Friday, October 7, 2016
476. The First US President Who Spoke Chinese
My readers might have noticed that the main founders of the United States loved China and its culture. They borrowed from China industrial technologies and agricultural plants to improve the society of North America. For them, Chinese civilization was so charming and attractive that some of them event tried to learn Chinese. With this post I would like to introduce you the first US president who spoke Chinese.
The 31st president Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was the first president who could speak fluent Chinese. It seems that he was born with some bonds with China. He was born in WestBranch, Iowa on August 10, 1874. It was the ninety years’ anniversary of the successful sail of the Empress of China, the first US commercial ship reached China's shore in August 1784.
Lou Henry, Hoover's wife and Hoover learned Chinese while they worked in China in the early 20th century. Some records show that they spoke Chinese at the White House when they prevented people from hearing what they talked about. (David King, Herbert Hoover, Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish, ISBN 0-7614-3626-X).
In the early years of the 20th century Hoover worked as an engineer in Kaiping Mine, Hebei Province of China. Chinese characters on the picture read "Kaiping Mine."