Asian American history is the history of an ethnic and racial groups in the United States who are immigrants or descendants of persons from the continent of Asia. Spickard (2007) shows that "Asian American" was an idea invented in the 1960s to bring together Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino Americans for strategic political purposes. Soon other Asian-origin groups were added, such as Korean, Vietnamese, Hmong and South Asian Americans. They had arrived as unskilled workers in significant numbers 1850–1905, and largely settled in Hawaii and California. They were the subject of intense hostility on the mainland into the 1940s. Since the change in the immigration laws in 1965, middle class Asians from many countries arrived in large numbers as college students, engineers and businessmen. Their image of success was portrayed with headlines of the "Model Minority". For the contemporary situation see Asian American.
San Lorenzo, California. Fruit and vegetable stand on highway operated by Filipino.
The Chinese arrived in the U.S. in large numbers on the West Coast in the 1850s and 1860s to work in the gold mines and railroads. They encountered very strong opposition—violent as riots and physical attacks forced them out of the gold mines. The Central Pacific railroad hired thousands, but after the line was finished in 1869 they were hounded out of many railroad towns in states such as Wyoming and Nevada. Most wound up in Chinatowns—areas of large cities which the police largely ignored. The Chinese were attacked—especially by Irish Americans (who were themselves recent immigrants)--as undesirable and inassimilable strangers who brought disease, economic competition, vice (gambling, prostitution and opium), and immorality to the communities in which they settled. The Chinese were further alleged to be "coolies" who were practically slaves, and were said to be not suitable for becoming independent thoughtful voters because of their alien mindset and their control by tongs. The same negative reception hit the Asians who migrated to Mexico and Canada.
The Japanese arrived in large numbers 1890–1907, many going to Hawaii (an independent country until 1898), and others to the West Coast. Hostility was very high on the West Coast, but not especially violent. Hawaii was a multicultural society in which the Japanese experienced about the same level of distrust as other groups. Indeed, they were the largest population group by 1910, and after 1950 took political control of Hawaii. The Japanese on the West Coast of the U.S. (as well as Canada and Latin America) were interned during World War II, but not those on Hawaii.
According to Chan (1996) The historiography of Asians in America falls into four periods. The 1870s to the 1920s saw partisan debates over curtailing Chinese and Japanese immigration; "Yellow Peril" diatribes battled strong, missionary-based defenses of the immigrants. Studies written from the 1920s to the 1960s were dominated by social scientists, who focused on issues of assimilation and social organization, as well as the World War II internment camps. Activist revisionism marked the 1960s to the early 1980s as a new wave of Asian-American scholars rejected the dominant assimilationist paradigm, and instead turned to classical Marxism and internal colonialist models. Starting in the early 1980s there was an increased stress on human agency. Only after 1990 has there been much scholarship by professional historians.
1587, "Luzonians" set foot in North America arrive in Morro Bay, (San Luis Obispo) California on board the Manila-built galleon ship Nuestra Senora de Esperanza under the command of Spanish Captain Pedro de Unamuno.
1595, Filipino sailors aboard a Spanish "galleon" the San Agustin which was commanded by Captain Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno arrive on the shores of Point Reyes outside the mouth of the Bay Area. The ship was on a trip to Acapulco before it was shipwrecked on the aforementioned area.
1763, Filipinos established the small settlement of Saint Malo in the bayous of Louisiana, after fleeing mistreatment aboard Spanish ships. Since there were no Filipino women with them, the Manilamen, as they were known, married Cajun and Native American women.
1778, Chinese sailors first came to Hawaii the same year that Captain James Cook came upon the island. Many settled and married Hawaiian women.
1820s, Chinese (mostly merchants, sailors, and students) begin to immigrate via Sino-U.S. maritime trade.
1841, Captain Whitfield, commanding an American whaler in the Pacific, rescues five shipwrecked Japanese sailors. Four disembark at Honolulu, however Manjiro Nakahama stays on board returning with Whitfield to Fairhaven, Massachusetts. After attending school in New England and adopting the name John Manjiro, he later became an interpreter for Commodore Matthew Perry.
1850, seventeen survivors of a Japanese shipwreck were saved by an American freighter; In 1852, the group joins Commodore Matthew Perry to help open diplomatic relations with Japan. One of them, Joseph Heco (Hikozo Hamada) later becomes a naturalized US citizen.
1854, the California Supreme Court case ruled that the testimony of a Chinese man who witnessed a murder by a white man was inadmissible.
1869, The Fourteenth Amendment gives full citizenship to every baby born in the U.S., regardless of race.
1877, Denis Kearney organizes anti-Chinese movement in San Francisco; forms Workingmen's Party of California alleging Chinese workers took lower wages, poorer conditions, and longer hours than white workers were willing to tolerate
1878, Chinese are ruled ineligible for naturalized citizenship.
1882, Chinese Exclusion Act is passed banning immigration of laborers from China. Students and businessmen are allowed.
1924, United States Immigration Act of 1924 (Oriental Exclusion Act) banned most immigration from Asia. The quota for most Asian countries is zero. Public opinion in Japan is outraged by the insult.
1927, in the infamous case of Lum v. Rice the Supreme Court found that states possess the right to define a Chinese student as non-white for the purpose of segregating them in public schools.
1933, Filipinos are ruled ineligible for citizenship barring immigration. Roldan v. Los Angeles County found that existing California anti-miscegenation laws did not bar Filipino-white marriages, but the state quickly moved to amend the law and made it so that Filipinos could no longer marry White people.
1935, Tydings-McDuffie Act gives "Commonwealth" status to the Philippines hence allowing immigration of Filipinos; Philippines independence is scheduled for 1946
1941, Japanese army invades Philippines; Japanese residents support the invaders
1941-45 Filipino resistance movement, working closely with U.S. Army, fights the Japanese invaders
1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066 on February 19, uprooting 100,000 people of Japanese birth or descent on the west coast to be sent to Internment camps; similar actions take place in Canada.
1943, Japanese soldiers from Hawaiʻi join the U.S. Army 100th Battalion arrive in Europe.
1945, 442nd Regimental Combat team awarded 18,143 decorations including 9,486 Purple Heart decorations becoming the highest decorated military unit in United States history
1946, the Luce–Celler Act of 1946 grants naturalization opportunities to Filipino Americans and Indian Americans (which included present-day Pakistanis and Bangladeshis) and re-established immigration from the Indian subcontinent and the Philippines.
1962, Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaiʻi elected for the US Senate; he wins reelection in 1968, 1974, 1980, 1986, 1992, 1998, 2004, and 2010
1963, Rocky Fellers, a Filipino American boy band is first Asian American to hit Billboard 100."Killer Joe" reached No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1963, No. 1 in both New York and Los Angeles, CA.
1964, Grace Lee Boggs author and social activist, met with Malcolm X and unsuccessfully attempted to convince him to run for the United States Senate.
1965, Yuri Kochiyama human rights activist and Longtime friend to Malcolm X, on February 21, 1965 the day of his X's assassination, at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, she ran to him after he was shot and held him in her arms as he lay dying.
1965, Patsy T. Mink of Hawaiʻi becomes the first woman of color elected to Congress.
1966, a group of mostly Filipino farm workers go on strike against growers of table grapes in California a strike which became known as the famous Delano grape strike they were led by the famous Asian American activists and labor organizers Philip Vera Cruz and Larry Itliong.
1970s-1980's, Asians Americans created their own distinct genre of music Asian-American jazz and launched a musical movement based around it.
1972, Patsy Mink co-authors and sponsors the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act and gets it effectively passed on June 23 the act was for the prohibition of gender discrimination in the U.S. education system or other federally funded institutions.
1996, Gary Locke is elected governor of Washington state. When he was elected in 1995 Locke became the first—and to date the only—Chinese American to serve as the governor of a state, holding the post for two terms.
1999, Gen. Eric Shinseki becomes the first Asian American U.S. Army chief of staff.
1999, David Wu is elected as Congressman for Oregon 1st District
2000, Norman Y. Mineta. Democratic Congressman, appointed by President Bill Clinton as the first Asian American appointed to the U.S. Cabinet; worked as Commerce Secretary (2000–2001), Transportation Secretary (2001–2006).
2001, Elaine Chao was appointed by President George W. Bush as the Secretary of Labor, serving to 2009. She is the first Asian American woman to serve in the Cabinet.
2002, less than a month after the death of Rep. Patsy Mink, Congress passed a resolution to rename Title IX the "Patsy Takemoto Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.
2003, Ignatius C. Wang is an American bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco from 2002 to 2009.
2008, Cung Le, first Asian American to win a major mma title by defeating Frank Shamrock via TKO in Strikeforce
2008, Tim Lincecum, a starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, is selected as an All Star for the Major League All Star Game. Lincecum, who is half-Filipino, also won the Cy Young award as the most successful pitcher in the National League in 2008. Lincecum is the first Asian American to be selected as the Cy Young winner. Lincecum also won the Cy Young again in 2009 and led the Giants to a World Series victory in 2010.
2009, Steven Chu, co-winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Physics, is sworn in as U.S. Secretary of Energy—thereby becoming the first person appointed to the US Cabinet after having won a Nobel Prize. He is also the second Chinese American to become a member of Cabinet (after Elaine Chao.) 
2009, Joseph Cao, a Republican, elected U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 2nd congressional district; he was defeated for reelection in 2010
2009, Gary Locke is appointed by President Obama to serve as the Secretary of Commerce.
2010, Far East Movement is the second Asian American band to top the Billboard 100, second only to Rocky Fellers with its song "Like a G6". The song was number one on two separate weeks in November 2010.
2010, Jeremy Lin is the first American-born Taiwanese to become an NBA player. Lin was a star basketball player for Harvard University and excelled at NBA pre-draft camps. Lin is currently a player for the Houston Rockets.
2010, Jean Quan is elected as Mayor of Oakland, California. Quan is the first Asian American woman elected mayor of a major American city. Quan is Oakland's first Asian American mayor.
2010, Ed Lee is appointed as Mayor of San Francisco, California.
2011, Gary Locke accepts nominatation by President Obama to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the People's Republic of China.
2013, Nina Davuluri became the second Asian American and first Indian American to be crowned as Miss America. She is the second Asian American following Angela Perez Baraquio in 2000.
Chan, Sucheng. "The changing contours of Asian-American historiography," Rethinking History, March 2007, Vol. 11 Issue 1, pp. 125–147,
Chan, Sucheng. "Asian American historiography," Pacific Historical Review, Aug 1996, Vol. 65#3 pp. 363–99
Espiritu, Augusto. "Transnationalism and Filipino American Historiography," Journal of Asian American Studies, June 2008, Vol. 11#2 pp. 171–184,
Friday, Chris. "Asian American Labor and Historical Interpretation," Labor History, Fall 1994, Vol. 35#4 pp. 524–546,
Gregory, Peter N. "Describing the Elephant: Buddhism in American," Religion and American Culture, Summer 2001, Vol. 11#2 pp. 233–63
Kim, Lili M. "Doing Korean American History in the Twenty-First Century," Journal of Asian American Studies, June 2008, Vol. 11@2 pp 199–209
Lai, Him Mark. "Chinese American Studies: A Historical Survey," Chinese America: History and Perspectives, 1995, pp. 11–29
Lee, Erika, "Orientalisms in the Americas: A Hemispheric Approach to Asian American History," Journal of Asian American Studies vol 8#3 (2005) pp 235–256. Notes that 30-40% of the Chinese and Japanese immigrants before 1941 went to Latin America, especially Brazil, and many others went to Canada.
Ngai, Mae M. "Asian American History--Reflections on the De-centering of the Field," Journal of American Ethnic History, Summer 2006, Vol. 25#4 pp 97–108