from the book "a crack in the edge of the world" about the san francisco earthquake in 1906:
the term "shanghaI' took on another meaning in 19th century san francisco. when someone would round up an unpayable debt from whoring, drinking and gambling, a loan shark would sell him off to a shanghai, who would find the debtor, bind him up, bring him on board a ship headed to china, and sell him to the captain as the ship set sail.
i also learned that the union square section of san francisco wasn't named after a place where people united - although it's not too far from that. union square refers to where people would gather and voice their displeasure against the confederate states in the civil war. the "union" refers to the northern united states.
see, it's cool to read books.