California

Southern Pacific Railway Company, 1913.  Courtesy of the David Rumsey Collection
Southern Pacific Railway Company, 1913. Courtesy of the David Rumsey Collection

At the same time that the Punjabis arrived in California, the construction of the Western Pacific Railroad was underway.  The majority of South Asian pioneers in California in the early 1900s helped build this railway, as well as the Southern and Northern Pacific Railroad lines.  Once they were in northern California, most gravitated towards farming, mainly in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.  The South Asian pioneers played critical roles in the transformation of the state’s agriculture over the course of the twentieth century.