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Imperial Germany bought the Mariana Islands from Spain in 1899 and quickly moved to establish an efficient administration, led by the enlightened Georg Fritz as district administrator. The German administration was centered on Saipan, which was connected to the outside world through a number of shipping lines. Rota, where about 20% of the population resided, was reliant on irregular visits by trading vessels. Off the beaten track for all but the most determined visitor, Rota received little attention int he literature published during the German period (1899-1914).
The aim of this publication the first of its kind for any island of the Northern Marianas, is to compile the observations and opinions of German authors, colonial officials, missionaries and travelers. that deal with Rota. The items reproduced here in translation have been chose from the body of published literature, hitherto unpublished letters held in private hand, and memoranda contained in German colonial archival files.
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