News of the California gold rush in the mid-19th century reverberated around the world. The Chinese called California “Gold Mountain” and the “Gold Mountain Dream” drove tens of thousands of Chinese from the Pearl River Delta to seek their fortune on the other side of the Pacific. Hong Kong, being the major embarkation port for these migrants, both on their way out and their way home, evolved into a hub for migration, import-export trade, remittances and foreign exchange, shipping and insurance. While the Gold Mountain Trade became a pillar of Hong Kong’s economy, its impact extended across China and South East Asia.
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Honorary Professor, University of Hong Kong
Honorary Fellow, Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong
Born and educated in Hong Kong, Elizabeth Sinn (Ph.D., BBS) is a historian with a general research interest in Modern China and Hong Kong and special interest in the history of charity, business, culture, the press and migration. Before retiring in 2004, she was the Deputy Director of the Centre of Asian Studies (University of Hong Kong) and a member of HKU’s University Research Committee.
Outside the University, she sat on the Humanities Panel of the Research Grants Council and the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust Council. For her many years of service on the Antiquities Advisory Board, she was awarded a Bronze Bauhinia Star. She is a Museum Expert Adviser to the Hong Kong Museum of History.
Between 2006 and 2013, she led the Hong Kong Memory Project to create an online platform for multimedia materials on Hong Kong’s history, culture and heritage. Her publications include Power and Charity: The Early History of the Tung Wah Hospital (1989), Growing with Hong Kong: The Bank of East Asia 1919-1994 (1994), The Last Half Century of Chinese Overseas (1998), Pacific Crossing: California Gold, Chinese Migration, and the Making of Hong Kong (2013).