Chinese Wok, c. 1800s

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts
Date Posted: 3/27/2018

Many Chinese men travelled to the United States and became gold miners following the discovery of gold in California in 1849. Woks such as this one were made in China, but brought to California in the 1800s and used by Chinese immigrants. As the mass influx of travelers arrived from a variety of regions and economic backgrounds, places such as restaurants, hotels, and inns were built to accommodate and feed the growing California population. Over time, however, the majority of food in California had to be imported and became notoriously expensive. In only a few months, the cost of food tripled. Oftentimes, many miners arrived with only the clothes on their backs. With newcomers lacking many basic supplies, merchants were at a major advantage and would charge outrageously high prices for their goods.