Shortly after the real occupation of the Marianas by the Spaniards, about 1668, a casual census taken by the missionaries placed the population of those islands at fifty thousand. Of this number, the majority lived in the island of Guam. Taking the earliest reports of the island made public by the European explorers and adventurers, it may be safely assumed that this population was well nourished. They were noted for agility, endurance, and for seamanship. Although lagging and wordy in battle with men, they displayed remarkable courage in battle with nature, and there is record of voyages to the Philippines and even to Hawaii in outrigger canoes, not haphazard, storm-blown voyages, but regular semi-annual trips for purposes of trade. Communication with the Carolines and Pelews was frequent, and Yap was considered a next door neighbor.
Padre Delgado, a missionary-historian of the Pacific Islands who wrote in the eighteenth century, continues the picture of a race of plump, active, effervescent and, on the whole, happy people, who had never seen the necessity of taking thought for the morrow.