Civil Rights and Human Rights

Civil Rights Human Rights

1652-04-21 00:00:00

Dutch Settlers arrive in Cape town.

In 1652, Dutch settlers (or Boers) arrived in Cape Town and set up a colony governed by the Dutch East India Company. Over the next century, they brought slaves from West Africa, Malaysia, and India, establishing the dominance of whites over non-whites in the region. They took over the land that was used by African tribes for cattle and sheep grazing -- the basis of their economy. Without land, the tribes were forced to work on Boer farms to support themselves.

1763-02-14 00:00:00

Filipinos settle in the United States

First recorded settlement of Filipinos in America. They jumped ship in New Orleans to escape imprisonment aboard Spanish ships and fleed into the bayous of Louisiana.

1778-01-18 00:00:00

Captain James Cook arrives in Hawaii

While on a mission to explore the Northwest Passage, Brisish Capitain James Cook first saw the Islands of O'ahu, then Kaua'i and Ni'ihau. He and his crew were the first Westerners to observe the Islands' rich Polynesian culture. He was greeted by the locals as a sacred high chief. In response to their hospitality he left them with goats, pigs and seeds to plant fruit.

1779-02-14 00:00:00

Captain Cook Killed

Captain Cook and his crew arrived at Kealakekua Bay in late 1778. They were greeted as gods and were presented with gifts and offerings by the locals. The crew members relied on the area's resources to provision their ships. They left on February 4, 1779, amid increasing tension between natives and crew members, but had to return to shore to make repairs on the ships. On Feb 14, Cook tried to take Kalani`opu`u, a powerfu chief, hostage. A fight ensured during which Cook and three of his crew members lost their lives.

1790-02-14 00:00:00

Battle of Kepaniwai

The Battle of Kepaniwai was fought in 1790 between the Islands of Hawaii and Maui. Kamehameha I, the leader of the Hawwaiian forces, sought to conrol all the islands. While Maui's chief was away, Kamehameha landed his fleet a few kilometers from the base of ʻĪao Valley. The Hawaiin army (which consisted of roughly twelve hundred warriors) charged at the Muian chief's son, Kalanikūpule blocking the valley. Fighting went on for two days but neither side surrendered. On the third day of fighting, two of the Hawaiian chief's advisors, John Young and Isaac Davis tried to break the stalemate by firing two cannons. Although none of Maui's major chiefs were killed, many people died as a result. The chief's wife Kalola and her granddaughter Keōpūolani were able to escape. Although the Maui chief refused to relinquish control of the land following the battle, Kamehameha returned later to reconquer the island in 1794.

1790-05-04 00:00:00

Indians arrive in the United States

The 1790s mareked the first recorded arrival of Asian Indians in the United States. They arrived in the country as traders.

1790-12-06 00:00:00

Olowalu Massacre (Kalolouphu)

In 1789, Captain Simon Metcalfe, a marititime fur trader, set out on an expidition with a large ship called the Eleanora and a number of smaller boats. He anchored the Eleanora off shore (probabaly at Makena Bay) so that he could barter for provisons. A local chief stole one of Metcalfe's small boats and killed a watchman. In response, Metcalfe fired his cannons and captured a few Hawaiians who told him the boat was taken by people from the village of Olowalu.He sailed over there but found that boat had been broken up for its nails. An enranged Metcalfe told the viligers to meet him at the site of the broken ship where he opened fire killing about one hundred Hawaiians and wounding many others. The Olowalu Valley was considered to be a sanctuary for anyone fleeing oppression.

1795-02-14 00:00:00

Kamehameha unites the Islands

By this point, Kamehameha had united all the islands except Kaua'i and Ni'ihau.) He was the undisputed ruler of Hawai'i, Maui and O'ahu. Ruling later from his main houses at Kona and Honolulu, he maintained peace in the Islands and really lived by the ancient religious kapu ( Hawaiian code of conduct) which was at the core of Hawaiian society.

1801-01-01 00:00:00

Act of Union

This act abolished the Irish parliament and formally united Ireland and Great Britain to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1809-02-01 00:00:00

First Pass Laws Established

The government of Cape Town enacted pass laws for "hottentot" (black) laborers, forcing them to carry passbooks signed by their owners when traveling from town to town

1810-02-01 00:00:00

Kaua'i and Ni'ihau join the Kingdom

In 1810, the Islands of Kaua'i and Ni'ihau join the kingdom of Hawaii

1819-02-01 00:00:00

Battle of Kuamo'o

Not everyone was happy with the lifting of the Kapu. One such person was Kekuaokalani, the son of Kamehameha's younger brother who was named second heir. He chose to fight those who supported the end of the ancient kapu in what became known as the Battle at Kuamo'o.

1819-12-06 00:00:00

The end of the Kapu

Following his father's death and his succession to power, Kamehameha's son Liholiho disregarded the sanctity of the kapu system by allowing men and women to eat together in the presence of high chiefs at a feast. . His act eventually brought the demise of an entire belief system as some priests who conflicted and unsure about how to respond, rebelled. Temples were eventually dismantled and ancient idols were burned.

1820-01-01 00:00:00

Protestant Missionaries arrive in Hawaii

A group of 14 protestant missionaries arrived to the Islands from Boston. During the time they were at sea, the ancient kapu system had been abolished and there was no belief system to take its place. Rev. Hiram Bingham established his mission headquarters in Honolulu. He set up the first printing press there. More missionaries arrived in Hawaii up through the mid-19th century, heavily influencing changes in Hawaiian society.

1826-02-01 00:00:00

Hawaiian standardized as a written language

American missionaries arrived in 1820 and soon formulated a written Hawaiian language based on the sounds that they heard. Native Hawaiians quickly adopted it. and it became official in 1826

1830-04-18 00:00:00

Chang and Eng Bunker

After being exploited by a circus, Siamese Twins Chang and Eng Bunker, (ethnically Chinese-Thais) went into business for themselves and toured the country for years/ They represented the only Asians many Americans had ever seen, which helped to create and reinforce particular stereotypes. The twins become celebrities protected by their great wealth, eventually settling down in North Carolina in 1839, to become naturalized citizens (despite the 1790 act claiming that nonwhites were not eligible for citizenship). They became practically the only Asians to be accepted as fellow Americans in that era.

1830-09-13 00:00:00

Chinese in Hawaii

During the early 1800s, many Chinese arrived in Hawaii as contract laborers to work on sugar plantations. Some returned to China at the end of their contracts; many others stayed on to establish businesses or farms of their own. The first Chinese laborers arrived in 1852. The period of heaviest immigration continued into the 1880s.

1834-12-07 00:00:00

Slavery Abolished in British Colonies

Britain officially abolished slavery in all of its colonies with the Slavery Abolition Act. Abolition was delayed in South Africa by four months.

1840-01-01 00:00:00

Hawaii 1840 Constitution

Hawaii's first constitution was introduced in 1840. It contained a revised version of an older document, the Declaration of Rights (which was modeled after the American Declaration of Independence) and codified the existing governmental structure. Hawaii's government functioned with partially separated executive, legislative and judicial branches. There was a House of Nobles where membership was passed down from generation to generation but a second house-- a House of Representatives was added to create a bicameral legislative body. The constitution also created a supreme court to deal with pressing legal issues.

1840-11-28 00:00:00

"Coolie" Labor

Europeans bought tricked or captured close to 750,000 Asians-- trading them in the port cities of Macao, Hong Kong and Amoy — all of which were under British control. Most were shipped off to replace African labor in South America and the Caribbean. Many ended up in Hawaii. This marked the start of a global trend towards "coolie labor", (similar to indentured servitude.)

1845-01-01 00:00:00

The potato famine

A potato blight destroyed two-thirds of Ireland's staple crop and lead to an estimated 1 million deaths and emigration of a roughly 1 million people.

1848-01-01 00:00:00

The Mahele Act of 1848

The Mahele of 1848 was an act which allowed commoners to privately own land for the first time. Lands that were historically controlled by the king or the chiefs, were divided and as a result, commoners could claim their traditional family lands. However, in reality many claims were never established and foreigners got large plots of land.

1848-01-18 00:00:00

Chinese Miners Arrive in California

James W. Marshall found gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The presence of gold led to the arrival of thousands of Chinese immigrants.

1850-03-29 00:00:00

California Foreign Miners Tax

In April 1850, California passed a statewide foreign miners' tax, which charged foreign nationals close to $4 per month to work. The tax was rigidly enforced against Chinese and Mexicans. to encourage them to leave the gold region.

1852-06-14 00:00:00


Hawaii's second constitution was ratified in June 14, 1852. It granted adult male suffrage. Furthermore, the document mandated that the House of Nobles be changed from a hereditary body to one whose members were appointed by the king. Modeled on the US system., the constitution placed more checks and balances on the monarch-- and established a Supreme Court that would handle hot button judicial affairs.

1854-01-01 00:00:00

People vs. Hall Case

The California Supreme Court ruled in "People vs. Hall" that Chinese people could not testify in court because Chinese were "inferior, and . . . incapable of progress or intellectual development beyond a certain point . . ."

1862-01-01 00:00:00

Anti- Coolie Act of 1862

The California legislature passed what became known as the Anti- Coolie Act of 1862. The act sought to protect white workers by imposing a monthly tax on Chinese immigrants or "those of the Mongolian race," seeking to do business in the state. The legislation was passed in an attempt to quell the rising anger among white laborers about salary competition created by the influx of Chinese immigrants during the California Gold Rush.

1862-06-12 00:00:00

Property Laws

Between 1862 and 1965, more than a dozen states passed laws banning Asians from owning and inheriting property.

1864-08-20 00:00:00


The Constitution of 1864 brought several changes to Hawaii's government. First, the Constitution abolished male suffrage, establishing literacy and property qualifications for voting. instead. It also restored a measure of royal power by since it stated that the monarch did not need to be accountable to the the nobles or any other body.

1865-08-21 00:00:00

Transcontinental Railroad Work

The Central Pacific Railroad Company recruited Chinese workers for the construction of the transcontinental railroad.

1868-04-24 00:00:00

Japanese and Chinese Activity in Hawaii

Eugene Van Reed, an American merchant living in Japan illegally shipped 149 Japanese laborers to Hawaii. That same year, Sam Damon, a missionary to Hawaii opened a Sunday school for Chinese children there.

1872-12-06 00:00:00

Chinese can testify in Court.

California's Civil Procedure Code dropped the law barring Chinese from giving testimony in court.

1876-12-05 00:00:00

The Supreme Order of Caucasians

The Supreme Order of Caucasians was a formed in Sacramento, California in 1876. Its main focus was to ensure the complete disenfranchisement of Chinese in the United States and to essentially run them out. The group quickly grew to 64 chapters across the state ( called “camps”) with about 5,000 members.

1877-08-13 00:00:00

Anti- Chinese Protests

Dennis Kearney was elected Secretary of the newly formed Workingman's Party of California. He advocated for vigilante action against Chinese people and many of their employers. Anti-Chinese sentiment grew and riots broke out in San Francisco and elsewhere. Several thousand people rallied at City Hall to protest drastic wage cuts by railroad companies. A crowd of 500 people tried to burn down Chinatown, but did not succeed in destroying it all as they were stopped by a volunteer force consisting of 30 mounted patrol officers.

1878-12-07 00:00:00

Chinese Naturalization Case

In 1878, a circuit court in California ruled in " re Ah Yup" that Chinese people were not eligible for naturalization because they were of the Mongolian race and not white.

1882-05-06 00:00:00

Chinese Exlusion Act

The Chinese Exlusion Act was the first segnificant law restricting immigration into the United States. It prohibited Chinese laborers from entering the country for ten years. The act was passed in response to anti-Chinese sentiment in California, and resulted in an increase in migration of Chinese from the United States to the Kingdom of Hawaii.

1887-07-01 00:00:00

Bayonet Constitution

In 1887, while the Legislature remained out of session, a minority of subjects of the Hawaiian Kingdom and foreign nationals, (including US citizens) met in a mass meeting to organize a takeover of the political rights of native Hawaiians. They called themselves "Honolulu Rifles." and threatened to physically harm King Kalakaua if he did not accept a new Cabinet Council. On July 7, 1887, a new constitution was forced upon the King. It limited the power of the king. The king's personal influence over the legislature and legislation was reduced by limiting his government appointments and restricting his veto power. The House of Nobles, like representatives, became elective. Voting was extended to all males, not limited to subjects of the kingdom, but excluded Asians. Property qualifications effectively kept Hawaiians from voting for nobles, but awarded big gains to haole voters.

1889-05-13 00:00:00

Chinese Exclusion Act Constitutional

The Chae Chan Ping vs. United States upheld the constitutionality of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

1891-06-14 00:00:00

Lili'uokalani becomes queen of hawaii (abdicates in 1895)

Lili'uokalani took the throne after her brother died in 1891. She tried to establish a new constitution that would restore some of the executive powers s that the Bayonet Constitution of had stripped away. A group of American businessmen staged a coup on January 17, 1893. Lili'uokalani was later arrested for treason and was imprisoned in her Palace. She formally abdicated her throne in 1895 and Hawai'i became a U.S. Territory.

1905-07-13 00:00:00

The Asiatic Exclusion League

The Asiatic Exclusion League was formed by over 60 labor unions that were active around the country. The goal of the League was to spread anti-Asian and anti-Chinese propaganda and to influence legislation restricting Asian immigration. Japanese, Chinese and Koreans were specifically targeted. The League was successful in pressuring the San Francisco Board of Education to segregate Asian school children.

1905-11-28 00:00:00

Sinn fein formed

The political party Sinn Fein ( Irish for "we ourselves") was formed with the explicit goal of freeing Ireland from British rule and achieving independence.

1910-02-14 00:00:00


The Union of South Africa was formed under British dominion. The South Africa Act of 1909 stripped most black South Africans of their political rights

1910-06-26 00:00:00

Angel Island Opens as Detention Center

In 1910, Angel Island in California was opened as a detention center. Chinese arrivals were interned in holding cells for months, sometimes years, waiting for indeterminate periods to enter the US, and unable to leave. Many families were broken up when only some members of their family are allowed entry and others, especially the women were not.

1911-04-24 00:00:00

The Acts of 1911

The Native Labor Regulation Act, was passed, barring black South Africans, but not whites, from breaking labor contracts. That same year, the Dutch Reformed Church Act was introduced. It prevented blacks from becoming official church members. The Mines and Works Act denied black South Africans the industrial certificates required for mining positions.

1912-12-06 00:00:00


Black South African leaders formed the Native National Congress (what would later be called the African National Congress — ANC) to resist white domination.

1912-12-21 00:00:00

First Gurdawa Built

Sikhs bult a gurdawa, Khalsa Diwanin Stoktan, California. It was a place of religious observance, but it also served as a community center and meeting space for Sikhs as well. By establishing it in 1911, members of the Sikh community began to carve an independent identity for themselves in the United States.

1913-05-28 00:00:00

California Alien Land Law

The California legislature passed the Alien Land Act prohibiting "aliens ineligible of citizenship" from buying land or leasing it for longer than three years. Several other states adopted similar laws that year over the next few years.

1913-12-06 00:00:00


The Native Lands Act granted less than 10 percent of the country's land to black South Africans, who comprised of 80 percent of the population.

1914-08-26 00:00:00

South African National Party formed

The South African National Party (NP) was founded by JBM Hertzog. He received a great deal of support from Afrikaners (white South Africans) in all parts of the country.

1917-01-10 00:00:00

Asiatic Barred Zone Act 1917

On February 5, 1917, Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1917 (also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act). It defined a geographic "barred zone"-- a region that included much of Asia and the Pacific Islands from which people could not immigrate. Previously, only the Chinese had been excluded from admission to the country.

Civil Rights and Human Rights

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