Landing of the first Filipinos

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Landing of the first Filipinos
A close up of a metal plaque with writing in English
Plaque dedicated in 1995
LocationMorro Bay
Coordinates35°22′20″N 120°51′40″W / 35.372285°N 120.861135°W / 35.372285; -120.861135Coordinates: 35°22′20″N 120°51′40″W / 35.372285°N 120.861135°W / 35.372285; -120.861135
Built1995
Landing of the first Filipinos is located in southern California
Landing of the first Filipinos
The location of the landing of the first Filipinos
Landing of the first Filipinos is located in California
Landing of the first Filipinos
Landing of the first Filipinos (California)
Landing of the first Filipinos is located in the United States
Landing of the first Filipinos
Landing of the first Filipinos (the United States)

On 18 October 1587, the first Filipinos landed in what is now the Continental United States at Morro Bay.[1] They arrived aboard the Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza, which had sailed from Macao, as part of the Manila galleon trade.[2] During about three days of travels ashore around Morro Bay, the crew of the Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza came in contact with the Chumash people, ultimately resulting in the deaths of two crew members: one Spaniard and one Filipino.[3]

Departing Morro Bay after the deaths of the crew members, the Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza eventually reached its intended destination of Acapulco.[4] No other Filipino landed in California until 1595.[5] In 1995, a monument on Morro Bay was dedicated to commemorate the events of 1587.[6] Beginning in 2009, October was recognized as Filipino American History Month in recognition of these events.[7]

Background[edit]

Thousands of years before their first contact with Europeans, the Chumash people established the region around the Channel Islands and areas from San Luis Obispo to Malibu as their territories.[8] At the beginning of the 16th century, European explorers began to explore the Pacific. The Spanish traveled westward with Vasco Núñez de Balboa, first seeing the Pacific Ocean from Panama; then the Pacific was crossed by Ferdinand Magellan, who reached the Philippines.[9] The Chumash's first contact with Europeans occurred on 10 October 1542, when Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo's expedition sailed into the area.[10] Their next contact with Europeans would be 45 years later.[11]

Beginning in the mid-16th century, Spain conducted its campaign to conquer the Philippines, led by Miguel López de Legazpi. This concluded with Spanish forces repelling Chinese ambitions to control Manila.[12] As a consequence of the conquest of the Philippines, in 1565 the Manila galleon trade began, sailing from Acapulco – initially to Cebu, and after 1571 to Manila.[13] These ships were crewed largely by Filipinos, or "Indios Luzones" as they were known at the time.[2][14] The Filipinos who sailed experienced arduous conditions, poor rations, disease, and the lowest pay among the crew.[15]

From 1582 until his death in 1586, Francisco Gali plied the Manila galleon route, initially as a navigator. On a return voyage to Mexico in 1584, Gali navigated the ship he was in to a high latitude, which brought the ship along the North American coast, which Gali had thought was astride the Strait of Anián.[16] In 1585, a mission from Archbishop Pedro Moya de Contreras to survey the Californian coast, and to avoid China, was given to the westward-bound captain of the Manila galleon, who at that time was Gali.[2]

Gali died in Manila later that year, leaving the mission to one Pedro de Unamuno.[17] Unamuno, who had sailed with Gali from Acapulco, had been paid by merchants there to acquire goods in China. Upon reaching Macao, Portuguese authorities seized his two galleons, leaving him and his crew trapped in China. Hearing of this, the Real Audiencia of Manila sought the arrest of Unamuno for disobeying the instructions to avoid China. Fortunately for Unamuno, who could have received the death penalty for his insubordination, Franciscans who wanted to return to Mexico provided funds to purchase a ship, a fragata, which was christened the Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza.[2] One of those Franciscans was Martín Ignacio de Loyola; another person who came aboard for the eastward journey was a Japanese boy.[18][19]

Leaving the Far East in mid-July 1587, the Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza sailed eastward across the Pacific Ocean for a largely uneventful trip.[3] In early September, the ship was damaged when the "masts were sprung", or cracked. More than a month later, the ship spotted land through a fog, and fires were seen onshore.[11] Initial reconnaissance led to the discovery of Morro Bay, which had resources that could replenish the ship's provisions; there were also trees which could be utilized for masts. When people were observed on a hill looking at their ship, it was decided that a landing party should go ashore and claim the bay.[3]

Landing[edit]

On 18 October, the feast day of San Lucas, the initial landing parties came ashore. One party consisted of Unamuno and a dozen soldiers. Another party of "Luzon Indians" and a priest; the priest was Father Martín Ignacio de Loyola, nephew of Ignatius of Loyola.[3] Two of the Filipinos went ahead of the parties, scouting for the locals observed from the ship.[1] Initial attempts to make contact with local people were unsuccessful.[3] When a group of nine Native Americans was observed; they ran off before the landing party could attempt to communicate with them.[2] After taking possession of the land by placing a cross atop a hill as a sign of their claim, the landing party returned to the ship.[3]

After a second landing the next day for exploration and the gathering of supplies for the ship, the landing party spent the night ashore.[3] The next morning, part of the landing party was approached by 23 Native Americans, who ended up taking clothing and canteens from the landing party. Not long after, an attempt to capture Loyola was stopped when a gun was fired.[2] Afterwards, the landing party began to return to their ship and was attacked, resulting in the deaths of one Spaniard and one Filipino, both due to javelin wounds, and several others being injured. Reinforced by a complement from the ship, the group repelled the attack.[3] The next day, the 21 October, the galleon departed, continuing its journey to Acapulco.[2]

Aftermath[edit]

Looking roughly westward, the foreground has the back of the FANHS historic landmark, with Morro Rock in the background. Located in Coleman Park, on the north part of Morro Bay.

After departing Morro Bay, the Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza sailed southward. It was a few days behind the Santa Ana, which had sailed eastward at a lower latitude and ultimately fell victim to Thomas Cavendish's privateering, a fate which the Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza avoided.[17][20] Inland expeditions were prohibitive following the hostility encountered at Morro Bay, and attempts to contour the coastline were made difficult due to poor weather, including fog.[21] More than a month after departing Morro Bay, the Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza arrived at Acapulco.[4] After its initial voyage across the Pacific, the Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza continued to be utilized in the Manila galleon trade, but was lost off the coast of Negros Island in 1647.[22]

The next documented landing of Filipinos in California was in November 1595, when the Manila galleon San Agustin was wrecked at Point Reyes, the first European ship to be wrecked on the California coast.[5][23] Unlike the interaction of the crew of the Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza with the local people, the encounter of the San Agustín with the Coast Miwok did not result in any deaths.[24] Following the wrecking of the San Agustin, which resulted in several deaths, the crew departed in a salvaged launch and reached Acapulco.[25]

As late as the Portolà expedition in 1769–1770, the Chumash maintained a large population. However, by the 1910 United States Census, fewer than one hundred remained.[26] One reason for the reduction of their population was the introduction of Old World diseases.[11] including pleuropneumonia and smallpox.[27]

The discovery of "Puerto San Lucas" by the crew of the galleon was recorded in the log of the voyage. However, the discovery faded into obscurity, until 1929 when the log was translated into English, and published by the California Historical Society.[28] Before then it was believed that Unamuno had sailed into Monterey Bay;[17] another early 20th century source pointed towards Cape Mendocino or San Francisco Bay.[29] More recently, the precise location of where the landing occurred has been disputed, citing inaccurate navigation tools and presumptions in past writings of the event.[30]

The 1587 event marks the first documentated instance of Asians in what is now California,[31] or anywhere in what is now the United States,[4][32] North America,[33] the Americas.[34] The landing of the first Filipinos at Morro Bay, which occurred 33 years before the events at Plymouth Rock, is often overlooked, even by Filipino Americans.[35] For instance, the Filipinos who landed in 1587 have been described as "invading troops", and more focus is placed on Filipino immigration to the United States during, and after, the American period.[36]

Although the landing was an important milestone, it would not be until the latter half of the 18th century that Filipinos began to settle in what would become part of the continental United States.[37] Beginning in 1992, the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) began efforts to commemorate the landing.[38] On 21 October 1995, with the mayor of Morro Bay in attendance, a monument was placed at Morro Bay to commemorate the events of 1587.[2][6] The monument was placed in Coleman Park.[39] By 2009, after follow-up efforts by FANHS, Filipino American History Month was recognized by California, as well as nationally by resolutions in state and national legislatures;[30][40] it occurs every October, in recognition of the landing at Morro Bay.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Valerie Ooka Pang; Li-Rong Lilly Cheng (1998). "Creating a knowledge base on Filipino Americans". Struggling To Be Heard: The Unmet Needs of Asian Pacific American Children. SUNY Press. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-7914-3839-8.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Rodis, Rodel (13 October 2013). "Filipinos discovered California". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on 29 September 2018. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Floro L. Mercene (2007). "Chapter Five: The First Filipinos in America". Manila Men in the New World: Filipino Migration to Mexico and the Americas from the Sixteenth Century. UP Press. pp. 38–42. ISBN 978-971-542-529-2.
  4. ^ a b c Guillermo, Emil (18 October 2017). "Filipinos were first–to America". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on 29 September 2018. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b Kevin Starr (February 2006). Coast of Dreams: California on the Edge, 1990–2003. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-679-74072-8.
  6. ^ a b Maria P. P. Root (20 May 1997). Filipino Americans: Transformation and Identity. SAGE. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-7619-0579-0.
  7. ^ a b "Filipino American History Month". UC Press Blog. University of California Press. 16 October 2016. Archived from the original on 29 September 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
    Tolero, Kainani (19 October 2011). "Kainani Tolero: October is Filipino American History Month". Mercury News. San Jose. Archived from the original on 29 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
    Guillermo, Emil (16 October 2015). "Joint House, Senate Resolution Urges Recognition of Filipino American History". NBC News. Archived from the original on 3 November 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2018. October was originally chosen because it marks the first Filipino presence on U.S. land when, on Oct. 18, 1587, the very first Filipinos came ashore on the central coast of California.
  8. ^ "Native Inhabitants". Channel Islands National Park California. National Park Service. 7 June 2016. Archived from the original on 6 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  9. ^ Max Quanchi; John Robson (18 October 2005). Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Pacific Islands. Scarecrow Press. pp. 160–161. ISBN 978-0-8108-6528-0.
  10. ^ Meares, Hadley (16 July 2015). "A Maritime People: The Chumash Tribes of Santa Barbara Channel". California Coastal Trail. Burbank, California: KCET. Archived from the original on 29 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  11. ^ a b c Erlandson, Jon M.; Bartoy, Kevin (1995). "Cabrillo, the Chumash, and Old World Diseases". Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology. Malki Museum. 17 (2): 153–173. JSTOR 27825580.
  12. ^ Keat Gin Ooi (2004). Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor. ABC-CLIO. pp. 783–784. ISBN 978-1-57607-770-2.
    Charles A. Truxillo (2012). Crusaders in the Far East: The Moro Wars in the Philippines in the Context of the Ibero-Islamic World War. Jain Publishing Company. pp. 89–92. ISBN 978-0-89581-864-5.
  13. ^ Keat Gin Ooi (2004). Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor. ABC-CLIO. pp. 537, 1236–1237. ISBN 978-1-57607-770-2.
  14. ^ Filomeno V. Aguilar Jr. (11 April 2014). Migration Revolution: Philippine Nationhood and Class Relations in a Globalized Age. NUS Press. p. 26. ISBN 978-9971-69-781-5.
  15. ^ Talampas, Rolando G. (January 2015). Life and Times of Filipino Seamen During the Period of Spanish Colonialism (PDF). Southeast Asia Research Centre. City University of Hong Kong.
  16. ^ Robin Inglis (2 April 2008). Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Northwest Coast of America. Scarecrow Press. pp. 135–136. ISBN 978-0-8108-6406-1.
    U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (1885). Annual Report of the Director, U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. p. 558.
  17. ^ a b c William Lytle Shurz (1920). "The Manila Galleon and California". In Eugene C. Barker; Herbert E. Bolton (eds.). Southwestern Historical Quarterly. 21. Austin, Texas: Texas State Historical Association. p. 112.
  18. ^ Virginia Benitez Licuanan; José Llavador Mira (1993). The Philippines Under Spain: A Compilation and Translation of Original Documents. (1583–1590). The Royal Audiencia. National Trust for Historical and Cultural Preservation of the Philippines.
  19. ^ Teresita Majewski; David Gaimster (7 June 2009). International Handbook of Historical Archaeology. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 485. ISBN 978-0-387-72071-5.
  20. ^ Smith, Jeff (31 August 2011). "Assault on a Galleon". San Diego Reader. Archived from the original on 29 September 2018. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  21. ^ Robin Inglis (2 April 2008). Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Northwest Coast of America. Scarecrow Press. p. 325. ISBN 978-0-8108-6406-1.
  22. ^ Philippine Magazine. Philippine Education Company. 1935. p. 157.
  23. ^ Notle, Carl (14 November 1995). "400th Anniversary of Spanish Shipwreck / Rough first landing in Bay Area". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 10 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  24. ^ Russell, Matthew A. (27 September 2018). "The Archeology of Sixteenth-Century Cross-Cultural Encounters in Point Reyes National Seashore". Archaeology Program. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 5 July 2019. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  25. ^ Wood, Jim (April 2014). "Sinking of the San Agustin". Marin Magazine. Archived from the original on 29 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  26. ^ Middlecamp, David (27 April 2018). "Chumash cemetery in Avila Beach dug up to make way for the railroad". The Tribune. San Luis Obispo, California. Archived from the original on 29 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  27. ^ Chiacos, Elias (2 August 2007). "The 40 Years that Shaped Santa Barbara: 1782–1822". Independent. Santa Barbara. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  28. ^ Contreras, Shirley (6 November 2016). "Marking Filipino-American history on Central Coast". Santa Maria Times. Archived from the original on 24 June 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  29. ^ Râja Yoga Messenger: An Illustrated Magazine Devoted to the Higher Education of Youth. 1915. p. 36.
  30. ^ a b Ignacio, Jr., Abraham (23 October 2013). "Where Exactly Did 'Filipinos' First Land In California?". Positively Filipino. Burlingame, California. Archived from the original on 29 September 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  31. ^ Kevin Starr (February 2006). Coast of Dreams: California on the Edge, 1990–2003. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-679-74072-8.
  32. ^ Gor, Beverly J.; Chilton, Janice A.; Camingue, Pamela T.; Hajek, Richard A. (February 2011). "Young Asian Americans' knowledge and perceptions of cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus". Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. 13 (1): 81–86. doi:10.1007/s10903-010-9343-7. PMC 5344025. PMID 20414727.
    David, E.J.R.; Nadal, Kevin L. (2013). "The Colonial Context of Filipino American Immigrants' Psychological Experiences" (PDF). Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. 19 (3): 298–309. doi:10.1037/a0032903. PMID 23875854. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 October 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2018 – via Oregoncampuscompact.org.
  33. ^ Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Diversity and Inclusion (2018). "National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month" (PDF). Johns Hopkins Medicine. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 October 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018. The first record of Asians in North America dates to 1587, when Filipino sailors came to what is now California.
    Nadal, Kevin L.; Kuramoto, Ford; Cabezon Group, Inc. A Snapshot of Behavioral Health Issues for Asian American/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Boys and Men: Jumpstarting an Overdue Conversation (PDF) (Report). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. United States Department of Health & Human Services. p. 3. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018. The first Asian American arrivals in the U.S. were Filipinos (1587), Chinese (1840s), Japanese (1860s), Asian Indians (1880s), and Koreans (1940s).
  34. ^ Weir, Merri (2018). "Filipinos in America". Learning Lab. Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 10 October 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2018. This activity is a glimpse into Filipino / Filipino-Americans. Although they were first Asians to land in the Americas in 1587, under the control of the US for almost 100 years many in the United States aren't familiar with Filipinos / Filipino-Americans and their impact on the United States.
    David K. Yoo; Eiichiro Azuma (4 January 2016). The Oxford Handbook of Asian American History. Oxford University Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-19-986047-0.
  35. ^ Trinidad, Elson (18 October 2012). "Filipino American History, 425 Years and Counting". SoCal Focus. Los Angeles: KCET. Archived from the original on 26 September 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  36. ^ Contreras, Shirley (21 October 2017). "Shirley Contreras: Celebrating a rich local Filipino history". Santa Maria Times. Archived from the original on 29 September 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  37. ^ Daryl E.M. Fujii (11 January 2011). The Neuropsychology of Asian-Americans. Psychology Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-136-94945-6.
  38. ^ "Site Dedication". Fanhs10.com. FANHS Central Coast Chapter. 2011. Archived from the original on 12 May 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  39. ^ Joaquin Jay Gonzalez (1 February 2009). Filipino American Faith in Action: Immigration, Religion, and Civic Engagement. NYU Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-8147-3297-7.
    Jonathan H. X. Lee (31 October 2018). Asian American History Day by Day: A Reference Guide to Events. ABC-CLIO. p. 358. ISBN 978-0-313-39928-2.
  40. ^ 2009 Congressional Record, Vol. 155, Page H12172 (2 November 2009)
    "SCR-48 Filipino American History Month". California Legislative Information. State of California. 25 September 2009. Archived from the original on 29 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]