Chronological History of Asian Americans
1600s
Chinese and Filipinos reach Mexico on ships of the Manila galleon.

1763
Filipinos jumped ship from Spanish Galleon and established settlement in now known as New Orleans.They introduced sun drying process of shrimp.

1781
Antonio Miranda Rodriguez Poblador, a Filipino, along with 44 other individuals were sent by the Spanish government from Mexico to establish what is now known as the city of Los Angeles.

1812
During the War of 1812, Filipinos from Manila Village (near New Orleans) were among the Batarians who fought against the British with Jean Lafitte in the Battle of New Orleans.

1830s
Chinese "sugar masters" working in Hawaii. Chinese sailors and peddlers in New York.

1835
U.S. and China sign first treaty.

1848
Gold discovered in California. Chinese begin to arrive.

1850
California imposes Foreign Miner's Tax and enforces it mainly against Chinese miners, who often had to pay more than once.

1852
First group of 195 Chinese contract laborers land in Hawaii. Over 20,000 Chinese enter California. Chinese first appear in court in California. Missionary Willian Speer opens Presbyterian mission for Chinese in San Francisco.

1854
Chinese in Hawaii establish a funeral society, their first community association in the islands. People v. Hall rules that Chinese can't give testimony in court. U.S. and Japan sign first treaty.

1857
San Francisco opens a school for Chinese children (changed to an evening school two years later). Missionary Augustus Loomis arrives to serve the Chinese in San Francisco.

1858
California passes a law to bar entry of Chinese and "Mongolians."

1860
Japan sends a diplomatic mission to U.S.

1862
Six Chinese district associations in San Francisco form loose federation. California imposes a "police tax" of $2.50 a month on every Chinese.

1865
Central Pacific Railroad Co. recruits Chinese workers for the transcontinental railroad.

1867
Two thousand Chinese railroad workers strike for a week.

1868
U.S. and China sign Burlingame - Seward Treaty recognizing rights of their citizens to emigrate. Eugene Van Reed illegally ships 149 Japanese laborers to Hawaii. Sam Damon opens Sunday school for Chinese in Hawaii.

1869
Completion of first trancontinental railroad. J.H. Schnell takes several dozen Japanese to California to establish the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony. Chinese Christian evangelist S.P. Aheong starts preaching in Hawaii.

1870
California passes a law against the importation of Chinese, Japanese, and "Mongolian" women for prostitution. Chinese railroad workers in Texas sue company for failing to pay wages.

1872
California's Civil Procedure Code drops law barring Chinese court testimony.

1875
Page Law bars entry of Chinese, Japanese, and "Mongolian" prostitutes, felons, and contract laborers.

1877
Anti-Chinese violence in Chico, California. Japanese Christians set up the Gospel Soceity in San Francisco, the first immigrant association formed by the Japanese.

1878
In re Ah Yup rules Chinese not eligible for naturalized citizenship.

1879
California's second constitution prevents municipalities and corporations from employing Chinese. California state legislature passes law requiring all incorporated towns and cities to remove Chinese outside of city limits, but U.S. circuit court declares the law unconstitutional.

1880
U.S. and China sign treaty giving the U.S. the right to limit but "not absolutely prohibit" Chinese immigration. Section 69 of California's Civil Code prohibits issuing of licenses for marriages between whites and "Mongolians, Negroes, mulattoes and persons of mixed blood."

1881
Hawaiian King Kalakaua visits Japan during his world tour. Sit Moon becomes pastor of the first Chinese Christian church in Hawaii.

1882
Chinese Exclusion Law suspends immigration of laborers for ten years. Chinese community leaders form Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA or Chinese Six Companies) in San Francisco. U.S. and Korea sign first treaty.

1883
Chinese in New York establish CCBA.

1884
Joseph and Mary Tape sue San Francisco school board to enroll their daughter Mamie in a public school. Chinese Six Companies sets up Chinese language school in San Francisco. United Chinese Society established in Honolulu. CCBA established in Vancouver. 1882 Chinese Exclusion Law amended to require a certificate as the only permissible evidence for reentry.

1885
San Francisco builds new segregated "Oriental School." Anti-Chinese violence at Rock Springs, Wyoming Territory. First group of Japanese contract laborers arrvies in Hawaii under the Irwin Convention.

1886
Residents of Tacoma, Seattle, and many places in the American West forcibly expel the Chinese. End of Chinese immigration to Hawaii. Chinese laundrymen win case in Yick Wo v. Hopkins, which declares that a law with unequal impact on different groups is discriminatory.

1888
Scott Act renders 20,000 Chinese reentry certificates null and void.

1889
First Nishi Hongwanji priest from Japan arrives in Hawaii. Chae Chan Ping v. U.S. upholds constitutionality of Chinese exclusion laws.

1892
Geary Law renews exclusion of Chinese laborerers for another ten years and requires all Cihnese to register. Fong Yue Ting v. U.S. upholds constitutionality of Geary Law.

1893
Japanese in San Francisco form first trade association, the Japanese Shoemakers' League. Attempts are made to expel Chinese from towns in sourthern California.

1894
Sun Yat-sen founds the Xingzhonghui in Honolulu. U.S. circuit court in Massachusetts declares in In re Saito that Japanese are ineligible for naturalization. Japanese immigration to Hawaii under Irwin Convention ends and emigration companies take over.

1895
Lem Moon Sing v. U.S. rules that district courts can no longer review Chinese habeas corpus petitions for landing in the U.S.

1896
Shinsei Kaneko, a Japanese Californian, is naturalized. Bubonic plague scare in Honolulu - Chinatown burned.

1897
Nishi Hongwanji includes Hawaii as a mission field.

1898
Wong Kim Ark v. U.S. decides that Chinese born in the U.S. can't be stripped of their citizenship. Japanese in San Francisco set up Young Men's Buddhist Association. U.S. annexes Hawaii and the Philippines.

1898 to 1902
The Filipino-American War was America's first true U.S. overseas war. The War lasted from 1898 to 1902, and in those 3 years as many as 70,000 Americans died and close to 2 million Filipinos were killed.

1899
Chinese reformers Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao tour North America to recruit members for the Baohuanghui. First Nishi Hongwanji priests arrive in California and set up North American Buddhist Mission.

1900
Japanese Hawaiian plantation workers begin going to the mainland after the Organic Act ended contract labor. Bubonic plague scare in San Francisco - Chinatown cordoned and quarantined.

1902
Chinese exclusion extended for another ten years. Immigration officials and the police raid Boston's Chinatown and, without search warrants, arrest almost 250 Chinese who allegedly had no registration certificates on their persons.

1903
First group of Korean workers arrives in Hawaii. 1500 Japanese and Mexican sugar beet workers strike in Oxnard, California. Koreans in Hawaii form Korean Evangelical Society. Filipino students (pensionados) arrive in the U.S. for higher education. One such college was San Diego, California's State Normal School, now known as San Diego State University (SDSU), where the School Registrar's records show that there were a few Filipino students ages 16-25 who had enrolled that year.

1904
Chinese exclusion made indefinite and applicable to U.S. insular possessions. Japanese plantation workers engage in first organized strike in Hawaii. Punjabi Sikhs begin to enter British Columbia.

1905
Chinese in the U.S. and Hawaii support boycott of American products in China. Koreans establish Korean Episcopal Church in Hawaii and Korean Methodist Church in California. San Francisco School Board attempts to segregate Japanese schoolchildren. Korean emigration ends. Koreans in San Francisco form Mutual Assistance Society. Asiatic Exclusion League formed in San Francisco. Section 60 of California's Civil Code amended to forbid marriage between whites and "Mongolians."

1906
Anti-Asian riot in Vancouver. Japanese nurserymen form California Flower Growers' Association. Koreans establish Korean Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. Japanese scientists studying the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake are stoned.

1907
Japan and the U.S. reach "Gentlemen's Agreement" whereby Japan stops issuing passports to laborers desiring to emigrate to the U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signs Executive Order 589 prohibiting Japanese with passports for Hawaii, Mexico, or Canada to reemigrate to the U.S. Koreans form United Korean Society in Hawaii. First group of Filipino laborers arrives in Hawaii. Asian Indians are driven out of Bellingham, Washington.

1908
Japanese form Japanese Association of America. Canada curbs Asian Indian immigrants by denying entry to immigrants who haven't come by "continuous journey" from their homelands (there is no direct shipping between Indian and Canadian ports). Asian Indians are driven out of Live Oak, California.

1909
Koreans form Korean Nationalist Association. 7000 Japanese plantation workers strike major plantations on Oahu for four months.

1910
Administrative measures used to restrict influx of Asian Indians into California.

1911
Pablo Manlapit forms Filipino Higher Wages Association in Hawaii. Japanese form Japanese Association of Oregon in Portland.

1912
Sikhs build gurdwara in Stockton and establish Khalsa Diwan. Japanese in California hold statewide conference on Nisei education.

1913
California passes alien land law prohibiting "aliens ineligible to citizenship" from buying land or leasing it for longer than three years. Sikhs in Washington and Oregon establish Hindustani Association. Asian Indians in California found the revolutionary Ghadar Party and start publishing a newspaper. Pablo Manlapit forms Filipino Unemployed Association in Hawaii. Japanese form Northwest Japanese Association of America in Seattle. Korean farmworkers are driven out of Hemet, California.

1914
Aspiring Asian Indian immigrants who had chartered a ship were denied landing in Vancouver.

1915
Japanese form Central Japanese Association of Southern California and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce.

1917
Arizona passes an Alien Land Law. 1917 Immigration Law defines a geographic "barred zone" (including India) from which no immigrants can come. Syngman Rhee founds the Korean Christian Church in Hawaii.

1918
Servicemen of Asian ancestry who had served in World War I receive right of naturalization. Asian Indians form the Hindustani Welfare Reform Association in the Imperial and Coachella valleys in southern California.

1919
Japanese form Federation of Japanese Labor in Hawaii.

1920
10,000 Japanese and Filipino plantation workers go on strike. Japan stops issuing passports to picture brides due to anti-Japanese sentiments. Initiative in California ballot plugs up loopholes in the 1913 alien land law.

1921
Japanese farm workers driven out of Turlock, California. Filipinos establish a branch of the Caballeros Dimas Alang in San Francisco and a branch of the Legionarios del Trabajo in Honolulu. Washington and Louisiana pass alien land laws.

1922
Takao Ozawa v. U.S. declares Japanese not eligible for naturalized citizenship. New Mexico passes an alien land law. Cable Act declares that any American female citizen who marries "an alien ineligible to citizenship" would lose her citizenship.

1923
U.S. v. Bhagat Singh Thind declares Asian Indians not eligible for naturalized citizenship. Idaho, Montana, and Oregon pass alien land laws. Terrace v. Thompson upholds constitutionality of Washington's alien land law. Porterfield v. Webb upholds constitutionality of California's alien land law. Webb v. O'Brien rules that sharecropping is illegal because it is a ruse that allows Japanese to possess and use land. Frick v. Webb forbids aliens "ineligible to citizenship" from owning stocks in corporations formed for farming.

1924
Immigration Act denies entry to virtually all Asians. 1600 Filipino plantation workers strike for eight months in Hawaii.

1925
Warring tongs in North America's Chinatowns declare truce. Hilario Moncado founds Filipino Federation of America.

1928
Filipino farm workers are driven out of Yakima Valley, Washington. Filipinos in Los Angeles form Filipino American Christian Fellowship.

1930
Anti-Filipino riot in Watsonville, California.

1931
Amendment to Cable Act declares that no American-born woman who loses her citizenship (by marrying an alien ineligible to citizenship) can be denied the right of naturalization at a later date.

1934
Tydings - McDuffie Act spells out procedure for eventual Philippine independence and reduces Filipino immigration to 50 persons a year. Filipino lettuce pickers in the Salinas Valley, California, go on strike.

1936
American Federation of Labor grants charter to a Filipino - Mexican union of fieldworkers.

1937
Last ethnic strike in Hawaii.

1938
150 Chinese women garmentworkers strike for three months against the National Dollar Stores (owned by a Chinese).

1940
AFL charters the Filipino Federated Agricultural Laborers Association.

1940s
Filipinos from the Philippines joined the U.S. Navy to fight against the Japanese. Filipinos were allowed to join the navy because they were so-called Nationals.They were not U.S. citizens, nor were they illegal aliens.

1941
After declaring war on Japan, 2000 Japanese community leaders along Pacific Coast states and Hawaii are rounded up and interned in Department of Justice camps.

1942
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066 authorizing the secretary of war to delegate a military commander to designate military areas "from which any and all persons may be excluded" - primarily enforced against Japanese. Congress passes Public Law 503 to impose penal sanctions on anyone disobeying orders to carry out Executive Order 9066. Protests at Poston and Manzanar relocation centers.

1943
Protest at Topaz Relocation Center. Registration crisis leads to Tule Lake Relocation Center's designation as a segregation center. Hawaiian Nisei in the 100th Battalion sent to Africa. Congress repeals all Chinese exclusion laws, grants right of naturalization and a small immigration quota to Chinese.

1944
Tule Lake placed under martial law. Draft reinstated for Nisei. Draft resistance at Heart Mountain Relocation Center. 442nd Regimental Combat Team gains fame. Exclusion orders revoked.

1946
Luce - Celler bill grants right of naturalization and small immigration quotas to Asian Indians and Filipinos. Wing F. Ong becomes first Asian American to be elected to state office in the Arizona House of Representatives.

1947
Amendment to 1945 War Brides Act allows Chinese American veterans to bring brides into the U.S.

1949
5000 highly educated Chinese in the U.S. granted refugee status after China institutes a Communist government.

1952
One clause of the McCarran - Walter Act grants the right of naturalization and a small immigration quota to Japanese.

1956
California repeals its alien land laws. Dalip Singh from the Imperial Valley, California, is elected to Congress.

1962
Daniel K. Inouye becomes U.S. senator and Spark Matsunaga becomes U.S. congressman from Hawaii.

1964
Patsy Takemoto Mink becomes first Asian American woman to serve in Congress as representative from Hawaii.

1965
Immigration Law abolishes "national origins" as basis for allocating immigration quotas to various countries - Asian countries now on equal footing.

1968
Students on strike at San Francisco State University to demand establishment of ethnic studies programs.

1969
Students at the University of California, Berkeley, go on strike for establishment of ethnic studies programs.

1974
March Fong Eu elected California's secretary of state. Lau v. Nichols rules that school districts with children who speak little English must provide them with bilingual education.

1975
More than 130,000 refugees enter the U.S. from Vietnam, Kampuchea, and Laos as Communist governments are established there.

1976
President Gerald Ford rescinds Executive Order 9066.

1978
National convention of the Japanese American Citizens League adopts resolution calling for redress and reparations for the internment of Japanese Americans. Massive exodus of "boat people" from Vietnam.

1979
Resumption of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and the United States of America reunites members of long-separated Chinese American families.

1980
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees set up an Orderly Departure Program to enable Vietnamese to emigrate legally.

1981
Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (set up by Congress) holds hearings across the country and concludes the internment was a "grave injustice" and that Executive Order 9066 resulted from "race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership."

1982
Vincent Chin, a Chinese American draftsman, is clubbed to death with a baseball bat by two Euro-American men.

1983
Fred Korematsu, Min Yasui, and Gordon Hirabayashi file petitions to overturn their World War II convictions for violating the curfew and evacuation orders.

1986
Immigration Reform and Control Act imposes civil and criminal penalties on employers who knowingly hire undocumented aliens.

1987
The U.S. House of Representatives votes 243 to 141 to make an official apology to Japanese Americans and to pay each surviving internee $20,000 in reparations.

1988
The U.S. Senate votes 69% to 27 to support redress for Japanese Americans. American Homecoming Act allows children in Vietnam born of American fathers to emigrate to the U.S.

1989
President George Bush signs into law an entitlement program to pay each surviving Japanese American internee $20,000. U.S. reaches agreement with Vietnam to allow political prisoners to emigrate to the U.S.

***Historical Sources***
  • Sucheng Chan, Asian Americans, an Interpretive History, 1991, Twayne Publishers, Boston.
  • Where Asian-Americans Reside . U.S. News and World Report. Basic data: estimate based on 1990 U.S. Census Bureau data, April 29,1996, p. 18.
  • Rene Ciria-Cruz. Looking for Asian America .Filipinas. May 1995.
  • Fred Cordova. The Importance of Being Filipino-American: Community Acculturation vs. Individual Assimilation . Conference: Making a Difference...in the Community . University of San Diego, Alcala Park, San Diego, California, Sept. 23, 1995
  • Eugene Lyon. Track of the Manila Galleons . _National Geographic_. Vol. 178, No.3, Sept. 1990, pgs. 4-37.
  • Eloisa Borah Gomez. Filipinos in Unamuno's California Expedition of 1587 . _Amerasia Journal_. UCLA Asian American Studies Center, Vol. 23:3, Winter 1995-1996, pgs. 175-183.
  • Marina E. Espina. Filipinos in Louisiana . A.F. Laborde & Sons: New Orleans, 1988.
  • Cordova, Fred. Filipinos: Forgotten Asian Americans . Dubuque, Iowa:Kendall/Hunt Publushing Co., 1983.
  • Filipino American National Historical Society Program. Filipino Americans: Discovering their past for the future . Seattle,Washington: Wehman Video Distribution, 1994.
  • Dario Villa. Class Lecture. Filipino Studies 100 class at Miramar College. San Diego, California, Feb. 29, 1996. -Ibid, Feb. 29, 1996.
  • Stanley Karnow. In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines . New York: Ballantine Books, 1989, p. 106-195. -Ibid, p. 167-170.
  • Adelaida Castillo-Tsuchida's Filipino Migrants in San Diego: 1900-1946 . University of San Diego, San Diego, CA, 1979.
  • Alex Fabros. When Hilario Met Sally . Filipinas. Feb. 1995.
  • Dario DeGuzman Villa. Diversity Presentation. Sweetwater High School. National City, CA, Jan. 25, 1996
  • Statement of Understanding Concerning Duties Within the Steward Group Rating, Promotion and Assignment to Duty. NAVCRUITDET PHIL 1400/1(5-67). Signature of applicant: Rosauro Santos Buenaventura. Witnessed by R.D. Morgan, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, Recruiting Officer. 14 June 1968.


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