Friday, October 7, 2011

CHAMORROS IN PALAU

Just as a few Chamorros from Guam moved to Yap in the 1880s and 1890s when Spain (still governing Guam) organized for the first time their colonies in the Carolines.  Around the same time, a few Guam Chamorros moved to Palau, as well.  Some of these early immigrants were from the Borja, Aguon and Flores families.

This dear old lady, Tan Estefania Flores Camacho, was born in Palau but then moved to Saipan as a young woman when she married a man from Saipan.  She is 90 years old and still speaks Palauan, as well as Chamorro.  Her father Joaquin Flores was one of those Chamorros, born on Guam in the 1800s, who moved to Palau and died there.  Joaquin married a woman who was half-German, half-Chamorro.


 

The circled area above shows the Chamorro settlement of Ngatmel in Palau

The Chamorros in Palau mainly settled in Ngatmel, at the very north of the main island of Babeldaob.  Because of their strong Catholic observance, the Spanish missionaries built a chapel in Ngatmel for them.

Georg Fritz Collection, MARC
Phosphate Mines in Angaur, Palau
Many Chamorros worked here during German and Japanese times

Later, more Chamorros - this time from Saipan and a few from Rota - worked in Angaur in the phosphate mines, brought there by the Germans who colonized both Palau and the Northern Marianas.  The Japanese also brought Chamorros from the Northern Marianas to Palau under their administration.

After world War II, the majority of the Palau Chamorros moved back to the Marianas.  But, to this day, there is a Borja family in Palau.

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