Review Of "Swallows And Settlers: The Great Migration From North China To Manchuria" By T. R. Gottschang And D. Lary

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Book Review

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Published In

Journal Of Economic History


From the 1890s through the 1930s millions of Chinese farmers and workers migrated from North China, principally from Shandong and Hebei provinces, to seek employment in Manchuria. Their migration was motivated by the opportunities in new industries, as well as in agriculture, and was facilitated by the opening of railways at the turn of the century. Manchuria was one of the most unusual and prized pieces of geopolitical real estate in the world. The homeland of China's Manchu rulers, it was sparsely populated under their dynastic regime (1644–191l), partly because of its ban on migration, which was occasionally lifted during periods of famine in North China. With the decline of the dynasty's power in the nineteenth century, Manchuria became the focus of Russian territorial ambition, to be followed in the twentieth century by relentless Japanese encroachment culminating in the creation of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo in 1932. “From 1906 until 1931 Manchuria was a complex patchwork of Chinese, Japanese, and Russian spheres of authority” (p. 49).

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