5th Marianas History Conference Day 1 - 3

Page 171

Reporting on the Marianas and Their Inhabitants in Early 18th-Century Germany

The Jesuit ‘Neue Welt-Bott’ (New World Messenger) as a Source of Knowledge and Colonial Fantasy

By Dr. Ulrike Strasser

University of California San Francisco

Abstract: Although very few Germans in the early 18th century knew much if anything at all about the Marianas, reports from the Pacific islands on the other side of the world came to fill the front pages of Germany’s most important serial missionary publication. Launched by the Jesuit Joseph Stoecklein in 1726, “Der Neue Welt-Bott” (New World Messenger) appeared in forty issues and targeted a broad educated audience. The massive collection featured information from all around the world, from missionary letters and travel reports to maps and various types of cultural commentary. Given the careful assemblage of the materials presented in “Der Neue Welt-Bott”, the editor obviously made a conscious choice to open the first (and subsequent issues) with reports about the Marianas and their inhabitants. What prompted Joseph Stoecklein to give the Marianas such centrality in his publication? What knowledge about and what image of the islands and their inhabitants did the chosen texts convey to German readers? And what, if any, information can we glean from these European reports about island society under Spanish and Jesuit rule? This paper discusses the prominence, function, and content of the Marianas reports in “Der Neue Welt-Bott”, including a 1684 map of the islands.

‘The Mariana Islanders Know How To Navigate This Small Ship with Great Mastery’: German Jesuit Reporting on the Marianas and Their Inhabitants

It has been well established that quite a few Germans were among the Jesuit missionaries working in the Marianas during the early Spanish period. These Jesuits came mainly from two provinces of the Jesuit order’s German Assistancy, the Austrian and the Bohemian provinces. Like their Spanish counterparts, German Jesuits tried to instruct the CHamoru in the Catholic faith and to inculcate in the indigenous European social and cultural norms that were more often than not rather alien to island life worlds. As did the Spanish Jesuits, Germans too described their activities, the Pacific archipelago, and its people in letters and reports sent to Jesuits, family members, and friends in their distant European homelands. Thus they added to a historical record on the Marianas dominated by European voices and discourses.


Articles inside

Of Songs of Birds and Whales, How Much Must We Lose? article cover image

Of Songs of Birds and Whales, How Much Must We Lose?

1min
pages 103-104
Exploring Latte in the Marianas article cover image

Exploring Latte in the Marianas

1min
pages 63-64
Interpreting an Authentic Chamorro Sakman from the Historic Record article cover image

Interpreting an Authentic Chamorro Sakman from the Historic Record

1min
pages 73-74
Pacific Ocean: A 500 Year-old Word article cover image

Pacific Ocean: A 500 Year-old Word

1min
pages 21-32
Pakaka i Pachot-mu! CHamoru Yu’! article cover image

Pakaka i Pachot-mu! CHamoru Yu’!

1min
pages 17-18
Fatto Famalao’an article cover image

Fatto Famalao’an

1min
pages 15-16
If Magellan had Balutan article cover image

If Magellan had Balutan

1min
pages 115-142
The Chamorro Village of Guam after Resettlement article cover image

The Chamorro Village of Guam after Resettlement

1min
pages 143-170
Reporting on the Marianas and Their Inhabitants in Early 18th-century Germany article cover image

Reporting on the Marianas and Their Inhabitants in Early 18th-century Germany

1min
pages 171-178
Manila Galleon Shipwrecks  article cover image

Manila Galleon Shipwrecks

1min
pages 179-180
Governor Jose Ganga Herrero article cover image

Governor Jose Ganga Herrero

1min
pages 247-248
Marianas on Display article cover image

Marianas on Display

1min
pages 249-278
Fortifications as Geometric Machines article cover image

Fortifications as Geometric Machines

1min
pages 181-210
Jesuit Presence in the Mariana Islands article cover image

Jesuit Presence in the Mariana Islands

1min
pages 211-246
The Dawn of America’s Pacific Empire article cover image

The Dawn of America’s Pacific Empire

1min
pages 279-310
Solidarity Foods article cover image

Solidarity Foods

1min
pages 9-14
Places Without Names and Names Without Places? article cover image

Places Without Names and Names Without Places?

1min
pages 33-62
Valuing our Ancestral Knowledge in the Seafaring System article cover image

Valuing our Ancestral Knowledge in the Seafaring System

1min
pages 65-72
Sea-Lanes of Antiquity article cover image

Sea-Lanes of Antiquity

1min
pages 75-101
The History of Understanding Whales in our Waters article cover image

The History of Understanding Whales in our Waters

1min
pages 105-113