The maritime fur trade focused on acquiring furs of sea otters, seals and other animals from the Pacific Northwest Coast and Alaska that were sold in China in exchange for tea, silks, porcelain and other Chinese goods (which were then sold in Europe and the US.)
In the mid-1840s, following defeat by Britain in the first Opium War, a series of natural catastrophes occurred across China resulting in famine, peasant uprisings and rebellions. Many Chinese left; some came to the Islands. Honolulu’s Chinatown was established during the 1840s and 1850s, in an area along Honolulu Harbor. It is reportedly the oldest Chinese quarter in the US.