Oldest Chinatowns in the World
When many Americans think of Chinatown, they picture San Francisco, New York, or a city in the West where Chinese immigrants were able to build a community and find a sense of belonging. And while this is true, there are Chinatowns located across the globe. When we drill down further to specifically research which locales are the oldest, nothing in the west even makes the list. If you’ve always wondered where the oldest Chinatowns are located, dust off your passport for an adventurous trip through these truly ancient cities.
But before we start, it’s important to note that the socio-political climate that birthed the Chinatowns in the United States is similar to what Chinese immigrants faced abroad. Lured by the hope of improved work prospects and a better life, they were often met by the reality of being cheap labor and a hostile nation that developed restrictive policies to limit their movements to within specific districts (hence the reason for a Chinatown in the first place) and their overall flow of emigration. And in many cases, precise records for when buildings or communities were developed aren’t available. So to the best of our ability, we’ve provided a rough timeline.