Tuesday, September 25, 2018

SUMAY SELLS LAND TO NAVY


MAP OF OROTE PENINSULA IN 1914


In 1903, a good number of Sumay landowners sold land to the US Navy.

Sumay had been revived as a village sometime in the 1840s, perhaps even earlier, when whalers decided to anchor in Apra Harbor rather than at the old galleon trade port of Humåtak, which had ceased to be active when the galleons stopped coming to Guam because of Mexican independence from Spain in the 1810s. Even before the end of the galleon trade, Apra Harbor, more than Humåtak, was becoming the favored anchorage.

The Spaniards were well-aware of Apra Harbor's military significance. Forts were built on Orote Peninsula in the 1700s and the most prominent one, Fort Santa Cruz, was built around 1801 right in the harbor itself, on an islet in the shallow part of the harbor.

But the US Navy had bigger and more ambitious plans for Apra Harbor and the land surrounding it. Since Spanish times, the harbor was known as "San Luís de Apra" and even that was often misspelled by the Americans.



NAVY PLANS FOR SUMAY IN 1903

These plans for military expansion in and around Apra Harbor meant the acquisition of land on the Orote Peninsula outside the village of Sumay. Federal money was allocated for the project, as seen in the 1903 newspaper clipping above.

In 1903, the US Navy began buying land just south of Sumay village. The landowners were residents of Sumay and typically sold one to three hectares of land to the Navy. That's a good amount of land, considering that a typical modern house in the urbanized villages of Guam sit on less than an acre of land. One hectare is roughly equal to two and a half acres.

On Orote Peninsula, there were many specific areas with their own names, now long forgotten except for the older, former residents of Sumay who used to own land there and farm there.

The sellers, arranged by place names, were the following :

IN HALOMÑA (also spelled Jalomña)

Nicolás Cruz Díaz
Gregorio Blas Mendiola
Mariano Dueñas Ulloa

IN BOTADERO

Sebastián Baleto
Guillermo Fejaran Lizama
Martín Taitano Dueñas
Ignacio Mendiola Cruz
José Cruz Quintanilla
Tomás Sablan Camacho

IN LAGOS

Ramón Tello Dueñas
Francisco Guzmán Sablan
Vicente Ulloa Sablan

IN LADERA

José Camacho
Heirs of Félix Díaz Sablan

IN ATOTDAN (also spelled Atordan)

José Camacho
José Lizama Santos
Antonio Santos Dueñas
Carmelo Guzmán Guerrero
Martín Taitano Dueñas
Ignacio Mendiola Cruz
Heirs of José Quintanilla Dueñas
Heirs of Félix Díaz Sablan

1 comment:

  1. The beginning of the US militarization of Guam. From coaling station to the Tip of the Spear.

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