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China, America and the Pacific

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Trade and Cultural Exchange


Covering the 18th and 19th centuries, China, America and the Pacific provides primary source materials for the study of the history of North American trade and cultural exchange with China.

This collection also provides coverage of China’s economic dealings with the whole of East Asia and the Pacific.

Sourced from American and Canadian libraries including the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, China, America and the Pacific includes some of the strongest collections on the subject of the ‘Old China Trade’, including:

  • The logbooks of the first American ship to visit China
  • A rare letter book of Hoqua, a Canton trader
  • Trade letters from King Tamoree and Queen Charlotte Tapolee of Kaua'i (Hawai'i)

Until the opening of the Western frontiers of the United States in the mid-1800s, the East Coast dominated American finance and merchanteering. This early period in American trading history is captured in the papers of key shipping families and their extended influence beyond maritime circles.

China, America and the Pacific offers insights into the early commercial development of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Salem, Providence and Baltimore, with maritime routes between East and West Coasts detailed and mapped.

Other key Pacific trading posts are covered, including Hawai'i, the Philippines, India, Sumatra, Mauritius and Batavia.

Early fur traders in Canada and the Pacific Northwest are also well covered.

Key themes covered include:

  • Old China Trade
  • Commercial development of cities on the East Coast USA
  • Maritime routes between East and West Coasts
  • Development of Hawa'ii as key American trading post
  • Chinese-American cultural exchange
  • 19th-century Chinese immigration
  • Fur Trade in the Pacific Northwest (indigenous peoples)
  • Object history – commodities of China trade
  • Diplomacy and politics of America and the Far East

See Detailed Information for more on this collection.

The resource complements and builds upon the success of China: Trade, Politics and Culture