Monday, June 11, 2012

Queen of Spain during the Guam Famine of 1849

There was a time on Guam when food was so scarce, food had to be shipped from Manila to Guam.

The cause?  Typhoons and flooding which destroyed the crops.  A lack of nutrition lead to an epidemic.  Then there was a severe earthquake.  Finally a plague of worms which attacked the food supply.

By the time the emergency supply ship arrived on Guam, the government had auctioned off the last small quantity of rice.

Nor did the ship just bring food.  In Manila, concerned citizens raised money by holding theatrical performances.  This money was distributed among the people, which was needed because they had to buy the food brought by the supply ship, though at reduced prices.

In gratitude, the Governor, Don Pablo Pérez, ordered a Solemn High Mass of Thanksgiving, something rarely seen on Guam.  The priest of Agat, Father Manuel de la Encarnación, preached about the generosity of Spain.  Mass was followed by the chanting of the Te Deum (a thanksgiving prayer) and Benediction.

Furthermore, Governor Pérez decided to act as godfather to the very next girl born on Guam, to be named Isabella after the Queen; the Lieutenant Governor did the same for the next boy born, to be named Narciso after the Governor General of the Philippines, Narciso Claveria.

On September 16, 1849, the baby girl Isabella and the baby boy Narciso were brought to the Agaña Church for baptism, with a huge number of people in attendance.  The Chamorros, Governor Pérez, said, were to look at these two children and future adults and remember always the goodness of the Spanish Government.  The Governor and Lieutenant Governor gave their godchildren 50 pesos each and fitted them in the best baptismal gowns available.

Governor-General of the Philippines
The Marianas were a Province of the Philippines



Ha - i - las

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