“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Remembering when Wuhan was the ‘Chicago of China’

Posted: February 20th, 2020 | 1 Comment »

Thinking of Wuhan lately obviously and remembering that in the first half of the twentieth century it was invariably referred to in the American newspapers as the ‘Chicago of China’ – apt really being an inland entrepot, industry city with iron steel, stockyards, canning etc, population of around a million, a city of largely business rather than politics or culture.

I believe the first use of the term was by Collier’s magazine in 1900 in an article on China’s ‘boom town’ (then the three cities of Wuchang, Hankou and Hanyang that became known as Wuhan) that likened Wuhan to both Chicago and St Louis. Certainly by the late 1920s it was being regularly used as the articles below show….

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One Comment on “Remembering when Wuhan was the ‘Chicago of China’”

  1. 1 Mark S. said at 5:13 pm on February 24th, 2020:

    There’s an earlier mention in chapter 3 of vol. 2 of The Story of the China Inland Mission, by M. Geraldine Guinness. The second edition is dated 1894. The chapter is called “The Chicago of China”. It’s interesting that Wuchang rather than Hankou is given prominence.


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