The Chinese massacre of 1871 was a racially motivated riot on October 24, 1871, when a mob of over 500 Caucasians entered Los Angeles' Chinatown to attack and eventually murder Chinese American residents of the city. The riots took place on Calle de los Negros (known colloquially as Nigger Alley), which later became Los Angeles Street. Every Chinese-occupied building on the block was ransacked and almost every resident was attacked or robbed. Estimates of the number of dead vary, but between 20 and 23 Chinese residents were killed. At the time, there were only 200 Chinese living in Los Angeles.Template:Cn

The dead Chinese in Los Angeles were hanging at three places near the heart of the downtown business section of the city; from the wooden awning over the sidewalk in front of a carriage shop; from the sides of two “prairie schooners” parked on the street around the corner from the carriage shop; and from the cross-beam of a wide gate leading into a lumberyard a few blocks away from the other two locations. One of the victims hung without his trousers and minus a finger on his left hand. [1]

The event was triggered by the accidental killing of Robert Thompson, a Caucasian man, who was caught in the cross-fire between two men arguing over the affections of a young woman.

However, the underlying causes are generally considered to be economic. The riots were part of a growing movement of anti-Chinese discrimination in California, which climaxed in the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. These root economic causes were the unstable economy after the American Civil War which led to high unemployment in California and other Western American states.

The man who actually shot Thompson escaped and very few of the rioters were punished.

The event was well-reported on the East Coast as newspapers there labeled Los Angeles a "blood stained Eden" [2] after the riots. Los Angeles, at the time, was considered a backwater.

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