Marianas History: German Administration of the Northern Marianas (1899-1914)

Figure 1.--Here we have a scene at a Saipan school school during the German administration of the Marianas. The photo shows a beekeeping lesson at a primary school. The children are local people, presumably Chamorros or Carolinans. We do not yet have deails about the German schools, we believe that it was probably a mission school. The boys wear a kind of uniform, white clothing with bare feet. Saipan was kless Hispanicized then Guam. At the time many of these boys were probably not used to wearing western clothing. (Christian families would have been more westrnized than non-Christian families.) Their colonial-style school uniforms seems rather heavy and certainly very difficult to keep clean. Source: 'Einführung der Bienen aus der Insel Saipan' Introduction of the bees in the island of Saipan (1909).

Spain by the 19th century was no longer an important European power. Even before it was invaded by Napoleon it was a European backwater and after the NApoleonic Wars lost most of its colonies. It did not experience the great economic and scientific floweing of therest of Europe in the 19th century. Germany united after the Franco-Prussian War (1870-7) and Imperial Germany wanted a colonial empire. Both German and British traders and settlers supported by their governments began to expand interests in what is now called Micronesia. Germany contemplted war with Spain (1886). This was followed by the mediation of Pope Leo XIII. A decade later war with United States flared up, primarily because of Cuba. The American Pacific Squadron under Commodore George Dewey defeated the Spanish fleet in the Philippines and also seized Guam (1898). The Spanish moved their administrative center from Guam to Saipan, but decided that there was no benefit in having the Northern Marianasa. Without the Philippines, the Marianas and the Carolines were of no value to Spain. Thus Spain decided to withdraw from the Pacific. The decided to sell the islands to Germany (1899). Kaiser Wilhelm II at the time was building a new high seas navy and anxious to acquire colonies. The Spanish sold the Germans the remaining islands of the archipelago (except Guam, but with the Carolines and Pelew Islands) for 837,500 German gold mark, about $4.1 million 1900 dollars February 1899). The Germans incorporated the Northern Marianas into the Protectorate of New Guinea. The total population was only about 2,600 people as the Spanish had removed most of the Chamorros. The ten most northerly islands had active volcanic and virtually uninhabited. The Northern Marianas and other Pacific Islands acquired by the Germans provided useful facilities for the new German Navy. The Germans made Saipan their administrative center. This established a permanent division between Guam and the Northern Marianas. The Germans began to develop the island facilities which had languished under Spanish control. The Germans built schools, a hospital, and other public buildings. German colonists were encouraged to emigrate. The Germans centered their economic plans on copra. Large coconut plantations were founded as were other agricultural projects.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main German Empire page]
[Return to the Main Marianas history page]
[Return to the Main Marianas page]
[Return to the Main Oceania page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Cloth and textiles] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: 9:30 PM 1/2/2013
Last updated: 9:31 PM 1/2/2013