Mission San Jaun Bautista Mission San Jaun Bautista Mission San Jaun Bautista  

Spanish Mission Period: 1770–1822


1774: Indians paid in food, harvested sardines, grew wheat. Technology was water powered grist mill, wheat hauled on backs, metal tipped shares on plow, forest land cleared with machetes.


1781: San Juan Capistrano Mission—Indians planted 2,000 grape vines, handled all wine making; training vines, cuttings, harvest, made vats.


1797: Settlers "hired" Indians to clear land. Wages: 6 cents a day or 3 reales.


1798: Olives planted by Indians in San Diego for oil.


1812: Padre Quintana of Santa Cruz mission is assassinated by native field hand.


1820: San Gabriel Mission at its height had 170 acres of vineyards. 50,000 vines. Indians picked tons of grapes a day.


1821: Mexico gains independence from Spain.


Mexican Period: 1822–1848


1822: Indians are captured from jails and from "the wild" as indentured farm hands.


1824: Uprising at Santa Barbara, La Purisima, Santa Inez-sparked by the public flogging of a native from La Purisima—hundreds of Chumash armed themselves with bows and arrows, took control of Santa Inez mission, burned soldier's quarters, held out for a month at La Purisima, surrendered to a military armed with cannons.


1830: Two hundred ninety Indians broke free of missions and set up farming community near Bakersfield. Found healthy and flourishing 10 years later by fur trapper traveling by. Cunning assassinations began to take their toll on Mission staff.


1834: Indians cultivated and maintained 10,000 acres of land for missions and constructed large scale irrigation systems.

  Early wheat harvest, Pajaro Valley Historical Association Diving girl fruit label, Pajaro Valley Historical Association Spreading fertilizer, Pajaro Valley Pajaro Valley Historical Association  

Wheat is King—Bonanza to Bust: 1848–1866


1850: September 9th, California statehood.


1860s: Native Americans, whites, Californios, and Mexicans are migrant labor force.


1870: The terrible seventies, economic depression sets in.

  Pajaro China Town Locke Chinese School Pajaro China Town  

Chinese in the Fields: 1850s–1920s


1869: Transcontinental Railroad is finished, Chinese come to fields.


1879: Kearney and the Workingman's Party gain power, new California constitution legalizing the expulsion of the Chinese. Repealed, 1952.


1880s: First Japanese begin working in fields.


1882: U.S. Passes Chinese Exclusion Act barring further immigration. Chinese in US officially denied the right to become naturalized citizens.


1885: Contract Laborers excluded.


1889: Claus Spreckels opens beet sugar factory in Watsonville, agriculture industrializes.


1892: The Geary Act—Extended Exclusion Act for ten years, deported all Chinese not able to prove citizenship.


1893: Economic depression: 580 banks fail in U.S., 75 in California.


1902: Acute labor shortage in beet fields.


1903: AFL refuses to let Japanese and Mexican Labor Associations join. The Japanese Mexican Labor Association (JMLA) forms, the first farmworkers union, and the first 1st time in CA that two ethnic groups formed an labor union and won a strike.

  Early 1900s Japanese farm workers Mr. Ishizaki tamato truck, 1918. Issei Pioneer  

Japanese and Filipinos in the Fields: 1900s–1930s


1906: First wave of Filipino laborers come to U.S.


1907–1908: Gentlemen's agreement between U.S. and Japan; Japan would issue no new passports for male workers, U.S. would not limit wives and children coming.


1910: Federal Exclusion Act extends to other Asian and Filipino nationalities.


1913: Wheatland Riot: IWW strikes in hop fields, 4 dead, and numerous injuries.


1913–1920: Alien Land Laws of California Exclude Japanese from land ownership.


1917: Mexican labor begins coming in large numbers.


1921: Japanese farm workers driven out of Turlock, CA.


1924: U.S. Quota Act: First immigration quota system based on nationality. Stated that "no alien ineligible to become a citizen shall be admitted," aimed at Japanese aliens.


1927: Cesar Chavez born, Yuma, Arizona, March 31st.


1928: California unemployment reaches 28%.

  1933 cotton strike Al Baguio's mother and father, circa 1940s Ed Maples in Steinbeck Museum  

The Great Depression and the Dustbowl: 1930s–1940s


1929: New York Stock Market crashes, worldwide economic depression begins.


1930: White/Filipino Race Riot, Watsonville, Fermin Tobera murder, labor organizing across California.


1930: Farm prices fall 50%, wages drop accordingly.


1931: Mexican Repatriation deportations—3000–4000 leave.


1933: Associated Farmers of California formed as labor opposition group.


1933: Oct 10th, Pixley Strike, by C&AWIU, lasts three weeks. In Arvin one person killed.


1933–1937: Roosevelt's New Deal programs.


1934: U.S. uses anti-syndicalism laws to arrest 18 strike leaders, 8 convicted and jailed.


1934: Filipino Labor Union: Salinas Lettuce Strikes 1934 and 1936.


1935: "Okies" begin replacing Mexicans in fields.


1935: Most California rural counties see 30-50% population increase, mostly eastern migrants from Oklahoma, Texas, etc.—400,000 people are displaced from those states.


1935: The Repatriation Act, proposed by Los Angeles County Supervisor Roger Jessup. The act offers Filipinos an all-expense paid trip back to Philippines, as long as they do not return to the U.S.


1936: National Labor Relations Act passes Congress.


1936: September: Battle of Salinas Lettuce packer's strike.


1937: UCAPAWA cannery workers' strike.


1938: Corcoran, Pixley cotton strike, UCAPAWA strikers walk out over 25¢/pound wage dispute.


1939: John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath published, Viking Press, sold out right away, Kern County bans book from library.


1939: Marysville Fruit Growers' strike in August.


1939: Okies strike in October, San Joaquin Valley (cotton).


1939: Filipino Agricultural Labor Association conducted strike in Stockton.


1941: Pearl Harbor bombed (December 7).


1942: Japanese Internment, Italians barred from the Pacific coast.


1943: Chinese exclusion rescinded; Chinese given an immigration quota and allowed to become naturalized citizens.


1946: Filipino and Indians allowed to become naturalized citizens.

  Notice for Braceros Texas Braceros Andy Imutan, Balitimore boycott  

Braceros, Unions and the UFW: 1940s–1980s


1942: Bracero Program imports two million legal workers from Mexico.


1946: India and Philippines given immigration quotas by U.S.


1959: The Agriculture Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), a largely Filipino-American organization, forms, under the AFL-CIO.


1962: First convention of the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), Cesar Chavez's organization; later to become the UFW.


1964: Bracero Program ends, illegal immigration from Mexico climbs.


1965: Delano Grape strike begins, starts with Filipino farm workers (AWOC). The NFWA joins on September 16. Lasts five years.


1965: Immigration Act loosens quota restrictions on Asians and Filipinos.


1966: Farmworkers march on Sacramento.


1967–1969: National Grape boycott.


1970: Grape strike in Delano ends, Salinas lettuce strike begins, 10,000 workers walk out.


1973: Teamsters sign sweetheart contracts with growers.


1975: Agricultural Labor Relations Act creates the ALRB, allows collective bargaining, the right to strike, organize in fields, binding arbitration and other rights.


1979: Rufino Contreras shot and killed by foremen, Imperial Valley lettuce strike.

  anti-HR4437 march, Watsonville, CA United Farm Workers banner lettuce harversting machine  

Globalization of Crops and Labor: 1980s–Present


1982: Watsonville Cannery strike.


1983: Richard A. Shaw Frozen Foods closes. Factories move overseas and to Mexico.


1993: Cesar Chavez dies in San Luis, Arizona.


1994: U.S. ratifies North American Free Trade Agreement, phasing out tariffs from Mexico and Canada on goods such as agricultural products.


1997: United Farmworkers (UFW) launches a major effort to organize strawberry workers in Watsonville and Salinas.


1999: Majority of farm workers in California are illegal immigrants from Mexico and South America.


2005: UFW moves from AFL-CIO to "Change to Win Federation" a breakaway group of unions intent on reform.


2005: 120,000 illegal immigrants from Central America deported from U.S.


2006: Congress proposes HR-4437 which would make it a felony to help illegal immigrants. Protests rock nation, over 500,000 people march in cities such as L.A. and New York.

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