Gifts From The Celestial Kingdom: A Shipwrecked Cargo For Gold Rush California

Gifts From The Celestial Kingdom: A Shipwrecked Cargo For Gold Rush California

Gifts from the Celestial Kingdom: A Shipwrecked Cargo for Gold Rush California

In a prior volume―The Voyage of the "Frolic": New England Merchants and the Opium Trade (Stanford, 1997)―historical archaeologist Thomas N. Laytontold the story of his excavation of an ancient Pomo Indian village site in Northern California, where, to his surprise, he recovered Chinese porcelain potsherds. Tracing those sherds to a beach on the rugged Mendocino coast, he then followed them out to the submerged remains of the Frolic, a sailing vessel wrecked in the summer of 1850 with a rich cargo of Chinese goods bound for Gold Rush San Francisco. In that volume, Layton used the vessel's earlier role, transporting opium from Bombay to Canton, as a vehicle to tell the story of American participation in the opium trade. Although the Frolic's career as an opium clipper was ended in 1849 by the introduction of steam vessels, the almost simultaneous discovery of gold in California suddenly created enough purchasing power to support direct commerce with China―and thus a new career for the Frolic. In this sequel volume, Layton has two objectives. First, he employs the Frolic's ill-fated first, and final, cargo to San Francisco to tell the broader...

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