Kosrae History - Kosrae Utilities Authority

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Kosrae History

Information
Outline of Kosraen (Kusaien) History
Based primarily on a hand-typed document compiled by Walter Scott Wilson that is in the possession of Reverend Nena Kilafwasu. Cross-referencing other materials indicates that Wilson's sources differ in some details from other sources. There are no sources cited in the Wilson document which is clearly meant to be only a rough outline.
1529
14 September 1529. Spaniard Saavedra sighted Kosrae.
1804
05 June to 15 June. The American whaler Nancy, captained by Captain Crozer, sighted Kosrae and named it Strong's Island.
1824
Duperry [alt: Duperrey], in the ship Coquille, stopped at Kosrae for ten days. Lesson, a member of the expedition, reported on the visit. Awane (King) Salik I was reported to be senile at this time. The known kings prior to Awane Salik I were Awane Sa I, Awane Likiak, and Awane Na. The population at this time may have been as many at 5000 or more, according to a later estimate made by the mission. Duperry estimated a population of 2000.
1827 - 1828
From 08 December to 01 January the Russian explorer Lutke visited Kosrae with his ship the Senyavin (Senjawin). He reported the people to be friendly.
1830 - 1860
Whaling became significant in the 1830's, flourished in the 1840's, reached a peak in the 1850's, and declined during the 1860's.
1835 - 1837
Awane Sru II was described as an usurper. He was said to be be brutal, inconsiderate, and unfriendly to Europeans.In 1835 there were two attacks on ships. One crew was massacred and the ship burned at Lelu because the daughter of a chief was thrown into the water and she drowned. In a second incident, Captain Stock of the Hondura arrived at Lelu. He and most of his crew were killed, but two members of the crew escaped with the ship.
Some time between 1837 and 1852 a "dark" typhoon struck Kosrae (paka losr).
In 1837 Awane Sru II tried to take Tofol (a land division) from Salik, his sister's son. Salik and six sons revolted, defeated, and deposed Awane Sru II. This led to the reign of Awane Lepalik I, "King George", who was friendly to the whalers. There were 18 titles at this time.
1842
At one time there were three whaling vessels in Okat, two American and one Canadian. There were five whalers stopping at Okat harbor that year.
1843
Captain Parker was killed and his ship, the Henrietta, was burned in Okat harbor in reprisal for the seizure and rape of a woman. A variation of this account lists the ship as the Harriet and says the incident involved more than one girl. The alternate account notes that the crew were also killed.
1845
Delessert visited Okat, 2 Englishmen came on board the ship.
1850
Two Americans, Kirkland and Hussey, settled at Lelu to trade with whalers. The Emily Morgan visited for eleven days and noted other ships in harbor. The Emily Morgan would return in April 1851. At the time there was a Ball (bowling) Alley at Lelu.
1852
On 22 August 1852, Reverend Benjamin Galen Snow (1817-1880) and his wife Lydia Vose Buck Snow (1820-1887) arrived with a Hawaiian couple, Daniel Opunui and his wife Doreka, on the schooner Caroline.
By December, 1852, Reverend Snow began the first formal church services. Reverend Snow was initially assisted by the friendliness of Awane Lepalik I, good "King George", who passed away in 1854.
Between 1852 and 1856, 76 whaling ships stopped at Kosrae.
1853
Hammet investigated the destruction of the Henrietta (Harriet, 1842). Awane Lepalik I told Hammet that he had executed 14 men and 4 women who had been aboard the Henrietta. This may have been said to avoid reprisals. Snow reported that he was discouraged.
1854
Death of "King George." At his death, Sesa became dictatorial and seized land. Because of this, Awane Sru III became the king. He was the son of King George. He reigned until 1856.
1855
Influenza epidemic. 113 deaths and 88 sick out of a population of 1106.
Daniel Opunui passed away on Kosrae prior to 1858.
1856
Early in the year the population stood at 975. In September Awane Sru III died. The new king, Awane Oa, would reign until 1858. Snow reported that he had died of dissipation. Kosraen opinion was that he was throttled by the by his successor. Influenza recurred and by October 1856 the population had fallen to 950 people. Twenty ships were recorded in Lelu harbor.
Caroline (Carrie) Snow was oldest child of Reverend Benjamin and Lydia Snow. She was born December 22nd, 1856, in the Caroline Islands, probably on Kusai.
1857
Awane Oa discovers a plot by four white men, 14 Rotoma men, and one "negro" to seize power. All but the two Rotoma men, who were married to Kosraens, were expelled. A law was made to prevent permanent settlement by whites.
1858
Fred Galen Snow was born March 9th, 1858, as the youngest child of Reverend Benjamin and Lydia Snow; he was probably born on Kusai. Fred Galen Snow married Mary Rebecca Hitchcock, daughter of Judge Edurn Griffin Hitchcock and Mary Tenny Castle Hitchcock, in Hilo, Hawaii. Fred was captain of the Morning Star; he also had a plantation in Hawaii, where he raised pineapples, sugar, coffee and cattle.
In 1858 Reverend Snow ordered that adulterers publicly confess at the mission.
The reign of Awane Lepalik II began and lasted until 1863. Awane Lepalik II had two wives, sent women down to the ships, and was considered a pagan.
1859
By 1859 the population had fallen to 748. Despite his efforts, Reverend Snow noted in 1860 that there had not been much progress in morals and in growth of the faith.
1861
Reverend Snow noted at improvement in church attendance and also a revival of the Kosraen religion.
In 1862 the church had 100 hearers and 20 members, Reverend Snow left to work in the Marshall Islands, returning to Kosrae for annual visits.
1863
Awane Lepalik II died suddenly one week after seizing land belonging to the Christian Congregation. He died while he was supervising replanting of the seized land. Awane Salik II began his reign, he also opposed Christianity. He would rule until 1874.
1864
In 1864 missionaries returned to Kosrae, marking the beginning of period of growth for the church with 50 new converts. By 1867 there were 197 members and two stone chapels on the mainland, and one on Lelu. Meanwhile, the Kosraen population continued to collapse. By 1868 the population had fallen to 600.
1869
By 1969 ten titles had lapsed, leaving only eight titles, and the traditional systems of Kosrae began to go into collapse. The wife of the king joined the church, although she would be expelled in 1871. The king permitted people to choose seven representatives to sit with him and enact laws and regulations.
1870
Godeffroy and Sons open a copra trading station.
1871
In 1871 Likiaksa Benjamin was ordained the second pastor of Kosrae, with his wife Tulpe Pisin becoming the second nipasta.
1874
William Henry Bully Hayes settles at Finkol. Harry Skilling was in Lelu. Alternate sources have Hayes on Kosrae as early as 1871.
The population continued to decline, with 237 males and 160 females for a population of 397 in 1874.
Reign of Awane Sru IV began in 1874 and lasted until 1880. He was the first elected king of Kosrae and a supporter of the church. Awane Salik II was deposed at a meeting in October of 1874. [This represented a final de facto collapse of the traditional royal system.]
1877
The Capelle Company begins operation on Kosrae. Later, a trader from the Hernsheim Company falsely informed the the king that the Capelle Company had failed. When the Capelle trader returned, the people were angry at the Hernsheim trader and refused to trade with him.
In 1877 Reverend Snow suffered a stroke and returned to Brewer, Maine. On March 15, 1880 Reverend Snow passed away in Brewer.
1879
In 1879 Dr. E.M. Pease and Mrs. Whitney began a training school for Gilbertese girls at Mwot. Later, a second school for Marshallese girls was added at Mwot. A third school, for Marshallese boys, was also established at Mwot.
1880
Hernsheim demanded 133,000 pounds of copra as well as money for unpurchased trade goods. Only the copra was delivered. This was referred to as the "Hernsheim scandal." The population is said to have fallen below 200.
There were only five titles now extant on Kosrae, although tribute was still being given to the king as well as a share of the copra. Captain Melander began operations on Kosrae. Melander would continue trading as late as 1920. Dr. Qulick [Gulick?] from the Boston mission visited Kosrae.
Awane Sru I was elected king. Awane Sru IV had been deposed for giving Mwot to the missionaries.
1881
The Hernsheim scandal was investigated by the Consul General. The decision was unfavorable to the Kosraens.
1882
The Gilbert Islands Training School for boys was moved to Kosrae. Mr. Wakup was a the teacher at this school.
1884
Formal recognition of class distinctions was abandoned by Awane Sru V. Dr. Edmond Pease was on Kosrae through 1910, during which time a child was born to him.
1885
Germans raise their flag on Kosrae. The dispute between Spain and Germany was referred to Pope Leo XII. Germany won the right to trade, fish, and set up a coaling station.
1886
Spanish rule. No attempt to govern the internal affairs of Kosrae were made by the Spanish.
1887
Jaluit Company formed. Trading station opened on Kosrae.
From 1888 to 1893 the missionary Alice C. Little was on Kosrae, and from 1890 to 1914 Jessie C. Hoppin was on Kosrae. By 1898 only two or three Kosraens were in the Mwot school.
1889
Six month reign of Awane Lepalik III.
1890
Tidal wave, killing many. Almost as bad as the hurricane [sic] of 1890. Captain Melander marries Nenus. Awane Sa II begins his reign. He returned from Honolulu to become king, he would rule until 1910.
1891
March 3 and 4: A typhoon destroys six houses, no deaths.
1893
Earthquake and typhoon.
1894
An image is extant of the missionaries at Mwot. The image includes seven children including three babies. All of the people in the image are clearly European-American.
1897
Louis Becke publishes Pacific Tales
1899
Germany acquires the Marianas by purchase from Spain. German rule lasts until 1914.
1900
In 1900 there was a religious revival and about half the population joined the church by the end of the revival. There exist sources that suggest the population had started to recover and that there were as many as 500 Kosraens around the turn of the century.
1901
In 1901 the American missionary Dr. Edmond F. Rife came to Kosrae from the Willington Congregational church in Maine, the same church at which Dr. Clark had established the youth Christian endeavor.
1902
On February 02, 1902, Dr. Edmond F. Rife founded Kosrae Christian Endeavor with Alik Kefwas as the first president. This date was the anniversary of date of the founding of Christian Endeavor in the United States on February 02, 1881.
Dr. Rife was a member of the staff of the Mwot Mission School during the German administration. During this time he established the Christian Endeavor for the youth of this area. Within this period, seeing how helpful this was for the Kosraen youth, he encouraged the church leaders to expand the Christian Endeavor to all of the villages on Kosrae.
During this time the Christian Endeavor fellowship was transfered to Lelu. All of the Christian Endeavor members throughout Kosrae would meet every Sunday afternoon in Lelu for Christian Endeavor fellowship. The membership rapidly increased during this time.
The increase in membership began to make the weekly journey each Sunday to and from Lelu increasingly difficult. In 1904 the entire membership decided that it would be better for each village to hold their own Christian Endeavor service or program.
After reaching this decision, Malem and Utwe were found to have not enough membership for separate services. Malem and Utwe decided to meet together in Utwe to hold their Etawi service every Sunday afternoon. Lelu and Tafunsak also chose to meet together in Lelu every Sunday afternoon for Etawi service.
1905
A typhoon that is now referred to as the "black typhoon" strikes Kosrae from April 19th to the 22nd. Stories of that event suggest the sun was not seen for a week, that day was as dark as night, and that locals sought shelter in the mountains.
In 1905 the Kosrae church became independent and the Etawi services each officially separated, with each church now holding their own Etawi and fellowship program. From its 1902 inception to 1954 there were no age limitations for Christian Endeavor service.
1910
Reign of Awane Na, sometimes called Palikna and John. He was the son of Awane Sru IV and a church leader.
1914
Japanese rule begins and lasts until 1945. The Japanese navy administered the islands through 1920. Nanyo Boeki Kaisha replaced the Jaluit Company.
1922
Japanese civilian rule under the navy begins.
1935
Japanese colony exists with 25 people.
1937
Kosrae population stands at 1267 with 645 males and 622 females. Also on island were seven Chamorros (one male, six females), 50 Japanese (31 males, 19 females), and eight other foreigners (3 males, 5 females).
Sources
Outline of Kusaien History, Walter Scott Wilson, undated.

Summary Report on the Development of Christian Endeavor in Kosrae
, Reverend Nena Kilafwarsru, undated.
P.O. Box KUA
Kosrae State, FM 96944 Micronesia
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