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First Filipinos in America

First Filipinos in America
MANILA, Philippines – The first Filipinos to set foot in America were eight sailors from Cavite, described in the account as Luzon Indians, who came in a small frigate named Nuestra Señora de Buen Esperanza on October 18, 1587.
The frigate, commanded by a Portuguese pilot named Pedro de Unamuno, had come from Macao and was on a mission to explore the coast of California, which until then remained unknown to Spanish and Portuguese explorers.

Unamuno originally came from Cavite in command of two galleons bound for Acapulco. The galleons were seized in Macao upon orders of the Spanish governor general in Manila for violating orders not to stop in Macao.

With the help of a Spanish missionary, Unamuno was able to buy a frigate which enabled him to proceed on his journey to Acapulco with a stop at California.

The chief pilot was Alonzo Gomez, possibly the same pilot who in 1600 went down with the galleon San Diego when it was sunk by the Dutch admiral, Oliver van Noort, off Fortune island in Batangas under the command of Lieutenant Governor Antonio de Morga.

The Buena Esperanza had landed at Morro Bay, today a popular resort north of Santa Barbara, California.

A party from the ship, which included the eight Filipino sailors, explored the surrounding area. On their way back to the ship, the party was attacked by a band of Indians.

In the ensuing skirmish, one of the Filipinos died from a javelin wound.


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