1865 - 1869
CHINESE LABOR / TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD
In 1865, Central Pacific Railroad Co. recruits Chinese workers. Ultimately it takes 10-12,000 laborers to build the first transcontinental railroad.
The two railroad companies, UNION PACIFIC starting out from NEBRASKA, and CENTRAL PACIFIC starting out of SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - both paid by the mile of laid railroad track - are in fierce competition for speed and maximum mileage of track laid.
In June of 1867, two thousand Chinese railroad workers strike for a week, demanding an end to beatings, increased wages and work hours equal with whites. Central Pacific breaks the strike when they withhold food supplies to the Chinese, isolated as they were in the high mountains of the Sierras.
In 1869, after digging 13 tunnels through solid granite in the Sierras, after losing more than a thousand of Chinese workers to snow avalanches and other hazards never mentioned in the labor contracts, the first transcontinental railroad is completed.
It immediately enables the relatively cheap transportation of goods from coast to coast in one week. The Transcontinental also brings to the West laborers from all over the US, as well as new immigrants from Europe - all seeking work. They will displace and replace the Chinese.