Early History of the Republic of the Marshall Islands 1494-1914
A Brief Summarized History
Evidence suggests that around 3,000 years ago successive waves of human migrants from Southeast Asia spread across the Western Pacific populating its many small islands. The Marshall Islands were settled by Micronesians in the 2nd millennium BC. Little is known of the islands' early history. Early settlers traveled between the islands by canoe using traditional stick charts.
The Spanish explorer Alonso de Salazar landed there in 1529. They were named by Krusenstern, after English explorer John Marshall, who visited them together with Thomas Gilbert in 1788, en route from Botany Bay to Canton (two ships of the First Fleet). The Marshall Islands were claimed by Spain in 1874.
Following papal mediation and German compensation of $4.5 million, Spain recognized Germany's claim in 1885, which established a protectorate and set up trading stations on the islands of Jaluit and Ebon to carry out the flourishing copra (dried coconut meat) trade. Marshallese Iroij (high chiefs) continued to rule under indirect colonial German administration.
1494 - All of Micronesia is ceded to Spain
1529 - Spaniard Alonso de Salazar discovers Taongi Atoll in the northern Marshalls.
1788 - British Naval Captain William Marshall sails through the area while transporting convicts and names it.
1857 - Reverend Hiram Bingham, Jr. of the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions creates a missionary outpost on Ebon.
1860s - Adolph Capelle builds the first trading company in the Marshalls. Other German trading firms come
1878 - Germans establish a calling station
1886 - Germany establishes a protectorate over the Marshalls
Note: Please go and check out the famous "Kramer Collection" of archival photographs: http://www.mistories.org/kramer-3.php
1898 - Germany receives ownership of Ujelang and Enewetok atolls as a result of the Spanish American war
1914 - The Marshalls are captured from Germany by the Japanese