Filipino American History Timeline

Compiled on 1/7/99 by Thelma Buchholdt for teachers and students of Asian American History in Alaska, with acknowledgment to the work of Eloisa Borah, Chronology of Filipinos in America Pre-1898.


Note: During the early years of world exploration and trade, Filipino seamen were identified as "Manila Men," "Manilla Men," or "Luzones Indios."


The Spanish galleon, Nuestra Senora de Buena Esperanza, captained by Pedro de Unamuno, anchored off the coast of present day Morro Bay, California, on Sunday, October 18, 1587. Filipinos (Luzones Indios) were among the crewmembers. Several Filipinos were sent to scout the shore. On October 20, during a skirmish with local Indians, one Filipino was killed. The galleon departed on October 22. ------From Capt. Unanumo's handwritten journal, chronicled by Henry R. Wagner in "Spanish Voyages to the Northwest Coast of America in the Sixteenth Century," published in 1929 by the California Historical Society in San Francisco. 


Filipino seamen were on board the Spanish ship, San Agustin, under the command of Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno, when it was shipwrecked near Point Reyes by the mouth of San Francisco Bay, California, on November 6, 1595. -----Published in the San Francisco Chronicle, November 14, 1995, page A13, based on Carl Nolte's work, 400th Anniversary of Spanish Shipwreck, Rough First Landing in Bay Area.


"Manila Men" established St. Malo, a village on the bayous outside of New Orleans, Louisiana, described by American writer, Lafcadio Hearn, in Harper's Weekly magazine, March 31, 1883.


Father Junipero Serra at Mission Monterey, California, conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation upon Vicente Tallado, a Filipino from Pampanga, Philippines, on August 10, 1779. -----From the Thomas Workman Temple II Collection.


Antonio Miranda Rodriguez, 50-year old, born in Sonora, Mexico, a descendant of a "Manila Man," and his daughter, Juana Maria, age 11, were among the founding settlers of the city of Los Angeles, California. He later became the ironsmith of the Santa Barbara Mission in California where he lived until his death. He is buried in the Santa Barbara Mission church. -----Researched by William Mason, curator, History Division, Los Angeles County Museum.


"Manila Men" were the majority of miners at Tulitos, one of the earliest gold mining camps in Mariposa county during the California Gold Rush. -----From Stockton Daily Evening Record, December 15, 1934, page 20; based on Vanished Camp of Tulitos Is Forgotten by Historians, Mother Lodelets by Matthew Hamilton.


based on Filipinos in Alaska: 1788 - 1958 by Thelma Buchholdt

An Asian Alaskan Cultural Center History in Alaska Documentation Project, 1996


February 22, the Iphigenia Nubiana left Zamboanga, (a city in southwest Mindanao, an island in the southern part of the Philippines). This ship arrived at Cook Inlet on June 17, 1788 with a "Manilla man" on the crew, mentioned in Captain William Douglas' journal. 


June 5, the Eleanora (captained by Simon Metcalfe) with 24 "Manilla men" and the Fair American (captained by Thomas Metcalfe) with 5 "Manilla men" sailed from China for the Pacific Northwest coast of America.


From October to November, the ship Gustavus III was in Alaska with a Filipino cabin steward, John Mando. 


June, the Gustavus III sailed to Sitka Harbor, again, with John Mando as cabin steward. 


June 27, Spanish expedition ships, the Descubierta (captained by Alejandro Malaspina) and the Atrevida (captained by Jose Bustamante y Guerra), arrived at Yakutat Bay, Alaska, then known as Port Mulgrave. Initially, four Filipinos were among the crew departing from Cadiz, Spain. More Filipinos were conscripted in Acapulco to replace deserting crewmembers. Filipinos were in Acapulco as a result of the Manila-Acapulco Spanish galleon trade. 


Grigorii Ivanovich Shelikhov, a Russian, organized his fur trading company in Alaska and recommended to the Governor General of Irkutsk, who had jurisdiction of Russian America (Alaska), to trade with the Philippines. Attempts were made to pursue trade relations, but all proved unsuccessful.


July 23, whaling began off the Arctic coast of Alaska when Captain Thomas Roys sailed the bark Superior north of the Bering Strait. 


Whaling ships' records available at the New Bedford Whaling Museum positively identify whaling crewmembers in Alaska as "Manilla men" or from the Philippines. 


The Philippines was ceded to the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, with the U.S. paying Spain $20 million for the Philippines.


During the early 1900s, Filipino cannery workers, calling themselves "Alaskeros," began to live permanently in Alaska.


July 6, underwater communication cables were laid between Juneau and other Southeast Alaskan communities and Seattle. The crew of the cableship Burnside consisted of about 80 Filipinos. The project was completed a year later.


September 20, the Star of Bengal (owned by the Alaska Packers Association) was wrecked at Coronation Island in Southeast Alaska. Of the 138 persons aboard, 111 lost their lives, among them were 3 Filipinos. Of the 27 survivors, one was a Filipino.


U.S. Census, official count: 246 Filipinos residing in Alaska.

1914 - 1944

Filipinos worked primarily as ore sorters for the various gold mines in Southeast Alaska, including the Alaska-Juneau Gold Mining Company, the Treadwell Mine and Mills, and the Ready Bullion Mine and Mill. 


Filipinos in Alaska were notified to register for the draft by the Selective Service to serve the U.S. during World War I. About 50 Filipinos were drafted.


U.S. Census, official count: 93 Filipinos residing in Alaska.


A business directory for Juneau and Ketchikan listed several established Filipinos residing there.


According to oral history, this was the year when Filipinos first formed their community organization in Juneau. 


U.S. Census, official count: 164 Filipinos residing in Alaska.


April 18, Filipinos in Ketchikan incorporated their organization under the laws of the Territory of Alaska, calling their organization the Filipino Social Club, Inc.


U.S. Census, official count: 403 Filipinos residing in Alaska. 


Trinidad Rojo, an Alaskero who resided in Seattle, was elected president of the United Cannery Agricultural Packing and Allied Workers of America, Local 7, CIO of Seattle Washington. This was the first time a Filipino got elected to this post. 


June 23, the Filipino Recreational and Social Center in Ketchikan was incorporated under the laws of the Territory of Alaska.


The Bachelors' Club, an informal Filipino group, was formed in Anchorage. 


March 15, the Filipino Community Club of Ketchikan was incorporated under the laws of the Territory of Alaska.


February 1, the Filipino Community, Inc., the Filipino community organization in Juneau, was incorporated under the laws of the Territory of Alaska.


The Filipino Community of Anchorage and Vicinity was organized. 


The Filipino Community of Anchorage, the formalized version of the one organized in 1957, was incorporated under the laws of the State of Alaska.


The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act became law. Filipinos who were part Alaska Natives by heritage, became shareholders of the Native regional and village corporations.


November 26, the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) was organized in Seattle, Washington by Fred and Dorothy Cordova.


Begin to write your own family history: find out why, how, and when your family migrated to Alaska/U.S.; collect family pictures that illustrate your family history. 

Recommended reading:

Fred Cordova, FILIPINOS: Forgotten Asian Americans, a Pictorial Essay, Seattle, WA, 1983.

Marina Espina, Filipinos in Louisiana, New Orleans, A.F. Laborde and Sons, 1988.

Thelma Buchholdt, Filipinos in Alaska: 1788 - 1958, Anchorage, Alaska 1996.

Isabelo T. Crisostomo, Filipino Achievers in the USA and Canada

Recommended video:

Filipino Americans: Discovering Their Past for the Future,

distributed by National Video Profiles, Inc.


For more information, contact

Jon Buchholdt

Alaska Chapter

Filipino American National Historical Society

2607 Kona Lane

Telephone: 907/243-1459

Anchorage, Alaska 99517

FANHS Alaska Chapter website

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