First Filipinos in North America

Recently, FANHS Monterey Bay Area member (and co-chair of ACE)  Cathy Chavez-Miller visited Morro Bay, where she saw the site of the first landing of Filipinos on this continent, near the famed Morro Rock.

 

Photo by Cathy Chavez-Miller (pictured above).

The spot was commemorated by a plaque set up by the Central Coast chapter of FANHS. The text explains that, on Oct. 18, 1587, the Portuguese galleon Nuestra Senora de Esperanza, commanded by Pedro de Unamuno, entered Morro Bay, and sent forth a landing party that included a group of “Luzon Indios.” The group was attacked (and one killed) by local natives.

Photo by Cathy Chavez-Miller.

The further exploration of the area by Unamuno’s crew was cancelled, but it was just the beginning of the Filipino diaspora to the Americas. Working on the Manila galleons, Filipinos would soon arrive in Mexico, Louisiana, and by the 19th century even as far northeast as Massachusetts. Later in the early 20th century (after the Philippine-American war) they would arrive in larger numbers, first as students, then as laborers, service workers, and merchants.

 

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