Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Many people know about the German ship that sank in Apra Harbor in 1917, the SMS Cormoran.

But fewer people know that, besides German sailors who made up the vast majority of the crew, there were also men from Papua New Guinea on board, working for the Germans.  PNG was a German colony at the time.

While the Cormoran was stranded on Guam when World War I broke out in 1914 (the U.S. and Germany were not at war yet until 1917), the Chamorros got to see German sailors and New Guinea islanders quite frequently.

In 1917, for the entertainment of the American and Chamorro population, two teams of New Guinea men put on a competition hurling spears.  I don't think at each other!

The story of the Cormoran, with a picture of the New Guinea workers, can be found at

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