It is highly unlikely that the Marshallese society should have undergone that dramatic changes within one generation (1810s to 1840s) to transform from a restricted society to one of almost free love. It is more likely, as the last passage of Chamisso's exemplifies, that his perception is, to say the least, tinted which is understandable as his book was destined for the wider readership of the early 19th century. [back]
Given the lack of reliable sex-recorded census data until 1912 we are ill informed about the biological representation of the sexes. The 1912 census (Merz 1912a; 1912b; 1912c) shows a sex ratio of men to women of 110.2:100 among adults (>15 years) and a ratio of 115.2:100 among children (<=14). [back]
200 people infected sought medical attention in 1893 (Steinbach 1893a), which is equivalent of 29.1% of all Marshall islanders treated by the German Health Service in the report period (January 1, 1892 to March 31, 1893) Steinbach assumes that the infection rate in the total population is about 50% and states explicitly that he does not believe he might be exaggerating (Based on the sample of all people admitted to the Jaluit district hospital for any causes). According to local informants (to Steinbach), Syphilis was unknown in the Marshall Islands in the first half of the 19th century. Voyagers from Jaluit shipwrecked in Kosrae by about 1845 and 1850 are blamed for its introduction. Most affected were Måjro, Ebon and Jålwøj Atolls, and only little Syphilis was reported for the northern atolls, which had little communication with the former. In the 1894 report Syphilis ranks first in mention: 33.2% of all cases seen by the German Health Service were syphilis cases (Steinbach 1895a). Steinbach believes that the number of syphilitic patients had become less since the last survey, but presumes that a large percentage of hereditary (chlorinate) syphilis exists. In addition, most cases were of tertiary syphyllis.
Another data set is available for Jaluit hospital for the year 1932 (Yanaihara 1940:251) where 53.4% of all males and 57.0% of all female admissions had syphilis. [back]