Middle Eastern Migrants in the Philippines: Entrepreneurs and Cultural Brokers W G C -S School of Oriental and African Studies University of London The Philippines deviated from the usual Southeast Asian pattern of Hadhrami Arab dom- inance among Middle Easterners. Despite the in ﬂ uence of Muslim Arabs in the Islamic southwest, the predominant community initially consisted of Armenians, and then of immi- grants from Ottoman Syria from the 1880s. Coming via Latin America, the United States, or Asian entrepôts, most of these “Syrians” were Christians from modern Lebanon. They, however, included substantial Muslim Druze and Oriental Jewish minorities, and some came from Syria proper, Palestine, and even further a ﬁ eld. They formed the largest twen- tieth-century Syro-Lebanese community in Monsoon Asia. Some Middle Easterners became Filipino citizens, speaking either Spanish or English, others emigrated to the USA or Australia, and yet others went home. Their main contribution to the Philippines was eco- nomic. Initially peddlers and small shopkeepers, they moved into real estate, agriculture, mining, the leisure industry, the professions, the import-export trade, embroidery for export to the USA and, after independence, manufacturing for the local market. Introduction Middle Easterners have made
Asian Journal of Social Science – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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