Italians in the ‘Old Shanghai’: a Preliminary Contribution

Piastra, Stefano (2013) Italians in the ‘Old Shanghai’: a Preliminary Contribution. [Preprint]
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Besides other Western nationalities, ‘Old Shanghai’ also hosted an Italian community, which experienced, throughout the years, a slight development, particularly after the establishment there of the consulate of the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1860 (later kept by the new Kingdom of Italy), and the signing, in 1866, of a Sino-Italian Treaty (ratified in Shanghai in 1867). It was a small group, if compared with the English, the Americans or the French (from some dozens to some hundreds between the 19th and the 20th centuries), but it had distinctive spatial and socio-economic urban patterns: in ‘Old Shanghai’, there were specific areas with a high concentration of Italian economic activities (in the International Settlement: Kiukiang Road; Kiangse Road; crossroads between Nanking Road and Szechuen Road; Bubbling Well Road), areas with Italian residences (French Concession), other suburban areas with Italians (Zikawei; in this case, they were priests). Moreover, Italians were involved in specific economic sectors (primarily, silk): as the textile sector was developed mainly in Lombardy at that time, most of the expatriate Italian managers and supervisors in Shanghai mills came from this Italian region. The migration flow from Italy to ‘Old Shanghai’, involving highly educated or highly skilled people mainly from Northern Italy, represented an exception in the general context of the migrations from Italy between the 19th and 20th centuries, which was mostly based, as in the case of the flow of people directed to the USA in that period, on poor and poorly educated people, originally involved in the primary sector, from the Southern regions of Italy.

Document type
Piastra, Stefano
‘Old Shanghai’; Migrations; Italian Community; Spatial, Identity and Socio-economic Issues in an Expatriate Community.
Deposit date
08 Oct 2013 09:06
Last modified
10 Feb 2014 10:26

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