Tuesday, October 9, 2012

When Filipinos escaped to settle in America

The month of October should be remembered well as the time when the first wave of Filipinos  settled and worked across the United States.

To reckon with,  it was in Oct. 17, 1587 when the first wave of Filipino seamen arrived in Morro Bay in California. Called "Indios Luzones", they were the first group of documented workers aboard a Spanish galleon ship named Nuestra Senora de Buena Esperanza, on orders of the Spanish king at that time to claim the land in California. However, it wasn't until 1763 when the Filipino immigrants established the first settlement in the bayous and marshes in the state of Louisiana.

"As sailors and navigators on board Spanish galleons, Filipinos -- also known as "Manilamen" or Spanish-speaking Filipinos -- jumped ship to escape the brutality of their Spanish masters. They built houses on stilts along the gulf ports of New Orleans and were the first in the United States to introduce the sun-drying process of shrimp.," the CSU website said.

According to the website, in 1781, a Filipino identified as Antonio Miranda Rodriguez Poblador, along with 44 others, was sent by the Spanish government from Mexico to establish what is now known as the city of Los Angeles.

Historical documents showed that this was the first wave of immigration started. Then, from 1906 to 1934, the second wave of immigrants landed in California and Hawaii, to escape the tyranny of Spanish crown which colonized the Philippines for over 300 years. Spain used Manila Bay as its commercial center for trading of silver, gold and spices with other countries in Southeast Asia and the rest of the world.

"Our Spanish connection came to an end after the Spanish-American War in 1898 when America wanted to control the Philippines. Unknown to Filipinos, through the Treaty of Paris (April 11, 1899), Spain sold the Philippines to the United States for $20 million, thus ending over 300 years of Spanish colonization," the CSU website said.

It further stated that it was on June 12, 1898, when the Philippines got its independence from Spain and declared Emilio Aguinaldo as president.  When America took over the reign of power, the Filipino American War was ignited. During the , which lasted from 1898 to 1902, as many as 70,000 Americans died and close to 2 million Filipinos were killed.  To avenge the deaths of American soldiers, they were ordered to shoot and kill every one over age 10. Filipinos over ten were considered criminals because they were born ten years before America bought the Philippines from Spain.

This is the real American history  that historians, academicians, and scholars forgot to tell us. Soon after the War, William Howard Taft, who later became President of the United States, became governor of the Philippines.

American school teachers, called 'Thomasites', came to the Philippines to establish a public school system that was patterned after the American public schools," the CSU said.

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(Note: Some of the facts used in this article were culled from www.csuchico.edu website).

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