Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Garapan in German Times (1899 - 1914)

Garapan was the only village in Saipan from the start of the resettlement by Carolinians sometime around 1815, until the founding of a second village, Tanapag, between 1879 and 1889. Still, Garapan remained the larger of the two villages and the seat of the island government.

By the time the Germans came in 1899, Garapan numbered close to 3000 people. The Chamorros and the Carolinians lived in separate sections. The Carolinians lived in the southern part of town.

Two partial church records indicate the names of some of the streets in Garapan. There may have been more streets named on a second or third list which have been lost, so we cannot say these were the only street names. But at least we know some.

The first record was made just at the end of German times (1914) and was written by a German priest. The second record was made in the early years of the Spanish Jesuit administration of the church, but it shows a continuity with the German records. There is no big change in names. The interesting thing is that, in 1923, the Japanese were already ruling Saipan and had their own street names. The street right along the beach was called Kaigan Dori in Japanese (Seacoast Street). But the priests continued to use the older, non-Japanese names for the streets, at least in these early years.

(Father Francisco Street)

This Father Francisco was Father Francisco Resano, the last Augustinian Recollect priest of Garapan, who departed Saipan in 1907 when the German Capuchin priests took over. Father Resano was also the last Augustinian Recollect priest of Hagåtña and left Guam only because the American Naval Governor Richard P. Leary expelled the Spanish Recollect priests from Guam in 1899. Resano left Guam and moved to Saipan.

Father Francisco Resano appears in the middle of this picture, in between two German Capuchins, and some Saipan residents at the sides, at the front door of Garapan's church in 1907.

(Spanish Street)

The Spaniards left the Marianas in 1899, but a street named after them maintained their memory, at least for a few more years.

(Macabebe Street)

This is an interesting one because it is named for a group of people the Saipanese were glad to get rid of! In early 1899, around 700 Filipino soldiers and their families from Macabebe, a town in the Philippines, arrived in Saipan. These soldiers were on the Spanish side of the war against both Americans and Filipino nationalists. Seeing how the war was ending with a Spanish defeat, these Filipinos who fought for Spain decided to escape for Saipan, still under Spanish control. The people of Saipan now had to house and feed 700 extra people and it wasn't easy. The military commander of the Macabebes was bossy and made the Saipan people obey his orders. When the Germans took over Saipan towards the end of 1899, the Saipan people rejoiced in seeing the Macabebes leave island. And yet there was a street named after them.

Macabebe soldiers on the ship taking them away from Saipan in 1899

(Gravel Street)

None of the streets were paved, in the modern sense, but not all, apparently, were covered with gravel.

(Bodeg Street)

"Bodeg" was the nickname given to a branch of the Ada family. Originally from Guam, the family moved to Saipan but, in time, some moved back to Guam and the Bodeg family can be found in both islands. True enough, the head of the Bodeg family, Pedro Pangelinan Ada, and his wife María Martínez, lived on Bodeg Street. Pedro had a large, two-storey mampostería (stone and mortar) house with a metal roof on this street.

A list of people living on Bodeg Street includes Pedro Ada and his wife María

(Gallego Street)

Although the German priest spelled it Callego, I am pretty sure he meant Gallego, as there is no word or name Callego in Chamorro or Spanish. But there is both a word and a name Gallego in Spanish and Chamorro. In Spanish, gallego means a person from Galicia, a province in Spain. In Chamorro, Gayego is the nickname of one branch of the Díaz family, found in Saipan but also elsewhere.

(Carolinian Street)

The German priest wrote this in German, and it means "Carolinian Street." The "Carolinians" are those islanders from many different islands in Micronesia such as Elato, Satawal, Lamotrek and Eauripik among many others. They began living in Saipan around the year 1815. For many years they were the majority race until the Chamorro population increased and became the majority.

Carolinian men of Saipan

(Laolao Street)

Another name given in German. Laolao is the name of the largest bay in Saipan, and it lies on the eastern part of the island. Many Westerners called it Magicienne Bay, after a British ship which anchored there in 1858. The area was heavily populated during the pre-contact time and there are remains of pre-contact villages there.

Laolao Bay

This is just to show that there were people not living on a street but rather on the beach or coast. Their houses were described as being on the oriyan tåsi (along the sea).

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