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China Connection

"China Connection," a term referring to North Carolina's relationship with China, was used in the state for a century following the 1847 arrival in Shanghai of Matthew T. Yates of Wake County as a Baptist missionary. Yates was followed by other Baptists as well as missionaries sponsored in increasing numbers by Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches, and occasionally by others. North Carolina workers supported by the YMCA and YWCA also served there. Only men were missionaries in the beginning, but women who had accompanied their husbands and helped to establish family life served as teachers of Chinese women and children. Correspondence between these expatriates and people who remained at home often led other North Carolinians to move to China. When missionaries returned, they often proved to be the first important contact North Carolinians had with people from a foreign country.

Schools, colleges, and hospitals were established initially in Shanghai, and soon business leaders became aware of trade possibilities between the countries. Tobacco and textiles became important items of commerce.

References:

"The Chinese, 100 Years in the South" and "The China Connection," Southern Exposure 12 (July-August 1984).

North Carolina China Council, North Carolina's "China Connection," 1840-1849: A Record (1981): https://archive.org/details/northcarolinasch00unse

 

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