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Historical Archaeology of Early Modern Colonialism in Asia-PacificThe Southwest Pacific and Oceanian Regions$
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Maria Cruz Berrocal and Cheng-hwa Tsang

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813054759

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813054759.001.0001

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Spain in the Mariana Islands, 1521–1898

Spain in the Mariana Islands, 1521–1898

(p.146) 7 Spain in the Mariana Islands, 1521–1898
Historical Archaeology of Early Modern Colonialism in Asia-Pacific

Frank J. Quimby

University Press of Florida

Located about 1500 miles northeast of the Philippines and 1500 miles southwest of Japan, the Mariana Islands lie astride the north equatorial trade-wind that crosses from the Americas to East Asia. It’s the Islands’ location that led to contact between the Spanish and the indigenous Chamorro people in 1521. Their initial contact was followed by more than a century of intermittent trade and cultural interaction, culminating in a Jesuit-inspired colonization by the late seventeenth century. As a result of their homeland’s geostrategic location, the Chamorros became the first Pacific Island people to experience sustained Western contact, especially Christian conversion and European colonization. The Spanish-Chamorro interaction during this continuum offers a unique example of early modern colonialism in the Asia-Pacific region, since it reflects the cross-cultural encounter of imperial objectives and indigenous agency that generated an ethnogenesis and recreated the Chamorro society, culture, and identity.

Keywords:   Mariana Islands, Chamorro, Ethnogenesis, Indigenous agency, Cross-cultural

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