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Starting in about , small Portuguese ships known as caravels zipped along the African coast, carrying spices, gold, slaves and other goods from Asia and Africa to Europe. Christopher Columbus, the son of a wool merchant, is believed to have been born in Genoa, Italy, in When he was still a teenager, he got a job on a merchant ship. He remained at sea until , when pirates attacked his ship as it sailed north along the Portuguese coast. The boat sank, but the young Columbus floated to shore on a scrap of wood and made his way to Lisbon, where he eventually studied mathematics, astronomy, cartography and navigation.

He also began to hatch the plan that would change the world forever. At the end of the 15th century, it was nearly impossible to reach Asia from Europe by land. The route was long and arduous, and encounters with hostile armies were difficult to avoid.

Asian American Studies Research Guide: New Books

Portuguese explorers solved this problem by taking to the sea: They sailed south along the West African coast and around the Cape of Good Hope. But Columbus had a different idea: Why not sail west across the Atlantic instead of around the massive African continent? He argued incorrectly that the circumference of the Earth was much smaller than his contemporaries believed it was; accordingly, he believed that the journey by boat from Europe to Asia should be not only possible, but comparatively easy via an as-yet undiscovered Northwest Passage.

He presented his plan to officials in Portugal and England, but it was not until that he found a sympathetic audience: the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. Columbus wanted fame and fortune. Ferdinand and Isabella wanted the same, along with the opportunity to export Catholicism to lands across the globe. Columbus, a devout Catholic, was equally enthusiastic about this possibility. On October 12, the ships made landfall—not in the East Indies, as Columbus assumed, but on one of the Bahamian islands, likely San Salvador.

In January , leaving several dozen men behind in a makeshift settlement on Hispaniola present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic , he left for Spain. He kept a detailed diary during his first voyage. More troublingly, it also recorded his initial impressions of the local people and his argument for why they should be enslaved. They have no iron …They would make fine servants … With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

About six months later, in September , Columbus returned to the Americas. Then he headed west to continue his mostly fruitless search for gold and other goods. His group now included a large number of indigenous people the Europeans had enslaved. In lieu of the material riches he had promised the Spanish monarchs, he sent some slaves to Queen Isabella. In May , Columbus sailed west across the Atlantic for the third time.


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Conditions were so bad that Spanish authorities had to send a new governor to take over. Meanwhile, the native Taino population, forced to search for gold and to work on plantations, was decimated within 60 years after Columbus landed, only a few hundred of what may have been , Taino were left on their island.

Christopher Columbus was arrested and returned to Spain in chains. In , cleared of the most serious charges but stripped of his noble titles, the aging Columbus persuaded the Spanish crown to pay for one last trip across the Atlantic. This time, Columbus made it all the way to Panama—just miles from the Pacific Ocean—where he had to abandon two of his four ships after damage from storms and hostile natives. Empty-handed, the explorer returned to Spain, where he died in However, his journey kicked off centuries of exploration and exploitation on the American continents.

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The Columbian Exchange transferred people, animals, food and disease across cultures. Old World wheat became an American food staple. African coffee and Asian sugar cane became cash crops for Latin America, while American foods like corn, tomatoes and potatoes were introduced into European diets.

This book assembles the complete legislative history of Congress's Chinese exclusion. Ahmad Call Number: E C5 A45 This study of the nineteenth-century drug-abuse crisis reveals the ways moral crusaders linked their antiopium rhetoric to already active demands for Chinese exclusion. Ngai Call Number: JV N49 C5 L Erika Lee explores how Chinese exclusion laws not only transformed Chinese American lives, immigration patterns, identities, and families but also recast the United States into a "gatekeeping nation.

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What Brought Thee Hither? C5 B66 The history of immigrants who left scant records of their struggle to survive in a society in which the Chinese were reviled as angerous, opium soaked, and unassimilable is recounted.

Includes illustrations. C5 G9 P36 Primary Sources: Chinese Immigration to America The Chinese in California, From the Library of Congress, American Memory collection: about nineteenth and early twentieth century Chinese immigration to California including about 8, images and pages of primary source materials.

Davis Call Number: e-book.

by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown

Importantly, it also attends to new ways of writing autobiographies, employing comics, blending verse, prose, diaries, and life writing for children, and using relational approaches to self-identification, among others. C62 U Chin, offers a detailed and complex portrait of the work lives of Chinese and Latino garment workers. Looking into Asian American female stereotypes?

Chinese Exclusion Act

Lim highlights the cultural activities of young, predominantly unmarried Asian American women from to Lim traces the diverse ways in which these young women sought claim to cultural citizenship, exploring such topics as the nation's first Asian American sorority, Chi Alpha Delta; the cultural work of Chinese American actress Anna May Wong; Asian American youth culture and beauty pageants; and the achievement of fame of three foreign-born Asian women in the late s.

C48 Using previously undiscovered documents, he examines the forces behind the U.


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  7. His conclusion: the motives of government officials and top military brass likely transcended the standard explanations of racism, wartime hysteria, and leadership failure. Among the other surprising factors that played into the decision, Hayashi writes, were land development in the American West and plans for the American occupation of Japan. Houston Call Number: E