Borders of German New Guinea before (in blue) and after (in red) the 1899 German-Spanish treaty
|Signed||12 February 1899|
The German–Spanish Treaty of 1899, (Spanish : Tratado germano-español de 1899; German : Deutsch-Spanischer Vertrag 1899) signed by the German Empire and the Kingdom of Spain, involved Spain selling the vast majority of its remaining Pacific Ocean islands to Germany for 25 million pesetas (equivalent to 17 million Marks).
During the 19th century, the Spanish Empire lost most of its colonies to independence movements. Then came the Spanish–American War in 1898, in which Spain lost most of its remaining colonies. Cuba became independent while the United States took possession of Puerto Rico along with the Philippines and Guam from Spain's Pacific Ocean colonies the Spanish East Indies. This left Spain with only its African possessions of Spanish Sahara, Ifni, and Spanish Guinea, and with about 6,000 tiny, sparsely populated, and not very productive Pacific islands. These latter were both ungovernable, after the loss of the administrative center of Manila, and indefensible, after the destruction of two Spanish fleets in the Spanish–American War. The Spanish government, therefore, decided to sell the remaining islands. Germany lobbied the Spanish government to facilitate the sale of the islands to Germany.
The Spanish Prime Minister Francisco Silvela signed the treaty on February 12, 1899. It transferred the Caroline Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands to Germany, which then placed them under the jurisdiction of German New Guinea. Palau, at the time considered part of the Carolines, was also occupied and during the following years the Germans started up mining there.
In October 1914, during World War I, the Empire of Japan invaded and conquered many of these German possessions. After the war, they became in 1919 the South Seas Mandate of the League of Nations, under control of the Japanese. During and after World War II the United States took control of the former Spanish and German archipelagos in the Pacific.
It has been asserted that some islands (Kapingamarangi, Nukuoro, Mapia, Rongrik and Ulithi) are still in Spanish possession since they were not transferred to the United States nor to Germany.
The hypothesis appeared on 5 March 1948, when the state lawyer and CSIC researcher Emilio Pastor y Santos wrote a letter claiming that Spain should establish three naval stations in the Carolinas, Marianas and Palaos, following article 3. He suggests Saipan, Yap and Koror. In October, Pastor announces that there are still four islands under Spanish sovereignty, as they were forgotten in the 1899 treaty. In 1950, Pastor publishes the book Territorios de soberanía española en Oceanía, 'Territories of Spanish sovereignty in Oceania'. In 12 January 1949, the question is dealt with in a Council of Ministers, but
...while the subject is not clear, it becomes to wait before dealing with the United States or the friendly powers taking part of the United Nations, since Spain has no contacts with the UN and it would be this organization which would solve the final lot of those Micronesian islands owned by Japan.
However, a report of 4 January 1949 from the legal advice of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs "estimated that any hypothetical right of Spain over those islands would have been destroyed by the later trust regimes, that were those established after World War I with the transfer of those territories to Japan and, after World War II, with their attribution to the United States".
In 2014, the Spanish government closed any speculation on the issue of Spanish possession in the Pacific with an answer in the Congress to the deputy Jon Iñarritu. According to its interpretation, Spain yielded in 1899 every remaining possession in the Pacific.It added that "those islands were traditionally linked to the Carolinas and it ihas to be understood that , if the latter were yielded, the former were yielded too" and "the Spanish attitude between 1899 and 1948 shows that the intent of Spain by signing the treaty with Germany was to transfer to it all its possessions in the Pacific." It would be inconsistent "that Spain would have wanted to yield the Carolinas, the Palaos and the Marianas, but would have reserved the sovereignity over a few little islands of scarce economic value over which it had never exercised its factual sovereignty", concluding that Spain does not preserve any sovereignty over Pacific islands.
Currently Mapia is under Indonesian sovereignty, Kapingamarangi, Ulithi and Nukuoro under the Federated States of Micronesia and Rongerik is controlled by the Marshall Islands.
The Federated States of Micronesia is an independent republic associated with the United States. It consists of four states – from west to east, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae – that are spread across the Western Pacific Ocean. Together, the states comprise around 607 islands that cover a longitudinal distance of almost 2,700 km (1,678 mi) just north of the equator. They lie northeast of New Guinea, south of Guam and the Marianas, west of Nauru and the Marshall Islands, east of Palau and the Philippines, about 2,900 km (1,802 mi) north of eastern Australia, 3,400 km southeast of Japan, and some 4,000 km (2,485 mi) southwest of the main islands of Hawaii.
The Federated States of Micronesia are located on the Caroline Islands in the western Pacific Ocean. The history of the modern Federated States of Micronesia is one of settlement by Micronesians; colonization by Spain, Germany, and Japan; United Nations trusteeship under United States-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands; and gradual independence beginning with the ratification of a sovereign constitution in 1979.
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, composed of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a close shared cultural history with two other island regions: Polynesia to the east and Melanesia to the south; as well as with the wider Austronesian peoples.
The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, is an insular area and commonwealth of the United States consisting of 14 islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. The CNMI includes the 14 northernmost islands in the Mariana Archipelago; the southernmost island, Guam, is a separate U.S. territory. The CNMI and Guam are the easternmost territories of the United States.
The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) was a United Nations trust territory in Micronesia administered by the United States from 1947 to 1994.
Pohnpei "upon (pohn) a stone altar (pei)" is an island of the Senyavin Islands which are part of the larger Caroline Islands group. It belongs to Pohnpei State, one of the four states in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Major population centers on Pohnpei include Palikir, the FSM's capital, and Kolonia, the capital of Pohnpei State. Pohnpei Island is the largest (334 km²), with a highest point (782m), most populous, and most developed single island in the FSM.
The Caroline Islands are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the eastern part of the group, and Palau at the extreme western end. Historically, this area was also called Nuevas Filipinas or New Philippines as they were part of the Spanish East Indies and governed from Manila in the Philippines.
The plazas de soberanía are small Spanish territories scattered along the Mediterranean coast bordering Morocco. That term is used for those territories that have been a part of Spain since the formation of the modern country (1492–1556), as opposed to African territories acquired by Spain during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Mariana Islands are a crescent-shaped archipelago comprising the summits of fifteen mostly dormant volcanic mountains in the western North Pacific Ocean, between the 12th and 21st parallels north and along the 145th meridian east. They lie south-southeast of Japan, west-southwest of Hawaii, north of New Guinea and east of the Philippines, demarcating the Philippine Sea's eastern limit. They are found in the northern part of the western Oceanic sub-region of Micronesia, and are politically divided into two jurisdictions of the United States: the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and, at the southern end of the chain, the territory of Guam. The islands were named after the influential Spanish queen Mariana of Austria following their colonization in the 17th century.
Rongerik Atoll or Rongdrik Atoll is a coral atoll of 17 islands in the Pacific Ocean, and is located in the Ralik Chain of the Marshall Islands, approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) east of Bikini Atoll. Its total land area is only 1.68 square kilometres (0.65 sq mi), but it encloses a lagoon of 144 square kilometres (56 sq mi).
Polynesian outliers are a number of culturally Polynesian societies that geographically lie outside the main region of Polynesian influence, known as the Polynesian Triangle; instead, Polynesian outliers are scattered in the two other Pacific subregions: Melanesia and Micronesia. Based on archaeological and linguistic analysis, these islands are considered to have been colonized by seafaring Polynesians, mostly from the area of Tonga, Samoa and Tuvalu.
Kapingamarangi is an atoll and a municipality in the state of Pohnpei of the Federated States of Micronesia. It is by far the most southerly atoll or island of the country and of the Caroline Islands, 300 km (190 mi) south of the next southerly atoll, Nukuoro, and 740 km (460 mi) southwest of the main island of Pohnpei state; it forms a Polynesian outlier.
Kapingamarangi is a Polynesian language spoken in the Federated States of Micronesia. It had 3,000 native speakers in 1995. The language is closely related to the Nukuoro language.
The Spanish East Indies were the overseas territories of the Spanish Empire in Asia and Oceania from 1565 to 1901 governed from Manila in the Spanish Philippines. The seat of government was in the Spanish Philippines and it encompassed the Marianas, Carolines, Palaos and Guam, as well as parts of Formosa (Taiwan), Sulawesi (Celebes) and the Moluccas (Maluku). The King of Spain traditionally styled himself "King of the East and West Indies".
Agrihan is an island in the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The island is currently uninhabited. Agrihan is located 62 kilometers (39 mi) to the north of Pagan.
Guam The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Guam:
Sapwuahfik, formerly Ngatik, or the Raven Islands is a 110-square-kilometre (42 sq mi) atoll of the Federated States of Micronesia. It is a village and municipality of roughly 430 people on a land area of 1.5 square kilometres (0.58 sq mi) in the state of Pohnpei.
The Ministry of Overseas or Ministry of Overseas Territories was the ministerial department in charge of the direction of Spanish territories between 1863 and 1899. It administered the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Carolinas, Marianas and Palaos.
Mapia Atoll, historically known as the Freewill Islands or San David, is an atoll in the Pacific Ocean. It is located in Papua province of Indonesia, approximately 290 kilometers north of the city of Manokwari and 630 kilometers from the islands of Palau. It consists of two main islands, Bras (Berasi) and Pegun (Mapia), the smaller Fanildo, and two minor islands, Bras Kecil and Fanildo Kecil. The islands constitute a part of Supiori Regency, Papua.