A ‘Stepping Stone’ of Spanish Colonialism in the Western Pacific: The Mariana Islands

Author(s): James Bayman

Year: 2014


The role of the Manila Galleon in linking the economies and cultures of Asia, the Americas, and Europe has long been studied through the historical analysis of documentary records. Although documentary sources are vital to such studies, archaeology is necessary to fully understand the material consequences of early modern colonialism. This presentation examines an emerging body of archaeological evidence on the nature and consequences of Spanish colonialism in the Mariana Islands, an archipelago between Manila, Philippines, and Acapulco, Mexico. Because this archipelago functioned as a ‘stepping stone’ for the Spanish galleon in the Pacific, its indigenous population, the so-called ‘Chamorro,’ offer a unique case study of early modern colonialism. This study considers the impact of Spanish colonialism on Chamorro technology, economy, gender relations, and cultural identity. This presentation examines the material signatures of Spanish rule in the Mariana Islands at multiple scales: 1) archipelago, 2) island, 3) village, and 4) household. The substantive findings of this study in the Western Pacific fill a geographic gap in scholarship on Spanish colonialism.

Cite this Record

A ‘Stepping Stone’ of Spanish Colonialism in the Western Pacific: The Mariana Islands. James Bayman. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436572)

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Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-4,02