Friday, March 23, 2012


Luta (Rota), like the rest of the Northern Marianas, was under German administration from 1899 till 1914, when the Japanese took it over in World War I.

But, unlike Saipan,where there were never more than just a handful of German residents, there were even less Germans living in Luta.  For a lot of the time, just one German lived there - the Catholic priest.  His name was Påle' Corbinian, in Spanish and Chamorro Corbiniano.  The Japanese allowed him to stay in Luta till about the beginning of 1919.

Påle' Corbiniano left some influences on Luta.  His are really the only German touches that ever lasted on Luta.

He built this small chapel, under the title of Our Lady of Lourdes, in a place in Luta called Påtten Gogue.  It's the only German-era structure still around, and it is still used by the faithful.

The interior of the Kapiya (Chapel)

Påle' Corbiniano, as priest, could influence the choice of names when children were baptized, with a decidedly German slant.

I'm sure Påle' Corbiniano was happy this man, which he himself baptized in 1915, was christened with his name.  Corbiniano Ayuyu's son grew up to be a priest himself.

Walburga, born and baptized during Påle' Corbiniano's tenure, also sports a nice German name.

As does Anscar.

There was also a Fritz Mendiola, one of two Luta Chamorros sent to Guam in World War II as interpreters.  It's true that Fritz was born just a year after Påle' Corbiniano left Luta, but the German influence lingered.

"Fritz" is a shortened form of the German name Friedrich (our English Frederick).  Fritz moved to Tinian after the war and there he is buried.

Structures, personal names and several church songs (which I still have to track down) are all part of the small German legacy left on Luta, all thanks to Påle' Corbiniano.


  1. My grandfather's sister was named Kuniguna (German spelling Kunigunde) born 1923 and my dad's first cousin was named Reinholt born 1917 however, he was better knowned as Rainaldo. He was also Anscar's brother.

    --Vernon-Lee Inos Mangloña

  2. Correction. I meant to type "Kunigunda."

  3. The Santa Lourdes Fiesta is still celebrated every year where the chapel is located.