Header image
the atlantic coast  •  1933+  •  p. 2
Jan 1934 - dec 1939

A T L A N T I C    C O A S T    D O C S
thru 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 +

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

   THIS IS THE SECOND PAGE OF DOCUMENTS FOR THE PERIOD AFTER 1932 on Nicaragua's Atlantic Coast region, housing documents dated from January 1934 through the end of the 1930s.

     As we move into the months & years after Sandino’s assassination in February 1934, we see only faint echoes of the nationalist rebellion and social revolution he sought to bring to the Coast.  As before, Miskitus & Creoles continue to petition the British government for protection from the tyranny of the Nicaraguans.  Indeed, the British Foreign Office receives so many Costeño petitions that in 1937 it finally draws up a crisp official summary of the history of the relations & treaties concerning Her Majesty’s Government and Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast (20 February 1937).  One such petition, penned in April 1936 by the Jamaican D. E. Ferguson, expresses sympathetic for the plight of the Miskitu Indians and recalls the days “when the country was over-run by Sandino.  At that time many villages were pillaged and the people left destitute of all food . . .”

     Ferguson’s comment here is one of the few mentions of Sandino on the page.  Another comes in Bishop Guido Grossman’s brief history of Moravian missionary work in Nicaragua (in German), which underscores Karl Bregenzer’s murder and the troubles caused by Sandino (1 January 1934).  The last comes in USMC Capt. John C. Wood’s February 1939 article in Marine Corps Gazette, “Sandino Strikes Again” reprising the April 1931 events at Logtown near Puerto Cabezas – an exemplar of a larger genre in Marine Corps Gazette and The Leatherneck that add little new information and are not included here.

     The 1939 Moravians’ Meet Nicaragua pamphlet is pretty nifty, especially its map of Moravian missions.  The Moravians' annual reports convey much useful information, but very little on any legacy bequeathed by Sandino.  Because as we have seen on these pages, at the end of the day for the Coast as a whole, there really wasn’t much of one.

PERIOD MAPS

1894 mosquito shore

27 MB, library of congress

1920s Standard Fruit

6.5 mb, US National archives

1928 Rio wanks Patrol

3 mb, us national archives

1931 Moravian

2.4 mb, comenius press

1.     1 January 1934.
"Missionsblatt der Brüdergemeine," by Bishop Guido Grossman, Moravian Church, 1934, p. 1.

2.     1 January 1934.
"Missionsblatt der Brüdergemeine," by Bishop Guido Grossman, Moravian Church, 1934, p. 2.

3.     1 January 1934.
"Missionsblatt der Brüdergemeine," by Bishop Guido Grossman, Moravian Church, 1934, p. 3.

4.     1 January 1934.
"Missionsblatt der Brüdergemeine," by Bishop Guido Grossman, Moravian Church, 1934, p. 4.

5.     1 January 1934.
"Missionsblatt der Brüdergemeine," by Bishop Guido Grossman, Moravian Church, 1934, p. 5.

1.  1 January 1934.
Report of Kiha-Karata and Klillna for 1933, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 1.

2.  1 January 1934.
Report of Kiha-Karata and Klillna for 1933, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 2.

3.  1 January 1934.
Report of Kiha-Karata and Klillna for 1933, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 3.

4.  1 January 1934.
Report of Kiha-Karata and Klillna for 1933, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 4.

5.  1 January 1934.
Report of Kiha-Karata and Klillna for 1933, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 5.

6.  1 January 1934.
Report of Kiha-Karata and Klillna for 1933, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 6.

1 January 1935.
Annual Report of Wawa & Karata for 1934, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 1.  
"For eight months of the year, May-Dec. I was away so it is not possible to write a perfect report of these two filials:  The year opened very propitious, and a brotherly Spirit was manifested when on the 7th two dozen from the Karata congregation paid us a visit here.  Our Church could scarcely accommodate all who came, outside and on the steps were many.  The Karata Choir several nice pieces, both at noon and at 4-6 p.m, and earnest words of encouragement were spoken by Merijildo and Paulinus: they then returned home at dusk.  ¶  Not very good was the attendance during the Week of Prayer on the male side as over twenty went away on Sunday night to work on the line for the Co.  In Karata it was much better however. This year the inconvenience to secure food was not so great as the previous year; there was a good yield to those who made large enough plantations, still drones are always to be found in every hive of bees, and so these did raise the usual cry of “No food”.  ¶  A few serious cases of sickness in both villages, but only one death in Karata of a young man through careless neglect to follow the professional advice that was given.  The Wawa Congregation lost two Com. Sisters that were . . . "

1 January 1935.
Annual Report of Wawa & Karata for 1934, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 2.  
" . . . sick for some time.  The great lack of Ready Cash is still felt and it is feared will get worse because very little work is to be had from the Co.  The weekly loading of the Banana Steamers continues,, still that does not alleviate the situation any for the 4 or 5 villages dependent on it, still it’s a great help, small as it is though.  ¶  Wawa.  Here as well as Karata several new members were Confirmed and admitted to the Ho. Com.  On Palm Sunday here 11 were confirmed, 2 adult heathen baptized, 9 readmitted, and 5 children of Xtian [Christian] parents baptized.  On other days during the previous month 6 couples married.  ¶  Karata.  Here too I marred 5 couples, baptized 9 infants, and confirmed 7 and readmitted four.  ¶  Regretfully however one discordant note has to be sounded which is: a good many of our members are still loathe to part with their old custom, though repeatedly told its neither brotherly nor Christianly, moreover the Gospel has been too long taught among them to still persist in that most aggravating way of telling and retelling stories much of which is hearsay.   Simple things that could have been peaceably in half an hour or by a dozen words are sometimes prolonged, causing abusing language, going to law, hatred and malice, for which . . . "

1.     22 June 1935.
Petition for Protection from Nicaraguan Government, A. E. Hibbert, British Consul Managua, to Foreign Office UK, London, p. 1.  
"The references to the sufferings of the inhabitants of the Mosquito Reserve as vague and rhetorical but the letter does suggest that the Nicaraguan Government may not be fulfilling their obligations under the Harrison-Altaminano Treaty (A-1511/1511./8) in spite of the decree of the 6th August 1932 (A 7076/98/8 of 1932) which made these obligations mandatory and which we have hitherto regarded as providing a satisfactory termination of the whole matter.  We have heard nothing further about the position since 1932 and I think we should ask for a response."

2.     22 June 1935.
Petition for Protection from Nicaraguan Government, A. E. Hibbert, British Consul Managua, to Foreign Office UK, London, p. 2.  
"I do not feel convinced that a general report is called for.  I think that one despatch to Managua and [?] 1st October 1931 [A 5372/656/8] should still be one guide – particularly his passage in para 3 that “You who consider each use that may arise on its merits and conditions unofficial to obtain [leaders] in uses where hardship is being suffered.”  ¶  The present letter is an invitation to tear up the 1905 treaty and annex the Mosquito Coast, on the general ground that the Nicaraguan gov’t [could] disregard the treaty.  ¶  I think it is enough to send a copy of the letter to Managua with visits to continue to be guided by our 1931 instructions above mentioned and to make inquiries through the British Consul at [ - - -] as to any grievance from which Mr. Hebbert may be suffering.  ¶  There is no longer any British Consular Officer."

3.     22 June 1935.
Petition for Protection from Nicaraguan Government, A. E. Hibbert, British Consul Managua, to Foreign Office UK, London, p. 3.  
"Officer at Bluefields, the nearest one being the British Vice-Consul at Puerto Cabezas, also on the East Coast but about 200 miles to the northward.  Mr. Gurney may possibly be in touch with someone nearer to the Mosquito Reserve through whom he could made inquiries.  I submit draft.  ¶  Mr. Gurney has not replied to my dispatch of the 22nd July.  He may have assumed that no reply was called for, but it would perhaps be interesting to learn what, if anything was the outcome of his inquiries.  I accordingly submit a draft letter to Chancery."

1.     11 July 1935.
Petition for British Control of Mosquito Reserve, Mr. Edward Wilson & others, Bluefields, p. 1.  
"There seems to be a considerable movement of opinion in favor of a return to British rule.  ¶  . . . There is no particular grievance here to be looked into."

2.     11 July 1935.
Petition for British Control of Mosquito Reserve, Mr. Edward Wilson & others, Bluefields, p. 2.  
"To the Under Secretary of State ¶  Foreign Affairs  ¶  Horse Guards  ¶  Downing Street  ¶  England London.  ¶  Sir;  ¶  We the undersigned representatives of the different sections of the Atlantic Coast viz the Mosquito Reservation do hereby forward you this letter for the approval of His Majesty The King of the British Empire, informing you that the Nicaraguan Government violated the "Treaty" in every direction no part of it never was complied with.  We thereupon requested that the Nicaraguan government ruling power do cease on the 1st September of this year.  ¶  We thereupon requested the British government ruling the Reservation as from 1st September of this year.  ¶  We have the honour to be  ¶  Sir  ¶  Your obedient servants,  ¶  Edward Wilson  ¶  Steven Joseph  ¶  Richard Manor  ¶  Pedro Joseph  ¶  James Hodgson  ¶  George Lockwood  ¶  Lazarus Clair  ¶  Daniel Walters  ¶  Vertic Hodgson  ¶  Jeremiah Walters  ¶ . . . "

3.     11 July 1935.
Petition for British Control of Mosquito Reserve, Mr. Edward Wilson & others, Bluefields, p. 3.  
" . . . Samuel Hodgson  ¶  John Hodgson  ¶  David Howell  ¶  Halstead Hodgson  ¶  Augustus Willson  ¶  Thomas Howell  ¶  Henry Smith  ¶  Willie Smith  ¶  Peter Soloman  ¶  William Clarence  ¶  Danford McRay  ¶  William McRay  ¶  George Alvarice  ¶  William Thomas  ¶  George Thomas  ¶  Charles Brown  ¶  Egbert Hodgson"

1.     1 January 1936.
Wawa and Karata's Report for 1935, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 1.  
“Duty again requires of us a report of the years’ work just passed, through which the Grace of God has safely brought us; and in doing so must admit that He has dealt more mercy fully with us than we deserved: so as we look back through the months, weeks, and days, thinking of our mistakes and failures, we are constrained to exclaim “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are still alive because His compassions fail not.”  May these mercies thus lovingly bestowed on us arouse within us that willingness to surrender ourselves anew, so that He might be able to use us more in the different sphere of work allotted to each so that the year we now enter may bring to Him yet greater honour and glory.”  ¶  Wawa:  To begin with, during the last months of the year a good many of our members were sick, some for a few days, others for months, the majority of these their ailing were of a minor sort, but a few of them were rather serious; nevertheless all but three recovered: two were small children of 3 and 4 years old, and the other an old Com. sister whose illness was of a complicated nature confining her for many months to her bed.  She passed away whilst I was away but her end was peaceful, was quite resigned and ready to go.  ¶  Of the attendance at the services especially those on Sundays has been most satisfactory, an increase has been noticed, a better attention paid, proving that the Holy Spirit has been at work among them, that the Word though dispensed in weakness and feebly has been making its power felt, resulting in making willing some hitherto cold and indifferent ones. . . . "

2.     1 January 1936.
Wawa and Karata's Report for 1935, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 2.  
" . . . be found: yet another difficulty looms up and must be tackled and handled in the same way. Our New Church proves too small to accommodate the rapidly increasing congregation, and must in the near future be enlarged.  Although I can and do rejoice over the wiping out of the Church’s Debt, I have to record the failure of the members to meet their obligations.  Cong. [Congregation] Cash and all other Collections are miserably paid just because the same willing determination to do is lacking.  ¶  Times are bad most surely with of all us everywhere but as said above what made it possible to liquidate the debt?  The will was there so the way was found. In our Indian vocabulary one word is not be found.  That word is “Self-denial”.  I can’t find it.  Humbly I do ask, if any of our Brn [Bretheren] has found it (perhaps our Esteemed Bishop has) would be so kind as to tell me the page.  ¶  We will not cease firing though in this New Year of Grace D.V.  Mention must be made before I leave this congregation of the effects of the recent Storm up on it.  Of a truth most of the peoples’ cassava grounds are destroyed: a few completely these having been made on the low flat savannah land, and on the rivers’ banks.  Also a good many banana plantations wrecked but, although even now a scarcity is felt, from all that I am told, we do not fear a general starvation as is possible among our Wangks River Christians.  Scarcity, yes there will be but no starvation.  As said above the increase of this congregation will be seen in the statistics by baptism, confirmations, readmission.  Before leaving Wawa I must not forget to mention that a blessed Xtmas was spent, quiet, sober and orderly. In the afternoon a small “garden party” realizing a clear profit of $7.00 . . . "

3.     1 January 1936.
Wawa and Karata's Report for 1935, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 3.  
" . . . came and made the announcement was one of great joy and was celebrated with the “big love feast” – with several fine addresses by Brn. from neighboring villages.  With his family arrived just a short time before the recent Cyclone that devastated said region, there he too shared the fate with others.  They are still at their post.  May they be not discouraged at what has happened, but be able to realized the guiding hand of our God, be led to see and prove “That He doth make all things work for good to those who love and trust and obey Him: proving also His promise of always being with His own to the end.”  ¶  Some new blood was about the same time of his leaving been injected into the veins of this congregation by the appointing of several young men as officers in the congregation.  These all are giving much satisfaction by their earnest and diligent labours carrying on the spiritual part of the work in full force during the absence of the missionary.  ¶  Not so good however was the attendance at the services the last quarter of the year.  The sudden ceasing of the Company’s operation on account of the recent storm was a staggering blow – as by said operation they as a village had the first place.  The prop being suddenly withdrawn the village got out of gear, most of them depending wholly on it, causing many to wander away pretty much.  Already they are getting used to it and beginning to adjust themselves to present conditions.  That too has seriously affected the financial side of our work in the congregations whilst one knowing the true and real . . . "

4.     1 January 1936.
Wawa and Karata's Report for 1935, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 4.  
" . . . state of things are unable to press and urge too hard.  Had they learnt to practice economy and self-denial many would not be feeling it so hard now.  Out of these hard times some might learn a good lesson. Generally speaking, the health of this congregation was none too good: few of them were very seriously sick, so serious that they had to seek medical aid away to Bilwas Karma, but glad to report them all returned much improved, some among them permanently cured.  Most gracious has the Lord been to this Congregation that we lost none by death.  The statistics will show that true numerical status.  Sixteen infants were baptized, 5 young people confirmed, one Readmitted and one couple married.  ¶  Right now there is no real scarcity of food here; floods and heavy showers have certainly destroyed most of the casada plantations so that a few do not have any thing, still from others they get enough, but in a couple months more when these too give out, the situation will then become serious indeed.  Steps are being taken to make soon plantations; already a few have begun clearing and cleaning up their blown down plantations of bananas.  ¶  The chief worry prevailing is, however, not “What are we going to eat shortly”, but “Will there be any work started so we can earn some ready cash” concerning that we can only pray, wait, and trust Him who has told us that “in order to prevent needless feat to Leave all to Him in faith.  ¶  On the Church some repairs are needed and enlarged too, to accommodate the growth of the congregation to carry out . . . "

1.     14 April 1936.
Letter from D. E. Ferguson, Puerto Cabezas, to Foreign Office UK, London, p. 1.  
"May it please your Excellency,  ¶  On November 9th, 1935, the Miskito Reservation met a heavy loss by storm and flood.  The Red Cross of different countries sent help for the sufferers and all I saw of its issues was a small distribution of foodstuffs for three days, to about seventy persons, mostly Spanish speaking.  The Indians, in order to obtain this, were compelled to give labour, and practically the whole was confiscated by Major Viadares (and his confederates) who was in charge of the National Guardia of the Miskito Reservation.  Most of the goods were sold to Otto Lehmann, a German-Jew who is in charge of the Merchandise Department of the Bragman’s Bluff Co. which is operating here.  Major Viadares was arrested for this two weeks ago, and is now in custody in Managua, while Lehmann, fearing an arrest, left for U.S.A.  ¶  The greatest sufferers I have ever seen through all my extensive experiences in many countries, are the Miskito Indians here at present.  They were honest, law-abiding, and now they have to resort to stealing and begging . . . "

2.     14 April 1936.
Letter from D. E. Ferguson, Puerto Cabezas, to Foreign Office UK, London, p. 2.  
". . . in order to exist. The Spanish speaking inhabitants dragged them into Banditry by shooting those who refused to coincide with them when the country was over-run by Sandino.  At that time many villages were pillaged and the people left destitute of all food including their cows, pigs, etc.  Hence this catastrophe found them just trying to straighten themselves again.  Now they have been forced to vacate their villages through starvation, and it is a common sight to see half naked women with their babies strapped to their backs, begging for a mouthful of food or old clothes.  On the other hand, the foreign settlers here cannot help the Indians for they themselves are finding it very hard to exist as work is scarce, and the Bragman’s Bluff Co., (a branch of the Vaccaro Bros. & Co.) an Italian concern, will not employ Britishers.  ¶  Our Vice-Council was dismissed for unknown reasons, and the Miskito Reservation of an estimated Five Thousand Britishers is now without a British Consul.  I have sent a petition to our Ambassador in Guatemala, also one to the Governor of Jamaica, showing that the Jamaican Government has, on a similar occasion, at Santiago De Cuba, employed an agent to see that justice was given to Jamaicans and other Britishers.  ¶  Seventeen months ago forty two Britishers were jailed here on trumped-up charges of stealing.  One William Edward Lewis, a Jamaican who was the accused, was kept in jail for five weeks, brutally maltreated, and drenched with gallons of salt water.  Our then Vice Consul worked hard to have Lewis liberated.  I am one of those who was thrown in jail for the first time in my life, because I pleaded . . . "

3.     14 April 1936.
Letter from D. E. Ferguson, Puerto Cabezas, to Foreign Office UK, London, p. 3.  
" . . . for Lewis knowing him to be innocent, and with our Consul’s help he was set free.  ¶  A second charge was trumped on Lewis and in this they involved me saying “He is the man who pleaded his ‘innocence of the first charge’.”  Six of us were occupants of the same house as Lewis and as the stolen goods were said to have been in that house we became all involved.  When at last we were liberated we found that all our personal effects and money which were left in the house had been taken by the National Guards who had been searching there.  When we were arrested, those of us who had money in our pockets, it was taken away from us, and the rest were refused permission to enter our quarters, a pointed pistol being pushed into our faces as a reply when we asked.  This matter was taken up by our Consul but is not remaining dormant, it appears to me.  William Edward Lewis is claiming Fifty thousand pounds for false imprisonment, and I – David M. Ferguson – Twenty thousand two hundred and fifty pounds of false imprisonment, against the Nicaraguan Government.  We are afraid of turning in these claims to the Consul in Managua because our lives will thus be jeopardized so that is the easiest way of dealing with such matters in this country.  At the same time we cannot leave here to seek either safety or employment elsewhere because all our savings were taken, and, as I have already stated, no Britisher is given work, consequently, we are without work, penniless, and practically starving from day to day.  ¶  I know that the Mother Land is busy watching the Big Lions, but we humbly beg that “Little Mousie be given . . . "

4.     14 April 1936.
Letter from D. E. Ferguson, Puerto Cabezas, to Foreign Office UK, London, p. 4.  
" . . . a minute’s thought.  She is fat; all is necessary is a good government. (Please notice clippings).  ¶  There are already many deaths among the Indians caused by starvation and will be many more if help is not immediately forthcoming.  They are planting, but as you know crops take some months to produce even the quickest ones.  Thus immediate help is absolutely necessary.  ¶  Give us the British flag.  The only Flag of equity and Justice.  We pay to thee.  ¶  Please do not reply to this letter as my life is in jeopardy.  A week ago a Guardia willfully shot down a Colombian just to exhibit his power. I was arrested recently for corresponding with the British Consul in Managua.  I am closely watched and thus I am having this letter posted in another country.  ¶  Entreating you now to be cognizant of these facts and in the right British way to aid us as quick as possible.  ¶  I have, etc.,  ¶  (Signed) D.M. FERGUSON.  ¶  Copy to His Excellency the Governor of Jamaica."

1.     1 January 1937.
Annual Report of Wawa and Karata for 1936, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 1.  
"The time has come around again when those who are in a place of responsibility are required to render in a report of their work: hence it is that I am attempting to give a birds’ eye view of prevailing local conditions in the two filials above under my care for the year 1936.  ¶  For many years past it has been my privilege to labour in this portion of the Lord’s vineyard.  Hard times have been seen and felt but never during those past years have I witnessed such a general tough time in every way as the one through which we have just come.  ¶  Lack of work, no money in circulation, and the great scarcity of food has without doubt affected those two congregations in no small degree.  ¶  The B.B. Co. was the chief and only source from which the people of both these villages earned their livelihood, through the work said Co. carried on, hence it was that when the Co. curtailed their work the blow given both villages has made a deep and lasting impression.  Not only in things temporal was this impression made seen and felt, but also in Spiritual matters in connection with the Church.  Attendance at the Services on the Lord’s Day and in the Week fell down to almost half the usual numbers of times, in like manner that of the S. School. Collections suffered and ceased and the Cong.  Cash has followed suit dying a natural death.  With some present conditions is really bad I admit, but had our people been used to practice economy . . . "

2.     1 January 1937.
Annual Report of Wawa and Karata for 1936, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 2.  
" . . . and self-denial, many a one would not been having such hard times these days. How true is the proverb that “Willful waste does bring woeful wants”.  ¶  Our people of this village has had a tough time on account of the scarcity of food the whole year through, which will continue yet for many months of this New Year, for instead of “putting their shoulders to the wheel” thus trying to alleviate their distress and better their condition, simply just roam about from place to place to get the days’ meal: “Eat and drink for tomorrow we die” is their slogan.  Others there are who like buzzards among their folks preying on the little they have depriving them, reducing these to their condition by reaping where they did not sow, or ever intending to either, such, alas, we leave amongst; strong, healthy able bodied fellow but lazy.  Some few are there that puts this scarcity on the cyclone which blew the latter part of the previous year, devastating Wangks region; we of the lower Coast did not suffer so much from it.  Most of the damage done us is due to the continual heavy showers of rain which fell causing the provisions on the low lying land planted to rot.  Even that would not have caused such a great scarcity in general, but for the reason stated above.  Sad indeed and shameful to write this of our people, nevertheless the truth ought to be told.  Having naught to eat for many is due to . . . "

3.     1 January 1937.
Annual Report of Wawa and Karata for 1936, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 3.  
" . . . laziness.  Never was such a state of things been among us as now.  Far too many deem it a disgrace to do manual labour, and so smart they are hard to be caught.  Turning now to the Spiritual side of the work we find the same results growing out of the hard time through which we are passing.  Finding it not as easy as used to be to supply their bodily needs, faith droops and love grows cold, lukewarm, indifferent, fall away: while others to acquire such things sell their birthright like him of old.  ¶  All this does not make pleasant reading yet nevertheless true.  Still we have yet those who have not bowed the knee “to Baal” who are still loyal, true and faithful.  Over these we can and do rejoice; they give us joy, encouraging us to continue because we are sure that our labour is not in vain.  Our Lord has still his faithful few: such have not defiled their garments, becoming ashamed to their profession.  Being thus encouraged we will still press on in His Name, trusting Him to give the increase and bring them in; to His Own Honour, praise and Glory as He has said. Much sickness has been among our members, even at this time a few are still down.  The writer of these lines too has had his share for several months and is still far from being his usual self yet still tries to do a little.  ¶  Sorry I cannot write an increase by Confirmation, have had applications surely but want of material things has kept them back: neither were there any couples married, . . . "

4.     1 January 1937.
Annual Report of Wawa and Karata for 1936, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 4.  
" . . . only 4 were Readmitted, and several children of Xtian parents baptized.  By death we have lost two old Com. Among the members – mostly female ones – during the year often had to settle cases of discord: they so easily and readily take offence at and from the simplest things real or imagined. T hat to the credit of the helpers it must be said was always attended to and mostly were successful to restore peace.  One thing I regret to mention is that among our young male members I fail to see that bright and energetic spirit so necessary for the Xtians spiritual growth.  Too much they lack the ambition you’ll find Karata. Several months during the year I had to be away – first for a couple months rest, then again through enforced illness but always the services were faithfully and regularly kept by three lay preachers and helpers.  Of the three brn. [bretheren] one has been towards the end of the year been transferred to another village nearby – Klellua – as an evangelist, where he seems to be doing good work.  ¶  Karata: Here in things both Spiritual as well as temporal the people are much ahead of those in Wawa; readily one who is acquainted with them and conditions in general notices it.  That they are better Xtians I will not venture to say because in both congregations there are loyal and faithful ones, as well as careless and indifferent ones; those over whom we rejoice, and others that cause constant grief by their conduct.  A goodly number of our female members . . . "

5.     1 January 1937.
Annual Report of Wawa and Karata for 1936, J. A. Fisher, Moravian Church, p. 5.  
" . . . gives us much trouble and worry through their very querulous, malicious dispositions and bad tongues, hence it is that preceding each Lords’ Table celebration the helpers have several hours work in settling discords, some of which are pretty hot and stubborn.  Scarcity of food is not half as keenly here as in Wawa; true some days some are hard put to - not because they have none, but because their plantations are at a good distance away, for several it requires a whole day or night travelling to get to it; but the need of other necessaries are just as great.  Having got used to foreign foot stuff, the majority of Indians find it hard not to adjust themselves and be satisfied with that which they do have or can get.  This village also was one of those wholly dependent on the B.B. Co. for work and Cash.  Now since the Co. has closed down, support has ceased causing distress and dissatisfaction.  Had they been practicing self-denial and economy, conditions as it really is now would not have been half as tough because these used to be the most favoured by said Co, enjoying the cream of the milk.  Naturally this being such as it is has had its effect on the church and consequently the result is that all Collections suffer.  Looking closer into the inner life of this congregation however we still have encouragement and visible signs of growth, development and progress.  Several of our young male members have been appointed to take the place of the old ones as helpers and lay preachers, and are acquitting themselves creditably."

1.     20 February 1937.
The Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua, by the British Foreign Office, p. 1.  
"The white settlement of the so-called Mosquito Coast, now the Atlantic coastline of the Republic of Nicaragua, dates from 1630 when the agents of an English chartered Company established themselves there and cultivated friendly relations with the original Indian inhabitants of the district.  From 1655 until 1850 Great Britain claimed a protectorate over the Indians.  Little success, however, attended the various endeavours to plant colonies and the British protectorate was disputed by Spain and subsequently the Central American Republics, and also by the United States of America.  ¶  United States opposition was due very largely to the fact that Great Britain would acquire a privileged position in regard to the proposed inter-oceanic canal. This aspect of the question was, however, settled by the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850, according to which both Powers pledged themselves not to “occupy or fortify or colonise or assume or exercise any domination over …… the Mosquito Coast (or other parts of Central America)”.  ¶  Moreover in 1860 Great Britain concluded with Nicaragua the so-called first Treaty of Managua, transferring to the Republic the suzerainty over the entire Caribbean Coast from Cape Gracias a Dios to Greytown, but granting autonomy to the Indians in a specifically delimited reserve.  Under Article 4 of this Treaty, it was stipulated that nothing in the Treaty should be construed as preventing the Mosquito Indians at any future time from agreeing to absolute incorporation into the Republic of Nicaragua. . . . "

2.     20 February 1937.
The Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua, by the British Foreign Office, p. 2.  
" . . . Various disputes subsequently arose as to the interpretation of this Treaty and in particular with regard to the right of the Nicaraguan Government to tax the Indians.  ¶  In 1870 the whole question was submitted to the arbitration of the Emperor of Austria.  A report attached to his award declared that the Indians “right of self-government …… undoubtedly comprises the exclusive right of self-taxation both direct and indirect.”  ¶  In 1894 the Nicaraguan Government obtained from certain Indians petitions of doubtful validity requesting the Incorporation of the Reserve into the Nicaraguan Republic.  These petitions were held by the Government to constitute a fulfillment of Article 4 of the 1860 Treaty and in the same year the so-called Mosquito Convention was concluded between the Indians and the Government providing for the Incorporation of the former Reserve as a department of the Republic.  This Convention, which is nominally still in force, also provides (a) for a measure of local self-government for the Indian villages, subject to the laws of the Republic (Articles 1 and 5-10), (b) for exception of the Indians from all taxation and military service (Articles 3 and 4) and (c) for the employment of all revenues produced in the Mosquito littoral to the district’s own benefit, thus preserving the economic autonomy (Article 2).  ¶  His Majesty’s Government protested against the validity of this procedure at the time but subsequently decided after protracted negotiations to dispose of the question by the conclusion in 1903 of a second treaty of Managua (the Harrison-Altamirano Treaty) under Article 2 of which Great Britain agreed “To recognize the absolute sovereignty of Nicaragua . . . "

3.     20 February 1937.
The Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua, by the British Foreign Office, p. 3.  
" . . . over the territory that constituted the former Mosquito Reserve as defined in the (first) Treaty of Managua.”  ¶  Although it was found impossible to secure for the Indians in this treaty complete exemption from taxation, the Nicaraguan Government on their part undertook in Article 3 (a) to “submit to the National Assembly a law exempting for fifty years from the date of the ratification of this Treaty, all the Mosquito Indians and the Creoles born before the year 1894 from military service, and from all direct taxation on their persons, properties, possessions, animals and means of subsistence.”  The same Article 3 also contains certain guarantees in respect of the Indian lands and provides further (paragraph (e)) that “in the event of any Mosquito Indians or Creoles proving that the land which they held in conformity with the regulations in force before 1894 have been claimed by and allotted to other persons, the Government will indemnity them by the grant of suitable public lands of approximate value as near as possible to their present residences”.  Moreover Article 5 of the Treaty provides that the Mosquito Indians, and the other inhabitants of the former Reserve, shall enjoy the same rights as are secured by the laws of Nicaragua to other Nicaraguan citizens.  ¶  The implementation of these provisions gave rise to continual difficulties for many years to come. In 1928 the Nicaraguan Government had still not submitted to the National Assembly the Bill provided for in Article 3 (a).  In reply to representations they invariably pointed out that the Article did not provide for the submission of a Bill within a definite time limit and also that since the provisions stipulated in the Treaty with regard to taxation had always in practice been complied with, the introduction of a Bill was in any case unnecessary. . . . "

4.     20 February 1937.
The Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua, by the British Foreign Office, p. 4.  
" . . . In 1928, His Majesty’s Representative was, however, instructed to press, if not for the introduction of the Bill, at least for a formal declaration on the part of the Nicaraguan Government that they would now and in future until the period of fifty years specified in the Treaty elapsed, ensure to the Mosquito Indians the guarantees specified in the Treaty.  ¶  This declaration was, however, not forthcoming and in 1931 the matter was reconsidered.  It was then pointed out that since the exemption from taxation which the Nicaraguan Government undertook to grant by the Treaty of 1905, only applied to Indians born before the year 1894, the number of individual appeals from Indians had naturally tended to diminish with time. His Majesty’s Minister at Guatemala reported in August 1931 that the Nicaraguan Minister for Foreign Affairs had visited the Mosquito Coast in February 1930 and that since that time, no specific complaints had come to his notice.  In these circumstances it was suggested that His Majesty’s Government’s interest in the Treaty was becoming somewhat academic and His Majesty’s Representative at Managua was instructed to “consider each case which may arise on its merits and endeavor unofficially to obtain redress in cases where hardship is being suffered.”  He was however at the same time instructed to press for a formal declaration on the lines requested in 1928.  This was eventually forthcoming in 1932, when a decree was passed on the 6th August by the Nicaraguan Government giving legislative effect to the stipulations of Article 3 (a) of the 1905 Treaty.  Since that time, His Majesty’s Representative at Managua has been instructed to continue to be guided by the 1931 instructions referred to above, providing for the informal investigation of each complaint on its merits. . . . "

5.     20 February 1937.
The Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua, by the British Foreign Office, p. 5.  
" . . . (1) The Atlantic coast of Nicaragua has always been the unruly home of banditry and birthplace of revolutions.  Thus is was that the murders of eleven British subjects in 1931 and 1932, which have given rise to unsatisfied claims for compensation by His Majesty’s Government all took place in that part of the country.  ¶  (2) Moreover, the district is far from the capital and the local authorities have always been difficult to control and cases of oppression and unjustifiable treatment of British subjects arise from time to time.  An example of this is the case of W. E Lewis and other British subjects on which a further separate memorandum is also being prepared.  ¶  (3) Thirdly, economic conditions on the Atlantic coast have always been bad and have recently deteriorated. In October 1935 a hurricane practically destroyed the banana plantations in all the northern part and the resulting unemployment gave rise to considerable distress among the native population.  It is also claimed that the Nicaraguan Government spend most of the money which they raise in taxation of the Mosquito district in other parts of the Republic, and so administrative steps have been taken to improve the lot of the Indians.  The present administration of General Somoza, which has been in power since June 1936, claims to be making an effort to deal with this state of affairs, but conditions are still so bad that His Majesty’s Charge d’Affaires has describe them as lamentable.  The precarious economic position of the district has in recent years given rise to various complaints from the Indians and to petitions for British protection and even for the incorporation of the Mosquito Coast in the British Empire.  These complains and petitions are mostly based on an inadequate knowledge of the provisions of the 1905 Treaty and exaggerated . . . "

6.     20 February 1937.
The Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua, by the British Foreign Office, p. 6.  
" . . . expectations of the ability of His Majesty’s Government to intervene under that Treaty.  ¶  (4) Another cause of difficulty is the racial question arising from the immigration of Creoles of West Indian origin, and their disputes with the original Indian inhabitants.  Many of the Creoles claim British nationality and one comes across preferences to “the five thousand British subjects on the Mosquito coast”. In fact, the number would appear to be under one thousand. In 1932 His Majesty’s Charge d’Affaires stated that there were 300-400 British subjects in the Bluefields district and a similar number in Puerto Cabezas.  It should be mentioned that the Creoles are no new arrivals, having mostly been established in the district for many generations.  ¶  (5) All the above questions are of course primarily for settlement between the Indian and Nicaraguan Government, and His Majesty’s Government are clearly not in a position to intervene, except in cases where the legitimate rights and interests of the British subjects appear to have been threatened.  There are however two other causes of dissatisfaction in which the position of His Majesty’s government is different, and in which they have the right, if not the duty to intervene under the 1905 Treaty.  These are the question of taxation dealt with in Article 3 (a) of the Treaty and the question of compensation for land wrongfully expropriated from the natives death with in Article 5 (e) of the Treaty.  His Majesty’s Charge d’Affaires at Managua has recently submitted a report on these aspects of the question, providing such evidence as he has been able to obtain of infractions of the relevant articles of the Treaty by the Nicaraguan Government.  ¶  FOREIGN OFFICE,  ¶  20th February, 1937"

January 1939.
Meet Nicaragua, by Kenneth Hamilton (Bethlehem PA:  Comenius Press, 1939 - cover pages), p. 1.   
(Source:  NA127/E38/Box 20)

January 1939.
Meet Nicaragua, by Kenneth Hamilton (Bethlehem PA:  Comenius Press, 1939 - Map of Moravian Missions in Nicaragua), p. 2.   
(Source:  NA127/E38/Box 20)

1.     February 1939.
"Sandino Strikes Again," by USMC Capt. John C. Wood, in The Leatherneck, Feb. 1939, p. 1.

2.     February 1939.
"Sandino Strikes Again," by USMC Capt. John C. Wood, in The Leatherneck, Feb. 1939, p. 2.

3.     February 1939.
"Sandino Strikes Again," by USMC Capt. John C. Wood, in The Leatherneck, Feb. 1939, p. 3.

4.     February 1939.
"Sandino Strikes Again," by USMC Capt. John C. Wood, in The Leatherneck, Feb. 1939, p. 4.

   
PREVIOUS     NEXT
   

A T L A N T I C    C O A S T    D O C S
thru 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 +

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8