IMAGE: ARNOLD GENTHE/LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
Between 1839 and 1860, the violence of the Opium Wars drove many Chinese people to seek new lives in the U.S., drawn by the California Gold Rush and opportunities to work on the Transcontinental Railroad.
Settling in cities along the west coast before spreading eastward, Chinese immigrants congregated in distinct communities, which became known as Chinatowns. These areas eased the assimilation process for Chinese people into a new country. Today, many still exist as cultural and commercial hubs, and historical sites.
many more pictures and full article at Mashable