The Manila Galleon Trade, 1565-1815

For 250 years, Spanish trading ships sailed the Pacific Ocean bringing goods from Manila in the Philippines to Acapulco in Spanish America (which included, during this period, most of the southern United States from California to Florida).   Aboard these ships were Luzon Indians or Manila Men, who were the first Filipinos in America.   Along with these seamen in the ship's crew, there were other Filipino natives who were transported to the western shores of the Americas in this period.   These included exiled chieftains (accused of insurrection, sentenced to separation from their followers) and young women servants accompanying merchants and other paying passengers on the galleons to New Spain and other areas of Spanish America.

Manila Galleon Trade Route

Publications by Eloisa Gómez Borah (to 1996)

"Filipinos in Unamuno's California Expedition of 1587"
AMERASIA Journal, Volume 21, No.3 (Winter 1996).

The author conveys the events surrounding the Unamuno landing expedition in Morro Bay, California, with particular emphasis on the participation of the "Luzon Indians" in Unamuno's landing party. Light is shed on the vital roles played by these Filipinos in this voyage of discovery for new supply ports higher up the coast of California, and the fate they shared with the Spanish soldiers they accompanied. Also examined is how this documented evidence of Filipino presence in California in the 1500s disappears in subsequent reportage of the Unamuno voyage account. 21 references.

"Filipinos on Spanish Ships to America in the 16th Century"
Proceedings of the symposium, California and Philippine History 1571-1898.
Stockton, CA: University of the Pacific, April 4-7, 1996.
(Publication forthcoming, inquire: Dr. Dennis O. Flynn, Department of Economics, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA 95211)

Before the Philippines was a country and even before Magellan "discovered" the Philippines for Spain, "Malays" from what is now known as the Philippines served as ship hands, navigators and interpreters on many ships flying European flags.

"The Filipino Landing in Morro Bay in 1587"
FANHS Journal, Vol. 4, 1996.
Seattle, WA: Filipino American National Historical Society, biennial.

Based on a presentation made by the author on October 21, 1995, in the city of Morro Bay, California, on the occasion of the FANHS' historic site dedication and unveiling of the historical marker honoring the Filipinos who may be the first to have set foot in what is now the United States. Relating the events of the Unamuno land expedition in Morro Bay, October 18-20, 1587, as it would have been seen through the eyes of the Filipino crew men on the Spanish galleon, Nuestra Senora de Buena Esperanza.

Selected List of Bibliographic Guides to Research Sources
on Pre-1898 Era Philippines
Los Angeles, CA: UCLA, 1993.

Bibliography of Philippine Bibliographies in UCLA Libraries.
Los Angeles, CA: Filipino American Librarians Association, 1992.



Presentations by Eloisa Gomez Borah (to 1996)

The Filipino Landing in Morro Bay in 1587
June 27-29, 1996
Filipino American National Historical Society
Fifth National Conference, New York City

Filipinos on Spanish Ships to America in the 16th Century:
the Unamuno Voyage of 1587

April 5-7, 1996
California and Philippine History Symposium: 1571-1996
(Funded by the California Council for the Humanities)
University of the Pacific, Stockton, California

The Filipino Landing in Morro Bay in 1587
October 21, 1995 - Guest Speaker
Filipino American National Historical Society
Historic Site Dedication at Coleman Park
Morro Bay Community Center, Morro Bay, California

The Galleons Brought Them: Preview of a Video Project
December 4, 1994
Los Angeles Chapter Program Meeting
Filipino American National Historical Society
Pilipino American Reading Room & Library, Los Angeles, California

Research Methodology: Manila Galleon Trade, 1565-1815
January 19, 1993 - Guest Lecturer
History 101: Filipino American Historiography
University of California, Los Angeles, California

Filipinos in 16th Century America: Rediscovering History
as a Source of Ethnic Identity and Pride

October 26-27,1990
Filipino American Educators Association of California
Annual Statewide Conference, Torrance, California

Leaders, Able-bodied Men, and Child-bearing-Age Women:
The Manila Galleon's Contribution to the Makings of a
Filipino Community in 16th Century America

July 12-14, 1990
Filipino American National Historical Society
Third National Conference, Sacramento, California

Glimpses into Filipino Presence in North America Prior to 1890
January 28, 1989
Inauguration Program
Philippine Expressions Filipiniana Bookshop, Beverly Hills, California

Women on the Manila Galleons
November 18-19, 1988
Filipino American National Historical Society
Second National Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana

Filipinos in Early American History
March 22-29, 1980
1980 Pilipino American Educators Conference
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California