The term Filipino American is sometimes shortened to "Fil-Ams", or "Pinoy". According to Filipino American historian Dawn Mabalon, the earliest appearance of the term Pinoy (alt. Pinay), was in a 1926 issue of the Filipino Student Bulletin. The article that featured the terms, is titled, "Filipino Women in U.S. Excel in Their Courses: Invade Business, Politics." Some Filipinos believe that the term Pinoy was coined by Filipinos who came to the United States to distinguish themselves from Filipinos living in the Philippines.
Filipinos in North America were first documented in the 16th century, with small settlements beginning in the 18th century. Mass migration did not begin until the early 20th Century when the Philippines was ceded by Spain to the United States in the Treaty of Paris. Philippine independence was recognized by the United States on July 4, 1946. Immigration was reduced significantly during the 1930s, except for those who served in the United States Navy and increased following immigration reform in the 1960s.