Celebrating Filipino American History Month

Each year, the United States recognizes Filipino American History during the month of October. As the second-largest Asian American group in the country and the third-largest ethnic group in California, Filipino Americans have played a critical part in the history and culture of both the United States and California — and Filipino American History Month is a designated time for recognizing and celebrating those contributions. 

October is a significant month in Filipino American history because it commemorates the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the United States. According to the Filipino American National Historical Society, Filipinos first arrived in the United States aboard a Spanish ship that landed in what is now Morro Bay, California on October 18, 1597. When the Philippines were formerly ruled by Spain from 1565 to 1815, Spanish seafarers would often enlist Filipinos on sea voyages across the Pacific Ocean during the Manila galleon trade era. 

Filipino American History Month was first proposed by the Filipino American National Historical Society in 1991, with the first celebration beginning in October of 1992. In California, the month became formally recognized in 2006 when the California Department of Education placed Filipino American History Month on its official calendar. Three years later, California Senator Leland Yee introduced a resolution to formally recognize the month, which was then passed by the California State Assembly. On the national level, Filipino American History Month became federally acknowledged in 2009 when the Senate of the 111th Congress passed a formal resolution to recognize Filipino American History throughout the month of October. 

Check out our resource bank below to learn more about Filipino American History and be sure to attend one or more of the local and virtual celebrations taking place during the month of October! 




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