News and Culture in Seattle's Chinatown and International District

History of the ID

The International District is the core of Pan-Asian culture in the city of Seattle.

The neighborhood surfaced in the late 1800s when Chinese workers immigrated to Seattle to lay Washington railroads. Although the first Chinatown (east of Pioneer Square) was leveled in the late 19th century, and many immigrants expelled due to race riots, a second Chinatown emerged in the early 1900s and has since flourished.

By the 1930s, Japantown had also developed in the area, however, tension during World War II sent thousands of Japanese-Americans to internment camps. Japantown eventually reemerged, but never fully recovered in numbers or prominence.

With a growing Filipino population taking up residence in the neighborhood during the 50s, Seattle Mayor William Devin renamed the area “the International District.”

For more information about the history of the International District, click here.

The International District 1969
Photo courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives



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This entry was posted on May 3, 2012 by .


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