5th Marianas History Conference Day 1 - 3

Page 33

Places Without Names and Names Without Places?

On the Blank Maps of the Gani-Islands

By Dr. Thomas Stolz, Nataliya Levkovych, and Ingo H. Warnke

University of Bremen, FB10: Linguistics,

Universitäts-Boulevard 13, D-28 359 Bremen/Germany

Abstract: This talk raises the issue of the unexpectedly absent place names on the extant maps of the Gani Islands in the Northern Marianas. It is known that at different times during the last 360 years of documentation these islands have been inhabited on and off and that their present desertion is of recent origin. This gives rise to the question why there are hardly any toponomastic pieces of evidence for the previous human presence on the islands. It is argued that a number of place names – colonial or other – have not made it onto the official maps although they are mentioned unsystematically in documents referring to the Mariana Islands. Therefore, the conclusions sketch a future project dedicated to recovering the supposedly forgotten place names and make them visible in a revised atlas of the islands under review.

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