Escuela de Niñas
Girls school opened in 1879
The Escuela de Niñas or School for Girls, was located in the capital city of Hagåtña. The original building fell into disrepair, and a new building for the school was constructed in 1879 during the administration of Governor Manuel Bravo y Berrera. It relocated west of the Plaza de Magallanes at the corner of Mariana de Austria Street. The school was constructed out of stone masonry, known as mampostería, with a tile roof. The building was divided into two classrooms for instruction and could accommodate up to 150 students.
One teacher and an assistant, or ayudante, taught the young ladies, ages four to eleven. The curriculum consisted of classes in Christian doctrine, reading, writing, arithmetic, sewing, and embroidery. A report on primary instruction in 1886 notes that the Escuela de Niñas had an enrollment of 356. Both the Colegio de San Juan de Letrán and the Escuela de Niñas were overcrowded facilities during the nineteenth century, prompting an official request to Spain for the construction of an additional school on the island.
The teacher and assistant were paid with funds from an education endowment (obra pía) from Queen Mariana of Austria, Spain’s queen regent for the Colegio de San Juan de Letrán, which was a boys’ school.
For further reading
García, Francisco Olive y. The Mariana Islands, 1884-1887: Random Notes. 2nd ed. Translated and annotated by Marjorie G. Driver. Mangilao: Micronesian Area Research Center, University of Guam, 1984.
Ibañez y Garcia, Luis de. The History of the Marianas, with Navigational Data, and of the Caroline and Palau Islands: From the Time of their Discovery by Magellan in 1521 to the Present. Translated and annotated by Marjorie G. Driver. MARC Educational Series no. 12. Mangilao: Micronesian Area Research Center, University of Guam, 1992.
Vara de Rey y Rubio, Joaquín, Luis Santos Fontordera, and Luis Cadarso y Rey. Reports Concerning the Mariana Islands: The Memorias of 1890-1894. Translated and annotated by Marjorie G. Driver. Mangilao: Richard F. Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center, University of Guam, 2000.