Thursday, April 19, 2018


When the island of Guam rocked with violent earthquakes in April of 1825, and more earthquakes came again in April and May of 1834, civic leaders in the capital city of Hagåtña, and the leaders of the five satellite villages of Aniguak, Sinajaña, Asan, Tepungan and Mongmong, met and voted to observe every year a novena to the Immaculate Conception of Mary, asking for deliverance from future earthquakes.

The expenses of this annual observance were voluntarily shouldered by these officials.

The petition was endorsed by the Spanish Governor of the Marianas and, as a final step, granted approval by the Bishop of Cebu, under which the Marianas came.

Some of the Spanish terms seen below will be explained at the end of this post.

The local government officials, almost all Chamorros, who signed the petition in 1834 were :

Lucas de Castro - Gobernadorcillo of Hagåtña

Justo de la Cruz - head of the 4th Company of Urbanos, Justice of the Peace

José de Torres - Interim Sergeant Major, head of soldiers, active and retired

Pedro Pangelinan - head of the barrio of San Ignacio

Faustino de Borja - head of the barrio of Santa Cruz

Nicolás de León Guerrero - head of the barrio of San Nicolás

José Fernández de Cárdenas - head of the barrios of San Ramón and San Antonio

Francisco Crisóstomo - head of the Artillery Company

Pedro Guerrero - head of the 1st Company of Urbanos

Emeterio Pangelinan - head of the 2nd Company of Urbanos

Antonio de la Cruz - head of the 3rd Company of Urbanos

Javier de Salas - officer

José Tainatongo - officer

Miguel de la Cruz - officer

Nicolás Cepeda - officer

Diego Taitague - Gobernadorcillo of Aniguak

Clemente Megofña - Gobernadorcillo of Asan

Andrés Chargualaf - Gobernadorcillo of Tepungan

José Tedtaotao - Gobernadorcillo of Sinajaña

Juan Asuda - Gobernadorcillo of Mongmong


Gobernadorcillo - This literally means "little Governor" and it meant the head of a town or village.

Urbanos - The Compañía de Urbanos was a kind of military unit that acted as policemen as well.

Barrio - A district within a town. At this time, there were five barrios of Hagåtña : San Ignacio, Santa Cruz, San Nicolás, San Ramón and San Antonio.


Tainatongo. We think of Malesso' when we hear this name but it originally came from the Hagåtña area. Then Tainatongos moved down to Malesso' in the last half of the 1800s and established that branch there.

Asuda. Might be the Chamorro word asodda' (to find each other) but this is just a guess.

Megofña. In this list, Clemente's last name is actually spelled Magofña, the way the Saipan branch of this family spells it.

Notice that the gentlemen from Hagåtña have Spanish and Filipino surnames. Pangelinan, for example, goes back to a soldier or soldiers from Pampanga in the Philippines named Pangelinan who moved here. The officials from the outlying villages have Chamorro surnames like Tedtaotao. The Spanish, Mexican and Filipino soldiers in the early 1700s lived in Hagåtña and many married Chamorro women, giving birth to a mixed-blood Chamorro people. People living in the outlying villages had less contact with foreigners.

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