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Strangers in Their Own Land

Strangers in Their Own Land: A Century of Colonial Rule in the Caroline and Marshall Islands

Copyright Date: 1995
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  • Book Info
    Strangers in Their Own Land
    Book Description:

    "Hezel has written an authoritative and engaging narrative of [a] succession of colonial regimes, drawing upon a broad range of published and archival sources as well as his own considerable knowledge of the region. This is a ‘conventional’ history, and a very good one, focused mostly on political and economic developments. Hezel demonstrates a fine understanding of the complicated relations between administrators, missionaries, traders, chiefs and commoners, in a wide range of social and historical settings." —Pacific Affairs "The tale [of Strangers in Their Own Land] is one of interplay between four sequential colonial regimes (Spain Germany, Japan, and the United States) and the diverse island cultures they governed. It is also a tale of relationships among islands whose inhabitants did not always see eye-to-eye and among individuals who fought private and public battles in those islands. Hezel conveys both the unity of purpose exerted by a colonial government and the subversion of that purpose by administrators, teachers, islands, and visitors.... [The] history is thoroughly supported by archival materials, first-person testimonies, and secondary sources. Hezel acknowledges the power of the visual when he ends his book by describing the distinctive flags that now replace Spanish, German, Japanese, and American symbols of rule. the scene epitomizes a theme of the book: global political and economic forces, whether colonial or post-colonial, cannot erode the distinctiveness each island claims."—American Historical Review

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6449-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-ix)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. x-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-1)
  6. 1 Spanish Colors over the Carolines
    (pp. 3-44)

    When the Spanish naval frigateMarques del Dueroput in at Palau in January 1886 to take formal possession of the islands on behalf of Spain, none of the chiefs could be persuaded to come aboard the vessel. Although well versed in dealing with foreign ships, the Palauans were frightened and confused. Within the past year three warships had come to claim their islands—first the Spanish, then the Germans, and now the Spanish again.

    As soon as the Spanish commander went ashore to visit Ibedul, the paramount chief of Koror, he was shown a plate with the German colors...

  7. 2 Commerce and Christianity
    (pp. 45-93)

    Although Germany, a late entrant in the race for Pacific colonies, had relinquished its claims to the Carolines, it still landed a few possessions of its own. In October 1885, three months before the papal decision awarding the Carolines to Spain, the German flag was raised over the Marshall Islands. When the German warshipNautilussteamed into Jaluit—and later into seven other islands in the group—to present the documents of annexation and post a large sign proclaiming “Imperial German Protectorate,” the Marshallese onlookers had no reason to fear that the Spanish or any other nation would be making...

  8. 3 In the Shadow of the German Eagle
    (pp. 94-145)

    The Germans, who had smugly watched Spain lose its grasp on the colony over which the two nations had almost gone to war fourteen years earlier, were back in 1899 to take possession of the Carolines once again. Otto von Bismarck, the chancellor who had guided the young German nation through its early years of colonial expansion, had fallen from power in 1890, soon after the death of the emperor he served, and he himself had died the year before German annexation of the Carolines. Even so, the German hunger for colonial possessions was as insatiable as ever. Kaiser Wilhelm...

  9. 4 Sunburst in the South Seas
    (pp. 146-185)

    On the morning of 29 September 1914, six large naval vessels appeared off Jaluit. Even after they came to a full stop and lay to off the island, the ships were too far away to be identified. The naval force could not be German; it was too large. As the German community of Jaluit stood on the beach and anxiously strained to identify the flag, the warships lowered ten boats and sent them ashore. Within minutes, the ensigns flying from the stern of the launches—a red sunburst on a white field—were visible. Almost before the startled onlookers could...

  10. 5 The Imperial Garden
    (pp. 186-241)

    Chuuk, the enormous lagoon studded with small basaltic islands and half-encircled by atolls one or two hundred miles away, had escaped notice throughout the earlier years of colonial rule. Its few years as headquarters for the Japanese naval command had produced little lasting impact on the island group except for the Japanese names the islands bore. Now, during the late 1920s, Chuuk was exposed to moderate Japanese influence. The district had a half-dozen elementary schools and an equal number of Nambō branch stores, one of each on every major island. The couple of hundred Japanese employed by Nan’yō-chō, most of...

  11. 6 Colonialism with a New Name
    (pp. 242-296)

    Japan’s turnover of its small Pacific empire to the United States was singularly devoid of color and spectacle. There were no brass bands, no solemn flag-raising ceremonies cheered by island populations. The long, bloody war had left everyone—victors and vanquished, as well as the people whose islands they had fought over—battered and tired. Soon after the announcement of Japan’s submission, American planes started dropping leaflets on the islands urging the Japanese to stop fighting and submit to US occupation. Japanese commanders, still dazed and unsure how to proceed, radioed imperial headquarters in Tokyo for instructions and received authorization...

  12. 7 Micronesia Remade
    (pp. 297-368)

    In February 1962 Jose “Pepe” Benitez, the peppery deputy high commissioner, a career politician from Puerto Rico and a recent Kennedy appointee, was being given a tour of Yap on his first circuit around the districts. The official party stopped, and one of the guides announced that they had reached a village school, one of the twenty-five elementary schools on the island. Benitez got out of the jeep and took a hard look at the shabby shelter—not much more than a few pieces of tin supported by rough wooden poles, with a piece of tin or two nailed to...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 369-430)
  14. References
    (pp. 431-458)
  15. Index
    (pp. 459-474)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 475-477)