Manila Men in the New World: Filipino Migration to Mexico and the Americas from the Sixteenth Century

Floro L. Mercene


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Manila Men in the New World:  Filipino Migration to Mexico and the Americas from the Sixteenth Century

The Filipino diaspora is at least 400 years old. Since the 16th Century, Filipinos have been going to foreign lands to find their place in the sun.  In the beginning they were known as the Manila Men. It was only in the 19th Century that they assumed their present identity as Filipinos.

For two and a half centuries, Filipinos by the hundreds traveled yearly to Mexico and the Americas, with many electing to stay and find a new life. The chief means for migration was the Manila Galleon, also known as nao de China, that sailed between the Philippines and Mexico to carry on a lively trade in Asian goods in exchange for silver from the Americas and the trappings of civilization from the West.

The end of the galleon trade in 1815 did not stop the exodus of Filipinos to foreign lands as they began to discover the lure of other exotic ports in Asia and Europe. This book attempts to answer the question often asked: What happened to those Filipinos who started the diaspora? The answers are important because they fill a gap in the long history of this adventurous race.

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