Author Archives: driwancybermuseum


The Chinese Ancient Numismatic History collections


Created By

Dr Iwan Suwandy,MHA


Private Limited Edition In CD-ROM


I have collecting china numismatic including coins and papermoney7 from ancient to modern era almost 50 years, and starting to study the collections in 25 years. At first very difficult because during President Suharto era 1966-1998 forbidden to read and collected Chinese literatures but the china numismatic could found easily with cheapest price until 1988 after the open diplomatic relationship between Indonesia and China I can found a little informations.

Since the President Gus Dur Era the Chinese overseas origin or Tionghoa ethnic became the Indonesian Ethnic nationality in the years 2000 I can found some informations and I could study in legal.but the collection very difficult to find because many chese nationality visit Indonesia and they swept all the Chinese numismatic collections.

I have visit china three times, first in 2007 to south china from Hanoi to


 Nanning of Jiangsi autonom province by Bus and Train ,  in 2008 visit


Book store near my Hotel where I found Chinese coin catalogue


Native market like in Indonesia




 Xianmen with beautiful Gulangyu island, by bus to


 my grandpa homeland


 Chiangzhou city to find more info and look



 the amazing tallest pagoda Kai yuan with


 oldest turtle stone and





old village where my grandpa was born , from Xiamen by flight to


 Beijing by China Airlines to look


olympic games station,



With my wife Lily



forbidden city,


 great wall ,and at least in 2009 by flight and bus to



Guangzou(canton),Hangzou to





Guillin to look the amazing dancer on the river,





Shi ba sui water fall and





amazing crown cave.

I have write in e-book CD-ROM about this and upload the sample in my web blog with caption  the dr iwan Adventure in China.

I bought the first catalogue Krause in 1989, in 2008 the Chinese coin catalogue with Chinese character,in 2008 my son Anton bought the best coin catalogue that made more understand how to read the chine native script  and in the same years I found several numismatic catalogue at Guangzhou.

I am starting writing about Chinese numismatic in my old web blog hhtp:// which visit by 80.000 collectors.

This day I just found very best information about Chinese numismatic collections,and with this informations my study finish and I have writing the amazing e-book in CD-ROOM about the report of my study with notification which coin ever found in Indonesia with mark @,this the first study ever report,and this informations will be the fact related to Chinese traded in Indonesia, the sample I upload in my other web blog hhtp:// which visit by 210.000 collectors from all over the world. The complete in CD-ROM exist with full info and illustrations which made everyone can understand about the Chinese numismatic including the value ,but this only for premium member of the blog,that is why please subscribed via comment.

I understand that this study not complete,more info and correction still need,please send your comment,for that thanks very much.

Jakarta April 2012


Dr Iwan Suwandy,MHA




















which related with Chinese traded

with Indonesia,the earliest I found during Han Dynasty in Bali, many Chinese ancient cash coin found there because until 1952 the Chinese cast coin still used there.



The Chinese cast coin during Yuan dynasty not many found In Indonesia because after


 emperor Kublai khan sent the army to subdue


Java King Kartanegara  of Singosari due to he tattouge the face of Chinese emperor envoy Meng Chi at his face,and



Raden wijaya of Mojopahit  (Kertarajasa)sent back the Mongol army lead by Khausing cs back home no communication between china and Indonesia until the early Ming dynasty with admiral Zheng Ho visit Indonesia during


 emperor Hung wu and


 emperor Yongle, and then during Ming Dynasty the emperor forbidden to export Chinese coins which made no Ming cast coin found in Indonesia until Qing Dymasty ,due to the lack of coins,local. Indonesia kingdom produced their own cast coin like




 Aceh tin and gold dirham coin,





Palembang tin pitis coin,Bangka , Cheribon and West borneo Chinese marchant Tin Coin.


Bantam cast coin Also cast coin produced by



 VOC(Dutch east Indiea company) coins and


 EIC(British East Indie company ) coin.also


Portugeus Malacca  Tin coin

About this local cast coin just still in study and after finist will upload  in e-book CD-ROM later.I hope the new collections will found and the informations will be more complete.



The chinese cultural collections consist many items like the sample below


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18th Century Qing Dynasty gilded carved wood panel

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A second longer 18th Century Qing Dynasty gilded carved wood panel.

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Closeup of left side of the second panel

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Closeup of the right side of the second panel

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8″ Mid-19th Century Qing Dynasty engraved brass lock with hidden keyway

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In order to open the lock you must push down on a buttom on the opposite end while pulling out against the way you are pushing, this releases the lock bolt 1/2″ which allows you to turn the other end piece 90 degrees exposing the keyway. When the key is inserted the bolt opens the rest of the way. Purchased from a Chinese Government antique store.

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Qing Dynasty carved ivory dragon, you can see the ivory grain on the back.

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A string of 19 beautiful 18th Century Qing Dynasty ivory Buddha beads. The top bead represents Buddha and the other 18 each represent one of his disciples. Each ivory bead is 1 1/8″ in diameter with a scrimshaw likeness of Buddha and his disciples on one side and one of the sayings attributed to them on the opposite side in very tiny Chinese characters. The ivory has obtained a beautiful golden patina with age and the grain shows up wonderfully. The workmanship is absolutely superb. Purchased in Wuhan, Hubei Province from a Chinese Government antique store.

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Qing Dynasty sliding top carved bone box with scrimshaw scene, held together by brass pins.

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Qing Dynasty carved bone container with agate ring and scrimshaw scene on one side and Chinese characters on the opposite side.

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Qing Dynasty carved wood panel with a Phoenix

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Some detail on the left side of the carved panel.

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Some detail on the rigfht side of the carved panel.

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Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 A.D) carved wood Foo Dog, or Foo Lion. Foo Dogs are frequently found at the entrances to temples, gardens and homes as protection against evil spirits They are found as a male and female pair, the male having a ball under one foot and the female having a young pup. This example is a female. .

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Rather than purchase the usual tourist trinkets we decided to seek items with both historic and cultural significance that we hope will someday give our daughter some connection to, and understanding of, her Chinese heritage. We have purchased a variety of items from the Chinese Neolithic Period through the 1980s. Starting with stone and bone implements to 4,000 year old painted clay pots, we added numerous pottery items from different dynasties through the Qing Dynasty in the 1800s, to typify common goods. Other items include various bronze artifacts from the Shang Dynasty (1600 – 1100 BC) and Zhou Dynasty (1122-256 BC) through the Song Dynasty (926-1121 AD), of both a common household and military nature. We also obtained a variety of more than 200 old bronze, copper and silver coins beginning with the earliest bronze currency through the Chinese Republic of the 1930s, as well as paper money starting with 1912.. Other items include wood carvings, various old Buddhist items, fine porcelain, ivory and bone carvings. We are also collecting such daily use objects as old postage stamps and food, fuel and cloth rationing coupons from the 1950s through 1980s. Shown below is a sampling of our Chinese cultural items..

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Bronze Halberd, Zhou Dynasty (1122 – 256 B.C.)

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Bronze Arrowhead, Warring States Period (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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Bronze Spearpoint, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.), Hubei Province

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Bronze Zodiac Charm, Song Dynasty (926-1121AD)

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Bronze Dragon Bridge Coin, 5th Century B.C.

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Bronze Dragon Bridge Coin, 5th Century BC

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Ming Hua Coin, Zhou Dynasty
          4th Century B.C.

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Rebel Shun Tian Moon / Yuan Bao Coin, Tang Dynasty (762 A.D.)

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Da Guan Tong Bao / Ten Cash Coin,      North Song Dynasty, 1101 A.D.

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Silk Road Silver Hao Han State Coin, 25-220 A.D.

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Kia Yuan Tong Bao Fu Coin Tang Dynasty 840 A.D.

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Zhi Zheng Tong Bao Ten Cash Coin,
        Yuan Dynasty, 1331 A.D.

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Guang Ding Yuan Bao Coin,
West Xia Dynasty, 1211 A.D.

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     Pincer Money,
Spring-Autumn Period,      (770 – 476- B.C.)

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Qian Heng Zong Bao lead coin, Five Dynasty Period, 934 A.D.

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Glazed Pottery Jar, Late Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644 A.D.

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Pottery Hu, Han Dynasty 206 B.C.-220 A.D.

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Pottery Jar, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)

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Porcelain High Bottom Dish, Qing Dynasty 1700s

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Porcelain Spoons, Qing Dynasty 1700s

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Bronze Horse Bridle Bit, Warring States Period  (475-221 B.C.)

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Glazed Cake Stamp, Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368 A.D.)

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Bronze Ornaments, Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.)

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Porcelain Weight, Ming Dynasty            (1368-1644 A.D.)

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Cross Bow Trigger Mechanism, 2nd-3rd Century B.C.

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Cross Bow Trigger Mechanism, 2nd-3rd Century B.C.

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Cross Bow Dart, 2nd-3rd Century B.C.

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Bronze Ax Head, Han Dynasty
       (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)

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Bronze Fish Coin ,12-8th century B.C.

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Qi Dao Wu Bai Key Coin
  Xin Dynasty 9-22 A.D.

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Bronze Mirror, Song Dynasty
          (926-1121 A.D.)

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Bridge Coin, Warring States, 475-221 B.C.

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San Zhu, Western Han Dynasty 140 B.C.

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Bronze Shell Money, Zhou Dynasty                    1100 B.C.

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Qing Dynasty Porcelain Plate, 1800s

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Chang Ming Pai Sui Silver Amulet, Qing Dynasty

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Pai Chia Sho Silver Amulet, Qing Dynasty

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Black Glazed Pottery Jar, Qing Dynasty, 1700s

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Carved Bone Shell Money, Zhou Dynasty                    (1122-256 B.C.)

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Bronze Decorated Mirror, Song Dynasty (926-1121 A.D.)

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Bronze Axe, Han Dynasty      (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)

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Bronze Decorations, Warring States Period (475 B.C. – 221 B.C.)

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Glass Beads, Yuan Dynasty (1279 – 1368 A.D.)

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Bronze Buckle, Liao Dynasty (916 – 1125 A.D.)

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     Bronze Chisel
Warring States Period
(475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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Decorated Bronze Chariot Part, Warring States Period
                        (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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Brass Lock & Key, Qing Dynasty, 1800s

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Glass Beads, Liao Dynasty (916 – 1125 A.D.)

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Glass Bead, Liao Dynasty (916 -1125 A.D.)

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Glass Bead, Liao Dynasty (916 -1125 A.D.)

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Glass Beads, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)

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Glass Beads, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)

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Silver Belt Ornament, Liao Dynasty (916-1125 A.D.)

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Cross Bow Dart, 2nd-3rd Century B.C.

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Decorated Silver Chopsticks, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)

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Bronze Axe, Warring States Period (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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Bronze Adze, Warring States
Period (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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Bronze Belt Ornament, Liao Dynasty
             (916 – 1125 A.D.)

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Bronze Bell, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)

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Bronze Bell, Warring States Period
  (475 – 221 B.C.) Hubei Province

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Bronze Armour Ornaments, Warring States Period
                        (475 – 221 B.C.)

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       Bronze Zhun
    (Pole Arm Foot),
Warring  States Period
      (475 – 221B.C.)
      Hubei Province

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Bronze Axe Head, Warring States Period
   (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.) Hubei Province

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Bronze Chariot Axle Hub, Warring States Period
                    (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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Bronze Zhun (Pole Arm Foot)
    Warring States Period
     (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)
         Hubei Province

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Wood Moon Cake Mold (Foo Dog), Qing Dynasty (1644 -1911 A.D.)

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Bronze Bell, Warring States Period
          (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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Gold Earring, Liao Dynasty (916 – 1125 A.D.)

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Glass Bead, Liao Dynasty (916 – 1125 A.D.)

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Gold Bead, Liao Dynasty (916 – 1125 A.D.

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Glass Beads, Liao Dynasty (916 – 1125 A.D.)

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Glass Bead, Yuan Dynasty (1279 – 1368 A.D.)

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Painted Pottery Jar, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)

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Bronze Axe Head, Warring States Period
              (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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Bronze Chisel, Warring States Period
           (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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Porcelain Plllow, Qing Dynasty, 1800s

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Glazed Pottery Cup, Song Dynasty 906 -1279 A.D.

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7 1/2″ Bronze Belt Hook, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)

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        Bronze Chisel
  Warring States Period
   (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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Bronze Belt Hook with Inlaid Silver Design, Han Dynasty 206 B.C.- 220 A.D.

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      Bronze Fork     
Warring States Period
  (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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.Bronze Pole Arm Foot
Warring States Period
  (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)
     Hubei Province

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Bronze Mirror with Grape & Fish Design        Tang Dynasty (618 – 906 A.D.)

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Bronze Mirror, Tang Dynasty ((618 – 907 A.D.)

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.Bronze Bracelet, Warring States Period 
(475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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Bronze Neck Ring, Laio Dynasty (916 – 1125 A.D.)

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Detail on Ivory Bead

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Text Detail on Ivory Bead

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Detail of Buddha and Two Disciples

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Detail of Six Disciples

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Cowrie Shell Money,  Approx. 2100 B.C.

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Feng Hua, Jin Dynasty (265 – 420 A.D.)

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Spade Coin, Zhou Dynasty

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Knife Money, Spring & Autumn Period (770 B.C.- 476 B.C.)

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3-Character Khife Money, Zhou Dynasty

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Qing Ning, Laio Dynasty (916 -1125 A.D.)

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1902 – 1906 Hunan Province 10 Cash Dragon Coin

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1902 – 1905 Hu-Peh (Hubei) Province 10 Cash Coin

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1909 – 1911 Hu-Peh (Hubei) Province Silver Coin

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1913 Szechuan Province 50 Cash Coin

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.1916 China Republic 1 Fen Coin

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1915 Kwangtung Province 1 Cent Coin

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1934 Manchuokuo 1 Fen Coin

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1938 Meng Chian 5 Chiao Coin

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1911 Empire 10 Cash Coin

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1937 East Hopei Province 1 Chiao Coin

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Shansi Provincial Bank, 1919

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Bank of Chihli Province, 1 Yuan

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Charhar Commercial Bank, 1 Yuan, 1933

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China Provincial Bank of Chihli, 1926

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China Provincial Bank of Chihli, 5 Yuan, 1926

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China Shansi Provincial Bank, 1 Yuan, 1930

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National Industrial Bank of China, 5 Yuan, 1931

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Manchuria Center Bank, 100 Yuan

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Bank of China, 5 Yuan, 1926

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Bank of China, Shanghai, 1 Yuan, 1935 (front & back)

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Bronze Chisel, Warring States Period (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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.Bronze Chisel, Warring States Period (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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Bronze Chariot Axle Hub, Warring States Period
                    (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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Bank of Shantung, 5 Yuan, 1925

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Bronze Sword, Warring States Period (475 B.C.- 221 B.C.)

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Bronze Bell, Song Dynasty (906 – 1279 A.D.)

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Bronze Buckle, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)

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Silver Duck, Qing Dynasty (1644 -1911)

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Silver Crane, Qing Dynasty (1644 -1911)

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Silver  Figure of Chinese Official, Qing Dynasty

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Silver Longevity Amulet, Qing Dynasty

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Silver Hairclip, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)

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Silver Foo Dog, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)

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Silver Ornament, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)

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Silver Foo Dog, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)

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Silver Hairpin
Qing Dynasty
( 1644-1911)

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Silver Hairpin Closeup

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Hairpin, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)

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Silver Ornaments, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)

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Bone Dice, Qing Dynasty           1644 – 1911

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Bone Dominos, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)

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Bronze Mirror, Warring States Period 
(475 B.C.- 221 A.D.)

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Glass Bead, Dynasty Liao (916 -1125 A.D.)

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Carved Jade Bead, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)

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Carved Jade, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)

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Bronze Spoon, Western Zhou Dynasty (1100 – 770 B.C.)

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Bronze Pot, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)

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Bronze Weapon, Shang Dynasty (1600 B.C.- 1100 B.C.)

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Bronze Weapon, Shang Dynasty (1600 B.C.- 1100 B.C.)

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Cross Bow Trigger Mechanism, Han Dynasty (206 A.D.- 220 A.D.)

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       Glazed Pottery Vase  Song Dynasty (906 – 1279 A.D.)

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Bronze Decorated Bangle, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)

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2 Wood Moon Cake Molds, Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 A.D.)

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Jade Huang, Western Zhou Dynasty (1027 B.C.- 771 B.C.), Xianjing Province

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6″ Jade Double Dragon Bi, Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)
                              Xianjing Province

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7″ Jade Double Phoenix Round Pei, Yuan Dynasty                         (1279 – 1368 A.D).

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12.5″ Jade Huang, Qing Dynasty (1644 -1911)

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Opposite side of Jade Huang

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A jade bi is a round, flat piece of jade with a circular hole in the center. The ancient Chinese called the hole hao and the wide border around it rou, stipulating that the width of the rou must be at least twice the diameter of the hao. According to the Book of Zjou Rites, bi were used in sacrifices to Heaven

A jade huang is a semi-circular ornament used as pendants or in larger forms as wall decorations. Although primarily for decorative purposes, jade huang were used as ritual objects in court ceremonies, and during sacrifices and funerals.

A jade pei is a double huang in a circular pattern, and used for the same purpose, such as the example below..

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Hollow-Handle Pu with character Pu
  Zhou Dynasty 5th Century B.C.

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Rare MOP Gaming Counter Inscribed with Chinese Characters

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12-sided Plate, Qing Dynasty, Kangxi Period                         (1662 – 1722)              

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1920 Republic 10 Cash Coin

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Pottery Jar, Song Dynasty (906 – 1279 A.D.)

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Glazed Bowl, Song Dynasty (906 – 1279 A.D.)

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Porcelain Jarlet, Yuan Dynasty (1279 – 1368 A.D.)

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Glazed Jar with Chinese Character, late 1700s

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Neolithic Carved Bone Harpoon Point

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Neolithic Carved Ivory Amulet

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Neolithic Carved Antler Amulet

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Neolithic Carved Bone

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Glazed Jar, Tang Dynasty (618 – 906 A.D.)

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Glazed Tea Bowls, Tang Dynasty (618 – 906 A.D.)

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Neolithic Carved Bone

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          Bronze Jar with Lid
Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)

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Ivory Carving – Guanyin, Chinese
  Buddhist Goddess of Mercy
         Mid to Late 1800s          

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             Bronze Arrow Point
Shang Dynasty (1600 B.C.- 1100 B.C.)

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            Bronze Arrow Point
Shang Dynasty (1600 B.C.- 1100) B.C.

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Signed 7 1/2″ Ivory Dragon Carving
       Qing Dynasty Mid-1800s

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MOP Fretted Gaming Counter, ca. 1800 – 1840

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24″ gilded country scene wood carving with woman riding a water buffalo, Qing Dynasty

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Full set of 19 Ivory Beads

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Jade Carved Bead
   Han Dynasty

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Bone Artifacts, Yuan Dynasty

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Jade Bi, Huang and Pei

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Bronze Bangle, Song Dynasty (926 -1121 A.D.)

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Bronze Decorated Bangle, Song Dynasty (926 – 1121 A.D.)

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Bronze Decorated Bangle, Song Dynasty (926 – 1121 A.D.)

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Bronze Knife, Warring States Period (475 – 221 B.C.), Hubei Province

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Bronze Arrow Point, Late Spring & Autumn Period (770-456 BC)

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Bronze Arrow Point, Late Spring & Autumn Period (770-456 BC)

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               Bronze Arrow Point
Shang Dynasty, (1600 B.C.- 1100 B.C.)

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Bronze Arrow Point, Spring & Autumn Period (770 – 456 B.C.)

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Bronze Arrow Point, Spring & Autumn Period (770 – 456 B.C.)

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   Bronze Arrow Point
Spring & Autumn Period
       770 – 456 B.C.

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Bronze Arrow Point, Western Zhou Dynasty (1100 – 770 B.C.)

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   Bronze Arrow Point
Spring & Autumn Period
       770 – 456 B.C.

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Pottery Amphora – Siwa Culture
1300 – 1000 B.C. Gansu Province

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Celadon Spoons, Song Dynasty (906 -1279) A.D.)

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Bronze Arrow Point, Western Zhou Dynasty (1100 B.C.- 770 B.C.)

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Bronze Arrow Point, Early Spring & Autumn Period (770 B.C.- 456 B.C.)

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Pottery Jar, Han Dynasty 206 B.C.- 220 A.D.

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Underglaze Blue Minyao Bowl, Wanli Reign (1573-1620) Ming Dynasty

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Pottery Jar – Warring States Period
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Glazed Pottery Vase
    Song Dynasty
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Glazed Pottery Granary – Song Dynasty
                 906 -1279 A.D.

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Hand carved deep relief ivory calling card case made in Canton, circa 1850-1870, from the height of the “Old China Trade”. Measures 4 9/16″ high.

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Cloisonne Dragon Bowl – late Qing Dynasty,Circa 1900

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Neolithic Pottery Jar, Majiayao Culture, Machang Phase                 3000 – 2000 B.C. Gansu Province

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10 1/2″ Ivory Carving of the 8 Immortals – Qing Dynasty (mid to late 1800s). Legendary Taoist Immortals, seven male and one female, are said to have originated  in the Han dynasty ( Western Han, 206 BC- 240 BC) .  The figures are recognizable by their attributes: Zhong Liquan with a fan; Zhang Guolao with a frog-shaped musical instrument; Lu Dongbin  with a sword and a fly-whisk; Cao Guojiu with a pair of tablets resembling castanets; Li Tieguai with an iron crutch; Han Xiangzi with a flute; Lan Caihe with a flower basket;  and He Xianggu with a lotus .

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The Ancient China numismatic  collections relatted to the history and culturalvery interesting because related with the the ancient china trading and communications with foreign country especially Asia country including Indonesia,look the collections below.


Ancient Chinese Cash Notes – the World’s First Paper Money – Part I



China has had a long and diversified numismatic history. From the dawn of antiquity onward, early Chinese traders used money in one form or another. It was not long after the Chinese invention of paper that the first paper money came into existence, making it the oldest paper money to be found in the world.

Part I discusses the evolution of the copper cash coin – the mainstay of the Chinese people for two thousand years – the invention of paper, the discovery of the use of paper money in China by Marco Polo and the various cash notes issued by the Tang, Liao, Sung, Hsia, Chin and Yuan dynasties.


Ancient Chinese Cash Notes – the World’s First Paper Money – Part II



Part II describes Ming dynasty paper money issues and identifies the coins depicted on the 1 kwan bank note of emperor Hung Wu (1378 A.D.)


Money of the Kingdom of Heavenly Peace


Few people, if asked today, could identify the Kingdom of Heavenly Peace, tell you where it was located, or how or why it came into existence. The Kingdom of Heavenly Peace, founded in 1850, started as a noble experiment with great promise, which soon turned into outright rebellion against the Chinese Empire. The movement went terribly wrong, ultimately claiming the lives of 25 million Chinese before government troops, aided by Western forces, restored order.

During their fifteen year civil war the T’ai P’ing rebels, as they were called, formed a government which included an army, a civilian civil service bureaucracy, treasury and even a postal system of their own. This article studies the money of the T’ai P’ing rebels including both coins and bank notes. Few specimens of either survive today. The coin issues are varied and interesting. The bank notes, although referenced in various old numismatic books, are completely unknown to Westerners, have never been cataloged, and to my knowledge appear here for the first time..

















China has had a long and diversified numismatic history. From the dawn of antiquity onward, early Chinese traders used money in one form or another.look the picture of



Chinese trader at Bantam Indonesia in 14th century and


in Tibet and




Ancient Chinese paper money


 has always held a fascination for me partly because, without question, it is the world’s oldest.


Not only is the ornamental format of these ancient notes aesthetically pleasing , more importantly they represent an esoteric subject area into which few collectors have ventured.


We know of them not only through rare surviving specimens, but also through ancient Chinese works on numismatics.


These e-books occasionally illustrated the specimens under discussion, and in this way their history has been preserved down through the ages to the benefit of modern scholars.





In recent years



Chinese archeologists




 have had great success



in documenting archeological sites



in which ancient relics including




coins and paper money have been found.


The history of ancient Chinese paper money is, unfortunately, not a happy one.


Initially the notes were accepted as a great convenience, partially because they were backed by cash reserves. Over time the authorities greatly abused and misused the right of note issue, sometimes for personal gain, until the notes became so inflated the people would not accept them.


Paper notes were viewed by the peasantry as a form of

supplemental taxation, as the government ultimately refused to acknowledge responsibility for cashing them.








By the mid-15th century


 a popular uprising was in the making.



To avoid rebellion,


the Ming emperor Jen Tsung

forbid further circulation of paper, thereby reverting to a specie economy. China did not have a paper currency again



 until 1853, when


 the Ch’ing emperor Hsien-feng re-authorized the issue of paper money to meet the escalating cost of suppressing



the T’ai-ping Rebellion.





The Evolution of Copper Cash


Cowrie shells


were the first items to be used in Chinese commerce.


Archeological excavation of ancient tombs has revealed their wide use as early as


the 16th century B.C.


These items, due to their small size and portability, proved more

popular than animal hides, jade and silk, bartered. These shells, originating in far off seas, were not native to China; hence they acquired a certain value of their own.




The ancient china cowries coins



used in trade eventually evolved

Into Bone




Clay heaven currency



bronze replicas.




It wasn’t until the end of the Chou dynasty (1000-400BC) that




the first metal currency was developed.

Read more info


CHINA, cowrie imitations and derivatives, including the bronze “ant-nose” coins
    Let’s call the stone and shell imitations, Shang-Zhou, c. 1400-900 BC in round numbers, and why not attribute the much more common bone imitations to early-middle Zhou, c. 1100-500 BC?  Of course if we knew what grave they were, uh, taken from, then we’d know, but we don’t.  The bronze “realistics” are probably contemporary with the bones or later.  The various “ant-nose” coins are c. 400-300 BC.

CCSL1) CHINA, cowrie & imitation lot:  6 pieces of cypraea moneta shells with filed backs, 6 imitations in white alabaster 12x17mm with 2 holes, & a teardrop shaped shell bead with a face carved on it & hole at pointy end, from unknown location in south-central China, 10 pcs total, $185.00

CCS9) CHINA, white sandstone cowrie imitation, 26x17mm, $24.00


CCS10) CHINA, white sandstone cowrie imitation, bit of original red paint, $27.00 sold 7/18/2011

CCS8) CHINA, translucent alabaster cowrie imitation, 35x22mm, cleft, hole, nice $35.00 sold

CCS16) CHINA, alabaster cowrie imitation, 30x19mm, crude $31.00 sold 4/13/2010


CCS7) CHINA, stone cowrie imitations
a) coarse white sandstone, 31x26mm, $24.00 sold 7/18/2011
b) another, 29x24mm, $22.00 sold 4/13/2010
c) fine off-white sandstone, 19x15mm, $19.00 sold
d) another sandstone piece, $19.00 sold
e) translucent alabaster, 15x15mm, $33.00 sold

CCS13) CHINA, marble cowrie imitation, 24x18mm, carved cleft & center hole, $35.00 sold 4/13/2010

CCS14) CHINA, marble cowrie imitation, 28x22mm, $38.00 sold 7/18/2011
Click picture for enlargement.

CCS11) CHINA, cowrie imitation in fine white sandstone, 29x22mm, $24.00 sold 4/13/2010
Click picture for enlargement.

CCS12) CHINA, cowrie imitation in fine white sandstone, 31x21mm, 12mm thick, light chipping on back, $14.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.

CCJ4) CHINA, jade cowries, ~32x18mm, nice, any of these at $85.00 each b is sold, I have several more unpictured.  They are quite beautiful, polished, special pieces
Click picture for enlargement.

CCJ3) CHINA, jade cowries, ~29x13mm, carved as a “bottom” on both sides, $85.00 each b sold
Click picture for enlargement.

CCJ-S2) CHINA, jade cowrie, 14x21mm, 2 holes, VF $120.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.

CCJ-S5) CHINA, jade cowrie, ~31x23mm, mottled whitish color, nicely made, $65.00  sold 7/18/2011
Click picture for enlargement.

CCJ-S6) CHINA, jade cowrie, ~25x23mm, $45.00 sold 7/18/2011
Click picture for enlargement.

CCJ-S9) CHINA, big jade cowrie, 50x31mm, 3 tiny holes, mottled tan & olive color with soft inclusions, $95.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.  Several of these are available.

CCJ-S7) CHINA, jade cowrie,  20x15mm, 2 tiny holes, highly polished white & tan, $90.00 sold 12/21/2009
Click picture for enlargement.

CCJ-S8) CHINA, jade cowrie, 20x14mm, 2 tiny holes, highly polished white with a bit of green, $70.00 This one sold, others available
Click picture for enlargement.  Several of this type are in stock.

CCJ-S3) CHINA, grayish jade cowrie, ~23x15mm, that’s a bit of carnelian in the cleft, $90.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.

CCS4) CHINA, stone cowries from same batch as above, but these are soft soapstone or similar. Any of these @ $55.00 each.
Click picture for enlargement.

CCS5) CHINA, stone cowrie, 19x14mm, $36.00 sold 4/13/2010
Click image for enlargement.

CCS6) CHINA, stone cowrie, 24x16mm, $45.00 sold 4/13/2010
Click image for enlargement.

CCS18) CHINA, soft stone cowrie, 1 big hole in back, 18x26mm, $35.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.

CCS15) CHINA, stone cowrie, soft, fine tan stuff, 29x18mm, $30.00 sold 7/18/2011
Click picture for enlargement.

CCM2a) CHINA, cowries carved from mother of pearl with a hole at either end, @ $11.00 each sold


CCM1) CHINA, cowrie carved from giant clam or similar, 43x31mm, 2 holes, small edge chip on back, $35.00 sold 4/13/2010
Click picture for enlargement.

CCM3) CHINA, cowrie imitations in mother of pearl
a-c) ~28x15mm, diamond shape, hole at top, no cleft, crude, @ $15.00 each a,b sold
d) sim., but with a cleft, $18.00 sold
e) similar, hole broken, $5.00 sold
g, h) similar but no iridescence, @ $12.00 each g sold
Click picture for enlargement.

CCM2) CHINA, cowrie imitations carved from mother of pearl
 a) ~25-30×12-16mm, diamond shape, hole at top, $21.00 sold
 b) sim., $15.00 sold 4/13/2010
 c, d, e) carved from shell, 23x15mm, diamond shape, cleft, chips, @ $5.00 each
Click picture for enlargement.

CFD2) CHINA, bone cowries, aa & ab have no holes for stringing, ba & bb have one hole @ $13.00 each, the rest have two holes, @ $11.50 each sold
Picture is actual size.
2008 I’ve acquired several more batches of these, mostly with 2 holes.  Buy an unpictured 2-hole type for $15.00.

s8) CHINA, green glazed porcelain cowrie, ~30x18mm.  Several people have opined that these are funerary “Hell money,” and perhaps that is so.  Or then again, maybe not.  “F” $34.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.

CCC-sc1) CHINA, clay cowries.  What else could these be but Hell money?
a) ~28x18mm, decent F $6.00
b) VG $3.00
c) sim., smaller F $6.00
d) VG $3.00
e) worn, chips $2.00
all sold as of 7/18/2011
Click picture for enlargement.

CFD3s9) CHINA, bronze shell, ~20x17mm, FD-3,
a) nice, $45.00
Picture is a sample.  You may or may not get it.
 b) crack, $12.50 sold 9/15/2010
 c) repaired, $10.00

CFD3v3) CHINA, bronze cowrie, FD-3v, gold plated hollow shell, almost all of gold plating remains, @ $120.00 EACH all of these are sold.  Ask me if I have any in stock.
Click picture for enlargement.

CFDH3) CHINA, bronze cowrie, FD-3v, 24x17mm, 4.9g, ridged & pierced cleft, thick & heavy, crusty, lightly chipped edges, VG $33.00 each sold 7/18/2011
Click picture for enlargement.

CHINA, ant-nose series, Coole= Tang Ban Liang, FD= “Jin?,” H1.4, FD-4, 2 triangles, no lines, 3.0g, VF $21.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.

CYB4a) CHINA, bronze ant-nose series, Coole= Tang Ban Liang, FD= “Jin?,” S-unc. 15, FD-4 var., eyebrows above triangles, 2.8g, VG $15.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.

CYB4b) CHINA, bronze ant-nose series, Coole= Tang Ban Liang, FD= “Jin?,” S-unc. 15, FD-4 var., eyebrows above triangles, 2.7g, VF $46.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.

CYB4e) CHINA, bronze ant-nose series, Coole= Tang Ban Liang, FD= “Jin?,” S-unc. 15, FD-4 var., extra line below triangles, 4.43g, VF $43.00 sold 7/19/07
Click picture for enlargement.

CYB6a) CHINA, bronze ant-nose series, Tang Go Liu Zhu, FD-6, Coole-98+, S-unc.14, 2.97g, aXF $36.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.

CYB6b) CHINA, bronze ant-nose series, Tang Go Liu Zhu, FD-6, Coole-98+, S-unc.14, 2.97g, aXF $27.00 sold 7/19/07
Click picture for enlargement.

CYB4e) CHINA, bronze ant-nose series, Tang Go Liu Zhu, FD-6, Coole-98+, S-unc.14, 0.9g, and made of lead, VF $40.00 sold 7/19/07
Click picture for enlargement.

CYBXa) CHINA, bronze ant-nose series, Jun, H1.12, FD-5, Coole-117+, 3.38g, VF $40.00 sold 7/19/07
Click picture for enlargement.

CYBXb) CHINA, bronze ant-nose series, Xin, FD-nl, Coole-123, S-nl, 4.71g, VG $70.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.

CYBXc) CHINA, bronze ant-nose series, Xing, FD-nl, Coole-127, 3.89g, all of this type are crude, VG $48.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.

CYBXd) CHINA, bronze ant-nose series, Qin (metal), FD-nl, Coole-129, 2.30g, VF $60.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.

CYBXe) CHINA, bronze ant-nose series, Tao (kiln), FD-nl, Coole-nl, S-nl, like Coole-128 but different, 2.51g, aG $65.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.

CYBXf) CHINA, bronze ant-nose series, unpublished (Yong?), 4.18g, F $180.00 sold

Ancient Chinese Coins


In the late Neolithic China, precious stones, brick tea, silk, and cowry shells were used as a medium of exchange. About 4000 years ago, Chinese coins were cast and widely circulated in the Zhou Dynasty . Ever since then, the cast coins became the most common form of ancient Chinese currency. After Qin’s unification of the country in 221 BC, the round coin with a central square hole superseded all previous types of cast metal coins. They circulated continuously till the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911), though the style varied with time. By the Song Dynasty (960-1279) paper notes had appeared and were used in the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties (1279-1911). Silver coins appeared in the Daoguang reign of the Qing Dynasty, and minted silver and copper coins circulated in the Guangxu reign of the Qing Dynasty (1875-1908). The development of monetary system in ancient China has a close connection with the history of Chinese economy and politics.


Different ancient Chinese coins

Cowry shells
Cowry shells were used as the medium of exchange in the late Xia Dynasty (21st century BC). Those from the Shang Dynasty (16th century BC to 11th century BC) usually had teeth on one side and a hole for stringing on the flat polished other side. As natural cowries were limited in quantity, copies made of stone, other seashells, bone and bronze were also in circulation. Bronze replicas of cowries became the first Chinese cast coins.

Weighted metals
Smelted metal pieces without any denomination were used as money in commodity exchanges. They were valued according to the weight and material quality. Gold plates were used in the Chu State during the Warring States period (475- 221 BC).

Spade-shaped coins
Cast coins in the shape of a spade were developed in the early days of metal coin usage, and were still used sporadically until the early part of the Han Dynasty. In the beginning they had a hollow handle, but during the Warring States period (475-221 BC), the handle was solid.

Sword-shaped coins

Sword-shaped coins were a cast coin in a sword shape with a ring at the end of the handle.

Round coins
There are two types of cast round coins in ancient China: one with a round hole in the center like a ring, the other with a square hole in the center.

Minted coins
During the Guangxu reign period (1875-1908) of the Qing Dynasty, western coin minting technology was introduced into China. Zhang Zhidong, the governor-general of Guangdong and Guangxi regions, set up a mint in Guangzhou with some machines brought from Britain and made the first Chinese minted coins-silver and copper dollars-in the fifteenth year of Guangxu’s reign (1889).

Cowry-shaped bronze coins
Cowry-shaped bronze coins were cast in the Chu State during the Warring States period (475-221 BC). They usually had inscriptions of strange characters. One character, often seen, looks like an ant, another one like a monster’s face.

Gold coins
The Chu State was the first in ancient China to cast gold coins. Both have the stamped inscription “Ying Cheng.” Ying was the capital of the Chu State, and “Cheng” was read as “Yuan,” a metric unit of weight and was also used as the name of the money. So it was called “Yuan Jin” meaning gold coins. They were valued by their weight in circulation.

Spade-shaped coin

Among the spade-shaped coins, there is a rare type that has three round holes. It carries over 20 kinds of inscriptions on its face and a denomination of “Liang” (teal) or “Shi Er Zhu” (12 Zhu) on the back. It is the earliest Chinese coin with a determined denomination.

“Ban Liang” (half teal) coin
The Qin Ban Liang (half teal) coin, is round with a central square hole. It became the national legal currency after the first emperor united the country (221 BC). The denomination Ban Liang, refers to its weight, which equals 7.5 gram.

Wu Zhu coins
Wu Zhu (five Zhu) coins, weighing about 3 gram each, were cast in the Wudi reign period (140-135 BC) of the Han Dynasty. They were continuously used till the Sui Dynasty (581-618).


Xin Mang coins
As a result of four reformations of the monetary system by the Xin Mang government (9-23), the Wu Zhu coin system was abolished and a great variety of currency appeared in the country. The newly issued coins were odd-shaped ingots of silver, gold or bronze. The bronze coin inscriptions were especially fine.

Kai Yuan Tong Bao coins
In 621, the 4th year of Tang Emperor, Wude, Kai Yuan Tong Bao coins were formally issued and the former Wu Zhu coin system was abolished. As the major currency of the Tang Dynasty each Kai Yuan Tong Bao coin weighed one-tenth Liang. Tong Bao and Yuan Bao were other coins minted during this period.


Jiao Zi paper notes
In the early Song Dynasty iron coins were popularly used in Sichuan province. Because they were small in value and heavy to carry, merchants issued a paper note called Jiao Zi, the earliest paper note in the world.


Silver ingots
Since the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279), silver had been used as money. It was cast in various forms, with ingots being the most common one.





CHINA, “Hell” money
    Perhaps you are familiar with the modern imitation paper money burned in Chinese funerals.  At some of these functions miniature papier mache models of cars, TV sets, etc. are also burned as part of the proceedings.  These modern versions are survivals of practices that began thousands of years ago with the interment of real objects, animals, and even people at the funeral.
    These things are “Hell” money.  Seems reasonable to assume that the cowries are late Zhou, perhaps 300 BC, when they were using cowries and cowrie imitations for money.  The others were described to me as “Han dynasty or later.”

CHINA, clay cowries, 3 different styles, VG-F @ $6.50 each sold 10/14/2009

CHINA, ZHOU Dynasty, 1122-255 BC, ant-nose series, “Jun,” H1.12, FD-5, clay, aVF $9.50 sold 6/7/2008 

CHINA, HAN Dynasty, c. 200 BC – 200 AD, clay funeral offerings.  I am advised that all of the following are from the general vicinity of Hangzhou:
CH2) clay cakes?
a) 38mm cross shape with floral design & 2 small holes, F-VF $18.00 sold
b) 38mm cross shape with floral design & 4 small holes, F-VF $18.00 sold Click image for enlargement.

CH3) 32mm unglazed circular flat thing with slightly coin-amulet design on square base, not sure what it represents, chip on base, otherwise F $14.00 sold 1/7/2008 

CH4b1) glazed plate of food, avg. 50-60mm dia., round things in “sauce,” from Hangzhou area, F-VF $24.00 sold 

CH4b2) another, F-VF $24.00 sold 6/5/2009 

CH4b3) another, F-VF $24.00 sold 

CH4b4) same, few chips around edge, F-VF $20.00 sold I have some more of these, now $70.00 7/18/ 

CH4b5) sim., but crescent shaped “slices,” edge chips, F-VF $22.00 sold 10/14/2009

CH4b6) ~65mm, round, unglazed, possibly represents a plate of noodles, aVF @ $25.00 each “a” sold 10/14/2009 

CH9) CHINA, c. 300 BC-500 AD, clay Hell money, ~45mm round, represents a plate of food, F $25.00 sold 6/5/2009 

CHINA, rough clay lumps ~35mm diameter with 4 seal characters arranged in a square.  Supplier calls them “Ni Feng.”  I believe they’re seal impressions, token of attendance at the funeral or some such, F @ $15.00 each sold.

CSY6) CHINA, 19th c., lead sycee, 126g, lump shaped with flat face, 3 characters, crude F $68.00


CHINA, “Hell” money
    The offering of goods and money to the departed has been a feature of Chinese funerals since the beginning.  Clay cowries, clay food, probably most of the lead versions of cast coins, etc. are funerary.  Since paper money began about 1500 years ago imitation banknotes have been offered, usually, in latter centuries they are burned.  If you go to any oriental store anywhere in the world you will find packets of “joss paper” for sale.  There are thousands of different types made today.

229-49. CHINA, Hell note, 5000 yuan year 31 (1942) in style of Japanese puppet Federal Reserve Bank, rare WWII item,
 a) AU $20.00 sold
b) off center, AU $20.00 sold
Click picture for enlargement.

HONG KONG, Hell note set of 8, same blue back on all of them, 1960s, AU-Unc, $3.00
Click picture for enlargement.


CHINA, a set from the Mongol Autonomous Region, acquired 1998, set of 10, Unc $6.50 a few of those are sold out & replaced with pieces from Thailand
Click picture for enlargement.




















During the Warring States Period (400-200 BC)



. These “coins” resembled actual tools in everyday use, such as



















Compare with ancient knife below




The prominent role agriculture played in the lives of

the ancient Chinese is reflected in the choice of the spade to represent civilization’s first metallic currency.


Bronze spades evolved from hollow-handled ones, which were

miniature replicas of the real thing, followed by



the smaller bronze “pu”


consisting of round-shouldered and square foot spades.


Everyone, whether or not they could read or write, instantly recognized the inherent value of a spade. Reducing the spade to a

miniature pu representing the actual tool, not only made them convenient to carry, but greatly facilitated trade.


 It was now possible to place a value on commodities: for example, ‘ten spades or two hoes for a sheep’ using coins to purchase necessities. In time, pu spades were supplanted by knife money. (Although some would argue that the knife came first.)





This form of coin was introduced by the kingdom of Ch’i, a

practically independent state under Chou. The earliest Ch’i knives were approximately seven inches long. The knife blade often carried inscriptions indicating its origin and trade value.


Later on, smaller knives, known as Ming knives made their appearance.

The term “Ming” when used in association with knife money is not to be confused with the Ming dynasty (1368-1644AD); rather these knives received their name from the town where they were made.

Eventually knife money evolved into round coins with center holes known as “pan-liangs” which were to become the prototype of all coins to follow.

The Chinese coinage system

The Western, Greek, coinage system


was based on precious metal coins


struck between two dies.

 In contrast, Chinese coins


were made from copper-alloy,




were cast in moulds.

The Chinese tradition flourished until the early twentieth century, when it was replaced by the European system.





Before 1000 BC,


cowrie shells were used for payments, gifts and displays of wealth.

Later these were replaced by substitutes made out of


bone, bronze or jade. By the seventh century BC cloth and bronze tools such as hoes and knives were also being used as money. The first Chinese coins were produced when these objects were transformed into models representing their standardised value. ‘Spades’ and ‘knives’ were the standard currency in China until the second century BC.


Jade imitation
of cowrie shell,
10th-6th cent. BC.

Spade money,
6th-5th cent. BC.

Read more info

700 BC TO 255 BC


This is a reference guide to


the cast coins of China from the Zhou Dynasty, including knife and spade coins,  a listing of examples we currently have available can be viewed.


Images represent the types and may be larger or smaller than the actual coins.

Read more info

Chinese Charms with Coin Inscriptions


The mythical power of the written Chinese language along with the authority of the Chinese empire have traditionally combined to make Chinese coins into something more than just a form of currency.

For this reason, people believed that by utilizing the inscriptions (legends) of certain Chinese coins, the power of charms would be further enhanced.

Some coin inscriptions are used on charms because they have an inherent auspicious meaning. For example, the inscription on the Liao Dynasty (916-1125 AD) qian qiu wan sui (千秋万岁) coin at the left expresses the hope for longevity with the meaning of “a thousand autumns and ten thousand years”.  This Liao Dynasty coin is described in more detail below.

Another example would be the zheng de (正德) reign title of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) Emperor Wu Zong.  Zheng de (正德) means “correct virtue”.  The inscription zheng de tong bao (正德通宝), meaning “currency of correct virtue”, became a very popular inscription on Chinese charms even though no actual coins with this inscription were ever cast by the government!  Please see the examples below.

Other Chinese coin inscriptions seem to have been used on charms because the coins were issued during a time of disunity and unrest which the Chinese people, unfortunately, have faced many times throughout their history.  Charms using the coin inscriptions of Wang Mang (7-23 AD), whose monetary reforms brought unprecedented disorder, belong to this category.  Several examples are illustrated in the section below.

Still other Chinese coin legends were used because of a perceived force in the metal used in the casting of the coins of that era, such as the Later Zhou Dynasty (951-960 AD) zhou yuan tong bao (周元通宝) charms.

Examples of these and other charms with coin inscriptions are discussed in more detail in the sections below.

Wang Mang

(7-23 AD)

Wang Mang usurped the throne in the year 7 AD and proceeded to institute a number of monetary reforms which became extremely unpopular.

One of the first coins Wang Mang introduced had the inscription da quan wu shi (大泉五十) and the coin with the colorful and heavy patina at the left is an example.  The character above the square hole is da (大) meaning “big”.  The character below the hole is quan (泉) which translates as “coin“.  The character on the right is wu (五) which means “five” (5).  The character on the left is shi (十) meaning “ten” (10).  The value is therefore 5 x 10 = 50.  The inscription thus means “large coin fifty”.  The coin was declared to be the equivalent of 50 of the Han Dynasty wu zhu (五铢) coins which were the prevailing currency up to this time.

The reverse side of this coin is blank.

The coin has a diameter of 31 mm and a weight of 9.3 grams.

The “coin” to the left is not to scale.

It is actually a charm that has the same inscription (da quan wu shi 大泉五十) and resembles the coin above.

It is very small and is certainly old, although it probably does not date to the time of Wang Mang.

Because of wear, the symbols on the reverse side are a little difficult to discern.  To the right of the square hole is a snake with its head at the top and cocked back.  To the left is a sword with its hilt at the top.  Above the hole is a tortoise with its head facing to the right, and below the hole are the seven stars of the Big Dipper constellation all connected together by a line.

The tortoise has a long life-span and the snake is one of the five poisons.  These two animals would eventually become entwined to become Xuanwu (玄武), also known as the Black Warrior.

The sword is a weapon able to cut through ignorance and slay evil spirits.

“Longevity” is the overall implied meaning of these symbols. (Please see Hidden Meaning of Chinese Charms for more detailed information.)

This charm has a diameter of only 19 mm weighs just 1.5 grams.

This is a very interesting da quan wu shi (大泉五十) coin. If you look carefully at the Chinese character shi (十), meaning “ten” (10) to the left of the square hole, you will notice that it has not one but three horizontal lines.  The Chinese character shi (十) for “ten” only has one horizontal line.  The additional horizontal lines seems to mean that the coin is not worth 5 x 10 = 50 coins,  but rather 5 x 30 = 150 coins!



Another characteristic of this coin is that the inscription is repeated on the reverse side thus making it a “double obverse” coin.

There seems to be some disagreement as to whether this specimen is actually a coin or a charm but I am treating it here as a charm.

The charm has a diameter of 25 mm and a weight of 8.2 grams.


Northern Zhou Dynasty

 (557-581 AD)

At the left is a Northern Zhou Dynasty coin cast in the year 574 AD during the reign of Emperor Wu.

The inscription is wu xing da bu (五行大布) which translates as “large coin of the five elements”.

The five elements consist of metal, wood, water, fire and water.

For a discussion of the five elements please see Charm Symbols: Star, Moon, Cloud and Dragon.

The reverse side of the coin is blank.

The coin has a diameter of 26 mm and weight of 3.7 grams.

This is a charm written in the same seal script and with the same inscription or legend (wu xing da bu 五行大布) as the coin above.

The reverse side displays the same four symbols, namely the snake, tortoise, sword and the Big Dipper constellation, as on the Wang Mang da quan wu shi (大泉五十) charm discussed above.

On this charm, however, the sword is on the right and the seven star Big Dipper constellation is on the left.

Above the square hole is the snake which is coiled with its head facing to the left.

The tortoise is below the square hole with its head also facing to the left.

The charm has a diameter of 24.5 mm and a weight of 3.7 grams.

This obverse side of this large charm is based on the same Northern Zhou Dynasty coin and uses the same seal script calligraphy.

If you observe closely, though, the character at the bottom is written differently.  Most experts still consider this character to be the same character 行 (xing) as on the Northern Zhou coin displayed above.

Others, however, believe that the character is actually 两 (liang) which was a unit of weight.  The liang was the same unit of weight used, for example, on the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC) and Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) banliang (半两) or “half tael” coins.

The reverse side has the same four symbols in the same location as the smaller charm above.  The difference is that the snake is coiled differently and its head at the top facing right.

Also, the tortoise with its head on the right is now looking back towards the left.

The diameter of this charm is 32.5 mm and the weight is 7.3 grams.





Later Zhou Dynasty

 (951 – 960)

Following the fall of the great Tang Dynasty in 907, China experienced another period of turmoil and disunity known as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms which lasted 907 – 960 AD.

Emperor Shi Zong of the Later Zhou issued his coinage patterned on that of the kai yuan tong bao (开元通宝) which had become the standard coin of the Tang Dynasty.

Emperor Shi Zong’s coin is displayed to the left.  The inscription reads zhou yuan tong bao (周元通宝) which translates as the “Zhou First Currency” and was cast during the years 951-960 AD.

The zhou yuan tong bao very quickly became a popular inscription used on Chinese charms.

The reason is because, beginning in the year 956, Emperor Shi Zong ordered that the bronze Buddha statues in the Buddhist temples, as well as the bronze items owned by the people, be turned in to the government so that they could be melted down and used to cast coins.  As a result, coins with this inscription are considered especially auspicious because they contain metal from Buddhist statues. 

This belief has carried over to the charms and amulets cast during the following centuries which display the same inscription.

The reverse side of the coin shows a “moon” between the square hole an the rim at the seven o’clock position.  For a discussion of the “moon” symbol please visit Charm Symbols: Star, Moon, Cloud and Dragon.

The coin has a diameter of 24 mm and a weight of 3.5 grams.

The obverse side of this charm closely resembles that of the coin above and the inscription, zhou yuan tong bao (周元通宝), is the same.

Although this charm is from a later period, charms with this Chinese coin inscription are very popular.

Because the actual coins with this inscription were cast using bronze from Buddhist statues, the Chinese believed that this was also true for charms and amulets with the same inscription even though they may have been cast in the following centuries.

The reverse side of this old charm has a dragon on the left and a phoenix on the right.

The two are facing each other with their heads at the bottom of the charm.

Charms with a dragon and phoenix are considered auspicious marriage charms.

For additional information on this theme, please visit Chinese Marriage Charms.

The diameter of the charm is 22.5 mm and the weight is 5.6 grams.

Like the charm above, the obverse side of this charm has the auspicious Chinese coin inscription zhou yuan tong bao (周元通宝).

This is the reverse side of the charm revealing that it is another phoenix and dragon marriage charm.

In this example, however, the phoenix is on the left and the dragon is on the right.  The two are facing each other with their heads at the top of the charm.

It is a little difficult to see but the wings of the phoenix are just to the left of the square hole.  The head is at the eleven o’clock position and the tail feathers are at the seven o’clock position.

The dragon is on the right with the tip of its mouth at the twelve o’clock position and a dot representing its left eye at the one o’clock position.  Its left front claw is just above the square hole.  The dragon’s body curves down the right side of the charm and its left rear claw is just below the central hole.  Its tail is almost touching the upper tail feather of the phoenix.
The charm has a diameter of 25 mm and a weight of 6.6 grams.

This is the obverse side of another ancient charm based on the zhou yuan tong bao (周元通宝) coin of the Later Zhou Dynasty.

Similar to the example above, the dragon is on the right and the phoenix is on the left.

The two mythical animals are sculpted in high relief and are facing each other with their heads at the top of the charm.

This charm has a diameter of 23.5 mm and a weight of 6.8 grams.

Song Dynasty


The coin displayed at the left is an example of coins with the inscription tai ping tong bao (太平通宝) cast during the years 976-989 of the reign of Emperor Tai Zong (976-997) of the Northern Song Dynasty.

This was the first Song Dynasty coin inscribed with an imperial or reign title.

The reign title tai ping (太平) means “peace”.

This same inscription, tai ping tong bao (太平通宝), was also used on coins cast during the years 1854-1855 by the Shanghai Small Sword Society (xiao dao hui 小刀会) during the Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864).

The coin has a diameter of 24.8 mm and weighs 4 grams.

This is a charm based on the tai ping tong bao (太平通宝) coin of the Song Dynasty.

Tai ping, meaning “peace” or “great peace”, has always been a strong desire of a people and it is, therefore, an appropriate inscription for a charm.

This is an unusually well-made charm as evidenced by the fine crosshatch pattern seen in the character field.

The charm appears to be made of tin with, possibly, a silver wash.

The reverse side of the charm displays a number of auspicious symbols, some of which are difficult to identify.

At the top is a pair of interlocking diamond-shaped lozenges known as fang sheng (方胜).  The origin of this symbol is still unclear but it may represent the form of an ancient musical instrument.  Or, it may have been a head ornament worn in ancient times which symbolized victory.  There is also a legend that the Queen Mother of the West wore such as object to exorcise evil spirits.

Moving clockwise, the next symbol appears to be books tied with a ribbon or fillet possibly expressing the wish for sons to be successful in the imperial exams and obtaining an official government position.

The next symbol is a gourd also tied with a ribbon.  The gourd is popular symbol to ward off evil spirits and disease because its first character (hulu 葫芦) has the same pronunciation as to “protect” or “guard” (hu 护), and also for “blessing” (hu 祜). (Please see Gourd Charms.)

Unfortunately, corrosion obscures the symbols at the bottom and left of the square hole and these symbols remain unidentified.

Just to the left of the lozenges is a flaming pearl which represents riches and wealth.

This charm has a diameter of 26 mm and a weight of 3.3 grams.

Liao Dynasty


At the left is a fairly rare coin charm from the Liao Dynasty.

According to historical records, Emperor Tai Zong (太宗) in the year 938 established the capital at Shang Jing (上京) and honored the event by casting commemorative coins with the auspicious inscription qian qiu wan sui (千秋万岁), which literally translates as a “thousand autumns and ten thousand years”, expressing the hope that the emperor and the dynasty would endure forever.

Most of these commemorative coins were presented as gifts or awards.  Some of the coins have also been found in the foundations of Liao Dynasty pagodas where they were presented as offerings by religious believers during the dedication of the religious buildings.

The reverse side displays an interesting set of three figures.

At the very top is a figure of a person kneeling with his right and left arms stretched out.

To the left of the square hole, and below the above figure’s right arm, is a person, perhaps a newborn child, bent forward and standing.

To the right of the hole, and below the top figure’s left arm, is a dragon.

This Liao Dynasty coin has a diameter of slightly greater than 25 mm and a weight of 6.8 grams.

Jin Dynasty


During the late Northern Song Dynasty, the Nuzhen (Jurchen, Jurched) (女真) nationality conquered most of north China and established their rule as the Jin Dynasty.

At first, they used coins of the Song and Liao dynasties but began to cast their own coinage in 1157.

The coin at the left, with the beautiful seal script calligraphy, has the inscription tai he zhong bao (泰和重宝).

The coin was cast during the years 1204-1209 of the reign of Emperor Zhang Zong (1190-1209) of the Jin Dynasty.

The diameter of the coin is 44.5 mm and the weight is 12.6 grams.

This is actually a charm based on the Jin Dynasty tai he zhong bao coin shown above.

Because tai he (泰和) can be variously translated as “peace and harmony” or “prosperity and harmony”, the coin became popular as a theme upon which to base charms and amulets.

Tai (泰) can also refer to tai shan (泰山), or Mt. T’ai, which is a famous and sacred mountain worshipped as a god.

The reverse side of the charm depicts two magpies with their long tail feathers.  The magpie above the square hole is actually upside down.  Its head is looking down and back to the right.

The magpie at the bottom has its head at the four o’clock position and is looking up and to left.

The two magpies are therefore looking directly at each other.

The magpie (xi que 喜鹊) symbolizes “happiness” because the first character xi is the same as the word “happy” (xi 喜).  Two magpies facing each other therefore represents “double happiness” (shuang xi 喜喜) and is a symbol of a happy marriage.

The reference to a happy marriage is based on the legend of two heavenly lovers, the Cowherd (Oxherd) and the Weaver Girl (Maiden), who are permitted to meet each other only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month (known as qixi 七夕, the Double Seven, or Sisters Festival) by crossing a celestial river (the Milky Way) on a bridge made of magpies.

Also, a magpie shown upside down, as is the case here, means that happiness has “arrived” because the Chinese words for “upside down” (倒) and “arrived” (到) are both pronounced dao.

Located between the two magpies are plum branches.  In Chinese, one can say “there is a happy bird (magpie) on the tip of the plum branch” as xi shang mei shao (喜上梅稍).  This sounds exactly the same as saying xi shang mei shao (喜上眉稍), meaning “happiness up to one’s eyebrows”, which is a Chinese expression for “very happy”.

This charm has a diameter of 41 mm and a weight of 18.8 grams.

This is the obverse side of another charm based on the famous tai he zhong bao (泰和重宝) coin of the Jin Dynasty.

The reverse side of the charm has four lines radiating outward from the corners of the square hole and extending to the rim.

The Chinese refer to this characteristic as si chu (四出).  Si (四) means “four” and chu (出) means “going out”.

The implied meaning is that peace, prosperity and harmony should radiate in all directions.

The charm has a diameter of 41 mm and a weight of 22.3 grams.

Ming Dynasty


This coin was cast during the reign of the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty.

The inscription is hong wu tong bao (洪武通宝) and was cast during the Hong Wu reign of Emperor Tai Zu (1368-1398).

You will notice that the hole is not in the usual shape of a four-sided square.  This particular specimen has an auspicious eight-sided hole known as a “flower” or “rosette” hole.

“Flower hole” coins were fairly common during the Northern Song and early Southern Song Dynasties but became very rare by the time of the Ming Dynasty.

A detailed discussion of these types of coins including many examples can be seen at Chinese Coins with Flower Holes.

This is a Chinese charm, modeled after the above Ming Dynasty coin, with the same inscription hong wu tong bao (洪武通宝).

The reverse side of the charm shows a boy riding an ox or water buffalo.

In this case, the “boy” is actually Emperor Tai Zu.

Emperor Tai Zu had a very humble early life and for a time was a shepherd boy.

You will notice that the boy is playing a flute which has the connotation of a care free life.

The flute is an old Daoist (Taoist) symbol which is associated with the Daoist Immortal Lan Caihe (蓝采和).

The flute is also an ancient Buddhist symbol used in meditation and is displayed on this charm to allude to the time when Emperor Tai Zu lived in a Buddhist monastery.

This type of charm became popular with the Chinese people because it represented the hope that a person could become successful despite being born into a peasant family.

Another hong wu tong bao charm which displays a number of symbols referring to Emperor Tai Zu’s life is discussed in detail at Buddhist Charms.

This charm has a diameter of 43 mm and a weight of 29.2 grams.

The inscription (legend) on this charm is zheng de tong bao (正德通宝).

Zheng De was the reign title (1505 – 1521 AD) of the Ming Dynasty Emperor Wu Zong.  While some claim that the government did cast a very small number of coins with this inscription, it is generally believed that no coins meant for circulation were ever cast by the government using the reign title zheng de.

Even though no legal tender coins were cast during this period, a fairly large number of charms with this inscription exist.  The reason is that zheng de has the auspicious meaning in Chinese of “correct virtue”, so the inscription translates as “currency of correct virtue”.

Many Chinese of the time also believed that Emperor Wu Zong was the reincarnation of a real dragon.

Ancient Chinese folklore says that zheng de was a “swimming” dragon.  The belief is that wearing a zheng de charm when you cross a river or sea will protect you from the danger of large waves.

The Chinese also love to gamble and there is an old Chinese superstition that says carrying a zheng de charm will bring you good luck at gambling.

It was believed that if a pregnant woman carried a zheng de charm in her hand both she and her child would be protected.

Zheng de charms were also given to children as a form of good luck money (yasuiqian 压岁钱) during the lunar New Year.

The zheng de charms were considered so lucky that there was this popular saying:

(jia you zheng de qian fu gui wan wan nian)
“If a family has a zheng de coin, there will be riches and honor for ten thousand years”

It is a common theme with zheng de charms to have a dragon and phoenix.

The reverse side of this charm shows a wide-eyed dragon on the right with its head at the five o’clock position.  A lovely phoenix is on the left of the square hole with its head at the six o’clock position.

The dragon and phoenix paired together represent the ultimate union of a man and a woman.  Additional information on this subject can be found at Chinese Marriage Charms.

The charm has a diameter of 45 mm and weighs 14.5 grams.

This is another example of a very well-made zheng de tong bao (正德通宝) that would typically have been used as a marriage charm.

The reverse side of the charm displays a very ornate and finely detailed dragon on the right with its head at the two o’clock position.

An equally detailed phoenix is at the left of the center hole with its head at the eight o’clock position.

This is a large and heavy charm.

The diameter is 54 mm and the weight is 42.3 grams.

This is another example of a charm with the Chinese coin inscription zheng de tong bao (正德通宝).

The very broad outer rim displays a dragon on the left and a phoenix on the right.

The circular objects at the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions are pearls.

The reverse side also has a very broad outer rim with the single Chinese character wen (文) above the square hole.

Wen (文) is the measure word used for counting Chinese cash coins.

It is interesting that this same character wen (文) can also mean the obverse side of a coin even though here it is displayed on the reverse side.

The diameter of this charm is 31.3 mm and the weight is 8.3 grams.

Coins were cast with the reign title Wan Li (万历) of Emperor Shen Zong during the years 1573-1620 of the Ming Dynasty.

At the left is a coin with the inscription wan li tong bao (万历通宝).

What is unusual about this coin is that there are four dots, with one dot between each of the Chinese characters.

Experts seem to be divided as to whether this is an official coin or a charm.

The character wan (万) means “ten thousand” and the character li (历) means “era” or “calendar”. The four dots are generally believed to represent stars (xing 星) or suns (ri 日).  The implied meaning is, therefore, light and brightness forever.

The reverse side of this coin or charm is blank although it has the same broad outer rim as that on the obverse.

The coin has a diameter of 24 mm and a weight of 3.4 grams.




Qing (Ch’ing) Dynasty


This coin is a qian long tong bao (乾隆通宝) presumably cast during the 60 year reign (1736-1795) of Qing (Ch’ing) Dynasty Emperor Gao Zong.

The coin is very large and heavy.  In fact, it is much larger and heavier than any other qian long tong bao variety of coin with which I am familiar.

Also, the characters, such as the bottom portion of the bao (宝) and the radical portion of the tong (通), are written in a slightly different style from that of the other coins of this emperor.

The coin, however, is clearly old.

Because of its size, calligraphy and age, I have concluded that this “coin” is most probably a “charm”.

The reverse side reveals another interesting feature.

The Manchu characters indicate that the piece was cast at the Board of Revenue in Peking (Beijing).

However, the characters are rotated 90 degrees clockwise and the characters themselves are very large.

The intention may have been political but the meaning remains unclear. 

The charm has a diameter of almost 56 mm and a thickness of just over 3 mm.

In 1861, a few specimen coins for the reign title Qixiang were cast with the inscription qi xiang zhong bao (祺祥重宝).

The coin at the left is either one of these authentic pieces or an excellent copy.  If it is indeed a copy, then it is clearly a very old one.

Besides its rarity, coins or charms with the inscription qi xiang are considered auspicious because qi xiang (祺祥) means “lucky” or “of good omen”.

The top and bottom characters on the reverse side of this coin/charm are dang shi (当十) which translates as “Value Ten” and means that this coin was worth the equivalent of 10 cash coins.

The Manchu characters to the right and left of the square hole indicate that the coin was cast at the Board of Works in Peking (Beijing).

This coin/charm has a diameter of 35 mm and weight of 13.6 grams.

The charm to the left is quite small and shows considerable wear.

The inscription is guang xu tong bao (光绪通宝) and the obverse side looks exactly like a typical Qing (Ch’ing) Dynasty coin of Emperor De Zong (1875 – 1908 AD).


The reverse side reveals that it is actually a charm with the inscription read top to bottom and right to left as ding cai gui shou (丁财贵寿).

The translation is “May you acquire wealth, honor (high rank) and longevity”.

The charm is only 19.5 mm in diameter and weighs 4.7 grams.




The coinage of early China is not well understood, although things have improved signficantly in recent years. This e-book  puts forward our observations and ideas that have evolved over time from many different sources, combining them with ideas put forward by other numismatists. Some of our theories will almost certainly eventually be proven wrong and will have to be revised (some already have been), and it is our hope to keep moving forward towards a genuine understanding of this complex series. We will be happy to hear from anyone who wishes to express their opinions on this subject, or can provide us with information that we are not aware of.



A true coin, as compared to a primitive money, must meet three criteria. First, it must bear the mark of the issuing authority. Secondly, it must contain an intrinsic value bearing some relationship to the circulating value, and while that intrinsic value can be less than the circulating value if it falls too far below the item becomes a token rather than a coin. The third it must have an understood denomination so that it need not be weighed at every transaction, otherwise it is only a bullion item.



Official ancient records are of little help in this series, as few survived


the Ch’in Dynasty’s attempt (ca. 221 BC)


to erase earlier history which included earlier writings.

Some records have survived are inscriptions on


bronze ritual vessels


indicating how they were paid for thus giving glimpses into the monetary system of the time, but in most cases the readings are subject to several interpretations with their true meanings uncertain.


(19th century to recent)

Many books and articles about ancient Chinese coins have been published, but there is little agreement between them. It is likely no one researcher has the full truth, but reading them is still useful. Until recently


EARLY CHINESE COINAGE by WANG YU-CH’UAN (ANS Numismatic notes & Monographs #122, 1951, republished by Durst in 1980) was probably the most useful, but



CAST CHINESE COINS by David Hartill (Trafford Publishing, 2005) was far surpassed it and we highly recommend it to anyone that wants far more detail on this series than we intend to provide on this e-book




Modern archeology is in its infancy in China, but rapidly improving. It provides significant new information on where the coins are found, and thus presumed to have been minted. But as yet there have not been enough documented excavations containing these types of coins, which can be accurately dated so as to help define the dates of the coins (usually the coins date the excavation). This is is changing and one day we will be able to define the dates of the various types more closely.

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Great Leap Forward era backyard iron furnaces have been unearthed [via] and there is discussion about whether to preserve them as historical evidence, even a cultural heritage. The site is described thus

The backyard furnaces are located on the south slope of a hillside within


 the borders of Heiyaodong Village in Baiyin Mongolian Township,


Sunan Yugur Autonomous County.

They are situated in an east-west line and number 159 furnaces in total, most of which have crumbled. About fifty are still largely intact. The largest is 8 meters high and 14 meters in circumference; the smallest is 2.5 meters high and 2.7 meters around. Most are pagoda-shaped, with one or more chimneys. Their insides are lined with clay bricks. Some of the larger furnaces are dug into the hillside and have one or more arched entrances for feeding raw material, lighting the fire, or cleaning out slag, and multiple air vents are set into the floor. Some are made up of ten individual furnaces joined together. The whole group extends for a more than two kilometer  s, making for an impressive sight.


The furnaces were built in 1958 during the Great Leap Forward and ceased operating in 1960. Some of them were never put to use.

That last line captures what is, for me anyway, the essence of the GLF: an immense waste of effort, resources, lives. Wu Zuolai of the journal Theory and Criticism of Art and Literature writes:

People who experienced that time recall that whole forests were cut down to make charcoal to burn, bringing immense disaster to the environment. And because some areas were unable to produce acceptable steel, the people had to break apart their cooking pots and melt them down in the furnaces, and as a result, unusable lumps of iron were all that was produced. One unforeseen consequence was that real cultural heritage was plundered during the steel production campaign. The two-storey tower at


the famous Hangu Pass* was torn down,

and inscriptions accumulated over the course of two thousand years were destroyed.


Wuwei County,* Gansu, was an important


northwestern garrison in the Tang Dynasty, and its city wall, built of large bricks, towered for a thousand years. But those thousand-year-old bricks became part of the furnaces.

The past has become a memory and a historical lesson. But has the mentality of the Great Leap Forward been entirely eradicated? Faced with this massive cluster of iron smelters, we have much to reflect upon. Public, scientific, and democratic decision making must not be merely empty words but must be put into practice in every project.

Wu goes on to suggest a “small museum” on the site, and an oral history and records collecting project. Given that this is one of the landmark events of modern Chinese history, I would hope for that much, or more. But given that this is one of the landmark events in the failure of Maoist policy and rapid modernization, I have my doubts.





Calligraphy forms evolved rapidly during the Zhou period, but many coins bear archaic calligraphy forms long out of fashion by the time the coins were cast. The same character can appear on two related issues in almost unrelated (to western eyes) forms, and in many cases these archaic characters cannot be translated with absolute certainty. Calligraphy style should be viewed as somewhat unreliable as a technique for dating the coins, and not used to override other evidence.

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History of Chinese Calligraphy

Since the creation of Chinese words in ancient times, Chinese calligraphy has existed in a rich myriad of scripts, many of which are still being practised today.  The following is a brief introduction to the evolution of the different types of scripts through the history of the Chinese civilisation.

Before the invention of paper, Chinese characters were recorded as engravings on different types of surfaces. 


The earliest recognized form of Chinese characters, known as Jiaguwen (甲骨文) or the Oracle Bone script, dated to


the Xia-Shang Dynasties era (1700 B.C.). 

The characters were found engraved on tortoise plastrons and animal bones (typically ox spatulas) which were mostly used for divination purposes in the imperial courts, hence its name.

Xia Dynasty (2200-1700 B.C.) and the Legendary Yellow Emperor of China

Emperor Shun The Xia (Hsia) dynasty began when Shun abdicated in favor of Emperor Yu,the legendary Yellow Emperor of China, from whom all other Chinese are believed to have descended. Venerated as the first emperor of China, Yu had thousands of concubines because he believed the more sex partners he had the longer he would live. He reputedly became immortal after he made love to a thousand young virgins. Yao, another mythical emperor who followed Yu, was famous for his benevolent rule and lifestyle of a simple farmer.

The oldest bronze vessels date back to the Xia dynasty. According to legend bronze was first cast 5,000 years ago by the Yellow Emperor, who cast nine bronze tripods to symbolize the nine provinces in his empire. Bronze metallurgy in China dates back to 2000 B.C., significantly later than in southeastern Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, where it developed around 3600 B.C. to 3000 B.C.

Chinese astronomers in the Xia era were among the first to chart constellations and record supernovas. In 2296 B.C., Chinese astronomers observed a comet. They also developed a system of observation based on the equator and the poles that was not adopted by Europe until 4000 years later.

For a long time it was thought the Xia dynasty was legendary but in the last couple of decades evidence has surfaced that it really existed. A site near Erlitou in Henan Province dated to 2200 to 1700 B.C. is believed to have been a Xia capital. Archaeologists working there have found tombs filled with pottery, ornamental jade, clay irrigation pipes, and the world’s oldest ritual bronze vessels.

Xia Dynasty Archaeological Sites

Described by some as a Xia dynasty Tomb
but actually from a
A.D. 10th century Xia dynasty The Erlitou site near Yanshi city in Henan Province is thought by some historians and archeologists to have been the capital of the Xia dynasty. Excavations there have revealed palace building and tombs containing musical instruments and bronzes.

One of the most important finds from Erlitou is the Bronze Ornamental Plaque , a cast bronze and turquoise inlay that was unearthed in a tomb dated to 17th or 16th century B.C. Now housed in the Luoyang Museum, it features a foxlike animals that is thought to be a representation of a deity. Some speculate may have been worn as a breast plate and a symbol of divine authority.

Important Xia, Shang and Zhou archaeological sites include the newly-discovered Shang city ruins at Yanshi and Huanbei; the excavations of the Erlitou, Yinxu and Fenghao sites; new breakthrough discoveries at the cemeteries at the Liulihe site in Beijing, Qianzhangda in Tengzhou and Dadianzi in Inner Mongolia. Excavations at Shang and Zhou imperial cities such as the Yinxu ruins in Anyang, the Changan and Fenghao ruins in modern-day Xian, and the Eastern Zhou capital Wangcheng in Luoyang, which have helped archaeologists establish a chronology for the Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties.



With the advent of the Bronze Age in the Zhou Dynasty (ca. 1046–256 B.C.), a more refined form of engraved script evolved from Jiaguwen.  Known as Jinwen (金文) or the Bronzeware script, this type of script was found on cast bronze vessels.  The Jinwen script boasted rounder strokes, unlike that of Jiaguwen which were long and narrow in form, and had sharp edges.  The stylistic difference between the two scripts was attributed to the finer and smoother bronzeware surface (as compared to animal bones).  Furthermore, given that the bronze vessels from this period were largely used for ceremonial and ritual purposes, more efforts were also put into embellishing the Chinese characters.



During this same period,



another form of script, Dazhuan (大篆) or the Greater Seal script, coexisted with Jinwen.  In fact, both Jinwen and Dazhuan are often regarded as sub-branches of each other since the two forms of characters overlapped.

In the early stages of Chinese civilization up till the Warring States period, different states and kingdoms had their own forms of Chinese characters.  It was not until


the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 B.C.) when the Chinese empire was unified by


Emperor Qin Shihuangdi t

hat Chinese characters were standardized.  Pursuant to this development, a more elegant script, known as


Xiaozhuan (小篆) or the Lesser Seal script, was derived.  This script is recognized as the origin of the modern, unsimplified Chinese script which we see in use today in places such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia.  Compared to the earlier scripts, Xiaozhuan characters are more stylized and less “pictographic”.  In fact, it is from Xiaozhuan script that Chinese characters start exhibiting the systematic and extensive use of radicals.



However, the Xiaozhuan script was considered complex and cumbersome.  As a result,

Lishu () or the Scribe script, was created.  


As the name suggests,


this script was used by the court mandarins.  Its origin could be traced to the period of


 late Qin and




early Han Dynasties (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.) when court officials needed a fast and efficient script to record and process state matters.

The marked difference between this script and Xiaozhuan is that Lishu characters have less strokes and boast a more flowing style, and are therefore easily adaptable to calligraphy brushes.  In addition, Chinese characters were further standardized under the Lishu script to remove regional variations, and these characters are for the most part the same ones written today.  Hence, it is widely acknowledged that the Lishu script laid the foundation for present-day Chinese writing.


After the Lishu script, the evolution of Chinese calligraphy took on a cursive trend.

  Caoshu () or the Cursive script first appeared in the latter part of the Han era when calligraphers began to inject artistic styles into their writing.  Typically, the shape of the Chinese characters in the cursive script do not resemble the corresponding standard Lishu character as some strokes are either being merged or simply omitted.



Kaishu () or the Formal script emerged at around the same time as Caoshu.  While very similar to Lishu, Kaishu contains serif-like (hook- or anchor-like) elements at the turn and end of each stroke.  This form of writing was being continually refined and standardized until the mid-Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) when a uniform script was agreed upon.



Meanwhile, also at the latter part of the Han Dynasty, a more cursive variant of Kaishu, known as Xingshu () or the Running script, also took shape.  Again, several strokes, especially sequential dots, are being merged, or two perpendicular strokes deliberately curved up.  Given its relatively simple and fast execution, Xingshu easily became the most popular script in use during its time.



Picking up Chinese Calligraphy

All newcomers to Chinese calligraphy are initiated through the basic brushstrokes in the formal and neat style of Kaishu.  The beginner learns by imitation through a template of strokes called tie, usually a reproduction of a manuscript by a renowned ancient calligrapher.  As the learner tries to reproduce each line and dot that forms each character, he is forced to examine and appreciate the proper way of writing and placing each stroke in the character.



Notably, there is no fixed way of writing any character as the style and form would depend on the period of origin of the template.  For instance, if the learner picks up a Kaishu tie from the Tang Dynasty, the style which he learns will be more regimented than say, that from the Song Dynasty.  As one progresses in the mastery of Chinese calligraphy, one may choose to branch into practicing the other more demanding or stylistic scripts such Xingshu or Caoshu.  And with confidence and practice, the learner can also try to inject personal styles into the writing.

Appreciating Chinese Calligraphy

While there is no fixed set of rules or standards by which to judge or define beauty in Chinese calligraphy, enthusiasts usually refer to the following general points in their appreciation of calligraphy masterpieces.  A good calligraphy work would display a sublime balance of strength and gentleness behind the different strokes and the appropriate amount of ink used for each character.  Furthermore, the placement and alignment of each character across the piece of paper, thus making up the visual composition of the artwork, is just as important a factor in defining a masterpiece.






Understanding coinage of this period is almost impossible using the traditional classification systems with knife, spade, cowry imitation, and early round coins under the single heading of the Zhou Dynasty and thus giving the impression of a single complex currency system. Zhou was just the most powerful of several large states that existed side by side, each of which was responsible for a different type of coinage. Since we began building this website in 1997, more information about this has come to light and we are in the process of adding that information and restructuring the site to better show how the system worked.


Ancient Chinese coins appear to have been issued at weights based on multiples of the shu. Dr. Woo has recently brought to our attention a group of Zhou Dynasty bronze weights on which the official weight of a shu was 0.65 grams, with 24 shu to a Liang of 15.6 grams. However, these are trade weights used to weight out goods to those standards, and when it comes to coins they do not translate directly to the expected weights of coins cast to related denominations.

Many Zhou period coins have characters indicating denominations Liangs, but when we weigh the coins they seen to average about 0.5 grams per shu (see Wang, Early Chinese Coins, pages 138-139) which is only about 77% of the official weight of a shu. This shows a seniorage system similar that to used in medieval Europe, where coins are made to a weight below their circulating value, with the profit made from the difference used to off-set the cost of minting, and sometimes show a small profit to the minting authority. So with respect to coins, a shu is roughly 0.5 grams and a Liang 12 grams.

The casting techniques used to mint Chinese coins did not allow exact weight control of individual coins, so the ancient mint masters were concerned with average weight of a large numbers of coins rather than the exact weight of each individual coin. To determine the intended weight standard of a particular series of coins one must average the weights a large numbers of specimens. We have noted certain trends within the standards of various types of coins, and at this point we believe the system can be summarized as follows :

Spades Coins are denominated in multiples of 6 shu with issues 72 shu or 3 Liang (36 grams), 48 shu or 2 Liang (24 grams), 24 shu or 1 Liang (12 grams) and 12 shu or 1/2 Liang (6 grams). Not all types were issued in all denominations but the denominations for each type will be discussed further down).

Knife Coins are denominated in a system based on multiples of 10 shu although the main denomination for thin knifes as 30 shu (about 15 grams). We have not yet examined enough of the Heavy Knifes of the State of Chi to work out there intended denominations, but will work on that later.

Early round coins With round holes seem to follow the knife money system based on multiples of 10 shu with most issued at 20 shu (10 grams).

Cowry imitation coins do not appear to have any typical weight standard, as the weights on them can very considerably. They were probably denominated as equivalent in value of an actual cowry shell, regardless of weight, but this is by no means certain.



Spade money had a variety of denominations, often multiple denominations circulated side by side, so we see some types with denominations names on them. While the weight standard is based on the Shu and the Liang, on the coins we see two names for this unit. Some do say “Liang” on them, but others have the character for “Jin” on them. It is important to understand that a JIN” is equivalent to a “LIANG”, and the only difference is in which term was used on what types.

As yet we have not determined a name for the intended denomination of Knife money, as none of them seem to have denomination marks on them. As there is appears to be only one denomination for them, there was no need to indicated it on them.

Round coins are much more complicated, because it depends on where they are from. Some were issued in spade issuing areas and are denominated in “Liang” or “Jin” just as the spades were. Others were issued in Knife issuing areas and like the knifes do not have a denomination indicated, although some have the character “HUA” which I believe simply means “money”. This is something that needs a lot more research.



The earlier coins were cast to weight standards in a direct relationship with the denominations, so if you weighted a coin at 12 grams it was almost certain a 1 Liang (or 1 Jin) denomination. During the Chin Dynasty, sometime around 250 BC, this changed and be begin to see coins issued with denomination marks that bare no relationship to the actual weight of the coin. This is best seen on the Ban liang (1/2 Liang) coins of the State of Chin which can vary in weight considerably but the earliest large diameter issues weigh at least 6 grams (and often significantly more), but the size and weight gradually declined and by the time they were last issued in the Han Dynasty are often seen at 3 grams or even less, but still with the Ban Liang denomination on them.


1122-255 BC

If the reader has not already done so, we recommend reading our comments above in order to understand a little about how this series of coins function as monetary units, before proceeding with this section.

“Zhou Dynasty” is the usual name for this period during which the early Chinese coins were made. It is technically accurate but does not best describe the political situation in China at the time, as China was composed a of independent feudal states which was also each it’s own Dynasty, which were loosely affiliated with the State of Zhou acting as a central hub of government. When the Zhou conquered Shang in about 1122 BC, they were very powerful and did ruled over the other states, but by 7th and 6th centuries BC Zhou had lost most of it’s real power and it’s position as the central hub of government was more as a figure head, with no genuine power over the others. Real power was split between the other feudal states, who were often at war with each other which is why this later Zhou period is also known as the period of the Warring States. This the period during which Chinese coinage first developed.

Some of these Warring States appear to have retained minting authority in their central governments, while others appear to have relegated it to the local level of cities or even clans. To some extend we can now sort to many of the major coin types as to which state issued it, although many issues remain uncertain. We are now in the process of re-organizing this page to better reflect this organization of the coins, and will continue to work on that as more information comes available. As this re-organization is not yet complete, some of what follows will seem more confusing than it will when we are finished.

The currency of the Zhou Dynasty can be divided into three basic periods.

The first, which will not be discussed in any significant detail on this list, is the pre-coinage period when various types of primitive money were used before coins were invented. Primitive money simply means objects used as mediums of exchange, which are not true coins. These can include things like farm tools (knifes, spades, etc), shells (cowry shells were popular for this) and things like bolts of cloth. Since use of coins begins in different parts of China at different times, there is no clear date as to when this ends, and to complicate things there is good evidence that coins did not totally displace primitive moneys as a medium of exchange until at least into the Han Dynasty period. In his work on early Chinese coinage, Wang Yu-Ch’uan discusses evidence of cowry shells as a form of currency as early as the late Shang Dynasty, and the exchange tables of Wang Mang in the early 1st century AD including many types of primitive money’s including things like tortoise shells.

The second period is a period of independent coinage, where each of the major states that made coins had a fairly unique form to them. Wang (per his map on page 254 of Early Chinese Coinage) maintains originated in different parts of China with spade money in the Shantung Peninsula and south of the Yellow River Valley, Knife money in the Yellow River Valley, and Cowry imitation money just north of the Yangtze river. His evidence for this appears to be generally sound, although his dating probably in-accurate, and things were more complex than that as the Spades and Knife money areas can be further subdivided into specific shapes of knifes and spades issued by specific states, which will be discussed in more detail below. This period probably starts in the 6th or 7th century BC, but not in all places at once. It was a gradual process to begin with, but ended much more abruptly some time in the 4th century BC.

The third is one of coinage unification, which appears to have happened some time around the middle of the 4th century BC. During this period, most of the spade making regions gave up their distinctive spade forms, and adopted minor variations of the thing 1/2 and 1 Jin flat foot spades. The knife making regions adopted minor variations on the “ming” knife forms. This is also the period during which the first round coins appear. These changes probably allowed for wider circulation of coinage, with coins from different states and cities being able to move freely through other regions where similar coins were being made and used. This period only ends when the Zhou dynast comes to an end around 255 BC.





By the Shang Dynasty and continuing into the Zhou Dynasty, actual cowry shells were used as a form of money but they fall more into the catagory of “primative money” than true coins. Their use far pre-dates the first true coins as shown by Wang on pages 64 and 65 of his book “Early Chinese Coinage” where he describes a bronze Tsun vessel bearing the inscription :

“LORD OF CHU, YUAN, HAD THIS PRECIOUS VESSEL MADE. HE USED FOURTEEN P’ENG OF COWRIES”. While this tells us cowry shells could be grouped together in a denomination known as a P’ENG and used to pay for things, the number or weight of cowries in a p’eng is not known. Further evidence indicating cowry shells were still a form of money in the first century AD can be seen where Wang Mang (AD 7-22) included cowry shells on his list of exchange rates between various currency objects.


  These very weather cowry shells came from a Shang Dynasty site. Note how the backs were broken, allowing them to be strung together, a feature often seen when cowery shells were as money by other cultures, even in fairly recent times.

valued at about $12.00 each


At some uncertain date, but probably early in the Zhou Dynasty period, carving imitations of cowry shells appear in various materials including bone, shell, and stone. There are also molding imitations of clay and bronze. It is likely cowry imitations arose from a shortage of actual shells, and may have been made and used over a long period of time. At this point, it does not appear to be possible to date them exactly.


The example on the left is carved from clam shell and the one on the right from bone. They clearly show lines carved into the undersides that mimic the groves one sees on the undersides of actual cowry shells, and are pierced for stringing. Not all carved examples will show these lines, especially those carved from stone, but most do. It is important to note that these are not inscribed with the mark of any issuing authority and thus must be considered a form of Primitive money rather than true coins.

valued at about $17.50 for bone         $25.00 for shell         $55.00 for stone

metal (bronze and lead) examples are worth more
but we do not have a current value on them.

Bone cowry imitations are commonly found stained green from burial with bronze, but I have not found any records of such excavated cowries that would tell us if this results from burial along side bronze coins, or possibly inside of bronze vessels, but I suspect burial in bronze vessels is the more likely explanation.

In the region between the Yellow and Yangtze rivers in the territory of the State of Chu, cowry imitations became even more stylized being cast in bronze with inscriptions that probably indicate an issuing authority. At that point they transform from a form of primitive money to a true coins.


  FD-4. Obverse : The character on these coins is traditionally read as a stylized form of “JIN”, but that is very questionable and it is more likely a form of “BEI” which means shell. Reverse : blank. This type is sometimes called GHOST FACE MONEY as the calligraphy does resemble a human face with two eyes, a nose and a month. This is by far the commonest type in this series. The size and weight very considerably, but in a recent lot of 20 we found an average weight of 2.05 grams ranging in length from 14 to 18.5 mm, but in other groups we have seen them as small as 10 mm.

VG   $15.00     F   $20.00     VF   $35.00


  FD-6. Obverse : The reading of this is uncertain but might be “GE LIU ZHU” (ZHU being the modern form of SHU) which would mean something like “each six shu”. This makes sense although only the heaviest examples weight the 3.0 grams that one would expect of a 6 shu coin. The calligraphy resembles the natural lines on the underside of a genuine cowry, which is probably intentional to indicate a value of a cowry, so here we have a clue that the value of a cowry shell may have been 6 shu when these coins were in use. This is the second commonest type in this series.

F   $42.50     VF   $65.00


  FD-5. Obverse : The reading of this is thought to be “JUN”. The specimen illustrated is 1.4 grams, and 10.7 x 17.3 mm. This is the third commonest type in this series, but significantly scarcer than the previous two.

F   $55.00     VF   $85.00


  Shanghi Enc p 4170. Obverse : The reading of this is probably “HSINGUN” meaning crossroads or going or to act. The specimen illustrated is 3.75 grams, and 13.0 x 18.9 mm. This is one of the very rare types.



These coins are commonly called “Ant-nose money” which derives from looking at these two common types together where the JIN (or BEI) appears to be a face with a prominent “NOSE”, and the bottom of the “Ge Liu Zhu” resembles an ant.

There are at least seven distinct types of these inscribed cowry imitation coins, but only the two above are common. Two others are scarce, and the remaining three rare to extremely rare. We will provide illustrations of other types should they become available. The dating of this series is as yet uncertain, but it is possible one of the types in this series were the first true coins of early China.

The State of Chu did not issue any larger bronze coins during this period, but did issue some very unusual gold coins in the form of square or round inscriptions stamped into 3 to 5 mm thick sheets of gold, which name various cities in the state of Chu. I have not yet owned one of these to image for this site, and there is very little actually known about when they were issued and how they were used.



The hollow handled spades of the Royal State of Zhou were probably the first true coins issued in China, at a time when Zhou was still the most powerful of the Warring states and formed the central government that controlled the other states during the Spring and Autumn period in the 6th and possibly 7th century BC. They are very close in form to the true spades used as primitive money slightly earlier, with a very shallow arch at the bottom and thus short pointed feet.

The date at which these first appear is very much in dispute. Wang mentions bronze vessels dating much earlier than 600 BC (possibly as early as 1000 BC) with dedications referring them having been paid for with “PU”, so he believed the first spade coins came for that very early date. The problem is “PU” is also the name for bolts of cloth which were probably and early form of primitive money in China, those dedications probably describe those vessels having been paid with bolts of cloth. The use of “PU” for the spades probably means the early large spades represented a value equal to a bolt of cloth, although this is by no means certain. “PU” later came to be a generic name for spade money.



Early Period Hollow Handle Spade

FD-98. H-2.12. Obverse: “BEI” as a single character at upper just slightly right of center. The specimen illustrated is 51.7 mm wide across the feet, 94.7 mm long, and 26.55 grams (roughly 24 shu or 2 Liang).

F   $450.00   VF   $750.00
(This value is for an intact specimen.)

Spades similar to the above, with many variations in character or characters on them, were probably issued for the origins of spade money under Zhou in the 6th or 7th century BC, down to the 5th century BC, with the inscriptions becoming more complex inscriptions as you move up in time.



Later Period Hollow Handle Spade

FD-23. Obverse: “WU”, a single character at the bottom slightly left of center. This appears to be the commonest variety of the hollow-handled spades. The specimen illustrated is 48.5 mm wide across the feet, 83.5 mm long, and 23.9 grams (about 48 shu or 2 liang)

F   $450.00   VF   $600.00

(The valuation is for an intact specimens.)


The Shanghai Encyclopedia lists about 500 variations of hollow handles spades (including both the States of Zhou and Zhao issues). While some of the inscriptions appear to be mint names, 500 is many times the number of potential minting authorities, and most are probably series marks within a limited number of mints. A few seem to be denomination marks, but most were probably codes to indicate indicated mints, mint masters, dates, or a combination of such things. The key to their meaning is probably lost forever. For a much more in depth discussion of these inscriptions in English, it would be best to refer to the book “Cast Coins of China” by David Hartill.

While the state of Zhou was powerful early on and issued a wide variety of these hollow handled spades (most of which are individually very rare types), they lost most of their power during this period, and it appears they may have stopped issuing coins in any sigificant numbers by the middle of the Warring States period, just as some of the other Warring state began to issue coins in large numbers and a wide variety of types.



The central but most northerly part of the Yellow River region was controlled by the State of Jin which later become the State of Zhao. We do not yet know the date at which this change occurred, and while it is certain the later coins of this region were issued by the State of Zhao, the earliest issues may have been under the state of Jin.

The earliest coins of this region were hollow handle spades somewhat similar to those of the State of Zhou, but with much longer, more pointed feet. These are probably contemporary with with the hollow handled spades the State of Zhou, most likely dating to either the middle or later part of that period. I suspect they are ca. 450 to 400 BC, and while this is by no means certain, an earlier date would require a large time gap between these and the later flat pointed foot spades, and that seems un-likely. Most examples of this type have no marks indicating an issuing authority, suggesting more a form a primitive money than a true coin, but a large hoard found in 1995 (see Hartill page 17) contained many examples with marks and those are true coins.



Early Hollow Handled Spade

Schjoth-43. No inscriptions to give any indication of a mint or issuing authority. 127.5 x 67 mm (widest point). 32.1 grams. The weight of this issue varies somewhat, with Schjoth’s specimen at 36.93 grams and Mitchiner’s at 39 grams, both of which were incomplete. But it would appears that the actual weight of bronze was intended to be about 36 grams, which is 72 shu or 3 Liang (3 Jin).

VF   $1850.00

(The price is for an intact specimen, and specimens with damaged feet would be much lower priced.)


The very long pointed feet, combined with the weakness at the attachment of the handle, make these very fragile. Their large size also would have made them somewhat impractical to carry around and use in general circulation. Most likely they were used for very specific purposes or large transactions, with general commerce still via the barter system. Probably by the end of the 5th century BC, and certainly by the mid-fourth century BC the State of Zhao redesigned it’s coins to the more practical flat pointed foot spades listed below.

There are two denominations commonly seen for the flat pointed foot spades, with the 1/2 Jin (ca. 6 grams) being far more common than the 1 Jin (ca. 12 grams) examples. The 1 jin examples are also far larger than the 1/2 jin, making the denominations easy to tell a part.



One Jin Flat Pointed Foot Spade

FD-120. H-3.78. This is a fairly large spade at 83.8 mm long and 45.0 mm across the widest point, 14.75 grams (slightly heavier than the intended 24 shu or 1 Jin). The inscriptions reads “JIN YANG” with JIN being a denomination mark, and Yang probably a reference to a mint.

VF   $1500.00



Half Jin Flat Pointed Foot Spade

FD-143 variety with obverse characters reversed. Obverse: “SHANGQIU”. Reverse: uncertain character. 53 x 30 mm. This specimen weighs 6.4 grams (appears to intend a 12 shu or 1/2 Liang (1/2 Jin) standard). The characters on these are in very low relief and do not come out well on the image.

gF   $125.00


  FD-124. Obverse: “JINYANG”. Reverse: uncertain character. 55 x 33 mm. This specimen weighs 6.5 grams (appears to intend a (appears to intend a 12 shu or 1/2 Liang (1/2 Jin) standard).

F   $115.00

There is a wide variety of these, and they are fairly common showing they were issued in fairly large numbers over a significant period of time. This is probably the time during which coins came into much more common use as a medium of exchange in general commerce, although it is very likely the barter system was still in wide spread use as well.

Hartill dates these to ca. 350 to 250 BC, which is contemporary with the thin square foot spades that we list further below under the heading of “THE PERIOD OF UNIFIED COINAGE”. A problem I see with this, is that these coin are very specific to the State of Zhao (earlier called the State of Jin) and do not seem to belong under that heading. Since Zhao issued many types of thin square foot spades in that period, I believe these flat pointed foot spades probably begin when Zhao stops issueing hollow handled spades some time around 400 BC, and end ever Zhao begain to issue square foot spades some time after 350 BC (they are sometimes found with square foot spades, but that does not mean they were not minted at an earlier period and just still circulating). Perhaps one day these dates can be narrowed down a little closer.



Around 400 BC flat spades revolutionized the spade currency. Unlike the hollow-handled spades which required a complex multi-piece mold with a casting core in the handle, the flat spades required only a simple two-piece mold, allowing for larger mintages in shorter periods of time. They were sturdy, easier to store and were cast in the three denominations of 1/2, 1 and 2 “jin”, making them very suitable for use in everyday transactions. Most of the the early issues name the city of Anyi which was the State of Liang capital early in this period. The later issues usually name the city of Liang to which the capital of the stater of Liang was moved later in the period. There are some very scarce types which name other cities. The denomination can be expressed either directly in jin, or as fractions of the LI with 100 to the LI equal a Jin. This is probably the period when coins came into common use over a wide area of China. Early flat foot spades were called “CH’IEN, which later became a generic term for all types of money.


  FD-300, H-3.3. (Value 1). Obverse: “AN YI YI JIN”, meaning Anyi 1 Jin. Reverse: “AN”. This is one of the few heavy spades with a character (mint mark??) on the reverse. The specimen illustrated is 55.0 x 35.3 mm, 12.31 grams.

F   $245.00   VF   $350.00


  S-1. FD-301 H-3.8. Obverse: “AN YI ER JIN”, meaning Anyi 2 Jin. This is one of the commonest heavy flat spades with a typical layout to the inscription. Average (3 specimens) 40.3 x 63.4 mm, 26.7 grams (the weights and sizes can very, and we recently weighed one at 32.4 grams)

F   $195.00   VF   $295.00


  FD-304, H-3.44. Shallow arch type. Obverse: “LIANG ZHENG BI BAI DANG LIE”, meaning “Liang regular coin 100 to a lie” (1 Jin). The specimen illustrated is 59.8 x 40.6 mm, 14.76 grams. These were issued from the State of Liang, probably late in the series after the Capital of the Liang state was moved from Anyi to a new city called Liang.

F   $325.00   VF   $450.00


  As FD-306 but the reverse is blank. Please note that this type is the same size as the others in this series, and it is only our image that is smaller. H-3.48. High arch type. Obverse: “LIANG ZHENG BI BAI DANG LIE”, meaning “Liang regular coin 100 to a lie” (1 Jin). The specimen illustrated is 57.2 x 34.5 mm, 13.9 grams. These were issued from the State of Liang, probably late in the series after the Capital of the Liang state was moved from Anyi to a new city called Liang.

F   $275.00   VF   $375.00


  FD-307. H-3.48. Obverse: “LIANG ZHENG JIN WU SHI(‘ER) DANG LEI”, meaning “Liang heavy Jin of 50 to a lie” (2 Jin). It was probably understood by the people who used these the “heavy Jin” indicuted a double Jin coin. The specimen illustrated is 38.8 x 58.0 mm, 22.62 grams. These very in size and weight somewhat. These were issued from the State of Liang.

F   $295.00   VF   $425.00



A mint designation. ANYI was a city in central China that was part of the Liang (Wei) dynasty during the 4th century BC but had been under the Ch’in dynasty earlier.


A mint designation. LIANG was a city in the state of Liang (Wei) to which the capital was moved later in the 4th century BC.


Denomination marks indicating a value of 1/2 Jin or 200 to the Lie.


Denomination marks indicating a value of 1 Jin or 100 to the Lei.


Denomination marks indicating a value of 2 Jin or 50 to the Lei.


There are a variety of other heavy flat arched foot spades that seem to be from the State of Liang which name cities other than Anyi or Liang. Some have simple inscriptions that just name the city but not the denomination, which others also include marks of denomination. At this point these are not well understood and it is possibly some of them are from other states (some might be from the state of Han), or exactly how they fit into the chronology of this series.


  FD-311, H-3.26. Obverse: “SHAN YANG”. Shan Yang is probably a city name somewhere in the States of Liang or Han. This is a slightly unusual type for a heavy square foot spade in that there is no denomination indicated, although this type is known in the three sizes for 2, 1 and 1/2 Jin. This specimen is the larger 2 Jin although at 58.2 x 40.5 mm, 16.64 grams, it is only slightly heavier than the 1 Jin coins from Anyi and Liang.

F   $750.00
VF   $1000.00


The evolution of spade forms is complex with many types and many lines of development to follow. This part of this site will take a long time to develop and for now only the most common types are included.






It appears that around 350 BC, and continuing down to the end of the Zhou period in 255 BC, the currency of China begins to unify in form, and we see thinner square foot spades appearing in an extensive series bearing a variety of mint names, showing very similar coins were made accross a number of the Warring States, with only minor variations in form. At this point we are making no attempt to sort them out into their particular states of issue, although we might attempt to do so at some future date.

Most spades in this series weight between 5 and 7 grams, with some double unites in the 10 to 12 gram range, but the average is in the 6 gram range for the smaller examples and around 12 grams for the larger ones, showing they were issued with the intended denominations of 1/2 and 1 Jin. some large examples with sharp corners can weight as much as 14 gram, but it is not yet clear if they were intended to be 30 shu or if they are just heavier than average but intended at 24 shu (1 Jin).




FD-286, H-3-173. Obverse: “YU JIN NEI”. YU may be a city name in either the state of Liang or Han, with JIN NEI probably means “metal money”. This is a very rare type of large spade with sharp corners (ears) at the top. This specimen was 57.6 x 42.0 mm, and 10.7 grams.

F   $1500.00
VF   $2450.00




FD-282. Obverse: “GONG”. The specimen illustrated is 48 x 30 mm and weighs 5.4 grams.

F   $115.00     VF $175.00


These thin square foot spades with “ears” clearly belong to the same series as the coin below, but their exact relationship to the more common shape without “ears” is not yet certain. There are a few other types known with this configuration but different characters on them.


  S-13-23 variety. Obverse: “AN YANG”. An-yang probably a city name and may be the current Chang-te in Honan province, but this is not certain and there may have been a number of cities by that name at the time. Schjoth notes that prior to 257 BC An-yang was called Ning-hsin-chung. This is probably the most common square foot spade, and it exists at two weight standards with the regular one averaging about 6 grams, and a heavier averaging about 12 grams (usually weakly cast). We have also seen one at 15.99 grams which could be either a light triple standard or very heavy double standard.

SINGLE (ca. 6 grams) F   $55.00     VF   $75.00

DOUBLE (ca. 12 grams) F   $75.00     VF   $110.00


These thin square foot spades appear to come from a number of different mints, but very little variation in form and weight, which suggests a single central authority with the intent they could circulate freely between the different cities. We have noted that hoards often turn up with mixed types, which seems to support this theory.

The most likely central authority to have that much control would be the state of Ch’in, but only after they were well into the process of unifying China in the 3rd century BC. According to Schjoth, the Historical Records of Ssu-ma Chien state the city of An-yang received that name in the 50th year of Prince Chao Hsiang of Ch’in, which is 257 BC. An-yang spades are by far the most common type in this series, and if there were minted in that same An-yang (which is likely but not 100% certain) they have to be Ch’in period coins, possible providing us with a general time frame for the entire thin square foot spade series.

Wang (page 20) disputes this dating, indicating two cities named An-yang that pre-date 257 BC, suggesting these coins belong to one of those cities. Our current research has turned up only two other coins with the An-yang mint mark. The first is a round-shouldered round foot spade with three holes which Wang lists as a very late issue, and the second is a very rare heavy knife which Wang lists as a very early issue, but which we believe is actually a very late issue (note our discussion of heavy knifes below). If no further evidence for earlier coins of An-yang comes to light, and only coins of after 257 BC are known, we feel Schjoth’s interpretation is the more reasonable one.


  S-7-12 variety, “P’ING YANG”. This is a regular sized square foot spade and the second most common type.

F   $55.00     VF   $75.00


S-28-29, “CHAI-YANG”

F   $55.00     VF   $75.00


  S-31-33 variety, “CH’ENG YI”. The specimen illustrated is weakly cast on the top right character.

F   $47.50     VF   $65.00


S-36-37, “HSIANG-YUAN”

F   $55.00     VF   $75.00


  S-38. Obverse: “KUAN”. Kuan appears go be short for Kuan-chung in the Shansi area.

F   $55.00     VF   $75.00


The “KUAN” character also occurs on a pointed rounded-back knife (reference Shanghai Encyclopedia #2793 and 2794) indicating a possible connection between the two series.



FD-167. Obverse : “TAO-YANG” in seal script (some have read it as a seal script version of “AN-YANG”). Reverse : two character inscription that we have not yet translated. The specimen illustrated is 46.9 x 21.0 mm, 9.11 grams (seem to have been intended to circulate as a double unit).




As FD-167 but blank reverse. Obverse : “TAO-YANG” in seal script, but some have read it as a seal script version of “AN-YANG”. Reverse : blank.

F   $52.50


  FD-178, COOLE-1532. Obverse: “YIN PING”. This issue is smaller, more robust and has more well developed rims than usual, suggesting that it may be a late variation of the square foot spade.

VF   $120.00


  FD-209 variety (bottom right character slightly different style). Obverse: “LANG”. Some believe that the characters on this type should be read as “ZHENG”.

aVF   $115.00





  Reference: FD-178. Obverse : “PING YIN” (although some read it as YIN PING). Reverse : blank. A fairly small light weight type with the specimen illustrated on 38.0 x 24.0 mm (at the foot) and weighing 4.15 grams.

VF   $125.00

The calligraphy on this type is very similar to some of the early Han dynasty square holed round coins (see Schjoth #68), which along with a weight standard that does not fit with other Zhou and Ch’in period spades, suggests this may be a very late issue, possibly of the early Han Dynasty just after 200 BC.





  Reference: FD-289. Obverse : The exact reading of the obverse inscription is in dispute, but may read “SHU BU DANG JIN” meaning “special spade valued at a Jin. Reverse : reads “SHI HUO” meaning “ten huo” with “huo” probably meaning an ant nose type coin. These spades are thick and robust with well developed rims all the way around, with a large round hole in the top. The specimen illustrated is 105 X 36.6 mm (at the foot) and weighs 35.55 grams.

VF   $975.00


These spade coins appear to be of fairly late date, probably during the very last years of the Zhou warring states period, into the Chin and possibly into the early Han period. They are found mostly in the area controlled by the State of Chu, but a few have been found in the area of the State of Han although those might have gotten there by trade. A few have been found buried with Ant Nose coins. They appear to the proto-type of the later Wang Mang Spades.




The monetary designation of knife money is “HOU”, derived from a character meaning “to change” or “to exchange in trade”. It is fairly easy to see how this meaning could become a denomination of money. Later, when the early round coins first appeared, the unit of “HOU” came to be used as a more general denomination.



We assume the pointed knifes, with a smooth curve down the back, are the earliest form of knife money. They have the closest style to genuine knives, and like the early hollow-handled spades often appear without inscriptions, although the inscriptions are normally weak or difficult to see on most specimens. The casting and calligraphy are similar to the hollow-handled spades. This leads us to believe they first appeared at about the time of the inscribed hollow-handled spades and overlap with the heavy flat spades, probably in the late 5th century BC.

Although most pointed knives look very similar, there are actually a number of distinctive variations in the blade shapes that are almost certainly different issues. At this point we cannot go into the details of this, but a some future date we will try to add more information about them. There is a very good listing of them in the Shanghai Encylopedia.


S-62 to 65 variety. The price is for an intact specimen, but these are often found with the tip broken. The one illustrated has a very clear character, which is unusual for these. The actual size of this specimen in about 160 mm, 15.6 grams. The prices are for examples with clear characters. Many examples have no visible or very weak characters and are worth about half.

F   $115.00     VF   $160.00


S-62 to 65 variety. This exact type is listed in the Shanghai Encyclopedia as #2733. The price is for an intact specimen, but these are often found with the tip broken. The actual size of this specimen in about 153 x 21.5 mm, 15.6 grams. The prices are for examples with clear characters. Many examples have no visible or very weak characters and are worth about half.

F   $115.00     VF   $160.00


We have not done much work on these yet, but it appears that the characters on them may be mint names. We have not noted any with indications of denomination, but based on 5 intact specimens we have recent weighed, they seem to average about 15.8 grams (high of 17.0 and low of 14.2 grams), indicating a probable standard 30 shu, about the same as the Ming Knives. This places them in the same denomination set as the mint knives and suggests these are the fore-runners of them. We recently had a specimen of SH-2772 that weighed 23.92 grams but we believe it was an anomaly.



The “Ming” knifes probably followed next, but they are still a bit of a mystery. The fabric is similar to common square-foot spades except that the inscriptions give no indications of mint names. All bear the character “Ming” on one side, which Wang (page 166) suggests is made up of the characters for “sun” and “moon”, meaning “bright”. These are by far the most common of all knife money and must have been cast in vast numbers, and are found over a wide area of Northern China and as far away as Northern Korea.

S-51-61, Ming type, obverse: “MING”. There are many different inscriptions that can occur on the reverse of these, which need much more study.

F   $25.00     VF   $45.00


Long ago we noted that there were two distinct shapes of ming knifes, the first of which has a distinctly angled back, and the second with a mildly curved back. The exact significance of this is uncertain, but it is possible that the mildly curved back varieties are the earliest, having evolved from the pointed curved back knifes. A partial hoard of these that we obtained recently, had both types well represented.

Wang (page 170) points out that the curved-back ming knifes can be further divided into two distinct inscription varieties. The first variety has a mint name and monetary designation on the reverse. The second variety has reverse inscriptions which do no appear to have a relationship to mints or denominations. It appears that these two varieties are probably roughly contemporary but from different districts.

All of the angle-back specimens have the second type of inscription without mint name or monetary designation.

Dating ming knifes is a little problematical, but we suspect that they appear in the very late Zhou, probably at the end of the 4th century BC and continue down to and possibly after the unification under the Ch’in.

The ming knifes that we have checked have an average weight of about 15-16 grams and it appears that the intended denomination may have been 30 shu. This is heavier than the pointed knifes, suggesting a new denomination system (see our discussion of weight standards). Unfortunately all of the specimens we have been able to check are of the angle-back variety and we do not yet know if the curved-back varieties fall into the same standard. We will investigate this soon.



The more stylized straight knifes, with characters on one side may be contemporary with the later Ming knifes, probably ca. 300 to 250 BC. There are not as many variations on these as there are Ming knifes, and the characters on them normally indicated numbers and what may be mint names. This the series is not yet well understood and much more research is needed on this series.


  Hartill 4.68.Obverse : “Gan Dan Bi” which translates to “Gan Dan Coin”. Gan Dan is probably a mint name.Reverse : Blank.This specimen is 132.4 mm x 15.3 mm (longest and widest points), and 9.42 grams. The hole in the hands is distinctly almond shaped.F   $125.00     VF   $195.00 


FD-346 variety. Obverse: 2 characters. The hole in the handle is usually fairly small and sometimes almond shaped. The characters are generally weakly cast and difficult to make out.

F   $85.00     VF   $120.00



The large heavy knifes may be the most misunderstood part of this series. In most early references they described as the earliest knife form, going back to before 600 BC, but this seems un-likely as they are a highly evolved form with fairly complex inscriptions, and must actually date very date in the series. In Hartill’s book (Cast Chinese Coins) he dates them to between 400 and 220 BC, which makes them fairly late in the knife money series. I personally suspect the dates might even have to be moved up a little on that, which I will discuss below. With the exception of the three-character Ch’i knifes, most heavy knifes are rare to extremely rare.


Ch’i Type Knife S-45-50. Obverse: Three characters reading “CH’I FA HUO” which loosely translates to “The authorized currency of Ch’i”. The reverse generally has a single character, but there are a number of different types known. The specimen shown is somewhat sharper than normal, but these usually are fairly nice.

F   $195.00     VF   $275.00


There is some variation in the weights of these, but they seem to average around 48 grams.




Ch’i Type Four Character Knife

FD-253. Obverse: Four characters reading “CH’I CHIH FA HUO” which loosely translates to “The genuine currency of Ch’i”.

Reverse: The reverse generally has a single character, but there are a number of different types known.

The specimen shown is typical with low relief characters, is 185 mm x 30 mm (longest and widest points), 27 mm across the ring handle and 33.95 grams.


F   $475.00     VF   $650.00


The dating of these coins will probably remain uncertain until archeological evidence can provide some answers, but the coins themselves do give us some clues.

We feel that it is significant no uninscribed, or even simple inscriptions are known for these forms as they are for the very early hollow-handle spades, pointed knifes and cowry imitations. As these heavy knifes first appear with full developed complex inscriptions including a mint name and indication of a monetary unit, it would seem they must dates later than those hollow-handled and heavy flat spades, almost certain later than 400 BC.

While rims are present on many ancient coins, they are usually low and thin, while these coins have thick and high rims for where there are no parallel on other knife and spade coins, with the closest thing seeming to to be the early round coins of “I” (a city in the Ch’i territory) which are certainly of a very late date and suggest they might even be later Chin or even early Han issues down to around 200 BC or possibly even slightly later. They also seem to be the most finely cast of all ancient Chinese knife and spade coins, but of the specimens that we have seen, none showed significant wear suggesting some purpose other than a general circulating coinage.

When we consider all these features of these coins, we are led to believe they may have been made for ceremonial purposes such as presentations or burial. This seems consistent with the use of the state mane of Ch’i as a “mint” designation, rather than one of the cities in Ch’i as is the usual pattern for knife and spade coins, and they may in fact have been were cast at a very late date, probably after 300 BC.



This is an area we have just begun to study. Most of the types are seldom encountered, and with the exception of four types we have handled very few of these coins. Wang (Early Chinese Coinage, pages 187 to 205) is the best study we have seen on these and much of our information is based on his work. Wang’s one fault is in not giving enough consideration to weight standards. Fortunately he has provided some information about weights, which we will attempt to interpret with respect to our own theories.

Early round coins can be divided into two major types. Those with round holes are found in areas associated with spade money. Square-hole types are found in areas associated with knife money. At this point, we believe that these two types evolved independently at different times.



Early round coins with round holes can be divided into two major types. The first type are those with multiple-character inscriptions including both mint marks and monetary units, which share the following similarities with the heavy flat spades: 1) They occur in the two monetary units of liang and chin. 2) Similar style of the calligraphy. 3) Similar construction of the legends. 4) They are found in more than one denomination (1 and 1/2 liang and chin). 5) They never occur with any type of rims. This leads us to believe they evolved directly from these spades and are the earlier of the two types.

They differ from the spades in one important aspect. All the specimens we have been able to confirm fall into the weight system based on multiples of 10 shu with an average about 10 grams (20 shu) for the full units, and about 5 grams (10 shu) for the half units, while the heavy flat spades were cast to the weight standard based on multiples of 12 shu. This leads us to believe they we issued as a replacement for the heavy flat spades as the new weight system was adopted (see our discussion of the weight standards above). This suggests a date somewhere towards the end of the 4th century BC.

The second series of round-holed round coins are those with only a mint name, but no denomination. These are seen with either one-or two-character legends but in all other ways, including the weights, resemble the multi-character types. The use of only a mint name without monetary units is a characteristic shared with the square-foot spades which are cast to the same weight standard, in a close relationship between the two and suggest a date right around or just after 300 BC.


  FD-371, SH—, H—, S—. Obverse: “JI”. JI was a city in the state of Yan. This is a rarity of the highest order, and the only reference I have found it in is Fisher’s Dings where it is listed as “price not determined”. Average (1 specimen) 41.2 mm, 10.05 grams.

We can only guess at a value for something this rare, but probably somewhere in the $7500.00 range

There is dispute over this particular type. Until recently the only known example was that listed by Ding in his 1938 work, and we believe that specimen is in the Chinese national collections. Because of it’s rarity that specimen has been considered by many to be a fantasy issue. Recently this second specimen came to our attention and we can find no reason to believe it is not a genuine ancient example. But I am sure the controversy will continue.


  FD-372, SH-4074 variety, H-6.10. Obverse: “LISHI”. Li Shi was a city in the state of Zhao. The SH example had an extra star above the top character, but both of the FD examples and the Hartill example, have a single star as on this coin. RARE. Average (1 specimen) 34.8 mm, 3.50 grams.

XF   $2500.00


  FD-375 variety, SH-4058, H-6.6. Obverse: “CHANG YUAN YI JIN” meaning Chang yuan 1 Jin. Hartill notes that the reading is now through to be Qi Yuan, which was a city in the state of Liang. This is the most common of the multi-character early round coins with round holes, but is by no means a common coin. Average (1 specimen) 38.5 mm, 12.23 grams.

XF   $1750.00


  S-73, Obverse: “YUAN” as a single character on the right. Yuan was a city in the state of Liang. This is the most common of all round coins with round holes. Average (3 specimens) 42 mm (range 41.2 to 43 mm), 9.93 grams (range 8.8 to 10.7 grams).

F   $150.00     VF   $275.00


  S-75, Obverse: “KUNG” as a single character on the right. Kung or Gong was a city in the state of Liang. This is the second most common early round coin with round hole. Average (3 specimens) 42 mm (range 41.2 to 43 mm), 9.57 grams (range 8.7 to 10.5).

F   $475.00   VF   $650.00   XF   $950.00


With the exception of the mintmark-only Yuan and Kung types, round-holed coins are exceptionally rare and must have been cast in very limited quantities over a relatively short period of time. We have found good evidence that the Kung and Yuan types are contemporary with each other, and probably circulated side by side, because the Kung type illustrated above has the rather interesting feature of a Yuan type imprinted in the patination on the reverse, proving they were buried togeather in the same hoard. Click here for an image of that reverse imprint..

Our best interpretation of these coins is that they were a short-lived unsuccessful attempt to introduce round coins around 300 BC, but were rejected and replaced by square-foot spades.

Coins with Yuan and Kung mint marks provide us with an important clue to the sequence and dating of 4th and 3rd century BC coins. Kung issued heavy flat spades (ca. 12 grams, reference Shanghai Encyclopedia #1438, 1439), round coins with multiple-character inscriptions (ca. 10 grams, reference Wang plate LIII #3) and round coins with single-character inscriptions (ca. 10 grams, reference Schjoth-75). It is unlikely all three were issued at the same time, so we are probably looking at a sequence of issues which we believe occurred in the order listed. Yuan and Kung issued round coins with round holes and single-character inscriptions (ca. 10 grams, 42 mm), and Yuan also issued square-foot spades (ca. 5 grams, reference Schjoth-36, 37).

Taken together we get the following sequence: First, heavy flat spades. Second, a very short series of round-holed coins with mint and denomination marks. Third, another short series of round-holed coins with mint mark only. Fourth, the thin square-foot spades.

This is an idealized sequence as not all mints issued all of the types, and it is doubtful that they all changed types at the same times. Some smaller mints issued coins only occasionally and may not have been active during some of the stages. Other mints probably continued to issued heavy flat spades after others minted their first round coins, and then went straight to light square-foot spades without issuing any round coins.

We soon hope to do an in-depth study of early round coin weights. If any issue of these round-holed types turns up with a weight standard around 12 grams (24 shu), it would tie that issue more closely to the heavy flat spades and suggest an earlier date. If no heavy series is found, it would confirm these were issued as the various cities changed standards from multiples of 24 shu (12 grams) to multiples of 20 shu (10 grams), which we believe occurred about 300 BC (see our discussion of weight standards). (Please remember that the weight of any one specimen would prove nothing, as individual coins can vary considerably. Only the average weight of numbers of specimens of the same type is significant).



Early square-holed round coins seem to be found exclusively in areas associated with knife money. They come in two distinct series, the relatively common “MING” types that appear to be related to the ming knifes, and the much scarcer “I” series which seem to represent the issues of a single mint called “I”. The only inscriptions they have is their monetary designation of “HUO”, a character which has come to mean “knife money”, but which had also become a unit of denomination by the time these coins were issued.

Dating this series is difficult, although it is likely that they are much later than the round hole coins with which they have very little in common and are probably not related. It is possible, and for the “I” types even probable, that they were cast in the late Ch’in or Han periods and should not be included in this discussion of Zhou period coins. It is also likely that the earliest Pan Liang coins (currently discussed under the Ch’in Dynasty) predate the Ming and “I” round coins and should be included here.

The Ming Huo and the smaller Yi Huo coins appear to be derived from the Ming knifes, although it is not certain that even these two issues belong together.


  S-76. Round coin with square hole. Obverse: “MING HUO”. Reverse: blank. Average (3 specimens) 24 mm (they tend to be off round) and 2.48 grams.

F   $85.00     VF   $105.00     XF   $135.00


The Ming Huo are robust castings with slightly crude characters and no rims. There is little doubt the character “Ming” is the same as on the ming knifes, although the meaning is still a mystery. There has been debate over the character “HUO” on these, but Wang makes a good case for this reading. What is less clear is how “HUO” is meant to be interpreted. It may imply these coins were equivalent to a ming knife (or some implied fraction thereof), in which case they could have been issued alongside or just after the knife series, at the end of the Zhou period. “HUO” could also be meant as a monetary unit (as it clearly is on the Yi huo coins) in which case these were probably issued long after the ming knifes, probably during the early Han dynasty. This is something that will probably only be answered by the study of hoard evidence.


  S-77-8 variety. Early round coin with square hole Obverse: “YI-HUO” (one knife). Note the outer and inner rims. Average (11 specimens) 19 mm, 1.53 grams. These tend to be slightly weakly cast with rough surfaces.

F   $22.50     VF   $29.50     XF $45.00


At first glance the YI-HUO appear to be small versions of the MING-HUO coins and are listed that way in most numismatic references. However the Ming-Huo are completely rimless will the YI-HUO have a distinct outer and sometimes an inner rim. These rims, along with the inscription translating to “one knife” suggest these are a later issue of the Ming-Huo coinage at a lower weight standard. The rims show a strong similarity to the rimmed Pan Liang coins which appear to have been issued between 136 and 117 BC during the Han period and it is possible these are contemporary with that issue. “Yi Huo”, meaning “1 knife” and clearly shows “Huo” used as a monetary unit.


  S-68. Early round coin with square hole Obverse: “I SSU HUO” (I four Huo). Note the strongly developed outer and less developed inner rims. Average (2 specimen) 30 mm. 6.65 grams.

F   $195.00     VF   $295.00


This “I” series of square-holed round coins is very simple, being composed of a single basic type issued in the four denominations of 1, 2, 4 and 6 huo. Here again “HUO” is used as a monetary unit rather than a term for knife money. This is another series for which the dating is uncertain (somewhere between late Zhou and early Han) and we would be very interested in hearing the details of any hoard in which these are found alongside other coins.


Much of the current literature lists the character for “I” as a variation on the character “Pao” (money), to which it does have a strong resemblance. Wang (pages 188, 189) makes a convincing argument for the proper reading as the city name “I”, the ancient county seat of the county of Han in the state of Ch’i, a site just northwest of Shou-kuang in the northeast of Shantung province.


  LARGE BAN LIANG (over 38 mm). Obverse: “BAN LIANG”. Reverse : blank. These large specimens vary considerably in weight, from less than 8 grams to over 20 grams, but to date them this early they must be at least 38 mm. The value listed is for specimens over 38 mm, but in the 10 gram range, with heavier ones worth more.

VF   $145.00


It is fairly certain that the Ban Liang coinage was issued by the state of Chin, with the earliest Ban Liangs issued by Chin as one of the Warring States of the Zhou Dynasty period, probably about 300 BC. The size, weight, and casting characteristics of these very large examples suggest they are contemporary with the early round coins, with round holes from other states which are listed above. Ban Liangs of smaller size and lower weight were to become the principle coin of China later, after the Chin conquered the other Warring states to unify China during the 3rd century BC. Those coins will be discussed in the next section of this website under the Chin and Han dynasties.



During the third century BC, the round coin was introduced alongside the other types of money. It soon replaced the others as the sole type of money in China. These cast copper cash coins had a central square hole, so that they could be stacked on a stick or strung on a ribbon. The coins barely changed in appearance for 2000 years, until they were replaced with machine-struck coins in 1912.


Kingdom of Qin,
round coin,
3rd cent. BC.
© Fitzwilliam Museum

Wang Mang (AD 9-23),
50-cash coin.
© Fitzwilliam Museum


De Zong (1875-1908),
10 cash coin.
© Fitzwilliam Museum




Ancient Chinese round coins




Russia History Collections Part Four

Russia history Four

The Russia Office In China

History Collections

Created By

Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA



Several year ago I found the Russian postoffice stamps in china with overprint KTH means Kitai or china


And this day I found the other type with overprint oblique Dollar currency on russsia stamps.


later horizontal overprint

In order to know thehistory of Russian office in china,I have made the study and this is the report of the study in CD-ROM

This is only the sample,the complete CD with full illustrations exist but only for premium member

Jakarta April 2012

Dr Iwan Suwandy,MHA




Postal History Collections


Russian Post Offices in the Chinese Empire


Russia opened a series of Imperial Russian Post Offices in China, the first being opened in 1870,



The Russian post offices in China were a collection of post offices established by Imperial Russia in various cities of China beginning in 1870

First offices

The first offices were in Beijing,Tientsin, Kalgan, Tientsin, and Urga (in Mongolia), all in areas near to Russian-controlled territory





Cover from Tientsin to Germany,

 taken to Peking for dispatch by Merchants post as the Russian P.O. was not operating from Tienstin at that time, sent via Kyakhta and Moscow before arriving in Rossleben, originally franked on the reverse with four pen cancelled stamps paying the 30k Merchants rate and 14k from Russia to Germany, before the stamps were removed in transit between Russia and the German border, noted by German inspector who applied “FRANCO” cds with ms “f 2″ on front, with ms “China” and arrival cds over traces of stamps on reverse, very fine, also including 1858 perf. 12 1/2 30k with ms “27 July / 1867 / Pekin” cancel.

The earliest known mail from the Russian Post in China and one of the two known cover from the Merchants Pos

€ 15,000




TIENTSIN: 1875 Cover to Dereham, England,

 franked with 1866-75 10k strip of four and 3k pair, tied by three clear strikes of dateless double-framed “TYAN-TSZIN. POCHT. KONT.” (Tientsin Post Office) hs, with Kyakhta transit adjacent dated 1 May 1875, the letter having left Tientsin about two weeks earlier, showing Moscow transit and Dereham arrival bs.

Postage of 46k represents pre-UPU rates of 30k for conveyance to the Russian border at Kyakhta and 16k for onward transmission from Russia to England.

Earliest known mail from the official Russian Postal Administration in China, using Russian canceller on Russian stamps, and only known use of Tientsin’s first Russian handstamped canceller on cover.

The Jewel in the crown of the Russian post in China

Note: Illustrated in the BJRP nos.18 (1955) and 71 (1991) and “The London Philatelist” Nos. 1151-52 (1988)- The “Kyakta Type 2″ of Tchilingirian & Stephen, “Stamps of the Russian Empire used Abroad” pt. 4 (1959), 9.312, said to be based on the cancellation on this cover, is a fantasy, showing posthorns at foot instead of the fleuron depicted herin. € 70,000



In November 1886

additional offices opened in Shanghai, Chefoo, Hankow with offices in Port Arthur, and Dairen following soon afterwards.

In addition, many Russian Field Post Offices operated throughout Manchuria and civilian mail was frequently accepted there as well.








Japanese Military mail from KAWAHASHI Yosouemon, 9th Company, Infantry 9th Regiment,

Hsi-mu-ch’eng Garrison, Shengching Province, Manchuria, China.

Cancel reading ‘1st Army No. 14, Field Post Office, 28. 10. 16′ (16th October 1895), located at Hai-ch’eng.

Sent to a relative, KAWAHASHI YKyosouemon, Ikagu-mura, Ika-gun, Shiga-ken, Japan.







1896 Japanese Military mail from KAWAHASHI, 9th Company, Infantry 9th Regiment, Taiwan.

Cancel reading ‘No. 2, Field Post Office Formosa, 29. 3. 1′, (1st March 1896), located at T’ai-pai.

Sent to a relative KAWAHASHI, Ika-gun, Shiga-ken, Japan.

Receiving cancel ‘Omi, Kinomoto, 29. 3. 16′, (16th March 1896).











A July 1900

 telegram from the British Legation, Peking, China, to England.


Reading ‘Allies routed Chinese round Tientsin July 9th. Capturing 6 Guns destroyed fort, Chinese made

determined attack on twelth repulsed with heavy loss, Allies lost 150 killed wounded.







Mail from German Expeditionary Force China.



German Military mail from the German warship at Taku, China.

Cancel reading ‘Kaiser Deutsche Marine Schiffspost No. 69, 24/10 00′, (24th October 1900).






Mail from the French Expeditionary Force in China.



French Military mail from the French Legation in Peking, China.

Oval cancel reading ‘Peking, MAR 1 1901′, (1st March 1901).







Mail to the Japanese Expeditionary Force in China.



Japanese Military mail outgoing from Japan to the Army Garrison in Tientsin, China.

Outgoing cancel dated 35. 2. 18, (18th February 1902).

Receiving cancel of ‘TIENTSIN I.J.P.O. 22 FEB 02′, (22nd February 1902).







Mail showing the foreign post offices in China of Japanese, Germany, Russian, British, French and the Chinese post office all at Tient-sin.












Japanese Military mail from SASAMOTO Tomigoro, 101 Relief Team, Japan Red Cross Society,

Commissariat Hospital, Manchuria, Expeditionary 3rd Army.

Handstamps in red-orange read ‘Military Mail’ and ‘Senior Doctor HOSOYA Osamu, 101 Relief Team,

Japan Red Cross Society’.

Mail sent to FUKAZAWA Tomizo, Ochiai-mura, Naka-Koma-mura, Kai-no-kuni, Japan.









Japanese Military Mail from ship of the Japanese Navy ‘No. 38 Torpedo Boat’ of the 2nd Fleet.

Mail carried back to Japan by the ship ‘Genkai-maru’ built in 1891 at Glasgow, Scotland, of 1,446 tons.

On-board post office of ‘Genkai-maru’ cancel ‘No. 3, Navy Post Office, 37. 7. 12′, (12th July 1904).

Sent to Fujima-mura, Seta-gun, Kouzuke-no-kuni, Gumma-ken, Japan.

Receiving cancel of Kouzuke, Komino, 37. 7. 20′, (20th July 1904).







 Military Mail from the Japanese 2nd Army at the Sha-ho (Sha River), Manchuria.

Cancel reading ‘No 2 Army, Fied Office No. 1, Branch No. 1, 37 – 9 – 30′, (30th September 1904).

Sent to Japan with receiving cancel dated 37. 10. 8, (8th October 1904).








Russian Military mail from the Ruusia-Holland Sanitary Troops, Kharbin, Manchuria.

Circular ‘Red’ Cross handstamp. Cancel of ‘Head Field Post Office, 22. 9. 04′, (22 September 1904).

On reverse 7 kopek stamp paying the registration fee to St. Petersburg. 




Finally, the Chinese Eastern Railway had Russian post offices operating at most of the major stations, and important cities along the railway such as Harbin had several Russian post offices in the town itself.

In addition, Travelling Post Offices operated in trains along the Chinese Eastern Railway.








TIENTSIN: 1891 Cover (flap missing) registered to His Imperial Highness the Grand Duke Aleksander Mikhailovich in St. Petersburg, with two Arms 14k, playing the three times 7k rate plus an additional 7k for registeration, tied by a fine crisp strike of double oval TYAN-TSZIN ds (T&S type 3A, variety month above day), above strike at left & ms registeration number, Troitskosvask transit bs.

An attractive and superb item for the Royalty collector. An Iconic cover of the Russian post in China€ 20,000


additional ones being added in 1897 and subsequently during the Russian military occupation of parts of China 1900-7.




Regular Russian stamps were used prior to 1899, and then a series of overprinted stamps were released, initially bearing the word “Kitai” on regular Russian issues



Registered Letter Card to Halle (Germany)), 1c Chefoo letter card with additional Russia 1k, 3k, 7k, 14k all tied by light Khabarovsk c.d.s., cirlced “R” and boxed Khabarovsk registry handstamp, backstamped Moscow, Halle arrival cancel on front side, slight separation along the fold, Fine and attractive.
Estimate $200 – 300







Russian post offices in China



TIENTSIN: 1900 Cover to England with “KITAI” 1k, 2k and 3k tied by Tientsin 3.12.1900 cds in red (T&S type 4X, characterised by defective year numerals), with Chefoo Russian P.O. transit in violet (T&S type 2) adjacent, reverse with Shanghai Russian P.O. cds (Gregorian calendar) and French paquebot cds, a very attractive three colour franking with coloured cancels€ 400











URGA: 1903 Native cover registered to Kalgan, franked with vertical strip of three Russia Arms 2k blue paying double the internal rate plus registration fee, tied by Urga 15.XI.03 type 4 cds in violet, registration label on the reverse (Hellrigl type 3 rated RRR), Troitskosavsk transit, opened for display, a rare registered cover € 2,000















1899, diagonal overprint ”Kiai”, 1k, 2k and 5k, printed on horizontally laid paper, sheet margin horizontal pairs, each one has a part of perfin ”Obrazets” (Specimen), full OG, NH, VF $ 140.00



China – Foreign Offices, 1902 (May 2), picture post card from Shanghai to Germany, franked with China ½¢ Dragon and with the stamps of the U.S., British (Hong Kong), French, Japanese and Russian P.O.s tied by appropriate cancels between May 2 and May 12, 1902; card written in German and sent to Freiburg, Germany, Fine to Very Fine.
Estimate $100 – 150SOLD for $325.00




URUMCHI: 1906 Envelope sent registered from the Russian Consular Office in Urumchi to Switzerland with “KITAI” 1k, 2k (2), 3k, 5k and 7k on the obverse tied by “URUMTSI (CHINA) / POST OF THE IMPERIAL CONSULATE OF RUSSIA” 22.VI.06 cds, sent to Chuguchak where it was re-registered and franked on the reverse with unoverprinted 1k, 2k, 4k, 5k and 7k tied by the Chuguchak type 1B cds, with Sergiopol and Moudon bs.

Very fine and unique, the only known cover from the Russian Post in Urumchi.

Note: Illustrated in “Stamps of the Russian Empire Used Abroad” p.286 by Tchilinghirian & Stephen
Provenance: Ex Adler € 20,000





KULDJA: 1913 Envelope sent registered to Odessa, franked with “KITAI” 4k and 10k tied by Kuldja 23.4.13 type 7B cds, reg’n label adjacent, very fine and very rare, “KITAI” stamps were not stocked in Russian P.Os in Sinkiang but were accepted for postage, however this is the only known use at Kuldja € 4,000



URGA: 1915 Native cover sent registered to the USA, franked with “KITAI” 1k, 4k, 10k and 15k paying double the foreign postal rate plus registration fee, tied by the Urga 14.11.15 type 7B cds, with “Ourga / Poste Russe” registration label (designed for foreign destinations other than Russia or China, Hellrigl type 14 rated RRR, only known example, adjacent, with Yokohama and Seattle bs, very fine and unique cover with a rare usage of the “KITAI” overprints € 4,000


HANKOW: 1903 Cover registered from Hankow to England, franked with China “KITAI” 3k (2) and 7k (2) and tied by the Hankow “I.P.O” hs (T&S type H-3), with Chinese 22.6.03 cds (Tchil. H-2) and boxed registration hs adjacent, sent to Shanghai where it was transferred to the Russian P.O., re-registered (label on reverse) and the stamps further cancelled by Shanghai cds type 1), with Port Arthur and London bs.

The only known example of I.P.O. markings on Russian stamps. € 4,000


SHANGHAI: 1916 Improvised envelope for photographs registered to Zurich with “KITAI” 5k and 7k paying the 2k printed matter rate plus 10k reg’n fee, tied by Shanghai 2.11.16 cds (unrecorded type with Cyrillic “c”), reg’d label in French (with misspelt “Poste”), with different censor mark on both sides applied at Petrograd, Zurich arrival, a very rare if not unique cancel on cover.

Note: There is no previous record of serial “s” in any of the cancels used in the Russian P.O.s in China. € 2,000



SHANGHAI: 1900 Cover sent registered to France with “KITAI” 1k (4), 2k (3), 3k, 5k (2), 7k and 10k, all tied by Shanghai 4.IIII.1900 (T&S type 1), paying triple 10k rate plus registration, with rare registration label in English adjacent reading “I(mperial). R(ussian). P(ost). O(ffice). / Shanghai, China,” with French paquebot ds struck on SS Tonkin, Marseille and Chauny bs, a highly attractive franking and rare registered cover€ 1,500


Russia post offices in  China


in 1917 the overprint was changed to clarify the situation, simply consisting of the value in Chinese money and using Latin letters. The valuation was still one-to-one. A later round of overprints,

subsequently having a value in cents or dollars overprinted


Used, opened for $1 and sold at that price.  Scott values at $15, SG values at £3.50 (about $5.25) and Michel at DM6 (about $3) – a rare example of Scott pricing higher than SG and Michel (Aug 00).





Two blocks as shown of seven stamps plus whatever you choose to call the other piece – interesting to see that it, too, has been surcharged, and probably worth a premium because of this.  MNH.  Opened for $3.50 and four people bid up to $11.50 (or $1.65 a stamp).  Scott values each stamp at $1.25 (Aug 00).





1918 (4 Apr.)

official cover to Urga bearing, on the reverse, Peking Junk 1c. (2), 3c. and 6c. tied by superb strikes of Uliassutai bilingual c.d.s. type I and fine Urga arrival (15.4), the face with a magnificent strike of the registration handstamp. Est $HK100,000-$HK150,000.


RUSSIAN OFFICES IN CHINA 1918 P.O.W. Cover to Krasnoyarsk, #52(3), 55(2), 57 tied on back side by Tyanyszin Russkaya Pochta 16.2.18 c.d.s., accompanying registry label of same post office on address side along with Changchun J.P.O. transit c.d.s., two indistinct Japanese transit cancels on franking side plus Krasnoyarsk receiving cancel, cover with five wax seals and small break along central vertical fold, a Fine cover.
Estimate $100 – 150



in 1920, changed to use a horizontal overprint in mixed case, but these saw little use, all Russian post offices in China being closed in that year


RUSSIAN OFFICES IN CHINA 1920 Registered Cover to USA, #58 single franking tied on oversized cover by Chefoo 28 2 20 c.d.s with accompanying similar strike alongside and bilingual registry label, commercial arrival date stamp on front side, backstamped Chicago Mar 27, cover some minor faults incl numerous staple holes at top, Fine nice commercial use.
Estimate $150 – 200SOLD for $120.00






Cover registered to the USA with pairs of the Russia Chinese surcharged 1c on 1k, 2c on 2k, 3c on 3k and 4c on 4k, all tied by Shanghai 29.10.20 cds (T&S type 7A, no example had been recorded), reg’d label in Cyrillic and English adjacent, Yokohama transit, a rare cancel and a late usage (the Russian P.O.s in China were closed November 1920) € 2,000



RUSSIAN OFFICES IN CHINA 1917, “5 DOLLARS” on 5r indigo, green and pale blue, Inverted overprint (Scott 68a), bottom right corner margin single with color indicator label, o.g., never hinged, hinged in the margin only; nibbed perfs at top, some thinning in the margin well away from the stamp, fresh and well centered, otherwise Very Fine.
Scott $500 for hinged Estimate $250 – 350


Overprint one dollar

The last stamps were issued in 1920.

Scott lists these stamps at the end of its Russia section, and Stanley Gibbons and Michel have separate sections.  Scott shows 80 major types, SG 66, and Michel 61.



Described on eBay by a Professional dealer as “Russia PO China 1917 $7 on 7r “Invtd Ovpt” (#66var) MLH: An exceptional example of this exceedingly rare stamp – only 25 issued – having superb centering and very rich colors. Expertizing mark on reverse and offered with our usual full guarantee. A gem rarity. Unlisted in Scott, mentioned in Yvert and catalogued #41Ab in SG but unpriced.”  Opened for $3000 and closed with no bids (Aug 00).




Described on eBay, offered for sale at the same time and by the same dealer as the S66 invert above, as “Russia PO China 1917 $5 on 5r “Invtd Ovpt” (#68a) MLH: A very well centered and fresh example having an inverted overprint. Expertized on reverse. Fault free and VF.”  Opened for $180 and closed with no bids.  Scott values at $250 (Aug 00).



in 1920,

changed to use a horizontal overprint in mixed case, but these saw little use, all Russian post offices in China being closed in that year





“5 Cent.” on 5k claret, Double surcharge (Scott 80b), pair, each stamp with full surcharge plus portions of two more, o.g., left stamp l.h., right stamp small h.r., Very Fine.
Scott $500 Estimate $150 – 200


Russian Post office In mongol



KASHGAR: 1908 Envelope sent registered from the Secretary at the Imperial Russian Consulate in Kashgar “via town OSH, Ferghana Province” to St. Petersburg, franked with Arms 14k tied by green Kashgar 12.12.08 type 1 cds, reg’n label adjacent (showing “K” of Kashgar inverted), arrival bs, slightly reduced at left, a rare example of Consulate mail € 1,800


KASHGAR: 1915 4k Romanov postal stationery card sent to Sweden, initially franked with Chinese 1c “Junk” paying postage from Yarkand (Chinese Shufu) to Kashgar, with the imprint cancelled the following day with Kashgar 17.9.15 type 2b cds, Tashkent transit, as China was not a member of the UPU, Chinese stamps were not valid for postage to Sweden. € 800

Russian Offices in China: Real or fake overprint?

I am doing my best to research these and have not seen a reference to forged overprints on these issues, but somehow they look just too perfect to me MNH. These are beyond my level of knowledge thats for sure. Horizontally laid paper, vertically laid paper, wove paper, lozenges of varnish!!!! Poor quality of the overprint too. just don’t know..


Here is the first thing to check- Look at the serif on the top of the ‘K’

Notice that the right side is shorter than the left side.

Most forgeries will get this wrong and the serif will be even on both sides.

Beyond that means getting the handbook for these by Ray Ceresa.

I do not have any forgeries of this issue, so can’t show any

i have this kind of stamps like the 1 rouble brown & orange.

Mine is different of this mentioned above and has ‘1 DOLLARD’ in place of cyrilic caracters.

Did you see it in our search before ? and is there any history for this overprint ?

I cannot attest to whether yours are forgeries or real ( i still dont know if mine are). But your stamp overprinted with ‘1 Dollar’ is Scott Russian Offices in China #63 $1 on 1 ruble overprint value $1.25 mint and $15.00 used.

Certainly those are different printings of the basic stamp
(the one with the 1 Dollar overprint), as the large brownish-
orange “1’s” are quite different in the serif and base…that
suggests that one is a counterfeit.


That is just the normal printing variation on the basic stamp.

The basic stamps were made in huge quantities from many different plates.

I do not know of any forgeries of the basic 1 ruble stamp. Just some of the higher values.

below is a link to a quite old, but very analytical article on the KITAI overprints and their forgeries in the “Journal of the Rossica Society of Russian Philately”:

You may also find useful a later note in the Journal, describing a rather simple method of evaluating genuine overprints:

Apparently “on all genuine stamps from Scott numbers 1-47, the angle of inclination (of the overprint) is approximately 57o-58o, whereas the angle of the forgeries varies between 38o and 53o” (usually an angle around 50o being the most common).



USA Foreign PostOffice


Italian Foreign Postoffica



German Foreign Post Office



German Empire

Offices in China – Stamps


The German Empire post offices in China started to operate in 1886. At first, German definitive postage stamps of the era were used, without overprints. These “forerunners” can only be told apart from regular used German stamps, by the cancellations. Many of these are not expensive, and collecting these forerunner issues is very popular with German postmark collectors.

Post offices existed in the following towns. These are the German spellings of the town names, as used on their circular date stamps. They are Shanghai, Tientsin, Tschifu, Amoy, Kanton, Futschau, Nanking, Peking. Swatau, Tsinanfu, Tschinkiang, Tongku, Weihsien, Itschang, Tschingtschoufu, and Tschonsun. During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900-01, military post offices were also maintained. Stamps canceled with “Tsingtau” were used in the German colony of Kiauchau (kiautschou).


In March of 1898, the then current German postage stamps were overprinted “China” diagonally, for use in their post offices there. The first overprints were positioned at a 45 degree angle. Later, in December 1898, the positioning of the overprints was changed to a 56 degree angle. The scan above shows a few examples of the 56 degree overprints in the first row and the 45 degree overprints in the second row.

In July 1900, the 10 Pf. overprinted definitive stamp of 1898 was hand-surcharged “5 pf” for use in Foochow. These are very scarce and should only be purchased with certification or an expert’s mark on the back of them.

In November 1900, some of the denominations of the German “Germania” REICHPOST set were handstamped diagonally “China” for use in Tientsin. These are ALL very rare, and fake handstamps are plentiful. Extreme caution should be exercised, when buying any of these stamps.


In 1901, the German Empire “Germania” REICHPOST issue was officially overprinted with “China”. Examples are shown above.

Fake overprints and postmarks exist on all of these, and subsequent Post Offices in China issues, especially on the high-values. Care should be taken in purchasing these, especially with used examples of the high-values. If possible, certified or examples with expert proofing marks, should be purchased.


In 1905, the 1902 German Empire “Germania” DEUTSCHES REICH issue was overprinted “China” in a new font and surcharged in Chinese currency, for use in their post offices there. Examples shown above.



From 1906 through 1917,

the “Germania” DEUTSCHES REICH stamps, printed on lozenge watermarked paper, were overprinted and surcharged as before. These issues exist in the same prewar and wartime printings and with the same perforation varieties on the high-values that are known on the un-overprinted stamps used in Germany. The set is shown in the scan above.

All of the German Empire post offices in China were closed, after China declared war on Germany in March of 1917.





Numismatic history Collections

 History Collections

Russian post offices in China



A 35 kopecks stamp of 1904.



A 25 cents on 25 kopecks stamp of 1917.

The Russian post offices in China were a collection of post offices established by Imperial Russia in various cities of China beginning in 1870.

First offices

The first offices were in Beijing, Kalgan, Tientsin, and Urga (in Mongolia), all in areas near to Russian-controlled territory.

In November 1886

additional offices opened in Shanghai, Chefoo, Hankow with offices in Port Arthur, and Dairen following soon afterwards. In addition, many Russian Field Post Offices operated throughout Manchuria and civilian mail was frequently accepted there as well. Finally, the Chinese Eastern Railway had Russian post offices operating at most of the major stations, and important cities along the railway such as Harbin had several Russian post offices in the town itself. In addition, Travelling Post Offices operated in trains along the Chinese Eastern Railway.


Initially, the offices used the regular stamps of Russia, but in 1899, they received stamps overprinted with “KITAI” (Russian for China) in Cyrillic script. This overprint was applied to all types of stamps up to 1916, including the varieties on horizontally laid, vertically laid, and wove paper. The overprint was also applied to postal stationery envelopes, postcards, letter cards and newspaper wrappers. The overprint itself was in black, blue, or red, generally being chosen to contrast with the stamp colors. Most of these types are commonly available today (less than one US$); the most problematic is the blue overprint on the 14-kopeck wove paper variety, whose existence has been questioned.

Although the offices had always accepted Chinese currency at par, a Chinese cent being considered equivalent to a kopeck, in 1917 the overprint was changed to clarify the situation, simply consisting of the value in Chinese money and using Latin letters. The valuation was still one-to-one. A later round of overprints, in 1920, changed to use a horizontal overprint in mixed case, but these saw little use, all Russian post offices in China being closed in that year.

[edit] See also

[edit] References and sources


  • Prigara, S V, translated by David M Skipton, The Russian post in the Empire, Turkey, China and the post in the Kingdom of Poland, pp. 148–156, 1941.
  • Rossiter, Stuart & John Flower. The Stamp Atlas. London: Macdonald, 1986, p. 258. ISBN 0356108627


Posted in 1902 (undecipherable date) in the Russian post-office in Tientsin, China to Paris, France and re-directed from there to Liverpool (arrival postmark of 17/11/1902).

The opening of the Trans-Siberian mail route promised to accelerate the transmission of correspondence to and from the north of China. In August 1902 a letter from Tientsin took about 28 days to be delivered to Liverpoool if forwarded via Siberia. At the same time, the transmission of mail via Brindisi or Vancouver usually took 36-40 days. Therefore, the routing via Siberia saved at least a week.

Mail had to be marked accordingly for transmission via the Trans-Siberian railway. In the case of this letter, this is done by the red cachet (unclear if it is of post-office or private origin) with the insciption: “Via Port Arthur and Siberia (to) France”.

So your letter travelled along the following route: Tientsin-Port Arthur-(nearby)Dalny-Kharbin-along the Chinese Eastern Railway to Manchuli-via the Trans-Siberian Railway to Moscow and beyond.

A condensed overview of its journey can be seen in the following map of the rail route as it existed in 1903:

In the lower map, Tientsin is marked with a red dot, Port Arthur with a green one.

Does the cover bear any other franking besides the 5k Offices in China on the front?

The Catholic Mission in Papua History Collections


Pater Neijens


Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA





The foundation of the mission Merauke

In 1884 and 1885 were England and Germany agree on the division of eastern New Guinea, with England and the southern part of Germany as a protectorate on the northern part took.

In 1896 the Dutch government finally sees the urgency in the introduction of effective governance, which is the establishment of administrative posts result, namely to Fakfak and Manokwari. At that time, the Governor of the English part of eastern New Guinea, Sir William McGregor complaints about the quick tours of the coastal population of the Dutch part of the English territory. It then mentioned that the accelerators’ Toegeri’s. Later they got the name ‘Kajakaja’ and finally, their own name: “Marindinezen.

In 1900, Mr. W. Kroesen, Assistant Resident of Fakfak, and sent to the south coast in 1902, at the mouth of the Marorivier the government post Merauke founded. There are one hundred and sixty soldiers and convicts with police stationed.

Mr. Kroesen was on his way to New Guinea English Catholic mission there to know, especially in the figure of Brother Henkelman. This gave him the address of his Congregation in Tilburg which the Apostolic Prefecture of Dutch New Guinea had been entrusted. The Prefect, Father Matthias Neijens ~ Langgoer stayed to the Kei Islands and through Tilburg received this invitation from Mr. Kroesen to Merauke to come. His invitation was a contribution to the formation of a new society, the responsibilities of the Board (to bring peace and order) could thrive.

Father Neijens (see figure), the events of 1904 as follows:

With both hands I grabbed the proposal from the government official to visit Merauke em there and try to establish a mission among the wild Kajakaja’s. But … come into contact and how to deal with that wild nature people, who are notorious for their love of murder, and whose language they do not understand? A language that only one word for word from headhunters who himself must listen and unlearn! Only two words of their language, I had accidentally vemomen: IGIS, this is the “name” and kaj, this is “good.” With that bit of language I would head up and the different villages. I informed Mr. Kroesen to the villages that I was going to come into contact with the savages, “Oh, that’s good, Prefect,” was the reply, “but I just can not let go. You know, those people can not be trusted: for two days they killed a Chinese. I will therefore give some soldiers, then you can safely ride the car. “

“I thank you for your bezergdheid, Resident, but you will not blame me, I do not choose your soldiers to go to those people. They will think I am a soldier eek: they shall receive me with suspicion and never will I as the consolations of thy people win. Again, Mr Assistant Resident, let me go alone, you will not worry for me. “

The assistant resident admitted, but warned me to be careful to have my life and reckless endangering. The equipment of the journey was soon ready. As a soldier of Chiristus armed myself not revolver, pistol or dagger, but was intentionally my long black went on to make me stand out from soldiers and other vreemdeiingen, took under one arm a box of bandages and dressings for wounds to connect under the other arm a box with beads and pulled bravely to the nearest village of the wild headhunters: Nowari.
After several quarters usually got the cabins in sight. Before the village were twenty or thirty Kajakaja’s lazily to the ground. Once they previously ‘unknown man’ there saw coming jumps all fierce and menacing and came towards me. At some paces they stopped and began this strange appearance with suspicious glances from side to take aile. I remained undaunted in the midst of that mess “animal people”; their whole naked body dripping with coconut oil, big pig teeth cessation by their misshapen nose, their arms and chest were draped with dirty objects in their hands, they had their bows and arrows or spear and knots. I did my best to show people that I had not come with hostile intentions:

I smiled and nodded kindly to the head, took leads of beads, waved it to them to to indicate that everything was for them and thus sought by gestures to show that I came as a friend.

One of the Kajakaja’s, certainly the bravest, was already ventured closer and finally to those strange white man to touch and when it ended well, wanted to show others that they were not afraid. The circle became closer and all had to even touch the visitor. Others drew chains to my big beard, and soon they were so vertrouweiijk that with their dirty hands in my beard came rooting, or me with wild eyes came to respect, under the cry of “so, so, so.” And I drew my but out of kindness, gave beads, and bowed and nodded his head and … alie had acquired friendship!

After that first encounter was so happy past and the general amazement and rejoicing had subsided, I knocked the nearest wild standing on the chest and said: “kaj” (good)! This salute was answered with a jump of joy, with exclamations of pleasure. Now I went along the entire row, knocked the people on the chest and said again: “kaj, kaj, kaj” They were all so good, good people. I pointed Vervoigens hand up and down at myself and wanted to omstaande and repeated: “kaj. kaj “(good). We are good for each other, so we are good friends … And the people jumping and shouting with delight!

Then I wrote one of the Kajakaja and asked “IGIS? IGIS? “(name?). Who had wanted so much sense to understand that I asked for his name. He said so his name. I had already finished my notebook and wrote that name: Wangeer. It understood that headhunters nothing of what was doing that sir running his hand over a white sheet was. In the following, I did exactly the same and so along the entire row. Now I began the names of my book to read. And every time a wanted to hear mention of the name, this was an outburst of joy and admiration!

But now my vocabulary was exhausted. What have done? I had noticed that my beard so great admiration had made reaching those wild people who have very little beard. I then took my beard in my hand, shook it once a good lot and asked again: “IGIS? IGIS? “Several gifts at once answer. Again I took my notebook, wrote that word “hos” and put behind it: beard. Then I felt my ears, my nose, my eyelids and asked again: “IGIS? IGIS? “I got a word to hear, wrote that on there and put the meaning behind. I took some sand, a stick, a little tame pig began to go to run, jump, pretend I drank, and slept like I always asked myself: “IGIS? IGIS? “My vocabulary began to rise.

Now one of the savages suddenly jumps forward and asks, “Wo IGIS?” That word “wo” I understood yet, but from the tone in which it was said, was that I wanted my name early. What could I reply? Neijens sounded so strange, my name Matthias equally so. So I would give my name but professional and powerful voice I replied, “missionary”. Allen had that name full of wonder and joy and they made them repeat: “misnorei”. “So, so misnorei” sounded from all sides. And all this was accompanied by whistling and shouting and jumping with delight and amazement.

I had said about fifty words in my booklet. I now took in handing out beads and with a friendly nod and Iaehen afseheid of my new friends and met the accepted terugtoeht to Merauke. I took the steamer to the Kei-ei] databases back to the first missionaries to reach, with untiring zeal and patience bun arduous task would begin.

Self, however, he went them one more time ahead in July 1905. Father Neijens writes:

“The June 28 I went to Surabaya ship and landed on July 6 in Merauke. Never has someone so piechtig Merauke ushered. Twenty Kajakaja’s standing on the pier found I had been in the lifeboat see steps and my long beard sighted and my black went, they recognized immediately the misnorei last year. They jumped for joy and cried out in fun. Others, upon hearing that wild cries, understood that Jets special had. Also they came flocking voile gallop and when I landed, I found myself surrounded by as many as fifty men and women, who together pushed to see me and the pleasure would have me by the hand to grasp and a minute of my beard pulling. She accompanied me to the house of the Assistant Resident, Mr. Kroesen, who was pleasantly surprised by this unexpected visit.

Mr. Kroesen is the sweetest for me and has promised me that he will spare nothing to help us in establishing our mission, which he expected so much good for the population. He gave me a house is abandoned where our missionaries may take up residence and where they can stay until their house is ready. Although I gladly would have liked a larger area, we will have enough for now to the seven or eight acres which Mr. Kroesen has given me. The location of betting site is excellent and as persons with an odds Kroesen life was declared, was the assistant resident give me any better ground. “

Pen drawing of H. Nollen, first settlement in Merauke

MSC-A group of international composition had been since the eighties found in a work area bet-eastern part of New Guinea, n.1. hand in Neu under German Pomerania and on Thursday Island, which was under English management. From that group now some Dutch missionaries called with the command to Merauke to leave. They were the fathers: Philip Braun, Henry Nollen brothers and Dion. van Roessel and Melchior Oomen.

The gouvemementsvaartuig The Falcon brought four missionaries to Merauke.

Father Braun writes:

The spring 10 August 1905, I arrived here. Now, we rocked enough. We constantly had a hard southeast wind, with the inevitable result of seasickness. Finally we are in Merauke, it is three o’clock in the morning. We are still a ten kilometers from the coast to the rich but shallow sea. At daylight dawning bet we look forward to all sides, eager to finally see our new place and see nothing. First bet in broad daylight with some effort we distinguish bet dirty yellow water over a dirt yellow stripe: that is bet country, the great New Guinea. The ship has not sailed tonight because the water is shallow and we must wait until the tide comes up. Then at eleven o’clock the anchor goes up and we steamed slowly to the entrance of Merauke. We are finally on the sandbar at the mouth of the river. The flat coastal stretches in unbroken line for us, a small miniature lighthouse interrupts the monotonous appearance of low wood and coconut trees. A very few wild fish in shallow water bet. Everything looks dead and extinct from. Until suddenly when turned in the river the entire settlement of Merauke before us.

Reason to Merauke (1900) [2]

It is not much, the future capital of southern New Guinea, but one is pleasantly surprised by something unbelievable beauties that few pans and some dozens of tin roofs there so suddenly for themselves to see that sad, just still deathly plain. At two o’clock we landed and after a short visit with Mr. Kroesen, we take our preliminary cottage us graciously ceded by him here in mind. It is small and very poor by European standards, but we are happy a1heel: provisionally we are under roof. The next day preoccupied with bet fresh hoot of our poor household mess. It is little that one has in Langgoer can give to us. Now we are doing everything a place to give the best we note that there are so many unfortunate missing a household to set up.

The Diary of Merauke tells bet following: Mr. Kroesen received the missionaries warmly, asked a bun available to home and because the water was always a problem, he showed them the next day, bring a large vessel. The commander and the commies were hospitable and helpful.

Literally writes Father Nollen:

Thanks to the good God who made us so successful here has led to our establishment and the affection of the whites has already assured, we may well continue for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

“Except Mr. Kroesen,” says Father Braun,

“Here are a controller, a clerk, ‘n post-commies and Europeans than any of the staff of the government boat De Valk properly. They also have their home country. If you add this for another three European traders, then you know the whole population of Merauke what Europeans are concerned. Furthermore, bet here is full of Chinese and Irish Female from all countries in our Eastern. The occupation is a hundred native soldiers, commanded by a European instructor. And now you know Merauke on two peculiarities: first, the punishment of workers and secondly the natives. Our first encounter with the convicts was that they all our belongings from the pier to our house brought. I held my breath when I saw criminals disappear with our visages arrnzalige huisraadjes: there is certainly not a tenth of the right address, I thought. But bet it was very hard, everything was there. Now there are a whole lot working in our field to build a new home. During the week they labor for the Government and we see them in different places in their brown suit walking around. On Sundays they may labor for individuals to earn a few cents, which they can buy some snacks during the week. They work steadily and are submissive and polite. “

Braun also gives his first impressions of the natives:

The natives are not eigeniijk residents of Merauke. They live pretty far from it. The first impression is that of onzeglijke, incredible dirt hero: a dunghill on a human body and face bruised the devil as we sometimes see displayed. “But they feel good bet to own and can not enough admire beauty in mirrors made when traders have bartered for some coconuts. When we first stepped ashore cutting, there were just across the river only wanted to in their dugouts, loaded with coconuts, which they knives, axes, beads and mirrors exchange. Until they got on their knees in mud. Further up, their naked body smeared with coconut oil, mixed with dirt and dyes alleriei voorai red and black. We have seen women who completely with river clay and rubbed on her skin had dried clay gave her a stunning appearance. This wear, except the children and old people, all long hair. On a couple of hairs is an extension of grass made it on their shoulders depends, yes, sommlgen, especially in young girls up to the knees. Thereby the whole wig smeared with the necessary clay and filth, especially red earth, so that if, for example in our betting house sit and lean against something, a dirty, oily spot indicates the place where she sat bebben. Moreover, they substantially built, large, very muscular and agile, they have an open face. “

Nollen sees it otherwise:

The first thing you will, from afar, is that the big guys are so beautiful, tall, muscular, well proportioned, firm face, more oval than round, a well-developed nose. The men are naked. Head and chest, however, they have beaten horribly. First the earlobes pierced and there are large rings, I believe the shaft of kasuarisveren. In each ear hang ten or twelve. The nostrils are also pierced and widened dangerously, so they wear bamboo sticks in my finger where I can easily by stabbing. Typically, however, they contribute rather pig tusks, or frightful kromrne krauwels of raptors. Threateningly forward curved points give something cheeky and schrikkelijks their visage. The bundles of hair extension prefixes may also be a defense to a possible unexpected blow to break, because we are here in bet land of headhunters.


De stichting van de missiepost Merauke

In 1884 en 1885 werden Engeland en Duitsland het eens over de verdeling van oost Nieuw-Guinea, waarbij Engeland het zuidelijke deel en Duitsland het noordelijke deel als protectoraat op zich nam.

In 1896 ziet de Nederlandse Regering eindelijk de urgentie in van de invoering van daadwerkelijk bestuur, hetgeen de vestiging van bestuursposten tot gevolg heeft, namelijk te Fakfak en te Manokwari. In die tijd heeft de Gouverneur van het Engelse deel van Oost-Nieuw-Guinea, Sir William McGregor klachten ingediend over de sneltochten van de kustbewoners van het Nederlandse gedeelte op het Engelse grondgebied. Men noemde toen die snellers de ‘Toegeri’s’. Later kregen zij de naam ‘Kajakaja’ en ten slotte hun eigen naam: ‘Marindinezen’.

In 1900 wordt de heer W. Kroesen, assistent-resident van Fakfak, naar deze zuidkust gezonden en in 1902 wordt aan de monding van de Marorivier de bestuurspost Merauke gesticht. Er worden honderdzestig militairen met politie en dwangarbeiders gestationeerd.

De heer Kroesen had op zijn tocht naar Engels Nieuw-Guinea aldaar de katholieke missie leren kennen, met name in de figuur van broeder Henkelman. Deze gaf hem het adres van zijn Congregatie in Tilburg waaraan de Apostolische Prefectuur van Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea was toevertrouwd. De Prefect, pater Matthias Neijens~ verbleef te Langgoer op de Kei-eilanden en via Tilburg ontving deze de uitnodiging van de heer Kroesen om naar Merauke te komen. Zijn uitnodiging betrof een bijdrage aan de vorming van een nieuwe maatschappij, waarin de taak van het Bestuur (orde en rust te brengen) zou kunnen gedijen.

Pater Neijens (zie afbeelding) heeft de gebeurtenissen in 1904 als volgt weergegeven:

Met beide handen greep ik het voorstel van de bestuursambtenaar aan em Merauke te bezoeken en te proberen daar een missiepost te vestigen onder de wilde Kajakaja’s.  Maar… hoe in aanraking te komen en om te gaan met die woeste natuurmensen, die berucht zijn om hun moordzucht, en wier taal men niet verstaat? Een taal, die men slechts woord voor woord van die koppensnellers zelf moet afluisteren en afleren! Slechts twee woordjes van hun taal had ik toevallig vemomen: igis, dit is “naam” en kaj, dit is “goed”. Met dat beetje taalkennis zou ik op pad gaan en de verschillende dorpen bezoeken. Ik verwittigde de heer Kroesen dat ik naar de dorpen zou gaan om in aanraking te komen met de wilden: “Oh, dat is goed, Prefect”, was het antwoord, “maar alleen mag ik U niet laten gaan. Gij weet wel, die mensen zijn niet te vertrouwen: voor twee dagen hebben zij nog een Chinees vermoord. Ik zal u daarom enige soldaten meegeven, dan kunt gij de tocht veilig wagen.”

“Ik dank u wel voor uw bezergdheid, Resident, maar u zal het mij niet kwalijk nemen, dat ik niet verkies met uw soldaten naar die mensen te gaan. Zij zullen denken, dat ik eek een soldaat ben; zij zullen mij dan met achterdocht ontvangen en nooit zal ik zo het vertreuwen van die mensen winnen. Nogmaals, mijnheer de assistent-resident, laat mij alleen gaan; maakt u niet bezorgd voor mij.”

De assistent-resident gaf toe, doch vermaande mij om toch vooral voorzichtig te zijn en mijn leven niet roekeloos in gevaar te brengen. De uitrusting van de tocht was spoedig klaar. Als soldaat van Chiristus wapende ik mij niet met revolver, pistool of dolk, maar deed opzettelijk mijn lange zwarte toog aan om mij te doen onderscheiden van soldaten en andere vreemdeiingen, nam onder de ene arm een kistje met verbandstoffen om wonden te kunnen verbinden, onder de andere arm een kistje met kraaltjes en trok moedig naar het dichtstbijgelegen dorp der wilde koppensnellers: Nowari.
Na enige kwartieren gaans kreeg ik de hutten in zicht. Vóór het dorp lagen een twintig a dertig Kajakaja’s lui tegen de grond. Zodra zij dien ‘onbekende mens’ daar zagen aankomen sprongen allen woest en dreigend op en kwamen naar mij toe. Op enige passen afstand bleven zij staan en begonnen die vreemde verschijning met wantrouwende blikken van aile kanten op te nemen. Ik bleef onverschrokken temidden van die troep ‘diermensen’; geheel hun naakte lichaam droop van de kokosolie; grote varkenstanden staken door hun misvormde neus; hun armen en borst waren omhangen met vieze voorwerpen en in hun handen hadden zij hun boog en pijlen, of lans en knots. Ik deed mijn best om die mensen te laten zien, dat ik niet gekomen was met vijandige bedoelingen:

Ik lachte en knikte vriendelijk met het hoofd, nam snoeren van kralen, zwaaide ermee naar hen toe om te kennen te geven dat alles voor hen was en trachtte aldus door gebaren te laten zien dat ik kwam als vriend.

Een van de Kajakaja’s, zeker de moedigste, kwam reeds dichterbij en waagde het eindelijk om die vreemde blanke mens aan te raken; en toen dit goed afliep, wilden de anderen tonen dat zij ook niet bang waren. De kring werd nauwer en allen moesten de bezoeker eens aanraken. Anderen trokken tens aan mijn grote baard en weldra werden zij zo vertrouweiijk, dat zij met hun vuile handen in mijn baard kwamen wroeten, of mij met wilde ogen kwamen aanzien, onder de uitroep van “so, so, so.” En ik putte mij maar uit in vriendelijkheid, gaf kraaltjes, en boog en knikte met het hoofd en… had alIe vriendschap verworven!

Nadat die eerste kennismaking zo gelukkig was afgeLopen en de algemene verwondering en het vreugdebetoon waren bedaard, klopte ik de dichtstbijstaande wilde op de borst en zei: “kaj” (goed)! Dit begroeten werd beantwoord met een springen van blijdschap, met uitroepingen van plezier. Nu ging ik de gehele rij langs, klopte de mensen op de borst en zei telkens: “kaj, kaj, kaj !“ Zij waren dus allen goed, goede mensen. Vervoigens wees ik met de hand op en neer, naar mezelf en naar de omstaande wilden en herhaalde: “kaj. kaj” (goed). Wij zijn goed voor elkaar, dus wij zijn goede vrienden… En de lui sprongen en schreeuwden van pret!

Daarop richtte ik mij tot een van de Kajakaja’s en vroeg “igis? igis?” (naam?). Die wilde had toch zoveel verstand om te begrijpen, dat ik naar zijn naam vroeg. Hij zei dus zijn naam. Ik had mijn notitieboekje reeds klaar en schreef die naam op: Wangeer. Daar begrepen die koppensnellers niets van, wat die mijnheer daar deed terwijl hij met zijn hand over een wit blaadje ging. Bij de volgende deed ik juist hetzelfde en zo de gehele rij langs. Nu begon ik de namen van mijn boekje af te lezen. En telkens als een wilde zich bij de naam hoorde noemen, was dit een uitbarsting van vreugde en bewondering!

Maar nu was ook mijn woordenschat uitgeput. Wat nu gedaan? Ik had bemerkt dat mijn baard zo geweldig de bewondering had gaande gemaakt van die wilde mensen die zelf slechts zeer weinig baard hebben. Ik nam dan mijn baard in mijn hand, schudde er eens flink mee en vroeg wederom: “igis? igis?” Verschillenden gaven tegelijk antwoord. Ik nam wederom mijn notitieboekje, schreef dat woord op “hos” en zette erachter: baard. Dan betastte ik mijn oren, mijn neus, mijn oogleden en vroeg telkens: “igis? igis?” Ik kreeg een woord te horen, schreef dat op en zette er de betekenis achter. Ik nam wat zand, een houtje, een klein tam varken, begon te gaan, te lopen, te springen, deed alsof ik dronk, alsof ik sliep en telkens vroeg ik: “igis? igis?” Mijn woordenschat begon toe te nemen.

Nu springt plotseling een van de wilden vooruit en vraagt: “Wo igis?” Dat woordje “wo” verstond ik nog niet, maar uit de toon, waarop dat gezegd werd, maakte ik op dat die wilde naar mijn naam vroeg. Wat zou ik antwoorden? Neijens klonk zo vreemd; mijn voornaam Matthias al evenzeer. Ik zou dus mijn beroepsnaam maar geven en met krachtige stem antwoordde ik: “missionaris”. Allen moesten die naam vol verwondering en blijdschap herhalen en zij maakten ervan: “misnorei”. ”So, so misnorei” klonk het van alle kanten. En dat alles ging gepaard met springen en fluiten en geschreeuw van pret en verbazing.

Ik had aldus ongeveer vijftig woordjes in mijn boekje staan. Ik nam nu onder het uitdelen van kraaltjes en met vriendelijk knikken en Iaehen afseheid van mijn nieuwe vrienden en aanvaardde voldaan de terugtoeht naar Merauke. Ik ging met de stoomboot naar de Kei-ei]anden terug om de eerste missionarissen te halen, die met onvermoeide ijver en geduld bun zware taak zouden beginnen.

Zelf echter ging hij hen nog een maal vooruit in juli 1905. Pater Neijens schrijft:

“De 28e Juni ging ik te Soerabaja scheep en landde de 6e Juli in Merauke. Nooit is iemand zo piechtig Merauke binnengeleid. Een twintigtal Kajakaja’s die zich op de pier bevonden, hadden mij in de sloep zien stappen en mijn lange baard ziende en mijn zwarte toog, herkenden zij dadelijk de misnorei van verleden jaar. Zij sprongen van blijdschap en schreeuwden het uit van pret. Anderen, bij het horen van die wilde kreten, begrepen dat er jets bijzonders moest zijn. Ook zij kwamen toegestroomd in voile galop en toen ik voet aan wal zette, zag ik mij omringd door wel een vijftigtal mannen en vrouwen, die elkander verdrongen om mij te zien en het genoegen wilden hebben mij bij de hand te vatten en eens eventjes aan mijn baard te trekken. Zij vergezelden mij tot aan de woning van de assistent-resident, de heer Kroesen, die aangenaam verrast was door dat geheel onverwacht bezoek.

De heer Kroesen is allerliefst voor mij geweest en heeft mij beloofd dat hij niets zal sparen om ons te helpen in het oprichten van onze Missie, waarvan hij zoveel goeds verwacht voor de bevolking. Hij heeft mij een staatswoning afgestaan waar onze missionarissen hun intrek kunnen nemen en waar zij kunnen blijven totdat hun huis gereed is. Ofschoon ik gaarne een groter terrein had willen hebben, zullen wij voorlopig genoeg hebben aan de zeven of acht hectare die de heer Kroesen mij heeft geschonken. De ligging van bet terrein is uitstekend en zoals personen die met Kroesen op een gespannen voet leven mij verklaarden, kon de assistent-resident mij geen beter terrein schenken.”


Pentekening van H. Nollen, eerste nederzetting in Merauke

Een MSC-groep van internationale samenstelling had reeds sinds de jaren tachtig een arbeidsterrein gevonden in bet oostelijk deel van Nieuw-Guinea, n.1. enerzijds in Neu Pommeren dat onder Duits en anderzijds op Thursday-Island dat onder Engels beheer stond. Uit die groep werden nu enkele Nederlandse missionarissen opgeroepen met de opdracht naar Merauke te vertrekken. Het waren de paters: Philip Braun, Henricus Nollen en de broeders Dion. van Roessel en Melchior Oomen.

Het gouvemementsvaartuig De Valk bracht de vier missionarissen naar Merauke.

Pater Braun schrijft:

De veertiende Augustus 1905 ben ik hier aangekomen. Nu, geschommeld hebben wij genoeg. Wij hadden voortdurend een harde zuidoostenwind tegen, met het onvermijdelijke gevolg van zeeziekte. Eindelijk zijn we dan in Merauke, het is drie uur ‘s nachts. We liggen echter nog een kilometer of tien uit de kust op de volle, maar ondiepe zee. Bij bet aanbrekende daglicht kijken we uit naar alle kanten, verlangend eindelijk onze nieuwe verblijfplaats te zien, en zien niets. Eerst bij bet volle daglicht onderscheiden wij met enige inspanning boven bet vuilgele water een vuilgele streep: dat is bet land, het heerlijke Nieuw-Guinea. Het schip is vannacht niet binnengevaren omdat het water ondiep is; wij moeten wachten tot de vloed komt opzetten. Dan om elf uur gaat het anker omhoog en langzaam stomen wij naar de ingang van Merauke. Wij zijn eindelijk over de zandbank in de monding van de rivier. De vlakke kust strekt zich in onafgebroken rechte lijn voor ons uit, een klein miniatuur vuurtorentje breekt alleen het eentonige uitzicht van laaghout en kokosbomen. Een heel enkele wilde vist in bet ondiepe water. Alles ziet er doods en uitgestorven uit. Tot plotseling bij het binnendraaien van de rivier de gehele nederzetting van Merauke voor ons ligt.


Rede te Merauke (1Reason to Merauke (1900) [2]

It is not much, the future capital of southern New Guinea, but one is pleasantly surprised by something unbelievable beauties that few pans and some dozens of tin roofs there so suddenly for themselves to see that sad, just still deathly plain. At two o’clock we landed and after a short visit with Mr. Kroesen, we take our preliminary cottage us graciously ceded by him here in mind. It is small and very poor by European standards, but we are happy a1heel: provisionally we are under roof. The next day preoccupied with bet fresh hoot of our poor household mess. It is little that one has in Langgoer can give to us. Now we are doing everything a place to give the best we note that there are so many unfortunate missing a household to set up.

The Diary of Merauke tells bet following: Mr. Kroesen received the missionaries warmly, asked a bun available to home and because the water was always a problem, he showed them the next day, bring a large vessel. The commander and the commies were hospitable and helpful.

Literally writes Father Nollen:

Thanks to the good God who made us so successful here has led to our establishment and the affection of the whites has already assured, we may well continue for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

“Except Mr. Kroesen,” says Father Braun,

“Here are a controller, a clerk, ‘n post-commies and Europeans than any of the staff of the government boat De Valk properly. They also have their home country. If you add this for another three European traders, then you know the whole population of Merauke what Europeans are concerned. Furthermore, bet here is full of Chinese and Irish Female from all countries in our Eastern. The occupation is a hundred native soldiers, commanded by a European instructor. And now you know Merauke on two peculiarities: first, the punishment of workers and secondly the natives. Our first encounter with the convicts was that they all our belongings from the pier to our house brought. I held my breath when I saw criminals disappear with our visages arrnzalige huisraadjes: there is certainly not a tenth of the right address, I thought. But bet it was very hard, everything was there. Now there are a whole lot working in our field to build a new home. During the week they labor for the Government and we see them in different places in their brown suit walking around. On Sundays they may labor for individuals to earn a few cents, which they can buy some snacks during the week. They work steadily and are submissive and polite. “

Braun also gives his first impressions of the natives:

The natives are not eigeniijk residents of Merauke. They live pretty far from it. The first impression is that of onzeglijke, incredible dirt hero: a dunghill on a human body and face bruised the devil as we sometimes see displayed. “But they feel good bet to own and can not enough admire beauty in mirrors made when traders have bartered for some coconuts. When we first stepped ashore cutting, there were just across the river only wanted to in their dugouts, loaded with coconuts, which they knives, axes, beads and mirrors exchange. Until they got on their knees in mud. Further up, their naked body smeared with coconut oil, mixed with dirt and dyes alleriei voorai red and black. We have seen women who completely with river clay and rubbed on her skin had dried clay gave her a stunning appearance. This wear, except the children and old people, all long hair. On a couple of hairs is an extension of grass made it on their shoulders depends, yes, sommlgen, especially in young girls up to the knees. Thereby the whole wig smeared with the necessary clay and filth, especially red earth, so that if, for example in our betting house sit and lean against something, a dirty, oily spot indicates the place where she sat bebben. Moreover, they substantially built, large, very muscular and agile, they have an open face. “

Nollen sees it otherwise:

The first thing you will, from afar, is that the big guys are so beautiful, tall, muscular, well proportioned, firm face, more oval than round, a well-developed nose. The men are naked. Head and chest, however, they have beaten horribly. First the earlobes pierced and there are large rings, I believe the shaft of kasuarisveren. In each ear hang ten or twelve. The nostrils are also pierced and widened dangerously, so they wear bamboo sticks in my finger where I can easily by stabbing. Typically, however, they contribute rather pig tusks, or frightful kromrne krauwels of raptors. Threateningly forward curved points give something cheeky and schrikkelijks their visage. The bundles of hair extension prefixes may also be a defense to a possible unexpected blow to break, because we are here in bet land of headhunters.

A parsonage was built of native materaal and on October 3, 1905 in use

With the arrival on August 14, 1905 the first missionaries of the early history of the mission in Merauke, so this year 100 years ago.

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Merauke in 1908 by O.G.H. Heldring. Heldring was a geologist involved in exploration of southern New Guinea in 1907-1908. [2]

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Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

The monastic order of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart to Bredaseweg 204, Tilburg known as Rooi Harten, was founded in 1854 by the French chaplain Jules Chevalier Issoudun. In 1882 they settled in Tilburg in the former cloth factory of the firm Schreppers at Veldhoven (Wilhelmina), and in 1890 the new convent on the Bredaseweg into use. The Rooi Harten were engaged in missionary work in the Pacific in Melanesia and Micronesia, in Brazil, in the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines.
Some Fathers of the Mission House has also made merit as an author: eg January Boelaars the Fathers (1915), Henri Geurtjens (1875-1957), Cees Meuwese (1906-1978) and Jan Verschueren (1905-1970) wrote about language, people and culture of New Guinea, Father Maurice Miller (1886-1969) wrote about saints’ lives, Father Dr P. Schreurs (1924) on the Philippines and Father Simon Peeters (1860-1941) wrote a history of the Mission House and a biography of Father Henri Rutten.

Mission House on the Bredaseweg around 1910 (RHC Coll Tilburg).

The establishment of a printing was closely associated with the expenditure of the Annals of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Almanac. The first issue of the Annals in 1883 was printed by the printing of the Steam RK Boys Orphanage, the second edition was printed in Mönchengladbach, from the fifth volume was Lutkie Burg & Crane ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the printer, and from the eighteenth year (1898) HPM Verlinden in Bergen op Zoom. Only the second song of the twentieth year (1902) and Almanac 1903 appear in the printer in the Mission House to be printed. It can be deduced that in 1902 the missionaries began his own printing business. The first presses were operated by the brothers in January Vriens and Jan Foppele, and later by Jan Bogaers Show and Piette. The present building of the printing was established in 1927. During World War II was the printing stopped. After the war the brothers January Vriens and M. Joosten the printer back on life. From 1957 withdrew French Kolsters as commercial director seemed more and more staff, he made the printing of a corporation in which the Provincial MSC acted as sole shareholder: the Printing and Publishing Heart of Brabant was born. Later the printing by the Tilburg typesetting Vorspel NV. That typesetter went bankrupt. Thereafter, the printing slowly rebuilt.

The Mission House has a monastery library of over 20,000 titles. It comprises two sections: on the ground floor is the more scientific, on the first floor we find the Gymnasium library, derived from the uplifted Apostolic School or minor seminary of the MSC congregation, and built between 1889 and 1960. The library was largely serving the teachers and other house residents, while students had their own school library. When the philosophical and theological training homes of the congregation (major seminary) also were concentrated in Tilburg, these are the libraries, with a larger file than the original house library, housed in the Mission House. An important part of the MSC library is included in that years ago of the Theological Faculty of Tilburg. The principal librarian of the MSC library is Father Piet Cools (1904-1973) was. He was also chairman of the Association of Dutch Monastic Libraries. The library has a significant collection of French literature, this has to do with the French origin of the congregation.

Literature: HN 22.6.1985, Ronald Peeters and Ed Painters, Catholic image in Tilburg, Tilburg, 1990, p. 78-79; communication Dr P. Schreurs M.S.C. 12.19.1991, M. MSC Joosten, “The history of our printing, in: CBE Chronicle, M.S.C. Tilburg, issue 20, 1983, p. 2-5.

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The missionary Congregations

It is in Merauke in 1905 (14 August) The first missionaries arrive: Members of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Hart, to begin their missionary work.

The first missionaries came from Europe, the Europe of the nineteenth century. In this world that are economically and socially and which one was opened by the technique began to reach the earth, awoke at the instigation of the churches a whole new wave of missionary fervor, both the Mission and the Mission.

In France, where the de-Christianization of a universally accepted position unchurched hero and free morality had summoned the clergy experienced this mentality as “le mal modem. They sought the means to cure. One of them, Father Bear Jules Chevalier, founded in 1854 in Issoudun (near Bourges) a Congregation of priests and brothers: the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart ‘. He saw them as heralds of the Love that their contemporaries wished to re-ignite em Christ and love to give a Christian life. The motto that’s why he gave to his congregation was “Loved it everywhere H. Heart of Jesus … “.

After twenty-five years (1879) counted the Ccngregatie twenty-nine priests, five breeders and twenty-nine great-seminarians (including all two Dutch).

Around 1880 demanded the Masonic Government of the French Republic that the monks would apply for an official recognition, which would impose restrictions on their apostolate. The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) fled to the Netherlands. Here they received from Msgr. Godschalk, bishop of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, his country residence, home Gerra, assigned (1881).

House Gerra was the training center, the neviciaat, headed by Father Ch. Piperon. When the first nevicen were professed and new postulants had been submitted, the house was too small and a disused textile factory in the city of Tilburg purchased. In addition to the novitiate and the higher studies there was also the Minor Seminary, called Apostclische School housed.

The first members of the Congregation had occurred because the devotion to the Blessed Heart of Jesus wanted to spread, especially in France. However, the founder of their congregation itself had also bet bet beginning mission work in foreign countries as one of the main tasks of the institute and given the younger generation looked with longing for the realization of this mission from ideal. The motto was still: ~ Loved it everywhere … “Another bet during his forced departure of people from France, which the very existence of betting institute put into question, asked Father Chevalier procurator in Rome to the Congregation as a candidate for a or other mission to contribute to the H. Steel. Cardinal Simeoni, Prefect of the Congregation of the Propaganda Fide, offered them the whole Pacific (Melanesia and Micronesia), with the mission head attention to the island of New Guinea.

Meanwhile in 1874 the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart founded. The large exodus of members of both congregations to the Mission began. The first caravan traveled in 1881 with the adventurer Marquis de Rays, via Manila, Surabaya, Batavia and Singapore to Sydney. After thirteen months, they reached from there in northern New Guinea, the town of Port Breton, on the south coast of New Ireland was. Because they are nothing but ruins and graves found, they crossed the St. George’s Channel and began their mission work in New Britain.

In 1885 came two priests, three brothers and five sisters to bet-Thursday Island on the south coast of New Guinea. The nearby Yule Island they reached the mainland of New Guinea. This mission area had in 1910 after twenty-five years of work already twenty-three dead. Their average age was not above thirty-four years. “



Het is nog niet veel, de toekomstige hoofdstad van Zuid-Nieuw-Guinea, maar toch is men aangenaam verrast als door iets ongelooflijk schoons, die paar pannen- en enige tientallen zinken daken daar zo plotseling voor zich te zien, op die triestige, zoëven nog doodse vlakte. Om twee uur zijn wij aan wal en na een kort bezoek bij de heer Kroesen, nemen wij ons voorlopig huisje, ons zo welwillend door hem afgestaan even in ogenschouw. Het is klein en voor Europese begrippen erg armoedig, maar wij zijn er a1heel blij mee: voorlopig zijn we onder dak. De volgende dag wordt geheel in beslag genomen met bet versjouwen van ons armzalig rommeltje huisraad. Het is weinig dat men in Langgoer heeft kunnen afstaan voor ons. Nu we bezig zijn alles een plaatsje te geven, merken wij het best dat er nog zo jammer veel ontbreekt om een huishouden op te richten.

Het Dagboek van Merauke vertelt bet volgende: De heer Kroesen ontving de missionarissen hartelijk, stelde een woning tot bun beschikking en omdat de watervoorziening altijd een probleem was, liet hij hen de volgende dag een groot vat brengen. Ook de commandant en de commies waren gastvrij en hulpvaardig.

Letterlijk schrijft pater Nollen:

Dankzij de goede God, die ons hier zo voorspoedig heeft geleid en bij onze vestiging de genegenheid van de blanken reeds heeft verzekerd, mogen we hier voor goed blijven ter ere Gods en het heil van de zielen.

‘Behalve de heer Kroesen’, vertelt pater Braun,

‘zijn hier nog een controleur, een commies, ‘n post-commies en dan enige Europeanen die tot het personeel van de gouvernementsboot De Valk behoren. Zij ook hebben hun woning aan land. Reken daarbij nog een drietal Europese handelaars, dan ken je de hele bevolking van Merauke wat Europeanen betreft. Voorts wemelt bet hier van Chinezen en Maleiers uit alle landen van onze Oost. De bezetting bestaat uit een honderdtal inlandse soldaatjes, onder bevel van een Europese instructeur. En nu ken je Merauke op twee merkwaardigheden na: ten eerste de strafarbeiders en ten tweede de inboorlingen. Onze eerste kennismaking met de dwangarbeiders was dat zij ons hele boeltje van de pier naar onze woning brachten. Ik hield mijn hart vast toen ik die boeventronies zag verdwijnen met onze arrnzalige huisraadjes: daar komt zeker geen tiende van aan het goede adres, dacht ik. Maar bet viel erg hard mee: alles was er. Nu zijn er een hele partij bezig op ons terrein een nieuw huisje te bouwen. Door de week arbeiden zij voor de Regering en ziet men ze op verschillende plaatsen in hun bruine pakje rondlopen. ‘s Zondags mogen zij voor particulieren arbeiden om een paar centjes te verdienen, waarvan zij enige versnaperingen kunnen kopen gedurende de week. Ze werken gestadig aan en zijn onderdanig en beleefd.’

Braun geeft ook zijn eerste indrukken over de inboorlingen:

De inboorlingen zijn eigeniijk geen bewoners van Merauke. Zij wonen er tamelijk ver van af. De eerste indruk is die van onzeglijke, ongelooflijke vuilheld: een mesthoop op een mensenlichaam en het gezicht toegetakeld zoals men de duivel wel eens afgebeeld ziet. ‘Maar zij vinden bet mooi en kunnen zich aan eigen schoonheid niet genoeg bewonderen in spiegeltjes die zij bij de handelaars voor enige kokosnoten hebben geruild. Toen wij voor de eerste maai aan land stapten, kwamen er juist aan de overkant van de rivier enige wilden aan in hun uitgeholde boomstammen, volgeladen met kokosnoten, die zij voor messen, bijlen, kralen en die spiegeltjes ruilen. Tot over de knieën stapten zij door de modder. Verder omhoog, is hun spiernaakt lijf ingesmeerd met kokosolie, vermengd met vuil en alleriei kleurstoffen voorai rood en zwart. Vrouwen hebben wij gezien, die zich geheel met rivierklei ingesmeerd hadden en de op haar huid opgedroogde klei gaf haar een fantastisch uiterlijk. Daarbij dragen, behalve de kinderen en de oude lui, allen lange haren. Aan een paar haartjes wordt een verlenging van gras gemaakt, dat hun op de schouders afhangt, ja, bij sommlgen, vooral bij jonge meisjes tot aan de knieën. Daarbij wordt de hele pruik besmeerd met de nodige klei en vuiligheid, vooral rode aarde, zodat, als zij bijvoorbeeld bij ons in bet huis gaan zitten en ergens tegenaan leunen, een vuile, vette plek de plaats aanduidt waar zij gezeten bebben. Overigens zijn zij flink gebouwd, groot, sterk gespierd en lenig; zij hebben een open gelaat.’

Nollen ziet het al niet anders:

Het eerste wat u treft, al van verre, is dat het zo’n schone grote kerels zijn, hoog, gespierd, goed geproportioneerd, flink gezicht, meer ovaal dan rond, een goed ontwikkelde neus. De mannen lopen naakt. Hoofd en borst echter hebben zij afschuwelijk toegetakeld. Eerst zijn de oorlellen doorboord en daar hangen grote ringen in, Ik geloof van de schacht van kasuarisveren. In elk oor hangen er wel tien of twaalf. De neusvleugels hebben zij ook vervaarlijk doorboord en verwijd, zodat zij er bamboestokjes in dragen waar ik mijn vinger gemakkelijk kan doorsteken. Doorgaans echter dragen zij er liever varkensslagtanden in, of vervaarlijke kromrne krauwels van roofvogels. Die dreigend naar voren gekromde punten geven iets brutaals en schrikkelijks aan hun tronie. De bundels haarverlengsels zijn misschien ook een verweermiddel om een mogelijk onverwachte slag te breken, want wij zijn hier in bet land der koppensnellers.

Een pastorie werd gebouwd van inlands materaal en op 3 oktober 1905 in gebruik genomen

Met de komst op 14 augustus 1905 van de eerste missionarissen begin ook de geschiedenis van de missie in Merauke, Dit jaar dus 100 jaar geleden.



Merauke in 1908 door O.G.H. Heldring. Heldring was als geoloog betrokken bij de exploratie van Zuid Nieuw-Guinea in 1907-1908. [2]

Missionarissen van het H. Hart

De kloosterorde van de Missionarissen van het H. Hart aan de Bredaseweg 204, in Tilburg beter bekend als de Rooi Harten, is in 1854 gesticht door de Franse kapelaan Jules Chevalier te Issoudun. In 1882 vestigden zij zich in Tilburg in de voormalige lakenfabriek van de firma Schreppers aan de Veldhoven (Wilhelminapark), en in 1890 werd het nieuwe klooster aan de Bredaseweg in gebruik genomen. De Rooi Harten hielden zich bezig met het missiewerk in de Stille Zuidzee op Melanesië en Micronesië, in Brazilië, in Nederlands-Indië, en op de Filippijnen.
Een aantal paters van dit Missiehuis heeft zich ook als auteur verdienstelijk gemaakt: o.a. de paters Jan Boelaars (1915), Henri Geurtjens (1875-1957), Cees Meuwese (1906-1978) en Jan Verschueren (1905-1970) schreven over taal, volk en cultuur van Nieuw-Guinea, pater Maurits Molenaar (1886-1969) schreef over heiligenlevens, pater dr. P. Schreurs (1924) over de Filippijnen en pater Simon Peeters (1860-1941) schreef een geschiedschrijving over het Missiehuis en een biografie over pater Henri Rutten.


Missiehuis aan de Bredaseweg omstreeks 1910 (Coll. RHC Tilburg).

De oprichting van een eigen drukkerij hing nauw samen met de uitgaven van de Annalen van O.L. Vrouw van het H. Hart en de Almanak. Het eerste nummer van de Annalen werd in 1883 gedrukt bij de Stoomdrukkerij van het R.K. Jongensweeshuis, het tweede nummer werd in München-Gladbach gedrukt, vanaf de vijfde jaargang was Lutkie & Cranenburg te ‘s-Hertogenbosch de drukker, en vanaf de achttiende jaargang (1898) H.P.M. Verlinden te Bergen op Zoom. Pas het tweede nummer van de twintigste jaargang (1902) en de Almanak 1903 blijken in de eigen drukkerij van het Missiehuis gedrukt te zijn. Hieruit is af te leiden dat in 1902 de missionarissen een eigen drukkerij zijn begonnen. De eerste persen werden bediend door de broeders Jan Vriens en Jan Foppele, en later door Jan Bogaers en Toon Piëtte. Het huidige gebouw van de drukkerij kwam in 1927 tot stand. Gedurende de Tweede Wereldoorlog lag de drukkerij stil. Na de oorlog hebben de broeders Jan Vriens en M. Joosten de drukkerij weer leven in geblazen. Vanaf 1957 trok Frans Kolsters als commercieel-directeur steeds meer lekenpersoneel aan; hij maakte van de drukkerij een N.V., waarin de Provinciale M.S.C. als enige aandeelhouder optrad: de Drukkerij en Uitgeverij Hart van Brabant was geboren. Later werd de drukkerij door de Tilburgse zetterij Vorspel N.V. overgenomen. Die zetterij ging echter failliet. Daarna werd de drukkerij langzaam maar zeker weer opgebouwd.

Het Missiehuis bezit een kloosterbibliotheek met meer dan 20.000 titels. Ze bestaat uit twee afdelingen: op de begane grond zit de meer wetenschappelijke; op de eerste etage treffen we de gymnasiale bibliotheek aan, voortgekomen uit de opgeheven Apostolische School ofwel klein-seminarie van de M.S.C.-congregatie, en aangelegd tussen 1889 en 1960. De bibliotheek stond grotendeels ten dienste van de leraren en verdere huisbewoners, terwijl de studenten hun eigen schoolbibliotheek hadden. Toen de filosofische en theologische opleidingshuizen van de congregatie (groot-seminarie) eveneens in Tilburg werden geconcentreerd, zijn ook de bibliotheken hiervan, met een groter bestand dan de oorspronkelijke huisbibliotheek, in het Missiehuis ondergebracht. Een belangrijk deel van de M.S.C.-bibliotheek is jaren geleden opgenomen in die van de Theologische Faculteit Tilburg. De belangrijkste bibliothecaris van de M.S.C.-bibliotheek is wel pater dr. Piet Cools (1904-1973) geweest. Hij was onder meer voorzitter van de Vereniging voor Nederlandse Kloosterbibliotheken. De bibliotheek heeft een aanzienlijke collectie Franse literatuur; dit heeft te maken met de Franse oorsprong van de congregatie.

Literatuur: HN van 22-6-1985; Ronald Peeters en Ed Schilders, Katholiek Tilburg in beeld, Tilburg, 1990, p. 78-79; mededeling dr. P. Schreurs M.S.C. 19-12-1991; M. Joosten M.S.C., ‘De geschiedenis van onze drukkerij’, in: K.B.O. Kroniek, M.S.C. Tilburg, afl. 20, 1983, p. 2-5.

De missionerende Congregaties

Het is in Merauke dat in 1905 (14 augustus) de eerste missionarissen aankomen: de leden van de Congregatie van de Missionarissen van het H. Hart, om er hun missiewerk te beginnen.

Deze eerste missionarissen kwamen uit Europa, het Europa van de negentiende eeuw. In die wereld die economisch en sociaal opengegaan was en waarin men door de techniek de hele aarde begon te bereiken, ontwaakte op instigatie van de kerken een geheel nieuwe golf van missionair elan, zowel bij de Missie als bij de Zending.

In Frankrijk, waar de ontkerstening een algemeen aanvaarde situatie van onkerkelijkheld en vrije zedelijkheid had opgeroepen, beleefden de geestelijken deze mentaliteit als ‘le mal modeme’. Zij zochten naar de middelen om een genezing te bewerkstelligen. Eén van hen, de eerwaarde beer Jules Chevalier, stichtte in 1854 te Issoudun (bij Bourges) een Congregatie van priesters en broeders: de ‘Missionarissen van het H. Hart’. Hij zag hen als herauten van de Liefde die hun tijdgenoten wensten te ontvlammen em Christus wederliefde te geven en een christelijk leven te leiden. Het devies dat hij daarom aan zijn Congregatie meegaf luidde: ‘Bemind zij overal het H. Hart van Jezus…’.

Na vijfentwintig jaren (1879) telde de Ccngregatie negenentwintig paters, vijf breeders en negenentwintig groot-seminaristen (waaronder al twee Nederlanders).

Rond 1880 eiste de Maçonnieke Regering van de Franse Republiek dat de kloosterlingen een officiële erkenning zouden aanvragen, hetgeen hun Apostolaat beperkingen zou opleggen. De missionarissen van het H. Hart (MSC) weken uit naar Nederland. Hier kregen zij van mgr. Godschalk, bisschop van ‘s-Hertogenbosch, zijn eigen buitenverblijf, huize Gerra, toegewezen (1881).

Huize Gerra werd het vormingscentrum, het neviciaat, dat onder leiding staat van pater Ch. Piperon. Toen de eerste nevicen geprofest waren en nieuwe postulanten zich hadden aangemeld, werd het huis te klein en werd een afgedankte lakenfabriek in de stad Tilburg aangekocht. Naast het noviciaat en de hogere studies werd daar ook nog het Klein-Seminarie, de z.g. Apostclische School ondergebracht.

De eerste leden van de Congregatie waren ingetreden omdat zij de godsvrucht tot het H. Hart van Jezus wilden verspreiden, met name in Frankrijk. De stichter echter van hun Congregatie had zelf van bet begin af aan ook bet missiewerk in de vreemde landen als een van de voornaamste taken van zijn instituut gezien en de jongere garde zag met verlangen naar de verwezenlijking van dit missie-ideaal uit. Het devies was toch: ~Bemind zij overal…’ Nog tijdens bet gedwongen vertrek van zijn mensen uit Frankrijk, wat heel het bestaan van bet instituut op losse schroeven zette, vroeg pater Chevalier zijn procurator in Rome om de Congregatie als kandidaat voor een of andere missie voor te dragen bij de H. Steel. Kardinaal Simeoni, prefect van de Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, bood daarop de heel Zuidzee (Melanesië en Micronesië) aan, met de opdracht hoofdaandacht te schenken aan het eiland NieuwGuinea.

Intussen was in 1874 ook de Congregatie van de Dochters van O.L. Vrouw van het Heilige Hart gesticht. De grote uittocht van leden van beide Congregaties naar de Missie kon beginnen. De eerste karavaan reisde in 1881 met de avonturier Markies de Rays, via Manila, Soerabaja, Batavia en Singapore naar Sydney. Na dertien maanden bereikten zij van daaruit in noord Nieuw-Guinea het plaatsje Port Breton, dat aan de zuidkust van Nieuw Ierland lag. Omdat zij daar niets dan puinhopen en graven vonden, staken zij het Sint-Joriskanaal over en begonnen hun missiewerk op Nieuw Brittannië.

In 1885 kwamen er twee paters, drie broeders en vijf zusters naar bet Thursday-Island aan de zuidkust van Nieuw-Guinea. Via het nabijgelegen Yule-Island bereikte men het vasteland van Nieuw-Guinea. Dit missiegebied telde in 1910 na vijfentwintig jaar werk reeds drieentwintig overledenen. Hun gemiddelde leeftijd lag niet boven de vierendertig jaar.’

De stichting van de Apostolische Prefectuur van Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea

De westelijke helft van Nieuw-Guinea was een deel van Nederlands-Indië en voor de Regering bestond er voor heel Nederlands-Indië voor de katholieken slechts één erkende kerkrechtelijke autoriteit, n.l. het Apostolisch Vicariaat van Batavia (Djakarta).

De eerste missionarissen waren wereldheren (1808-1859). Daama werd het vicariaat toevertrouwd aan de Orde van de paters Jezuieten. Zij hadden op verschillende eilanden de zielzorg van aanwezige katholieken en de verkondiging van bet christelijk geloof aan de ‘heidenen’ op zich genomen.
Maar het was tegen het einde van de negentiende eeuw duidelijk geworden dat dit arbeidsveld veel te uitgebreid was voor bet personeelsbestand van deze ene Orde. Vanuit Europa meldden zich daarom andere Orden en Congregaties aan, die bereid waren om een deel van dit missieveld over te nemen. De MSC en met name de groep jongere Nederlandse leden, dacht nog steeds aan Nieuw-Guinea.
De Jezuieten waren in 1888 naar de Molukse eilanden gekomen en hadden bet missiewerk daar in gang gezet. De Missionarissen van het H. Hart verklaarden zich in 1896 bereid deze Missie (de Molukken en Nieuw-Guinea) over te nemen. Maar de Nederlandse Regering liet weten, dat zij geen tweede zelfstandig Apostolisch Vicariaat wenste te erkennen naast dat van Batavia. En de MSC zelf wenste niet als een onderafdeling van dat Jezuietisch Vicariaat ingezet te worden. Rome begreep de houding van de Nederlandse Regering niet, zodat de onderhandelingen geen vlot verloop hadden.
Het duurde zeven jaar voordat in 1902 de onderhandelingen tot resultaat hadden dat er een eigen Apostolische Prefectuur werd opgericht en erkend, nl. de Prefectuur van Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea. Pater M. Neijens werd benoemd tot de eerste Prefect. Met pater H. Geurtjens vertrok hij naar de Kei-eiianden waar zij de missie van de paters Jezuieten overnamen in 1903. Van daaruit vertrok men in 1905 naar Merauke.



Het Militair Exploratie-Detachement in Zuid-Nieuw-Guinea, 1907-1910 [2]


Het Militair Exploratie-Detachement in Zuid-Nieuw-Guinea, 1907-1910 [2

The missionary Congregations

It is in Merauke in 1905 (14 August) The first missionaries arrive: Members of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Hart, to begin their missionary work.

The first missionaries came from Europe, the Europe of the nineteenth century. In this world that are economically and socially and which one was opened by the technique began to reach the earth, awoke at the instigation of the churches a whole new wave of missionary fervor, both the Mission and the Mission.

In France, where the de-Christianization of a universally accepted position unchurched hero and free morality had summoned the clergy experienced this mentality as “le mal modem. They sought the means to cure. One of them, Father Bear Jules Chevalier, founded in 1854 in Issoudun (near Bourges) a Congregation of priests and brothers: the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart ‘. He saw them as heralds of the Love that their contemporaries wished to re-ignite em Christ and love to give a Christian life. The motto that’s why he gave to his congregation was “Loved it everywhere H. Heart of Jesus … “.

After twenty-five years (1879) counted the Ccngregatie twenty-nine priests, five breeders and twenty-nine great-seminarians (including all two Dutch).

Around 1880 demanded the Masonic Government of the French Republic that the monks would apply for an official recognition, which would impose restrictions on their apostolate. The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) fled to the Netherlands. Here they received from Msgr. Godschalk, bishop of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, his country residence, home Gerra, assigned (1881).

House Gerra was the training center, the neviciaat, headed by Father Ch. Piperon. When the first nevicen were professed and new postulants had been submitted, the house was too small and a disused textile factory in the city of Tilburg purchased. In addition to the novitiate and the higher studies there was also the Minor Seminary, called Apostclische School housed.

The first members of the Congregation had occurred because the devotion to the Blessed Heart of Jesus wanted to spread, especially in France. However, the founder of their congregation itself had also bet bet beginning mission work in foreign countries as one of the main tasks of the institute and given the younger generation looked with longing for the realization of this mission from ideal. The motto was still: ~ Loved it everywhere … “Another bet during his forced departure of people from France, which the very existence of betting institute put into question, asked Father Chevalier procurator in Rome to the Congregation as a candidate for a or other mission to contribute to the H. Steel. Cardinal Simeoni, Prefect of the Congregation of the Propaganda Fide, offered them the whole Pacific (Melanesia and Micronesia), with the mission head attention to the island of New Guinea.

Meanwhile in 1874 the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart founded. The large exodus of members of both congregations to the Mission began. The first caravan traveled in 1881 with the adventurer Marquis de Rays, via Manila, Surabaya, Batavia and Singapore to Sydney. After thirteen months, they reached from there in northern New Guinea, the town of Port Breton, on the south coast of New Ireland was. Because they are nothing but ruins and graves found, they crossed the St. George’s Channel and began their mission work in New Britain.

In 1885 came two priests, three brothers and five sisters to bet-Thursday Island on the south coast of New Guinea. The nearby Yule Island they reached the mainland of New Guinea. This mission area had in 1910 after twenty-five years of work already twenty-three dead. Their average age was not above thirty-four years. “

The foundation of the Apostolic Prefecture of Dutch New Guinea

The western half of New Guinea was part of the Dutch East Indies and the Government was there for the whole Dutch East Indies to the Catholic church law recognized only one authority, namely the Apostolic Vicariate of Batavia (Jakarta).

The first missionaries were world men (1808-1859). Thereafter, the vicariate entrusted to the Order of the Jesuit Fathers. They were on different islands present the pastoral care of Catholics and the proclamation of Christian faith to bet the “Gentiles” has taken on.
But it was towards the end of the nineteenth century it became clear that this was far too extensive field work for bet workforce of this one Order. From Europe came forward so other Orders and Congregations, who were willing to be part of this mission field to take over. The MSC, in particular the Dutch group of younger members, was still thinking about New Guinea.
The Jesuits were in 1888 and came to the Moluccas had bet mission work there put in motion. The Missionaries of the Sacred Hart declared themselves prepared this Mission in 1896 (the Moluccas and New Guinea) to take over. But the Dutch Government announced that it no second independent Apostolic Vicariate wished to recognize that addition of Batavia. And wished the MSC itself not as a subdivision of that Jesuitical Vicariate to be deployed. Rome understood the attitude of the Dutch Government does not, so that the negotiations were not smooth.
It took seven years before the negotiations in 1902 result had there own Apostolic Prefecture was established and recognized, namely the Prefecture of Dutch New Guinea. Father M. Neijens was appointed the first Prefect. With Father H. Geurtjens he left the Kei eiianden where she became the mission of the Jesuit Fathers took over in 1903. From there, they left in 1905 to Merauke.

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The Military Exploration Detachment in southern New Guinea, 1907-1910 [2]

The Military Exploration Detachment in southern New Guinea, 1907-1910 [2

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Pioneers in the early days.
In the first years of the mission in Merauke, there have been many missionaries. Here is an overview, many of them their lives prematurely left the work they did.

Father M. Neijens, born in Heel (Limburg) 1868, MSC was in 1887, received his doctorate in theology in Rome, was ordained priest since 1896, taught at the Grand Seminary MSC Antwerp and Louvain, was appointed Prefect of the Apostolic Prefecture of Dutch New Guinea in 1903. He went to the Moluccas, together with Father H. Geurtjens and founded the Mission in New Guinea in 1905, there came on a visit in 1906, 1909 and 1914. Prefect as he came into conflict with the Provincial Executive of the MSC in the Netherlands. He resigned as Prefect in 1915, worked until 1921 in Merauke and thereafter on the Kei Islands, where he died in 1941.
Father H. Nollen, born in ‘s-Hertogenbosch 1870, MSC was in 1891, ordained priest in 1897, moved to Neu Pomerania (then German New Guinea) in 1897 and came thence to Merauke 1905. He was Superior of the MSC Langgoer (Boulder) 1910, succeeded Father Neijens as Prefect 1915 and returned after the appointment of Msgr. J. Aerts MSC Vicar of the Vicariate of Dutch New Guinea back to Neu Pomerania. He worked there until 1951. He died in Sydney, Australia, 1951.
Ph. Fr. Braun, born in Beverwijk 1872, MSC 1892, 1897 and ordained a priest verlrok Neu Pomerania. Hence he came to Merauke in 1905 and after a year moved to Boulder. He later left and Kei as MSC priest in America, where he died in 1916.
Brother D. van Roessel, born in Tilburg 1860, MSC 1889, went to Merauke, 1905, was moved to Boulder in 1906 and died Saumlaki (Tanirnbar), 1930.
Brother M. Oomen, born in Hoeven 1869, MSC was in 1897, came to Merauke, 1905, died there 1906.
Brother N. Hamers, born in Tilburg 1872, MSC 1896, went to Neu Pomerania and came to Merauke in 1906, went on leave to the Netherlands, where he died in 1913.
Father E. Cappers, Geldrop born in 1877, MSC was in 1897, ordained 1904, was given the job of deputy director of the Minor Seminary of Tilburg, asked to resign and went to Merauke in 1906. He moved to Boulder ill 1909, died in the internment Cimahi, 1945.
Brother G. Verhoeven, born in Gemert 1871, MSC 1901, went to Merauke in 1907 and died after a month there.
Brother J. Joosten, born in Deurne 1872, MSC 1898, went to Merauke 1907, worked there until 1922 and then to Boulder, where he was shot by the Japanese in 1942.
Brother G. Jeanson, born in Duisburg (Did.) 1874, MSC was in 1899, worked at Merauke from 1908-1911 and died in the internment Bojo, Ceiebes 1944.
Father J. van der Kooy, born in Rijswijk 1878, MSC was in 1899, ordained priest 1904. His first period ran from 1909-1915 Merauke, then he worked in Boulder until 1923. His second period in New Guinea lasted from 1923 until he died in 1953.
Father J. Viegen, born in Maastricht 1871, MSC 1892, ordained 1897, moved to Boulder, was Superior of the MSC until 1909, then came to Merauke, turned back to Kei 1915, moved to the Netherlands 1920, died there in 1936.
Father J. of Kolk, Wanroy born in 1879, MSC 1900, ordained priest 1908. He came to Merauke 1910, founded the station in 1915 and moved to Okaba Langgoer at Boulder, appointed Mission Superior. He went to Nederiand 1922, where he died in 1931.
Father P. Vertenten, born in Hamme Viaanderen (Beigie) 1884, MSC was in 1904, ordained priest 1909 and went to Merauke and joined Father Van de Kolk in Okaba. In 1915 he came in Merauke where he is the “Savior of the Kaja-kaya’s’ was (1921). He left in 1925 and was nominated for the Congo (Africa). He died in Wilrijk, Antwerp, in 1946.
Brother H. of Santvoort, born in Tilburg 1878, MSC was in 1902, came to Merauke in 1910, worked to Okaba (plantation) to 1915, from Merauke, he returned to the Netherlands and died in Tilburg in 1950.
It is these men that we were working in southern New Guinea. In order to understand their work is more useful to say about their person, their origin, the time from which they arose and their special religious formation.

With a single word to characterize it thus:

Nollen, the open shelf, filled with the idea of seifsupporting (cattle, gardens, plantation);
Braun, the frustrated, which ai soon be no more Papuans could see;
Brother Van Roessel, jack of all trades;
Hammers brother, the Builder;
Joosten brother, the gardener;
the brothers Oomen and Verhoeven, the first victims;
brother Jeanson, helper in all areas;
Cappers, wandering, narrator;
Van der Kooy, sick father;
Viegen, the ‘anthropologist';
Van de Kolk, founder of Okaba;
Brother Van Santvoort, man of kopraproduktie;
Vertenten, the savior of Kajakaja’s,
Neijens, the first Prefect.

Allen – by Braun, Van der Kooy and after Jeanson – were Brabant and Limburg, with a Viaming: Vertenten. They worked and lived together, bijeengepiaatst by the monastic authorities, together in the distant solitude, together dedicated solely for one purpose: to bring the Faith to the ‘heathens’, working on their repentance and adhere to the necessary civilization … but laboring ais own personalities, different from talent, temperament and character.

What this means in everyday life hot knew is difficult to trace because they wrote only that they were generally in good health and were able to keep it pleasant in dealing with cobble together. So was the fact in the published ‘letters’, but lateral unpublished observations in letters to the government or our colleagues do also suspect that another more bearable sometimes very difficult must have been.

Father Henry Nollen left in 1891 to the Mission of Neu Pomerania in the former German New Guinea. Hence he came to Merauke in 1905. He arranges the first house, put a nursery and livestock on. When Oomen brother died, was working in his garden shed and not least, he writes:

The work on stapett. Brother Hammers can not do everything. Well help Paler Cappers and I was so good we can, but what the farm is concerned, which is now in the hands of three who does not know.

A month later he writes:

The farm life and the stable air do me good … When milking goats I have now received the manure kruien. I also mow al .. I visit my sheep, but now twice a week to every other day. My language remains so in arrears, but it will recover again. “

He leaves that to the Provincial Superior in Tilburg still hear and say there, that from that side came no word of consolation upon the death of brother Oomen. He attends wedding on foot and on horseback in the villages nearby, carefully studying the country and people, asks and obtains a camera, published in Anthropos.
But Van de Kolk says Nollen that extension does not dare to ask for things that others are interested also agreed to establish. Nollen complains that the shipments come from Tilburg not over, not according to demand and not well packed. He displays his “poverty” so violently that it will be explained later as lack of concern with the Prefect.
The ‘sufficient’ money, however, that he received from Kei, went on to the large-scale farming, against the wishes of the Prefect in which he had committed, however. From the Diary of Merauke that kept Nollen, and especially his letters, he emerges as a very pious man, who begs for prayers and sacrifices for the conversion of the people. Superior became (1910) and therefore transferred from Merauke to Langgoer, he soon returned to Boulder from Merauke to the establishment of a mission station “on the Bian River” to prepare.
When Father Neijens in 1915 resigned as Prefect and was asked, Nollen, wanted to nominate as a successor, he told himself not competent to consider. He believes not be able to “own body” level government officials to deal with, he knows no language. He assumes office as a ‘temporary’ period between the prospect that Rome was a Vicar Apostolic – a bishop – will appoint. During this period, Van de Kolk and become the ruler who was Nollen but a difficult man, short-tempered. In 1921, Nollen Merauke visiting once and this was a big disappointment for the founder, he then returns to his first mission, Neu Vorpommern, where he continues to run until 1951.

Father Philip Braun stayed only a year to Merauke: 1905-1906. He could not harden. Nollen wrote to the Provinciaai: “At Braun, I did not PEEI, which focuses little on the lazy,” Il est blasé. “‘But these Kei Braun was the administrator of the prefecture and it occurs in his letters to the Provincial know as a critical man who really dared tell where the shoe wrong.

Father Edward Cappers got a job after his ordination as assistant director of the Minor Seminary of Tilburg, asked to resign and went to Merauke in 1906. Nollen had looked to him to replace Braun. His many additional articles in the Annals and the Almanac witnesses of his frequent visits to the villages and a real can do with them what was going on. In Merauke himself was his door is always open for visits. He was after a year or three sick and went to the Kei eiianden.

Was short-lived stay of Oomen brother who died in 1906, brother of Verhoeven, died after a month of Merauke and Brother Van Roessel in 1906 moved to Boulder and died in Saumlaki, (Tanimbar).

Brother Hammers was the real brother of that time, prepared for every good work, self-conscious of his valuable contribution, but also full of admiration and reverence for the fathers. In the letter about his own work he says:

“It’s almost eleven o’clock … now able to cook and simmer everything, get some bread soaked in milk for a treat, for if the priests the whole morning in the blazing sun had run, they may act as extra.”

He built the new parish of Merauke and later church and home in Okaba and went on leave to the Netherlands.

Brother Joosten. We hear very little about him, he kept faith with the market garden until 1922. After his leave, he worked at Boulder and was Msgr. Aerts and companions shot by the Japanese.

Together with his brother stayed. Jeanson Merauke.

Two figures came back very own in 1909 to Merauke: Father J. Father Jos van der Kooy and Viegen.

Father Van der Kooy. This quiet man draws himself best in a letter to the Provincial in 1912:

About conversion work I can say very little. Ais we occasionally a soul in heaven rockers, we are at biij; regular Christian communities there is still no. There are two churches under construction, one for and one for Wendoe Jobar. I honor that church full of believers Jobar see will I lien law a year or older. The courage we lose fuel, we all know that first, especially of a mission is difficult and the Lord expects earnings not to success. 1k pray Lord for you. Reciprocally I also ask your prayers that God give me courage and strength to much for him werken.5

Jos Viegen worked during his years in Merauke (1909-1915) and to Jobar Wendoe. He showed a special interest in the life of the Marind.

Jan van de Kolk. In the archives of the MSC in Tilburg is a letter from the chaplain from Wanroy, the birthplace of Van de Kolk. The chaplain writes:

The undersigned certifies that he Josephus of John Kolk over five years, and acolyte had known that it always has been blameless in his moral and religious behavior ‘and the other children in modesty and piety has always excelled. His tendency to missionary life are truly profound piety and virtue and also are more than just construction to the study, give me confidence that by the good God to missionary was created.

During his final year of study in theology, he shows himself extremely modest and willing to do anything to his government that he would like to hear New Guinea would be appointed. From there already was a letter from Paler Nollen come asking for a ‘wise man’ and then all the name of Van de Kolk calls.

Cappers wrote to Van de Kolk a warning letter:

When you come, welcome hear!
But make it clear that you yourself first is not to much to baptize. The longer I am here, the more I see how deep, unfathomably deep, the people here have fallen men and women, their life is a series of unnatural immorality. Disgusting.

In Batavia on his way to Boulder, he hears his appointment to Merauke. After a journey of two fifty days he arrives there. His first impression:

Altogether it struck me so bad. The “City” has been seen at all in ten minutes. Fathers and brothers look healthy with huge beards. The livestock: a stallion, a mare and three young stallions, three dogs, two Dutch cows, a firm bull, two buffaloes, three calves, thirty chickens, twenty ducks.
The area is surrounded with barbed wire.
There are coconuts, plantains, vegetable garden is a part. Brother Joosten sells cabbage, milk, eggs.
The life suits me prime, but one must not dirty, frightened and not impatient. The days are all equal to each other. At five o’clock on: morning prayer, meditation, Mass, breakfast and then on horseback to ± three hours. After dinner, afternoon nap. On 8 December we even had a high mass. Hammers brother and I have sung without a book. He would love to have songs like ‘Gebenedijd Thee … “. Paler Nollen and brother Hammers would like to hear about it steered the museum. They speak very disparagingly about Tilburg. Brother Hammers says: ‘1 k damned if jets are sending. “” He has a lot of effort and thank you ever had or even heard of the stuff arrived. And this I ate more experienced: the missionaries are very sensitive and short-tempered. That seems to work climate. “

He leaves for Okaba. Merauke was founded as a government post in 1902 as a mission station in 1905. Van de Kolk writes after ten years, in 1912, a brief historical overview on the work of Directors and Mission. He concludes his story as follows:

Thus there could be during the first years of a regular mission work is little question, nor indeed the unfamiliarity with the difficult language, the distrustful and fearful attitude of the savages, their attachment to their own use and much more, made these first years to a major mission life without much consolation. But they persisted, by nursing the sick and the linking of wounds they soon won the hearts of the benevolent Marindinees, so much so that the missionary simply “the good man was called. But one will never be able to describe how much sacrifice, dedication, patience, patience, self-conquest and fatigue that repentance is the fruit. It is the pioneering work that knows no satisfaction unless: later other missionaries will come that will make a start with the sow and reap. “

Typical of his time that he found solace in the fact that the Shipment – fifty years earlier to work – even less results already achieved. He writes:

Can I make a little comparison? On the other side of New Guinea, in the north, half a century honor than the south came into contact with civilization was already in 1855 a Protestant mission was founded. Ds. Van Hasselt wrote on the silver celebration of the Shipment, “On the list of the baptisms of 5 Febr. 1855 to 5 Feb. 1880 are only twenty names. “Then we need not complain, and may our Lord thanks that after five years been a much more favorable results achieved and that we in the silver celebration of the Catholic Mission in Southern New Guinea most likely a satisfactory and success will definitely have to write. But there must be prayers and suffering for the poor heathen souls of South New Guinea.

In 1913, the Board acted vigorously against headhunting in 1914 against the hunting paradise. The First World War broke out. In 1915 moved to Van de Kolk Langgoer, appointed Mission Superior.

Father Vertenten went to Merauke and from there to Okaba in 1911. As ‘The Saviour of the Kajakaja’s’ is known (see below) as “colleague” he turns his optimism and his sociability the inspiring figure to have been in the small communauteitjes. He works, writes, draws, keeps out the conflict with the government and fight for the preservation of life of the Papuans for their salvation. He signs himself the best in his letter (1912) to the Provincial:

In February it was already a year since I arrived in Okaba. I have since the Capital (!) Merauke, not seen … Why a lot of walking home when the home is so good?
We have a small but very cozy local community. I am therefore the longer the better here. Certainly we miss here provisionally the consolation that other, more advanced missions, but we should not consider the first happy to be here who proclaim God’s name?! The conversion of such yolk takes time, but our forefathers were also hundreds of years before they were presentable Christians, who were not much better, probably worse than these people here. In any case the prospect that once again this nation will honor God and love that encourages us.
We have a small farm. From our banana gardens we have lots of fun. The store’s Kajakaja there hands in each other: we are even real people, they say. Our health leaves nothing to be desired, I have before me I never felt fresher and hotter. Here also we may our Lord bedariken law. “

Van de Kolk became Superior in 1915, writes about him in that year the annual report:

Vertenten: the missionary zeal that is perhaps the best preserved and healthy optimism despite everything! A jewel of a fellow that nobody can be better witnesses than me. Is happy to Neijens Father (now Merauke), will do its best of New Guinea still to what is possible. “

After his successful trip to Batavia in 1921 to write Vertenten Viegen:

I’ve been to Java, you know al .. We should thank our Lord law; work on New Guinea was too good in the cross planted to fail. Therefore we have always kept in good spirits with God’s grace. “

And over this entire group was Father Matthias Neijens, the first Apostotische Prefect. Geurtjens Father, with whom he had left the Motukken, draws him as follows:

That Father M. Neijens a man of stature was everyone had to admit who knew him. Of medium stature, but solidly built, he betrayed his movements and gestures that a substantial body resolute soul lived. That resolute willpower was always one of his most distinctive features. What he undertook he did thoroughly and properly and then there were no difficulties deter him capable. Thus he has great things in the mission accomplished and the most painful ordeal that he knew was that grim circumstances often unbridled zest taming. In particular, he felt need to tocb in a different way to blow off steam, and are not to take out work drive cures. Then he grabbed a sledgehammer and pounded hard rifstenen, who set up one or another building stood in the way. Dan was not too hot tropical sun. If a Titan he swung the sledgehammer, which neerbonkte hard rock heads that the pieces all around him snorden and the sweat gushed from the body. Stared with amazement the natives to Tuan, Tuan so strange for a moment and did ats posed powerhouse. “

Neijens was the founder of the Mission in Dutch South New Guinea, at the request of Mr. Kroesen, 1904. Although he was offered police escort, he went alone to visit from Merauke to the Papuans in their villages.

Witty is the piece that Vertenten writes about his dealings with Fr Neijens to Merauke:

Father Neijens was a highly educated and literate man, well aware of religion and science, art and literature. He was also a fascinating conversationalist. If he lets interesting read bad, he could also be lively about it. For a time he spoke a lot about ancient history: Egypt, Assyria etc. Now Neijens father had an extraordinary memory and I was wondering: how can all remember that guy? During his absence I accidentally put his hand on the source of his conversations lately: Histoire ancienne. And when he came back, I started telling him from the old days and now of course knew more than he. A twinkle in his eyes told me, you rascal!





In de eerste jaren van de missiepost in Merauke zijn er vele missionarissen geweest. Hierbij een overzicht, waarvan velen hun leven voortijdig verlieten bij het werk dat ze deden.

  • Pater M. Neijens, geboren te Heel (Limburg) 1868, werd MSC in 1887, promoveerde te Rome in de theologie, werd daar priester gewijd 1896, doceerde aan het Groot-Seminarie MSC te Antwerpen en Leuven, werd benoemd tot Prefect van de Apostolische Prefectuur van Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea in 1903. Hij vertrok naar de Molukken te zamen met pater H. Geurtjens en stichtte de Missie op Nieuw-Guinea in 1905, kwam daar op bezoek in 1906, 1909 en 1914. Als Prefect kwam hij in conflict met het Provinciaal Bestuur van de MSC in Nederland. Hij trad af als Prefect in 1915, werkte nog tot 1921 in Merauke en daama op de Kei-eilanden, waar hij stierf in 1941.
  • Pater H. Nollen, geboren te ‘s-Hertogenbosch 1870, werd MSC in 1891, priester gewijd in 1897, vertrok naar Neu Pommeren (toenmalig Duits Nieuw-Guinea) in 1897 en kwam vandaar naar Merauke 1905. Hij werd Overste van de MSC te Langgoer (Kei) 1910, volgde pater Neijens op als Prefect 1915 en keerde na de benoeming van mgr. J. Aerts MSC tot Vicaris van het Vicariaat Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea naar Neu Pommeren terug. Daar werkte hij tot 1951. Hij stierf te Sydney, Australië, 1951.
  • Pater Ph. Braun, geboren te Beverwijk 1872, werd MSC in 1892, priester gewijd 1897 en verlrok naar Neu Pommeren. Vandaar kwam hij naar Merauke in 1905 en werd na één jaar overgeplaatst naar Kei. Hij verliet later Kei en heeft als MSC-priester in Amerika gewerkt, waar hij stierf in 1916.
  • Broeder D. van Roessel, geboren te Tilburg 1860, werd MSC in 1889, vertrok naar Merauke 1905, werd overgeplaatst naar Kei 1906 en overleed te Saumlaki (Tanirnbar), 1930.
  • Broeder M. Oomen, geboren te Hoeven 1869, werd MSC in 1897, kwam naar Merauke 1905, overleed daar 1906.
  • Broeder N. Hamers, geboren te Tilburg 1872, werd MSC in 1896, vertrok naar Neu Pommeren en kwam naar Merauke in 1906, ging op verlof naar Nederland, waar hij stierf in 1913.
  • Pater E. Cappers, geboren te Geldrop 1877, werd MSC in 1897, priester gewijd 1904, kreeg de taak van onderdirecteur van het Klein-Seminarie te Tilburg, vroeg zelf ontslag en vertrok naar Merauke in 1906. Hij vertrok ziek naar Kei 1909, stierf in het interneringskamp Cimahi, 1945.
  • Broeder G. Verhoeven, geboren te Gemert 1871, werd MSC in 1901, vertrok naar Merauke in 1907 en stierf na een maand aldaar.
  • Broeder J. Joosten, geboren te Deurne 1872, werd MSC in 1898, vertrok naar Merauke 1907, werkte daar tot 1922 en daarna op Kei, waar hij door de Japanners werd doodgeschoten in 1942.
  • Broeder G. Jeanson, geboren te Duisburg (Did.) 1874, werd MSC in 1899, werkte te Merauke van 1908-1911 en stierf in het interneringskamp Bojo, Ceiebes 1944.
  • Pater J. van der Kooy, geboren te Rijswijk 1878, werd MSC in 1899, priester gewijd 1904. Zijn eerste periode te Merauke liep van 1909-1915, daarna werkte hij op Kei tot 1923. Zijn tweede periode op Nieuw-Guinea duurde van 1923 tot hij daar stierf in 1953.
  • Pater J. Viegen, geboren te Maastricht 1871, werd MSC in 1892, priester gewijd 1897, vertrok naar Kei, was er Overste van de MSC tot 1909, kwam toen naar Merauke, keerde naar Kei terug 1915, vertrok naar Nederland 1920, stierf daar in 1936.
  • Pater J. van de Kolk, geboren te Wanroy 1879, werd MSC in 1900, priester gewijd 1908. Hij kwam naar Merauke 1910, stichtte de statie Okaba en verhuisde in 1915 naar Langgoer op Kei, benoemd als Missie-Overste. Hij vertrok naar Nederiand 1922, waar hij stierf in 1931.
  • Pater P. Vertenten, geboren te Hamme in Viaanderen (Beigie) 1884, werd MSC in 1904, priester gewijd 1909 en vertrok naar Merauke en voegde zich bij pater Van de Kolk in Okaba. In 1915 kwam hij weer in Merauke waar hij de ‘Redder van de Kaja-kaja’s’ werd (1921). Hij vertrok in 1925 en werd benoemd voor de Kongo (Afrika). Hij stierf te Wilrijk, Antwerpen, in 1946.
  • Broeder H. van Santvoort, geboren te Tilburg 1878, werd MSC in 1902, kwam in 1910 naar Merauke, werkte te Okaba (plantage) tot 1915, vanuit Merauke keerde hij naar Nederland terug en stierf te Tilburg in 1950.

Het zijn deze mannen die wij aan het werk waren in Zuid-Nieuw-Guinea. Om hun werk te begrijpen is het nuttig meer te zeggen over hun persoon, over hun afkomst, over de tijd waaruit zij voortkwamen en over hun speciale religieuze vorming.

Met een enkel woord zijn zij aldus te karakteriseren:

Nollen, de openlegger, vervuld van de idee van seifsupporting (vee, tuinen, plantage);
Braun, de gefrustreerde, die ai spoedig geen Papoea meer kon zien;
broeder Van Roessel, manusje van alles;
broeder Hamers, de bouwheer;
broeder Joosten, de tuinman;
de broeders Oomen en Verhoeven, de eerste slachtoffers;
broeder Jeanson, helper op alle gebied;
Cappers, rondtrekkend, verteller;
Van der Kooy, ziekenvader;
Viegen, de ‘antropoloog’;
Van de Kolk, stichter van Okaba;
broeder Van Santvoort, man van de kopraproduktie;
Vertenten, de redder van de Kajakaja’s,
Neijens, de eerste Prefect.

Allen — op Braun, Van der Kooy en Jeanson na — waren Brabanders en Limburgers, met één Viaming: Vertenten. Zij werkten en leefden te zamen, bijeengepiaatst door de kloosteroverheid, samen in de verre eenzaamheid, samen zich inzettend voor het ene doel: het Geloof te brengen aan de ‘heidenen’, werkend aan hun bekering en aan de daarvoor nodige beschaving… maar wel arbeidend ais eigen persoonlijkheden, verschillend van talent, temperament en karakter.

Wat dit in het dagelijkse leven hetekende is moeilijk te achterhalen, want zij schreven alleen dat zij meestal goed gezond waren en het prettig wisten te houden in de omgang met eIkaar. Zo stond het namelijk in de gepubliceerde ‘brieven’, maar zijdelingse opmerkingen in niet gepubliceerde brieven aan de Overheid of confraters doen ons evenzeer vermoeden dat elkander steeds te verdragen ook wel eens heel moeilijk geweest moet zijn.

Pater Henricus Nollen vertrok in 1891 naar de Missie van Neu Pommeren in het toenmalige Duitse Nieuw-Guinea. Vandaar kwam hij naar Merauke in 1905. Hij regelt het eerste huis, zet een tuinderij en een veehouderij op. Toen broeder Oomen stierf, was het werken in tuin en stal hem niet te min. Hij schrijft:

Het werk stapett zich op. Broeder Hamers kan niet alles doen. Wel helpen paler Cappers en ik zo goed we kunnen, maar wat de boerderij aangaat, die komt nu in handen van drie die er niets van kennen.

Een maand later schrijft hij:

Het boerenleven en de stallucht doen me goed… Bij het geiten melken heb ik nu ook het mestkruien gekregen. Maaien doe ik ook al… Ik bezoek mijn schaapjes nu maar twee maal per week tegen anders iedere dag. Mijn taalkennis blijft zo ten achteren, maar dat zal ook weer bijkomen.’

Hij laat dat aan de Provinciale Overste in Tilburg wel horen en zegt erbij, dat er van die kant geen woord van troost was gekomen bij het overlijden van broeder Oomen. Hij bezoekt trouw te voet en te paard de dorpen in de nabijheid, bestudeert nauwkeurig land en volk, vraagt en verkrijgt een fototoestel, publiceert in Anthropos.
Maar Van de Kolk vertelt Nollen dat toestel niet te durven vragen om zaken die anderen interesseren ook eens te kunnen vastleggen. Nollen klaagt dat de zendingen uit Tilburg niet goed over komen, niet volgens de vraag en niet goed verpakt. Hij etaleert zijn ‘armoede’ zo hevig, dat dit later uitgelegd wordt als gebrek aan zorg bij de Prefect.
Het ‘voldoende’ geld echter, dat hij van Kei ontving, ging op aan de te groots opgezette veehouderij, tegen de wil van de Prefect in, die hem echter liet begaan. Uit het Dagboek van Merauke dat Nollen bijhield, en vooral ook uit zijn brieven, komt hij naar voren als een zeer vroom man, die smeekt om gebed en offers voor de bekering van de mensen. Overste geworden (1910) en daarom overgeplaatst van Merauke naar Langgoer, komt hij spoedig van Kei terug naar Merauke om de vestiging van een missiestatie “over de Bianrivier” voor te bereiden.
Toen pater Neijens in 1915 aftrad als Prefect en men hem, Nollen, wilde voordragen als de opvolger, liet hij horen zich niet bekwaam te achten. Hij meent niet in staat te zijn op ‘ambtenlijk’ niveau met regeringsfunctionarissen te kunnen omgaan, hij kent geen talen. Hij aanvaardt het ambt als ‘tijdelijke’ tussenperiode in het vooruitzicht dat Rome wel een Apostolische Vicaris — een bisschop — zal gaan benoemen. In die periode was Van de Kolk de Overste geworden en die vond Nollen maar een moeilijk mens, kort aangebonden. In 1921 bezoekt Nollen Merauke nog éénmaal en dit was een grote teleurstelling voor deze stichter; hij keert dan naar zijn eerste Missie, Neu Pommeren, terug, waar hij blijft werken tot 1951.

Pater Philippus Braun verbleef maar één jaar te Merauke: 1905-1906. Hij kon het er niet harden. Nollen schreef aan de Provinciaai: ‘Aan Braun heb ik niet veei, die houdt zich weinig met de lui op; “Il est blasé”.’ Maar deze Braun werd op Kei de administrator van de prefectuur en doet zich dan in zijn brieven aan de Provinciaal kennen als een kritisch man, die echt wel, durfde zeggen waar de schoen wrong.

Pater Eduard Cappers kreeg na zijn priesterwijding een taak als onderdirecteur van het Klein-Seminarie te Tilburg, vroeg zelf ontslag en vertrok naar Merauke in 1906. Nollen had naar hem uitgekeken om Braun te vervangen. Zijn vele artikeltjes in de Annalen en de Almanak getuigen van zijn veelvuldig bezoek aan de dorpen en van een echt mee kunnen doen met wat er gaande was. Ook in Merauke zelf stond zijn deur altijd open voor bezoek. Hij werd na een jaar of drie ziek en vertrok naar de Kei-eiianden.

Van korte duur was het verblijf van broeder Oomen die in 1906 overleed, van broeder Verhoeven, gestorven na een maand te Merauke en van broeder Van Roessel die in 1906 naar Kei vertrok en overleed te Saumlaki, (Tanimbar).

Broeder Hamers was de echte broeder van die tijd, tot elk goed werk bereid, zichzelf wel bewust van zijn waardevolle bijdrage, maar tegelijk vol bewondering en eerbied voor de paters. In de brief over zijn eigen werk zegt hij:

“Het is bijna elf uur… nu staat alles te koken en te pruttelen, gauw wat brood in melk geweekt voor een koekje, want als de paters de ganse morgen in de brandende zon gelopen hebben, mogen zij wet wat extra’s hebben.”

Hij bouwde de nieuwe pastorie van Merauke en later kerk en huis in Okaba en ging  op verlof naar Nederland.

Broeder Joosten. Wij horen heel weinig over hem; hij verzorgde trouw de tuinderij tot 1922. Na zijn verlof werkte hij op Kei en werd met mgr. Aerts en gezellen doodgeschoten door de Japanners.

Te zamen met hem verbleef broeder .Jeanson te Merauke.

Twee weer heel eigen figuren kwamen in 1909 naar Merauke: pater J. van der Kooy en pater Jos Viegen.

Pater Van der Kooy. Deze stille man tekent zichzelf het beste in een brief aan de Provinciaal in 1912:

Over ons bekeringswerk kan ik weinig zeggen. Ais we zo nu en dan een zieltje in de hemel wippen mogen we at biij zijn; van geregelde christengemeenten is nog geen sprake. Ook zijn twee kerkjes in aanbouw, een voor Wendoe en een voor Jobar. Eer dat ik dat kerkje van Jobar vol gelovigen zal zien, zal ik wet een jaar of lien ouder zijn. De moed verliezen we fuel; we weten dat alle begin, vooral van een missie, moeilijk is en Onze Lieve Heer rekent de verdiensten niet naar het succes. 1k bid Onze Lieve Heer voor u. Wederkerig vraag ik ook uw gebed opdat God mij moed en sterkte geve om veel voor Hem te werken.5

Jos Viegen werkte tijdens zijn jaren te Merauke (1909-1915) te Jobar en Wendoe. Hij toonde een heel bijzondere belangstelling voor de levensbeschouwing van de Marind.

Jan van de Kolk. In het Archief van de MSC in Tilburg ligt een brief van de kapelaan uit Wanroy, de geboorteplaats van Van de Kolk. De kapelaan schrijft:

De ondergetekende verklaart dat hij Johannes Josephus van de Kolk ruim vijf jaren heeft gekend en tot misdienaar heeft gehad, dat deze steeds onberispelijk is geweest in zijn zedelijk en godsdienstig gedrag en onder de overige kinderen in ingetogenheid en godsvrucht steeds heeft uitgemunt. Zijn neiging tot het missionarisleven, zijn werkelijk innige godsvrucht en deugd en tevens zijn meer dan gewone aanleg tot de studie, geven mij het vertrouwen dat hij door de goede God tot het missionarisleven is geroepen.

Tijdens zijn laatste studiejaar in de theologie laat hij zelf, uiterst bescheiden en tot alles bereid, aan zijn overheid horen dat hij graag voor Nieuw-Guinea benoemd zou worden. Van daar was reeds een brief van paler Nollen gekomen die vraagt om een ‘verstandig man’ en dan al de naam van Van de Kolk noemt.

Cappers schreef aan Van de Kolk een waarschuwende brief:

Als je komt, welkom hoor!
Doch maak het uzelf voorop duidelijk dat ge niet komt om er veel te dopen. Hoe langer ik hier ben, hoe meer ik zie hoe diep, onpeilbaar diep, de mensen hier gevallen zijn, mannen en vrouwen; hun leven is een aaneenschakeling van onnatuurlijke onzedelijkheid. Walgelijk.

In Batavia op doorreis naar Kei, hoort hij zijn benoeming voor Merauke. Na een reis van tweeenvijftig dagen arriveert hij daar. Zijn eerste indruk:

Alles te zamen viel het me erg mee. De “Stad” heeft men in tien minuten helemaal gezien. Paters en broeders zien er gezond uit met kolossale baarden. De veestapel: een hengst, een merrie en drie jonge hengsten, drie honden, twee Hollandse koeien, een ferme stier, twee karbouwen, drie kalveren, dertig kippen, twintig eenden.
Het terrein is omringd met prikkeldraad.
Er staan klappers, pisangs, een deel is moestuin. Broeder Joosten verkoopt kool, melk, eieren.
Het leventje bevalt me puik, maar men moet hier niet vies, bang en niet ongeduldig zijn. De dagen zijn hier alle aan elkaar gelijk. Om vijf uur op: morgengebed, meditatie, Mis, ontbijt en dan te paard tot ± drie uur. Daarna diner, middagdutje. Op 8 December hebben we zelfs Hoogmis gehad. Broeder Hamers en ik hebben gezongen zonder boek. Hij zou dolgraag de liedjes hebben zoals ‘Gebenedijd zijt Gij…’. Paler Nollen en broeder Hamers zouden graag eens iets horen over het gestuurde voor het museum. Zij spreken zeer ontmoedigend over Tilburg. Broeder Hamers zegt: ‘1k verdom het nog jets te sturen.’ ‘Hij heeft er veel moeite voor gedaan en nooit een dankje gekregen of zelfs niet vernomen dat de spullen aangekomen waren. En dit heb Ik at meer ondervonden: de missionarissen zijn zeer gevoelig en kort aangebonden. Dat schijnt het klimaat te bewerken.’

Hij vertrekt naar Okaba. Merauke werd gesticht als bestuurspost in 1902 en als missiepost in 1905. Van de Kolk schrijft na tien jaren, in 1912, een kort geschiedkundig overzicht over het werk van Bestuur en Missie. Hij besluit zijn verhaal als volgt:

Zodoende kon er gedurende de eerste jaren van een geregeld missiewerk nog weinig sprake zijn; trouwens de onbekendheid met de moeilijke taal, de wantrouwende en vreesachtige houding van de wilden, hun gehechtheid aan eigen gebruiken en zoveel meer, maakten deze eerste jaren tot een zwaar missieleven zonder veel troost. Maar men hield stand; door het verplegen van de zieken en het verbinden van wonden won men spoedig het goedige hart van de Marindinees, zozeer zelfs dat de missionaris gewoon ‘de goede man’ werd genoemd. Maar men zal nooit kunnen beschrijven van hoeveel opoffering, toewijding, geduld, lijdzaamheid, zelfoverwinning en vermoeienis die bekering de vrucht is. Het is het pionierswerk dat geen voldoening kent tenzij deze: later zullen andere missionarissen komen die een begin zullen kunnen maken met het zaaien en maaien.”

Typerend voor zijn tijd is dat hij troost vindt in het feit dat de Zending — al vijftig jaar eerder aan het werk — nog minder resultaat heeft geboekt. Hij schrijft:

Mag ik hier een kleine vergelijking maken? Aan de andere kant van NieuwGuinea, in het noorden, dat een halve eeuw eer dan het zuiden in aanraking kwam met de beschaving, werd reeds in 1855 een Protestantse missiepost gesticht. Ds. Van Hasselt schreef op het zilveren feest van die Zending: “Op de lijst van de dopelingen van 5 Febr. 1855 tot 5 Febr. 1880 komen slechts twintig namen voor.” Dan behoeven wij zeker niet te klagen en kunnen O.L. Heer danken dat we na vijf jaren reeds een veel gunstiger uitslag bereikten en dat we bij het zilveren feest van de Katholieke Missie op Zuid-Nieuw-Guinea allerwaarschijnlijkst een bevredigend en degelijk succes zullen te noteren hebben. Maar dan moet er gebeden en geleden worden voor de arme heidense zielen van ZuidNieuw-Guinea.

In 1913 trad het Bestuur krachtdadig op tegen het koppensnellen; in 1914 tegen de paradijsvogeljacht. De Eerste Wereldoorlog brak uit. In 1915 verhuisde Van de Kolk naar Langgoer, benoemd als Missie-Overste.

Pater Vertenten vertrok naar Merauke en van daar naar Okaba in 1911. Als ‘De Redder van de Kajakaja’s’ wordt bekend (zie verderop); als ‘confrater’ blijkt hij door zijn optimisme en zijn gezelligheid de bezielende figuur te zijn geweest in de kleine communauteitjes. Hij werkt, schrijft, tekent, houdt zich buiten het conflict met de Overheid en vecht voor het lijfsbehoud van de Papoea’ s omwille van hun heil. Hij tekent zichzelf het beste in zijn brief (1912) aan de Provinciaal:

In Februari was het reeds een jaar geleden dat ik in Okaba arriveerde. Ik heb sinds de Hoofdstad (!) Merauke, niet gezien… Waarom ook veel van huis lopen als het tehuis zo goed is?
Wij hebben hier een kleine, doch zeer gezellige communauteit. Ik ben dan ook hoe langer hoe liever hier. Zeker missen wij hier voorlopig de troost die andere, meer gevorderde missieposten geven, maar mogen wij ons niet gelukkig achten de eersten te zijn die hier Gods naam verkondigen?! De bekering van zulk een yolk vraagt veel tijd, maar onze voorvaderen deden er ook honderden jaren over eer zij presentabele christenen waren, die waren al niet veel beter, allicht slechter dan deze mensen hier. In alle geval het vooruitzicht dat eenmaal ook dit volk God eren en beminnen zal, dat bemoedigt ons.
Wij hebben hier een kleine boerderij. Van onze bananentuinen hebben wij veel plezier. De Kajakaja’s slaan er de handen voor in elkaar: wij zijn nog eens echte mensen, zeggen ze. Onze gezondheid laat niets te wensen over, Ik voor mij heb mij nooit frisser en heter gevoeld. Daar ook mogen wij O.L. Heer wet voor bedariken.’

Van de Kolk, Overste geworden in 1915, schrijft dat jaar over hem in het jaarrapport:

Vertenten: de missionaris die misschien het beste zijn ijver en gezond optimisme bewaard heeft ondanks alles! Een juweel van een Confrater, dat kan niemand beter getuigen dan ik. Is graag bij pater Neijens (nu te Merauke), zal zijn best doen om van Nieuw-Guinea nog te maken wat mogelijk is.’

Na zijn geslaagde reis naar Batavia in 1921 schrijft Vertenten aan Viegen:

Dat ik naar Java geweest ben, weet u al… Wij mogen O.L. Heer wet danken; het werk op Nieuw-Guinea was te goed in het kruis geplant om failliet te gaan. We hebben dan ook steeds met Gods genade goede moed gehouden.’

En boven deze hele groep stond pater Matthias Neijens, de eerste Apostotische Prefect. Pater Geurtjens, met wie hij naar de Motukken was vertrokken, tekent hem als volgt:

Dat pater dr. M. Neijens een man van formaat was zat iedereen toegeven die hem gekend heeft. Middelmatig van postuur, doch stevig gebouwd, verried hij in al zijn bewegingen en gebaren dat in dat lichaam een forse resolute ziel huisde. Die resolute wilskracht was steeds een zijner meest kenmerkende eigenschappen. Wat hij ondernam deed hij degelijk en grondig en dan waren geen moeilijkheden in staat hem af te schrikken. Daardoor heeft hij ook in de missie grote dingen tot stand gebracht en de pijnlijkste beproeving die hij kende was wel dat onverbiddelijke omstandigheden vaak zijn ongebreidelde werklust temden. Dan vooral gevoelde hij behoefte om tocb op een andere wijze stoom af te blazen en zijn niet in te houden werklust uit te kuren. Dan greep hij een zware voorhamer en beukte op de harde rifstenen, die het opzetten van een of ander gebouw in de weg stonden. Dan was geen tropenzon te heet. Als een Titaan zwaaide hij de moker, die neerbonkte op de harde rotskoppen dat de brokken in het rond snorden en hem het zweet van het lichaam gutste. Met stomme verbazing staarden dan de inlanders naar de toean, die voor een toean zo vreemd deed en even poseerde ats krachtpatser.’

Neijens werd de stichter van de Missie op Nederlands Zuid-Nieuw-Guinea, op verzoek van de heer Kroesen, 1904. Ofschoon hem politie-escorte werd aangeboden, ging hij alleen Merauke uit om op bezoek te gaan bij de Papoea’s in hun dorpen.

Geestig is het stukje dat Vertenten schrijft over zijn omgang met pater Neijens te Merauke:

Pater Neijens was een zeer ontwikkeld en belezen man, goed op de hoogte van godsdienst en wetenschap, kunst en letteren. Hij was bovendien een boeiend causeur. Als hij lets interessants gelezen bad, kon hij daar ook levendig over vertellen. Een tijd lang sprak hij veel over oude geschiedenis: Egypte, Assyrie enz. Nu had pater Neijens een buitengewoon geheugen en ik vroeg me verwonderd af: hoe kan die man dat allemaal onthouden? Tijdens zijn afwezigheid legde Ik toevallig de hand op de bron van zijn gesprekken uit de laatste tijd: Histoire ancienne. En toen hij terugkwam, begon ik hem te vertellen uit de oude tijd en wist er nu natuurlijk meer van dan hij. Een tinteling in zijn ogen zei me: jij deugniet!

Pionier bij de Marind-anim: Pater Petrus Vertenten

Op 3 oktober 1884 werd Petrus Vertenten geboren in Hamme, België. Na een eerste kennismaking met de Missionarissen van het Heilige Hart in 1898 in Borgerhout begon hij in de vijfde Latijnse. In zijn lectuur van de Annalen werd hij vooral geboeid door de verhalen van de Melseelse MSC’er Victor de Rijcke over Nieuw Guinea.

Dc studieuitslagen waren uitstekend. Petrus werd in Borgerhout lid van de Maria-Congregatie en was tijdens de vakantie te Hamme ook aktief in de Hamse studentenbond. Naast de gewone vorming was er ook ruim tijd en aandacht voor de kunstzinnige ontplooiing. Petrus werd secretaris van de toneel- en feestacademie “In Liefde Bloeyende” tijdens zijn vijfde en zesde studiejaar. Op het einde van zijn humaniora, in 1902-1903, maakten de leerlingen het vertrek mee van de paters Neijens en Geurtjens naar Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea, pas toegewezen gebied aan de msc.

In september 1903 startte Petrus Vertenten zijn noviciaat in Arnhem, wat op 4 oktober 1904 uitmondde in het uitspreken van zijn kloostergeloften. Als nieuwbakken Missionaris van het Heilig Hart startte de kloosterling Vertenten aan zijn filosofiestudie, onderbroken door teken- en schilderles van kunstschilder-academieleraar Bernard Janssen. In 1906 volgde dan de theologie. Nadat dit eerste jaar te Arnhem afgewerkt was geworden volgde er een korte vakantie te Hamme, waarna de theologie voortgezet werd te Leuven. Daar legde Petrus Vertenten op 4 oktober 1907 zijn eeuwige geloften af. Alhoewel hun opleiding niet aan de universiteit werd gegeven, waren er toch contacten met de studenten en dit leidde tot een lidmaatschap van de letterkundige club “Met Tijd en Vlijt”, waar Vertenten o.a. August Van Cauwelaert leerde kennen. In het tijdschrift van de Scholastieken werden de eerste bijdragen van Petrus Vertenten gepubliceerd, terwijl hij ook als illustrator optrad. De apostolische carrière wenkte ondertussen langzaam. Op 21 december 1907 ontving Petrus te Mechelen de kruinschering en de kleine wijdingen. Tijdens de verdere theologiestudie werd hij in december 1908 subdiaken gewijd, zes maand later tot diaken, wat uiteindelijk culmineerde op 21 december 1909 in de priesterwijding. Einde juli 1910 was de theologiestudie afgerond en wachtte Petrus Vertentcn op het antwoord van de provinciaal op zijn half jaar eerder gedane aanvraag voor de missie.


Petrus Vertenten werd door zijn provinciaal overste in juli 1910 benoemd om naar Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea te gaan. Na nog een korte vakantie te Hamme werd alles reisklaar gemaakt en op 15 september vertrokken vanuit het MSC-missiehuis te Tilburg vijf paters naar Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea. De reis ging over Leuven. Ass (via het nieuwe missieseminarie), Parijs naar Marseille, waar men scheep ginq met Ophir. Via het Suez-kanaal en Sri Lanka werd uiteindelijk Batavia bereikt. Na een rustpauze en een eerste de visu kennismaking met de typische plantengroei ging de groep missionarissen verder tot Soerabaja, waar men van boot wisselt. Via Ambon geraakt men in- Toeal, op de Kei-eilanden. Veel tijd om te vertoeven op het centrum van het aposto1ischi vicariaat van Nederlands Nieuw Guinea krijgt Petrus Vertenten die l0de november: 1910 niet, want om vier uur diende hij alleen verder te varen naar Nieuw-Guinea. Op 13 november 1910 stapte hij te Merauke, bij de Marorivier, aan land. Aangezien de accommodatie te Okaba, waar pater Van de Kolk en Broeder Hamers sinds augustus aan het werk waren, nog niet voltooid was, zou Vertenten te Merauke eerst de taal aanleren en de omgeving verkennen met zijn aanwezige confraters. Zijn eerste impressies aan het thuisfront na drie weken in Merauke:

“1k maak het nog steeds uitstekend. Dat kan ook moeilijk anders. 1k geloof niet dat ik ooit in mijn leven zooveel melk en pap gegeten heb als hier. Wij hebben hier koeien, verschillende en schoone ook… Ondertusschen leer ik de taal, schrijf de grammaire en de woordenboeken over ga met de Paters naar de dorpen van de wilden, soms voor twee of meer dagen, leg ‘s avonds sorns een visite af in de stad, iets wat elk nieuwaangekomen pastoor doen moet….. … en wat doe ik nog meer? rooken, brieven schrijven en hazen vangen” en muskieten wegslaan. Laatst ben ik met Pater Viegen naar Wendoe geweest, aan den anderen kant der Meraukerivier gelegen. Zoo wat twee en een half uur van hier. Van Wandoe uit gingen wij naar Koembe een dorp gelegen aan de rivier van denzelf den naam, ik heb daarover geschreven aan de studenten van het Klein-Liefdewerk. Misschien komt dat wel in de annalen.

Als ik met Pater van der Kooy meéga naar de dorpen aan dezen kant van de Meraukerivier ga ik altijd te paard. ‘t Grootste is het mijne, het heet “Lady”.

In Merauke, als gestichtte overheidspost, waren slechts weinig marindinezen aanwezig; hun dorpen lagen minstens een uur wandelen verder. Met nieuwjaar 1911 werden alle blanken bij de resident uitgenodigd voor de nieuwjaarsreeeptie, in totaal “nog geen twintig man”. De kennismaking met land en bevolking ging ondertussen door “dinsdag laatst was ik weer op marsch naar Wendoe met Pater Viegen. Aan dezen kant van de Meraukerivier gaat alles te paard, gaat ge naar Wendoe dan: alles te voet!

Nu is Wendoe niet zoo heel ver: twee uur, maar als er hooge zee staat, in den regentijd meestal dan kan men niet met het bootje naar ‘t zeestrand varen, men moet dan recht de rivier over en dan een uurtje door vette modder, waar de schoenen in vastzuigen, en door water; nu gingen wij er soms flink tot over de knieën in, maar ‘t had nu weinig of niet geregend, ‘t gebeurd meer, zie Pater Viegen, dat ge er tot de oksels in schiet… En ge moet er nog bij rekenen dat ge heel den tijd den weg moet zoeken.” 

Nieuw Guinea was wel sinds de l6de eeuw herhaaldelijk bezocht geworden door enkele explorators, maar er was geen enkele aanleiding om er ook effectief aan ontsluiting te gaan doen. Pas als een gevolg van de Europese scramble” voor koloniale gebieden in het laatste kwart van de 1 9de eeuw ging men ook dit ‘wit gebied verdelen. In november 1884 namen Duitsland en Groot-Brittannië bezit van het hun toegewezen dee! van Nieuw­Guinea. De Nederlanders hadden minder interesse in het hun toegemeten lands-deel. Pas in 1895 werd de grens met het Engels deel geregeld en in 1910 met de Duitsers. In 1902 werd de Neder­landse regeringspost Merauke opgericht als een antwoord op klachten van de Britse administratie te Port Moresby door de koppenjacht van de marindinezen op dorpen aan de andere kant van de grens. Het gebied werd eerst nog als een stief kind binnen Nederlands Indië bekeken, “a place for tours of punishment duty by delinquent civil servants and of exile for nationalist leaders”. De Marindinezen  hadden wel geprobeerd om ook deze post op te ruimen, maar de poe-anim (vreemdelingen, poe als klanknabootsing van een geweerschot) schoten de aanvallers uiteen en langzaam aan berustten zij in de b!anke aanwezigheid .

De inrichting van Merauke dient hierbij ook gezien te worden in de onafwendbare plicht voor het Neder­lands koloniaal bestuur om iets meer te inves­teren in zijn ge­biedsaanspraken gezien de Duitse, Engelse en zelfs Japanse belang­stelling.

Begin februari 1911 vertrok Petrus Vertenten naar zijn stand­plaats Okaba. Hij verwittigde de familie dat nieuws nu langer zou uitblijven: “ik zal niet meer in de gelegenheid zijn om aanstonds een brief te beantwoorden vermits de boot, die alleen in Merauke aanlegt, reeds verscheidene dagen weg is als wij in Okaba de correspondentie krijgen”. Hij kon ook zijn ervaringen van het eerste bijgewoonde feest meedelen, waarbij Petrus Vertenten zelfs een paar kinderen beschilderde.

Midden 1920 kon Petrus Vertenten mee met bestuursassistent Ch. D. Pelamonia voor een anderhalf maand durende patrouille-reis op de Koembe-rivier: “niets is misleidender dan de kaart van Z.N. Guinea met die vele kleine letters, die dorpsnamen en die vele grootere die volksstammen schijnen aan te geven. Om mij tot de Koembe te beperken: al die anim: sarou-anim, senam-anim, baad-anim enz. zijn geen verschillende stammen maar dorpen, letterlijk: menschen van savore (ca. 100), van senam (ca. 50) van baad (ca GO); dat klinkt heel anders dan: de stam der baad-anim enz”.

In zijn nieuwe standplaats begon onmiddellijk het werk. Naast het helpen van Broeder Van Santvoort diende Petrus Vertenten “geregeld Okaba, Mewi, Alakoe en Tawala (te) bezoeken, de zieken vooral de gewonden en koortsigen helpen, met de menschen praten en zien of er niemand gereed was de groote reis te ondernemen; die vooral moeten geholpen worden. In Mewi had ik het geluk een vrouwtje te doopen : Abomke. Ik gaf haar den naam van “Louise-Adolphine”. Een goed vrouwtje, vol goeden wil. Twee dagen later is zij gestorven. 1k schrijf dit uitvoerig aan Fr. Joos-Heyvaert, die mij gevraagd hadden iemand “Louise-Adolphine” te doopen”. “Vooreerst zal de eenige troost die wij van ons werk hebben wel zijn, dat wij de stervenden doopen. ‘t Zal nog een heel tijdje duren alvorens het eigenlijk bekeeringswerk een aanvang neemt. De menschen zijn hier te diep vervallen in allerlei dwaas bijgeloof en wat erger is en er moeilijker uit te krijgen zal zijn een zeer diepe zedeloosheid. Naar ‘t lichaam hebben zij niets te kort, maar hunne zielen vergaan van gebrek, en, ongelukkig genoeg, daar schijnen zij niet veel om te geven… Hadden wij de kinderen maar in onze macht! Zij houden veel van ons, nu reeds, die kinderen, dat is zeker, maar de meesten van nu zijn groot geworden midden in een zeer zondige om­geving, of liever allen, en de meesten zullen nog worden wat hunne ouders waren of zijn. Eerst moet een geslacht verdwijnen en dan zal onze werking dieper ingrijpen. De kinderen van nu zullen in ieder geval met andere gedachten opgroeien, al leven zij er niet naar. De meesten hebben er niets op tegen in stervensgevaar gedoopt te worden.”.

Pater Vertenten was ook een goed tekenaar. Hij heeft van zijn tijd in Nieuw Guinea een aantal prachtige tekeningen gemaakt.

           Potloodtekening meisje Nkundostam                                  



De Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het Heilige Hart
De Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart kwamen in 1920 naar de Kei-eilanden om de Franciscanessen van Heythuizen te vervangen. In 1928 vestigden de eerste zusters zich te Merauke, waar zij in de polikliniek werkten. De Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart namen ook de medische zorg voor de naburige dorpen op zich en begonnen een huishoudcursus voor meisjes in Merauke.
Papoea-meisjes leidden zij op tot verpleegkundigen en dorpsverzorgsters, die in de papoea-dorpen werkten als vroedvrouwen. Na de Tweede Wereldoorlog, in 1945, begonnen de zusters met schools onderwijs en een meisjesinternaat te Merauke.

Sinds 1949 waren de Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart werkzaam in het Mimika- (tot 1953) en Moejoe-gebied. In het Moejoe-gebied richtten zlj een meisjesinternaat op te Mindiptana (in 1949). De zusters stichtten een huishoudschool, werkten in het ziekenluis en namen de speciale zorg op zich voor meisjes die volgens de Moejoe-cultuur gedwongen werden om tweede vrouw (polygamie) te worden. In 1951 opende Mgr. H. Tillemans het noviciaat voor papoea-zusters en vertrouwde de leiding ervan toe aan de Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart. In oktober 1953 deden de eerste papoea-meisjes hun professie. Zij droegen de naam ‘Helpsters van Christus’.

In 1952 vestigden de Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart zich ook in het Mappigebied, te Kepi, waar een meisjesinternaat opgericht werd. In 1954 stichtten zij te Tanah-Merah eveneens een meisjesinternaat. Aan de huisgezinnen op het landbouwtrainingscentrum dat in 1956 te Kepi werd opgericht, gaven de zusters een cursus in hygiene en gezinszorg. Daarnaast gaven zij onderwijs aan katechisten op het katechistencentrum, dat in 1952 was opgericht. Hun taak was tevens de vorrning van lulponderwijzers en katholieke gezinnen. Sinds 1956 waren de Dodhters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart werkzaam in het Asmatgebied (Agats) en sinds 1958 op het Frederik-Hendrik-eiland (Kimaam), waar zij meisjesinternaten stichten.

De Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart werkten aan de ontwikkeling van de jonge papoea-vrouw. Op de huishoudscholen der meisjesinternaten te Merauke, Mindiptana en Kepi kregen de papoea-meisjes onderwijs in voedings- en zwangerschapsleer. Het leerplan was aangepast aan de leefwijze in de kampong (= dorp).

Bij de voedingsleer werd onderwezen hoe het menu afgewisseld, hoe groente geplant en hoe een tuin aangelegd kon worden. De zusters introduceerden peulvruchten. Deze peulvruchten kwamen goed van pas als vervangende voeding voor zwangere Awjoe-vrouwen. Awjoe-vrouwen mochten namelijk niet van bepaalde vissoorten eten als ze zwanger waren. Zij geloofden dat er een gehandicapt kind geboren zou worden als zij dit gebod overtraden. Zwangere vrouwen en malariapatienten werden door de zusters naar de kliniek gestuurd. De papoea-meisjes leerden kleren naaien en wassen, en hoe ze matten konden vlechten. Hun werd onderwezen hoe ze langer houdbare en dus verkoopbare sagokoeken moesten bakken. De Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart introduceerden het koken in pannen in plaats van het roosteren van voedsel ingepakt in een blad in hete as.


Geurtjens M.S.C., p. Henri

Henri Geurtjens werd op 5 juni 1875 te Deurne geboren. Reeds op 15-jarige leeftijd kwam hij naar Tilburg om bij de paters van het H. Hart (M.S.C.), toen nog aan de Veldhoven (Wilhelminapark), te gaan studeren voor missionaris. Enkele jaren later vertrok hij naar Chesal-Benoît in Frankrijk, het moederland van de paters M.S.C., waar hij tot 1895 bleef, om vervolgens te Antwerpen zijn hogere studie voort te zetten. Op 5 augustus 1900 werd hij tot priester gewijd en in de daarop volgende jaren was hij leraar aan de opleidingsschool in Tilburg. Op 1 september 1903 werd hij als missionaris uitgezonden naar de Kei-eilanden; later werkte hij op Tanimbar en op Zuidwest-Irian Jaya (Nieuw-Guinea). Hij bleef daar tot 1920 en werd een groot kenner van de Keiese taal. 


Pater Henri Geurtjens M.S.C. (1875-1957) onder de 
Kaja Kaja’s (Coll. RHC Tilburg).

Pater Geurtjens publiceerde de boeken: Woordenlijst der Keieesche taal, Spraakkunst der Keieesche taal (1921), Keieesche legenden (1924) en Marindeneesch-Nederlandsch Woordenboek (1932). Van 1920 tot 1932 werkte hij onder de Papoea’s van Irian Jaya. Hij ontdekte daar verschillende onbekende stammen en gebieden en schreef daarover enkele boeken: Uit een vreemde wereld (1921), Onder de Kaja-Kaja’s van Zuid Nieuw-Guinea (Roermond-Maaseik, J.J. Romen & Zonen, 1933), Op zoek naar oermenschen (Roermond-Maaseik, J.J. Romen & Zonen, 1934), Zijn plaats onder de zon (Roermond-Maaseik, J.J. Romen & Zonen, 1941) en Oost is Oost en West is West (Utrecht, Spectrum, 1946).


(Coll. Ronald Peeters, Tilburg).

Over de tocht met het gouvernements-stoomschip ‘De Zwaan’ op de Eilandenrivier op Zuid-Nieuw-Guinea in 1922, schreef hij in Op zoek naar oermenschen over zijn ontmoeting met de inlanders:

‘Lachen met de beenen

Eindelijk op een ietwat hoogere plaats langs den oever troffen we een aantal lui te samen. Daar werd gestopt en weldra doken nog verschillende kano’s op uit de naburige kreekjes. Ondanks ons aanhoudend gefleem van Savijo! Savijo! dat in hun taaltje ‘vriend’ moest beteekenen, bleven ze erg schuw en op een afstand, om bij de minste verdachte beweging onzerzijds als b.v. het richten van een fotolens, in het kreupelhout weg te springen. Maar toch kwamen ze weer spoedig zenuwachtig schuifelend en schoorvoetend terug, aangelokt door de bijlen en messen, die we voor hun begeerige oogen lieten schitteren. Om hun eigen vrees te bedriegen, deden ze overmoedig, net als de jongen, die fluit in ‘t donker. Ze stieten hooge schrille keelgeluiden uit: hih! hih! hih! lachten stuipachtig en flapperden daarbij op oerkomische manier krampachtig met de beenen. Deze eigenaardige gevoelsuiting namen we ook elders nog herhaaldelijk waar, zoodat ze onder ons alras bekend was als ‘kwispelstaarten of lachen met de beenen’.

Zijn laatste boek is Oost is Oost en West is West. In 1932 was hij naar Nederland teruggekeerd. Later in Tilburg werd hij in 1936 conservator van het juist opgerichte Nederlands Volkenkundig Missiemuseum aan de Paleisstraat. Vanaf 1934 werkte hij ook voor het woonwagenkamp. Dit woonwagenkamp ligt aan de naar hem (in 1960) genoemde Pater Geurtjensweg. Hij overleed te Tilburg op 22 december 1957.

Literatuur: GAT, Bevolkingsregisters, 1910/1920, deel 52 fol. 6; R.K. ‘Wie is wie ?’. Biografisch lexicon van bekende Nederlandsche Roomsch Katholieke tijdgenooten, Leiden, z.j., p. 46; Encycl. van Noord-Brabant, 2, 1985, p. 54-55; Ronald Peeters, De straten van Tilburg, Tilburg, 1987, p. 55.


Mgr. Verhoeven is twee periodes in Indonesië geweest: vóór de oorlog als pionier in Nieuw-Guinea, nà de oorlog als bisschop in Celebes. Dit levert twee zeer verschillende verhalen op. Daartussen was hij in Nederland werkzaam in beleidsfuncties die hem op visitatie naar verschillende missiegebieden brachten; op dit punt is het interview echter kort.
In 1923 arriveerde hij in het tegenwoordige bisdom Merauke. Hij schildert de situatie die hij daar aantrof: de bevolking en hun gebruiken, de moeizame pogingen van de missie (onder meer de paters P. Vertenten MSC en J. Verschueren MSC) om openingen te scheppen in dit ontoegankelijke gebied, de samenwerking met het gouvernement in het bijeenbrengen van mensen in dorpen en het oprichten van ‘beschavingsschooltjes’.
Dan vertelt hij over zijn eigen werk als woudloper: pastorale werkzaamheden waren er weinig, het ging er vooral om uit te vinden waar mensen waren. Uitgebreid vertelt hij over zijn tochten, onder meer naar Boven-Digul waar de regering in 1926 een verbanningsoord oprichtte.
In 1950 bracht hij nog een bezoek aan dit gebied en constateerde veel veranderingen (‘van wild land naar beheerd land’). In 1947 werd hij benoemd tot apostolisch vicaris (later bisschop) van Manado. Zijn verslag over deze periode bevat drie hoofdonderwerpen: de priesteropleiding, Vaticanum II en de oecumene.
Wat het eerste onderwerp aangaat is er onder meer informatie over de (weder)opbouw en uitbreiding van de opleidingsinstituten, over het dilemma seculier of regulier en moeilijkheden met Rome daarover, over het studieprogramma en resultaten.
Vaticanum II krijgt eveneens veel aandacht: zijn eigen ervaringen in Rome, de samenwerking met het Nederlandse episcopaat, de rol van de Paus en een aantal curieleden enz.
Het derde onderwerp tenslotte gaat vooral over de Minahasa, waar het protestantisme traditioneel sterk aanwezig was; hier bespreekt hij onder meer de kwestie van de ‘dubbele zending’. Na de oorlog werden de relaties geleidelijk aan beter; hiervoor wordt een aantal redenen genoemd..[4]


Het is in Nederland een modern woord – veel gebruikt. Doorlopers zijn kruiswoordraadsels, puzzels die doorlopen. Het is interessant, het geeft voldoening om zo’n “kruiswoordraadsel zonder zwarte vlakjes” op te lossen. Een mens kan er niet van slapen als je een woord niet kunt vinden en invullen –  je wilt en je moet het vinden! Want anders zit je ook vast met de volgende woorden die moeten doorlopen.

Als het wel lukt, dan kun je zo’n puzzel helemaal invullen. Dan is zo’n doorloper helemaal klaar, goed ingevuld!

In goed Nederlands kunnen we het woord “doorlopers” ook in een andere betekenis gebruiken – dikwijls gebruikten we dat woord in de missie van Nieuw-Guinea — nl. voor mensen die lopen, steeds maar doorlopen en die daarmee hun hele leven invullen: doorlopers — letterlijk, figuurlijk en geestelijk.

Op de onderstaande foto ziet u drie echte doorlopers nl. Piet Hoeboer, Kees Meuwese en Jan Verschueren, drie missionarissen van Nieuw-Guinea, drie echte pioniers. Ongetooflijk wat deze mannen hebben afgelopen in dat uitstrekte, barbaarse en moeilijke land: zij liepen altijd door, rechttijnig,doelbewust heel hun leven lang. Het is de moeite waard hen eens voor het voetlicht te plaatsen: zij waren gewone mensen, onvolmaakte mensen, maar ook charismatische missionarissen, juist omdat zij “doorlopers” waren.


Piet Hoeboer — de middelste op de foto — opende het Moejoegebied!   Kort gezegd!

Het betekende wel dat hij honderden kilometers moest lopen door onbekend en onbegaanbaar gebied waar geen wegen of paden waren. Hij woonde en werkte al enige tijd als pastoor in Moeting – een vooruitgeschoven plaatsje in het verre binnenland; na zorgvutdige navraag en berekening ging hij op tocht: onbekende bossen, eindeloze moerassen, onafzienbare waterplassen, dan weer een pad kappend door dichte bamboebossen — hij bleef in de goede richting met zijn kompas en zijn gidsen. Lopend dag na dag. Door het hoge water moest hij dagen omlopen – na veertien zware dagen raakte de mondvoorraad op –  hij liep door! Ze vingen een paar vissen, ze zochten naar knollen in het bos. Na negentien dagen kwamen zij in een verlaten tuintje waar bananenbomen waren geplant — ze plukten de bananen die nog groen en hard waren; als betaling — Piet was strikt eerlijk en rechtvaardig – hing hij zorgvuldig en droog verpakt wat tabak en een mes in de boom. Hij liep door en sterk vermagerd en hoekig – samen met zijn uitgeputte dragers- kwam hij aan bij het Moejoevolk. Hij is er gebteven, veertien jaar lang – voortdurend heen en weer trekkend- de mensen bijeenroepend uit hun boshutten om in dorpen te komen wonen waar hij een school opende.

Denkt u niet dat die Moejoemensen prettige en vriendelijke lui waren —integendeel – zij waren schuwe bosmensen, zij hidden zich verscholen in dat uitgestrekte en sombere regenwoud: angst voor etkaar, wraak, zwarte magic en andere lugubere praktij ken maakten hen tot sluipmoor­denaars en kannibalen. De ene moord riep de andere moord op: ketting­moorden! Piet Hoeboer doorzag dat systeem, hij zocht de mensen op, hij registreerde de namen van alle mensen die hij ontmoette in hun bos­huizen en die hij bij elkaar bracht: hij vormde meer dan dertig dorpen in tien jaar tijds: een catechist (of onderwijzer) bleef in dat dorp en hield de mensen bijeen! En Piet zou Piet niet zijn als hij niet — voortdurend heen en weer lopend van dorp tot dorp — met grote regetmaat en stiptheid zijn dorpen bezocht.

Hij bleef doorlopen en doorzetten — ook toen de Tweede Wereldoorlog uitbrak — die oorlog zelf bereikte hem niet, want hij zat te ver in het on­bekende binnenland, maar hij zat er wet ingesloten en afgesloten: zeer sober levend in eenzaamheid ging hij verder met zijn werk: hij begon in dat gebied zelf met een catechistenschool: de incest pientere en betrouw­bare jongens uit het Moejoegebied zelf werden verder gevormd tot “voorlopers” die hij dan in nieuw en pas gevorinde dorpen plaatste.

Alteen zo’n rechtlijnige single-fighter kon dit zware en opofferende werk aan en tot op de dag van vandaag wordt Piet Hoeboer door dit Moejoe­yolk genoemd: onze “Kambarim Taarep”.

Dat woord betekent: “onze Grote Man”, onze leider! Hij was ook hun dokter, die hun wonden verzorgde, die hielp bij moeilijke bevallingen, die zeer zorgvuldig en voorzichtig pillen en injecties gaf: hij was ook hun bouwheer die huizen, goede huizen, dorpen, scholen, kerken bouwde maar hij was bovenal hun pastoor, want hij leerde zijn Moejoe’ers dat God er was, dat God er was voor hen (zoals hij er was voor hen!): kort en hondig, duidelijk, zonder omwegen.

Maar deze missionaris die zo goed en rechtlijnig kon doorlopen was ook een knappe kop met veel initiatief. Dat kwam goed uit de verf toen Piet, na die zware jaren in de bossen van het verre binnenland, werd overgeplaatst naar de stad Merauke waar hij als secretaris van het bisdom aan de slag ging: hij zette dat pasopgerichte bisdom goed op poten — onverstoorbaar hardwerkend. En ondertussen ving hij de Papoea’s op die vanuit de donkere bossen naar het licht van “de stad” trokken. Met raad en raad hielp hij deze — pas-door-hem-ontdekte en door-hem-gedoopte —mensen om zich aan te passen aan dat nieuwe leven, hij voorzag het nijpende probleem van de urbanisatie.
Hij riep ze weer bij elkaar — en ditmaal kwamen ze graag naar hem toe, want hij was hun “Kambarim Taarep” — de grote, wijze man. Hij stichtte daar het dorp “De Vijf Klapperbomen” (Kelapa Lima) — hij bouwde daar een gemeenschaps­huis, een school, een kerk voor zijn mensen die, toen al, dreigden ten onder te gaan in de maalstroom van de stad. Piet Hoeboer trok de lijn weer door!

Hct is geen wonder dat deze man die in hart en nieren missionaris was, eenmaal terug in Nederland, zich maar moeilijk kon aanpassen aan de veranderde mentaliteit van kerk en samenleving; hij was nog altijd de doorloper in zijn geloof, in zijn priesterschap, in zijn omgang, in heel zijn persoonlijk leven. Voor zijn omgeving kwam hij hier in Nederland over als een rechtlijnig mens, soms te rechtlijning en cynisch, die zelfs zijn aangeboren hartelijkheid probeerde te verbergen: als men hem ging opzoeken dan gaf hij bij het afscheid een hand en met zijn andere hand terwijl hij zei: “Bedankt hoor, dat je gekomen bent!”.

In het klooster-bejaardenoord bleef hij zichzelf, ook toen hij oud en ziek werd. Zolang hij kon lopen maakte hij zijn toertje (wandeling) door de tuin: doorlopen!


Verschueren M.S.C. p. Jan

Pater Jan Verschueren M.S.C., geboren op 22 augustus 1905 te Oosterhout, kwam in 1931 als jong priester in Zuid-Irian Jaya (Nieuw-Guinea). Hij is er negenendertig jaar als missionaris gebleven, waardoor hij een enorme kennis had vergaard over de oude cultuur en gebruiken van het volk der Marind-anim, de Jéi-anim aan de Merauke-rivier, en de Janum-anim in het oosten van het land. Op 4 september 1948 ontdekte hij samen met pater Cees Meuwese M.S.C. een nieuwe rivier die de Koningin Julianarivier werd genoemd. Over deze tocht schreef hij, in samenwerking met pater Meuwese, het boek Nieuw Guinea uw naam is wildernis (Bussum, Brand, 1950). Hij beschreef de geschiedenis van de missies in Papua Nieuw-Guinea en Irian Jaya in deel I van Klein’s Nieuw-Guinea (1953). In 1960 schreef hij het essay A growing world: problems of the Catholic Mission in Oceania in Carmelus. Daarnaast leverde hij bijdragen in Nieuw-Guinea-Studiën en in Bijdragen van het Koninklijk Instituut van Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde. Bij het schrijven van zijn boek Dema ontleende prof. dr. J. van Baal veel van zijn informatie aan gegevens van Verschueren.
Pater Jan Verschueren overleed op 28 juli 1970 te Djakarta.

Literatuur: Lit.: Prof. dr. J. van Baal, ‘In memoriam Pater Jan Verschueren’, in: De Brug (extern contactblad M.S.C.), december 1970, p. 22-29.

Meuwese M.S.C., p. Cees

Pater Cornelius Josephus Johannes Maria Meuwese M.S.C., geboren op 23 november 1906 te Tilburg, werd op 10 augustus 1933 tot priester gewijd en vertrok in 1934 als missionaris van het H. Hart naar de missie van Zuid-Irian Jaya (Nieuw-Guinea). Hij was eerst tweeën-eenhalf jaar in Babo werkzaam en hij werd in 1937 benoemd in het Mappi-gebied, van waaruit hij verschillende verkenningstochten maakte. Op 4 september 1948 ontdekte hij samen met pater Jan Verschueren M.S.C. een nieuwe rivier, die op 6 september 1948, de dag van de kroning van koningin Juliana, door de Nederlandse regering werd erkend en voortaan Koningin Julianarivier werd genoemd. Pater Cees Meuwese werkte 24 jaar onder de papoea’s als missionaris en als ontdekkingsreiziger en etnograaf. Hierover gaf hij vele lezingen en hij publiceerde er een aantal artikelen over in de Annalen van het Missiehuis Tilburg, in de Katholieke Illustratie, in Elseviers-weekblad en in Edele Brabant. Samen met pater Verschueren schreef hij het boek Nieuw Guinea uw naam is wildernis (Bussum, Brand, 1950), zo meldt het titelblad. Volgens Van Baal is Verschueren echter de eigenlijke schrijver geweest.
Hij overleed op 26 november 1978 te Tilburg.


Cees Meuwese M.S.C. (1906-1978) (coll. RHC Tilburg).

Literatuur: GAT, Bevolkingsregister 1910/1920, deel 83 fol. 100; GAT, Collectie bidprentjes; Onze eigen cultuur, Tilburg, uitg. van de Culturele Dienst, 1949, p. 49-50; prof. dr. J. van Baal, ‘In memoriam Pater Jan Verschueren’, in: De Brug (extern contactblad M.S.C.), december 1970, p. 22-29.


De papoea’s van het Mappigebied zijn voornamlijk de Jahraj en Awjoe.
De Jahraj wonen aan de rechter- en de Awjoe aan de Iinkeroevers van de Mappirivier. De Jahraj-dorpen staan in de moerassige gebieden, terwijl de Awjoe zich vooral in de bossen gevestigd hebben.De papoea’s van de JabrajbevoLkingsgroep leefden in het stroomgebied van de rivieren Oba, Miwamon, Nambeomon en Bapei en in de heuvelgebieden daartussen.Vóór de Tweede Wereldoorlog woonden de Awjoe in metershoge boomhutten, omdat zij voortdurend werden aangevallen door de Jahraj.

Vanaf 1930 richtte het Nederlandse bestuur langs de Digoel enkele politieposten op om de Jahraj het koppensnellen te beletten. In 1937 opende pater C. Meuwese het Mappigebied, waarin de papoea’s van de Jahraj- en de Awjoebevolkingsgroepen woonden. Hij vestigde zich te Tanah-Merah.

In de eerste oorlogsjaren (1940 – 1942) deed pater P. Drabbe taalonderzoek zowel bij de Jahraj als bij de Awjoe. Hij vertaalde honderd verhalen uit de bijbel in hun talen. Voordat hij dit had gedaan, improviseerde pater C. Meuwese met behulp van zelfgemaakte taalaantekeningen. De Keiese goeroes gebruikten de taallijst van pater P. Drabbe als basis. Zij leerden de papoea-kinderen Maleis en hiervoor was een beperkte kennis van de Jahraj- en de Awjoe-talen noodzakelijk. Te Jatan organiseerde de missie in 1942 een groots doop- en vredesfeest tussen de papoea’s van de Jabraj- en de Awjoe-bevolkingsgroepen.

In 1946 verhuisde pater C. Meuwese van Tanah-Merah naar Kepi, dat sindsdien het centrum van het Mappigebied werd. Te Kepi werd (in 1948) een Voorschool opgericht. In 1948 ontdekten de paters C. Meuwese en J. Verschueren een rivier die zij de Koningin Julianarivier doopten. Langs deze rivier leefden papoea-bevolkingsgroepen die nog nooit met de buitenwereld contact hadden gehad. In oktober 1948 vierde de missie weer een doop- en vredesfeest tussen papoea’s van de Jabraj- en de Awjoe-bevotkingsgroepen. Dit werd echter in 1949 ‘achterhaald’, doordat de Jahraj een grote koppensneltocht hielden.

Van 1950 tot 1966 maakte pater dr. J. Boelaars studie van de cultuur der Jahraj. Dankzij dit onderzoek kon een proces tot acculturatie met succes op gang worden gebracht. In tegenstelling tot de Marind-anim kregen de Jahraj geen morele depressie. In 1951 werd ter gelegenheid van het bezoek van Mgr. H. Tillemans aan het Mappigebied eveneens een vredesfeest tussen de Jahraj en de Awjoe gehouden.

In 1952 kwamen de Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart naar het Mappigebied. Te Kepi (in 1952) en te Tanah-Merah (in 1954) richtten zij meisjesinternaten op. In 1952 werd er een kateehistencentrum geopend te Kepi. In 1955 werd in dezelfde plaats een voorlopersschool opgericht. De Broeders van O.L.Vrouw van Zeven Smarten zetten zich in 1956 ook in het Mappigebied neder. In hetzelfde jaar werd begonnen met het Welvaartsplan Mappi. Ter begeleiding van dit streekprojekt richtten de broeders (in 1956) een landbouwtrainingscentrum op.In 1959, na meer dan twintig jaar missie-invloed, maakten (ook gedoopte) Jahraj zich opeens weer schuldig aan koppensnellen. Er werden meer dan vijftig koppen gesneld.


The Daughters of the Sacred Heart of O.L.Vrouw
The Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in 1920 came to the Kei Islands to the Franciscan Sisters of Heythuizen replacement. In 1928 established the first sisters to Merauke, where she worked in the clinic. The Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart took the medical care of the neighboring villages on its course and began housekeeping for girls in Merauke.
Papua girls they led on to village nurses and nurses, in the Papuan villages worked as midwives. After the Second World War, in 1945, the sisters started with a girl boarding school education and to Merauke.

Since 1949, the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart working in the Mimika-(until 1953) and Muyu. In Muyu zlj a girl boarding school founded to Mindiptana (in 1949). The sisters founded a domestic science, worked in the louse ill and took special care for girls who are under the Muyu culture were forced to second wife (polygamy) should be. In 1951 opened Mgr. H. Tillmans the novitiate for papua sisters and trusted its leadership to the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. In October 1953 did the first Papuan girls their profession. They bore the name ‘Help esters of Christ. “

In 1952 established the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is also in the Mappigebied to Kepi, where a girls’ boarding school was founded. In 1954 they founded in Tanah Merah, also a girls’ boarding school. And to the families of the agricultural training center that was founded in 1956 in Kepi, the sisters gave a course in hygiene and family. In addition they gave to the education of catechists katechistencentrum, which was founded in 1952. Their task was also vorrning of lulponderwijzers and Catholic families. Since 1956 the Dodhters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart working in the Asmatgebied (Agats) and since 1958 at the Frederik-Hendrik Island (Kimaam), where they found girl boarding schools.

The Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart worked on the development of the young Papuan woman. At the household of girl boarding schools in Merauke, and Kepi Mindiptana got the Papuan girls education in nutrition and pregnancy leather. The curriculum was adapted to the lifestyle in the kampong (village =).

The nutrition was taught how the menu varied, the vegetables planted and how a garden could be. The sisters introduced legumes. These pulses came in handy as a replacement Awjoe nutrition for pregnant women. Awjoe women were not of a certain fish eat if they were pregnant. They believed that a disabled child would be born if they violated this commandment. Pregnant women and malaria patients were the sisters sent to the clinic. The Papuan girls learned sewing and washing clothes, and how they could weave mats. They were taught how to last longer and therefore salable sago-cakes to bake. The Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart introduced the cooking pans instead of roasting food wrapped in a leaf in hot ashes.


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Geurtjens M.S.C., p. Henri

Henri Geurtjens was born June 5, 1875 in Deurne. Already at the age of 15 he moved to Tilburg to the Fathers of the Holy Heart (MSC), then the Veldhoven (Wilhelmina), to study for missionary. Some years later he left Chesal-Benoit in France, the motherland of the MSC Fathers, where he remained until 1895, then to Antwerp to pursue higher studies. On August 5, 1900 he was ordained a priest in the following years he taught at the School in Tilburg. On 1 September 1903 he was sent as a missionary to the Kei Islands, and later he worked at Southwest Tanimbar and Irian Jaya (New Guinea). He remained there until 1920 and was a great connoisseur of the Kai language.


Father Henri Geurtjens M.S.C. (1875-1957) under the
Kaja Kaja’s (RHC Coll Tilburg).

Father Geurtjens published the book: Glossary of Keieesche language, Grammar of Keieesche language (1921), Keieesche legends (1924) and Marindeneesch-Dutch Dictionary (1932). From 1920 to 1932 he worked among the Papuans of Irian Jaya. He found there several unknown tribes and territories and wrote about some books: A strange world (1921), Under the Kaja-Kaja of southern New Guinea (Roermond Maaseik, JJ Romen & Sons, 1933), In search of primitive man chen ( Roermond-Maaseik, JJ Romen & Sons, 1934), His Place in the Sun (Roermond-Maaseik, JJ Romen & Sons, 1941) and East is East and West is West (Utrecht, The Spectrum, 1946).


(Coll Ronald Peeters, Tilburg).

About the walk with the government-steamer the Swan River on the South Island New Guinea in 1922, he wrote in looking for prehistoric man dominion over his encounter with the natives:

“Laughter in the legs

Finally a somewhat higher position along the shore we found a number of people together. It was stopped, and soon emerged, several canoes from the neighboring creeks. Despite our persistent gefleem of Savijo! Savijo! that in their lingo ‘friend’ was mean, they remained very shy and aloof, to the slightest suspicious movement on our part as eg the focus of a photographic lens in the underbrush jumping away. Yet soon they came shuffling nervously and reluctantly returned, lured by the axes and knives, which we did for their greedy eyes sparkle. In order to deceive their own fears, they did so recklessly, like the boy who whistles in the dark. She thrust high shrill throat sounds: HIH! HIH! HIH! laughed convulsively and flapped frantically taking on oerkomische way with the legs. This peculiar expression of feeling, we also repeated elsewhere still true, so she soon was known among us as “wagging his tail or laugh with the legs.

His latest book is East is East and West is West. In 1932 he returned to the Netherlands. Later in Tilburg in 1936 he became curator of the recently established Dutch Ethnography Museum on Mission Street Palace. From 1934 he also worked for the trailer park. This trailer park is on the to him (in 1960) said Father Geurtjensweg. He died in Tilburg on 22 December 1957.

Literature: GAT, Population Registers, 1910/1920, Part 52 fol. 6; R.K. “Who is who ‘. Biographical dictionary of famous Dutch Roman Catholic contemporaries, Leiden, nd, p. 46, Encycl. of North Brabant, 2, 1985, p. 54-55; Ronald Peeters, The streets of Tilburg, Tilburg, 1987, p. 55.

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Mgr. Nico Verhoeven
Mgr. Verhoeven has been two periods in Indonesia, before the war as pioneered in New Guinea, after the war as a bishop in Celebes. This produces two very different stories. In between he worked in management positions in the Netherlands to him on visitation to different mission areas brought, at this point the interview, however short.
In 1923 he arrived in the present Diocese of Merauke. He paints the situation that he encountered there: the people and their customs, the laborious efforts of the mission (including the fathers P. and J. Verschueren Vertenten MSC MSC) to create openings in this inaccessible region, cooperation with the government in bringing together people in villages and the creation of “civilization schools.
Then he tells about his own work as a woodsman: pastoral work were few, the main objective was to find out where people were. Advanced, he talks about his trips, including to Upper Digul where the government in 1926 founded a place of exile.
In 1950 he took a visit to this area and found many changes (of wild country to manage land). In 1947 he was appointed apostolic vicar (later bishop) of Manado. His report on this period covers three main topics: the seminary, Vatican II and ecumenism.
Regarding the first topic is concerned, among other information about the (re) construction and expansion of the educational institutions, secular or regular about the dilemma and difficulties with Rome about that, about the study and results.
Vatican II also receives much attention: his own experiences in Rome, the collaboration with the Dutch episcopate, the role of the Pope and curia a number of members, etc.
The third topic is mainly about the Minahasa finally, where Protestantism was traditionally strong presence, here he discusses include the issue of ‘dual mission’. After the war, relations gradually improved, this is a number of reasons .. [4]

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The Netherlands is a modern word – a lot. By Bishops are crosswords, puzzles completed. It is interesting, it gives satisfaction to such a “crossword puzzle without black patches” to solve. A man can not sleep if you can not find a word and fill in – you want and you should find! Otherwise you sit down with the following words to follow.

If you succeed, you can completely fill such a puzzle. Then some doorloper ready, properly completed!

In Dutch well can we use the word “by runners” in another sense, use – often we used that word in the mission of New Guinea – ie for people who walk, ever go through and with it their whole lives filling: by runners – literally, figuratively and spiritually.

The picture below shows three runners namely real by Piet Hoeboer, and Jan Kees Meuwese Verschueren, three missionaries from New Guinea, three real pioneers. Ongetooflijk what these men have in the past that stretched barbarous and difficult country: they were always, rechttijnig, purposefully throughout their lifetime. It is worthwhile for them once the spotlight places: they were ordinary people, imperfect people, but also charismatic missionaries, precisely because it “skates” were.


Piet Hoeboer – the middle in the picture – it opened Muyu! Short!

It meant that he had to walk hundreds of miles through unknown and inaccessible areas where no roads or paths were. He lived for some time as curate in Moeting – a forward place in the interior; after zorgvutdige inquiry and calculation, he went on tour: unknown forests, endless swamps, endless pools, then a path kappend through dense bamboo forest – he remained in the right direction with his compass and his guides. Running day after day. The high water had rounds for days – after two hard days hit the victuals – he walked by! They caught a few fish, they were looking for tubers in the woods. After nineteen days they came in a deserted garden, where banana trees were planted – they picked the bananas are still green and hard goods, as payment – Piet was strictly honest and fair – he hung carefully and dry packed some tobacco and a knife in the tree. He walked by and emaciated and angular – with its depleted carriers, he arrived at the Moejoevolk. He is gebteven, fourteen years – back and forth, pulling people out of their summoning boshutten to come and live in villages where he opened a school.

Do not you think that Moejoemensen nice and friendly people were, on the contrary – they were frightened forest people, they are hidden is hidden in that vast and gloomy forest: fear etkaar, revenge, black magic and other sinister practices do made them assassins and cannibals. One called the other murder murder: chain murders! Piet Hoeboer saw through that system, he sought the people, he recorded the names of all the people he met in their Boshuizen and he brought together: he was more than thirty villages in ten years: a catechist (or teacher) remained in that village and held the people together! And Piet Piet would not be if he did not – constantly walking back and forth from town to town – with great promptness regetmaat and villages.

He kept walking and persevere – even when the Second World War – the war itself reached him, because he was too far into the unknown interior, but he was law enclosed and sealed: very sober living in solitude, he continued his work : he began in that area itself with a school catechists: incest insightful and reliable boys from the Muyu themselves were further formed to “precursors” that he, in new and newly placed gevorinde villages.

Alteen a linear single-fighter could this hard and sacrificial work and to this day is Piet Hoeboer by this Moejoeyolk called our “Kambarim Taarep”.

That word means “our Great Man”, our leader! He was their doctor who cared for their wounds, which helped in difficult deliveries, being very careful and cautious pills and injections did: he was also the project owner who houses, good houses, villages, schools, churches built but above all he was their pastor because he taught his Moejoe’ers that God was there, that God was there for them (as he was there for them!): short and hondig, clear, without detours.

But this missionary who was so good and straight through was also a good head with plenty of initiative. That was good the paint when Peter, after the difficult years in the forests of the far interior, was transferred to the town of Merauke, where he served as secretary of the diocese went to work: he put that newly founded diocese well on legs – imperturbable hardworking . And meanwhile he caught the Papuans on the ice from the dark woods to the light of “the city” went. With advice and counsel, he helped this – just-discovered-by-him-and him-doped-people to adapt to that new life, he foresaw the urgent problem of urbanization.
He called them together again – and this time they came to like him because he was their “Kambarim Taarep” – the great, wise man. He founded the village as “The Five topper Trees” (Kelapa Lima) – he built a community center, a school, a church for people who, even then, threatened to perish in the maelstrom of the city. Piet Hoeboer drew the line again!

Hct is no wonder that this man who was a missionary at heart, once back in the Netherlands, but has had difficulty adapting to the changing mentality of church and society, he was still the doorloper in his faith in his priesthood, in his intercourse, throughout his personal life. For his environment, he came here in the Netherlands as a straight man, sometimes too rechtlijning and cynical, even his innate cordiality tried to hide if he went to see then he gave the parting hand and with his other hand while he said “Thank hear that you came”.

In the monastery he continued north-elderly themselves, even when he was old and sick. As long as he could walk he made his trip (walk) through the garden: complete!

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Verschueren M.S.C. p. John

Father Jan Verschueren MSC, born on August 22, 1905 in Oosterhout, came in 1931 as a young priest in southern Irian Jaya (New Guinea). He is thirty-nine years as a missionary remained, which he had amassed a vast knowledge about the ancient culture and customs of the people of Marind-anim, the Jei-anim to the Merauke River, and the Janum-anim in the east of the land. On September 4, 1948, he discovered together with Fr Cees Meuwese MSC a new river which was called the River Queen Juliana. On this trip he wrote in collaboration with Father Meuwese, the book is your name New Guinea wilderness (Bussum, Fire, 1950). He described the history of missions in Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya in Part I of Klein’s New Guinea (1953). In 1960 he wrote the essay A growing world: problems of the Catholic Mission in Oceania in Carmelus. In addition, he made contributions in New Guinea Studies and Contributions of the Royal Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies. In writing his book Dema borrowed Prof. J. Baal much of his information to data from Verschueren.
Father Jan Verschueren died on July 28, 1970 in Jakarta.

Literature: Lit.: Prof. J. of Baal, “Obituary Father Jan Verschueren, in: The Bridge (external contact sheet MSC), december 1970, p. 22-29.

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Meuwese M.S.C., p. Cees

Father Cornelius Johannes Josephus Meuwese MSC Maria, born November 23, 1906 in Tilburg, on August 10, 1933 was ordained a priest in 1934 and went as a missionary of the Sacred Heart to the mission of South Irian Jaya (New Guinea). He had two first-half years working in Babo and in 1937 he was appointed to the Mappi area, from where he made several expeditions. On September 4, 1948, he discovered along with Father Jan Verschueren MSC a new river, on 6 September 1948, the day of the coronation of Queen Juliana, was recognized by the Dutch government and Queen Juliana now River was named. Father Cees Meuwese worked 24 years among the Papuans as a missionary and as an explorer and ethnographer. On this he gave many lectures and published a number of articles on the Annals of the Mission House Tilburg, in the Catholic Illustration, in Elsevier magazine and Noble-Brabant. Together with Father Verschueren he wrote the book New Guinea wilderness is your name (Bussum, Fire, 1950), reports the title page. According to Van Baal Verschueren, however the actual author was.
He died on November 26, 1978 in Tilburg.


Cees Meuwese M.S.C. (1906-1978) (coll. RHC Tilburg).

Literature: GAT, Census 1910/1920, part 83 fol. 100; GAT, Collection devotional, our own culture, Tilburg, ed. of the Cultural Services, 1949, p. 49-50; Prof. J. of Baal, “Obituary Father Jan Verschueren, in: The Bridge (external contact sheet MSC), december 1970, p. 22-29.

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The Papuans of Mappigebied are dominated by the Jahraj and Awjoe.
The Jahraj live on the right and the Awjoe Iinkeroevers of Mappirivier. The Jahraj villages are in the swampy areas, while the Awjoe mainly located in the forests of the JabrajbevoLkingsgroep hebben.De Papuans living in the catchment of the river Oba, Miwamon, Nambeomon and Bapei and in the hill regions daartussen.Vóór World War II lived in the Awjoe meter high tree house, because they were constantly attacked by the Jahraj.

From 1930 founded the Dutch administration along the Digul several police posts in order to prevent Jahraj headhunting. Opened in 1937, Father C. Meuwese the Mappigebied which the Papuans of Jahraj and the Awjoebevolkingsgroepen lived. He settled in Tanah-Merah.

In the first war (1940 – 1942) was Father P. Drabbe language research in both the Jahraj as the Awjoe. He translated one hundred stories from the Bible in their languages. Before he had done this improvised Father C. Meuwese using homemade language notes. The Kai gurus used the language list of Father P. Drabbe base. They learned the Malay and Papuan children this was a limited knowledge of the Jahraj Awjoe and the languages required. For Jatan organized the mission in 1942, a grand celebration of baptism and peace between the Papuans of Jabraj and the Awjoe-populations.

In 1946, Father moved C. Meuwese Tanah Merah-to Kepi, which has since been the center of the Mappigebied. To Kepi was (in 1948) a Pre-School was founded. In 1948 discovered the fathers C. Meuwese and J. Verschueren a river which they christened the Queen Juliana River. Along this river papua-lived populations that have never had contact with the outside world had. In October 1948 celebrated another baptism mission and peace celebration between the Papuans and the Jabraj Awjoe-bevotkingsgroepen. However, this was in 1949 ‘obsolete’ because the Jahraj a large headhunting trip did.

From 1950 to 1966, Father J. Boelaars study of the culture of Jahraj. This research was a process of acculturation successfully be launched. Unlike Marind-anim Jahraj not got the moral depression. In 1951 on the occasion of the visit of Mgr. H. Tillmans at the Mappigebied also a peace between the party and the Jahraj Awjoe held.

In 1952 came the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart to the Mappigebied. To Kepi (in 1952) and Tanah-Merah (in 1954) they founded on girl boarding. In 1952, a kateehistencentrum opened Kepi. In 1955 in the same place a predecessor school was founded. The Brothers of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows committed in 1956 in the Mappigebied down. In the same year began the Welfare Plan Mappi. To accompany this region brothers founded the project (in 1956) an agricultural training center op.In 1959, after more than twenty years of missionary influence, made (also baptized) Jahraj suddenly again guilty of headhunting. There were more than fifty heads rushed.






Paters M.S.C.

  • Pater M. Bennenbroek: 1959 – 1961 werkzaam te Edera; vertrok in 1961 naar Merauke.
  • Pater Dr. J. Boelaars: 1950 – 1966 adat-studie bij de Jahraj.
  • Pater Petr. Drabbe: 1939 – 1942 taalstudie bij de Jabraj en de Awjoe; 1946 – 1966 taalstudie in het Mappigebied, maar ook werkzaam te Merauke; vertrok in 1966 naar Nederland.
  • Pater Aug. van Dongen: 1960 – 1965 werkzaam te Aboge; vertrok in 1966 naar het gebied der Marind-anim.
  • Pater Wilh. van Dongen: 1953 – 1955; 1961 – 1963; 1965 – 1975; vertrok in 1975 naar het gebied der Marind-anim.
  • Mgr. Jac. van Duivenvoorde: 1961 – 1962 werkzaam te Tjitak; vertrok in 1962 naar Merauke.
  • Pater Joan. Geuskens: 1959 – 1978; vertrok in 1978 naar Merauke.
  • Pater Corn. Hendriks: 1957 – 1959 pastoor te Tanah-Merah; 1959- 1962 pastoor en schoolbeheerder te Kepi; 1962- 1964 ziek in Nederland; 1964 – 1969 pastoor en ressortleider te Kepi.
  • Pater Carol. Huiskamp: 1955 – 1961.
  • Pater Henr. Kemper: 1962 – 1964.
  • Pater Wilh. Lomnmertzen: 1955 – 1968 werkzaam te Arare.
  • Pater Corn. Meuwese: 1937 – 1962; vertrok in 1962 naar Nederland.
  • Pater Bern. van Oers: 1960 – 1975; vertrok in 1975 naar het Moejoegebied.
  • Pater Pater Hub. van Peij: 1962 – 1964 werkzaam te Getentiri; vertrok in 1965 naar Merauke.
  • Pater Joh. Ramaaker: 1959 – 1966; vertrok in 1967 naar het FrederikHendrik-eiland.
  • Pater Simon Schuur: 1953 – 1959.
  • Pater WiIh. Thieman: 1951 – 1958; 1961 – 1963 werkzaam te TanahMerah; vertrok in 1963 naar Merauke.
  • Pater Jos. Verhoeven: 1953.
  • Pater Joh. Verschueren: 1948 – 1953; vertrok in 1953 naar het gebied der Marind-anim.
  • Pater Tit. van de Vlugt: 1963 – 1967; vertrok in 1967 naar Okaba.
  • Pater Adr. Vriens: 1949 – 1959 werkzaam te Edera; vertrok in 1959 naar het gebied der Marind-anim.


Broeders M.S.C.

  • Broeder Ant. Galiart: 1931 – 1961 werkzaam te Tanah-Merah, maar tevens te Merauke en in het Mimikagebied.
  • Broeder Mar. Ariëns: 1946 – 1955 werkzaam in het Mappigebied, maar tevens bij de Marind-anim.
  • Broeder Ger. van Abswoude:1957 – ? werkzaam te Tanah-Merah, maar tevens in het Moejoe-gebied. 

Dochters van O.L. Vrouw van het H.Hart

  • Zuster Carolina van de 1954 – 1970 te Tanah-Merah Vrande: (onderwijs).
  • Zuster Gaudia van Woerkom:1952 – 1984 (huishouding).
  • Zuster Justina Hudepohl: 1952 – 1956 (ziekenzorg).
  • Zuster Jeanne Bullings: 1952 – ? (onderwijs). 

Broeders van O.L. Vrouw van Zeven Smarten

  • Broeder Xaverius van Roon:1950 – 1978 werkzaam in het Mappigebied, maar tevens te Merauke en in de Moejoe-streek (onderwijs).
  • Broeder Liborius Lauwers: 1950 – heden werkzaam in het Mappigebied, maar ook te Merauke en op het Frederik-Hendrik-eiland (landbouwcursus).
  • Broeder Cajetanus van de 1950 – heden werkzaam in het Pangaart: Mappigebied, maar tevens te Merauke (leraar houtbewerking).
  • Broeder Godefridus de 1952 – 1980 werkzaam in het Korte: Mappigebied, maar ook te Merauke en in de Moejoe-streek (onderwijs, transport binnenvaart).
  • Broeder Bernulph den 1961 – 1977 werkzaam in de Mappistreek, Dubbelden: maar tevens te Merauke en in bet Moejoe-gebied (leraar op de technische school).
  • Broeder Sarto Roelofs: 1961 – 1980 werkzaam in bet Mappigebied, maar ook te Merauke en in bet Moejoe-gebied (leraar).


  • Herman de Vries: 1953 – 1966 (opbouwwerk).


the end@copyright 2012

The Antique Indonesia Book Collections



Antique Indonesia Book


Part One


The East Indian adventure put on paper

Except curious objects, preserved animals, shells and other curiosities brought the returning East Indiamen also notes back. Notes in diaries, comprehensive reports, perhaps a copy logbook, in any case material which – supplemented with memories and texts from the published books – a new message could be made. That this is not always smoothly is illustrated by the example of Michael Hohreiter.

On January 22, 1624 Hans asked Hohreiter the ‘Pfarrkirchenbaupflegeamt’ Ulm Raißbuech whether he could spend his brother Michael. Michael, born in Ulm in 1591, was like his father trained in navigation on rafts, but did between 1614 and 1620 and served the VOC include Java, the Moluccas and Japan visited and described. Within a week Hohreiter Hans got a negative answer. From a publication could not have occurred. The notes were presented to an urban scholar, the deputy head and ‘Professor Historiarum “Johann Conrad Merckh, and had found that” solch raissbuch gar in Kainer ordnung unnd allererst inn Dass hochteutsch übersetzt were muesste’ .1 So easy that was not. The author apparently had traveled back to a bundle of notes taken Ulm who was not even written in good German, probably even in Dutch. He himself was in 1622 again returned to the Netherlands. From an edition is never materialized and the manuscript was lost.
How many similar cases will not have been of travel journals, sketchbooks, full or half-drawn notes, which were never published but preserved in the family and were finally disposed of as waste paper? There are several travel or incentive to do so narrated in handwriting, and sometimes one reads in the well-published travel stories between the lines something about the roads that had to be walked to a bundle of jottings a full book.

How did the final texts now come about? What was the work of the author, publisher or their appointed editor or editor?
Unfortunately there is no handwritten drafts of a
[P. 254]
VOC-known travel which can be compared with the printed editie.2 In answering the question must first be based on comments from the editors. They stood for the task to produce a text that was readable, entertaining and reliable, requirements that are not easily combined. Always they had to do with the three distinct main elements of the travel records existed: the actual journal kept from day to day, the actual details of the areas where they had gone through, and finally the personal observations, adventures and musings. Especially the latter two elements could take a considerable extent and the whole composition of its balance.
The editorial interventions consisted primarily of displaying the text in the High German. Probably lacked the East Indiamen sometimes the correct knowledge of High German language, perhaps their notes were too rudimentary, and some are known as Dutchified were that they had their notes in Dutch opgeschreven.3 Secondly, could the editor insert text elements. Facts that could have on residents and wildlife. Many additions therefore refer to a study of a book standing as a reliable scholar. Slotted facts are recognized and are often recognizable as such a manner, that is, as a footnote or margin text in a different font, or in a smaller font. To make the story more exciting adventures were also inserted which may not always really so had passed. In one case, that point to, namely where an official logbook or other sources of the same journey have been preserved. Another type of insertion is Christian, moralistic commentary.
The composition will often have been a problem. In the early travel is the apparent tension between the pure, from day to day journal kept one hand and the account details with the other thematic. Slowly but surely, those elements into one another and the travel narrative. The chronological structure is retained, but the narrative, thematic elements are becoming more organic in the text. Ernst Christoph Barchewitz writes in the preface of his Allerneueste und wahrhaffte Ost-India Essential Reise-Beschreibung (1730) that he never “Diarium” has tracked and that he was the principle of this book does not follow, “denn solches Thut eigentlich nichts zur history, au contraire, the es Fallet meisten Lesern verdrüslich ‘.4 He does so in the composition into the reader and bends the disadvantage of the lack of a journal into an advantage.
[P. 255]
In some cases the travel at the end shows traces of a family chronicle. Short is still listed how the traveler has perished after his return to Germany, whom he married and the children were born, what their names and who the godparents waren.5
Apart from failures and half-successful attempts went the route of the edition as follows: the text was compiled from the records and sometimes from the memories of the traveler, supplemented with information from other books and then streamlined editorial. There were orders, one for word and sometimes a few poems on the author submitted, prints were made and after that the whole to the drukker.6

The repatriated travelers could get to work with the development of his travel notes, but in several cases is known that an editor worked on the creation of the text. Reliability was a key concern of the author. A learned editor could provide the guarantee of reliability. Employee worked as a scholar of the great publishing house De Bry in Frankfurt, Zurich Arthus, the handwriting of Johann Explore. Explore was in 1607, sailed as a soldier on the fleet of Pieter Willemsz. Verhoef and returned after an adventurous period back in 1612. That same year appeared Ein kurtze Beschreibung einer Reyse as Part IX of Oriental Tours De Bry. The following year there was a sequel. Arthus was, says the title pages and the comments in the text, based on a ‘Kurtzer Verzeichnus “More of them and had numerous borrowings from earlier authors added, among others by Jan Huygen van Linschoten. In Nuremberg kept Christoph Arnold, professor of Greek, rhetoric, poetry and history in 1663 the Wahrhaftige Beschreibungen zweyer authorize Königreiche China und Japan for publishing Endter, containing the itinerary of the chief surgeon Johann Jacob Merklein.7 The Book of the surgeon Schreyer was significantly edited by his publisher, the Leipzig bookseller Johann Christian Wohlfahrt. The itinerary of Johann Gottlieb Worm is edited by a clergyman from the neighborhood, that a scholar but very dry introduction to added.


Frontispiece by Johann Sigmund Wurffbains Vierzehen Jährige Ost-India Essential Krieg und Ober-Kauffmanns-Dienste (Nuremberg 1686). Dutch Maritime Museum.
The winged figure on the left, which Fama suggests, holds a portrait of the author found.

 Between 1644 and 1660

he served the VOC and ‘auf everything fell Jahr von Tag zu Tag’ noted. He had hoped to continue until his return, but the writing was “durch Unglück zur See, leader!” Lost gegaan.


9 The book was now established on the basis of memory and Saars with dust from other “writers of the Orientalis Chen , Where, etc ‘. The editor was pastor of the St. Lorenz-Kirche in Neurenberg.10 The emphasis placed on the loss of the diary, or the announcement that the traveler had never tracked, can also be a hedge against possible criticism of errors.
In two cases, former VOC servants more or less forced to tell their experiences. That happened at the court of the aforementioned, culturally interested Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf, Friedrich III. In 1650 he learned that a man in Husum after six years had returned from the East Indies. This Jürgen Andersen did not feel that, as the Duke asked him, his experiences to paper to trust. Andersen then summoned the duke to the ducal castle in Schleswig, where the man him every day in the royal library for an hour to tell ‘von seiner Reise, und der Länder Einwohner Beschaffenheit’ .11 These stories were recorded by the scholar Adam Olearius hofbibliothecaris , who had concealed up. After this session asked the Duke Andersen again writing his story to record. This time, Andersen agreed to. The two descriptions were compared, without contradiction
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found and stored in the library ‘ad perpetuam rei memoriam. Years later, in 1669, combined Olearius this story with another travelogue of returning Holstein, the former VOC soldier Volquard Iversen become very popular in the oriental-Reise Beschreibunge.
Olearius had made efforts for the scientific level of the content and thereby did commit a kind of source criticism. He compared the two texts themselves and with other travel, he let the authors know each other and to verify certain things he corresponded additionally with Dutch in the East had been. In addition, he also attached to a good style in which the form should receive their itineraries. He was also a member of the most important German literary society, the ‘Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft, founded in Weimar in 1617. Their members, princes and scholars, strove to purify the German language, primarily of poetry, under the motto “Everything zu Nützen ‘.12 The books published by Olearius are a highlight in the seventeenth-century travelogues. The readership of both scholars and laymen could count on an excellent mix of information, and beautiful style of entertaining.
Posthumous publications
Not everyone wanted to publish his travel writings. Johann Sigmund Wurffbain example, returned in 1646 with a load of notes, there has always opposed, possibly because it was forbidden to publish trade secrets. He died in 1661. Two years later his oder Kurtzer Instruction Message, a presentation to business people by land or by sea to India wanted to travel. It was reissued in 1672 and in 1686. That last time that happened in his Vierzehen Jährige Ost-India Essential Krieg und Ober-Kaufmann-Dienste, a comprehensive account, based on his diaries and worried by his son Johann Paul, there are many details to added, taken from other books. So for example, he charged the whole dramatic story about the sinking of the VOC ship Batavia, a drama that is three years for Wurffbains trip had taken place. Wurffbain junior justify its own additions concerning animals and plants carefully.
Other travelogues were published posthumously. The widow of Johann Peter Reichart left shortly after the death of her husband’s extensive Zwanzigjährige Wanderschafft



Title page of Heinrich Muches itinerary, 1674.
Muche, from Breslau and trained as a painter, served as the military VOC in Java, the Moluccas and Japan. He verluchtte his itinerary with dozens of drawings.und Reisen at their own expense drukken.13 from two letter writers of the late eighteenth century, finally, Morgenstern and Von Wurmb, the letters from the East Indies, and edited it, published posthumously. The deliverers of Tomorrow Stern letters in the introduction that all the ‘Privatumstände’ concerns is omitted, as well as all the “trivial and unilateral ‘.14Unpublished
It could of course happen that never came to an edition. The surgeon was Ultzheimer after many trips back in 1610 in Tübingen and had described his travels from the head. Part of his luggage, including notes he ‘von zu Jahr Jahr und Tag zu Tag von “were kept, he had left behind in Amsterdam. Therefore it was not really writing now and not entirely in order and it included errors, as the author apologized at the end of the manuscript. He has written from memory and “Schreiber”, apparently a netschrijver and editor at the same time, also has not had time to better organize the text and styling. Ultzheimer a lover ever hoped it would help cover the costs needed for a better version. He had no doubt Friedrich, Duke of Wiirtemberg on the eye, to whom he also dedicated the manuscript. It never happened.
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A similar request for financial aid can be read in the catalog of the “Art and Natura Lien Kammer ‘by Conrad Raetzel. In the preface does Raetzel appeal to potential participants, ie ‘other Herschafft oder ein und von den Herrn jemand Buchführern. Perhaps they feel there is something for his Ostindisches Diarium to spend together with an illustrated version of his catalog. That would mean carvings to life must be made. Such an illustrated catalog would also be very practical for other collectors, Raetzel goes on, both of royal status of lower position. Despite this urgent request is Raetzels itinerary for nearly three centuries in a publisher waiting.
From the manuscript of Heinrich Muche is understandable that it never appeared in print. A former painter and VOC soldier from Breslau had one in his own eyes undoubtedly erudite writings composed, moreover, that he had provided drawings. He had his equipment taken from dozens of itineraries, descriptions and kosmografieën country and the whole interspersed with Dutch, German, French and Latin poems. But it was never issued. If he has already offered to a publisher, it will probably be too unbalanced and too wordy found.
Jörg Franz Müller returned in 1682 after thirteen years ago in Amsterdam. Are in rhyme and decorated with many colored drawings he travelogue here bind in a stamped leather band with his name erop.15 His notes he later worked in Rohrschach. In these writings he addresses the reader and the drawings he says that it will be beautiful engravings. This points to schedule publication, but also in this case, it did not happen.
A rare example of the struggle with substance gives Caspar Schmalkalden. He was between 1642 and 1652 in Dutch service successively in Brazil and in the East Indies soldier. In Forschungsbibliothek in Gotha is a clear, illustrated story of his travels. It is written in two hands: of himself and presumably his son. But elsewhere there are two bundles with other versions of this text, full of erasures and corrections, which shows how difficult the editorial is verlopen.16
The manuscript by Georg Naporra, written in 1757, is cool, divided into clear chapters, each beginning with a brief summary. It is in fact ready for the press. Why this has never been published is a mystery. Probability
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corpse, the Seven Years War, which broke out when and where this manuscript was completed in Gdansk has suffered, a spanner in the cast. Ten years after his return was Naporra in a good hit, he was married and had become a citizen of Gdansk. Maybe failed when the need for publication and the manuscript remained in the family. The long text of Gottfried Preller, finally, is probably only been intended for a small circle. The unbalanced composition, the absence of a division into sections, and the simple use of language all point in the direction of an intimate referred to text.
A comparison of the authors and do not have published during their life that those who are socially and financially the most successful in their lives were nothing autobiographical have published. One explanation could be that they best were aware of the commercial secrets of the Company and that they felt bound by their oath to publish anything about it. Moreover, they also do not need to travel through them to establish a position.
The public
For the manuscripts
Of the fourteen Indian travel texts that have survived only in manuscript, but few seem to have been intended for publication. These are written in fair-copy book, articulated in chapters and turning to a reader or refer to illustrations in the book would be included. But for some reason it never came to an edition. Other unpublished texts were intended for a small circle of family and friends, which the long travel time and time could be read or recited. It was the exotic variant of a familiekroniek.17 In some texts even expressly state that he has that little circle of friends. Most authors refer repeatedly to certain persons whom they had encountered on their journey and thus also indicates that public awareness must have been. This gave the reader or listener of the story then the possibility verifiëren.18
It was also suggested that the passenger’s personal handwriting offered to a prince. He wore the surgeon Andreas Ultzheimer his writing about his many trips to Friedrich, Duke of Wurttemberg, and Johann Wilhelm Vogel the manuscript of his travel to the Duke of Saxe-Gotha.19[P. 261]
For the printed travel
In the sixteenth century in Germany much travel in Latin published. They were intended for a scholarly audience. In the seventeenth century the number of Latin titles off percentage in favor of the German teksten.20 Not only the language, the price given to the public. In 1617 Johann Theodor de Bry wears his series on America to the German emperor. In the dedication he writes that publishing such books as many costs involved that their prices are high and almost the only books available for ‘Herrnstandts Persons, other unnd Vornehme und vermögliche Leute. There were also quite a few ‘guthertzige, und der Historien liebhabende Leute “which to him had called the’ Essential India Historien ‘short-form to geven.21 De Bry has indeed done that.
An impression of the functioning of the travel within a learned German intellectual environment one gets from one of the conversations of the literary society “Elbschwanenorden ‘, as it was described in 1668 by one of the members, the pastor Johann Rist.22 Four friends discuss the best and noblest way of ‘Zeit-Verkürzung, the typical name in the German baroque for the opportunity to be useful and enjoyable leisure time to spend. Conversation turns to travel. The host, “of quiet ‘as his nickname is, does an expose on a bundle of travel and discusses ten titles, which he always evaluates veracity, utility, style and reading. Many authors have only to los gefabuleerd, he says, and that amused him. “Ich Meines theils, when ich lese dergleichen Sachen, verwundere nirgends mehr über mich as Dass solche scribblers vermeinet haben, dass verständige Leute solchen ihren elenden Fabulen und lächerlichen Mährlein glauben zustellen wurden.” Der Quiet she reads so well, but is there to own words actually above. His friend Nobilidor thinks otherwise. “No,” he says, “that I waste my time with it, I like to read good Histories’, especially ‘frembde raisebeschreibungen” but he adds “nach solchen Possen ich habe kein grosses Desire’. And then he lists what he wise, that is useful travelogues understand. As an example he mentions the books that Adam Olearius has delivered. He tells them that “nichtes Partheyisches, nichtes Kindisches, nichtes Fabelhafftes, oder erdichtetes, probing his straight clean und Warheit nackende Durchaus ‘to find is.23 This shows that one makes the distinction between” sensible, true’ and ‘gefabuleerde’ travel. First, the utility, the second was purely a function as tijdpassering.24 In

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then very recent report by Nieuhof a Dutch delegation to Beijing, he notes that while a ‘gar feines nutzliches und Buch, “but that the embassy has followed just a straight road, often over water, making them as a kind of prisoners but little of the country gezien.25
The ‘true’ journey, as is repeatedly stated, had two functions: utility and entertainment, “Nußen und Vergnügen ‘.26 That utility had different meanings. Nut was informative, practical utility for the traveler who took advantage of such books. They could help travelers prepare for trips and merchants could benefit from them in defining their business strategies. A study of the subscribers of the German translation in 1777 by Engelbert Kaempfers book about Japan has shown that the buyers were mainly members of the upper crust of society, the higher middle class and professionals, doctors, clergy and landowners. In the port cities were mainly interested merchants. This suggests that interest in travel literature not only of philosophical or cultural but also economic in nature was.27
With utility was also meant the moral utility, the founding force of the text. Indeed, travelogues contributed to the knowledge of the world and thus to a good sense of the immensity and multiplicity of creation. The passenger was also an exemplary figure who by his steadfastness in the faith, gave an example. He proved the power of Providence.
The scientific usefulness is ingezien.28 the same time that the friends of the ‘Elbschwanenorden’ came together, wrote Leibniz, in his reflections on the systematization of education and research and storage of knowledge, that travel is necessary for historical research and that a set of all possible travel texts, letters and other written sources that are so often neglected by families, desired is.29 Paullini devoted Christian Franz in his Philosophical Lust-Stunden from 1706 contains a chapter on the usefulness of travel books and he also points to the ‘fremdes lustiges und ‘and on the morale useful. Theologians, lawyers, doctors, philosophers, politicians and ‘Liebhaber der Antiquitäten’ can benefit. They can decorate their own writings with historical trends and explain it, the physician can learn a lot about herbs and planten.30 The Kiel professor Daniel Georg Morhof in 1708 emphasized the multiform usefulness, “usum maximum ad res Varias” of travel .31

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A Dutch variant gives Peter Rabus, when he in his journal the Book Room of Europe in 1699, observes: “I do not know from what kind of writing more fun for inquisitive ingenuity to get is’ .32 Messages were also seen as a source of relaxation . One could read them as a pastime, comfortable home: they did not himself travel to gaan.33 But a few were so gripped by his home no longer be endured, and it went out for themselves the described Asian miracle countries to look to ‘tie Original oder zu sehen selbsten that Sach ‘.34
That travel not only for the upper classes were intended, is evident from the fact that more and more travel in the vernacular and that they also appeared on a modest size and therefore cheaper on the market. When Adam Olearius in 1658 the travel Von Mandelslo spend, he writes in the foreword that the book is to ‘Erlustigung des gemüths’ of ‘well learned as unlearned’ persons of high and low setting. The experienced men from practice, the actual travelers, which could then status and training or are at a lower level, they searched and found affiliation and recognition from the world of academics and literati. There also point to the words and the editorial guidance.
The sick comforter Isaac Sunderman, the only one of the 47 Germans in Dutch wrote it, did not so much for an academic audience, but for the “simple country blowing” that none of the seafaring life know how much has already been written about. He states his intended audience still with ‘myne Country ordinary people, in the Bergsche, Mark Nietzsche and Adhesive film CAL lands dwell, including those in Ontario Overyssel and the Moselle his’ .35 Sunderman was born in Westphalia, had six years on the Moselle a job before and after returning from the East in Deventer established. He focused so really acquaintances in the areas where he had lived. Winter Barley also calls himself in the same years ‘Landsman Nachbar und’ of the reader. Johann Peter Reichart, which a lot about life on board communicates, is aimed at the ‘in der ganz Schiffarth unerfahrne geneigte Leser’ .36
For whom and why travel useful, also describes CF Neickel, the author of a comprehensive book on art and rarities collections from 1727. The author emphasizes that knowledge is an asset, but that certainly not everyone has to have the university. Even ordinary fathers may in fact deepen their leisure hours in the sciences. Nothing is more useful for the proper Christian understanding than the study of nature, and
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therefor, other than nature walks in the spring or summer, ideally travelogues. Neickel public has in mind here as the fathers of the class of merchants and artisans after work or what to read by their wife or children read aloud. Again, the reading in this case already quite old travel an edifying functie.37
The above statements were made by authors, publishers and avid book readers. They say not many of whom, except persons in court circles and scholars actually read travelogues. About the German readership is little known. The book by Ludwig von Dies Horn, which in 1759 appeared and basically an East Indian lexicon, was intended for ‘der gemeine Mann oder auch sonsten Persons von lowly Power dergleichen’ .38 It also contained no engravings and not much personal about to inexpensive to maintain. In the second half of the eighteenth century was more read, including in civilian circles. Reading clubs flourished. The mayor of Bremen wrote in 1782 that the number of reading clubs in Lower Saxony increased from day to day, even in the smaller cities. Among the members were scholars and laymen, merchants, craftsmen, “Oekonomen, soldiers, old and young, men and vrouwen.39 A study of book ownership in Frankfurt around 1800 shows that 74 percent of the craft journeymen and 65 percent of master craftsmen no But the book bezaten.40 Liter Aryan Neue Zeitung of November 1802 indicates the “Unter den niedern Standings um sich immer mehr greif Lesewuth assignees. One thing is certain: some East Indiamen that they themselves have written about the East Indies have read before they left. Much more must they have read after their return. In their book they call because older titles, sometimes in the copying of information, sometimes scornfully at such naivety in earlier years.
From a book is known that the author has given to the city library of his residence. Johann Jacob Merklein wrote on the flyleaf of the book in which his travel was included, “Wohl-der Ehren Veste, Fürsichtige Kunstreiche und Herr Johann Jacob Merklein habe diese Reisbeschreibung of Windsheimischen Bibliothec am 13. August 1672 verehrt ‘.41 In a copy of the travel story of Elias Hesse state whose first owner was: a certain Georg Heinrich Hoeberlin in the sixth grade of the gymnasium of Stuttgart zat.42
About quantities and prices of treated Indian travel writings are largely unknown. From a letter of Jan Swammerdam in 1671 shows that two books of translations from German Dutch VOC 1 guilder and 16 travel together cost pennies. The one, the journey of Jürgen Andersen, had 168 pages, the other in which the travel of Saar, Iversen and Herport were combined, 204 pages. The same source shows how expensive a large folioboek was. The two-volume work Gedenckwaerdig Bedryf
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Of the Dutch East India Maetschappye of Olfert Dapper in 1670, in which two VOC embassies to China are described, it took 9 gulden.43 Some years later, a German edition. Only the book by Isaac Sunderman is known that the third edition in 1714 three hundred copies were printed for an amount of 45 gulden.44 This means that a total of perhaps 800 to 900 copies were printed.
Another indication for public circulation and gives the preface of the East Indian travelogue of Caspar Röhrig, the only portion that is known of this rare boek.45 Röhrig was, as noted earlier, in 1776 after three years as a sailor in Asia have worked, came back in Birkenfeld. He had married a rich woman and had started an inn, Zum Ostindische Schiff. In 1800 a publisher decided to give Röhrigs memoirs under the title Reisen und Fortunes, and put a sign-on purpose. The list shows that two bookstores (in Gotha in Rudolstadt) each have ordered 100 copies. A copy went to a library and read the rest, about 150 books, went to individuals in 45 towns and cities in Saxony. Among the bidders that their job tasks were many craftsmen, especially teachers, and further ducal officials and some merchants and military officers. It is striking that eight irish inn and seven ministers ordered the book. Maybe that inn irish felt an affinity with their fellow Röhrig – his occupation was stated in the title – perhaps even had ‘Gastwirten’ professionals are aware of travel and foreign countries with the towing business is to converse.
Summarized in the seventeenth century travelogues were read in the higher circles of the court, by scholars and writers, and in the eighteenth century increasingly by people from the middle classes. Artisans form a target group of the publisher and the case of Röhrig shows that the masters indeed read. The journeymen and servants read unlikely. If they have books in the house, then had that edifying werkjes.46

Reward for the story
As an exotic value had been present, as was also the story and certainly the story written some-thing. The returned traveler had a capital gain, which is perhaps the abject was as wild and inappropriate behavior, but for others it interesting. The commands in the
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Assignment of Johann Wilhelm Vogel to Friedrich, Duke of Saxe-Gotha. Forschungs-und Landesbibliothek Gotha.
Bird was on October 19, 1688 in Gotha returned after spending almost ten years in the East. On 23 August he signed this contract in the first calligraphed abridged version of his travelogue. It appeared six months later in print. Then followed two more comprehensive versions.

when he leaves the parental home to turn the wide world to explore, as his father had done forty years earlier, the city gives him three guilders travel money. Two years later, in the winter of 1730, receives its mother city legally still a bundle of wood. Three years later she also dies.
Another example may here the role of the sovereign illustrate. Johann Christoph Wolf thought in 1670 after eighteen years VOC service as assistant bookkeeper in Ceylon are quietly to enjoy his last years in his hometown Röbel in Mecklenburg. But after the first news of his return he was gone, according to his own words, to deal with a pesky parochial pride and love of his fellow townsmen. They tried him in a bad light and twelve years he had to be humiliated. How exactly tired of not clear, but in any case in 1782, Wolf published the first part of his Reise nach Zeilan. Apparently this book come face of Friedrich, Duke of Mecklenburg, who not only exonerated of ‘Accise’ and honored him with a gold medal, but actually did live in the ducal castle to Büsow. There he enjoyed life free lodging and free stoken.54 No wonder Wolf part two of his book Ceylon to the Duke commanded.

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Writing and publishing motives
No money, or honor
When all the words and commands would take literally, one might think that writing a travelogue came from a series of noble motives. The author has to describe God’s greatness, he would have wanted the readers can easily make their accurate and truthful mind to imagine how it toeging in distant countries, without having to step outside the door had to convert. The traveler had just put on the desk after long urging of good friends and influential people. In short, he was a noble, Christian, human and truthful, and especially modest man.
So it should not be interpreted literally. Although the combination of these traits should not be ruled out, we must understand the repeated reference to it as standard formulas. They served two purposes. The first was the recruitment to the address of the reader. He was led to believe how amazing this book is not there. The author did everything with my own eyes to the truth and he was therefore. Second, these texts have all more or less an undertone of self-justification. The author showcases black and white life, a life that is lived piously and wisely and in which he has not succumbed to the temptations of evil. His trust in God despite all fatalities and it has remained unshaken he owes his life. This behavior was good except for the words and poems to the author also emphasized by the inclusion of passports and letters of recommendation from the Company. They confirm that the owner of this paper the VOC has served faithfully for several years. The itinerary was thus a major recommendation of the author, an entertaining proof of good behavior. She became a means of returning to the East Indies Ganger his experience to its advantage. The book did not directly money, but functioned as a tool for social integration. A travelogue that was dedicated to an influential person could lead to an office, to income, to integration and therefore to respect. Publishing a book and certainly dedicate it to a king or an influential college increased the probability of an official status and could increases. It facilitated access to certain administrative, scientific or even nobility.
The desire to publish alone was not sufficient. An edition came about only when a publisher it was commercially viable. It was probably the author himself hardly financially wiser. A well-established lawyer in this field took it in 1675 as follows: “Those were the Schrifften derer Autorum Buchdruckern und

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Frontispiece of oriental-India Essential Der Kunst-und Lust-Gärtner Georg Meister (Dresden 1692). Dutch Maritime Museum.

Buchführern um einen Gewissen verkaufft Preiss, jedoch so, dass diese the profit, which Ehre jene aber davon Haben. ’55 Already in 1613 was Johann Explore, the first German of whom a report of his trip was pushed VOC, honored with a beautiful verse. He was “gloriose, full of honor, at his back and was able after so many lands and seas, crossing to and with many savage peoples fought to have ‘with glorious splendor the peaks of fame ascend’ .56 And in the order of Wurffbains itinerary from 1686 we read that distant travelers’ einen ewigen Ruhm ‘acquisition, even after their death, especially when they experience “aufrichtig und warhafftig’ to posterity have meegedeeld.57 A poem about the travels of Winter Barley describes his distant, long and difficult travel and praises him for the book he has written:
Sodann gereicht es Ihm sonderbahren zu Ehren,
There Dass ist der erste in unsrer Vatter-Stadt,
So long man und denckt Weist, von dem wir sagas hear
Dass there solches ein Buch in Truck gegeben hat … 58
If the author has received money, was it likely the person to whom the book was dedicated than the publisher. The only documented case of a reward for dedication is that of Martin Winter Barley, who in 1712 forty examples of his journal dedicated to the Board of Memmingen, for which he was conceived by 30 gulden.59 appeared of the same book copies with dedications to the boards of

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neighboring cities, doubtless with the expectation that there is also a financial gesture opposite would be. But the archives mention daarover.60
In one case writing a book a special, personal honor was. Elias Hesse, unlike many of his comrades with whom he had left Saxony, the experiment in Sumatra gold mine survived. Three years after returning, he writes on his experiences because his countrymen on their deathbed had begged him to disclose ‘who elendlich mission meist all sterben Erben und fl sparrows “and how dangerous such a journey, and everyone there to warn against. His book ends with a list of the sixteen on Sumatra deceased comrades.
It is remarkable that it was the inferiors in rank who have spent their experiences. The most successful candidates, as Wurffbain have made no effort. This is explained by a reluctance regarding the disclosure of vital VOC data. And perhaps it was precisely for them again beneath their station.
The prestige, the respect that the East India adventure yielded apparent from poems that were dedicated to the author and the book are placed in the front. A similar function has a portrait in the book, with a spell or a few lines of poetry. Of some authors is also known that they were commemorated their dead with respect. On the death in 1680 by Johann von der Behr, who had fought as a soldier in Ceylon, was the poet Heinrich von Bredelo commissioned a number of poems. In one of them he praises von der Behr roars like a fearless hero who marches forth to where
… Elephant in the hin der Sonne explains
Durch Donner und Bliz Bley, durch Tausend Sturm und Wetter.
Wellen und durch Wind Gehn, und nie auf ruhn Federn,
Vor Keiner Noth (bricht schon Mast, Anckerthau und Bretter)
Auch nur ein einzigs Mahl verzagte … 61
In the city museum in Ulm was located before the Second World War the tombstone of one Jacob Franck, who in 1625 was born in this city. The stone showed a ship on the rocks thrown and the text describing compressed Francks fifty lives. Originally baker and weaver, he was in service to Dutch East Indies traveled. He had in ’10 Jahr und Feuer Wassersgefahr in Schlachten,

Original info:

Titelprent van Der Orientalisch-Indianische Kunst- und Lust-Gärtner van Georg Meister (Dresden 1692). Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam.

Buchführern um einen gewissen Preiß verkaufft, jedoch so, daß diese den profit, jene aber die Ehre davon Haben.’55 Al in 1613 was Johann Verken, de eerste Duitser van wie een verslag van zijn voc-reis was gedrukt, vereerd met een fraai vers. Hij was ‘gloriose’, met roem beladen, bij de zijnen teruggekeerd en kon na zoveel landen en zeeën doorkruist te hebben en met zoveel woeste volkeren gevochten te hebben ‘met luisterrijke glorie de toppen van de roem bestijgen’.56 En in de opdracht van Wurffbains reisbeschrijving uit 1686 leest men dat verre reizigers ‘einen ewigen Ruhm’ verwerven, ook na hun dood, vooral wanneer ze hun ervaringen ‘aufrichtig und warhafftig’ aan het nageslacht hebben meegedeeld.57 Een gedicht over de reizen van Wintergerst beschrijft zijn verre, lange en moeizame reizen en prijst hem om het boek dat hij daarover heeft geschreven:

Sodann gereicht es Ihm zu sonderbahren Ehren,

daß Er der erste ist in unsrer Vatter-Stadt,

So lang man weist und denckt, von dem wir sagen hören,

Daß er ein solches Buch in Truck gegeben hat…58

Als de auteur al geld ontving, kwam dat waarschijnlijk eerder van degene aan wie het boek was opgedragen dan van de uitgever. Het enige aantoonbare geval van een beloning voor een dedicatie is dat van Martin Wintergerst, die in 1712 veertig exemplaren van zijn reisverslag opdroeg aan de raad van Memmingen, waarvoor hij werd bedacht met 30 gulden.59 Er verschenen van ditzelfde boek ook exemplaren met dedicaties aan de raden van

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naburige steden, ongetwijfeld met de verwachting dat daar ook een financieel gebaar tegenover zou staan. Maar de archieven zwijgen daarover.60In één geval is het schrijven van een boek een bijzondere, persoonlijke erezaak geweest. Elias Hesse heeft, anders dan zijn vele kameraden met wie hij uit Saksen vertrokken was, het goudmijnexperiment op Sumatra overleefd. Drie jaar na terugkeer schrijft hij zijn ervaringen op omdat zijn landgenoten hem op hun doodsbed hadden gesmeekt bekend te maken ‘wie elendlich sie meist alle sterben und verderben müssen’ en hoe gevaarlijk zo’n reis was, en een ieder daartegen te waarschuwen. Zijn boek eindigt met de lijst van de zestien op Sumatra overleden kameraden.Het is opvallend dat het juist de lageren in rang zijn die hun ervaringen hebben uitgegeven. De meest geslaagden, zoals Wurffbain, hebben er geen moeite voor gedaan. Dit valt te verklaren uit een terughoudendheid ten aanzien van het openbaarmaken van vitale voc-gegevens. En misschien was het voor hen nu juist weer beneden hun stand.Het aanzien, het respect dat het Oost-Indisch avontuur had opgeleverd blijkt uit gedichten die aan de auteur zijn opgedragen en die voorin het boek zijn geplaatst. Een zelfde functie heeft een portret voor in het boek, voorzien van een spreuk of een aantal dichtregels. Van enkele auteurs is ook bekend dat ze bij hun dood met respect werden herdacht. Op de dood in 1680 van Johann von der Behr, die als soldaat op Ceylon gevochten had, maakte de dichter Heinrich von Bredelo in opdracht een aantal gedichten. In een daarvan roemt hij Von der Behr ronkend als een held die onverschrokken voortmarcheert naar waar

… der Elephant hin in die Sonne legt

Durch Donner, Bliz und Bley, durch tausend Sturm und Wetter.

Durch Wind und Wellen gehn, und nie auf Federn ruhn,

Vor keiner Noth (bricht schon Mast, Anckerthau und Bretter)

Auch nur ein einzigs mahl verzagte…61

In het stadsmuseum van Ulm bevond zich voor de Tweede Wereldoorlog de grafsteen van een zekere Jacob Franck, die in 1625 in deze stad geboren was. De steen vertoonde een op de klippen geworpen schip en de tekst beschreef gecomprimeerd Francks vijftigjarige leven. Van oorsprong bakker en wever was hij in Hollandse dienst naar Oost-Indië gereisd. Hij had ‘10 Jahr in Feuer- und Wassersgefahr, in Schlachten,

60Lauchner 1986/86, p. 109.61Bredelo 1682.
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Frontispiece of the East Indian Travel description Elias Hesse (Dresden 1692). Dutch Maritime Museum.
HereIn Hesse describes the tragic fate of the Saxon Miners in 1680 under the Leadership of Benjamin Olitzsch to Sumatra traveled there in the gold mines of the Company to plants.

Hunger und Durst und brot ohne zugebracht Gefangenschafft fast. And its 128 companions he was with another the only one who had seen the home country again. Franck was married and had worn the rest of his life as landlord of the inn of The Red Lion and then plated Lam.62
In the cemetery of the East Frisian island Amrum are the graves of dozens of sailors. Also in this beautifully carved stone from some East Indiamen are the ship and the East India career immortalized.
For Caspar Schamberger, the successful surgeon at Deshima was a celeb rated funeral sermon was prepared All which detailed looks at his career. Martin Winter Barley was however no printed sermon, no tombstone, let alone an epitaph. However, his miraculous life recalled in the burial register or Martin Memmingen. At his funeral in 1728 They wrote: “Martin Wintergärst, Zeugwarth: (ein man or 22. Iahr gereiset ;) starb in Christo, 58 iahr you. 2. Monat. RIP’63 His East Indian adventure was sixteen years after returning yet memorable .
Further the life of others is impossible to trace. Their story ends with the arrival home and the archives silent. A few adds to his East Indian adventure have anything about his family Circumstances
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present. David Tappe wrote Whom he married in any church, And Also mentions the names of his daughters and Where They are baptized. Preller Also writes on the last pages of his manuscript about his marriage, about The Difficult birth of his wife and the death of Their first daughter Within a week after birth. He then gets two songs and mentions the names of the godparents of his children.
Some were still decades in the memory thanks to reprints of Their books or fragments of it in bundles travelogues. Some enjoyed the honor to be Mentioned in a biographical dictionary or encyclopedieën.64

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present. David Tappe wrote whom he married in any church, and also mentions the names of his daughters and where they are baptized. Preller also writes on the last pages of his manuscript about his marriage, about the difficult birth of his wife and the death of their first daughter within a week after birth. He then gets two sons and mentions the names of the godparents of his children.
Some were still decades in the memory thanks to reprints of their books or fragments of it in bundles travelogues. Some enjoyed the honor to be mentioned in a biographical dictionary or encyclopedieën.64

The judgment of the East India adventure
How did the returnees back to their East Indian adventure? The main criteria by which success was judged, were amassed fortune and whether or not to retain health.
Some take the whole long travelogue and a cheerful tone to write a word about regret their vertrek.65 Most, however, look with mixed feelings on the Indian years ago. They explain their step many years ago from youthful daring curiosity, from ‘Fürwitz. They are, they write, in their youth been blinded by fancy, but misleading stories of soul vendors and others by travelogues and novels. Wurffbain warned in the middle of the seventeenth century. Those who have money and connections, it will be fine. Who goes out of poverty and has no connections, no matter how ingenious and hardworking too, will get heavy.
Johann von der Behr would remain there for seven years, but after his return he had to fix that instead of the proposed gold ‘nichts, denn Nichtige Kohle “had gathered. And he thanks the Lord that he “spoils” at least still has the lifetime teruggebracht.66 Elias Hesse is the first work for the Company to slavery vergelijkt.67 He summed it up shortly after his return in 1683 together. From most of the countries in the East Indies are said to be the cleanest, nicest and richest in the world. But the Dutch are masters and they are none to private trade, and without it you can not acquire wealth. Yet there are Company-servants along devious roads a large fortune. He has never since surrendered and he has returned, again with the biggest booty the leven.68 His travelogue, where-


Titelprent van de East Indian Travel description Elias van Hesse (Dresden 1692). Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam.
Hesse beschrijft herein de lotgevallen tragic van de Saksische Mijnwerkers onder the van in 1680 Leiding Benjamin Olitzsch naar de Sumatra reisden om daar in goudmijnen van de Compagnie te gaan plants.
Hunger und Durst und brot ohne zugebracht Gefangenschafft fast. And its 128 companions he was with another the only one who had seen the homeland again. Franck was married and had worn the rest of his life as landlord of the inn of The Red Lion and then plated Lam.62
In the cemetery of the East Frisian island Amrum are the graves of dozens of sailors. Also in this beautifully carved stone from some East Indiamen are the ship and the East India career immortalized.
For Caspar Schamberger, the successful surgeon at Deshima, was a celebrated funeral sermon was prepared which detailed looks at his career. Martin Winter Barley was however no printed sermon, no tombstone, let alone an epitaph. However, his miraculous life recalled in the burial register of Martinus Memmingen. At his funeral in 1728 they wrote: “Martin Wintergärst, Zeugwarth: (ein man of 22. Iahr gereiset ;) starb in Christo, 58 iahr you. 2. monat. RIP’63 His East Indian adventure was sixteen years after returning yet memorable.
The further life of others is impossible to trace. Their story ends with the arrival home and the archives silent. A few adds to his East Indian adventure have anything about his family circumstances
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present. David Tappe wrote whom he married in any church, and also mentions the names of his daughters and where they are baptized. Preller also writes on the last pages of his manuscript about his marriage, about the difficult birth of his wife and the death of their first daughter within a week after birth. He then gets two sons and mentions the names of the godparents of his children.
Some were still decades in the memory thanks to reprints of their books or fragments of it in bundles travelogues. Some enjoyed the honor to be mentioned in a biographical dictionary or encyclopedieën.64


62Schmidlin 1934, pp. 61-62.63Lauchner 1985/86, p. 124.
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heden. David Tappe schrijft met wie hij trouwde en in welke kerk, en noemt ook de namen van zijn dochters en waar ze gedoopt zijn. Ook Preller schrijft op de laatste bladzijden van zijn handschrift over zijn huwelijk, over de moeizame bevalling van zijn vrouw en de dood van hun eerste dochtertje binnen een week na de geboorte. Hij krijgt daarna twee zoontjes en noemt de namen van de peetouders van zijn kinderen.Enkelen bleven nog decennia in de herinnering dankzij herdrukken van hun boek of door fragmenten ervan in bundels reisverhalen. Sommigen genoten de eer te worden vermeld in een biografisch woordenboek of in encyclopedieën.64 64Bijvoorbeeld Johann Beckmanns Litteratur der älteren Reisebeschreibungen (Göttingen 1807-1810), waarin Wurffbain, Hesse, Tappe, Langhansz, Wintergerst, Meister en Schwartz staan. In Heinrich Zedlers Großes vollständiges Universall-Lexikon aller Wissenschaften und Künste (Dresden 1732-1754) zijn Wagner, Meister, Vogel, Saar en Wintergerst opgenomen. Ook in Christian Gottlieb Jöchers Allgemeine Gelehrten Lexicon (Leipzig/Bremen 1705-1819) komen Oost-Indiëvaarders voor. In de Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (Berlijn 1875-) vinden we: Ultzheimer, Wurffbain, Wagner, Merklein, Von der Behr, Andersen, Saar, Tappe, Schreyer, Schweitzer, Hesse, Langhansz, Wintergerst, Kolb en Worm.

Het oordeel over het Oost-Indisch avontuur

Hoe keken de repatrianten terug op hun Oost-Indisch avontuur? De belangrijkste criteria waarop het succes beoordeeld werd, waren het vergaarde fortuin en de al of niet behouden gezondheid.

Enkelen houden het hele reisverhaal lang een opgewekte toon aan en schrijven met geen woord over spijt van hun vertrek.65 De meesten echter kijken met gemengde gevoelens op de Indische jaren terug. Ze verklaren hun stap van zoveel jaren geleden uit jeugdige overmoedige nieuwsgierigheid, uit ‘Fürwitz’. Ze zijn, schrijven ze, in hun jeugd verblind geweest door fraaie, maar misleidende verhalen van zielverkopers en anderen, door reisbeschrijvingen en romans. Wurffbain waarschuwde al in het midden van de zeventiende eeuw. Wie geld en connecties heeft, zal het wel redden. Wie uit armoede gaat en geen connecties heeft, hoe vernuftig en hardwerkend ook, zal het zwaar krijgen.

Johann von der Behr zou er zeven jaar blijven, maar na terugkeer moest hij vaststellen dat hij in plaats van het voorgestelde goud ‘nichts, denn nichtige Kohle’ had vergaard. En hij dankt de Heer dat hij ‘als buit’ ten minste nog het leven mee heeft teruggebracht.66 Elias Hesse is de eerste die het werk voor de Compagnie met slavernij vergelijkt.67 Hij vatte het kort na zijn terugkeer in 1683 samen. Van het grootste deel der landen in Oost-Indië zegt men dat ze tot de schoonste, prettigste en rijkste van de wereld behoren. Maar de Hollanders zijn hier heer en meester en ze staan niemand toe particuliere handel te drijven, en zonder dat kun je geen rijkdom verwerven. Toch zijn er Compagnie-dienaren die langs slinkse wegen een groot fortuin vergaren. Hij heeft zich daar nooit aan overgegeven en hij is teruggekeerd, eveneens met als grootste buit het leven.68 Zijn reisverslag, waar-

65Met name Müller, Barchewitz en Schröder.66Von der Behr, rdb xx, p. 13.67Hesse, rdb x, p. 178.68Idem, pp. 126-127.
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Tombstone Nahmens Nickels and his wife Mattje Nick Elsen, Amrum. Photo: Georg Quedens.
Nahmen Nickels (1715-1785) came from the East Frisian island Amrum and run twice in VOC service as captain for the East Indies. The first time in 1759 at the Zoo, the second time in 1761 on the Aschat. This ship is carved on this stone. In Dutch service he called himself Cornelis Nannings of Ameren.

the first of three editions in 1687 came out, nobody will have encouraged to go there. Christoph Langhansz also shows a serious warning to hear. The key word to him that so often flows from the pen when he talks about employment with the VOC has been ‘slavery’. In his preface to the reader, he writes in 1705 that all who desire to travel is to travel to East Indian hats, as they yield little more this time. Who still goes trades his freedom for slavery, and who will have escaped all danger, may still be lucky if his health has not suffered. He himself is glad he was able within three years ontkomen.69 And so we read numerous comments received from a little optimistic visionary. There is really no one who advises on an adventure.
Over the years versombert the tone. The many prefaces and dedications with their optimistic endorsements of travel in general and the trip to the East Indies in particular disappear. The motive for the many wonders of God’s creation to behold no longer occurs. The stories are businesslike and cynical. It also describes the more personal feelings, and that is a general trend in autobiographies and travelogues. Georg Naporra cursed in 1757 in his preface to the books as a youngster he had read about the East Indies. They have deceived him. They seemed so nice, but I do not believe in,
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he writes, “sonder verwerffe und mehr verfluche sion fell, weil mission einen anlaß giebt zur verleitung eines jungen men und ich habe es ganz befunden else. He describes the miserable lives of soldiers and sailors that none of his friends stupidity will commit to serve in the Company.
Johann Christoph Wolf, eighteen years as a clerk to Ceylon served, writes in the preface of his in 1782 published book that anyone who believes in the East Indies ‘lauter Gold und Silberberge’ to be found and that one “bald Schäß sammlen reich und könne were “seriously mistaken. Who lives and virtuous ‘geschicklichkeit’ shows it could make a fortune. And he wants than anyone discourage the trip maken.70 same message echoed from the letters of Morgenstern and the Baron von Wurmb. Morgenstern surprised in 1771 in a letter from Batavia on the strange ideas that people in Europe from the East Indies. It is thought that the money in the street and the pearls and jewels on the beach. No, the East Indies is no longer what it was twenty or thirty years ago. It makes fortune here only by a lucrative appointment, by trade or by both. And, it is monotonous, which is primarily accessible by means of good letters of recommendation. Of the thousands who come here remain barely fifty alive, and only five of them make fortunes. In similar terms in 1774 Baron von Wurmb writes in a letter: the times have passed that those who undertook this long journey, even in the lower ranks of soldier or sailor could hope to acquire any property. Who Indies only Barchewitz or other travelogues knows and therefore thinks that the money so gathered pickings, is equally disappointed as those who the world only know from romans.71 Here refers Von Wurmb so the itinerary of Ernst Christoph Barchewitz, which 1711 to 1722 had served in India and whose adventures were first published in 1730, after four reprints followed, the last in 1762. In the book by Otto Friedrich Mentzel, published in 1784, we read a recent complaint about the East to quote: “Remember these things, my friends, and do not go to the East. Teach yourself to maintain a fair trading and stay home in your homeland. “Elsewhere he writes that the hundred soldiers rarely more than thirty come back and that of the hundreds who remain rarely more than ten PhD or a grade get them enables to build a decent life. Of the thousand men who have made promotional find rarely, very rarely, one that really made fortune and returned to Europe as wealthy man.72
The entire period reads as key to the East Indies success: good connections, money and happiness. In principle,
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can make a career in Asia faster than in Germany or the Netherlands. But who has money will not be inclined to go to the East. Good relationships are equally important in the East Indies and in Europe. The whole life depends on patronage to one another. In the course of the eighteenth century curiosity gets as travel motif in the background, at least in the authors discussed here. The welcoming glow of the East is gone. Asia is in these descriptions are no longer the mythical land where the diamonds up for grabs, but for a cutthroat world of envy and corruption. Asia from the sixteenth century was known as a region with unprecedented opportunities, as the “Irdisches Paradis, in the eighteenth century began to shine to fade and they even spoke of the” Kirchhof der Europäer.
A number of East Indiamen has lived for decades after the adventure. Of mutual contacts between veterans after return of the VOC is virtually unknown. Trevennot press the repatriated East Indiaman on the heart to leave a fund for his “poor Ost-Indian Reijse Brüder” who have returned ill or fault of their impoverished vervallen.73 Twice describes someone in Europe towards home look up an old friend. Christian Burckhardt is in Leiden along the former VOC doctor Paul Hermann. Both were coming from Halle. Hermann, who was in charge of the hospital in Colombo, where Burckhardt had healed from a serious illness. He had been professor of botany at Leiden become. He had a huge collection of natural history brought back, consisting of dried plants, insects, lizards, snakes, echinoderms, fish, shells, corals and rocks. Part of it stood in the botanical gardens of the university, some in his own house, the Museum Indicum. The reception was very warm. Burckhardt writes that he, as used in India, “meliori modo emfangen und aufgenommen ‘werd.74
Christoph gets Frik years after his return visit from a former lieutenant from Constance, which he in the hospital of Bantam had a paralysis genezen.75 Johann Saar, who in 1660 had returned to Nuremberg, writes about his “Werther Freund, the Surgeon Merklein, forty miles further south in Windsheim lived seven years earlier and who was repatriated. It is likely that they sought out each other again. Zacharias Wagner for his departure from Batavia gemaakt.76 his will he bequeathed considerable sums to relatives in Saxony, but also forgot his friends in the Netherlands. His friend Joan Blaeu, the famous cartographer and publisher in Amsterdam, received a cash prize except a beautiful Bengali bedspread. Caspar Schamberger at Leipzig, who had been chief surgeon in Asia and Wagner on Deshima had met, was also conceived with money. Elias of the Broecke, which in the
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Coromandel had worked and lived again in Dordrecht, received a Japanese lacquered triktrakbord. Andreas Cleyer, surgeon in Batavia was 200 dollars. The overall legacy of Wagner was 31,625 guilders. Apart from this the existence of money from many Indian rarities as Japanese writing cabinets, chests’ opgesamelde rariteyten “and his book” Essential daer only brasil rariteyten in getekent staen, “his book or liber amicorum and several private geschriften.77
Who should we be happier deem VOC in the high ranks such as Wagner, Morgenstern and Von Wurmb who had succeeded in gaining a fortune, but who have not been able to enjoy a quiet, comfortable old age because they died before this could ? Or someone like Winter Barley, who have returned to the homeland, but his last years in poverty wear? Only a few of the 47 men can be said to be the full benefits of the East Indian adventure had. People like Bird, my inspector in Altenburg and Coburg, Meister, hofhovenier in Dresden, or Raetzel, member of the town in Halberstadt, all have still been in decent comfort lived, started a family and respect enjoyed, not least because of their East -Indian adventure.
All they had years earlier in a company which paid the implications they could not possibly overlook. For those already departing good recommendations possessed was all a little easier, but for many Schweitzer, Meisters, Birds and Prellers of Saxony, Thuringia and Wiirtemberg, from Silesia, Hesse and Mecklenburg, who do not have, was not it. These men on the ships and their positions in Asia countless fellow soldiers, comrades, compatriots die, men with the same hopes and expectations had been sailing, but who have not met. Others have returned, but have been unable to earn much, maybe they are robbed at sea, in the Netherlands or in Germany. They are ill, in Asia had an arm, leg or lost, or were so psychologically damaged that they could never function properly. It was these people along German roads attracted a paltry penny earned in an inn with the telling of their East Indian adventure or singing a song about the torrid India, perhaps wandering with a parrot or a motley cassowary on a rope , or simply begging. Their stories we will never read. It is only through the writings of their returning comrades in social origins and experiences were related, but the lucky and healthy
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with some capital returned, we were able to get an idea of what it has meant for a German youth to join the East Indian adventure.

Original info:

Grafsteen van Nickels Nahmens en zijn vrouw Mattje Nickelsen, Amrum. Foto: Georg Quedens.
Nickels Nahmen (1715-1785) kwam van het Oost-Friese eilandje Amrum en voer tweemaal in voc-dienst als schipper naar Oost-Indië. De eerste maal in 1759 op de Blijdorp, de tweede maal in 1761 op de Aschat. Dit schip is op deze steen uitgehouwen. In Nederlandse dienst noemde hij zich Cornelis Nannings van Ameren.

van de eerste van drie drukken in 1687 uitkwam, zal niemand hebben aangespoord om daarheen te gaan. Ook Christoph Langhansz laat een ernstige waarschuwing horen. Het kernwoord dat hem zo vaak uit de pen vloeit wanneer hij het over het dienstverband met de voc heeft is ‘slavernij’. In zijn voorwoord aan de lezer schrijft hij in 1705 dat ieder die lust heeft om te reizen zich voor Oost-Indische reizen moet hoeden, aangezien ze in deze tijd weinig meer opbrengen. Wie er toch heengaat verruilt zijn vrijheid voor slavernij, en wie daar aan alle gevaar ontkomen is, mag nog van geluk spreken als zijn gezondheid niet geleden heeft. Hijzelf is blij dat hij er binnen drie jaar aan heeft kunnen ontkomen.69 En zo lezen we talloze opmerkingen die van een weinig optimistische visie getuigen. Er is werkelijk niemand die een dergelijk avontuur aanraadt.

In de loop der jaren versombert de toon. De vele voorwoorden en dedicaties met hun optimistische aanprijzingen van het reizen in het algemeen en van de tocht naar Oost-Indië in het bijzonder verdwijnen. Het motief om de vele wonderen van Gods schepping te aanschouwen komt niet meer voor. De verhalen worden zakelijker en cynischer. Men beschrijft ook meer de persoonlijke gevoelens, en dat is een algemene ontwikkeling in autobiografieën en reisverslagen. Georg Naporra vervloekt in 1757 in zijn voorwoord de boeken die hij als jongeling over Oost-Indië gelezen had. Ze hebben hem misleid. Ze leken zo aardig, maar daar geloof ik niet meer in,

69Langhansz 1705, voorwoord.
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schrijft hij, ‘sonder verwerffe und verfluche sie vielmehr, weil sie einen anlaß giebt zur verleitung eines jungen menschen und ich es ganz anders befunden habe’. Hij beschrijft het ellendige leven van soldaten en matrozen opdat niemand van zijn vrienden de domheid zal begaan dienst te nemen bij de Compagnie.Johann Christoph Wolf, die achttien jaar als klerk op Ceylon gediend heeft, schrijft in het voorwoord van zijn in 1782 gepubliceerde boek dat degene die meent dat in Oost-Indië ‘lauter Gold und Silberberge’ te vinden zijn en dat men er ‘bald Schäß sammlen und reich werden könne’, zich ernstig vergist. Wie deugdzaam leeft en ‘geschicklichkeit’ toont kan er wel fortuin maken. En hij wil dan ook niemand afraden de reis te maken.70 Dezelfde boodschap klinkt door uit de brieven van Morgenstern en van de baron von Wurmb. Morgenstern verbaast zich in 1771 in een brief uit Batavia over de vreemde denkbeelden die men in Europa van Oost-Indië heeft. Men denkt dat het geld op straat ligt en de paarlen en juwelen op het strand. Nee, Oost-Indië is al lang niet meer wat het twintig of dertig jaar geleden was. Men maakt hier fortuin alleen door een lucratieve aanstelling, door handel of door beide tegelijk. En, het wordt eentonig, dat is toch vooral te bereiken door middel van goede aanbevelingsbrieven. Van de duizenden die hier komen blijven er nauwelijks vijftig in leven, en van hen maken er nauwelijks vijf fortuin. In soortgelijke bewoordingen schrijft in 1774 baron von Wurmb in een brief: de tijden zijn voorbij dat degenen die deze verre reis ondernamen, zelfs in de lagere rangen van soldaat of matroos, konden hopen enig vermogen te verwerven. Wie Indië alleen uit Barchewitz of andere reisbeschrijvingen kent en daardoor denkt dat het geld zo bijeen te rapen valt, wordt evenzo teleurgesteld als degenen die de wereld slechts kennen uit romans.71 Hier refereert Von Wurmb dus aan de reisbeschrijving van Ernst Christoph Barchewitz, die van 1711 tot 1722 in Indië gediend had en wiens belevenissen voor het eerst werden gepubliceerd in 1730, waarna nog vier herdrukken volgden, de laatste in 1762. In het boek van Otto Friedrich Mentzel, verschenen in 1784, lezen we, om een laatste klacht over de Oost aan te halen: ‘Onthoudt deze dingen, mijn vrienden, en ga niet naar de Oost. Leer jezelf te onderhouden door een eerlijke handel en blijf thuis in je vaderland.’ Elders schrijft hij dat van de honderd soldaten er zelden meer dan dertig terugkomen en dat van de honderd die blijven zelden meer dan tien promotie maken of in een rang komen die hen in staat stelt een behoorlijk bestaan op te bouwen. Van de duizend man die wel promotie maakten vind je er zelden, zeer zelden, één die werkelijk fortuin heeft gemaakt en die naar Europa terugkeerde als rijk man.72De hele periode door leest men als sleutel tot het Oost-Indisch succes: goede connecties, geld en geluk. In principe 70Wolf 1782, voorwoord.71Wurmb en Wollzogen 1794, p. 5.72Mentzel 1919, pp. 112 en 162.
[p. 278]  
kan men in Azië sneller carrière maken dan in Duitsland of Nederland. Maar wie geld heeft zal niet snel geneigd zijn naar de Oost te gaan. Goede relaties zijn in Oost-Indië even belangrijk als in Europa. Het hele leven hangt van patronage aan elkaar. In de loop van de achttiende eeuw raakt nieuwsgierigheid als reismotief op de achtergrond, althans bij de hier behandelde auteurs. De aantrekkelijke glans van het Oosten is verdwenen. Azië staat in deze beschrijvingen niet langer voor het mythische land waar de diamanten voor het oprapen liggen, maar voor een moordende wereld vol afgunst en corruptie. Stond Azië vanaf de zestiende eeuw te boek als een gebied met ongekende mogelijkheden, als het ‘Irdisches Paradis’, in de achttiende eeuw begon die glans te verbleken en sprak men zelfs van het ‘Kirchhof der Europäer’.Een aantal Oost-Indiëvaarders heeft na het avontuur nog decennia geleefd. Van onderlinge contacten na terugkeer tussen oudgedienden van de voc is vrijwel niets bekend. Trevennot drukt de gerepatrieerde Oost-Indiëvaarder op het hart een fonds na te laten voor zijn ‘arme Ost-Indische Reijse Brüder’, die ziek zijn teruggekeerd of buiten hun schuld tot armoede zijn vervallen.73 Tweemaal wordt beschreven dat iemand in Europa op weg naar huis een oude bekende opzoekt. Christian Burckhardt gaat in Leiden langs bij de voormalige voc-arts Paul Hermann. Beiden waren afkomstig uit Halle. Hermann, destijds belast met de leiding van het hospitaal te Colombo, had Burckhardt daar genezen van een zware ziekte. Hij was inmiddels hoogleraar in de botanie te Leiden geworden. Hij had een reusachtige collectie naturalia mee teruggenomen, bestaande uit gedroogde planten, insecten, hagedissen, slangen, echinodermen, vissen, schelpen, koralen en gesteentes. Een deel daarvan stond opgesteld in de Hortus Botanicus van de universiteit, een ander deel in zijn eigen huis, het Museum Indicum. De ontvangst was allerhartelijkst. Burckhardt schrijft dat hij, zoals vroeger in Indië, ‘meliori modo emfangen und aufgenommen’ werd.74Christoph Frik krijgt jaren na zijn terugkeer bezoek van een voormalige luitenant uit Konstanz, die hij in het hospitaal van Bantam van een verlamming had genezen.75 Johann Saar, die in 1660 in Neurenberg was teruggekeerd, schrijft over zijn ‘werther Freund’, de chirurgijn Merklein, die veertig kilometer zuidelijker in Windsheim woonde, en die zeven jaar eerder was gerepatrieerd. Het is aannemelijk dat ze elkaar nog eens opzochten. Zacharias Wagner had voor zijn vertrek uit Batavia zijn testament gemaakt.76 Hij legateerde aanzienlijke bedragen aan familieleden in Saksen, maar vergat ook zijn vrienden in Nederland niet. Zijn vriend Joan Blaeu, de beroemde cartograaf en uitgever in Amsterdam, kreeg behalve een geldbedrag een fraaie Bengaalse beddesprei. Caspar Schamberger te Leipzig, die opperchirurgijn in Azië was geweest en die Wagner op Deshima had leren kennen, werd ook bedacht met geld. Elias van den Broecke, die op de 73Trevennot, f. 284. In Nederland werd in 1750 voor armlastige voc-officieren een soort pensioenfonds opgericht.74Burckhardt 1693, p. 90. Herbaria van Hermann bevinden zich in de Rijksherbaria van Utrecht en Leiden, schelpen in het British Museum, Londen.75Frik 1692, p. 222.76Afschrift en codicil: Gemeentearchief Amsterdam, notaris J. d’Amour, Notarieel Archief 2157, 318-342. Met dank aan Jaap van der Veen, die mij hiervan een transcriptie bezorgde.
[p. 279]  
Coromandelkust had gewerkt en weer in Dordrecht woonde, ontving een Japans verlakt triktrakbord. Andreas Cleyer, chirurgijn in Batavia kreeg 200 rijksdaalders. De totale nalatenschap van Wagner bedroeg 31.625 gulden. Behalve uit geld bestond deze uit vele Indische zeldzaamheden als Japanse schrijfkabinetten, kisten met ‘opgesamelde rariteyten’ en zijn boek ‘daer enige brasilische rariteyten in getekent staen’, zijn stamboek of liber amicorum en nog verschillende eigen geschriften.77Wie moeten we gelukkiger achten, voc-dienaren in de hoge rangen zoals Wagner, Morgenstern of Von Wurmb die geslaagd waren in het vergaren van een fortuin, maar die niet hebben kunnen genieten van een rustige, comfortabele oude dag omdat ze stierven voor het zover was? Of iemand als Wintergerst, die wel terugkeerde in het vaderland, maar zijn laatste jaren in armoede sleet? Slechts van een paar van de 47 mannen kan worden gezegd dat ze het volle profijt van het Oost-Indisch avontuur hebben gehad. Mensen als Vogel, mijninspecteur in Altenburg en Coburg, Meister, hofhovenier in Dresden, of Raetzel, lid van het stadsbestuur in Halberstadt, hebben allen nog lang in behoorlijke welstand geleefd, een gezin gesticht en respect genoten, niet in de laatste plaats dankzij hun Oost-Indisch avontuur.Allen hadden ze zich jaren tevoren in een onderneming gestort waarvan ze de implicaties onmogelijk konden overzien. Voor degenen die al bij vertrek goede aanbevelingen bezaten was het allemaal iets gemakkelijker, maar voor de vele Schweitzers, Meisters, Vogels en Prellers uit Saksen, Thüringen en Wurtemberg, uit Silezië, Hessen of Mecklenburg, die er geen hadden, viel het niet mee. Deze mannen hebben op de schepen en op hun posten in Azië talloze medesoldaten, kameraden, landgenoten zien sterven, mannen die met dezelfde hoop en verwachtingen waren uitgevaren, maar die het niet hebben gehaald. Anderen zijn wel teruggekeerd, maar zijn niet bij machte geweest veel te verdienen, misschien zijn ze beroofd, op zee, in Nederland, of in Duitsland. Ze zijn ziek geworden, hadden in Azië een arm, been of oog verloren, of waren psychisch zo beschadigd dat ze nooit meer goed konden functioneren. Het waren deze mensen die langs de Duitse wegen trokken, een schamele duit verdienden in een herberg met het vertellen van hun Oost-Indisch avontuur of het zingen van een lied over het verzengende Indië, misschien rondtrekkend met een papegaai of een mottige casuaris aan een touw, of gewoon bedelend. Hun verhalen zullen we nooit lezen. Het is alleen dankzij de geschriften van hun teruggekeerde kameraden, die in sociale afkomst en ervaringen verwant waren, maar het geluk hebben gehad gezond en 77Dit Braziliaanse boek is het Thier-Buch in het Kupferstichkabinett te Dresden (Ca. 226a. m. (a) 7a).
[p. 280]  
met enig kapitaal te zijn teruggekeerd, dat we een beeld hebben kunnen krijgen van wat het voor een Duitse jongeman betekend heeft om zich in het Oost-Indisch avontuur te storten.  
[p. 281]  

Waste, wandering soldiers near Stuttgart.
  Drawing by Daniel Pfisterer, about 1720th Old Castle, Stuttgart.

  Throughout Germany roamed around old discharged soldiers who could not adapt to the civil society. This also applied to VOC soldiers. The poem quips the former unscrupulous behavior of these former ‘Marti’s son, “sons of the god of war Mars, and their miserable condition now.

  Martis hither your son, and behold who ends sichs,
  The peasants Volck her so long that labor and flaying;
  Your mission Achet at nothing, and even bad, hold
  Now, your mission and you are Lord your servant.

  In the mid verse set the former soldiers themselves. They now earn a living as a vermin pig, goose and goat herder and have to feed even with.

  I’m in a former war captain decay Deputy
  b swineherd I am a lieutenant was damned;

Original info:
  I c. Corporal will eat Ungeziffer tie fast;
  d musketeer hat I Ganss and goat UMBS food

Afgedankte, zwervende soldaten in de buurt van Stuttgart.
Tekening door Daniël Pfisterer, ca. 1720. Württembergisches Landesmuseum, Stuttgart.
In heel Duitsland zwierven oude, afgedankte soldaten rond die zich niet meer konden aanpassen aan de burgermaatschappij. Dat gold ook voor voc-soldaten. Het versje schimpt op het vroegere nietsontziende gedrag van deze voormalige ‘Martis Söhn’, zonen van de oorlogsgod Mars, en op hun inmiddels ellendige toestand.

Hieher Ihr Martis Söhn, und sehet wie sichs endet,
Die ihr das Bauren Volck so lange plagt und schindet;
Ihr achet Sie vor nichts, und haltet sie gar schlecht,
Nun sind sie eure Herrn und Ihr seid Ihre Knecht.

In het onderste versje stellen de voormalige militairen zich voor. Ze verdienen nu de kost als varkens-, ganzen- en geitenhoeder en moeten zich zelfs met ongedierte voeden.

a Ich hab in alten Krieg Rittmeisters stell verwesen
b Ich Sauhirt bin damals ein Lieutenant gewesen;
c Mich Corporal will fast das Ungeziffer freßen;
d Ich Musquetierer hüt die ganß und geiß umbs eßen;


The Cuba history collections Part four



Cuba History Collections

Part Four

Spanish-Cuban-American War


Created By

Dr iwan suwandy,MHA



Spanish-Cuban-American War








February 24 –

Second Cuban Insurrection begins.


April –


 General Gomez,


 General Antonio Maceo,


 Jose Maceo,

 Cebreco, Crombet, Guerra,


 Jose Marti


and Borrero land in Cuba

May 19 – 


Cuban Jose Marti killed in encounter at Dos Rios Oriente Province.

June 13 –


Spanish General Fidel de Santoclides killed in


 the battle of Peralejo Oriente Province.  He died, killed by sharpshooter Andres Fernandez of


Antonio Maceo’s escort, while protecting


Arsenio Martinez Campos Spanish Governor of Cuba. 


Martinez Campos takes refuge in Bayamo and is soon removed from his position and returned to Spain.

September 17 –

 Battleship MAINE commissioned.



October 1895-January 1896. 


Antonio Maceo and


Maximo Gomez take their forces on


 the “La Invasion” fighting almost every day from Mangos de Baragua Oriente Province eastern Cuba to


Mantua, in Pinar del Rio Province in extreme western Cuba.

November 30, 1895


 Battle at Iguara. 

It is in  this “La Invasion” encounter that


Winston Churchill is given a medal “Red Cross” by the Spanish.  Spanish claim  victory but numerically inferior Cubans continue to advance.






1896 Cuba 5 Pesos EL BANCO ESPANOL VF




January, 1896 –



Antonio Maceo and


Maximo Gomez end their “La Invasion.”

February 16 –



General Weyler issues first of reconcentrado orders.


February, 1896: Reconcentration Policy

In 1896, General Weyler of Spain implemented the first wave of the Spanish “Reconcentracion Policy” that sent thousands of Cubans into concentration camps. Under Weyler’s policy, the rural population had eight days to move into designated camps located in fortified towns; any person who failed to obey was shot. The housing in these areas was typically abandoned, decaying, roofless, and virtually unihabitable. Food was scarce and famine and disease quickly swept through the camps. By 1898, one third of Cuba’s population had been forcibly sent into the concentration camps. Over 400,000 Cubans died as a result of the Spanish Reconcentration Policy.


Dyal, Donald H.. Historical Dictionary of the Spanish American War. Greenwood Press: Westport, CT, 1996.

O’Toole, G.J.A., The Spanish War: An American Epic-1898. W.W. Norton & Company: New York, 1984


March 24 – 


Calixto Garcia, escaped from Spain, arrives in Cuba with well armed expedition.

August 26 –

 Philippine Revolution begins.

December, 7 –


Antonio Maceo


killed in encounter at



Punta Brava,


 Havana Province.

December 30:

Filipino national hero Dr. Jose Rizal is executed by Spanish troops.


March 4 –


William McKinley inaugurated as president of the United States.

March 13 –


Calixto Garcia now using cannon


enters the fortified town of Jiguani Oriente Province.

June 19 –


Stewart Woodford appointed U.S. Minister to Spain

August 8 –


One hundred and fourteen years ago today, in the tiny Spanish spa town of Santa Agueda, Spain’s autocratic and much-hated

prime minister Cánovas del Castillo was assassinated:

gunned down as a final act of revenge by an Italian anarchist who could no longer tolerate this Spaniard’s decade-long policies of Neo Inquisition-style repression.

For the brutal Medieval-style torture of Castillo’s enemies – from mainland Spain to its American colonies – had long included the burning of victims’ flesh, the breaking of their bones, even the removal of their tongues. 

 To the insufferable autocrat Cánovas del Castillo, such modern concepts as Universal Suffrage and Freedom of Religion could be met with only one response: brute force.

But while the extreme sufferings of his Cuban colonists had long been the subject of international debate, it was right here on the Spanish mainland itself that Cánovas would perpetrate his worst crimes, concentrated acts of such bloodlust and bitterness that they would only drive ‘his’ people away from such pro-royal, pro-church nationalism towards those concepts of Catalan and Basque Separatism that still resound even today.

But the infamous incident which precipitated Cánovas del Castillo’s assassination – his singlemost controversial and most pivotal action yet perpetrated against the Spanish people – occurred in Barcelona, during the Corpus Christi Day processions of June 7th 1896, when a bomb – thrown by an unknown, and apparently randomly – succeeded in killing five Spanish workmen and a policemen.

 Using this as an excuse for more extraordinary brute force, Cánovas del Castillo had over 400 arrested and incarcerated inside the hilltop fortress of Montjuic (‘the hill of the Jews’), where torture, squalid conditions and the insufferable Mediterranean summer heat killed many as they awaited trial.

On hearing the accounts of Cánovas’ policies directly from the mouths of fleeing Spaniards who had suffered under his dreadful policies, the London-based Italian anarchist


Michele Angiolillo

decided that extreme action must be taken immediately. And so, traveling to Spain with just a small suitcase containing a few sticks of dynamite and two revolvers, Angiolillo followed his target to the spa town of Santa Agueda, where – on the afternoon of August 8th – he shot and killed Cánovas del Castillo just as the prime minister sat enjoying the spa waters. The assassin was at once apprehended but offered no resistance. Angiolillo was put before a summary court martial and confessed to the assassination, insisting that he had acted alone as a reprisal for the institutional murder of his comrades at Montjuic.

 He was sentenced to death on 20th August 1897. To the spectators who had come to view his execution, Angiolillo’s final word was “Germinal” – being the seventh month of the French Republic calendar.

Having at no time during his trial nor during the days leading up to his execution shown any sign of remorse, Angiolillo then walked calmly to his execution by strangulation at the garrote.

Several days later, at a New York celebration of Michele Angiolillo’s heroic actions, the Italian anarchist Salvatore Pallavencini emphatically declared the anarchist position thus: “The man who killed Cánovas was a martyr to the cause of humanity and progress.” He concluded: “Anarchists think it is better to kill a ruler who is a tyrant than to have a revolution in which thousands have to die because of his acts.”


Spanish Prime Minister


 Canovas assassinated.


August 30 –


The Spanish forts

 at Tunas, north western Oriente Province fall to


Calixto Garcia.



October 4 –


Prime Minister Sagasta takes office in Spain.

October 31-


 Prime Minister Sagasta recalls


 General Weyler from Cuba.


November 28 –


The Spanish forts at Guisa, Northern foothills of Sierra Maestra Oriente Province,  fall to Calixto Garcia

Read more Info



1895 COLOMBIA. U.S. troops invade the Colombian state of Panama to “protect American interests”.

1895: UNITED STATES. Josiah Strong, minister of the Christian religion, publishes Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis, in which he contends that the United States, as the home of the “superior” Anglo-Saxon race, has an obligation to spread political “liberty”, “Christianity” and “civilization”. Strong’s book was enormously popular and the first edition sold 158,000 copies. The delusions of racial, moral and societal superiority promulgated by Strong were an important factor in encouraging Americans of the day to rationalize U.S. aggression against other nations.

1895: COLOMBIA. U.S. Marines invade the Colombian state of Panama. Again.

1895: UNITED STATES. Whites attack black workers in New Orleans killing six.

1896: UNITED STATES. Once again in the forefront of freedom and liberty, the United States Supreme Court puts its stamp of approval on apartheid in the land of the free. In Plessy v. Ferguson the Court rules that “separate but equal” facilities satisfy guarantees under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

1895-98: UNITED STATES. Yellow media mogul and Nazi mouthpiece-to-be William Randolph Hearst and yellow media tycoon Joseph Pulizter engage in a contest to see which man can reduce American journalistic standards to the lowest possible level. A mixture of exaggeration, outright lies and fabrications, jingoistic nonsense, xenophobia and sensationalism, so-called “yellow journalism”, apparently sells newspapers in the U.S. and Hearst and Pulitzer strive to outdo each other in their race to the sewers. The two newspaper barons play the major role in “manufacturing consent” by manipulating the U.S. public before and during the long-planned war which led to the U.S. invasions of Cuba, the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico.

In fantasyland America, Pulitzer, who plumbed the depths of sleazy and dishonest publishing, will ultimately be remembered only for the Pulitzer Prize, ironically intended as a recognition of quality journalism.

1896: UNITED STATES. Vivisection gets a boost when Dr. Arthur Wentworth performs spinal taps on twenty nine children at Children’s Hospital in Boston to determine if the procedure is harmful.

1896: NICARAGUA. U.S. Marines invade the port of Corinto.

1896: UNITED STATES. Corporations directly buy their first presidential election. William McKinley is elected with $6 million in cash from from corporations. His opponent, populist William Jennings Bryan, has only $600,000 to spend on the campaign. The six mil buys McKinley’s campaign hundreds of trained speakers, millions of posters, buttons, and billboards, and three hundred million campaign flyers printed in nine languages.

McKinley was peculiarly susceptible to the boys with the money. In 1893, he had been rescued from bankruptcy with $100,000, a pretty big chunk of change in 1893, by a conspiracy, sorry, consortium, of John D. Rockefeller, his friend Mark Hanna and similar types. Hanna duly became McKinley’s top political adviser and chairman of the Republican National Committee. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust kicked in a cool quarter million to McKinley’s election campaign. And, to keep Rockefeller’s rival, J.P. Morgan, happy, his minion Garret A. Hobart, the director of various Morgan enterprises including the Liberty National Bank of New York, was made Vice-president, nicely rounding out the robber baron ticket.

A grateful McKinley will soon, on behalf of the same corporate interests who bought his election, preside over the illegal annexation of the nation of Hawaii and a war of empire against Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.

All questions in a democracy
are questions of money.

Mark Hanna

McKinley’s Campaign Manager

1896: UNITED STATES. State militia are used to break a miners’ strike in Leadville, Colorado.

1897-ongoing: UNITED STATES. America’s leading merchants of death, the Dupont family, enter into a conspiracy with their European competitors to monopolize the world gunpowder market. Better killing through chemistry.

1897: UNITED STATES. Theodore Roosevelt, tightly allied to the J.P. Morgan banking interests, is made Assistant Secretary of the Navy. During a speech at the U.S. Naval War College where plans for a war of empire against Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines have been under development since 1894, Roosevelt says, “diplomacy is utterly useless where there is no force behind it; the diplomat is the servant, not the master, of the soldier…No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumphs of war.”

1896: NICARAGUA. U.S. forces invade the Nicaraguan port of Corinto to “protect American interests”.

1897: UNITED STATES. At the Lattimer Mine in Pennsylvania, a sheriff and his deputies open fire on striking mineworkers, killing nineteen. Most of the victims are shot in the back.

I897: UNITED STATES. Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, sends a cable to Admiral George Dewey advising him to prepare for an attack on the Spanish fleet in the Philippines pending “developments” in Cuba. Whoa there Teddy, we haven’t blown the Maine up yet. And six weeks before the Maine does blow up, Roosevelt writes a letter to his very good friend, gun runner William Astor Chanler, saying, “I earnestly hope that events will so shape themselves that we must interfere (in Cuba) some time not in the distant future


Chronology of the Spanish American War

Spanish-Cuban-American War



 January 8 –


A second appeal by President McKinley for contributions to aid suffering Cubans
                      announced the co-operation of


 the American Red Cross Society.

 January 12 –

                      Rioters instigated by volunteers in Havana made a demonstration against newspaper
                      offices of
El Reconcentrado.



January 17 –

                      General Lee,


in communications to the State Department, suggested that a ship to protect Americans in Havana

in the event of another riot

January 21 –

                      General Castellanos

with 1,600 troops raided Esperanza, the seat of the insurgent
                      government in the Cubitas Mountains. Government officials escaped.

January 24 –

Maine ordered to Havana.

January 25 –

Maine arrived at Havana and moored at the govermnent anchorage.

January 25 –

                      Filibuster steamer
Tillie foundered in Long Island Sound, four men drowned.

  January 27 -
                      Brigadier-General Aranguren was surprised and killed


in his camp near Tapaste, Havana
                      province, by


 Lieutenant-Colonel Benedicto with the Spanish Reina Battalion.

He  recently put to death Lieutenant-Colonel Ruiz, who had brought him an offer of money from


Captain-General Blanco

to accept autonomy.

February 9 -
                      Copy of a letter written by

 Dupuy de Lome attacking President McKinlev printed.


Señor Dupuy de Lome

admitted writing the letter, and his recall was demanded  Department.

   February 15 –

Feb. 15 — USS Maine explodes, sinks; 266 crewmen lost. The Maine’s captain urges suspension of judgment on the cause of the explosion.

         USS MAINE blowned up            

264 men and two officers killed


 spanish  Minister De Lome

sailed for Spain.

February 16 –

                      General Lee

asked for a court of inquiry on the Maine disaster.

February 17 -
                      Captains W. T. Samps and F. E. Chadwick, and Lieutenant-Commanders W. P. Potter
                      and Adolph Marix, detailed as




Naval Board of Inquiry.

February 18 –

                      Spanish warship
Vizcaya arrived at New York harbor.

         February 21 –

                      Naval court of inquiry arrived at Havana and began investigation

I897: UNITED STATES. Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, sends a cable to Admiral George Dewey advising him to prepare for an attack on the Spanish fleet in the Philippines pending “developments” in Cuba. Whoa there Teddy, we haven’t blown the Maine up yet. And six weeks before the Maine does blow up, Roosevelt writes a letter to his very good friend, gun runner William Astor Chanler, saying, “I earnestly hope that events will so shape themselves that we must interfere (in Cuba) some time not in the distant future.”

 February 25 –

Vizcaya sailed from New York for Havana.

   March 6 -
                      Spain unofficially asks for


Fitzhugh Lee’s recall.


Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee

(1835 – 1905)


Former Confederate Major-General Fitzhugh Lee was the consul-general of the United States to Havana, Cuba at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War.  During the war he commanded the VII Army Corps.


The son of a U.S. (and later Confederate) naval officer, Lee was born in Virginia in 1835.  He attended the West Point Military Academy from 1852-1856, flirting with expulsion for pranks before graduating 45 out of a class of 49.

Following graduation, Lee served as a cavalry officer in Texas for two and a half years before being appointed an assistant instructor of tactics at West Point in late 1860.  While in Texas, Lee saw his first combat in battles against Indians.  He was seriously wounded in a skirmish on May 19, 1859.

Lee’s tenure as an instructor at his alma mater would last only 6 months. Like many Southern officers (including Lee’s famous uncle, Robert E. Lee) he resigned his commission in May, 1861 and was named a first lieutenant in the regular Confederate army shortly after.

Promotion in the Confederate army was fast for young Lee (far faster than it would have been in a peacetime US Army!); he rose to lieutenant-colonel in August, then to brigadier-general the following July.  His highest rank, major-general, would be attained in September, 1863; after achieving his greatest notoriety in the Battle of  Chancellorsville where, leading the only full brigade of Confederate cavalry, he guarded the Confederate’s flanking march around Union General Hooker’s exposed right wing.

Lee saw much more action throughout the war.  In September, 1864 he was wounded again and out of action for four months.  By the time of his return, however, the Southern fate was all but certain. Lee surrendered on April 11, 1865.

Following a short stint as a Union prisoner, Lee turned his efforts to farming, taking pride in his success in the endeavor.  In addition to farming Lee wrote several books in this period.  He also began improving his political skills.  Lacking any boastfulness and quick-witted, with an excellent sense of humor, the above-average soldier was an even better politician.  The unusual mix of abilities would serve him well.

The public arena beckoned a return in 1885, as Lee’s famous name and popular personality gained him election as governor of Virginia.  Though his single term was relatively uneventful, it served to cast him in the political arena.  In 1893 he was defeated for the Democratic nomination to the United States Senate.  The following year hewrote his finest book, a biography of Uncle Robert E. Lee.

Democratic President Grover Cleveland, battling the continued economic woes of the 1890’s, diplomatic troubles with Spain and England, and harsh congressional critics such as conservative Henry Cabot Lodge, appointed Lee consul-general to Havana in 1896.

Lee arrived in June to an island torn by civil war and mass poverty. Three weeks after his arrival he informed the State Department that Cuban rebels did not have the strength to drive the Spanish out, but that the Spanish were equally unable to subdue the rebellion.  He railed against the Spanish tactics to suppress the rebels and fought for the rights of American citizens in Cuba (including some suspected by the Spanish of aiding the rebels and held captive in Cuba, such as crewmen of the filibustering vessel COMPETITOR, and Dr. Ricardo Ruiz de Ugarrio y Salvador, a naturalized American citizen).

Ironically, Lee won the praise of Cleveland’s staunchest critics, who used Lee’s strong stance against Spain as further fuel against the more benevolent President.  Lodge wrote of Lee’s “good sense and firm courage,” while lamenting that Lee “was not sustained by the (Cleveland) Administration as he should have been.”

December, 1897 saw more unrest in Havana.  While much of the violence wasactually caused by the Cuban rebels (often directed toward American-owned sugar plantations), Lee’s concern was chiefly the safety of Americans in Cuba, thus causing him to exaggerate the threat he feared from Cubans loyal to Spain. Lee requested a warship be ready in Key West in case violence erupted.  The MAINE was ordered to Florida in January, and Captain Sigsbee maintained steady communication with the consul-general’s office. Early that month, the situation appeared to Lee to have taken aturn for the worse.  He sent a preliminary signal to Sigsbee, prompting him to ready hisship.  Whether Lee felt he had over-estimated the danger or the situation calmed, he never sent a further call for the MAINE. President McKinley and Navy Secretary John Long, however, did order MAINE to Havana.


Though Lee was unnerved by the MAINE‘s sudden arrival when he had specifically advised against it’s visit at that time, months later he would recall the arrival as “a beautiful sight and one long to be remembered.”  Perhaps this underscored his ownuncertainty of the situation.  Adding to the uncertainty was the prospect of growingGerman influence in the Caribbean (which, some speculate, was McKinley‘s motivationin sending the MAINE to Cuba).  Whatever the reasoning, late 1897-early-1898 saw Lee take a step back from his earlier blatant criticism of the Spanish. Proponents of Leein 1896-8 saw his actions as decisive and pro-American, leading nicely to the “splendid little war,” while later critics would charge that his misreading of theCuban situation(which, some would believe was intentional) moved both sides closer to war.



In spite of Lee’s misgivings, MAINE arrived in Havana on January 25.  Lee and Sigsbee were treated to a bullfight by hosting Spanish officers as part of the “good will” visit.  Underneath it all, however, was an undeniable tension.  Washington soon began to realize that the presence of the MAINE would only serve temporary goals, and many wondered how long she should remain in Havana.

One of those who worried about overstaying his welcome was Secretary of Navy Long.  Nearly the opposite of his fiery assistant, Theodore Roosevelt, Long openly considered pulling the MAINE out of Cuba.  Upon that suggestion, Lee threw away earlier  objections to  the ships visit, and both he and Sigsbee strongly opposed withdrawing the MAINE, unless it was relieved by another warship. “Many will claimSpain demanded it should go,” Lee wrote Washington,” we are master of the situationhere and I would not disturb or alter it.”

The explosion of the MAINE on February 15 suddenly changed everything. While McKinley and Washington moved closer to war by the day, Lee’s chief concern was the safety and evacuation of Americans in Cuba.  As threats and ultimatums grew more intense, Lee cabled the President for more time, stating that he could not assure the safety of all Americans by Tuesday, April 5, a deadline previously set for Spanish agreement to terms set forth by the White House.  He requested McKinley delay any statements until at least Saturday the 9th.  Under intense pressure McKinley stalled, delaying the message that would lead to war until Monday, April 11, a day after Lee’s arrival in Florida.

Following his return to a hero’s welcome in the U.S., Lee was commissioned major-general of volunteers and assigned the VII Army Corps.  The appointment was largely political, as McKinley had made it a point to place a few well known former Confederate officers in key commands to unite the nation (Joe Wheeler was another).  VII Corps trained in preparation of a major role in a fall offensive, though the war’s quick end (quicker than many thought, that is) kept VII Corps from any action. Lee’s logistical and planning abilities and previous military experience exhibited itself through the VII Corp’s few health and administrative problems; problems which plagued many of the other army corps.  After the war he commanded what amounted to an army of occupation in Havana and was charged with the restoration of order on the island.

Fitzhugh Lee retired a brigadier-general on March 2, 1901.  He died four years later. Lee was buried in his U.S. Army uniform, which caused one ex-Confederate to say “What’ll [deceased Confederate general] Stonewall think when Fitz turns up in heaven wearing that!”



 March 8 –

                      $50,000,000 war fund

voted unanimously by the House of Representatives.

5 Silver US Dollars 1896




US $2 1896

Silver Certificate
1 Dollar – Series of 1886
Signs: Rosecrans/ Nebeker
Condition: VF
Martha Washington
Price: $ 499.00  


Silver Certificate
1 Dollar – Series of 1896
Signs: Tillman/ Morgan
Condition: Ch CU/ Gem
Educational Note
One of the most beautiful US banknote.
Price: $ 2590.00

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Silver Certificate
1 Dollar – Series of 1899
Signs: Teehee/ burke
Condition: Ch CU/ Gem
Eagle, Lincoln & Grant
Price: $ 479.00

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Silver Certificate
1 Dollar – Series of 1923
Signs: Speelman/ White
Condition: CU
Price: $ 159.00

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Silver Certificate
2 Dollar – Series of 1899
Signs: Vernon/ McClung
Condition: F
Price: $ 249.00

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Silver Certificate
5 Dollar – Series of 1891
Signs: Rosecrans/ Nebeker
Condition: VG
Ulysses S. Grant-18th president
Price: $ 299.00

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Silver Certificate
5 Dollar – Series of 1899
Signs: Speelman/ White
Condition: VG
Indian head(Oncpapa tribe of Sioux Indian
Price: $ 479.00  


 March 9 -
                      War fund of $50,000,000 passed unanimously by the Senate.

March 12 -
                      Government purchased


Brazilian cruiser Amazonas

and other ships abroad

 March 14 –

                      Spain’s torpedo flotilla

sailed for


Cape Verde Islands.



 March 17 –

                      Senator Redfield Proctor,

in a speech to the Senate, told of the starvation and ruin  observed in Cuba.

 March 21 -
Maine Court of Inquiry finished

its report and delivered it to


Admiral Sicard




Key West.

  March 22 –

Maine report sent to Washington.

March 25 -
Maine report delivered to the President, and officially announced that


The  MEINE was blown up by a mine.

 March 26 -
                      President McKinley sent two notes to Spain one on the
Maine report, and the other
                      calling for the cessation of the war in Cuba.

  March 28 -
                      President McKinley sent the
Maine report to Congress, with a brief message stating
                      that Spain had been informed of the court’s findings.

March 28 -
                      Report of the Spanish Court of Inquiry, declaring the
Maine was destroyed by an
                      interior explosion, was received in Washington.

 March 30 -
                      President McKinley,



Minister Woodford,

 asked Spain for a cessation of hostilities
                      in Cuba and negotiations for ultimate independence.

  March 31 -
                      Spain refused to accede to any of President McKinley’s propositions.

 April 1 -
                      House of Representatives appropriated $22,648,000 to build war vessels.

April 6 –


cabled President McKinley

to suspend extreme measures pending

 the Vatican’s
negotiations with Spain.

April 7 -
                      Ambassadors of England, Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Russia appealed to the
                      President for peace.

April 9 -
                      Spain ordered


Captain-General Blanco to proclaim an armistice in Cuba

              April 9 –

                      Consul Fitzhugh Lee

and American citizens left Havana.

 April 11 -
                      President sent consular reports and message to Congress, asking authority to stop the war
                      in Cuba.

April 16 -
                      United States Army began moving to the coast.

 April 19 -
                      Both Houses of Congress adopted resolutions declaring Cuba free and empowering the
                      President to compel Spain to withdraw her army and navy.

April 20 –

                      President McKinley

 signed the resolutions and sent his ultimatum to Spain, and the Queen
                      Regent sent a warlike message to the Cortes.

 April 21 -

 Minister Woodford

was given his passport.

April 22 -
                      The President issued his proclamation

to the neutral powers, announcing that Spain

                      the United States

were at war.


 Commodore Sampson’s fleet sailed from Key West to be in
                      a blockade of Havana.


Gunboat Nashville captured


 the Spanish ship Buena Ventura.

April 23 -
                      President issued a call

for 125,000 volunteers.

April 24 -
                      Spain formally declared

that war existed with the United States.

April 25 –

                      Commodore George Dewey’s fleet ordered to sail from Hong Kong for the Philippines.

April 27 –

                      Matanzas bombarded


the New York, Cincinnati and Puritan.

 April 30 –

 Spanish Admiral

 Pascual Cervera

and his squadron left the Cape Verde Islands for the West Indies.

May 1

                      Commodore Dewey defeated


Admiral Montojo in Manila Bay,

destroying eleven ships
                      and killing and wounding more than five hundred of the enemy. American casualities, seven
                      men slightly wounded.

May 11 –

                      Commodore Dewey

promoted to be a rear-admiral.


Attacks made on



at which Ensign Worth Bagley and five of the Winslow‘s crew killed.

 May 11 –


Admiral Cervera’s


 squadron sighted off Martinique.

 May 12 –

                      Commodore Sampson bombarded

San Juan, Puerto Rico, but caused little damage.

 May 13 -
                      The F]ying Squadron,



 Commodore Schley,

left Hampton Roads for Cuban

May 17 –

                      Cervera’s fleet, after coaling

at Curaçao, put into


the harbor of Santiago de Cuba.

 May 22 –


sailed from San Francisco for Manila.

 May 24 –

Oregon arrived off


Jupiter Inlet, Fla.,

 from her great trip from San Francisco,
                      which she left March.

 May 25 -
                      The President issued his second call for volunteers, 75,000. First Manila expedition


   San Francisco.


May 27 –

  Commodore Schley

 discovered that


Cervera’s fleet


 was in Santiago harbor and
                      blockaded him.

May 30 –

                      Commodore Sampson’s fleet



Commodore Schley’s.

May 31 -
                      Forts commanding the entrance to Santiago harbor bombarded.

June 3 –

     Hobson and seven men

sank the Merrimac in the channel entrance to Santiago harbor,

being captured were confined in Morro Castle.

Read more

The Sinking of the Merrimac


The hide-and-seek action that ultimately ended with the naval battle at Santiago two months into the Spanish-American War started with the initial declarations of war by Spain on April 21st and the United States on April 25th.  With the opening declaration of hostilities, Spain moved swiftly to protect its citizens in the Caribbean.  Beyond the fleet at Manila, the remainder of the once mighty Spanish Armada was located in Spain and off the Cape Verde Islands.

The flotilla at home was undergoing  maintenance and repair at Cadiz, Spain.  These ships would not be battle-ready for at least a month, so defense of the Caribbean was delegated to the Cape Verde flotilla.

Rear Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete was surprised and dismayed when he received orders to lift anchor at his haven in the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of West Africa, and proceed to the West Indies (Caribbean).  “This is a very risky adventure, for the defeat of my ships in the Caribbean could result in great danger for the Canaries, and perhaps the bombardment of our coastal cities,” he wired back to Madrid.  “Any division of our fleet, and any separation from European seas, is a strategic mistake.”

Admiral Cervera was a respected naval officer and not a man fearful to do his job, but the orders sending his flotilla to meet the American warships in the Caribbean gave him an ominous foreboding of disaster.  When his appeal to Madrid was denied, he dutifully hoisted anchor on April 29th and set a course for Cuba.  Before his departure he registered his concern one more time, wiring Madrid that, “Nothing can be expected of this expedition except the total destruction of our flotilla.  With a clear conscience I go to the sacrifice, but I cannot understand the (Spanish) navy’s decision.”



As quickly as the media in the United States heard the news that Admiral Cervera’s ships were heading west, the yellow journalists worked up a frenzy of fear and dread, proclaiming in large headlines that the Spanish Armada was on its way and would bombard American coastal cities within two weeks.  Despite the fact that the “Armada” actually consisted of only four outdated cruisers and three smaller torpedo boats, the news reports quickly sensationalized the coming conflict to epic proportions.   The panic and public outcry that followed prompted immediate naval action at home.  Even as Admiral Dewey was enroute from China to Manila Bay for the infamous battle of May 1st,  preparations were underway to move the US Navy’s Atlantic fleet to the Caribbean.

Navy Secretary John D. Long was convinced Cervera and his ships would most likely head for San Juan, Puerto Rico on the eastern border of the Caribbean, though he left open the possibility that the Spanish Admiral might instead elect to steam straight for Havana.  The Atlantic fleet was under the command of US Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, a worthy opponent for Admiral Cervera.  Sampson proposed quick strikes, first to capture Havana, then a rapid voyage to shell and capture San Juan.  He reasoned that such a move would deny the Spanish flotilla any safe haven when they arrived in the Caribbean, projected by Secretary Long to be on or near the date of May 10th.

Once again however, it was the media that would dictate the order of battle.  Public panic and the cry for protection of American coastal waters prompted Long to split Sampson’s fleet, pulling the battleships Texas, Massachusetts and Iowa back to Hampton Roads, Virginia as a “flying squadron” under Commodore Winfield Scott Schley.  Sampson’s other warships were limited to blockade duties around the island of Cuba, further stripped by the transfer of two of his cruisers to support efforts of a naval militia under Commodore John Howell that was assigned routine patrol duty of the Atlantic coastline from Maine to Florida.

Those first two weeks of the Spanish-American War were filled with frustration and boredom in the Caribbean.  The inaction was further compounded when the sailors of Sampson’s fleet began hearing the glorious reports of the victory at Manila Bay, half a world away.  When Cervera’s flotilla had not arrived in the West Indies by Secretary Long’s predicted date of May 10th, the American commander, his officers, and his men were both disappointed and further frustrated.  It was this continuing erosion of morale that prompted Captain McCalla of the Marblehead to engage his ships in the cable-cutting operation of May 11th, and that also prompted Captain Todd to send his vessels into Cardenas Harbor that same day.  Both efforts had broken the boredom, but both had also ended in near disaster.

Feeling the same frustration as his men and with the Spanish flotilla proving to be a “no show”, Admiral Sampson chose to commence a reconnaissance of Puerto Rico.

The small island less than 3,500 square miles was located on the eastern fringe of the Caribbean, and sat between Cuba and the expected flotilla from Cape Verde.  Claimed for Spain by Christopher Columbus and colonized by Ponce De Leon, the people of Puerto Rico had begun requesting independence from Spanish rule. In 1897 Madrid granted the people of Puerto Rico a limited degree of self-government, but resisted all demands for independence.

When Admiral Sampson began his reconnaissance in May 1898, the Spanish had three forts on the long, narrow island.  On May 12th Sampson entered the harbor at San Juan on the western edge of the island.  His fleet consisted of seven warships, a torpedo boat, a tug and supporting supply vessels.  Carefully the fleet maneuvered around the sunken hulks of two ships in the harbor at San Juan, and proceeded towards the forts deep inside.   Sampson had hoped to find Cervera’s ships at anchor inside the calm waters, but all he found as he circled the harbor three times, were three small gunboats.  

As the fleet passed the enemy forts inside the harbor at San Juan, Admiral Sampson opened fire.  In the brief battles that followed, Sampson’s ships neither rendered or received any major damage.  As the ships withdrew however, an enemy shell exploded on the New York, killing two men and wounding seven.  Discouraged, disappointed and now running low on fuel, Admiral Sampson directed his fleet to return to Key West for resupply and repairs.

Steaming for Key West the day following his bombardment of San Juan, Admiral Sampson received some disappointing news.  The U.S.S. Solace caught up to the American ships with a report that Admiral Cervera’s fleet had returned to Cadiz, in Spain.  As the bulk of the American naval presence departed the Antilles, on May 14th the Spanish gunboats Conde de Venadito and Nueva Espana made a brief and generally ineffective sortie out of Havana.  The following day the U.S.S. Porter caught up to Admiral Sampson bearing surprising news.  The report he’d received two days earlier from the Solace was in error.  Admiral Cervera’s squadron had indeed arrived in the Antilles, and had been spotted at Martinique on May 12th, then in Curaco on the 14th.  Also, on May 13th Commodore Schley’s flying squadron had left Hampton Roads for Cuba.

The news, rather than raising the excitement level, served only to add to the frustration.   Low on fuel, Sampson had no choice but to continue his course for Key West.  In the two weeks that followed, events moved rapidly in the Caribbean and the commander of the Atlantic fleet chaffed at the bit to return and meet the enemy.  On May 18th the New York arrived in Key West and Admiral Sampson met briefly with Commodore Schley and ordered him to immediately steam for the harbor at Cienfuegos, the place he deemed the most likely destination of Admiral Cervera’s flotilla.

On the morning of May 19th Admiral Cervera’s ships reached the entrance to Santiago harbor at the southeast end of the island of Cuba.  It was the same day that the remainder of Admiral Sampson’s ships finally arrived in Key West.  The following day the Navy Department notified Admiral Sampson that in all probability, reports of Cervera’s fleet arriving at Santiago were correct.  It was anticipated that the enemy ships would proceed immediately for Cienfuegos, 300 miles and a single day’s travel, further to the west.  Based upon the location of Sampson’s ships in Key West and the route of the flying squadron under Schley, Cervera would be unmolested in this effort.

It wasn’t until midnight on May 21st that the flying squadron reached Cienfuegos, Commodore Schley’s warships riding out the darkness of night from a distance of about 20 miles.  With daylight however, his ships cruised closer to Cienfuegos, hoping to draw fire and confirm the presence of the enemy fleet.  They met only silence.  Somehow, once again, the Spanish fleet had eluded the Americans.  Meanwhile Admiral Sampson had returned to the Antilles, taking a blockading position in his flagship northwest of Cuba.  Here he sent a message to Commodore Schley to proceed with his flying squadron to Santiago, where Sampson expected the squadron to arrive on May 24th.  The search for the enemy fleet was still underway in the cat-and-mouse game that was now nearly a month old.

In fact, Admiral Cervera had taken his ships inside the narrow confines of Santiago Harbor.  While Cienfuegos may have been preferable, his ships were low on coal, and the 300-mile voyage to Cienfuegos had to be postponed.  That action not only sheltered the Spanish flotilla, but left the Americans wondering where the mighty armada of the Spanish Empire had vanished.

Commodore Schley didn’t leave immediately for Santiago however, remaining outside Cienfuegos where he was joined at noon on May 22nd by the  Iowa and the Dupont.  That afternoon he again sent his ships in closer to Cienfuegos, and this time he believed he could see  the tops of an enemy man-of-war.  Dupont was sent closer to reconnoiter and reported seeing several ships inside the harbor.  Schley initially believed he had found Admiral Cervera.  While continuing this blockade of Cienfuegos, the flying squadron was joined by additional American ships including the Castine, an armed yacht, and the aging collier Merrimac.  On the evening of May 24th Schley ordered the Castine to take up position in front of the harbor at Cienfuegos, though he was now convinced the Spanish fleet was not to be found nearby.  The Dupont was returned to Key West, and the flying squadron proceeded towards the opening to Santiago harbor 300 miles away.  Schley’s squadron included the Brooklyn, Iowa, Texas, Massachusetts, Marblehead, Vixen, Hawk, Eagle and Merrimac.


U.S.S. Merrimac

Not to be confused with the Civil War ironclad, the Merrimac was an aging collier the Navy purchased from T. Hogan & Sons of New York City on April 12, 1898 for the sum of $342,000.  With no armaments and no armor, the 333-foot ship was pressed into a Spanish-American War support role a few weeks after purchase, under the leadership of Commander Miller.

Almost from the beginning of the Merrimac’s brief stint of US Naval service, it was  plagued by problems.  The ship broke down so frequently it was the butt of common jokes, and it was said that at times “the full engineer force of the Brooklyn was sent about to get her running again.”

On the day Schley set course for Santiago, he also sent a message to Admiral Sampson indicating there was no sign of the Spanish flotilla at Cienfuegos, and that his ships did not have enough coal to maintain a blockade at the opening to Santiago harbor.  Unaware that the enemy warships were hidden within the narrow harbor, on May 26th Schley left the St. Paul to watch the harbor, then set his squadron on a course for Key West.  Enroute and about 40 miles from Santiago, the Merrimac broke down so completely it had to be taken under tow by the Yale.  

In the meantime, Admiral Sampson learned that in fact, the enemy warships had taken anchor inside Santiago Harbor, and was determined to end the chase.  He returned to Key West to obtain permission to personally take command of the blockade at Santiago Harbor and, he hoped, subsequently destroy Admiral Cervera’s squadron.  His request granted, on May 29th Admiral Sampson departed Key West for Santiago de Cuba in his flagship U.S.S. New York.  Joining his flotilla, in addition to the Mayflower and the Porter, was the newly arrived U.S.S. Oregon.  (The powerful battleship Oregon, under the command of Captain Charles Clark, had left port in San Francisco on March 12th to travel around the Cape and arrive in Florida after a 14,700 nautical mile, 71-day race against time.  The length of time it took the battleship to move from coast to coast would give rise to ideas for a shorter route, perhaps a canal in the narrow finger that joined the continents of North and South America.)


The Harbor of Santiago de Cuba is a long, narrow finger of calm tropical sea that reaches inland nearly 10 miles.  The shoreline is dotted with hidden coves and inlets, the perfect hiding place for small gunboats to protect any ships anchored inside.  Access to the harbor from the sea could only be accomplished through a narrow inlet, only 200 yards across.  The inlet itself was protected from the west by the Socapa Battery and on the eastern shore by the Morro Castle.

Before leaving Key West, Admiral Sampson had conferred with Captains Converse and Fogler and Commodore Watson in efforts to format a plan of action.  Unlike the harbor at Manila, there was no hope for American warships to enter and destroy the armada.  By chance, more than by design, Cervera’s ships were stuck in a harbor that offered far more protection from attack than had they been able to continue to Cienfuegos.  The culmination of these conferences was that, if the American ships couldn’t get in to destroy Admiral Cervera, then they would pen his ships inside.  There were discussions about loading several small schooners with brick and rocks and then sinking them in the narrow inlet.  Captain Converse thought of the broken down, 333-foot Merrimac and suggested that it might provide a greater sunken barrier than several schooners.

As Admiral Sampson steamed towards the enemy in his flag ship, the plan of action had been determined.  All that remained was to figure out a way to accomplish it.  The mission would be a dangerous one, sailing the large ship directly into the fire of enemy cannon, then sending it to the bottom of the sea.  Perhaps the HOW would be far more difficult than the WHAT, and even more critical than either perhaps, 

was the WHO!



Assistant Naval Contractor Richmond Pearson Hobson was a 28-year old lieutenant on the staff of Admiral Sampson as the New York steamed towards Santiago and the Spanish squadron of Admiral Cervera.  Hobson was a unique individual, somewhat of a loner who kept to himself.  At the age of 15 Hobson had entered the US Naval Academy at Annapolis and four years later graduated FIRST in his class of  1889.

It was during Hobson’s first three years at the Academy that much of his military personality would be shaped.  A man of principle and dedication, some would say he went to the extreme.   He was quick to report infractions, even when it involved midshipment of his own class.  During his first three years at Annapolis, classmates refused to talk to him except when official business required it.  Hobson took the situation in stride, concentrating on his studies.  In his senior year his classmates extended an olive branch, inviting the 18-year old youth back into their fraternity.  Having become used to the silent treatment, young Richmond informed his classmates that he was content with the status quo.

 On the night of May 29th as the New York headed back to Cuba, Admiral Sampson called the young officer to his quarters.  Briefly he outlined the plan to sink the Merrimac in the shallow waters of the entrance to Santiago Harbor, looking to the Naval Contractor for assurances as to the missions viability.  Hobson listened intently, then requested time to plan such a mission.  \The following day, his work completed, Lieutenant Hobson presented his plan to Admiral Sampson.

Hobson’s plan was to fit out the aging collier with a series of explosive charges along the port side, ten of them in all.   Under the cover of darkness the Merrimac would then enter the harbor, slowly steaming to the shallow waters in the narrowest passageway, where the bow anchor would drop causing the current to swiftly turn the ship sideways.  At this point the stern anchor would drop, holding the ship in place as the torpedoes were electrically detonated.  With the port side facing into the harbor entrance, the holes opened by the torpedoes would fill with water swiftly in the onrushing current, and the Merrimac would sink in less than two minutes.

Admiral Sampson listened attentively to Hobson’s proposals, including the part of the plan that called for the young lieutenant to lead the mission personally.  The Admiral approved it in its entirety, then set the men of the New York to the tasks of preparing the ten water-tight canisters that, when filled with nearly 80 pounds of brown powder, would be strapped below the water line on the port side of the Merrimac.

The following day, May 1st, Sampson’s ships arrived outside the harbor entrance, far enough away to be beyond the range of the guns at Socapa Battery or the Moro Castle.  The Merrimac, repaired again at least for the moment, was brought alongside the New York so that Lieutenant Hobson could supervise the placement of the ten charges that would put the old ship “out of its misery”.  He also carefully supervised placement of the detonators that would trigger these charges.  

The plan was for the mission to commence that very evening.  One additional task remained.  One man alone could not maneuver the 333-foot ship into the channel, drop the bow anchor, drop the stern anchor, and then detonate all ten charges.  It was not a mission the Lieutenant could accomplish by himself….this time Hobson would have to recruit assistance and work as part of a team.

Before Admiral Sampson issued his request for volunteers, he explained in explicit terms just how dangerous the mission would be.  For all practical purposes, it appeared to be a suicide mission, attempting to sail the old ship directly into the guns of the enemy, sink her, and then escape and evade the enemy to return on a small catamaran carried on the deck of the doomed collier.  His ominous speech concluded, the Admiral asked for volunteers.  Three hundred men at once offered to risk their lives, including Captain Miller who was reluctant to turn command of his vessel over to another.

From the ranks of the eager sailors, Hobson selected six men.  From the New York he selected Gunners Mate First Class George Charette and Coxswain Randolph Clausen.  From the USS Iowa he selected Coxswain J. E. Murphy.  Remaining to guide their vessel Merrimac in its final voyage were three sailors who had joined the Navy little over a month earlier, volunteers all of them.  Machinist First Class George Phillips and Water Tender Francis Kelly would operate the engines of the Merrimac for one final operation,  while Coxswain Osborn Deignan would man the helm to steer his ship to her final, glorious conclusion.

Preparations for the May 1st attack did not go well.  It seemed nothing had ever gone smoothly for the Merrimac when it joined the US Navy.  All ten charges were in place, the volunteers were ready to go, but there were only enough batteries to fire six of the ten explosive charges.  To Hobson’s chagrin, the mission was postponed and work continued on the ship the following day.

As Hobson reviewed his plans, he felt he needed one more volunteer for the crew.  Not only did he want a man to handle the task of dropping the stern anchor at the critical moment, he wanted an experienced sailor who could lead the others if anything should happen to himself.  Hobson discussed the matter with the New York’s executive officer, then approached 29-year old Master-At-Arms of the Admiral’s flagship.  Daniel Montague not only had seven years of experience in the United States Navy, prior to that service he had been a member of the British Royal Navy.  Montague promptly volunteered for the dangerous mission.

In the early morning darkness of May 3rd, what would become one of the most historic missions since the Great Locomotive Chase of the Civil War began.  In addition to Hobson and his seven volunteers, the Merrimac’s pilot and assistant engineer remained aboard for the first leg of the journey.  As they moved the ship towards the harbor, Hobson began testing his explosive charges.  To his frustration and dismay, only seven of the ten charges passed his initial test–he was going in at only 70%.  Refusing to be delayed another day, Hobson ordered the Merrimac to continue, steaming at full speed of 9 knots.

As the Merrimac neared the harbor entrance she slowed momentarily.  A small steam launch piloted by Cadet Powell steered close enough to take aboard the pilot and assistant engineer.  The plan was for Powell to keep his launch close to the harbor entrance to pick up Hobson and his seven volunteers who would return on the small catamaran once the Merrimac had been scuttled.

It was near total darkness as Hobson again commanded his doomed ship to move forward at full speed, riding the swell of the flood tide and hiding beneath a night  no longer illuminated by the moon.  Straight into the enemy guns the warriors sailed, hoping against hope that the darkness would be their one ally in the dangerous waters of the enemy.  It was not to be.

Within 500 yards of the narrow channel, the Merrimac suddenly came under heavy enemy fire.  Even in near total darkness, an enemy picket boat had discovered the ship.  Despite the loss of the element of surprise, and in the face of the intense enemy fire, the volunteer crew of the Merrimac continued at full speed into the jaws of death.  Within minutes a torrent of heavy cannon fire rained on the ship from all sides as it boldly entered the channel under the deadly guns of the Socapa Battery and Morro Castle.

The aged ship shook with the repeated battery of heavy enemy shells, but continued to steam valiantly ahead at full speed.  Hobson himself later wrote, “The striking of projectiles and flying fragments produced a grinding sound, with a fine ring in it of steel on steel.  The deck vibrated heavily, and we felt the full effect, lying, as we were, full-length on our faces.  At each instant it seemed that certainly the next would bring a projectile among us…I looked for my own body to be cut in two diagonally, from the left hip upward, and wondered for a moment what the sensation would be.”

Near the stern anchor, Montague heard a heavy round crash into the structure, cutting the anchor lashings.  At the helm, Coxswain Deignan yelled to Hobson, “She won’t respond sir!  The tiller ropes have been shot away!”  The same round had destroyed the collier’s all-important steering gear.  Almost beyond navigation now, the ship continued forward, propelled by the momentum of its full-speed approach and the swift currents of the flood tide.  And then the ship was in the channel, braving the continuing fire but moving ever closer its destination as the crew remained at their posts.  Despite the hail of fire that raked his ship,  Hobson stood exposed on the bridge, stripped to his underwear, to monitor the situation.  And then the Merrimac was sliding sideways, drifting away from the narrowest part of the channel and into deeper waters.

In the distance the Spanish warships Colon and Oquendo added their fire to the fusillade from the shore batteries.  Even when the Reina Mercedes sent two torpedoes to make direct hits on the Merrimac, nearly ripping it in half, Hobson and his volunteers stood faithfully at their stations.  Above the din of battle, Hobson shouted the order and Murphy dropped anchor to halt the rapidly drifting ship.  The stern anchor shot away, the doomed collier continued to drift as it dragged the lone anchor across the floor of the harbor.  Kelly began knocking the caps from the sea valves as Hobson set to the process of detonating the explosive charges.  The enemy fire had also destroyed batteries and detonators.  Only two of the charges exploded into the early morning sky.

The lack of working explosives failed to sink the ship in the less than two minute span previously plotted.  Instead, it remained afloat for more than an hour, burning intensely and slowly going to its grave.  Only a short distance from the shallow waters, the ship had come so close, only to fail in the end to accomplish its goal.

As the Merrimac burned, the catamaran fell up-side-down into the harbor.   Stripped to their underwear, the seven volunteers clung tenuously to their last vestige of haven, waiting for Hobson to leap overboard to join them.  Beyond the mouth of the harbor Cadet Powell continued to move through the darkness, waiting for the heroic men of the Merrimac to appear.  Finally, as morning dawned, he turned his launch back to rejoin the fleet with tales of the incredible display of enemy firepower he had witnessed, and the sad report that apparently none of the brave sailors had survived the night.  Within minutes, word had spread throughout Admiral Sampson’s ships.  It was a morning for sorrow and mourning.

Inside the harbor, Richmond Hobson and his valiant sailors clung to their overturned catamaran, hoping and praying that the current would turn and sweep them back out to sea…and to safety.   Instead the tide only moved them closer to the enemy.  

In that first dangerous hour, small arms fire from the nearby shore forced them to use their “raft” as a shield.  But as the Merrimac burned out and slowly sank, the enemy fire tapered off, then stopped.   In the early morning haze the eight sailors noted the approach of a Spanish launch–and then it was upon them.  Hobson yelled to the enemy, “Is there any officer in the boat to accept our surrender as prisoners of war.”

An gentlemanly looking Spanish officer appeared and motioned towards the men, ordering his sailors to lower their weapons and help the American sailors board his launch.  The officer that accepted their surrender was none other than Spanish Rear Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete himself.  As Hobson and his brave sailors surrendered to the enemy, Cervera surveyed the scene around him, taking in all that these young men had attempted to do, all that they had endured, and the risk that they had taken.  Turning to them he spoke one word……



Later that afternoon a small Spanish tug left the harbor under a flag of truce.  Steaming next to the New York, it halted while Cervera’s chief-of-staff, Captain Bustamente delivered a message from the Spanish admiral that Richmond Hobson and all of his men were safe.  It was a dramatic example of compassion in time of war, an enemy commander’s show of respect for true heroism even when exhibited by his enemy.   The message delivered, Bustamente returned to Santiago with provisions of clothing and a small amount of money for the captured sailors.

Initially the 8 prisoners were confined at Morro Castle, then later moved into the city of Santiago De Cuba.  Three weeks later Daniel Montague became very sick and was moved to a hospital.  (Though he recovered, the tropical illness contracted during his captivity, led to ill health in the years to follow and eventually contributed to his death in 1912.)  On July 6th, after a desperate battle during which Admiral Cevera would attempt to escape the harbor with his fleet, all eight volunteers from the ill-fated Merrimac sinking were paroled in a prisoner exchange.


Richmond Hobson and his men came home to be hailed as heroes.  On November 2, 1899, all seven of the sailors who had volunteered for the Merrimac mission were awarded Medals of Honor.  As a Naval officer, Hobson himself was ineligible for his Nation’s highest recognition of uncommon valor.  

(Prior to 1917, the Navy Medal of Honor was reserved for presentation ONLY to ENLISTED sailors and Marines.)        






John E.


The lack of success of the mission to trap the Spanish fleet by sinking the Merrimac could not damper the coverage in the media, or the public adoration showered on Hobson and his heroes.  Also despite Hobson’s failure to receive the Medal of Honor, he became recognized as one of our Country’s greatest heroes of that Splendid Little War.

A special commemorative poster was later widely circulated depicting the history of that conflict.   The photos of 10 of the leaders and heroes of that war were printed on that poster.  Richmond Hobson’s photo was among the ten, positioned in the center just below a painting of the capture of his team by Admiral Cevera and the Spanish.  (You can click on the smaller image of this poster at left, to view or print a larger copy in a separate window.)

 On October 8, 1898, just six months after Hobson’s heroic mission, Mr. and Mrs. Hilton of Westville, South Carolina were blessed with a baby boy.  They named him after the hero of their day.  Twenty years later their son would find himself facing his own war in France, a war in which 20-year old Sergeant Hilton would earn the Medal of Honor.  On the official roll of honor his name is listed as Richmond H. Hilton….his full name however…Richmond Hobson Hilton.

In his post-war years, Hobson himself chose to leave his Naval career.  In 1904 he was a Presidential elector from his home state of Alabama.  From 1907 to 1915 Hobson served his state’s 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

One year before Hobson’s namesake received the Medal of Honor, our Nation’s highest award underwent several major changes.  Among these was a new provision that no longer restricted award of the Medal to enlisted sailors and Marines.  In future wars, heroes like Richmond Hobson would be recognized for their courage, regardless of their rank.

On April 29, 1933 Richmond Hobson was invited to the White House.  The United States Congress had taken special action to add Hobson’s name to the Roll of Honor along with his those of his valiant sailors.  On that day, by that special act of Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented Richmond Hobson the Medal of Honor for his heroism 35 years earlier.  

Elsewhere the occasion was surely a moment of unique pride for Richmond Hobson Hilton, the Spanish-American war hero’s namesake.  With that award, Hilton became the only known person in history, named for a Medal of Honor recipient, to receive it himself.

              June 6 –

                      Spanish cruiser
Reina Mercedes sunk in the Santiago harbor entrance by the Spaniards
                      to prevent ingress of American war vessels.
          read more


The Battle of Santiago

Spanish Wrecks after the Battle

On 3 July 1898 a US force demolished the Spanish squadron at Santiago, Cuba, in one of the two major naval actions of the Spanish-American War. The Spanish squadron was poorly manned, poorly maintained and out-gunned, so it was an easy victory for the US. Six Spanish ships took part in the action – the armored cruisers Vizcaya, Infanta Maria Teresa, Cristobal Colon and Almirante Oquendo, and the destroyers Furor and Pluton. All these ships were run ashore, except Pluton, which sank. In addition, the Spanish cruiser Reina Mercedes was scuttled in the channel. Because many of the ships were beached, we have this unusual chance to view the ruined hulks of the Spanish ships.

Armored Cruiser Vizcaya

The armored cruisers Vizcaya, Infanta Maria Teresa and Almirante Oquendo were sisterships. Each ship carried two 11″ guns, but they were lightly armored. All three were lost at Santiago.


Vizcaya prior to the war. The 11″ guns were housed in two single turrets, one forward and one aft.


Broadside view of Vizcaya’s hulk, from the starboard side, aft. The destruction is evident even from a good distance away, with nothing but the funnels left standing above decks, and the entire hull blackened by fire.


Port side view of Vizcaya’s hulk from astern. A fallen mast rests across the aft 11″ turret.


Onboard view of Vizcaya’s ruined decks and demolished superstructure. The deck is entirely burned away, the secondary guns ruined, and the superstructure flattened.


Another onboard view, showing the general destruction of the ship. The secondary batteries have been completely smashed in.


Vizcaya’s after 11 inch gun following the battle. Her fallen mainmast lies across the turret.


Armored Cruiser Infanta Maria Teresa

Infanta Maria Teresa prior to the war.


Infanta Maria Teresa in April 1898, not long before her destruction.


Port side view of Infanta Maria Teresa’s hulk. Her funnels and one mast are still standing, but little else remains.


Wreckage of Infanta Maria Teresa’s bridge.


The starboard side spar deck. As in her sistership, the deck is entirely burned away.


Teresa’s after 11 inch gun turret. Amazingly, the US Navy salvaged this shattered hulk, and tried to tow the ship back to the US – but she went around in the Bahamas and was lost.


Armored Cruiser Almirante Oquendo

Almirante Oquendo prior to the war.


The wreck of Almirante Oquendo.


Armored Cruiser Cristobal Colon

Cristobal Colon prior to the war, with laundry hung out to dry. Spain acquired this ship from Italy in 1897, but her 10 inch guns were never installed, leaving her nearly defenseless.


The officers of Cristobal Colon prior to the war. One of the ship’s empty 10″ gun mountings appears behind the officers.


The wreck of Cristobal Colon.


Old Cruiser Reina Mercedes

Reina Mercedes early in her career. This old cruiser was completely obsolete by 1898, and she played no active part in the war. Some of her guns were removed and used for shore defenses, and she was scuttled as a blockship at Santiago.


Reina Mercedes scuttled in the channel. She was raised by the US Navy on 1 March 1899, then repaired and rebuilt in the US. She served as a receiving ship after 1902, mainly at Newport and Annapolis. By the 1950’s she was serving as a residence for the commander of the Naval Academy. In 1957 it was deemed too expensive to maintain the ancient ship, and she was stricken and scrapped.


June 11 -
                      Body of marines landed at Guantanamo from the
Marblehead and Texas, and had a
                      brisk skirmish.

June 12-14 –

                      General Shafter embarked at

Tampa for Santiago with an army of 16,000 men.




             June 15 –

                      Caimanera forts bombarded by US war ships.

 June 15 -
                      Admiral Cámara

with a fleet of ten of Spain’s best war ships

left Cádiz for


Via port suez canal to Manila
             June 20 -
                      General Shafter disembarked his army of invasion at Daiquirí, with a loss of one man killed
                      and two wounded.

 June 21 –

                      Angara capital of Guam, one of the islands of the Ladrones, captured by

the Charleston.

June 24 –

In Cuba,

Juraguá captured


the Spanish were defeated  


Las Guásimas.


Heavy loss on both
                      sides, among the Americans

killed being Capron and Fish.

The SANTIAGO and several other transports languished off of Santiago for several days. In the disorganization of the disembarking troops, supplies, etc. at Daiquiri, Maj. Gen. Shafter simply had forgotten about the transports in the diversionary movement! The men spent their time swimming, and trying to cope with the crowded conditions. The morning of June 25 dawned to reveal something no one aboard the SANTIAGO had expected – an empty sea! During the night, the other transports had received belated orders to proceed to Siboney. In the darkness, the SANTIAGO was not seen and did not receive the orders. Finally the orders arrived in the morning. The first had become the last! The Ninth was finally able to begin to disembark at about 3:00 p.m., passing the wounded arriving from the skirmish at Las Guasimas as it came ashore.


The 9th U.S. arrives at Siboney

The next day was spent in helping to unload supplied from the transports. On June 27th, the Ninth finally took up their line of march toward Santiago. The unit made four miles that day, the men laboring in the intense heat, carrying their blanket rolls and ammunition. That night the regiment camped at Sevilla.

As the Ninth finally approached Santiago and the San Juan heights, it found itself in the valley between the American artillery and the Spanish forces. Shells of all types filled the air, luckily a safe distance above the regiment. Orders were issued to stack the blanket rolls, which were placed under guard, prior to going into action. The unit began its advance, forming its line, though it was not clear in which direction they should advance. The bullets of the Spanish Mausers sliced the air, but the smokeless powder completely concealed the Spanish positions. Finally, they were ordered ahead by Gen. Kent, and lead to a path that lead to the left off of the main road. In the movements, the first and second battalions of the regiment got separated with the 24th Infantry placed between. As the units moved into position, they past the 71st New York Volunteer Infantry hunkered down and trying to shield itself from the enemy’s fire.

In the space of a short time, Colonel Wikoff was killed, Lieutenant Colonels Worth and Liscum were both wounded. The Ninth Infantry and the other regiments of the 3rd Brigade advanced toward San Juan Hill, in spite of not having a brigade commander! Lt. Col. Ezra P. Ewers, who was now the senior officer in the Brigade would not learn this fact until after San Juan Hill was captured!

The men had to pass over five hundred yards under heavy enemy fire. Instead of aiming for the blockhouse atop the heights, the brigade aimed for the space between to the blockhouse, and the end of the hill, placing the unit in a very pivotal position. The troops of the Third, Ninth and 24th Infantries intermixed in their crossing of the San Juan River. The men were ordered to cease firing, but the order was of no avail. Some of the troops began to move ahead. The Ninth followed a few seconds later. As it reached the crest of San Juan Hill, its men took part in the volley firing against the retreating Spanish troops.


The 9th U.S. prepares to move out toward San Juan Hill

From the heat and exhaustion, the men lay down on the reverse side of the slope, out of range of the Spanish bullets. They remained in this position until Gen. Hawkins ordered them to get back into position at the crest to fire on the Spanish, in case the enemy counter-attacked. The expected counter-attack did not come. During the ensuing night, the regiment dug in, and by morning was entrenched.

On July 3, the men of the Ninth heard the sound of a distant bombardment. It was not until the next day that they learned that the firing was from the naval battle of Santiago, and that they had listened to the sacrificing of the dreaded Spanish squadron.

The men now settled into the siege of Santiago. From July 3 to July 10, they worked to reinforce their trenches. Each company  was sent down to the river to bathe until it was learned that the river was being used for drinking water by the units downstream. The bathing was quickly stopped unfortunately for the men of the Ninth.

No company cooking equipment had been provided, so each man had to fend for himself. Between gathering firewood, obtaining supplies (which were always in short supply, and only being replenished in the nick of time), cooking their food, etc. each man spent nearly six hours a day simply in keeping himself fed.

During the Battle of San Juan Hill, and the ensuing siege of Santiago, the Ninth U.S. Infantry lost one officer and 4 enlisted men killed and 27 enlisted men wounded. The surrender came on July 17. The Ninth may have taken part in the surrender ceremonies or have arrived just afterward, marching into Santiago, and watching the raising of the U.S. flag. After the ceremony, the regiment took up quarters in the Teatro de la Reina (“the Queen’s Theater”). It began guard duty in various sites around the town. At about this time, khaki uniforms were finally issued to the men.

It was also at about this time that sickness began to make its appearance in the regiment. Up until July 13, between four and nine men were usually reported sick each day. By July 17, the number had risen to about 17 men per day.  Within two days, the sick count had risen to 28 men. By July 20, the number jumped to 78 men, the next day to 92 men, and by July 22, 132 men out of the regiment’s 433 men were reported sick. Many of the men who were not officially reported as sick were also in poor condition, and barely able to perform their duties. The first death from sickness occurred on July 21. The second occurred on July 30. Two more men died on August 2.

On August 2, the Ninth was relieved by Col. Hood’s 2nd U.S. Volunteers, which was considered to be an “immune” regiment. By August 10, the Ninth was given orders to withdraw. The three mile march to the docks was difficult on the weakened men. Fifteen officers and 323 men made the trip. Leaving the docks, the men passed the sunken hulk of the REINA MERCEDES and were taken out to the ST. LOUIS, along with the 10th U.S. Infantry and part of the 71st New York Volunteer Infantry.

Aboard the transport one man died, and his death was attributed to yellow fever. As a result, the vessel was put in quarantine. The men were also put through a rigorous cleaning, and given new blue uniforms. The Ninth reached Montauk [Camp Wikoff] on August 13, with only 277 men present for duty, the remainder being placed in the hospital. On August 21 the unit was released from quarantine, though many of the men remained in the hospital.


The 9th U.S. Infantry at Montauk Point

By early September, the Ninth U.S. Infantry was back in the Madison Barracks. However, its stay would be short. By March of 1899, the unit was ordered to proceed to the Philippines to take part in the Philippine-American War. Before the unit left, the legacy of Cuba showed itself one more time – 26 men were discharged


June 28 –

     General Merritt


 left for Manila to assume


command of the American army operating in the

 July 1 –

 Terrific fighting in


 front of Santiago.


El Caney and San Juan Hill were carried by assaults in
                      which the American loss was great.

July 3 –


 Admiral Cervera’s


squadron of four armored cruisers and two torpedo-boat destroyers

 annihilated by


Commodore Schley’s


blockading fleet.

The surrender of Santiago was
  demanded by


 General Shafter.

July 6 –

                      Hobson and his comrades were exchanged for six Spanish officers
             Constructor Richmond Pearson Hobson

By Patrick McSherry

Click here for a link to Hobson’s home of Magnolia Grove
Click here  to visit another page with info. on Richmond Hobson
Click here see a view of Richmond Hobson, late in life, the Medal of Honor from Franklin Demalon Roosevelt
Click here to see a view of the USS HOBSON, DD-464, named for Richmond Hobson

Richmond Pearson Hobson was one of the great heros of the Spanish-American War, following only Theodore Roosevelt and George Dewey. Hobson’s fame and popularity was the result of leading an unsuccessful attempt to block the harbor of Santiago de Cuba by sinking the collier MERRIMAC in the entrance.

Hobson was born August 17, 1870, in Greensboro, Alabama. His father was a Confederate veteran of the American Civil War, and the family lived on the family estate of Hobson’s mother, a plantation called “Magnolia Grove”. He was the second of seven children. Young Richmond attended private school, and the Southern University in Greensboro from 1882 to 1885. He won a competitive test for appointment to the Naval Academy at age fourteen.

At Annapolis, Richmond was the youngest in his class. His strong religious views created difficulties for him with classmates. Midshipman Hobson was later put in “coventry”, or cut off from all social contact with his classmates, for putting some of the other students on report. He spent his last two years in this state of isolation. However bad his social situation, his academic life flourished. During his years at the Academy Hobson never ranked lower than third in his class. He also developed an interest in steam engines and naval architecture.

Hobson graduated from Annapolis in 1889, ranked first in his class. He was offered the opportunity to study naval architecture abroad and did so, in Paris at the Ecole National Superieurdes Mines in 1890 and 1891. This was followed by studies at the Ecole d’ Application du Genie Maritime from 1891 to 1893, where he graduated “with distinction.”

After his return to the United States, Hobson served for a year and a half as an assistant naval constructor in the Navy Department’s Bureau of Construction and Repair at Washington D.C. He attempted to get a posting to Asia during the Sino-Japanese War, and also to Europe, but his requests were denied. Instead, Hobson was sent aboard the USS NEW YORK, and served in various shipyards in the northeast. During this time, a superior officer accused Hobson of neglect of duty for accepting some defective metal castings. He was eventually vindicated by Acting Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt.

In 1897, Hobson created and ran the third year program for naval construction at Annapolis. As war loomed, the entire class went to Key West, Florida to continue the students’ education with the North Atlantic Squadron. It was while serving with Admiral Sampson on the USS NEW YORK that Hobson was given the task of sinking the MERRIMAC to block the entrance to Santiago Harbor. The effort failed and Hobson was taken prisoner. He was exchanged on July 6, 1898, and, to his surprise, found himself a national hero.

After the war, Hobson had himself appointed Inspector of Spanish Wrecks, charged with determining if any of the damaged and sunken Spanish vessels at Cuba could be raised and reused. He succeeded in raising the REINA MERCEDES and the INFANTA MARIA TERESA. Hobson next went to the Far East to continue his salvage efforts with the victims of Dewey‘s attack. Here he salvaged the ISLE DE CUBA, ISLE DE LUZON and DON JUAN DE AUSTRIA. On his way to the Philippines, Hobson, still the popular war hero, was accused of kissing his way across the United States as he accepted the requests of ladies to be kissed. When the press began making an issue of it an embarrassed Hobson refused all future requests. Hobson’s hero status also created tension with his fellow officers, many of whom avoided him. About this time, he began to suffer from inflammation of the retina, which was aggravated by exposure to sunlight and desk work. Hobson requested a medical discharge beginning in 1900. The request was denied.

In 1901 Congress passed a joint resolution thanking Hobson for his exploits aboard the MERRIMAC. The resolution promoted him from Lieutenant to Captain, and also advanced him ten positions on the Construction Corps seniority list. This action served to make Hobson even more of an outcast among his fellow officers, who resented the preferential treatment. He resigned his commission in 1903.

Hobson’s departure from the Navy gave him time for other pursuits also. In 1905 he married Grizelda Houston Hull, the great-great niece of Confederate general Leonidas Polk, the great niece of former Alabama governor, George Houston, and a cousin of General “Fightin’ Joe” Wheeler. These connections would serve him well in political life.

As a civilian, Hobson took up the lecture circuit, traveling across the country in 1903 and 1904. In 1907, on his second attempt, the former Captain was elected to Congress, serving four terms. In 1908, before an unfriendly Democratic National Convention, Hobson commented that President Theodore Roosevelt had stated that there was a good possibility of war with Japan in the near future. Roosevelt denied the comments. With his Great White Fleet preparing to sail around the world, talk of trouble with Japan, either military or diplomatic, was not appreciated by the President. In spite of the acrimonious debate, Hobson continued predicting war with Japan until even the press tired of reporting his comments on the issue.

Congressman Hobson served on the Naval Affairs Committee from 1907 to 1914, working to strengthen the fleet and warning of future clashes with European powers, Japan and Russia. He was an early supporter of Womens’ Suffrage and fought for Black soldiers unjustly accused of rioting and killing a civilian in Brownsville Texas. In 1911, he introduced the first National Prohibition bill. Hobson’s views, unpopular with many of his constituents, ended his political career in 1916.

Later in life, Hobson continued to act against alcohol and drug abuse, serving as general secretary of the American Alcohol and Education Association, president of the International Narcotic Education Association and the World Narcotic Defense Association. He was also the organizer of the 1926 World Conference on Narcotic Education.

In 1933, Hobson was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions aboard the MERRIMAC during the Spanish-American War. His crew had received the medal in 1899, but officers were not eligible for the honor at that time. In 1934, Hobson was made a Rear Admiral on the retired list and granted a pension.

Richmond Pearson Hobson died of a heart attack on March 16, 1937, and was buried with honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

On January 22, 1942, the U.S. Navy commissioned a destroyer named in Richmond Hobson’s honor, the DD-464 HOBSON. The vessel saw extensive action throughout World War Two, in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific theaters of operations. She was awarded  six battle stars and shared in a Presidential unit Citation. She was lost in 1952 after a tragic collision with the aircraft carrier, USS WASP.


 July 8 –

   Admiral Cámara

was ordered to return with his fleet to Cádiz to protect Spanish coast
                      threatened by American warships.

 July 10 -
                      A second bombardment of Santiago, which severely battered Morro Castle.

  July 11 –

 General Miles



General Miles was a steamship constructed in 1882 which served in various coastal areas of the states of Oregon and Washington, as well as British Columbia and the territory of Alaska. It was apparently named after US General Nelson A. Miles.

Originally a sailing schooner built in 1879, the General Miles was extensively reconstructed in 1890 and renamed Willapa. In 1903 the name was changed again to Bellingham. After a conversion to diesel power in 1922, the vessel was renamed Norco. The vessel is notable for, among other things, for having been first a sailing vessel from 1879 to 1882, a steamship from 1882 to 1918, a sailing barge from 1919 to 1922, and a motor vessel (diesel-powered) from 1922 to 1950


joined the American Army before Santiago and conferred with


 General Shafter as to the means for reducing the city

 July 17 -
                      After the expiration of

 two periods of truce


General Toral surrendered Santiago and the
                      eastern province of Cuba to General Shafter.

             July 20 –

                      General Leonard Wood was appointed Military Governor of Santiago, and entered upon
                      his duties by feeding the hungry, clothing the destitute and cleaning the city.

  July 21 -
                      The harbor of Nipe was entered by four gunboats, which, after an hours’ fierce
                      bombardment, captured the port.

 July 25 -
                      General Miles, with 8,000 men, after a voyage of three days, landed at Guánica, Puerto
                      Rico. He immediately began his march towards Ponce, which surrendered on the 28th.

 July 26 -
                      The French Ambassador at Washington,


 Jules Cambon, acting for Spain, asked the
                      President upon what terms he would treat for peace.

July 30 -
                      The President communicated his answer to M. Cambon.

 July 31 -
                      The Spaniards made a night attack on the Americans investing Manila but were repulsed
                      with severe losses.

August -
                      The Rough Riders left Santiago for Montauk Point, Long Island

August 9 -
                      A large force of Spanish were defeated at Coamo, Puerto Rico, by General Ernst. The
                      Spanish Government formally accepted the terms of peace submitted by the President
            August 12
                      The peace protocol was signed, an armistice proclaimed, and the Cuban blockade raised.
           August 13 -
                      Manila was bombarded by Dewey’s fleet and simultaneously attacked by the American
                      land forces, under which combined assaults the city surrendered unconditionally
           August 20 -
                      Great naval demonstration in New York harbor.
           August 22 -
                      All troops under General Merritt remaining at San Francisco ordered to Honolulu.
           August 23 -
                      Bids opened for the construction of twelve torpedo boats and sixteen destroyers. General
                      Merritt appointed governor of Manila. General Otis assumed command of the Eighth
                      Corps in the Philippines.
           August 25 -
                      General Shafter left Santiago.
           August 26 -
                      President officially announced the names of the American Peace Commissioners. Last of
                      General Shafter’s command leaves Santiago for this country.
           August 29 -
                      Lieutenant Hobson arrived at Santiago to direct the raising of the
María Teresa and
Cristobal Colón.
           August 30 -
                      General Wheeler ordered an investigation of Camp Wikoff.
         September 2 -
                      Spanish Government selected three peace commissioners.
         September 3 -
                      President visited Montauk.
         September 9 -
                      Peace Commission completed by the appointment of Senator Gray. President ordered
                      investigation of War Department.
        September 10 -
                      Spanish Cortes approved Peace Protocol
        September 11 -
                      American Puerto Rico Evacuation Commission met in joint session at San Juan.
        September 12 -
                      Admiral Pascual Cervera left Portsmouth, N. H., for Spain.
        September 13 -
                     Roosevelt’s Rough Riders mustered out of service. Spanish Senate approved Protocol.
        September 14 -
                      Evacuation of Puerto Rico began. Queen Regent signed Protocol.
        September 17 -
                      American Cuban Evacuation Commissions met in joint session at Havana. Peace
                      Commissioners sailed for Paris.
        September 20 -
                      Spanish evacuation of outlying ports in Puerto Rico began. First American flag raised in
        September 24 -
                      Jurisdiction of Military Governor Wood extended to embrace entire province of Santiago
                      de Cuba. First meeting of the War Investigating Committee held at the White House.
        September 25 -
                      Lieutenant Hobson floated the
María Teresa.
        September 27 -
                      American Peace Commissioners convened in Paris.
        September 28 -
                      American Commissioners received by French Minister of Foreign Affairs.
        September 29 -
                      Spanish and American Commissioners met for first time, at breakfast given at the Foreign
                      Offce, Paris.
           October 1 -
                      Peace Commissioners held first joint session.
           October 4 -
                      2,000 irregular Spanish troops revolted near Cienfuegos and refused to lay down arms
                      until paid back salaries. Battleship
Illinois launched at Newport News.
          October 1O -
                      American flag hoisted over Manzanillo, Cuba.
          October 12 -
Iowa and Oregon left New York for Manila.
          October 16 -
                      Opening of Peace Jubilee in Chicago.
          October 18 -
                      United States took formal possession of Puerto Rico.
          October 24 -
                      Spanish evacuation of Puerto Rico completed
          October 25 -
                      Philadelphia Jubilee began with naval parade in the Delaware.
          October 30 -
María Teresa left Caimanera for Hampton Roads.
          October 31 -
                      American Peace Commissioners demanded cession of entire Philippine group.
          November 5 -
María Teresa, cruiser, reported lost off San Salvador, Bahamas.
          November 8 -
María Teresa reported ashore at Cat Island, Bahamas.
         November 17 -
                      Evacuation of Camp Meade completed
         November 21 -
                      American ultimatum presented to Spanish Peace Commissioners.
         November 25 -
                      First United States troops landed in Havana province.
         November 28 -
                      Spain agreed to cede Phllippines.
         November 30 -
                      Captain-General Blanco left Havana for Spain.
         December 10 -
                      Peace Treaty signed.
         December 11 -
                      Small riot in Havana. Three Cubans killed.
         December 14 -
                      Fitzhugh Lee arrived in Havana.
         December 24 -
                      Peace Treaty delivered to President McKinley.
         December 27 -
                      American Evacuation Commissioners issued a proclamation to the inhabitants of Cuba.
         December 31 -
                      Last day of Spanish sovereignty in Westem Hemisphere.








Spanish-Cuban-American War


Click on the pictures


Pacific campaign

Santiago de Cuba harbor




Santiago de Cuba and vicinity 1898

Santiago de Cuba and vicinity July 14, 1898


Spanish-American War in Cuba

Cuba Struggle for Independence (1868-1898)
and then (Washington Post published), starts
the “Splendid Little” War . What follows are some benchmarks along the way:


April 10, 1895 — Jose Marti, Cuban revolutionary,



launches insurrection against Spanish rule.



He is killed May 19.



The most famous cigar ever rolled in Tampa went out not as a Corona or a Presidente, but as a liberator to spark the Cuban Revolution of 1895. This cigar cost thousands of lives, but eventually won the independence of Cuba from Spain.

  The story of the cigar that went to war starts Jan. 29, 1895, at the residence of Gonzalo De Quesada, secretary of the Cuban Revolutionary Party in New York City. Jose Marti, the leader of the Cuban crusade for freedom, called a secret meeting of the revolutionary junta at the Quesada home.

Present were General Jose Mayia Rodriguez, representing Generalisimo Maximo Gomez, and General Enrique Collazo, representing the Revolutionary Junta of Havana. Among the Cuban patriots taking part in the historic junta was Emilio Cordero, who in later years would become a prominent leader in the cigar industry of America marketing his popular brand Mi Hogar.        Gonzalo de Quesada        Jose Marti


Jan. 1, 1898 —

 In an effort to defuse the insurrection, Spain gives Cubans limited political autonomy.

Jan. 12 —

Spaniards in Cuba riot against autonomy given to Cubans.


Jan. 25 — USS Maine arrives in Havana Harbor to protect American interests.

Feb. 15 — USS Maine explodes, sinks; 266 crewmen lost. The Maine’s captain urges suspension of judgment on the cause of the explosion.

March 28 —

Naval Court of Inquiry says Maine destroyed by a mine.


April 11 —

President William McKinley asks Congress for declaration of war.

April 25 —

State of war exists between United States and Spain.


June 10 — U.S. Marines land at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


July 1 —


 Battles of El Caney and San Juan Hill in Cuba


result in American victories and instant national acclaim for


Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, the former Navy Department official and future president who leads the Rough Riders at San Juan Heights.

Among Theodore Roosevelt’s many accomplishments were two terms as President of the United States, the publishing of more than forty works of nonfiction, the exploration of the South American wilderness, and having his likeness sculpted on Mount Rushmore. However, even with all of these and many other achievements, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt often stated that participating in the Battle of San Juan Hill, Cuba, during the Spanish-American War was one of his proudest moments. Roosevelt’s service with the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, also known as the “Rough Riders,” lasted only four months, but he proclaimed “there are no four months of my life to which I look back with more pride and satisfaction.”(1) To most people, the charge up San Juan Hill is one of the two most memorable events connected with the “Splendid Little War.”(2) The other is the sinking of the USS Maine, which helped set the stage for war.

The American victory over Spain placed the nation among the world’s great powers. For Roosevelt, the Spanish-American War fulfilled a lifelong dream. While friends in the newspaper business ensured that his exploits in Cuba were not overlooked by the public, the future President yearned for even greater acclaim. He coveted the country’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor. Despite an intense lobbying effort by some of his superior officers and a close friend, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Roosevelt’s request for the medal was denied by the War Department. Questions remain as to whether Roosevelt was refused the Medal of Honor because he was undeserving or if friction between himself and the War Department was the actual reason for denial.

Although countless pages have documented the Rough Riders in Cuba, the Medal of Honor issue has been largely ignored in print. Even two of Roosevelt’s own publications, The Rough Riders and An Autobiography, fail to mention in the narrative his desire for the award.(3) A multitude of War Department documents and Roosevelt’s own published letters clearly state his argument that “I am entitled to the Medal of Honor and I want it.”(4) With the centennial of the Spanish-American War approaching, perhaps this is an appropriate time to reevaluate Roosevelt’s role in the conflict and determine if his contribution was as worthy as he claimed.

After the Maine exploded in Havana Harbor, Cuba, on February 15, 1898, popular opinion in the United States cried for retaliation against Spain. The fever was fueled by yellow journalists such as Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World and William Randolph Hearst of the New York Journal. One of the most anxious Americans was Theodore Roosevelt. When he had taken office as assistant secretary of the navy in April 1897, he used his position to expound upon America’s future role as a world power. He felt this goal could not be achieved without war. During a June 2, 1897, speech at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, the assistant secretary noted that “diplomacy is utterly useless where there is no force behind it; the diplomat is the servant, no the master, of the soldier. . . . No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumphs of war.”(5)

With war declared on April 21, 1898, the self-proclaimed jingo saw his wishes come true and was anxious to take part in the upcoming fray. Several years after the war, he boasted that “I had always felt that if there were a serious war I wished to be in a position to explain to my children why I did take part in it, and not why I did not take part in it.”(6) The latter portion of this statement was probably a reference to his father’s decision not to serve in the military during the Civil War, which haunted Roosevelt throughout his life. According to one of his biographers, “family, friends, and superiors all implored Roosevelt to remain in the post in which he had done so much to prepare the navy for war.”(7) Roosevelt ignored these pleas and instead lobbied Secretary of War Russell A. Alger for an army commission. Opportunity came for Roosevelt when the War Department mobilized the army for war.

A severe shortage of men prevented the army from immediately setting forth on an expedition to Cuba. To remedy the situation, President William McKinley proposed to Congress a first call for 125,000 state volunteers. The proposal became law on April 22. Four days later, additional legislation was passed to increase the regular army to more than twice its strength. On May 25, McKinley issued a second call for 75,000 volunteers to bring the army up to adequate strength for whatever expeditions might be required.

Most of the volunteers under the first call came from existing state militia or national guard outfits since they numbered about 125,000 men. The order for troops also permitted the federal government to raise three volunteer cavalry regiments to serve independently from the state units.(8) Secretary of War Alger knew the perfect candidate to command the first regiment: Theodore Roosevelt. Upon learning from Alger that the First United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment was his to command, Roosevelt was ecstatic. He declined the offer, however, since his only military service had been three years in the New York National Guard, and he felt this was not enough experience to lead an entire regiment during wartime. As a compromise, Roosevelt suggested that he serve as lieutenant colonel if his good friend Leonard Wood was named as the commander. Alger agreed, and the Rough Riders were born.(9)

Wood was an ideal choice to command the newly formed regiment. He had many of the same political connections as Roosevelt, whom he had met in mid-1897 while serving as the White House physician, and they developed a deep friendship. Besides a career as a medical officer, Wood had served as both an army assistant surgeon and line officer during the expedition against Geronimo in 1886. He distinguished himself in the campaign and received the Medal of Honor in March 1898 for his role in Geronimo’s surrender. Wood was the only officer serving in the long campaign to receive the award, and rumors circulated that his political ties were the reason he had been singled out.(10)

Secretary of War Alger authorized Wood to raise and organize “a regiment of Volunteers possessing special qualifications as horsemen and marksmen.” Furthermore, War Department Special Order #98, April 27, 1898, directed Wood to report to Muskogee, Indian Territory; Guthrie, Oklahoma; Sante Fe, New Mexico; Prescott, Arizona Territory; Carson City, Nevada; and Salt Lake City, Utah for recruiting.(11) But once the word spread that the Rough Riders were recruiting men, applications came from all over the country. Originally the regiment was allotted 780 men by the War Department, but popular interest in becoming a Rough Rider quickly enlarged the number to 1,000. By July 7, 1898, the regiment exceeded the legal limit of men, with more than 1,100 names on the muster rolls.(12)

The origin of the name “Rough Riders,” according to Roosevelt, was created “both by the public and by the rest of the army . . . doubtless because the bulk of the men were from the Southwestern ranch country and were skilled in the wild horsemanship of the great plains.”(13) Publicly, Roosevelt invoked an image as a cowboy because of the several years he spent ranching in the Dakota Territory and the publication of his multivolume work The Winning of the West. In addition to the majority of cowboys and ranchers, recruits came from Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Roosevelt also recruited at the various social clubs of Boston and New York with which he was well acquainted. From this contingent Roosevelt especially sought athletes such as cross-country riders and polo players. Notable among the blue-blood eastern families recruited for the Rough Riders was Hamilton Fish, the nephew of former Secretary of State Fish. Most noteworthy of the western recruits was William “Bucky” O’Neil, who was the mayor of Prescott, Arizona, and a famous sheriff. A number of Native Americans representing tribes such as the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and Creeks rounded out the regiment.(14)

The Rough Riders trained in San Antonio, Texas, for about four weeks, then joined the other outfits congregating in Tampa, Florida, for transport to Cuba.(15) The expedition was organized as the U.S. Army’s Fifth Corps. They were led by the rotund Maj. Gen. William R. Shafter, a Medal of Honor winner during the Civil War and veteran of the Indian wars. The Rough Riders had the distinction of being one of only three volunteer regiments that initially went to Cuba.(16)

  Officers at camp in Tampa, Florida: Maj. George Dunn, Major Brodie, former Confederate Gen. Joseph Wheeler, Chaplain Brown of the Rough Riders, Col. Leonard Wood, and Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt. (NARA 111-SC-93549)

“I Am Entitled to the Medal of Honor and I Want It”
Theodore Roosevelt and His Quest for Glory, Part 2

Leaving Tampa on June 6, the Fifth Corps anchored a week later off the coast of Santiago de Cuba and remained there until an advance force of the U.S. Army landed at the small port of Daiquiri, seventeen miles from Santiago. With the help of naval gunfire and a small force of Cuban revolutionaries under the command of Gen. Calixto Garcia, the three hundred Spanish troops in the area of Daiquiri were forced to withdraw on June 22. Because of heavy surf conditions, Shafter selected a landing point eight miles closer to Santiago at the port of Siboney. By June 26, most of the expedition was on shore, but not without casualties. Two men and a number of artillery horses and pack mules drowned in the rough sea. Roosevelt remembered that “we did the landing as we had everything else–that is, in a scramble.”(17)

  Landing at Daiquiri. (NARA 111-SC-94528)

Upon landing in Cuba, the mission of the Fifth Corps was unclear. The War Department gave Shafter instructions to destroy the Spanish forces at Santiago, and how to go about this was left up to him. As soon as a sufficient force landed on shore at Siboney, Shafter ordered the march toward Santiago. Although the Spaniards put up no resistance to the American landings, Cubans in the area reported that a force of two thousand Spaniards were about four miles from Siboney in the village of Las Guasimas. Former Confederate officer Maj. Gen. “Fighting” Joe Wheeler, who commanded the Fifth Corps cavalry division as a volunteer, sent Brig. Gen. Samuel B.M. Young on a reconnaissance toward the village with his brigade, which included the Rough Riders and the African American Tenth U.S. Cavalry. After a two-hour fight, Young’s brigade had the enemy fleeing toward Santiago.(18)

Sixteen Americans and ten Spaniards were killed in the fight. Figuring prominently in the skirmish were the Rough Riders, who suffered eight casualties. Newspapers across the United States proclaimed it a Rough Riders victory. Most responsible for the accolades was correspondent Richard Harding Davis, who tagged along with the Rough Riders and acted as Roosevelt’s own press secretary. In reality, Wheeler had advanced the cavalry prematurely, and they had been ambushed. Two of the Rough Riders killed were among the regiment’s more promising troopers, Capt. Allyn K. Capron and Sgt. Hamilton Fish. The most positive aspect of the skirmish was that it boosted morale among the soldiers and gave them confidence for the big fight that lay ahead.(19)

After the unexpected Las Guasimas fight, Shafter decided against any further advances until he could build up substantial supplies at Siboney and Daiquiri. On June 28 Shafter learned that a Spanish relief force was heading to reinforce troops entrenched among the heights surrounding Santiago. Two days later he ordered his forces to be ready to march toward Santiago on July 1. The ultimate goal was San Juan Hill, which was also known as either San Juan Heights or San Juan Ridge.(20)

The San Juan Heights rise above Santiago, about two miles east of the city. A small rise known as Kettle Hill was named for an abandoned mill and its iron kettles used to refine sugar. San Juan Hill rises to the southwest, about 400 yards further than Kettle Hill, and stands about 125 feet high with a brick blockhouse at the summit. Just east of Kettle and San Juan Hills flows the San Juan River. Approximately a thousand yards west of the San Juan Heights there was a strong line of Spanish fortifications that included barbed-wire entanglements, rifle pits, and trenches dug on the heights and to their rear.

Shafter’s plan to assault the San Juan Heights, based upon reconnaissance by his own troops and the Cuban army, was to send the Fifth Corps through the only two practicable routes in the jungle-covered terrain. The First Infantry Division under Brig. Gen. Jacob F. Kent and Wheeler’s cavalry would approach Kettle and San Juan Hills through the same road the army had followed from Siboney. The first phase of the attack was for Brig. Gen. Henry W. Lawton’s Second Infantry Division to take the village of El Caney on the right flank by way of the road to Guantanamo, which he claimed was possible in two hours. Lawton was then to move on to Santiago with Kent and Wheeler approaching to his left. If the plan went as designed, the three divisions would clear the Spaniards from the San Juan Heights and bring Santiago under siege.

The Battle of Santiago began early in the morning of July 1 with Lawton attacking El Caney, but his force of sixty-six hundred men met heavy resistance from the five hundred Spaniards garrisoned at the village. Not until late afternoon did El Caney come under American control.

With Lawton bogged down in El Caney, the First Cavalry Division and First Infantry Division with about eight thousand men would have to attack the defenses of San Juan Heights without the planned infantry support. The cavalry was now under the command of Brig. Gen. Samuel S. Sumner, who temporarily replaced an ill General Wheeler. As result of Wheeler’s illness, Wood was promoted to brigadier general, and Roosevelt was raised to the rank of colonel of the Rough Riders.

The infantry division under General Kent moved behind the Sumner’s cavalry division along the road leading to the heights at about 11 a.m. Gradually the infantry pressed up alongside the cavalry, then both divisions took position in an area that provided little cover, with the cavalry on the right and the infantry on the left. Not yet having received orders from Shafter’s headquarters, the men were exposed in the open with no clear course of action. Before the men completed their deployment, the Spanish troops on San Juan and Kettle Hills commenced rifle and artillery fire.

What triggered the Spanish fusillade was an observation balloon operated by the Signal Corps. Their mission was to obtain more intelligence about the Spanish position, but the balloon gave the Spaniards a perfect marker on which to aim their fire. How many American casualties the balloon caused is impossible to say. On the positive side, the two observers aboard the balloon gathered information on the enemy’s strength at San Juan Hill and discovered an alternate trail that helped spread the deployment of the Fifth Corps infantry.(21)

Sumner and Kent realized that San Juan Hill was heavily defended and the infantry and cavalry would be decimated unless they either advanced or retreated. Kent’s infantry, followed by Sumner’s cavalry, deployed along a narrow path, and by 1 p.m. the Americans established a firing line facing the heights against the Spanish right flank. Lt. John H. Parker and his battery of Gatling guns caused the most destruction. At a range of six hundred to eight hundred yards, Parker demoralized the Spaniards by firing continuously for little over eight minutes.(22)

Using Parker’s guns as a cover, the cavalry and infantry finally received permission to attack the Spanish forward positions along San Juan Heights. What actually happened at this point is still quite confusing. A number of different versions of the battle by its participants conflict with each other. Of particular interest to this study is Roosevelt’s own account of the events. In his two reports to Leonard Wood that were published in the Report of the Secretary of War, as well as his postwar story in The Rough Riders, Roosevelt gives the impression that he alone was the first to charge the San Juan Heights to drive away the entrenched Spaniards. This image of Theodore Roosevelt was propagated with the help of Richard Harding Davis. Reporting for the New York Herald, Davis transcribed what Roosevelt told him, then added his own twist to the story. In addition to the newspaper articles, magazines and books picked up his story. Davis depicted a fearless Roosevelt, wearing a blue polka-dotted bandanna, charging up the hill mounted on his horse, Texas. Thus the legend of Theodore Roosevelt was created.(23)

  Roosevelt and his Rough Riders atop San Juan Hill. (NARA 306-ST-505-58-4822)

The first report, written on July 4, 1898, provides Roosevelt’s initial claim for credit in charging the heights. He wrote,

After crossing the river at the ford we were moved along and up its right bank under fire, and were held in reserve at a sunken road. . . . We then received your order to advance and support the regular cavalry in the attack on the entrenchments and blockhouses on the hills to the left. The regiment was deployed on both sides of the road, and moved forward until we came to the rearmost lines of the regulars. We moved forward until I ordered a charge, and the men rushed the blockhouse and rifle pits on the hill to the right of our advance. They did the work in fine shape, though suffering severely. The guidons of Troop E and G were first planted on the summit, though the first men up were some A and B troopers, who were with me.

After the passage of almost three weeks, Roosevelt’s final report to Wood elaborated even further on his immortal charge.

We moved through several skirmish lines of the regiment ahead of us, as it seemed to me that our only chance was in rushing the entrenchments in front. . . . Accordingly we charged the blockhouse and entrenchments on the hill to our right against a heavy fire. It was taken in good style, the men of my regiment thus being the first to capture any fortified position and to break through the Spanish lines. The guidons of G and E troops were first at this point, but some of the men of A and B troops who were with me personally got in ahead of them. At the last wire fence up this hill I was obliged to abandon my horse and after that went on foot. . . . By the time San Juan was taken a large force had assembled on the hill we had previously captured, consisting not only of my own regiment but of the ninth and of portions of other cavalry regiments.(24)

  An “Oath of Office” certifies Theodore Roosevelt’s promotion to colonel of the First Volunteer Cavalry. (NARA, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780s-1917, RG 94)

In The Rough Riders, written almost a year after the war, Roosevelt provides further assessment of his gallantry.

The General [Sumner] at once ordered the first brigade to advance on the hills, and the second to support it. The instant I received the order I sprang on my horse and then my “crowded hour” began. . . . I started in the rear of the regiment, the position in which the colonel should theoretically stay. . . . I had intended to go into action on foot . . . but the heat was so oppressive that I found I should be quite unable to run up and down the line . . . moreover, when on horseback, I could see the men better and they could see me better.

I soon found that I could get that line, behind which I personally was, faster forward than the one immediately in front of it. . . . This happened with every line in succession, until I found myself at the head of the regiment. . . . The Ninth Regiment was immediately in front of me, and the First on my left, and these went up Kettle Hill with my regiment. The Third, Sixth, and Tenth went partly up Kettle Hill (following the Rough Riders and the Ninth and the First). . . . By the time I came to the head of the regiment we ran into the left wing of the ninth regulars . . . , who were lying down. I spoke to the captain in command. . . . I asked where the Colonel was, and as he was not in sight, said, “Then I am the ranking officer here and I give the order to charge. . . .” Naturally the Captain hesitated to obey this order. . . . So I said, “Then let my men through sir,” and rode on through the lines, followed by the grinning Rough Riders. . . .

Wheeling around, I then again galloped toward the hill, passing the shouting, cheering, firing men. . . . Some forty yards from the top I ran into a wire fence and jumped off Little Texas. . . . Almost immediately afterward the hill was covered by the troops, both Rough Riders and the colored troops of the Ninth, and some of the men of the First. There was the usual confusion, and afterward there was much discussion as to exactly who had been on the hill first. The first guidons planted there were those of the three New Mexican troops, G, E, and F, of my regiment . . . , but on the extreme right of the hill, at the opposite end from where we struck it, Captains Taylor and McBain, and their men of the Ninth were first up. Each of the five captains was firm in the belief that his troop was first up.(25)

While Roosevelt’s accounts and Davis’s articles make exciting reading, they do not tell the complete story. Based on official reports that Roosevelt either did not consult or refused to believe, historians writing about the battle for Santiago since July 1, 1898, have exposed a number of inaccuracies in Roosevelt’s versions. Ultimately the revised histories place credit for the charge on the San Juan Heights with the regular army, whom Roosevelt ignored in his accounts. Another obvious mistake is Roosevelt’s insistence in his official reports that he charged San Juan Hill, when in reality his immediate assault was on Kettle Hill. According to historians Peggy and Harold Samuels, Roosevelt had convinced himself that he had charged San Juan Hill as had Hawkins. “Although San Juan Hill and Kettle Hill were separated by geography and by difference in the quality of defenses, Roosevelt lumped together the hill, the knoll, the valley before them, and the heights as ‘the battlefield at San Juan Hill.’ He glossed over the clear physical difference between San Juan Hill in particular and the entire San Juan battlefield.”(26)

What the evidence supports is that the cavalry division advanced to the northwest across the San Juan River and up Kettle Hill. By the time the assault reached the top of Kettle Hill the ground was practically deserted by the Spanish soldiers. Due to the confusion of the heavy fire, cavalry units were intermingled with white soldiers of the Rough Riders firing beside the colored soldiers of the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry Regiments.(27) Who reached Kettle Hill first is where the confusion lies. First Lt. Edward D. Anderson made the claim for Troop C of the Tenth Cavalry. His report states that “while advancing near the road, Colonel Wood, the brigade commander, came by and told me to move my troop to the right and toward the blockhouse. I had 1 man killed and 7 wounded in reaching the top of the hill. . . . Shortly, Colonel Roosevelt and part of his regiment joined our right and I reported to him with my troop. His command took the position behind the crest in which we now occupy.”(28)

The troops on Kettle Hill under the orders of Sumner and the inspiration of Theodore Roosevelt started down the west slope of the hill and up the northern extension of San Juan Hill. The cavalry encountered trenches filled with dead Spaniards or those who wished to surrender. Some of the bolder enemy were shot in full flight by the Rough Riders and other regiments now firmly in place on San Juan Hill. The assaults against Kettle and San Juan Hills were against Spanish troops that had already begun pulling back. Around noon their two field artillery pieces had been depleted of ammunition, and their infantry had been decimated by the Gatling gun, artillery, and rifle fire. Those who remained in the trenches when the U.S. cavalry appeared were either dead or wounded. The Rough Riders did charge San Juan Hill, but only after the assault on the more strategically important Kettle Hill.

The July 1 assault on the San Juan Heights drove the Spaniards from the high ground surrounding the city of Santiago. This was accomplished at a severe cost, though, as the Fifth Corps sustained more than 1,300 casualties. The Rough Riders, who were about 490 strong when the battle started, suffered 15 men killed and 73 wounded. One of those killed was Bucky O’Neil, who was shot through the back of the head while parading in front of Troop A. Morale among the officers and men was at the lowest point of the campaign because of the high casualty rate and confusion of the day’s battle.

To make matters worse, logistical problems in getting supplies and food to the men on San Juan Hill, as well as abysmal medical services, prompted Shafter to consider withdrawing on July 2 to reorganize. But the Fifth Corps remained and debated with the navy for the next several days over the course to follow for an attack on Santiago. Shafter wanted the navy to force its way through Santiago Harbor and bombard the city, while Adm. William T. Sampson wanted the army first to seize the forts at the entrance of the harbor. In the meantime, negotiations commenced between Shafter and the new commander of the Spanish forces at Santiago, Gen. Jose Toral. Shafter threatened Toral with a combined sea and land attack if the Spanish did not surrender. The final blow for the Spanish force was the fiery destruction of their squadron as it tried to flee Santiago Harbor on July 3. This, coupled with an increase in sickness and lack of food for Toral’s men, induced the Spanish commander to surrender, and formal ceremonies took place on July 17.(29)

  Spanish forces march through the streets of Santiago. (NARA 111-SC-81840)

The Spaniards were not the only ones suffering from disease. By the end of July, almost 20 percent of Shafter’s men were hospitalized because of yellow fever, dysentery, and a large number of malaria cases. At first the War Department felt the Fifth Corps should remain in Cuba and wait out the epidemics, but Shafter warned that the disease would worsen unless the sick men were returned to the United States. Shafter solicited the views of his division and brigade commanders, and they concurred that the weakened soldiers must leave Cuba immediately or risk yellow fever deaths rising by the hundreds. All three of Shafter’s division commanders and several of the brigade officers, including Roosevelt, drafted and signed a letter stating their views on the withdrawal from Cuba. The letter was included with Shafter’s dispatch and sent to the War Department on August 3. Roosevelt also took matters into his own hands and sent an urgent plea to his friend, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. A copy of Shafter’s dispatch was leaked to an Associated Press correspondent at the Fifth Corps headquarters, and the generals’ letter was printed in newspapers across the United States. Although the exact source of who leaked the dispatch was never revealed, Roosevelt has often been considered the prime suspect. Because the dispatch went through so many hands, it was called the “Round Robin” letter.

The letter caused great embarrassment to the McKinley administration, which appeared cold and callous to the American public for leaving the sick troops in Cuba. McKinley was also fearful that news of a decimated army would give the Spanish more bargaining power when negotiating the armistice. The scandal became known as the “Round Robin Affair,” and as a result, McKinley allowed Shafter to start sending his men north as soon as possible. The first shipload of troops left Santiago on August 7, and by August 25 the entire corps had left Cuba. The Rough Riders were among those transported on one of the first ships to leave Cuba and arrived at Montauk Point, Long Island, on August 15 to a cheering crowd.(30)

Before Roosevelt and his Rough Riders left Cuba for the United States, he commenced fighting another, personal, battle. General Wheeler promised to recommend him to the War Department for a Medal of Honor, and his good friend Leonard Wood got the ball rolling by submitting the first endorsement on July 6. In a letter to the War Department Adjutant General’s office in Washington, Wood plainly stated that “I have the honor to recommend Lieut. Col. Theodore Roosevelt . . . for a Medal of Honor for distinguished gallantry in leading a charge on one of the entrenched hills to the east of the Spanish position in the suburbs of Santiago de Cuba, July First, 1898.”(31)

Although a nice gesture, Wood’s recommendation had very little merit. He had not been present during the actual charge, and Wood’s enemies asserted that he had got lost in the woods trying to maneuver his brigade, reaching San Juan Hill only after the fighting had ended. He was therefore not a reliable witness, and the War Department would later reveal this fact. Following Wood’s recommendation were similar endorsements from Generals Wheeler and Shafter. Like Wood, they also had not witnessed Roosevelt’s alleged heroic charge.

Roosevelt also pushed the Medal of Honor issue to his long-time companion, Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. Roosevelt boasted to him “that General Wheeler intends to recommend me for the Medal of Honor; naturally I should like to have it.” In a another letter to Lodge complaining about the deplorable conditions in Cuba and the deaths that might result from the malaria, Roosevelt reflected upon his own possible death. He told Lodge that “if I do go, I do wish you would get that medal for me anyhow, as I should awfully like the children to have it, and I think I earned it.”(32)

Impatient to hear news about the Medal of Honor, Roosevelt wrote to the War Department in September 1898. Assistant Secretary of War George D. Meikeljohn responded that they had Wood, Wheeler, and Shafter’s letters on file, but “owing to the pressure of current work the Department is unable to give consideration cases of this class at the present time, but the application made in your behalf will receive careful attention as soon as it is found practicable to take up these cases.”(33)

Although Roosevelt may have deemed Meikeljohn’s response a snub, his application was indeed one of many pouring into the War Department. Joining him on the Medal of Honor and Brevet list were more than fifty other veterans of the Spanish-American War. In order to deal with each case in a fair manner, Secretary of War Alger established on November 9, 1898, a “board of officers . . . for the purpose of making recommendations for brevet promotions, the awards of medals of honor, and certificates of merit for the officers, and enlisted men who participated in the campaigns of Santiago, the Philippines, and Porto Rico.”(34)

Known as the “Brevet Board,” the three officers in charge received mountains of paperwork from the Adjutant General’s Office that no doubt included Roosevelt’s numerous letters and supporting documents. To determine eligibility for the Medal of Honor, the Brevet Board had to follow paragraph 177 of the United States Army regulations. It states that “in order that the Congressional Medal of Honor may be deserved[,] service must have been performed in action as such conspicuous character to clearly distinguish the man for gallantry and intrepidity above his comrades–service that involved extreme jeopardy of life or the performance of extraordinary hazardous duty. Recommendations for the decoration will be judged by this standard of extraordinary merit, and incontestible proof of performance of the service will be exacted.”(35) Since its creation during the Civil War, the Medal of Honor had been haphazardly awarded because there were no clear rules or policies for documenting and authenticating the acts of gallantry befitting the decoration. The Brevet Board served to temporarily correct this dilemma.

Four months after submission of his name for the Medal of Honor, Roosevelt became more obsessed with the issue. He painfully told Lodge on December 6 that “if I didn’t earn it, then no commissioned officer can ever earn it. . . . I don’t ask this as a favor–I ask it as a right. . . . I feel rather ugly on this medal of honor business; and the President and War Dept. may as well understand it. If they want fighting, they shall have it.” Three weeks later in another letter to Lodge, Roosevelt changed his tone. He told his friend “now, please don’t, in the midst of all your worry over big matters, do another thing in connection with the medal.”(36)

  Roosevelt repeatedly stressed recommendations on his behalf by Generals Wood, Wheeler, and Shafter. Wood vaguely praised the “conspicuous gallantry” of Roosevelt’s leadership. (NARA, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780s-1917, RG 94)

He prepared himself for possible denial after learning from Senator Lodge that Secretary Alger had told him at a White House dinner that the Rough Rider would not receive the medal. Roosevelt also claimed that Alger had made this announcement to others on a number of occasions. He wrote to Leonard Wood and told him “pray do not think of the medal anymore. There is nothing to be done about it. I really care more for the recommendations for it than the medal itself.”(37) In a letter to Gen. Francis Vinton Greene, Roosevelt vented his frustrations about Alger: “You will readily understand however, that both my friends and myself feel that when the Secretary announces in advance publicly and repeatedly that the medal must not and will not be given, this mere fact itself amounts to coercion of the Board, and I shall think that the Board might better <<display>> sensitiveness about the coercion than about my friends having called in consequence of the Secretary’s public statements.”(38)

Roosevelt also expressed these same feelings in a barrage of letters to the office of the Adjutant General of the War Department, Henry C. Corbin. Corbin responded that “one word as to the reported remark of the Secretary of War that ‘you were not entitled to a medal of honor.’ I am fully persuaded that the Secretary never made any such statement to any one. My relations with the Secretary have been intimate and your name has been frequently mentioned and there was never a suggestion from him that was not full of kindly regard and appreciation. What he probably did say was ‘the case as presented by General Wood would not, under the rules of the office, entitle you to this consideration,’ and you must agree that Wood’s recommendation was lacking in the special features that warrant the issuance of medals to any one. As you have written him, I hope he will be able to set forth in detail just why it should be done. Should he do this, I undertake to say the Secretary will share with me the pleasure of bestowing this honor upon you.”(39)

Taking Corbin’s advice, Roosevelt solicited another statement from Wood. But Wood’s second letter quoted almost verbatim the official reports submitted to him in July by Roosevelt. In other words, Wood could not offer himself as an eyewitness. Roosevelt began to realize that there may not be any accurate witnesses to his valor because “I don’t know who saw me throughout the fight, because I was almost always in the front and could not tell who was close behind me, and was paying no attention to it.” Not giving up the fight, Roosevelt requested statements from regular army officers and volunteers who were either with him or in the area during the attack on San Juan Heights.

Roosevelt was correct. The statements submitted on his behalf were of little help because they provided conflicting and vague accounts of his bravery. Capt. C. J. Stevens of the Ninth Cavalry stated that “Col. Roosevelt was among the very first to reach the crest of the hill.” On the other hand, 1st Lt. Robert Howe of the Sixth Cavalry recalled that the “Colonel’s life was placed in extreme jeopardy, owing to the conspicuous position he took in leading the line, and being the first to reach the crest of that hill.” Gen. Samuel S. Sumner, as though he felt an obligation to support Roosevelt’s Medal of Honor case, simply says that “Col. Roosevelt by his example and fearlessness inspired his men at both Kettle Hill and the ridge known as San Juan, he led his command in person.” Sumner, whose testimony had great merit, provides no comments on whether Roosevelt was the first or among the first on the hill. The statements from former officers in the Rough Riders, such as Maxwell Keyes, W. J. McCann, and M. J. Jenkins, were biased in support of Roosevelt. They essentially echoed their colonel’s argument.(40)

With the Medal of Honor issue dragging on, Roosevelt’s emotions took on a childlike, vindictive tone. In a letter to Gen. Bradley Tyler Johnson, he wrote, “I do not believe the War Department has the slightest intentions of granting it, and I have really given up thinking about it. You see I cannot blame the War Department for feeling bitterly toward me now, for I have hit, and intend to hit them, hard for what they have done and left done and left undone, and I am rather pleased than otherwise that they should have given me no excuse to feel under any obligation to them. Now they can grant me the medal or not, just as they wish, for it will not make a particle of difference in what I shall write about them.”(41) When Roosevelt states that “I have hit the War Department hard,” he is most likely referring to the Round Robin affair and his testimony before the “Commission Appointed by the President to Investigate the Conduct of the War Department in the War With Spain.”

The long wait for news about his award ended for Roosevelt on June 8, 1899, when the Brevet Board submitted its recommendations for the Medal of Honor to the secretary of war. The three board members stated that “many cases of bravery and unquestioned courage in battle have been presented, but the application of the rules laid down for the guidance of the Board in awarding Medals of Honor constrains it to limit its recommendations.”(42) Twenty-eight participants of the Santiago Campaign were approved to receive the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action, but Roosevelt’s name was not among them. Instead, his name appeared with other volunteer officers on a separate list for recommendation as brevet colonel and brevet brigadier general.

Exactly why the Brevet Board denied Roosevelt the award is not officially documented. There are no extant War Department records nor similar correspondence among the personal papers of Russell Alger that hint at why Roosevelt was rejected. Certainly no evidence exists to support the contention that Alger held a grudge over the Round Robin affair or Roosevelt’s testimony to the congressional committee. On the contrary, letters from the War Department to Roosevelt indicate that they were more than willing to assist him in getting the Medal of Honor. One can only assume that the Brevet Board came to the conclusion that, though Roosevelt’s conduct in Cuba was quite admirable, it was not worthy of a Medal of Honor.

  The Medal of Honor was awarded to twenty-eight men in the battle for Santiago, but Roosevelt failed to secure it. (U.S. Army Center of Military History)

Regardless of why Roosevelt was not awarded the Medal of Honor, it was the correct decision. In one way or another, most of the officers participating in the fighting on July 1, 1898, performed very well. Military historian Graham Cosmas states that “in most regiments, the officer casualty rate was about double that for enlisted men–an indication of the extent and price of leadership from the front.”(43) To single out Roosevelt as a hero among the other line officers would have been a great injustice, and the merit of the award would have been cheapened. The denial of the Medal of Honor does not diminish the fact that Roosevelt gave his best effort in attempting to bring order to the chaos along the San Juan Heights. He risked his life by riding his horse during the charge while the Spanish bullets rained down upon him. There is no doubt that he was an inspiration to the men of the Rough Riders and the troops of the cavalry division.

Roosevelt took the Brevet Board’s decision with great disappointment, as might be expected. But time also helped heal any ill feelings he may have harbored, at least publicly. Since he was no longer serving in the United States Army, the brevet ranks of colonel and brigadier general had only political value to Roosevelt.(44) His career as a politician was right on track, and there was no reason to stew about the Medal of Honor any further. In 1907 he rejected an offer to join the Medal of Honor Club for the reason that “I was recommended for it [Medal of Honor] by my superior officers in the Santiago campaign, but I was not awarded it; and frankly, looking back on it now, I feel that the board which declined to award it took exactly the right position.”(45)

The reasons behind Roosevelt’s adamancy about getting the Medal of Honor are open to conjecture, but political ambition was certainly one of his motives. Clearly Roosevelt had sights on the presidency, and the medal was the perfect vehicle to help get him into the White House. He may also have been in awe of the Medal of Honor winners with whom he served in Cuba: Nelson A. Miles, William R. Shafter, Henry W. Lawton, Robert Lee Howe, and Leonard Wood. As an overly confident volunteer, Roosevelt hoped for acceptance by the regular officers. In his eyes, the Medal of Honor would put him on the same level as the career soldiers. Politically, not receiving the Medal of Honor certainly did not impede Roosevelt’s career as a civil servant. Because of his participation in the Spanish-American War, he was considered one of the most popular and colorful political figures in the United States. Almost immediately after the war, Roosevelt was elected governor of New York, then selected by McKinley as his vice president, then became President of the United States. His political successes were a direct result of the image he made for himself in Cuba.

Theodore Roosevelt passed away in 1919 from complications relating to an adventure in South America. Had Roosevelt still been alive in 1944, he would have been proud to learn that a Roosevelt did eventually win the award he so coveted. His son Brig. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., received the Medal of Honor posthumously for “gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, in France.”(46) However, this Medal of Honor was awarded with its own bit of controversy. Originally, Theodore jr. had been cited for the Distinguished Service Cross. Some commanding officers in the First Army, including Maj. Gen. J. Lawton Collins and Lt. Gen. Courtney Hodges, considered this to be the appropriate award, but the War Department upgraded the citation to a Medal of Honor.(47)

Even though he did not receive his nation’s highest military decoration, Theodore Roosevelt will forever be known as one of America’s most well-liked and vibrant characters. His charge up Kettle Hill, even though he insisted it was San Juan Hill, conjures a heroic image that will likely never fade with time. Theodore Roosevelt will always be remembered as the embodiment of the Spanish-American War, a significant historical event that he called the “time of my life.”(48)


The Crowded Hour

The Charge at
El Caney & San Juan Hills

PHOTO RIGHT:  Rough Rider Color Sergeant Wright

Among the regiments assembled and digging for shelter from the enemy guns at the foot of San Juan Hill was the 6th US Infantry, a part of General Kent’s 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division under Brigadier General Hamilton S. Hawkins.  Among the members of Hawkins’ staff was an eager young lieutenant who had told a friend he would return from battle as either a colonel or a corps.  As the enemy fire continued to rain upon the stalemated American soldiers, Lieutenant Jules Ord turned to his commander.  Tired of the wait he informed General Hawkins, “General, if you will order a charge, I will lead it.”


A veteran of Civil War assaults on fortified enemy positions, General Hawkins considered the young lieutenant’s offer, weighing it against the high rate of casualties he knew such a charge would create. 


 Lieutenant Ord broke the silence of the general’s contemplation.  “If you do not wish to order a charge, General, I should like to volunteer,” he offered.  “We can’t stay here, can we?”

“I would not ask any man to volunteer,” General Hawkins replied.

“If you do not FORBID it, I will start it,” Ord implored.  “I only ask you not to refuse permission.”

Of a truth, it was an unusual conversation between a commanding general and a junior staffer.  But the grizzled veteran also realized that Lieutenant Ord was right, the men couldn’t stay where they were and continue to suffer at the mercy of the enemy guns above them.  “I will not ask for volunteers, I will not give permission and I will not refuse it,” the general finally responded ambiguously.  “God bless you and good luck!”

Shirtless against the heat and armed with a pistol in one hand and saber in the other, Lieutenant Ord rose up and shouted to his men, “Come on, you men.  We can’t stay here.  Follow me!”.   In the tension of the moment and inspired by the sight of the brave lieutenant, the men of General Hawkins’ 6th Infantry rose to their feet to charge directly into the guns of the Spanish.  Almost immediately, Lieutenant Ord was struck by enemy rounds and fell dead, but his shout had energized the moment and the 6th Infantry continued to rush the hillside.  

To the right of the 6th, the men of the Rough Riders saw Lieutenant Ord and his men begin their assault and rose also, attacking the enemy above.  To the rear the 10th US Cavalry became caught up in the excitement, rushing forward to join the attack.  In the spontaneity and confusion of the moment,  the all-black regiment split with part of the 10th joining the 6th Infantry to attack San Juan Hill, and the other half mingling with the Rough Riders to assault Kettle Hill.

Focus on

Lieutenant J. Ord Hume L.F.



Born in Edinburgh 1864, he was one of the best known Composers and Bandmasters in late 1800s and early 1900s. He had a remarkable career as Bandsman, Bandmaster, Composer and Adjudicator. He joined the Duke of Duccleuch-Dalkeith Militia Permanent Staff when only eleven years old and became Cornet Soloist a year later.  At the age of sixteen he went to the Band of the Royal Scots Greys as Cornet Soloist, and remained with that regiment until 1887.

He was then appointed Organist of the Military Presbyterian Church, Aldershot, and Bandmaster of the Aldershot and Farnham Institute Bands. He held numerous other appointments, including the Bandmastership of the 3rd. V.B. Durham Light Infantry. Mr Ord Hume published uptowards 1,000 pieces. It was he who composed the test pieces for the first two 1,000 Guineas Challenge Cup Competitions at the Crystal Palace, and had been Chief Adjudicator in that Contest for many years. 

For a number of years he had headed the list of Adjudicators in the country, and as a Professional Teacher had been associated with practically every band of importance in the country.  Mr Ord Hume also had the Editorial Control of a number of important publications. In 1902 he toured the Commonwealth of Australia as Adjudicator at musical function of all kinds.

He was adjudicator at the Championship of Ulster Contest in Belfast in October 1905 and continued to adjudicate from time to time until the 20th N.I.B.A. Championship in Belfast, November 1931. This was his last appearance at this contest.  His last decision at a Band Contest, was given at the Aonach Tailteann Band Championship in the Mansion House, Dublin on Saturday 9th July, 1932. (This contest was won by Bloomfield Amateur Flute Band, Belfast. Piccolo player was Donald Sloan).

He passed away on 28th November 1932 after having been in ill health for sometime. His death was deeply regretted, not only by the N.I.B.A. but by all Bandsmen in Northern Ireland, by whom he was well known and greatly respected. He also arranged many fine test pieces for the Flute Bands over the years.


Notes taken from the Ulster Amateur Flute Band History, complied by Donald Sloan.




Among the Buffalo Soldiers that mingled with the Rough Riders was the 10th Cavalry’s regimental quartermaster, an 1886 graduate of West Point who had been an instructor at his alma mater when the Spanish-American War broke out.  He had requested a combat assignment with the statement that, “If I did not make every effort to obtain an opportunity for field service I should never forgive myself.”

When the young lieutenant was informed that all West Point instructors were frozen in their positions, and when repeated letters to the assistant secretary of war proved fruitless, he threatened, “I shall resign (the West Point position) and join some National Guard or volunteer unit that stands a chance of being sent to Cuba.”  Having previously served with the 10th US Cavalry, he also wrote his friend



 Colonel Guy V. Henry, commander of the 10th, requesting a return to service in his old unit.  When Colonel Henry requested the assignment of the young lieutenant to the 10th as it prepared for duty in Cuba, the assistant secretary of war finally granted him permission to leave his teaching duties.

As a white officer among the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th, the lieutenant had been given a nickname.  Though his first name was John, he was facetiously referred to as “BLACK JACK”.  It was a moniker that would follow him for life, long after his service with the 10th Cavalry ended, and nearly twenty years later would become one of the most famous names in military history when Lieutenant John J. Black Jack Pershing would become a general and lead the Untied States Expeditionary forces in


John J. Black Jack Pershing would become a genereral

The Great War.


As Lieutenant Pershing charged up Kettle Hill among the men of his 10th Cavalry and Colonel Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, he was more than impressed by what he was witnessing.  He later wrote:

“Each officer or soldier next in rank took charge of the line or group immediately in his front or rear and halting to fire at each good opportunity, taking reasonable advantage of cover, the entire command moved forward as coolly as though the buzzing of bullets was the humming of bees.  White regiments, black regiments, regulars and Rough Riders, representing the young manhood of the North and the South, fought shoulder to shoulder, unmindful of race or color, unmindful of whether commanded by ex-Confederate or not, and mindful of only their common duty as Americans.”


Read more

July 3 —


Spain’s Atlantic fleet, having sought refuge in the harbor of Santiago, Cuba, attempts to escape and is destroyed by American naval forces.


Fort Huachuca: The Traditional Home of the Buffalo Soldier


Buffalo Soldier statue at Fort Huachuca’s Main Gate.
It was dedicated in 1977 to recognize the part Huachuca
has played in African-American military history.
U.S. Army photo

Henry O. Flipper was the first African-American graduate (1877) of the U.S. Military Academy. The 10th Cavalry officer was dismissed from the service in 1882 after discrepancies were found in the post commissary funds of which he was in charge. Flipper maintained his innocence. He stayed on the Mexican border, serving as a mining engineer and publishing the Nogales Sunday Herald. He later became the interpreter for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 1919-1922, an assistant to the Secretary of Interior, 1922-1923, and an engineer with a New York oil company operating in Venezuela. He authored several books before his death in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1940 at the age of 84. U.S. Army Signal Corps photo.

The story of black Americans fighting under their nation’s flag is older than the flag itself. First introduced as slaves by the British early in the 17th century, blacks served alongside their white masters in the first colonial militias organized to defend against Indian attacks.

By the time of the American Revolution, some freed slaves were taking a stand for independence along with the white colonists. A freedman named Crispus Attucks was among those eleven Americans gunned down in the Boston massacre of March 5, 1770, when they defied the British soldiery. When the war broke out, blacks like Peter Salem and Salem Poore were in the thick of the fighting. Salem was credited with shooting the British commander at Bunker Hill and Poore was cited for gallantry. A number of other blacks were serving in New England militia units in 1775, but when the Continental Army was officially formed in 1775, Congress bowed to the insistence of the southern slaveholders and excluded blacks, free or slave, from service. These regulations were soon overridden by the necessities of the desperate fighting and the need for manpower. Black veterans were retained and new recruits were accepted.

“A Halt to Tighten the Packs,” Frederic Remington

In all, there were approximately 5,000 blacks who served in the American Revolutionary War. Despite the fact that they continued to make real military contributions in the War of 1812 and in the Civil War, it was not until after that latter war that blacks were accepted into the regular Army.

Fort Huachuca, more than any other installation in the U.S. military establishment, was at the heart of half a century of black military history. It was here that black soldiers came to reflect upon their worth, to remember the part they had played in taming Comanche, Kiowa, Apache, and Sioux; in punching a hole through Spanish lines on a Cuban hilltop so Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders could dash through it; and in winning the day against Mexican forces at Agua Caliente in 1916. If their white fellow Americans did not show them the respect they deserved, their foes in battle did. The Indians called them “Buffalo Soldiers.” The Germans in World War I referred to them as “Hell Fighters.”

Sergeant George Berry of the 10th Cavalry who planted the colors of the 10th Cavalry on San Juan Hill, Cuba, 1 July 1898. [ He is holding those same colors and standing in front of the headquarters at Huachuca.]

It was on Huachuca’s parade field that they felt the stirrings of pride that only the soldier knows, and they marched with a growing sense of equality that their brother civilians would not be allowed to feel until decades later. Problems of discrimination were as widespread in the Army as they were in other parts of American society, but minority barriers fell faster in the Army where the most important measure of a man is his dependability in a fight.

In 1866 six black regular Army regiments were formed. They were the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st Infantry and the 9th and 10th Cavalry. Three years later, as part of a reduction in the size of the Army, the 38th and 41st were consolidated to form the 24th Infantry and the 39th and 40th made up the new 25th Infantry. Officered by whites, these regiments went on to justify the belief by black leaders that men of their race could contribute mightily to the nation’s defense. Some of the service of each of these regiments in the latter part of the 19th century is highlighted in the paragraphs that follow.

The 24th Infantry Regiment participated in 1875 expeditions against hostile Kiowas and Commanches in the Department of Texas. One of the engagements of this campaign saw Lieutenant John Bullis and three Seminole-Negro Indian scouts attack a 25-man war party on the Pecos River. Sergeant John Ward, Private Pompey Factor and Trumpeter Isaac Payne were rewarded with the Medal of Honor for their exceptional bravery in this encounter.

General Benjamin H. Grierson in 1863. Grierson had earned a reputation as a daring cavalryman during the Civil War and was named the commander of the newly formed 10th Cavalry regiment, the Buffalo Soldiers, in 1866.

The 25th Infantry Regiment spent its first ten years in Texas building and repairing military posts, roads and telegraph lines; performing escort and guard duty of all description; marching and counter-marching from post to post; and scouting for Indians. In 1880 the regiment was ordered to the Department of Dakota and stationed at Fort Missoula, Montana. It participated in the Pine Ridge Campaign of 189091, the last stand of the Sioux, and quelled civil disorders in Missoula during the Northern Pacific Railroad strike in 1894.

The 10th Cavalry Regiment, or “Buffalo Soldiers,” is probably the most renowned of the black regiments. At its inception, the commander, Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson, was determined to fill the ranks only with men of the highest quality. Orders went out to recruit none but “superior men … who would do credit to the regiment.” The 10th’s record in several Indian War campaigns attests to the fact that Grierson achieved his goal. In 1886, the Buffalo Soldiers tracked Geronimo’s renegades in the Pinito Mountains in Mexico and several months later ran down the last Apache holdout Mangas and his band.

In 1890 the Battle of Wounded Knee Creek, the last major fight of the Indian Wars, pitted the U.S. 7th Cavalry against Big Foot’s Sioux. The 9th Cavalry Regiment also took part in this campaign and played a dramatic part in the Battle of Clay Creek Mission. Over 1,800 Sioux under Little Wound and Two Strike had encircled the battle-weary 7th. The situation looked grave until the 9th Cavalry arrived on the field and drove off the Indian force with an their rear. For conspicuous gallantry displayed on this occasion, Corporal William O. Wilson, Troop 1, 9th Cavalry, was granted the Medal of Honor.

Frederic Remington. “Saddle Up”

The paths of all four of these regiments would intersect in a scenic canyon in southeastern Arizona, just twenty miles from the Mexican border. The place was called Fort Huachuca and it had played an important part in the Apache campaigns since its establishment in 1877.

The first black regiment to arrive at Huachuca was the 24th Infantry which sent companies there in 1892. During the next year, the entire regiment would come together at the fort. Here they remained until 1896, a year that saw some excitement for the troops who thought that the Indian Wars were ended. It was in that year that Colonel John Mosby Bacon took Companies C and H, of the 24th Infantry out of Fort Huachuca to run down Yaqui Indians who had been raiding around Harshaw and Nogales. The search for these Mexico-based Indians proved inconclusive.

“Dismounted Negro, Tenth Cavalry,” Frederic Remington

Companies A and H of the 25th Infantry regiment took up residence in Huachuca Canyon in 1898, after returning from fighting in Cuba, and A Company remained there until the end of April 1899.

Troops of the 9th Cavalry joined the 25th Infantry at Fort Huachuca in 1898 and rotated its units in and out of the post until 1900. A detachment of the 9th would return briefly for a short tour in 1912.

Although the 9th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry regiments had all served briefly at Fort Huachuca during the 1890s, it wasn’t until the 10th Cavalry, or the “Buffalo Soldiers,” arrived there in December 1913 that the continuous era of black soldiers began at Huachuca. (The nickname “Buffalo Soldiers” was first given to the men of the 10th Cavalry by the Indians of the plains who likened their hair to that of the buffalo. Over the years this name has been extended by veterans to include soldiers of all of the original black regiments.)

This proud cavalry unit had served in Arizona before, in the last century, rotating from one post to another in Arizona, New Mexico or Texas, wherever they were needed to track down Apache renegades. So the startling vistas were not new to many of the veterans. Nor was the relentless desert sun a stranger to these horsemen who doggedly followed the trail of Pancho Villa into Mexico in 1916. In Huachuca Canyon they found a home for the next eighteen years, the longest this mobile unit would stay at any one place since its formation in 1866.

Men of the 25th Infantry warm themselves around a Sibley stove at Fort Keough, Montana, in 1890-91.

Right after their arrival at Huachuca, in 1914, the men of the 10th were spread out at encampments along the Arizona-Mexico border from Yuma on the West to Naco on the east. They corralled their horses and stretched their tents at points in between like Forrest, Osborne, Nogales, Lochiel, Harrison’s Ranch, Arivaca, Sasabe, La Osa, and San Fernando. Many would sweat it out under canvas for as long as ten months before being rotated back to their home station in the cooler elevations of the Huachucas.

They were picketed along the border, not as some training exercise, but to enforce neutrality laws. Mexico was experiencing political upheaval on a scale that alarmed statesmen in Washington, D. C., and they quickly legislated that there could be no encroachments upon American soil.

Kitchen scene, 25th Infantry during winter campaign, 1890-91, Fort Keough, Montana. U.S. Army Signal Corps photo (SC83763).

They were relieved in 1931 by the 25th Infantry Regiment. First arriving at the post in 1928, the 25th continued the tradition of black soldiering there. Like the 10th Cavalry, they had seen hard combat in both the Indian Wars and in Cuba. Also like the Tenth, they were to serve there for 14 years until 1942 when they were incorporated as cadre into the newly formed 93d Infantry Division.

The 93d and 92d Divisions trained one after the other at Fort Huachuca during World War II. The 93d, which would be the first black division to see action in the war, arrived in Arizona in 1942 and shipped out to the Pacific in 1944. Because its regiments, the 368th and 369th, were assigned to the French Army in World War 1, the light blue French helmet became the division’s shoulder patch.

A squad room interior of the 24th Infantry at Huachuca around 1892.

The 92d too had regiments (365th, 370th and 371st) that could trace their lineage to some heroic fighting in France in 1918, but the division chose to reach back to the Indian Wars of the 1870s and 80s for their symbol. They chose for their shoulder patch the buffalo, recalling the “Buffalo Soldiers,” as the black troops were respectfully called by the Indians of the Western plains.

Company B of the 25th Infantry was stationed at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, from 1883-1888.
They pose here in their full dress uniforms. U.S. Army Signal Corps photo SC 83637.

To some blacks Huachuca was a mountain refuge far away from the immense struggle that was taking place in America’s city streets and country lanes, a fight for equality. But for others it was a way to participate in the struggle, to take up a profession that offered dignity, service to country, and maybe a warrior’s death. For whatever reason they joined the Army (the Marines did not admit blacks; the Navy had only a few openings for the menial job of messboy), Fort Huachuca would be an almost inevitable stop along their way. Some found it to be “a very fine place to serve.” To others it was “an infamous place.” For all it was, for a time, home. Black infantrymen and cavalrymen carved out a place in history there. If the sobriquet “Buffalo Soldier” has come to stand collectively for the black men who served in the four regular army regiments from 1866 to World War 11, then Fort Huachuca has earned the distinction of being “Home of the Buffalo Soldier.”

“A Campfire Sketch,” Frederic Remington——————“A Pull at the Canteen,” Frederic Remington



Though the Colors of the United States of America were flying from the summits of San Juan and Kettle Hills by 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon,


General Henry Lawton’s 2nd Infantry Division was still struggling for both survival and victory at El Caney.  Among the first to attack in the early morning was the 71st Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, many of its men falling to the devastating fire from the Spanish blockhouses.  Two regular infantry regiments moved into position as the 71st fell back, the ranks of these units likewise being quickly repulsed as they pushed through the high jungle grass in their attempt to charge the enemy.

The Spanish were not, however, without their own tragic losses.


General Vara de Rey fought his soldiers well, until falling himself…shot through both legs.  While being carried to safety on a stretcher, he was hit again, this time in the head, and died instantly.  Before the day came to a close, two of his sons, serving under him at El Caney, would also be killed.

Two hours after the US Colors had risen over San Juan Hill, Lawton’s 3rd, 20th, and 25th US Infantry launched a heavy assault.  Much like the earlier charge at San Juan Hill, it was an almost spontaneous eruption of brave American soldiers who had fought all day and tired of the constant rain of enemy fire from the trenches.  The terrain was now littered with the bodies of dead and wounded Americans while, inside the city a small handful of leaderless Spanish soldiers was all that remained to make a final valiant stand.  Of the 520 Spanish soldiers who had defended the city earlier in the day, less than 100 remained to face the American charge.  





The charge began as Lieutenant Kinnison of the 25th observed, “We cannot take the trenches without charging them,” then almost immediately fell wounded by an enemy round before he could sound the charge.  Second Lieutenant A. J. Moss replaced him as yells and whoops “which would have done credit to a Comanche Indian” went up and down the ranks, according to Sergeant Major Frank Pullen of the 25th.  The Buffalo Soldiers charged with a fury, ignoring the men that fell around them, to charge the enemy trenches and rout the last of the enemy defenders.  Company H was first to reach the blockhouse where Private Butler took possession of the enemy flag for his company.  (Later an officer of the 12th infantry entered and ordered Butler to give up the flag.  Dutifully, Butler followed the white officer’s orders, but not before cutting a swatch from the enemy standard to later substantiate his claim that his company and his regiment had been the first to take the position.)

Within half an hour the battle was over, the city secured and the stone fort at El Viso destroyed.  By five in the evening all Spaniards who had not escaped into the jungle were either dead or captured.  The “two hour victory” had taken a full day, but because of the valor and determination of the young American soldiers, victory had at last come.  It was not without great cost, 81 Americans killed at El Caney, another 360 wounded.  Nine members of the 17th Infantry Regiment received Medals of Honor, all for “GALLANTLY ASSISTING IN THE RESCUE OF THE WOUNDED FROM IN FRONT OF THE LINES UNDER HEAVY FIRE OF THE ENEMY.

At both El Caney and at San Juan Hill, the efforts to bury the dead and treat and evacuate the wounded went long into the night and after the midnight hour.  At San Juan the Americans pitched their tents and dined on captured enemy provisions.  Throughout the night an alert vigil was maintained against the expected counter-attack that never materialized.

At El Caney General Lawton prepared his troops to finally move south to join with the other two divisions, nearly a full day behind schedule.  


El Caney

17th US Infantry

2LT Charles Roberts
1Lt Benjamin Hardaway

Company C


Company D

Cpl Ulysses Buzzard   Cpl Norman Ressler
Pvt George Berg   Cpl Warren Shepherd
Pvt Oscar Brookin    
Pvt Thomas Graves    
Pvt Bruno Wende    

San Juan & 
Kettle Hill

Company F
10th US Cavalry


SgtMaj Edward Baker

Company F
10th US Infantry


Company H
21st US Infantry

Pvt Charles Cantrell   Pvt John Deswan
Sgt Andrew Cummins   Cpl Thomas Doherty
Pvt William Keller   Pvt Frank Fournia
Pvt James Nash   Pvt Thomas Kelly
Pvt Alfred Polond   Pvt George Nee
    Mus Herman Pfisterer

Company A
13th US Infantry


US Volunteers

Sgt Alexander Quinn   Cpt Albert Mills








Though Colonel Theodore Roosevelt emerged from the Spanish-American war a larger-than-life hero, in great part due his reckless but valiant leadership at Kettle Hill.  Never-the-less, he was denied the Medal of Honor.  Many historians believe this was due to his outspoken criticism of Secretary of War Alger and other top military planners.  While the public adored “Teddy” and fed vociferously on the reports of his Rough Riders, those who were the subjects of Roosevelt’s scathing reports of poorly planned military actions and inept efforts to properly equip and supply his soldiers, exacted their revenge.  Indeed, Roosevelt went so far as to say publicly, “I Am Entitled to the Medal of Honor and I Want It”.

Though two Medal of Honor recipients who had witnessed Roosevelt’s actions at Kettle and San Juan Hills (Generals Shafter and Wood) recommended the intrepid leader of the Rough Riders, his political enemies succeeded in denying it to him during his lifetime.  Beyond Roosevelt’s death, his actions were debated for decades and finally, more than 100 years after his famous charge during the Spanish-American War, Congress approved the award.  On January 16, 2001 President William Clinton presented Theodore Roosevelt’s Medal of Honor to his great-grandson Tweed Roosevelt, in ceremonies at the White House.  His award brought the total of awards earned in the July 1, 1898 battles at El Caney, Kettle Hill and San Juan Hill to an even two-dozen.  Ironically, Roosevelt’s long-sought Medal of Honor would be the ONLY posthumous award of the entire Spanish-American War.

Theodore Roosevelt’s MOH Citation





Governor-General of Cuba 
Ramon Blanco y Erenas







Spanish-American War in Cuba

Cuba Struggle for Independence (1868-1898)
and then (Washington Post published), starts
the “Splendid Little” War . What follows are some benchmarks along the way:


April 10, 1895 — Jose Marti, Cuban revolutionary,



launches insurrection against Spanish rule.



He is killed May 19.


The most famous cigar ever rolled in Tampa went out not as a Corona or a Presidente, but as a liberator to spark the Cuban Revolution of 1895. This cigar cost thousands of lives, but eventually won the independence of Cuba from Spain.

  The story of the cigar that went to war starts Jan. 29, 1895, at the residence of Gonzalo De Quesada, secretary of the Cuban Revolutionary Party in New York City. Jose Marti, the leader of the Cuban crusade for freedom, called a secret meeting of the revolutionary junta at the Quesada home.

Present were General Jose Mayia Rodriguez, representing Generalisimo Maximo Gomez, and General Enrique Collazo, representing the Revolutionary Junta of Havana. Among the Cuban patriots taking part in the historic junta was Emilio Cordero, who in later years would become a prominent leader in the cigar industry of America marketing his popular brand Mi Hogar.        Gonzalo de Quesada        Jose Marti


Jan. 1, 1898 —

 In an effort to defuse the insurrection, Spain gives Cubans limited political autonomy.

Jan. 12 —

Spaniards in Cuba riot against autonomy given to Cubans.


Jan. 25 — USS Maine arrives in Havana Harbor to protect American interests.

Feb. 15 — USS Maine explodes, sinks; 266 crewmen lost. The Maine’s captain urges suspension of judgment on the cause of the explosion.

March 28 —

Naval Court of Inquiry says Maine destroyed by a mine.


Spanish-Cuban-American War
Embarkation at Tampa, Florida


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U.S. Regulars leaving for Cuba. 








Company A, First United States Volunteer Engineers.

Spanish-Cuban-American War
Embarkation at Tampa, Florida


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Spanish-Cuban-American War
Embarkation at Tampa, Florida


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The Spanish-Cuban-American War 
The Sinking of the U.S.S. Merrimac
June 3, 1898


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Merrimac being scuttled at the mouth of Santiago de Cuba harbor.







The smokestack of the Merrimac near Estrella Point.


Spanish-Cuban-American War
Disembarkation and Attack at Guantanamo Bay
June 11-12, 1898



April 11 —

President William McKinley asks Congress for declaration of war.

April 25 —

State of war exists between United States and Spain.


June 10 — U.S. Marines land at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


June 11 -
                      Body of marines landed at Guantanamo from the
Marblehead and Texas, and had a
                      brisk skirmish







Spanish-Cuban-American War
U.S. disembarkation at Aserraderos, 
Cuba, June 20, 1898


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     Gen. Shafter and Admiral Sampson received by
     Cuban Liberation Army at Aserraderos.



Spanish-Cuban-American War
U.S. disembarkation at Daiquiri, Cuba
June 22, 1898


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Horses and mules being thrown off transports swim to shore.




Troops landing on the dock at Daiquiri.

Troops landing on the dock at Daiquiri.



Spanish-Cuban-American War
U.S. disembarkation at Daiquiri, Cuba
June 22, 1898


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The Rough Riders disembarking at Daiquiri



Troops assembling at Daiquiri before marching to Siboney.




Wrecked locomotive at Daiquiri


Spanish-Cuban-American War
U.S. disembarkation at Siboney, Cuba
June 23, 1898


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Massachusetts volunteers disembark from the New York at Siboney. 

 Troops landing on the beach at Siboney.







Siboney blockhouse

Siboney blockhouse

Spanish-Cuban-American War
Battle of Las Guasimas
June 24, 1898


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Spanish-Cuban-American War
Artillery duel at El Pozo, Cuba
July 1, 1898


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The Battle of El Caney
July 1, 1898



The Crowded Hour

The Charge at
El Caney & San Juan Hills

PHOTO RIGHT:  Rough Rider Color Sergeant Wright

Among the regiments assembled and digging for shelter from the enemy guns at the foot of San Juan Hill was the 6th US Infantry, a part of General Kent’s 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division under Brigadier General Hamilton S. Hawkins.  Among the members of Hawkins’ staff was an eager young lieutenant who had told a friend he would return from battle as either a colonel or a corps.  As the enemy fire continued to rain upon the stalemated American soldiers, Lieutenant Jules Ord turned to his commander.  Tired of the wait he informed General Hawkins, “General, if you will order a charge, I will lead it.”


A veteran of Civil War assaults on fortified enemy positions, General Hawkins considered the young lieutenant’s offer, weighing it against the high rate of casualties he knew such a charge would create. 


 Lieutenant Ord broke the silence of the general’s contemplation.  “If you do not wish to order a charge, General, I should like to volunteer,” he offered.  “We can’t stay here, can we?”

“I would not ask any man to volunteer,” General Hawkins replied.

“If you do not FORBID it, I will start it,” Ord implored.  “I only ask you not to refuse permission.”

Of a truth, it was an unusual conversation between a commanding general and a junior staffer.  But the grizzled veteran also realized that Lieutenant Ord was right, the men couldn’t stay where they were and continue to suffer at the mercy of the enemy guns above them.  “I will not ask for volunteers, I will not give permission and I will not refuse it,” the general finally responded ambiguously.  “God bless you and good luck!”

Shirtless against the heat and armed with a pistol in one hand and saber in the other, Lieutenant Ord rose up and shouted to his men, “Come on, you men.  We can’t stay here.  Follow me!”.   In the tension of the moment and inspired by the sight of the brave lieutenant, the men of General Hawkins’ 6th Infantry rose to their feet to charge directly into the guns of the Spanish.  Almost immediately, Lieutenant Ord was struck by enemy rounds and fell dead, but his shout had energized the moment and the 6th Infantry continued to rush the hillside.  

To the right of the 6th, the men of the Rough Riders saw Lieutenant Ord and his men begin their assault and rose also, attacking the enemy above.  To the rear the 10th US Cavalry became caught up in the excitement, rushing forward to join the attack.  In the spontaneity and confusion of the moment,  the all-black regiment split with part of the 10th joining the 6th Infantry to attack San Juan Hill, and the other half mingling with the Rough Riders to assault Kettle Hill.

Focus on

Lieutenant J. Ord Hume L.F.



Born in Edinburgh 1864, he was one of the best known Composers and Bandmasters in late 1800s and early 1900s. He had a remarkable career as Bandsman, Bandmaster, Composer and Adjudicator. He joined the Duke of Duccleuch-Dalkeith Militia Permanent Staff when only eleven years old and became Cornet Soloist a year later.  At the age of sixteen he went to the Band of the Royal Scots Greys as Cornet Soloist, and remained with that regiment until 1887.

He was then appointed Organist of the Military Presbyterian Church, Aldershot, and Bandmaster of the Aldershot and Farnham Institute Bands. He held numerous other appointments, including the Bandmastership of the 3rd. V.B. Durham Light Infantry. Mr Ord Hume published uptowards 1,000 pieces. It was he who composed the test pieces for the first two 1,000 Guineas Challenge Cup Competitions at the Crystal Palace, and had been Chief Adjudicator in that Contest for many years. 

For a number of years he had headed the list of Adjudicators in the country, and as a Professional Teacher had been associated with practically every band of importance in the country.  Mr Ord Hume also had the Editorial Control of a number of important publications. In 1902 he toured the Commonwealth of Australia as Adjudicator at musical function of all kinds.

He was adjudicator at the Championship of Ulster Contest in Belfast in October 1905 and continued to adjudicate from time to time until the 20th N.I.B.A. Championship in Belfast, November 1931. This was his last appearance at this contest.  His last decision at a Band Contest, was given at the Aonach Tailteann Band Championship in the Mansion House, Dublin on Saturday 9th July, 1932. (This contest was won by Bloomfield Amateur Flute Band, Belfast. Piccolo player was Donald Sloan).

He passed away on 28th November 1932 after having been in ill health for sometime. His death was deeply regretted, not only by the N.I.B.A. but by all Bandsmen in Northern Ireland, by whom he was well known and greatly respected. He also arranged many fine test pieces for the Flute Bands over the years.


Notes taken from the Ulster Amateur Flute Band History, complied by Donald Sloan.




Among the Buffalo Soldiers that mingled with the Rough Riders was the 10th Cavalry’s regimental quartermaster, an 1886 graduate of West Point who had been an instructor at his alma mater when the Spanish-American War broke out.  He had requested a combat assignment with the statement that, “If I did not make every effort to obtain an opportunity for field service I should never forgive myself.”

When the young lieutenant was informed that all West Point instructors were frozen in their positions, and when repeated letters to the assistant secretary of war proved fruitless, he threatened, “I shall resign (the West Point position) and join some National Guard or volunteer unit that stands a chance of being sent to Cuba.”  Having previously served with the 10th US Cavalry, he also wrote his friend



 Colonel Guy V. Henry, commander of the 10th, requesting a return to service in his old unit.  When Colonel Henry requested the assignment of the young lieutenant to the 10th as it prepared for duty in Cuba, the assistant secretary of war finally granted him permission to leave his teaching duties.

As a white officer among the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th, the lieutenant had been given a nickname.  Though his first name was John, he was facetiously referred to as “BLACK JACK”.  It was a moniker that would follow him for life, long after his service with the 10th Cavalry ended, and nearly twenty years later would become one of the most famous names in military history when Lieutenant John J. Black Jack Pershing would become a general and lead the Untied States Expeditionary forces in


John J. Black Jack Pershing would become a genereral

The Great War.


As Lieutenant Pershing charged up Kettle Hill among the men of his 10th Cavalry and Colonel Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, he was more than impressed by what he was witnessing.  He later wrote:

“Each officer or soldier next in rank took charge of the line or group immediately in his front or rear and halting to fire at each good opportunity, taking reasonable advantage of cover, the entire command moved forward as coolly as though the buzzing of bullets was the humming of bees.  White regiments, black regiments, regulars and Rough Riders, representing the young manhood of the North and the South, fought shoulder to shoulder, unmindful of race or color, unmindful of whether commanded by ex-Confederate or not, and mindful of only their common duty as Americans.”




El Viso Fort on hilltop, left. The blockhouse and defense line, right. 

Ducoureaud plantation, on El Caney-Santiago road, declared neutral by both sides.



Village of El Caney as seen from El Viso Fort.

El Caney street looking northeast.



The blockhouse and defense line at El Caney.

U.S. 7th Infantry Regiment firing on El Caney from the north.



El Viso Fort on hilltop.


The Battle of El Caney
July 1, 1898


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Final charge of Chaffee’s Brigade (7th, 12th, 17th, Regular Infantry)

The Spanish defense El Caney.



Capron’s Battery in action at El Caney





Interior of El Viso Fort after its capture.



Capron’s Battery



El Viso Fort damaged by artillery fire from Capron’s battery.





Spanish-Cuban-American War
Battle of San Juan Hill
July 1, 1898


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Charge of the 24th and 25th USCT and Rescue of Rough Riders.



Observation balloon being inflated at the battle of San Juan Hill.

In the trenches facing the Spanish blockhouse at San Juan Hill before the battle.





Spanish-Cuban-American War
Battle of San Juan Hill
July 1, 1898


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Gatling guns hauled by mules arrive to turn the tide at San Juan Hill.

Four Gatling guns won victory where conventional artillery failed.



Gatling guns cover the advance.

Teddy Roosevelt on horse leads the charge up San Juan Hill.



U.S. troops under a heavy barrage.

    Charging uphill toward the Spanish blockhouse.




Spanish-Cuban-American War
Battle of San Juan Hill
July 1, 1898


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10th Cavalry USCT advances on San Juan Hill




Capture of the Spanish Blockhouse.


       U.S. wounded take shelter behind the captured
      blockhouse with corpses from both sides in front. 

The blockhouse after its capture.




 Artillery pock marks on blockhouse
at San Juan Hill.


Capt. Theophilus Morrison,
killed at San Juan Hill.
Union Dale Cemetery
Pittsburgh, Pa.


The Spanish-Cuban-American War 
Naval Battle of Santiago
July 3, 1898


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The U.S. Navy smashes Admiral Pascual Cervera’s Spanish fleet.

Naval battle at Santiago de Cuba

The converted yatch Gloucester attacked two Spanish destroyers before being joined by the USS Indiana.


The Spanish-Cuban-American War 
Naval Battle of Santiago
July 3, 1898


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Explosion on the Vizcaya.

The Vizcaya had been raked by the USS Oregon.



Starboard quarter of the Vizcaya.

Vizcaya’s 13-inch gun and fallen mast, after it ran aground.



Starboard quarter of the Vizcaya

Portside of the disabled Vizcaya

Portside of the disabled Vizcaya


The Spanish-Cuban-American War 
Naval Battle of Santiago
July 3, 1898


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The Almirante Oquendo, struck 57 times. Its captain died of a heart attack after its surrender.

Starboard side of the Almirante Oquendo. Its steel plates were bulging apart.



The cruiser Reina Mercedes before Morro Castle.

Furor sinking



Cervera’s flagship, the Infanta Maria Teresa, was the first to be
disabled with 29 hits.

     The Cristobal Colon, with guns pointing upward, scuttled at the mouth of the Turquino
     River after a 75-mile chase.


The Spanish-Cuban-American War 
Naval Battle of Santiago
July 3, 1898


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 July 3 —


Spain’s Atlantic fleet, having sought refuge in the harbor of Santiago, Cuba, attempts to escape and is destroyed by American naval forces.


Spanish-Cuban-American War
The Siege of Santiago de Cuba
July 1898


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Spanish-Cuban-American War
The Siege of Santiago de Cuba
July 1898

       71st New York Regiment cook a meal during the 16-day
     siege of Santiago. 





 July 3 —


Spain’s Atlantic fleet, having sought refuge in the harbor of Santiago, Cuba, attempts to escape and is destroyed by American naval forces.


July 6 —

 Congress, caught up in expansionist fever fed by the war, votes to annex Hawaii, which has nothing to do with Spain.

July 14 —


Santiago surrenders.


On July 17, 1898,


General Jose Toral (center right) surrenders at Santiago, Cuba to the American commander,


Major General William Shafter (center left).


The Siege of Santiago

After setting up a telegraph connection to Washington, D.C., the V Corps began its march to Santiago on June 24. Fearful that tropical diseases such as malaria and yellow fever would overtake his troops, Shafter resolved to get them to Santiago as fast as possible.


The V Corps’ first battle occurred that day at Las Guásimas, a few miles from the landing point. Led by General Wheeler and Colonel Leonard Wood (1860–1927), the American troops ran into Spanish soldiers retreating toward Santiago. Death totals were low by military standards, but the Americans learned how hard it is to fight an enemy in jungle terrain. For example, most Spaniards used rifles with smokeless powder, but many American volunteers, including the Rough Riders, used rifles that revealed a soldier’s location with a puff of smoke as soon as he pulled the trigger.


After the battle at Las Guásimas, a series of hills called San Juan Heights and the town of El Caney were all that separated the Americans from Santiago. Meeting with his officers on June 30, Shafter said his plan was simply to storm those city defenses. Finally ashore, Shafter traveled to high ground at a place called El Pozo, where he could see Santiago two-and-a-half miles away. Communication problems, however, prevented Shafter from having any real input during the daylong battle on July 1.


The battle proved to be the deadliest of the war. Shafter expected General Lawton’s regiment to take El Caney in two hours. It took nine. Meanwhile, Generals Kent and Wheeler stormed San Juan Heights, an operation that included the Rough Riders as well as two African American army regiments. By the end of the day, hundreds of Americans and Spaniards were dead as the surviving Spanish soldiers retreated to temporary safety in Santiago.


Surrender and suffering

Two days later, on July 3, Admiral Cervera’s fleet tried to escape Santiago harbor to go to Havana or Cienfuegos. As Admiral Sampson was on his way to a meeting with Shafter, Commodore Winfield S. Schley (1839–1909) led the Atlantic Fleet to victory against Cervera. With no naval defenses and hundreds of people starving in the city, Spanish commander José Torál surrendered Santiago and all twelve thousand of his troops in the surrounding region on July 17.


Surrender gave Shafter another chance to insult the Cubans and disgruntle the news correspondents. Although the Cuban rebels had been fighting against Spain for over three years, Shafter refused to let them participate in the surrender ceremonies on July 17. This snub led Calixto García to resign from the Cuban army the next day. At the ceremony, while U.S. soldiers raised the American flag over the palace in Santiago, Shafter ordered his troops to remove American news correspondent Sylvester Scovel from the palace roof. Scovel refused to get down voluntarily upon Shafter’s order to do so and allegedly struck at Shafter in an ensuing argument.


The V Corps then found itself stuck in Cuba during the deadly summer months, when tropical diseases such as malaria and yellow fever were at their worst. According to Foner, when asked to identify his best generals during the revolution against Spain, Cuban general Gómez had named June, July, and August. But those months had attacked American soldiers also, who were not used to the muggy climate. The majority of the fifty-five hundred American casualties of the war came about as a result of sickness and disease rather than from combat.


Cuba’s second-largest city suffered during its siege. About half of its prewar populace, some 20,000 civilians, were allowed to evacuate for El Caney. Its buildings were then shelled from the encircling heights until July 14, when General Toral was asked to capitulate. After telegraphing Madrid, he accepted the Americans’ terms, so General Shafter raised the Stars and Stripes over the governor’s palace by noon on July 17.

The rebel leader García was excluded from this arrangement, however, and his followers were not allowed into the devastated city. Instead, the young Wood was installed as military governor on July 20, 1898, despite objections from rebels who argued that at least its civic administration “should be turned over to Cubans.” Shafter grudgingly agreed to share some duties, so the wealthy, French-educated rebel general Demetrio Castillo was temporarily named mayor. But the Americans remained distrustful and contemptuous of the ragtag insurgents, most of whom were black, and believed that only the former Spanish municipal officials could manage the city’s resurrection.

Castillo therefore was removed a few days later in favor of Santiago’s

ex-Spanish mayor, Leonardo Ros. García’s aggrieved followers retired into the hills, their vision of Cuban independence having been dashed. As some rebels still wished to avenge years of repression, roads inland remained dangerous for travelers, and no produce reached market. Some defeated Spaniards in turn continued to treat all Cubans with vindictiveness, while the American occupiers often regarded black inhabitants—almost 57 percent of Santiago’s peacetime populace—with blatant racism.

Fortunately, Wood proved to be an excellent administrator. He immediately addressed the needs of the few surviving residents, who were still suffering so badly from disease and famine that the death rate exceeded 200 people a day. Water and sewer systems had been destroyed, and no public funds were available. Wood hired citizens to clear streets of bodies and debris, then turned to repairing the docks and bridges. At first, he paid wages with rations, then he issued checks as the economy revived. García was allowed to make a ceremonial visit on September 22, yet the Americans still refused to relinquish control. Wood’s authority was even expanded the next month to encompass all of eastern Cuba, with Castillo as his token vice governor.


Yellow fever breaks out among American troops the next day.


Spanish-Cuban-American War
Surrender of Santiago de Cuba
July 13, 1898




Gen. Toral’s surrender to Gen. Shafter, July 13, 1898



American and Spanish troops fraternize after the surrender.




The Tree of Peace





Spanish-Cuban-American War
U.S. invasion of Puerto Rico
July 25, 1898


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U.S. landing site. Guánica, Puerto Rico.



Spanish troops in P.R.



N.Y. 17th Volunteer Regiment lands at Arroyo, Puerto Rico.



N.Y. 17th Volunteer Regiment

U.S. troops in Arroyo



U.S. flag raised over Guayama City Hall.

U.S. Cavalry passing through San German

Sixth Mass. Infantry soldiers dead at Utuado, P.R.
 July 25 — U.S. Army invades Puerto Rico.


July 26 — Spain asks for peace.

Aug. 6 — Spain accepts American terms for peace.

Aug. 12 — Truce is signed with Spain.

Oct. 1 — Peace negotiations with Spain commence in Paris.

Dec. 10, 1898 — War ends, officially, with signing of the Treaty of Paris (With no Cuban Representative present). United States pays Spain $20 million for Philippines. Spain also cedes Puerto Rico and Guam and agrees to renounce sovereignty over Cuba.





Spanish-Cuban-American War
U.S. and Cuban Liberation Army
Joint Operations


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     Left to right: Aide to Gen. Demetrio Castillo Duany, and generals Castillo,
     William Shafter, Joe Wheeler, Kent, Nelson Miles, Calixto Garcia. 


     Brig. Gen. William Ludlow and Maj. Gen. Calixto Garcia.   


     Gen. Shafter and Admiral Sampson received
     by Cuban Liberation Army at Aserraderos.







Spanish-Cuban-American War
Medical Corps




Ambulance Corps




1898-1900: CHINA. U.S. troops invade to oppose the Boxer Rebellion which is an attempt to end Western domination of China.

1898: NICARAGUA. U.S. Marines invade the Nicaraguan port of San Juan del Sur.

1898: UNITED STATES. White Democrats disagree with an editorial written by the Wilmington, North Carolina Daily Record’s black editor. They march on the newpaper’s office, burning and destroying it. The mob goes on a racist rampage in the city, killing fourteen blacks. The Democrats then stage a coup forcing Wilmington Mayor Silas P. Wright and black and white members of the city government to resign.

1898: UNITED STATES. Once again the United States Supreme Court demonstrates clearly whose pulling its strings when it declares invalid a section of the Erdman Act which had made it a criminal offense for railroads to dismiss employees or discriminate against prospective employees based on their union activities. Can’t be havin’ none of that in the land of the free.

1898: UNITED STATES. Wall Street stock market manipulator E.H. Harriman and Judge Robert Scott Lovett gain control of the Union Pacific Railroad with cash arranged by William Rockefeller and the Warburg family’s Kuhn, Loeb Company. In return, Harriman deposits the vast receipts from the railroad into the Rockefellers’ City Bank and, when he issues tens of millions of dollars in “watered” (fraudulent) railroad stock, Harriman sells most of it through the crooks at Kuhn, Loeb.

Harriman and the Rockefellers have a nice little conspiracy going. Harriman charges those oil companies competing with the Rockefellers vastly inflated freight rates. The Rockefellers then buy the struggling companies for peanuts and build Standard Oil into a monstrous and utterly ruthless monopoly. The Rockefellers sell oil products below cost in every market in which there is a competitor, driving it out of business. The Rockefellers then jack up their prices to the absolute maximum they can extort from consumers.

1898-1959: CUBA. In the midst of countless hostile actions, the destruction of the Cuban economy and an ongoing, vitriolic propaganda campaign by the U.S. against Spain, the USS Maine enters Havana Harbor on the patently absurd pretext of it being, in the words of the grotesque U.S. consul in Havana, a “friendly act of courtesy”. The secondary pretext, of protecting Americans in Cuba, is equally absurd as Frederic Remington pointed out.

Remington, an illustrator for the Hearst newspapers, the key element in the propaganda campaign preparing the U.S. public for the long-planned U.S. invasion of Cuba, sends a cable to Hearst telling him that, contrary to the hysterical tales being invented and carried in the Hearst papers, “all is quiet” in Cuba and asks for permission to return to the U.S. Hearst sends Remington a cable saying, “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”


On cue and as though by magic, the USS Maine oh-so-conveniently blows up in Havana Harbor, resulting in the death of two hundred and sixty six U.S. sailors. By a fabulous stroke of luck, of the two hundred and sixty six corpses, only two belong to officers and to junior officers at that. Enlisted men were barred from going ashore. Officers were not.

By another fabulous stroke of luck, the U.S. has, since 1894, been beavering away planning for a full scale war against Spain and the seizure of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. The blowing up of the USS Maine is the starting whistle.

The “act of terrorism” is, of course, immediately blamed on the Spanish who, self-evidently, had absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose by blowing up the Maine. A massive and hysterical propaganda campaign in the U.S. mass media, largely owned by Hearst and his fellow media slut, Pulitzer, whips the American public, who have already been well prepared by several years of vicious anti-Spanish propaganda, into a mindless war frenzy.

American newspapers carry out their sacred duty of printing lies to deceive the masses and carry headlines such as “The Warship Maine Was Split in Two by an Enemy’s Infernal Machine”, “How the Maine Looks As It Lies, Wrecked by Spanish Treachery” and “The Maine Was Destroyed by Treachery”. Illustrations in the newspapers, presented as fact and accepted as such by the American public, show imaginary explosives beneath the Maine and imaginary wires running ashore to imaginary Spanish evildoers.

And Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, who had, prior to the Maine explosion, warned Admiral Dewey to be ready to attack the Spanish, cold bloodedly kicks off the wars against Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines when he tells American newspapers that the Maine explosion definitely was not an accident, a statement for which there was absolutely no factual basis and was clearly designed to inflame the American public.

Six weeks later, a U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry surprises no one by coming to the conclusion that the Maine explosion was caused by a mine and we’re all supposed to know who put it there, aren’t we? The head of the Court of Inquiry, Captain William T. Sampson, will be duly rewarded with a nice fat promotion to the command of the U.S. North Atlantic Fleet.

But there are one or two things about this Court of Inquiry which seem to have been forgotten. The Judge Advocate of the U.S. Navy, Adolf Marix, reported to the court that his informants in Havana indicated that a two hundred pound mine had been placed beneath the Maine’s powder magazines by divers working for Cuban businessmen, not by the Spanish, who were, of course, the last people in the world who would do anything to give the U.S. an excuse to attack.

The Cuban businessmen were, in turn, connected to the American gun runner William Astor Chanler who had been involved in smuggling arms to Cuba and was, purely coincidentally, a very good friend of Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt. And Roosevelt wasn’t the least bit squeamish about killing a few hundred Americans. In one of his less guarded moments, he had written to Henry Cabot Lodge, “I don’t care whether our sea-coast cities are bombarded or not, this country needs a war.”

In 1971, British historian Hugh Thomas will quote William Astor Chanler as claiming responsibility for the blowing up of the Maine in a conversation with the American ambassador to the USSR, William C. Bullitt in the early 1930’s. Shortly after the conversation with Bullitt, Chanler died. Information on the cause of his death is difficult to find.

The blowing up of the USS Maine serves as the pretext for the U.S. attack on all Spanish possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific which had been planned by the U.S. since 1894. The U.S. invades Cuba and occupies and seizes Puerto Rico, preventing its first scheduled democratic election. The U.S. later seizes Guam and invades the Philippines. In the fantasyland of American “history”, this unprovoked war of aggression and empire building is called the Spanish-American War. In Cuba, it is more accurately known as the U.S. intervention in the Cuban War of Independence.

And now that Theodore Roosevelt has the splendid little war he has been so keen on, it’s time to turn it to political advantage. Roosevelt heads off to “liberate” Cuba with the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, the so-called Rough Riders. Roosevelt has very good friends in the U.S. mass media and he makes sure there is a constant flow of reports of his exploits, real or imagined. To be doubly sure, he has his very own “embedded” reporter, Richard Harding Davis of the New York Herald, whose glowing reports are picked up by a host of other American newspapers and magazines. Roosevelt’s propaganda engine would have us believe that he and the Rough Riders defeated the Spanish at San Juan Hill in Cuba virtually single handed. Roosevelt lobbied mightily for a Congressional Medal of Honor but he and his cronies couldn’t persuade the War Deparment to cough up. It would have to wait until 2001 for William “Wet Willy” Clinton to put the icing on Roosevelt’s propaganda cake.

The Humboldt (California) Times puts a nice racist spin on things when it prints a New York press story reporting that “Japs are excluded” from serving in the U.S. Navy. The report continues that “in view of the fact that there were several Japanese on board the Maine when it was blown up, it is interesting to learn the government has adopted a method that will keep them out of our navy.” The idea, apparently is that all people of Japanese ancestry are spies and those who were killed on the Maine had “useful information which (could) have been used for Japan’s benefit.” Well, Praise the Lord that those yellow devils got themselves blown up before they could betray the world’s loudest demockracy. The paper goes on, “The government has passed a rule that men admitted to the navy must be more than five feet, four inches tall. Navy officers say that will exclude the Japs.”

And who is making tens of millions of dollars yet again in their role as America’s leading merchants of death during this “splendid little war”? None other than the Duponts of course, who provide the majority of gunpowder to the U.S. government for its conquest of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Once again, it’s a case of Better Killing Through Chemistry thanks to the Dupont family.

When the Spanish in Cuba are defeated, the U.S. immediately changes its tactics, which were purportedly intended to help Cubans win their independence. The U.S. military refuses to allow Cuban independence fighters, the majority of whom are black, to take part in the surrender ceremonies or the creation of a Cuban government. The U.S. does not allow the Cubans to be present at the signing of the peace treaty in Paris. To prevent democracy prevailing and the Cuban government falling into the hands of its, gasp, black majority, U.S. dictator John R. Brooke disbands the mainly black Cuban army but leaves the previously demonized white Spanish officials in place. Hold on there John, I thought we were fighting the Spanish and helping the Cubans…

Unlike Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam, Cuba is not directly seized by the U.S. due to the Teller Amendment to the U.S. declaration of war against Spain. Instead, following U.S. military occupation, a series of repressive, racist dictatorships, ultimately connected with the U.S. Mafia, is installed. American sugar companies, multinationals, the Mafia, various Nazi supporters and merchants of death such as the DuPont family and other wealthy, white friends of the various U.S. supported dictatorships prosper while the great majority of Cubans live short lives of poverty, hopelessness and fear.

1898. NICARAGUA. U.S. Marines invade the port city of San Juan del Sur.

1898-present: HAWAII. In the midst of all this murderous empire building, the U.S. purports to formally annex the independent nation of Hawaii, the government of which had been overthrown by a coup of American sugar barons in 1893. By happy coincidence, the illegal annexation of Hawaii happens just in time for the U.S. to use Hawaii as a base for its planned invasion and occupation of the Philippines.

The U.S. remains in illegal occupation of Hawaii until the present day.

1898: HAWAII. Now that Hawaii has been stolen by the U.S., the great benefits of freedom and equality enjoyed in the U.S. are generously given to Hawaiians. Congress extends the racist Chinese Exclusion Act to Hawaii and the immigration of people of Chinese descent from Hawaii to the U.S. is prohibited. The U.S. appoints commissioners to run Hawaii. Unsurprisingly, among them is sugar baron and coup leader Sanford Dole. And to ensure harmony with our not-quite-white brothers in Hawaii, the list of commissioners is nicely rounded out by John T. Morgan, a grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, an advocate of apartheid, a supporter of legalized lynching and a devout opponent of the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which was intended to prevent the denial of voting rights based on race.


PUERTO RICO. The U.S. invades and occupies Puerto Rico, a rich island with a strategic position long coveted by American militarists and robber barons, just as its one million people are in the process of achieving independence from Spain and are about to hold their first democratic elections. The first priority of the world’s loudest demockracy is, of course, to cancel the scheduled elections which, as in Cuba, would have resulted in a free country ruled by, gasp, black people. The nation of Puerto Rico is stolen from its people and becomes an occupied colony of the U.S. Repeated independence movements are ruthlessly and murderously crushed by the U.S. Puerto Rican patriots and independence leaders are imprisoned and tortured. The Spanish language is outlawed in schools and the American colonizers send missionaries to further the destruction of local culture. Local agriculture is systematically destroyed, making the island dependent on food imports from the U.S. and driving Puerto Ricans to work as virtual slave labor on what rapidly become American-owned plantations. Other Puerto Ricans are driven into the factories of U.S.-owned companies as cheap labor. A completely powerless puppet legislature is installed to create the usual tawdry illusion of democracy. In plain fact, Puerto Rico is a dictatorship run by the U.S. military.

The U.S. forces Puerto Ricans to become U.S. citizens in 1917 in order to allow them to be drafted into the military after the U.S. enters WW I just in time to be in on the treaty signing. In the fine tradition of American demockracy, Puerto Rico is given “non-voting” status in the U.S. Congress. The U.S. constructs major military bases and uses large parts of Puerto Rico, particularly the islands of Culebra and Vieques, as bombing ranges. Puerto Rico’s El Yunque rainforest is used by the U.S. for chemical warfare testing. The island of Vieques is used for test firing radioactive depleted uranium (DU) armaments (dirty bombs) which the U.S. will later use in its covert nuclear wars against the people of Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.

General Nelson A. Miles, who headed the U.S. invasion of Puerto Rico was not just a talented genocide artist who had carried out innumerable slaughters of native Americans so that their land could be stolen, he was also, as befits a senior U.S. military officer, a truly gifted liar. Miles said, “We have not come to make war upon the people of a country that for centuries has been oppressed, but, on the contrary, to bring you protection, not only to yourselves but to your property, to promote your prosperity, and to bestow upon you the immunities and blessings of the liberal institutions of our government.” Well gee, thanks a lot there Nelson. Thought for a minute you were here to steal our country.


 GUAM. The U.S. invades and seizes the strategically located island of Guam. It becomes a permanent part of the American Empire.


The U.S. Navy under Admiral Dewey, who was warned by Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt BEFORE the Maine explosion to be ready to attack the Spanish, destroys the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay. Filipino independence leader Emilio Aguinaldo returns from exile and resumes the Filipino war of independence against the Spanish. On June 12, 1898, having defeated all Spanish forces in the Philippines outside the capital of Manila, Aguinaldo signs the Philippine Declaration of Independence and ranges twenty thousand Filipino independence fighters in fourteen miles of trenches around the city of Manila, trapping fifteen thousand Spanish troops.

The ever-benevolent United States is, of course, in the Philippines only, as Admiral Dewey says, to “protect the natives and free them from the yoke of Spain”, a sort of nineteenth century Operation Filipino Freedom. Aguinaldo honors an American request not to attack the Spanish garrison, holding off for three months as Dewey waits for U.S. troops to arrive. Unknown to Aguinaldo, Dewey assures the U.S. government that he will “enter the city and keep the Indians (Filipinos) out.” When U.S. troops finally arrive, Dewey and General Wesley Merritt make a secret agreement with the Spanish governor, Fermin Jaudenes, for a mock battle after which the Spanish will surrender to the U.S. Dewey warns the Filipino independence fighters to stay out of Manila or they will be fired on by the U.S. The farce is carried out and the Spanish duly surrender to the U.S.

A few weeks later, the Philippine assembly ratifies the Malolos Constitution, establishing the Philippine Republic as an independent nation. During the Paris Peace Conference between the U.S. and Spain, President William McKinley first orders that the U.S. annex Luzon, Guam and Puerto Rico but not the Philippines. But, apparently, God has other ideas. On the night of October 24th, the President of the United States of America receives formal instructions from The Lord God Almighty.

I walked the floor of the White House night after night until midnight; and I am not ashamed to tell you, gentlemen, that I went down on my knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidance more than one night. And one night late it came to me this way, that there was nothing left for us to do…but to take them all (the former Spanish colonies) and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died. And then I went to bed, and went to sleep, and slept soundly, and the next morning I sent for the chief engineer of the War Department and I told him to put the Philippines on the map of the United States.

William McKinley’s jihad against the Filipino people has begun. When told that the people of the Philippines are Roman Catholic, McKinley responds, “Exactly.”

1898: UNITED STATES. In December,

 McKinley issues what is farcically called the Benevolent Assimilation proclamation, one of the most outrageous pieces of hypocrisy ever crafted.

We come, not as invaders or conquerors, but as friends, to protect the natives in their homes, in their employments, and in their personal and religious rights. All persons who, either by active aid or by honest submission, co-operate with the Government of the United States to give effect to these beneficent purposes will receive the reward of its support and protection. All others will be brought within the lawful rule we have assumed, with firmness if need be, but without severity, so far as possible…..Finally, it should be the earnest wish and paramount aim of the military administration to win the confidence, respect, and affection of the inhabitants of the Philippines by assuring them in every possible way that full measure of individual rights and liberties which is the heritage of free peoples, and by proving to them that the mission of the United States is one of BENEVOLENT ASSIMILATION substituting the mild sway of justice and right for arbitrary rule. In the fulfillment of this high mission, supporting the temperate administration of affairs for the greatest good of the governed, there must be sedulously maintained the strong arm of authority, to repress disturbance and to overcome all obstacles to the bestowal of the blessings of good and stable government upon the people of the Philippine Islands under the free flag of the United States.

Needless to say, the reality didn’t quite align with McKinley’s pious lies.

In the path of the Washington Regiment and Battery D of the Sixth Artillery there were 1,008 dead niggers, and a great many wounded. We burned all their houses. I don’t know how many men, women, and children the Tennessee boys did kill. They would not take any prisoners. U.S. Soldier


The real Battle of Manila takes place when U.S. troops slaughter three thousand Filipinos in a battle for the capital of the Philippines. Admiral Dewey steams up the Pasig River and fires five hundred pound shells into the Filipino trenches. Filipino corpses are so numerous that the Americans later use the bodies to makes breastworks. A British witness says, “This is not war; it is simply massacre and murderous butchery.”

The slaughter at Manila was necessary, but not glorious. The entire American population justifies the conduct of its army at Manila because only by a crushing repulse of the Filipinos could our position be made secure. We are the trustees of civilization and peace throughout the islands. Chicago Tribune



 As always, the U.S. press is doing a fine job of brainwashing the masses and, however we may criticize them for their whoring on behalf of the the ruling elite, we have to admire their flexibility. In the blinking of an eye, Filipino independence leader Emilio Aguinaldo, who had foolishly decided to oppose the U.S. theft of the Philippines, is repositioned from international statesman to brutish dictator. Aguinaldo even undergoes a change in skin color, appropriate since America’s war against the Filipino people is, fundamentally, a racist war of conquest against “niggers” and “Indians”.

1899: PHILIPPINES. In March,

U.S. troops capture Malolos, the seat of Aguinaldo’s government. The U.S. conducts a war against the Filipino people throughout 1899 in a series of bloody battles. The U.S.-appointed dictator of the Philippines is the military governor, General Elwell Stephen Otis. Otis is well qualified for the position, having been instrumental in carrying out the United States Government’s successful genocide of native Americans. Otis’ command is staffed with officers who, too, have learned the craft of genocide, killing native Americans.

The war against the people of the Philippines becomes nothing more than an extension of America’s racist wars against native Americans and its enslavement of blacks. American troops in the Philippines routinely talk and write of hunting and killing “niggers” and “Indians”. The phrase “nigger hunting” frequently occurs in letters written by American troops to the folks back home. Such letters also include gruesome details of burning villages, slaughtering prisoners and civilians, forced labor and looting. In 1900, Otis is replaced by another talented genocide artist, General Arthur McArthur, who carries on the good work.

U.S. Army Colonel Jacob Smith tells American reporters that fighting the Filipinos is “worse than fighting Indians”. Smith says that he is using tactics against the Filipinos which he had learned fighting “savages” in the American west and Smith, a “veteran” of the Wounded Knee massacre of three hundred and fifty native American men, woman and children, knows all about exterminating the inferior races. The New York Times enthusiastically endorses Smith’s embrace of genocide as “long overdue.” The American press, as always doing its sacred duty to deceive and manipulate the American public on behalf of the ruling elite, routinely refers to the Filipinos fighting the foreign invaders of their country as “insurgents”.

In the U.S. Senate, Albert Beveridge isn’t shy about stating the real motives for America’s war against the people of the Philippines.

The Philippines are ours forever….And just beyond the Philippines are China’s illimitable markets. We will not retreat from either….We will not renounce our part in the mission of our race, trustee, under God, of the civilization of the world…..The Pacific is our ocean…..Where shall we turn for consumers of our surplus? Geography answers the question. China is our natural customer….The Philippines give us a base at the door of all the East….No land in America surpasses in fertility the plains and valleys of Luzon. Rice and coffee, sugar and cocoanuts, hemp and tobacco…..The wood of the Philippines can supply the furniture of the world for a century to come. At Cebu the best informed man on the island told me that 40 miles of Cebu’s mountain chain are practically mountains of coal……I have a nugget of pure gold picked up in its present form on the banks of a Philippine creek. . . .It has been charged that our conduct of the war has been cruel. Senators, it has been the reverse…..we are not dealing with Americans or Europeans. We are dealing with Orientals.

And the mass murder of the Filipino people and the theft of their country has another motive. One of the major goals of the U.S. ruling elite was the economic conquest of the Far East and especially the opening of the vast Asian markets to the petroleum products of the Rockefellers. At the time, the U.S. fleet lacked a base in the Far East. The extension of American military might to the Far East on behalf of the Rockefellers and their clubmates demanded a place where American warships could be based, repaired and replenished with coal and ammunition. Unfortunately for the Filipinos, their country fit the bill perfectly.

1899: GUAM.

 The U.S. establishes a prison for Filipino political prisoners on the the island of Guam.


 The staff correspondents of the American newspapers stationed in Manila cable a joint protest against censorship of the press by the U.S. military. The correspondents make the shocking allegation that the American people have been deceived about what is going on in the Philippines. They report that they have been forced to participate in this misrepresentation. Genocide artist General Elwell Otis, U.S. military dictator of the Philippines, explains the suppression of the truth as being a good thing. The truth, he says, “would alarm the people at home.” Can’t be havin’ nobody alarmed in the land of the free.


. U.S. troops attack Chippewa Indians at Leech Lake, Minnesota.


 The American Anti-Imperialist League is formed to oppose the U.S. annexation of the Philippines. Among the members is Mark Twain who will serve as vice president of the league from 1901 until his death in 1910. It will have to wait until 1992, however, until many of Twain’s anti-imperialist writings are published in book form. Better late than never.


Funny thing about America, the boys in the back room have got everyone so thoroughly brainwashed they’ll kill and die for them on the most ludicrously fabricated pretexts even though, during and after every war, men in uniform are treated like shit. It’s been that way since the Revolution and it’s still that way today.

The war against Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines was no different. American troops were inadequately housed, poorly fed and had shoddy medical care. Thousands died from communicable diseases such as typhoid. There were allegations of contaminated meat. The patriotic folks at Armor supplied 500,000 pounds of canned meat to the military. It had already been shipped to Britain and returned but, hey, business is business. The answer? Appoint a commission to “investigate” the problem.

And what fine, upstanding person of unquestioned integrity do we select to head this noble commission? Why none other than Grenville Dodge, big time genocide artist and, more to the point, big time railroad swindler and a man who committed treason for cash against the federal government during the Civil War. One of Dodge’s best rackets had been defrauding the federal government of millions of dollars on per-mile railroad construction subsidies. Appointing Dodge to investigate possible fraud and mismanagement by the War Department is sort of like appointing Allen Dulles to the Warren Commission or Henry Kissinger to the 9-11 Commission. Oh yeah, we did that too.

Unsurprisingly, Dodge does his job just the way he’s supposed to and finds that everything in the War Department is just swell. What a relief!


 U.S. forces invade parts of Nicaragua to “protect interests” during the revolution of Juan Reyes. What they are really doing is trying to help Reyes who will be more “understanding” to American gold mining and other commercial interests.


. U.S. forces invade the Colombian state of Panama.

1899: SAMOA.

 U.S. and British forces invade to “protect interests” and control the succession to the Samoan throne so it comes out right.


Two thousand people gather in Georgia to witness the lynching of Sam Holt, a black farm laborer accused of killing his white employer. A contemporary newspaper report states that Holt’s ears, fingers and other parts of his body were cut off. He was then burned at the stake. Holt’s bones were crushed and his heart and liver cut into small pieces. Souvenir collectors paid twenty five cents for a piece of bone. A piece of Holt’s liver, cooked, sold for ten cents.


. In a six week period during March and April, twelve black men are lynched in Georgia including a minister of religion, Elijah Strickland, who was tortured before being lynched. Yet again it’s a case of Truth, Justice or the American Way and none of the murderers is charged.

1899-1901: UNITED STATES

. On behalf of corporate interests, the U.S. Army occupies the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho mining region to break a miners’ strike.


The U.S. invades and occupies Wake Island to use it as a cable station as part of its military strategy against the people of the Philippines.


In a long-running battle with mineowners, miners blow up machinery in Wardner, Idaho. President William McKinley sends federal troops to crush the miners and, using the ruling elite’s standard divide and conquer tactic, picks black units from the segregated U.S. army on the theory that racial divisions will prevent them sympathizing with the white miners. The troops conduct house-to-house searches at bayonet-point and make mass arrests throughout the area. More than a thousand people are held prisoner without charge or trial for months in so-called “bullpens”. Eventually all are released without a single charge being laid.


The Cuba history Collections


Dr iwan suwandy,MHA





Cuban Military and Diplomatic Issues

Cuban Air Force Planes; Information

Air and Air Defense Force (DAAFAR) are the primary agency handling planes and its flying and maintenance. Cuban air force owns many planes designed and manufactured by erstwhile Soviet Union and then Latin American countries. During 1980s, Cuba showed the air powers to countries in Africa with the help of Soviet Union. During this period Cuba dispatched many fighter planes to African countries such as Angola and Ethiopia to execute many aerial attacks on South Africa and Somalia respectively.

There are many aircrafts meant for attacking the enemies. These are L-39 and Mi-24. The Cuban air force has fighter planes such as MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-29, all of which are imported from Soviet Union. The Cuban air defense force has trainer planes such as L-39, which are being used extensively to train pilots of DAAFAR. The transport aircrafts the Cuban air force own include Mi-8, An-24 and MI-17.

Cuban Air force fighter planes which are in use include MiG-29UB. They had owned the Hawker Sea Fury, MiG-15, MiG-17, MiG-19, North American P-51 Mustang and North American B-25 Mitchell. It is estimated that at present Cuban air force has about 230 fixed wing aircrafts. There are thirteen military bases in Cuba. The Cuban air force planes are distributed and stationed at these stations. The exact picture of Cuban air force assets are not known to the open world.

A recent assessment in 2007 states that Cuban air force has 8000 personnel, 31 combat airplanes, and other 179 aircrafts. The 31 combat consist of 4 MiG-21s, 24 MiG-23s and 3 MiG-29s. Cuban air force planes also include transport aircrafts and helicopters for surveillance.

Defense specialists have different opinions on the strength and weakness of the Cuban air force and Cuban air force planes. Some believe that Cuban air force just possess bare minimum planes just enough to run the defense internally. The training facilities are also bare minimum. But some experts differ in this and believe that they have enough Cuban air force planes to tackle any internal and external threats.

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Birth of Air Transport in Cuba

On 17 May 1913, Domingo Rosillo piloted an airplane from Key West, Florida to Cuba securing the $10,000 award for being the first to accomplish the feat. This 90-mile crossing came just ten years after the Wright brothers’ historic and four years after Blériot’s famous English-Channel crossing of twenty-one miles. Cubans rallied behind the achievement. As the stamps in fig. 1 depict, however, Agustín Parlá, a Cuban-born pilot who crossed the Straits two days after Rosillo with just a simple compass (Rosillo preferred a naval escort) acquired the more lasting recognition.

In October 1919, the Compañía Aérea Cubana (C.A.C) was founded by Hannibal J. de Mesa. He purchased six Farman aircraft, which a French team brought to Cuba by ship. C.A.C. began a flying school with Farman F-40s; it did some sightseeing around Havana; carried out surveying and aerial photography; and started a small . The General Manager was Agustin Parlá.

The first Cuban service started in October 1920 and although this enterprise survived for only a few months, it opened the first regular schedule in the whole of Latin America. Two weeks earlier, a United States company had opened an air link between Havana and the United States. These were bold experiments in the embryo stage of an industry that had yet to identify its role in society.

Meanwhile, in 1920, the Cuban aviator, Jaime González, was to make the first air mail in Cuba (fig. 2a), and on 15 October 1920, in the United States, Florida West Indies Airways (F.W.I.A.) received the first Foreign Air Mail contract from the U.S. Post Office (fig 3, fig 4, fig 5). One month later, Aeromarine, which had purchased F.W.I.A., began regular service from Key West to Havana using Curtiss Type F5L flying boats.

On 30 October 1920, C.A.C. had started Cuban domestic services, with Farman F-60 Goliaths on a new route from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, via Cienfuegos/Santa Clara and Camagüey. But on January 1921, this service ended, because of economic in Cuba, caused by big sugar beet harvests in Europe. By 1 Nov. 1921, Aeromarine was operating two daily Curtiss F5L services from Key West to Havana. But after about two years, Aeromarine also ceased operations, because of financial losses.



AKA Agustin Parlá Orduña
                               JULY 4, 1957.


  Agustin Parla  



 Born October 10, 1887 – Died July 31, 1946
     Parents emigrated to Key West during the Spanish -American War where his father, a friend of the Cuban apostle Jose Marti, worked and raised money for the Cuban revolution.
     Agustin was born in Key West and was educated there. After Cuba was liberated, the family returned to Havana where he continued his education. In 1912 Charles F. Walsh, an American aviator took Agustin on his first flight seated on one of the wings of the plane. There began his enthusiasm for aviation. He received his pilots license at the Curtiss School of Aviation in Miami on April 20, 1912.
     On May 19, 1913, without a compass to guide him, he left Key West carrying the Cuban Flag that Jose Marti had carried with him during his travels in Florida raising monies for the Cuban cause. He landed at sea near Maiel, Cuba where sailors rescued him from his hydroplane.
     On September 24, 1916 in Buffalo, NY he flew over Niagara Falls and won the contest in which several nations participated. For this honor the Cuban flag was raised while the Cuban anthem was played. Famous Cuban composer, Antonio M. Romeu wrote a song titled “Parla Sobre El Niagara” (Parla over Niagara).
     On May 20, 1919, Parla with American aviator Johnny Green inaugurated the first commercial flight in Cuba in the seaplane “Sunshine.”
     On May 7, 1920, he flew over Havana at night, that is considered the first nocturnal flight.
     A bust was dedicated at the Key West International Airport on July 4, 1957 honoring Agustin Parla as the first man to fly between Key West and Cuba.
     His pioneering spirit in aviation is preserved in memorabilia at San Carlos Museum in Key West and his name is inscribed at the Smithsonian Institute as one of the “Early Birds”.
Editor’s Note: This summary of his career was kindly provided by Thomas Peterson, the great-grandnephew of Agustin.
He is being assisted by his grandmother and great-grandmother, the sister of Agustin. I am greatly indebted to him and the family.



Furnished by Arely Guccione
Via Email, August 16, 2002     My name is Arely Guccione and Agustin Parla was my paternal grandfather. I am 37 years old and reside in West Palm Beach, Florida. I have a sister named Gracie and a twin brother named Jorge Parla. Jorge has two children named Jose Parla and Karina Parla. The last name Parla continues…..
     I think Agustin Parla had two or three wives. Agustine’s wife (My dad’s mom) died of leukemia, so my dad ended up being taken care of by his aunt. I remember my dad telling me that he was only 5 or 6 when this happened. My dad because of this, I think, had a hard life. He was the nicest most easy going person you would ever want to meet. He married my mom Herminia and had us three kids.
     In 1965 my mom and we came to the US. We were only 11 and 12 months old and my dad didn’t get to come with us because of Fidel Castro. We didn’t see our Dad until we were 5 years old and by then we had a stepdad. My dad went to Georgia and studied, got a degree and became a salesman.

He died in April of 1998 of a heart attack.
     Regarding your request for materials to help tell my grandfather’s story, my sister Gracie has an 8X10 picture of Agustin, his wife ( I don’t know her name) and my Dad Jose Parla when he was maybe 5 or 6 years old. I don’t know if it’s a copy. I don’t think she’ll send the one she has, but how does she send it to you?……by scanning it or how. Let me know. I have a picture of his statue that’s in the Key West Airport. I will follow up with you about anecdotes or remembrances. I will get together with my twin brother and my sister and my two step brothers. My dad Jose Parla had a second wife and had two boys Ray and Tony Parla. Ray is an Independent Film Maker in Miami, FL and Tony is a graffiti artist in New York. I’m very proud of them. I think they are in their mid 20’s.
     I also have a famous aunt whose name is Margarita Parla. She was a famous ballerina in Cuba. I think she was part French or something.




It was the best of times; Mid-century ,1950s…Your aunt, Miss Margarita Parla was a touring ballerina, she also came up with the idea of speaking or singing while dancing ballet .. The idea , then, was not well taken by the general public.(STILL ISN’T )

During a performance at the magnificent “Teatro del Sauto” in sophisticated Matanzas, Cuba ”Miss Parla was dancing Swan Lake and on the final scenes she loudly said :” I am like the Swan, when I sing, I die”…most of the audience rose to their feet and said: “let her sing , let her sing.” ( Que cante , que cante)

After the above, it was impossible to continue with the ballet because the audience had turned the affair into a circus type comedy and Miss Parla would have none of it…she exited furiously, but most of us went home laughing and felt highly entertained.

I do not know if Margarita Parla ever performed in Matanzas again; pity ,it would have been a sold out performance.




Thank you for your attention to my grandfather’s history on your website. I am Jose Antonio Parla. Son of Jose Agustin Parla. I was born in Miami Florida in 1973 and now live in Brooklyn, NY. All my life my biggest dream was to visit Cuba and I finally went this Jaunary for the first time. There I met family I did not know existed on both sides of my family.
      I visited the aeronatic museum where my grandfather Agustin Parla’s history is on display. Both of the award cups for his flight from Key West to Mariel and his Niagara cups are there. As well as his pilot belt and wallet. There are a few photos of him and all of his medals awarded to him are there as well. These were awarded by the Cuban goverment and the Gallego society and there are metals given to him as sponsorship from Bacardi when it was still in Santiago de Cuba.
     On my trip to Habana I met an uncle by the name of Cecilio Martinez. My father and him were raised together. Martinez is the maiden name of my grandmother who was the wife of Agustin Parla the pilot. Cecilio handed me down letters , photos, albums, newspaper articles of Parla the pilot. At the museum in Habana there were letters written by Jose Marti adressed to my great grandparents who were exiled in Key West FL, and helped to raise money from their Tabacco, Cuban independence struggle.
     Along in this email I send you a picture of an original commemorative document made in behalf of my grandfather. You are welcome to post it.
All my best,
Jose Parla.


  ONLINE RESOURCES – 1     If you search for “Agustin Parla” using the Google search engine, (9-24-03), you will find about 23 links.  


  Agustin Parlá Orduña
Cuban Aviation Pioneer, and First Cuban Pilot     This page on Rubén Urribarres’ Cuban Aviation ,Aviación Cubana website offers some 14 biographies of important Cuban pioneer aviators, including Agustin Parlá Orduña, in English. To go directly to his story, click on the title above.
     If time permits, and you want to know more about Cuban Aviation, you will be amply rewarded by going to the homepage and selecting several of the many sections such as: People, Articles etc.
     Of special interest is a very nice article written by Rubén Urribarres entitled the Audacious Flight of Rosillo and Parlá. This version is in Spanish, but I will post a machine-translated article in English below for your convenience.
Audacious Flight
Agustin Parlá has arrived at Key West with his hydroplane
and hopes to make the passage at the same time as Rosillo.
El Mundo Newspaper
11 of May of 1913     May 17, 1913, Domingo Rosillo and Agustin Parlá, pioneers of Cuban aviation, added their names to the history of aviation, by making the first international flight of aviation in Latin America. They established a world-wide distance record by flying their airplanes the 90 miles from Key West to Havana in 2 hours and 40 minutes. This record was snatched from nobody less than the famous French pilot and aeronautical designer, Luis Bleriot.
     The aerial trip between Key West in the U.S.A. and Havana was considered to be extremely dangerous. North American aviator McCurdy had tried it without success in 1913 and the two Cubans would repeat his attempt in the hope of better luck.
     The City Council of Havana decided to reward the feat: “Ten thousand pesos for whoever arrives first and five thousand for the second.”
     The flight would depend on the support of three ships of the Cuban Navy: the “Patria”, which would be stationed at 45 miles from Havana, the “Hatuey” at 30 miles, and the “24 de Febrero” at 15 miles from the finish. A North American ship: the Auxiliary Gunboat “Peoria” also would cooperate to insure the security of the intrepid pilots.
     When the first airplane took off from Havana, the battery of La Cabaña would fire two cannon shots to announce the start of the passage.
     Nevertheless, the day of departure had not yet arrived. Rosillo had gone to Key West before Parlá and had it not been that the propeller of his Bleriot-XI monoplane had been broken during a test flight, one he made to please the Cuban immigrants who longed for a triumph, the flight would already have been attempted. He had to wait until a replacement propeller could arrive from Cuba. Parlá arrived in Key West in his Curtiss hydroplane, which was powered by an engine of 80 horsepower.
     Parlá, in spite of his lack of experience, had the superiority of his apparatus to make a flight over the water in his favor. If it had to land unexpectedly on the ocean, at least it would be able to float. Anyway, Rosillo’s propeller was delayed even longer and although Parlá was ready for the flight, the conditions at the time were not favorable. It was known that Rosillo would bring a letter valise with him and an order to buy tobacco at the Gato factory. The tobacco industry would thus use aviation for its commercial operations for the first time. Finally, the long awaited propeller for the Bleriot monoplane arrived. Everything was ready for the 17th.
     At the first light of dawn of that day, on the smallest of three signal masts of the Morro de La Habana, a red flag appeared: the public knew that it was the great day.
At 5:10 a.m., Rosillo departed. His airplane was baptized with the name of Habana and on the rudder was written, “Cuba.”
     He flew for 2 hours, 30 minutes and 40 seconds. At that point, he ran out of gas. A strong crosswind had made him consume more fuel than he had anticipated.
     After the trip was completed, he declared:
     – My impressions of today? You have heard me speak of the storm under the skull?
     “I began to see that the gasoline level was dropping in the indicating tube, at a rate faster than had been calculated. All around I could only see sea and sky. The machine performed perfectly; I saw the “Hatuey”, and passed it. The tank was almost empty, but finally I saw Cuba. I had arrived without a drop of gasoline in the tank. I couldn’t even make it to where I had planned to land, in the Polígono de Columbia. I had to land instead in el campo de tiro. The wind had made me use more fuel than I had planned. I had filled the tank with 50 liters, and on a lucky hunch, I had added 10 ounces more…
     Parlá, on the other hand, had left at 5:57 and by 6:01 he had to return: “I began the flight, but the apparatus did not respond properly. It would not let me compensate for the wind that blew. When I returned and inspected it, I found that two tension wires of the elevator were broken.” Rosillo was, without a doubt, the winner.
     On the 19th, at 2:00 in the afternoon and without previous notification of his intentions, Parlá again went in search of his goal. He did not have support from the Navy. Unlike Rosillo, who preferred to fly escorted by ships, Parlá flew on his own. The news came as a surprise in Havana and the public prepared to receive the resolute aviatior. More than two hours had passed, still the Curtiss was not seen from el Morro. Had he perished? Was he floating somewhere of the Caribbean? Had he been blown off course by the wind, to who knows what place, and now he would fly without directions? everyone asked.
     Soon the answer arrived: “aviator Agustin Parlá landed on the water in the bay of Mariel, at the risk of his life, at 4:30 today, May 19, 1913. Motor failure had prevented him from reaching Havana, but he is well and already has started off by automobile for the capital “.
     Of the flight from Key West a reporter wrote, “… filled with limitless patriotism and a tenacious resolution, he embarked on the trial flight. As the town had followed it from start to finish, they finally learned that the aviator had moved steadily along the ideal course, the one that led to Cuba “.
     The City Council of Havana awarded the second prize to Parlá, although, in truth, it was Cuba who won, as was affirmed: “its name is registered in the history of aviation and will be placed among the advanced countries due to their persistence to advance aviation up to the maximum limit”.
Revista Sendas. Year 2, number 10, 1998.


  AGUSTIN PARLA – CUBA     This webpage on the Smithsonian Institution website offers a nice portrait, which can be enlarged, of Agustin Parla as a young man. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.  


  AIRPORT HISTORY FOR MONROE COUNTY, FL     You will find a brief mention of his flight in 1913 in the “The Florida Keys Cybermuseum Transportation Room” page of the “-KEYS HISTOREUM-” website, Presented by the Historical Preservation Society of the Upper Keys. You may access the entry itself by clicking on the title above.
      If time permits, you will want to enjoy the many other features which are available from the homepage. You can access it by clicking on the website title immediately above.
  JOHNNY GREEN AND SUNSHINE     Johnny Green and the Curtiss flying boat “Sunshine”, which Cuban aviator Agustin Parla used, on May 29, 1919, to make the first commercial flight from Cuba to the United States of America. I do not know who the other person is, in the photo, but it appears that they are named in the description on its back,
     “March 14, 1921, Seaplane “Sunshine”, Johnny Green, Aviator, From St. Petersburgh, Florida, Alida Blume”


  ONLINE RESOURCES – 2     On September 17, 2005, Rubén Urribarres alerted me to a very informative new website which offers some additional insight into Parla’s life and death. The article is in Spanish, but you can obtain an English translation by copying the URL and pasting it into the Babelfish program which is available from the Alta Vista website. The translation is a bit awkward, but I think you can make sense out of it and it does offer some information which is otherwise unavailable.  
  Agustín Parlá

Josefina Ortega | La Habana     If you read Spanish, you will enjoy this illustrated article to the fullest extent. If not, I suggest that you look at the photographs first and then obtain the machine-translation using Babelfish. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.


  Agustin Parla     Agustin Parla, October 10, 1887-July 31, 1946, Cuban pioneer aviator, came to Curtiss at Hammondsport in 1911 to learn to fly. He learned and soloed at Miami in March of 1912.
     Returning to the States the following year he purchased a Curtiss seaplane and planned to make the first flight between the United States and Cuba but Domingo Rosillo was two days ahead of him.
     Parla took off from Key West and flew to Mariel Bay, near Havana, on May 19, 1913, but cracked up in alighting. The distance was approximately 90 miles and the time 2:55:00 but he received $5000 as a second prize.
     He did not keep up his flying career but did continue to participate in aeronautic events. He represented Cuba at the Miami races in 1935 and spoke on behalf of the Cuban Senate in acknowledging greetings from the U. S. Secretary of State on the occasion of the 1936 Miami-Havana good will flight. State Secretary R. Walton Moore had commented on the Parla flight of 23 years before. Parla was then, 1936, Inspector General of Airports of Cuba, which post he held until recently. Parla was accepted for membership in the EBs in 1935.

Winston Churchill in Cuba

One of the most curious events in the Spanish-Cuban-American war was the presence of Winston Churchill (1895) much before the U.S. entry into the war. Churchill was gathering information as a military observer. There are even some who infer that the information on tactics and methods used by the Spanish was put to work in subsequent Boer War, and led to the eventual victory of the British forces in that South African War.

It is interesting to speculate that a much more complete military style copy of Churchill’s reports may exist somewhere in the vast archives of the British Empire, or in the private papers of his son




In support of this, one can infer tantalizing hints by Randolph, when he refers to his father Winston Churchill’s advice to him at the time of the Spanish Civil War so as not to appear to be a spy. In addition, it is noted below Winston Churchill at the time of his visit to Cuba was on a leave of absence from his regiment.

However, one should bear in mind what a knowledgeable source points out (for further details see Davis 1906): “Churchill’s visit to the front was typical of ambitious British (and German, Japanese, Russian, Turkish, and even American) military officers of the day. They got experience in seeing combat, and the resulting reports filed at home could help boost one’s chances of promotion. In many cases it was also lucrative in that the observers would also write articles for popular magazines. The American and Spanish armies were loaded with observers. At times, however, the observers were not necessarily welcomed by their own units, who had to stand the boring times (with the lack of promotion) at home, while the officers of means could get a leave of absence and go gallivanting.”

What we see below are accounts by a brilliant, but still very young, man who just turning twenty-one as yet does not fully understand the complexities of irregular war, nor the subtleties of Cuban politics and racial relations. For instance Churchill accepts the Spanish propaganda point that Antonio Maceo was a Black separatist, a while it is now clear that Maceo, not only was not completely black (he was mulatto), but was an avowed integrationist. The Spanish (e.g. Antonio Serra Ortiz, 1906) view of the war was of course quite different from the Cuban perspective (Jose Miro Argenter 1909). Whatever, South Africa, the Sudan, Gallapoli etc, will teach Churchill other lessons, and a great man will be forged.


————————- ******** ————————–

Timeline in Cuba History (1868-1961)


 First war of Cuban independence. Also known as the Ten Years’ War.

Martínez Campos
and Valeriano Weyler

General Martínez Campos Weyler The Butcher

General Martínez Campos (left)

Usually credited with negotiating the Spanish “victory” over the mambises in the Ten-Year War (1868-78), Campos resigned his post as Captain General of Cuba after the rebel invasion of the western provinces in January 1896. He was replaced by General Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau.

General Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau (right)

Also known as “the butcher,” Weyler took over as Captain General of Cuba when General Campos resigned in early 1896. The Cuban war of independence was not going well for Spain, the rebels had just invaded Havana, and Antonio Maceo had made his way clear to Mantua, the westernmost point on the island.

Upon arriving in Havana on February 11 1896, Weyler’s first priority was the death of Maceo.

Unable to control the population’s support for the rebel forces, he instituted a policy of “re-concentration” in which Cubans were forced to move away from the country into fortified “towns.” This would prevent the rebels from receiving aide from the peasants

1868 October 10 , 

Revolutionaries under the leadership of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes proclaims Cuban independence. 

Since 1980, Cubans have celebrated 20 October as National Culture Day, in evocation of a local date of warrior exaltation, the triumphal entry of the small Bayamo Liberation Army, centered around the planter Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, who on 10 October 1868 gave freedom to the slaves of his sugar mill and proclaimed the beginning of the struggle for the independence of Cuba.

As the colonial regiment commanded by Julian Udaeta surrendered before the cheering citizens, supporters of independence, Céspedes and his followers celebrated the victory in the Plaza of the Parish Church with a ceremony and a festive conga for the people.

At that time, Pedro Figueredo Cisneros distributed the verses of The Bayamesa, whose music and lyrics he had composed in the previous year with the help of his wife, the poet Isabel Vazquez, upon request of the illustrious Francisco Maceo Osorio, who later was the assistant Carlos Manuel de Cespedes along with Figueredo.

It has been said that amid the euphoria, the creator and Bayamese patriot improvised lyrics about his horse to sing in chorus for the first time, but the testimonies of his contemporaries reveal that music and the verses were known by many conspirators who had kept silent for their own safety. Perucho, they called Peter Figueredo, played the score at home to dozens of trusted friends and entrusted the orchestration of the piece to the maestro Manuel Muñoz Cedeño, who first performed it publicly in the main parish on the occasion of Corpus Christi, in the presence of the priest Diego José Baptista and the aforementioned Julian Udaeta, military governor of Bayamo, which faulted the instrumentalists for the subversive nature of the march.

The Bayamo Anthem, played on 20 October 1868 and published on 22 and 27 of that month and year in The Free Cuban, embedded itself in the minds of the independence fighters, who often sang it in combat or to start sessions of the House of Representatives, a sort of parliament in the jungle.

Although José Martí praised what happened on that October 20, 1868 and reproduced in Patria the stanzas of the Bayamo Anthem, in June 1892, and on January 21 and October 4, 1893, it was the Constituent Assembly in November 1900 which declared it a national symbol.

In October we commemorate other historic ephemera, such as the discovery of America – 12 October 1492 – and the arrival of Christopher Columbus on our shores days later, an event of great significance for the encounters of peoples and cultures, and international mobility that erupted between Europe and the so-called West Indies.

More than a fact of cultural consequence, the evocations of October 10 and 20, 1868, signals the warrior affinity of those who rule the island like those Captain Generals appointed by the Spanish overlords until 1898.

The story gallops in the memory of the people, but does not model the culture, it complements it. We will have to rewrite the story of war, unilateral and simplistic, that creates myths and masks the oppression. Today, as in 1868, the stanzas of the Bayamo Anthem, turned into the National Anthem, represent a dilemma of our reality, but no one calls to combat nor thinks about guns. Is it that we fear a “glorious death” or that we have gotten used to “living with shame and ignominy”?

1878 February 8,

Pact of Zanjón ends Ten Years’ War and ends uprising.

The Ten years war,
The First Conflict in a history of war’s that would lead to Spain giving up it’s rights in the America’s and else where.

It all started on October 10th, 1868 by a man named Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.

On that day he declared Cuban Independence from the Spanish empire with Grito de Yara. Picking up his rifle this small planter freed his slaves and set off to war. In the weeks to come he would lead thousands of men, badly armed in to battles with Spanish Forces.

Arsenio Martínez Campos with over 100,000 Spainish Soldiers, fought back against the Rebels. Leading his men in a series of battles that would define path of this war.


During the first few days, the uprising almost failed. Céspedes intended to occupy the nearby town of Yara on October 11, from which this revolution is commemorated in Cuba as a national holiday under the name Grito de Yara (“Cry of Yara”). In spite of this defeat, the uprising of Yara was supported in various regions on Oriente and continued to spread throughout the eastern region of Cuba. On October 13, the rebels took eight towns in the province favouring enrolment and acquisition of arms. By the end of October, the insurrection had some 12,000 volunteers.

Máximo Gómez A Cuban Rebel Commander would teach them how to fight. Including teaching them there most lethal tactic the machete charge.

The machete charge was particularly lethal because it involved firearms as well. If the Spanish were caught on the march, the machetes would cut through their ranks. When the Spaniards (following then-standard tactics) formed a square, rifle fire from infantry under cover and pistol and carbine fire from charging cavalry would cause many losses

After a Series of bloody battles, The Spanish Army would put in to use a series of brutal Tactics. Including the Execution of Cuban Rebels and there supporters.

After 3 days of Combat in in October the city of Bayamo finally fell to rebel forces. 3 months later Spanish Forces would retake it.

On November 4, 1868, Camagüey rose up in arms and, in early February1869, Las Villas followed

After Series of Defeats

Gomez was replace by Former Confederate general Thomas Jordan.

General Jordan’s regular tactics, although initially effective, left the families of Cuban rebels far too vulnerable to the “ethnic cleansing” tactics of the ruthless Blas Villate.

Soon After Thomas Jordan would leave and Gomez will come back to leading the Cuban Rebels.

On April 10, 1869, a constitutional assembly took place in the town of Guáimaro (Camagüey), with the purpose of providing the revolution with greater organizational and juridical unity and with representatives from the areas that had joined the uprising.

Céspedes was then elected, on April 12, 1869, as the first president of the Republic in Arms and General Manuel de Quesada (who had fought in Mexico under Benito Juárez during the French invasion of that country), as Chief of the Armed Forces.

After failing to reach an agreement with the insurrection forces in early 1869, the Spanish responded by unleashing a war of extermination. The colonial government passed several laws: all arrested leaders and collaborators would be executed on the spot, ships carrying weapons would be seized and all onboard immediately executed, males 15 and older caught outside of their plantations or places of residence without justification would be summarily executed, all towns were ordered to raise the white flag, otherwise burnt to the ground, any woman caught away from her farm or place of residence would be concentrated in cities.

October 31, 1873 the steamship Virginius was seize by the Spanish Military. Later known as the Virginius Affair

The serial executions were only stopped by the intervention of a British man-of-war under the command of Sir Lambton Lorraine.



Creciente de Valmaseda”, farmers (Guajiros), and the families of Mambises were killed or captured en masse and sent to concentration camps.

Activities in the Ten Years War peaked in the years 1872 and 1873, but after the death of Agramonte and destitution of Céspedes, Cuban operations were limited to the regions of Camagüey and Oriente. Gómez began an invasion of Western Cuba in 1875, but the vast majority of slaves and wealthy sugar producers in the region did not join the revolt. After his most trusted general, the American Henry Reeve, was killed in 1876, the invasion was over.

Spain’s efforts to fight were hindered by the civil war (Third Carlist War),that broke out in Spain in 1872. When the civil war ended in 1876, more Spanish troops were sent to Cuba until they numbered more than 250,000. The impact of the Spanish measures on the liberation forces was severe. Neither side in the war was able to win a single concrete victory, let alone crush the opposing side to win the war, but in the long run Spain gained the upper hand

Estrada Palma was captured by Spanish troops on October 19, 1877. As a result of successive misfortunes, on February 8, 1878, the constitutional organs of the Cuban government were dissolved and negotiations for peace were started in Zanjón, Puerto Príncipe.

General Arsenio Martínez Campos, in charge of applying the new policy, arrived in Cuba, but it took him almost two years to convince most of the rebels to accept the Pact of Zanjón on February 10, 1878, signed by a negotiating committee. The document contained most of the promises made by Spain. The Ten Years’ War came to an end

Cuban Insurgents

a ‘machete charge’

1879 August,

 A second uprising (“The Little War”), engineered by Antonio Maceo and Calixto García, begins but is quelled by superior Spanish forces in autumn 1880.
1886 Slavery abolished

Read more

The Little War

This Little Conflict Rose out of the Ten Year War and would Bleed in to the The next war. Lead By Calixto Garcia, one of the few revolutionary leaders who did not sign the Pact of Zanjón.

With Little Battle test leaders and a lack of Ammonation and weapon and no Major Powers to support the cause. The War was quick and brutal with most of the revolutionary leaders were arrested. The rest of the leaders were forced to capitulate throughout 1879 and 1880, and by September 1880, the rebels had been completely defeated

1890 February, José Sánchez Gómez becomes provisional Governor of Cuba.
1895 23 February Mounting discontent culminated in a resumption of the Cuban revolution, under the leadership of the writer and patriot José Martí and General Máximo Gómez y Báez.
1895 May 19 José Martí killed in battle with Spanish troops at the Battle of Dos Ríos.
1895 September, Arsenio Martínez Campos is defeated at Peralejo and leaves Cuba in January next year.
1896 Successful invasion campaign along the length of the island by Cuban rebels led by Antonio Maceo, and Maximo Gomez; Winston Churchill fights on Spanish side at battle of Iguara [1]; Maceo is killed on return east [2]
1897 Calixto Garcia takes a series of strategic fort complexes in the East and the Spanish are essentially confined to coastal cities there.
1898 June 6–10th Invasion of Guantánamo Bay American and Cuban forces invade the strategically and commercially important area of Guantanamo Bay during the Spanish-American war.
1898 March 17, U.S. Senator, and former War Secretary Redfield Proctor protests against Spanish controlled concentration camps
1898 December 10, Treaty of Peace in Paris ends the Spanish-American War by which Spain relinquished sovereignty over Cuba.
1899 January 1, The Spanish colonial government withdraws and the last captain General Alfonso Jimenez Castellano hands over power to the North American Military Governor, General John Ruller Brooke.
1899 December 23 Leonard Wood becomes US Provisional Governor of Cuba

Republican Cuba

The Spainish American war

The eruption of Cuban revolt, Weyler’s disliked measures, and the popular fury these events whipped up proved to be a boon to the newspaper industry in New York City, where Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World and William Randolph Hearst of the New York Journal recognized the potential for great headlines and stories that would sell copies. Both covered Spain’s actions and Weyler’s tactics in a way that confirmed the extant popular disparaging attitude toward Spain in the U.S. In the minds, schoolbooks, and scholarship of the mostly Protestant U.S. public, the Catholic Spanish Empire was a backward, immoral union built on the backs of enslaved natives and funded with stolen gold.

The indignation — stirred up by feuding newspapers and predicated on a popular prejudice against Spain — did not alone move the U.S. closer to war. Seen from the western seaboard of the U.S., however, the view of the American Pacific was quite different. Nineteenth century American historiography was dominated by the notion of Manifest Destiny, the belief popularised by John O’Sullivan that the USA was destined to ‘overspread and to possess the whole of the continent’.[23] The U.S. had important economic interests that were being harmed by the prolonged conflict. Shipping firms that relied heavily on trade with Cuba suffered huge losses as the conflict continued unresolved.[24] These firms pressed Congress and McKinley to seek an end to the revolt. Other U.S. business concerns, specifically those who had invested in Cuban sugar, looked to the Spanish to restore order to the situation.[25] Stability, not war, was the ultimate goal of both interests. How stability would be achieved would depend largely on the ability of Spain and the U.S. to work out their issues diplomatically.

President William McKinley, well aware of the political complexity surrounding the conflict, was predisposed to end the revolt peacefully. Threatening to consider recognizing Cuba’s belligerent status, and thus allowing the legal rearming of Cuban insurgents by U.S. firms, he sent Stewart L. Woodford to Madrid to negotiate an end to the conflict. With Práxedes Sagasta, an open advocate of Cuban autonomy, now Prime Minister of Spain (the more hard-line Cánovas del Castillo having been assassinated before Woodford arrived), negotiations went fairly smoothly. Cuban autonomy was set to begin on January 1, 1898

Eleven days after the Cuban autonomous government took power, a small riot erupted in Havana. The riot was thought to be ignited by Spanish officers who were offended by the persistent newspaper criticism of General Valeriano Weyler’s policies. McKinley sent the USS Maine to Havana

The need for the U.S. to send Maine to Havana had been anticipated for months, but the Spanish government was notified just 18 hours before its arrival, which was contrary to diplomatic convention. Preparations for the possible conflict started in October 1897, when President McKinley made arrangements for Maine to be deployed to Key West, Florida, as a part of a larger, global deployment of U.S. naval power to be able to attack simultaneously on several fronts if the war was not avoided. As Maine left Florida, a large part of the North Atlantic Squadron was moved to Key West and the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, others were moved just off shore of Lisbon. And still others were moved to Hong Kong.

The Sinking of the USS MAINE

At 9:40 pm on February 15, Maine sank in the harbor after suffering a massive explosion. While McKinley preached patience, the news of the explosion and the death of 266 sailors stirred popular American opinion into demanding a swift belligerent response. McKinley requested that Congress appropriate 50 million dollars for defense, and Congress unanimously obliged. Most American leaders took the position that the cause of the explosion was unknown, but public attention was now riveted on the situation and Spain was unable to find a diplomatic solution to avoid war. It appealed to the European powers; all of whom advised Spain to back down and avoid war.


War Declared and build up

Senator Redfield Proctor’s speech — delivered on March 17, 1898 — thoroughly analyzed the situation, concluding that war was the only answer. The speech helped provide one final push for the United States to declare war. Many in the business and religious communities, which had heretofore opposed war, switched sides, leaving McKinley and Speaker Reed almost alone in their resistance to a war. On April 11, McKinley ended his resistance and asked Congress for authority to send American troops to Cuba to end the civil war there, knowing that Congress would force a war.

President McKinley signed the joint resolution on April 20, 1898, and the ultimatum was forwarded to Spain. In response, Spain broke off diplomatic relations with the United States on April 21. On the same day, the U.S. navy began a blockade of Cuba. Spain declared war on April 23. On April 25, Congress declared that a state of war between the U.S. and Spain had existed since April 21, the day the blockade of Cuba had begun.


The Navy was ready, but the Army was not well-prepared for the war and made radical changes in plans and hurried purchases of supplies. In the spring of 1898, the strength of the U.S. Army was just 28,000 men. The Army wanted 50,000 new men but received over 220,000, through volunteers and the mobilization of state National Guard units.



PostedSun 10 April 2011 05:17 PM

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1879 August,

 A second uprising (“The Little War”), engineered by Antonio Maceo and Calixto García, begins but is quelled by superior Spanish forces in autumn 1880.
1886 Slavery abolished
1890 February, José Sánchez Gómez becomes provisional Governor of Cuba.
1895 23 February Mounting discontent culminated in a resumption of the Cuban revolution, under the leadership of the writer and patriot José Martí and General Máximo Gómez y Báez.
1895 May 19 José Martí killed in battle with Spanish troops at the Battle of Dos Ríos.
1895 September, Arsenio Martínez Campos is defeated at Peralejo and leaves Cuba in January next year.
1896 Successful invasion campaign along the length of the island by Cuban rebels led by Antonio Maceo, and Maximo Gomez; Winston Churchill fights on Spanish side at battle of Iguara [1]; Maceo is killed on return east [2]
1897 Calixto Garcia takes a series of strategic fort complexes in the East and the Spanish are essentially confined to coastal cities there.
1898 June 6–10th Invasion of Guantánamo Bay American and Cuban forces invade the strategically and commercially important area of Guantanamo Bay during the Spanish-American war.
1898 March 17, U.S. Senator, and former War Secretary Redfield Proctor protests against Spanish controlled concentration camps
1898 December 10, Treaty of Peace in Paris ends the Spanish-American War by which Spain relinquished sovereignty over Cuba.
1899 January 1, The Spanish colonial government withdraws and the last captain General Alfonso Jimenez Castellano hands over power to the North American Military Governor, General John Ruller Brooke.
1899 December 23 Leonard Wood becomes US Provisional Governor of Cuba

Republican Cuba

1901 March 2, Platt Amendment passed in the U.S. stipulating the conditions for the withdrawal of United States troops, assuring U.S. control over Cuban affairs.
1902 May 20 The Cuban republic is instituted under the presidency of Tomás Estrada Palma.
1906 September 29 Revolt against Tomás Estrada Palma successful. Peace negotiated by Frederick N. Funston, U.S. troops reoccupy Cuba under William Howard Taft.
1906 October 13 Charles Magoon becomes U.S. governor of Cuba
1909 January 28 Cuba returns to homerule. José Miguel Gómez of the Liberal Party becomes president.
1912 Separatist Black revolt is defeated in bloody campaign
1913 May 20 Mario García Menocal presidency begins.
1917 April 7 Cuba enters World War I on the side of the Allies. In Chambelona War Liberal Revolt is suppressed by Conservadores of Menocal
1921 May 20 Alfredo Zayas becomes president.
1925 May 20 Gerardo Machado becomes president. At uncertain date Fabio Grobart, a stalinist communist leader enters Cuba
1926 August 13 Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz born in the province of Holguín.
1928 June 14 Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (Che Guevara) born in Rosario, Argentina.
1928 January 10 Julio Antonio Mella a founder of the Stalinist Communist Party in Cuba is murdered in Mexico. Details are murky; Gerardo Machado agents blamed by some, Tina Modotti and Vittorio Vidale communist assassins blamed by others.
1931 August 10–14 Old Mambi warriors Carlos Mendieta and Mario García Menocal land forces at Rio Verde attempting to overthrow the now clearly dictatorial Gerardo Machado. They are defeated in actions that include first military aviation use in Cuba.
1933 August 12 Gerardo Machado, despite last minute support from the Communist Party, is forced to leave Cuba, by ABC and Antonio Guiteras Holmes resistance actions, a general strike, pressure from senior officers of Cuban Armed Forces and U.S. Ambassador Sumner Welles. Communist activity high and extends through rest of summer with establishment of ephemeral soviets in eastern provinces.
1933 September 4 “Sergeants’ Revolt” organized by a group including Fulgencio Batista topples provisional government.
1933 October 2 Batista loyal enlisted men and sergeants, plus radical elements, force Army Officers out of Hotel Nacional in heavy fighting. Some are murdered after surrender.
1933 November 9 Blas Hernández his followers and some ABC members make a stand in old Atarés Castle they are defeated by Batista loyalists in bloody battle and Blas Hernández is murdered on surrender.
1934 June 16, 17 1934 ABC demonstration Havana festival and march attacked by radical gunners including those of Antonio Guiteras with bombs and machine guns, numerous dead.
1935 May 8 Leading radical Antonio Guiteras is betrayed and dies fighting Batista forces.
1938 September Communist party legalized again.
1939 after August 23 Fabio Grobart publicly justifies Ribbentrop-Molotov pact.
1941 May 8, 1941 Sandalio Junco, a Communist labor leader who defected to Trotskyism, is murdered by Stalin Loyalists.
1941 December Cuban government declares war on Germany, Japan, and Italy.
1943 Soviet embassy opened in Havana.

Revolution and Socialist Cuba

1951 May 15 Eduardo Chibás, leader of the Ortodoxo party and mentor of Fidel Castro commits suicide on live radio.
1952 March Former president Batista, supported by the army, seizes power.
1953 July 26 Some 160 revolutionaries under the command of Fidel Castro launch an attack on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba. Communists at meeting in Santiago arrested, Fabio Grobart said to have attended, but not listed in arrest records,
1953 October 16 Fidel Castro makes “History Will Absolve Me” speech in his own defense against the charges brought on him after the attack on the Moncada Barracks.
1954 September Che Guevara arrives in Mexico City.
1954 November Batista dissolves parliament and is elected constitutional president without opposition.
1955 May Fidel and surviving members of his movement are released from prison under an amnesty from Batista.
1955 June Brothers Fidel and Raúl Castro are introduced to Che Guevara in Mexico City.
1956 April 29 Autentico Assault on Goicuria Barracks, in Matanzas attackers are ts including Raúl Castro, Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, executes informers and sets sail from Mexico for Cuba on the yacht Granma.
1956 December 2 Granma lands in Oriente Province.
1957 January 17, Castro’s guerrillas score their first success by sacking an army outpost on the south coast, and start gaining followers in both Cuba and abroad.
1957 March 13, University students mount an attack on the Presidential Palace in Havana. Batista forewarned. Attackers mostly killed, others flee and are betrayed.
1957 May 28 1957, Castro’s 26 July movement, heavily reinforced by Frank Pais Militia, overwhelm an army post in El Uvero.
1957 July 19 Autentico landing in the “Corynthia,” led by Calixto Sánchez White in north Oriente, at Cabonico Batista is forewarned and then guided by agents, almost all 27 killed.
1957 July 30 Cuban revolutionary Frank País is killed in the streets of Santiago de Cuba by police while campaigning for the overthrow of Batista government.
1957 September 5 Naval revolt at Cienfuegos is crushed by forces loyal to Batista.
1958 February Raúl Castro takes leadership of about 500 pre-existing Escopeteros guerrillas and opens a front in the Sierra de Cristal on Oriente’s north coast.
1958 March 13 U.S. suspends shipments of arms to Batista’s forces.
1958 March 17 Castro calls for a general revolt.
1958 April 9 A general strike, organized by the 26th of July movement, is partially observed.
1958 May Batista sends an army of 10,000 into the Sierra Maestra to destroy Castro’s 300 armed guerrillas (supported by uncounted escopeteros). By August, the rebels had defeated the army’s advance and captured a huge amount of arms.
1958 November 1 A Cubana aircraft en route from Miami to Havana is hijacked by militants but crashes. The hijackers were trying to land at Sierra Cristal in Eastern Cuba to deliver weapons to Raúl Castro’s rebels. It is the first of what was to become many Cuba-U.S. hijackings.[2]
1958 November 20 to November 30 Key position at Guisa is taken, and in the following month most cities in Oriente fall to Rebel Hands.
1958 December Guevara, William Alexander Morgan and non-communist Directorio Forces attack Santa Clara.
1958 December 28 Rebels seize Santa Clara.
1958 December 31 Camilo Cienfuegos leads revolutionary guerrillas to victory in Yaguajay, Huber Matos Enters Santiago.

1959 January 1 President Batista resigns and flees the country. Fidel Castro’s column enters Santiago de Cuba. Raul Castro starts mass executions of captured military. Diverse urban rebels, mainly Directorio, seize Havana
1959 January 2 Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos arrive in Havana.
1959 January 5 Manuel Urrutia named President of Cuba
1959 January 8 Fidel Castro arrives at Havana, speaks to crowds at Camp Columbia.
1959 February 16 Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba.
1959 March Fabio Grobart is present at a series of meetings with Castro brothers, Guevara and Valdes at Cojimar
1959 April 20 Fidel Castro speaks at Princeton University, New Jersey.[3]
1959 May 17 The Cuban government enacts the Agrarian Reform Law which limits land 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) ranches or less if other agricultural land, no payment is made.
1959 July 17 Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado becomes President of Cuba, replacing Manuel Urrutia forced to resign by Fidel Castro. Dorticós serves until 2 December 1976
1959 October 28 Plane carrying Camilo Cienfuegos disappears during a night from Camagüey to Havana. He is presumed dead.
1959 December 11, Trial of revolutionary Huber Matos begins. Matos is found guilty of “treason and sedition”.
1960 March 4, the freighter La Coubre a 4,310-ton French vessel carrying 76 tons of Belgian munitions explodes while it began unloading in Havana harbor.
1960 March 17, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower orders CIA director Allen Dulles to train Cuban exiles for a covert invasion of Cuba.
1960 July 5 All U.S. businesses and commercial property in Cuba is nationalized at the direction of the Cuban government.
1960 October 19, U.S. imposes embargo prohibiting all exports to Cuba except foodstuffs and medical supplies.
1960 October 31, nationalization of all U.S. property is completed.
1960 December 26, Operation Peter Pan (Operación Pedro Pan) begins, an operation transporting 14,000 children of parents opposed to the new government. The scheme continues until U.S. airports are closed to Cuban during 1962.
1961 January 1, Cuban government initiates national literacy scheme.
1961 “March” former rebel comandante Humberto Sorí Marin and Catholic leaders shot.
1961 April 15, Bay of Pigs invasion.
1961 US Trade embargo on Cuba.

Sources: Wikepedia/

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Spanish-American War in Cuba

Cuba Struggle for Independence (1868-1898)
and then (Washington Post published), starts the “Splendid Little” War . What follows are some benchmarks along the way:

April 10, 1895 — Jose Marti, Cuban revolutionary, launches insurrection against Spanish rule. He is killed May 19.

Jan. 1, 1898 — In an effort to defuse the insurrection, Spain gives Cubans limited political autonomy.

Jan. 12 — Spaniards in Cuba riot against autonomy given to Cubans.

Jan. 25 — USS Maine arrives in Havana Harbor to protect American interests.

Feb. 15 — USS Maine explodes, sinks; 266 crewmen lost. The Maine’s captain urges suspension of judgment on the cause of the explosion.

March 28 — Naval Court of Inquiry says Maine destroyed by a mine.

April 11 — President William McKinley asks Congress for declaration of war.

April 25 — State of war exists between United States and Spain.

June 10 — U.S. Marines land at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

July 1 — Battles of El Caney and San Juan Hill in Cuba result in American victories and instant national acclaim for Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, the former Navy Department official and future president who leads the Rough Riders at San Juan Heights.

July 3 — Spain’s Atlantic fleet, having sought refuge in the harbor of Santiago, Cuba, attempts to escape and is destroyed by American naval forces.

July 6 — Congress, caught up in expansionist fever fed by the war, votes to annex Hawaii, which has nothing to do with Spain.

July 14 — Santiago surrenders. Yellow fever breaks out among American troops the next day.

July 25 — U.S. Army invades Puerto Rico.

July 26 — Spain asks for peace.

Aug. 6 — Spain accepts American terms for peace.

Aug. 12 — Truce is signed with Spain.

Oct. 1 — Peace negotiations with Spain commence in Paris.

Dec. 10, 1898 — War ends, officially, with signing of the Treaty of Paris (With no Cuban Representative prese