of Chinese arrived in California in search of their fortune. Unfortunately, their endeavors were met with harsh discrimination. Many Anglo-American miners were hostile towards the Chinese because they were willing to work for very low wages. This meant the Chinese took many jobs that may have otherwise gone to Anglo-Americans. Still another example of discrimination the Chinese encountered was the Foreign Miner's Tax. The Foreign Miner's Tax was instituted during the gold rush, which compelled such groups as the Chinese to pay a monthly tax to mine in California.


J. B. Starkweather, "Gam Saam Meets El Dorado," California State Library, 1852. Available at [].