People with ancestral roots in Asia and the islands of the Pacific have been integral to the story of America. To celebrate their heritage and contributions, in 1992, May was designated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The month of May was selected in recognition of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in the United States on May 7, 1843, and the significant contributions of Chinese laborers to the completion of North America's transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.
Currently, those from Asia and the Pacific Islands account for more than 4.7 billion of Earth's 7.9 billion people. And those numbers do not account for the Asian diaspora scattered throughout the rest of the world. Celebrate and learn more about their heritage through this collection.
The National Geographic Society acknowledges the increase in discrimination and violence against Asians and Pacific Islanders globally—including here in the United States—in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hate and violence toward Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities has no place in our world, and we stand with our AAPI communities.