History of the Tham (譚) clan
Origins and history, by Henry Tom, extracted from the Tom Genealogy web site.
The following is extracted and adapted from the Tom Genealogy web site, which unfortunately no longer exists, but can be retrieved from The Internet Archive. I have permission from the author of that website (Henry Tom) for the following extract (I have converted mentions of the “Tom” surname to “Tham” for clarity).
Information on the Tham clan are found in genealogy documents, books on Chinese surnames, legends, and clan folklore. This scattered information, however, needs to be systematically compiled, integrated, and translated from these Chinese sources into an authoritative treatise. Beyond the difficulties associated with Chinese-English translations, historical discrepancies also require adjudication and explanation. These notes on the Tham clan should be considered as a composite of English translations of some of the Chinese sources. As initial notes, there is, hopefully, a recognition and acceptance that they are imperfect, provisional, and a work in progress that is frequently updated. Currenly, the intent is just to provide an general overview and coherent understanding of the origins and history of the Tham clan.
In general, there seem to be two prevailing views on the origins and history of the Tham clan.
Tom (Tham) Origins from Four Brothers
The first view is the basis for the Chew Lun Association ( 昭 倫 公 所 ) This is a four clan association that includes the four surnames—Hom (譚 ), Tom ( 談 ), Huey ( 許 ), Der ( 謝 ). The characters for all the surnames used the radical yan 言 on the left. These surnames were all alleged to be derived from a descendant of Chiang Tai Kung ( 姜 太 公 ) (1210-1120BC), one of the most celebrated generals in Chinese history and worshipped even today in China as a god who protects homes and shops. This descendant, Wei, was the father of four sons. As they were living in the times of political strife, Wei was afraid to bequeath his clan name to his progeny. He therefore only gave them first names, which were Hom, Tom, Huey and Der. When these sons grew up the father cautioned them about revealing their real clan name, but always come to the aid of each other. Later, these sons took their first names as family names, but always remembered their father’s injunction to help each other. The Chew Lun four-family alliance came about many centuries later to reunite the descendants of the sons of Wei, who started out as blood brothers. The Tom, Hom, Huey and Tse clans are found throughout the world and there are also Chew Lun Association branches in many cities and countries. This was initially described under Clan Associations under Genealogy. This information was made available by Washington Tom Lee, Bet Lai, Him Mark Lai, and Lawrence Tom.
Tham Origins in the North China Plain - [ Henan ( 河 南 ) and Shandong Provinces ( 山 東 ) ]
The second view includes Tham origins in the North China Plain ( 華北平原 ), also known as Zhongyuan, the Central Plain ( 中原 ), considered to be the cradle of Chinese civilization, - specifically notes Henan and Shandong provinces. It is not clear yet, if the Tham clan was using the “Tham” clan name in Henan province.
Within Henan province, the Tham Tribal people probably originated in Hongnong/Wun Lun ( 弘 農), renamed during the Qing Dynasty ( 1644 - 1912 ) as Wun Yeong ( 弘 陽) sometime after the reign of Emperor Yao ( 堯 帝 ) (2337-2258 BC. Hongnong/Wun Lun is now known as Lingbao ( 靈 寶 市).1 Another source indicates the location to be more exactly - 40 miles south of Lingbao.2 My calculation indicates this place would be Lushi city ( 盧 氏 ) and in simplified Chinese characters ( 卢 氏 ).
Within Shandong province, Zhuan Xu ( 顓 頊 ), a nephew of Yi Zhi ( 乙 摯 ), the eldest son of Huangdi ( 黃 帝 ) , the Yellow Emperor, gave one of his sons the authority to rule the Jiechu tribe living in the present day location of Licheng ( 歷 城 ) , a few kilometers east of Jinan ( 濟 南 市 ) , present day capital, Shandong province. The Yellow Emperor ( surname of “Ji” ) is a legendary Chinese sovereign considered to be ancestor of all Han Chinese and reigned between 2698 - 2598 BC. “Throughout the two Dynasties of Xia ( 夏 朝 ) (2205-1766 BC) and Shang ( 商 朝 ) (1783-122 BC) the descendants of Zhuan Xu lived there peacefully.”
In 1122 BC, King Wu ( 周 武 王 ) destroyed the Shang Dynasty and founded the Zhou Dynasty ( 周 朝 ) ( 1134-256 BC). King Wu gave the ruler of Jiechu ( 杰 出), who had helped him, the authority to rule an area called Tan in the western part of the present day Zhangqiu county ( 章 丘 縣 ) , which was renamed the State of Tan ( 譚 國 ) . The States of Tan and Qi ( 齊 國 ) were adjacent States. In 684 BC, the ruler of Qi, Chiang Xiaobai ( 姜 小 白 ) , sent troops, conquered, and annexed the State of Tan. The ruler of Tan and his family fled to the State of Ju ( 莒 國), in present day Ju county ( 莒 縣) , Shandong. Members of the ruler of Tan adopted Tan as their surname in remembrance of their extinct State.
State of Tan ( 譚 國 )
The location of this fiefdom is approximately 35 km east of the present day capital of Shandong province, Jinan and just west of Zhangqiu City, Zhangqiu county, (formerly Licheng county) in a general area known as Longshan. This is the area where the first late Neolithic culture in China was excavated in 1931. The Longshan Culture (3000 – 2000 BC) is noted for its high skill level in pottery making (highly polished black pottery), using pottery wheels and where both stone to bronze tools were in use and it was also marked by the emergence of cities, as evidenced by rammed earth walls and moats. Rice cultivation enabled this establishment of cities. The center of the Longshan Culture was the Chengziya site (Town by the Cliff) along the banks of the Wuyuan River, the site of the State of Tan ( 譚 國 ) palace.
Tan Clan Migrations
The conquest of the State of Tan in 684 BC introduced the adoption of Tan as a surname and members of the Tan clan fled to the southeast to a neighboring State, the State of Ju ( 莒國 ). Other sources have also indicated that Hongnong, Henan province Hongnong, Henan Province ( 河南省弘農郡 ); was the Tan Hall Name of origin, is located 40 miles south of Lingbao, Henan province. This Hongnong is also considered the hometown of the Ba people who lived just south of present day Chongqing in a place named Banan. The Ba people, fierce fighters and known for their unusual practice of placing their coffins on the sides of inaccessible cliffs. It is known that there were 6 Tan families that lived among the Ba people that came either from Hongnong or directly from the State of Tan – after it was conquered.
In Linyi prefecture, adjacent to Ju county, is the city of Tancheng ( 郯 城 ) and it claims to be the ancient capital of the State of Tan. The Chinese character ( 郯 ) is a surname and the name of an ancient city. The Tan character ( 談 ) is associated with a Lord Tan administered a walled city called Tan during the Spring and Autumn Period ( 722 BC - 481 BC ). Perhaps the ( 郯 ) character is a variation of the 談 character, consequently, Tancheng may be the capital of the State of Tan that was re-established during the Tang Dynasty ( 618 - 907 AD ). One source indicates that there is a record of a Tan Yau Wo, who had a title and was the ruler of a State of Tan. This needs historical verification and additional research into these two surnames and re-established State of Tan.
Using, 901 AD, the birth year of Tan Hong-zhi ( 譚 宏 帙 ), the first Tan in Guangdong province as a reference year - the approximately 1600 years between 684 BC and 901 AD was the period for the Tham clan migration from Shandong to Guangdong province. There is also information that suggests that the migration of the Tham clan had reached Henan province by the end of the Han Dynasty. There was a considerable concentration of the Tham clan inhabiting the Wang Yeung district of Henan province during the Han Dynasty ( 206 BC - 220 AD ). Tan Hong-zhi had migrated from Jiangxi province to Guangdong province.
Origins of the Tan ( 譚 ) surname
“Tan” is the Pinyin romanization used for the Chinese surname ( 譚 ).
The challenge is to organize the information on the origins of the Tan surname in a coherent explanation and to try to confirm this explanation from historical references and Tan family zupu(s).
Research reveals several surnames as sources for the Tan surname.
The Yellow Emperor ( Huang Di ) ( 黃 帝 ), also known as Xuan Yuan ( 軒 轅 ) reigned from 2698 – 2598 BC and is considered to be the ancestor of all Han Chinese. The surname of the Yellow Emperor was Ji ( 姬 ). The Cantonese romanization of Ji is “Gay or Kay”.
It is said that the Tan ( 譚 ) lineage came from the Yellow Emperor’s descendants: his grandson, Zhuan Xu ( 顓 頊 ) in 2513 BC appointed one of his sons to be a ruler of a tribe called Jie Chu ( 杰 出) in an area located just east of present day Jinan, the capital of Shandong province. This area was renamed the settlement of Tan.
Thereafter, from Zhuan Xu’s grandson, Xia Yu ( 夏 禹 ), whose surname was changed to Si ( 姒 ). Xia Yu ( 夏 禹 ) had successfully tamed the Yellow River floods and came to be known as the Great Yu ( 大 禹 ). For this accomplishment, he was bestowed the surname Si ( 姒 ) by the Emperor Shun ( 帝 舜 ). HIs name was Si Wenming ( 姒 文 命 ). Yu ( 禹 ) was the founder of the Xia Dynasty ( 夏 朝 ) ( 2207 – 1766 BC ).
Xia Yu had a grandson called Bo Yi ( 伯 益 ) whose surname of Si ( 姒 ) was changed to Ying ( 贏 ) for his meritorious services. He had assisted King Wu, who destroyed the Shang Dynasty ( 1765 – 1122 BC ) and established the Zhou Dynasty ( 1121 – 222 BC ) in 1122 BC and bestowed on Bo Yi the title of Viscount. King Wu also upgraded the settlement of Tan to the State of Tan ( 譚 國 ).
A second legend mentions that the Tan surname came from the Yellow Emperor’s ( 黃帝 ) son Shaohao ( 少昊 ). From the time of Diku ( 帝嚳 ), Houji ( 后稷 ) and up to the beginning of the Zhou Dynasty ( 周 朝 ), the family surname was Ji ( 姬 ). At the beginning of the Zhou Dynasty, Wuwang ( 武 王 ) appointed Ji Xiao ( 姬 孝 ) to the fiefdom of Tan ( 譚 國 ) in Shandong Province ( 山 東 省 ) and he was bestowed the noble title of Hou ( 候 ) or duke ( 譚 公 ).
In 684 BC the State of Tan ( 譚 國 ) was destroyed by the more powerful neighboring State of Qi ( 齊 國 ). The Tan court fled to the State of Ju ( 莒國 ), and thereafter they adopted Tan ( 譚 ) as their surname in remembrance of their lost State. Another source indicates it was the remaining Tan court that adopted the Tan ( 譚 ) surname.
Since legends are lost in the mists of time, there can be no certainty as to their veracity.
But according to the Shijing ( 詩 經 ), Chunqiu Zuozhuan ( 春 秋 左 傳 ), Gouliangzhuan ( 虢 梁 傳 ) and Gongyangzhuan ( 公 羊 傳 ), the earliest records mention a Viscount Tan ( 譚 子 ) who fled to the State of Ju ( 莒國 ) when the State of Qi ( 齊 國 ) destroyed the State of Tan ( 譚 國 ) in 684 BC. Most sources seem to confirm this. Being descendants of the Yellow Emperor, the ruling family of the settlement of Tan or the State of Tan ( 譚 國 ) were surnamed Ji ( 姬 ) which was also the surname of the rulers of the Zhou Dynasty. In essence they were all descendants from the Yellow Emperor and were thus related to each other. Since, it is also quite conceivable that surnames Ji ( 姬 ), Si ( 姒 ) or Ying ( 贏 ) could have been the preceding surnames of Tan surname ( 譚 氏 ).
There are large concentrations of the Tan Clan within the Siyi / Sze Yap ( four districts / counties ) 四 邑- which is comprised of:
- Taishan (Toishan) 台 山
- Kaiping (Hoiping) 開 平
- Enping (Yanping) 恩 平
- Xinhui (Sunwui) 新 會
During the 3rd century, an area known as Pingyi was formed covering the area now known as Wuyi ( Xinhui, Taishan, Kaiping, Enping, and Heshan ). Later it became known as Xinhui (Sunwui) , then, as Kong Chow during the 6th and 7th centuries.
Enping was established in the year 1478 and Xinning (Sunning) “new tranquility” was established in 1498 and was renamed Taishan in 1912. Kaiping (Hoiping) was established in 1649 from parts of Xinhui, Xinning and Enping counties. The overwhelming percentage of overseas Chinese in North America have Sze Yap origins.
An excellent resource on Chinese Surnames is The Origin of Chinese Surnames by CHUNG Yoon-Ngan, 2002, ISBN 1 876763 66 3. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Historically, China, through periods of political disunity/wars, natural disaster events such as flooding, drought, and earthquakes experienced disruptions in agricultural production resulting in famine and the displacement of populations - causing successive waves of migrations of Han Chinese from the north to the south.
It was during the Tang ( 唐 朝 , 618 -907 AD ) and the early Song ( 宋 朝 ) comprised of the ( Northern ( 北 宋 , 960 - 1127 AD ) & Southern Dynasties ( 南 宋 , 1127 - 1279 AD ) Dynasties that waves of southern mass migrations of Han Chinese occurred. At the end of the Song Dynasty, it has been estimated that about half the population, 50 million Han Chinese people, may have perished in total as a result of the Mongol invasion and conquest of China. This warfare and instability pushed many Han Chinese southward. During the late Ming ( 明 朝 ,1368 - 1644 AD ) Dynasty, Ming officials escaped from Kaifeng ( 開 封 ) city in central China to Zhujixiang ( 珠 璣 巷 ) to avoid war and persecution. Later they moved to different places in the Pearl River Delta and became ancestors of many Cantonese locals.
One Tham genealogy source indicates that there were members of the Tham clan living in Hunan ( 湖 南 ) province during the Han Dynasty ( 漢 朝 , 140 BC - 220 AD). Another genealogical source reveals that southern migrations Chinese came through the provinces of Jiangxi and Zhejiang. The reference to Jiangxi province is also confirmed by another Tham clan genealogy history which states: ” a scholar by the name of Hing Bon ( 興 邦 ) aka Yiu Sang ( 裔 生 ) lived in Sheung Tam Village ( 湘 潭 ), Changsha City ( 長 沙 市 ) Hunan Province. In 1007 AD he moved to Jian City () in Jiangxi Province.” 1 Tham Fang Ett, a direct descendant of Hing Bon, emigrated from Jiangxi province to Guangdong province. The Sheung District, ( English translation did not provide the Chinese characters ) in Shaanxi ( 陝 西 )province has also identified as one of the places where the Tham Clan lived during the Han ( 漢 朝 ) Dynasty ( 206 BC - 220 AD ). During the fourth and fifth centuries, deteriorating political conditions in northern China provided the impetus for the continued southward migrations. Afterwards, the Mongol invasion of northern China during the 12 th century also initiated major migrations of Chinese southward.
Zhang Jiuling (678-740 AD), a prime minister of the Tang Dynasty. Zhang is regarded as the highest official among the Cantonese of all times, ever appointed in China by the central government.
In A.D. 716 Zhang Jiuling, pushed the government to construct a good road that pierced the mountain barrier connecting his home region in northern Guangdong to the Yangzi River basin in neighboring Jiangxi Province. This route to Guangdong greatly facilitated immigration and the introduction of Chinese culture and technology from the north. Consequently, northern Guangdong developed rapidly and soon overtook the West River basin to become the most densely populated region of the province. By the Song dynasty, this area became the springboard for rapid colonization of the Pearl River Delta region.3
Mei Kuan Pass was also called Qinguan Pass in history, lying 30 km away from Nanxiong County Seat, which separates Guangdong from Jiangxi Province. Meiguan Pass had been an important postal road and a military fort for centuries, well known as “the First Pass to South China”. Along the ancient postal road there grow a lot of plum trees. When the plum trees in blossom in winter, there appears an ocean of white clouds with fragrant odor spreading near and far. Hence Meiguan (Pass of Plum Trees). The ancient Meiguan Gateway still stands there, reminding of the past postal road from Central China to South China. ( from Jin Huikang, Southcn.com )
Nanxiong ( Nam Hung ) ( 南 雄 ) became a major city in the northern portion of Guangdong province because of its geographic location with the border to Jiangxi province and the pass through the mountains. As Nanxiong grew, a village on its outskirts, Zhujixiang ( 珠 璣 巷 ) (Ju Gei Hong - “Pearl Lane”), was established by a group of migrants from a region in Zhejiang near the city of Shanghai.
During the late Ming Dynasty officials escaped from Kaifeng, Henan province in Central China to Zhujixiang to avoid the war and persecution. Afterwards, they moved on to various places on the Pearl River Delta. The Meiguan postal road, which had become the artery of transportation linking South China to Central China and through which thousands of Han Chinese migrated to Lingnan Region in history, especially in the Song Dynasty.
The explanation for the movement of Chinese, including the Tham clan, from Nanxiong to the Taishan region is based upon one of the famous tales in Cantonese traditions with multiple versions â€“ the tale of Wu Fei ( 胡 妃 ).
Around 1270 AD, an imperial concubine, Wu Fei, fell into disfavor. She fled secretly from the palace, met a merchant named Huang Zhuman ( 黃 貯 萬 ) and became his concubine in Nanxiong. The emperor could not find her. Disclosure of Wu Fei in Nanxiong, by a disgruntled servant of this merchant, alarmed a local government official who devised a story to conceal this scandal from the emperor. Because this happened under his jurisdiction, this official would be held accountable - so he advised the emperor that there was a need to build a fort to house a garrison of soldiers to protect the local citizens from bandits and with the building of this fort â€“ it displaced 97 families from Zhujixiang. The 97 heads of these households met, applied and received a transit pass to Xinhui. Another version says that the official asked for troops to wipe out bandits - in reality, the population Zhujixiang - to seal their lips forever. A third version says that troops were sent to slaughter the people of Zhujixiang because they hid Wu Fei and the fourth version says that troops were sent to escort Wu Fei back to the emperor. Regardless of the reason, the residents of Zhujixiang left and/or fled. They traveled by boat down the North River to Xiangshan and settled in the Pearl River Delta. The area, where there was a large concentration of the Tham clan in Xinhui, was renamed Hoiping (Kaiping), adjacent to Taishan, around 1650. This migration from Nanxiong to Xinhui accounts for approximately 100 clans that now have long established roots in the Pearl River Delta.
In reading the histories of other clan migrations, I am learning about the possible migration routes, timelines, and circumstances for members of the Tham clan, who may have been part of those migration episodes. If you know about migrations that could or did include the Tham clan, I would be very grateful for the information - thank you in advance.
Geographically, Guangdong ( 廣 東 ), formerly known as Kwangtung or Canton province, is located on the south coast of China and separated from the north by a few mountain ranges collectively called the Southern Mountain Range. The combined watersheds of the West, North and East rivers and comprise what is known as the Lingnan ( 嶺 南 ) region, and these rivers drain into and form the Pearl River Delta. Guangdong topography is higher in the northeast and lower in the southwest. The eastern and northeastern parts are mountainous, the central region is hilly with bench terraces, and in the south - the Pearl River Delta is an alluvial plain.
Historically, Guangdong was far removed from the center of Chinese civilization in the north China plain. After China’s first emperor, Qin ( 秦 ) Shi Huang, conquered the six rival kingdoms and united China ( 221 BC), he ordered the conquest of the region comprised of the present-day Guangdong and Guangxi provinces, and northern Vietnam, then known as Nanyue( 南 越 ) and established its capital of Panyu ( 番 禺 ) near Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton.
Nanyue, or southern Yue, was the name of the indigenous people of the region. By the Tang Dynasty, through intermarriage and cross-cultural interactions, the term Yue had largely became a regional designation rather than a cultural one. The conquest was completed by 214 BC and General Zhao Tuo ( 趙 佗 ) was appointed to command the garrison and he asked Qin Shi Huang to send 500,000 people from Central China to help settle the region. In was also in 214 BC that the Ling Canal, 70 km north of Guilin, was completed - which linked the Yangtze River, via the West River, with the Pearl River.
The dominance of Han Chinese in the Guangdong region resulted from several periods of mass migrations from the fall of the Han Dynasty onward. Specifically, the An Lushan Rebellion (755) resulted in a 75% increase in the population of Guangdong between 740s & 750s and 800s - 810s. The death toll of the An Lushan Rebellion, including suppression and famine, is estimated to be about 36 million people. The arrival of more migrants resulted in the local population was gradually assimilated into Han Chinese culture.
“It was customary for many centuries to send political offenders, and also some criminals, into exile in remote parts of the empire. Few of these ever returned to the north, and their descendants settled in the area to which the original exiles had been consigned. In the T’ang period the region of Canton was a favourite place for such exiles, and many Cantonese families trace their origin to seventh-century officials who were sent away to what was the a raw frontier province. The practice continued in the Sung period ( 960 -1278 ) but in Ming times Kwangtung and the far south were no longer considered fit places for exiles to go. They were henceforth sent to the newly-acquired south-western province of Yunnan.” 4
Tham Origins in Guangdong province
Tan Hong-zhi ( 譚 宏 帙 ) was born in 901 AD and died in 974 AD and is acknowledged in various Tan clan genealogy books as the first Tan to arrive in Guangdong province. He had lived in Qianzhou [ current name: Ganzhou ( 贛 州 ) ], Jiangxi and to avoid social turmoil and moved to Shashui( 沙 水 ) Village, Nanxiong ( 南 雄 ), and subsequently returned to Qianzhou. Genealogy books for the Tan clan in Guangdong begin with Tan Hong-zhi as the first generation.
The Tan clan settled in four locations prior to the migration to the Pearl River Delta: Shixing (始 興 ), Conghua ( 從 化 ), Longmen ( 龍 門 ), and Renhua ( 仁化 ).
The group in Shixing began with General Tan Tian ( 談 瑱 ), of South & North Dynasty ( 南 北 朝 ) (479-581 AD). They resided in Shixing and nearby counties. The population was about 10,000. The genealogy of this group was compiled.
The group in Conghua ( 從 化 ) began with scholar Tan Heng ( 譚 恆 ) in Sung Dynasty (960 - 1279 AD.) They lived in Conghua area, and their population was small. Not much recorded about this group.
The group in Longmen ( 龍 門 ) began with scholar Tan Rui Qi ( 譚 銳 奇 ) who moved from Geyang ( 戈 陽 ), Jiangxi, Providence to Longmen, Guangdong Province. Their population was also small and has not written records.
The fourth group is the largest in Guangdong who resided in Renhua ( 仁化 ), Guangdong. The White Water (Bai-shui) ( 白水 ) Tham family is in this group. The Renhua group began with Tan Bak Tong ( 譚 伯 倉 ), the Minister of Department of Justice in Sung Dynasty. He was the grandson of Tham Fan Ett and was born in 988 AD and died in 1061 AD. He retired in Pengshanli, Renhua. This group compiled immaculate genealogical records, and each family of this group has kept up with their genealogical studies. The history of this branch of Tham family can be traced, by ancestor, as early as 901 AD.
Tham Bak Tong had eight sons. His sixth son, Tan Jale An ( 譚 朝 安 ), had the most descendants and became the first Tan to settle in Taishan ( 台 山 ).
Starting with Tan Hong-zhi, it was during the first 12th generation that Tan Hen Lin ( 譚 天 麟 ) became the first Tan to settled in White Water ( 白水 ), Taishan. He moved from a place near Shaoguan ( 韶 关 ), just south of Renhua. Tan Hen Lin lived in a village named “Old Village” ( 舊 村 ), just outside the northwestern part of Taicheng ( 台 山 市 ) an area now known as “5 horse returning to the trough” ( 五 馬 歸 槽 ) . In all the Tham genealogy books I have seen, Tan Hen Lin as the 12th generation is now used as the first generation of the Tan clan in Taishan - one genealogy book has both the generational orders running in parallel, i.e., the 12th generation has a 1st generation beside it and so on.
Henry Tom’s comments on the Origins and History of the Tom (Tham) Clan:
Generally, so far - much of the information supports the view of the State of Tan origins in Shandong, however, perhaps it can be reconciled with the four brothers view of the Tom origins.
As you might have noticed, I have not listed my sources in the traditional academic format would make this general overview difficult to read. For now, I just wanted to convey a general sense for the origins and history of the Tom Clan. As, additional translations are completed and other English sources become available- I will begin to document and cite all the facts appropriately. Please forgive me until then.
If you have additional information that you would like to share - I will be more than happy to acknowledge you and your sources.
In essence, I see the origins and history of the Tom Clan in the following segments:
- Origins, history and migrations within Shandong province.
- History of Tom Clan migrations out of Shandong - relationship to the Hakka migrations
- Origins, history, and migration within Guangdong province.
- History of the Tom Clan, as part of the overall overseas Chinese migrations, out of China to various countries.
The Tham clan in Malaysia
In Malaysia, tin mining was operated by Chinese from the late 18th century and became a Chinese monopoly, attracting migrants from the Sam Yap and Sze Yap counties of Guangdong province. Perhaps, because of this historic experience, many Chinese from the Pearl River Delta region were accustomed to mining overseas in America and Australia. With the California gold rush in the mid 19 th century, America became known as Gold Mountain (Gim-san ), while afterwards, around the city of Melbourne – Australia became known as the New Gold Mountain ( Hsin Gim-san). Chinese miners were highly independent and Chinese mining communities were well armed and led by courageous men of enterprise.
Him Mark Lai, Becoming Chinese American: A History of Communities and Institutions, Alta Mira Press, 2004, ISBN 0-7591-0458-1 ↩
C. P. FitzGerald, The Southern Expansion of the Chinese People , Praeger Publishers, 1972 ↩
- My Great Grandfather