• Hawaiian tourism was popular among the American elite. In this photograph, passengers of the steamship Ohio arrive in Honolulu as a man, with a suit, lei, and parasol, stands on the docks. Courtesy of California Historical Society via University of Southern California Libraries.

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    Passengers disembarking from the steamer "Ohio" at Honolulu, Hawaii, ca.1900-1907
    • Date
    • 1899
    • Creator
    • Pierce, C.C. (Charles C.), 1861-1946
    • Description
    • Photograph of passengers disembarking at Honolulu from the steamship "Ohio", ca.1900-1907. A man wearing a lei and holding a parasol stands in the foreground with a crowd of finely-dressed people behind him. The large ship extends next to the dock fr... more
      Photograph of passengers disembarking at Honolulu from the steamship "Ohio", ca.1900-1907. A man wearing a lei and holding a parasol stands in the foreground with a crowd of finely-dressed people behind him. The large ship extends next to the dock from the left foreground to the right background. People look over the rail on the deck of the ship while others walk down the long ramp at right. less
    • Rights
    • Public Domain. Release under the CC BY Attribution license--http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/--Credit both “University of Southern California. Libraries” and “California Historical Society” as the source. Digitally reproduced by the... more
      Public Domain. Release under the CC BY Attribution license--http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/--Credit both “University of Southern California. Libraries” and “California Historical Society” as the source. Digitally reproduced by the USC Digital Library; From the California Historical Society Collection at the University of Southern California. Send requests to address or e-mail given. Phone (213) 740-5900; fax (213) 740-2343. USC Libraries Special Collections. Doheny Memorial Library, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0189. Specol@usc.edu. less
    • Partner
    • University of Southern California Libraries
    • Contributing Institution
    • California Historical Society

  • The US heavily regulated the movement of peoples from its territories. Issued by the War Department Division of Customs and Insular Affairs, this document dictated how immigration officials managed Puerto Ricans coming to America. Courtesy of University of Illinois via HathiTrust.

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    Immigration regulations for the island of Porto Rico /
    • Date
    • 1899
    • Creator
    • United States. Division of Customs and Insular Affairs.
    • Description
    • Published also in Spanish under title: Reglamento de inmigración para la isla de Puerto Rico. June 7, 1899.
    • Rights
    • Public domain. Learn more at http://www.hathitrust.org/access_use
    • Partner
    • HathiTrust
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of Illinois.

  • Hawaii became an important passageway for individuals emigrating from Asia to the US. George Omo Sr., pictured here, was born in Balaoan, La Union, Philippines. He later immigrated to the territory of Hawaii and eventually landed in San Francisco in 1926. Courtesy of California State University Channel Islands via California Digital Library.

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    George Omo Sr
    • Date
    • 1920s
    • Description
    • George Omo Sr. was born in 1904 in Balaoan, La Union, Philippines. He immigrated to Kialia Kauia, Territory of Hawaii, and arrived in San Francisco in 1926. In 1929, Omo married Sarah Guitierrez, whom he hired while working at the Sunshine Caf?? in L... more
      George Omo Sr. was born in 1904 in Balaoan, La Union, Philippines. He immigrated to Kialia Kauia, Territory of Hawaii, and arrived in San Francisco in 1926. In 1929, Omo married Sarah Guitierrez, whom he hired while working at the Sunshine Caf?? in Los Angeles, and they finally settled in Oxnard in 1932. less
    • Rights
    • Copyrighted. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires written permission of the coyright owners. In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of gifts or p... more
      Copyrighted. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires written permission of the coyright owners. In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of gifts or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. California State University, Channel Islands. Consult owning institution. less
    • Partner
    • California Digital Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • California State University, Channel Islands

  • American citizenship was a valuable commodity in the early 1900s. This document certified the citizenship of Teruo Katayama and allowed him to "travel freely between Hawaii and the mainland United States." Courtesy of California State University, Dominguez Hills, Archives and Special Collections via California Digital Library.

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    Certificate of Citizenship--Hawaiian Islands, 1927
    • Date
    • 1927-06-11
    • Creator
    • United States. Department of Labor. Immigration Service: author.
    • Description
    • Certificate is for Teruo Katayama, and lists him as "a person of the Japanese race, resident in Hawaii. 1 certificate, typescript; 1 photograph, black and white. This collection includes records of land leased to Japanese American tenants in years le... more
      Certificate is for Teruo Katayama, and lists him as "a person of the Japanese race, resident in Hawaii. 1 certificate, typescript; 1 photograph, black and white. This collection includes records of land leased to Japanese American tenants in years leading up to World War II. As such, they provide a view of California in years of the Alien Land Laws, attitudes toward Japanese Americans, and the impact of World War II. Notice regarding copyright of materials available online: http://www4.csudh.edu/libarchives/services-policies/index. less
    • Rights
    • Notice regarding copyright of materials available online: http://www4.csudh.edu/libarchives/services-policies/index.
    • Partner
    • California Digital Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • California State University, Dominguez Hills, Archives and Special Collections

With their land now part of the US, the people of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines found borders more permeable. Just as intrepid Americans travelled across the territories in search of new adventures, natives and long-time residents began moving to the mainland.

Hawaii was an especially popular hub for in-migration during American imperialism. The islands had a distinct and diverse population, thanks in large part to the sugar industry. Demand for the sweetener skyrocketed during the Civil War, prompting plantation owners to actively recruit laborers from Asia. When the US annexed the islands in 1898, it bestowed national status to native Hawaiians, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese. Many moved West. For Chinese workers, this was especially beneficial, as the Chinese Exclusion Act passed a few years prior in 1882 barred Chinese immigrants from outside the US. Hawaiian-born, or at the very least naturalized, Chinese could negotiate entry. Puerto Rico similarly provided a new channel to the US from the Caribbean. In 1910, less than 2,000 Puerto Ricans lived on the mainland; by the 1930s, more than 40,000 Puerto Ricans had migrated, and most lived in New York City.

Imperial borders provided a new, if not heavily regulated, space for peoples across the Pacific and Caribbean to imagine and pursue new lives as Americans.