HEADER
  • Little Saigon

    Little Saigon and Tendernob

    Little Saigon and the Tendernob are two Tenderloin neighborhoods that are home to large immigrant populations and some of the best food in the city. Join us as we take you on the only food tour of this district and explore the flavors of Asia, the Middle East, and beyond!
  • The Mission

    The Mission District

    San Francisco's 1st neighborhood, The Mission District is still the heart & soul of this vibrant city. This area is so rich in culture, that we have 4 Mission food tours & 2 neighborhood walks.
  • North Beach

    North Beach

    North Beach is that rare thing -- a neighborhood that manages to be a perennial hit with tourists, and also to remain beloved by San Franciscans. It's San Francisco's Little Italy and the home of the beatniks.
  • Scenic Running

    Scenic Running

    Just a short run from the urban landscape of San Francisco's busy city streets you will find numerous trails and parks offering phenomenal views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the City Skyline and other gems.
  • Chinatown

    Chinatown

    Established in the 1840s, San Francisco's Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese community outside Asia. Our food and walking tours are 2nd to none.
  • Parrots!

    Parrots!

    Wild Parrots in San Francisco? Yes there are officially at least two flocks of wild Parrots here. These Parrots have evolved into a brand new species of parrot indigenous to San Francisco.

Gold Rush 1849 Blogs

Shanghai Surprise: the Language of San Francisco and the Barbary Coast | Gadling.com

Shanghai Surprise: the Language of San Francisco and the Barbary Coast

by David Farley (RSS feed) on Aug 3rd 2011 at 4:00PM

• 200: the population of San Francisco in 1846.

• 25,000: the population of San Francisco in 1849.

• 300: the number of women living in San Francisco in 1849.

• 200: the number of those women who were prostitutes.

• 1,400: the number of murders in San Francisco from 1850-1856

• 3: the number of murderers hanged during the same period.

One number that we’ll never know are the amount of people who were abducted, taken out to sea during this time period, and forced to, among other things, use words like “ahoy.” It happened so much that a particular word was invented for the practice and it has since entered the American lexicon: to shanghai someone.

The Barbary Coast was the physical hangover-a living, breathing collective gasp of desperation-of the Gold Rush. It created a lawless atmosphere that not even Moscow could compete with today.

As Simon Winchester wrote in A Crack in the Edge of the World: “During the 1850s, San Francisco’s notoriety was fully and widely established; it was a den of iniquity, a lawless town where men in unrestricted mobs drank, gambled, and whored their way from street to street, unchecked by family, by conscience, or by law.”

And the practice of shanghaiing went largely unchecked. Here’s how it would go:

A miner would go out for a night of drinking and carousing and when he couldn’t cough up enough money (or gold), he was given over to a crimp, a sort of loan shark, who would eventually knock the miner out and sell him to a sea captain. Eventually the minor would wake up, head aching from too much drink, and find himself in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, his fate to working off his debt on the ship sealed, as the boat made what was called a “shanghai journey,” slang for a very long voyage.

It was a shanghai surprise: the language of San Francisco and the Barbary Coast.

via Shanghai Surprise: the Language of San Francisco and the Barbary Coast | Gadling.com.

Read Comments(No Comments) | Add Comment