Following Spain’s 1898 defeat in the Spanish-American War, it sold its remaining Pacific possessions, including the Mariana Islands, to Germany.
On 18 June 1899, the German government declared Marianen to be a German colony, with its headquarters at Garapan on the island of Saipan. The post office on Saipan was the only official post office in Marianen.
However, in mid-June 1904, a German agronomist, Herr Volkmar Reichel, was transferred to the island of Rota. He was the only German on the island. For reasons that are unclear, Herr Reichel began operating an “auxiliary postal station” on the island. It’s possible this was done because, during periods in which Saipan was without steamer service, steamers would stop at Rota bearing Marianen mail which had not been canceled, and Herr Reichel took it upon himself to cancel these items. Regardless, despite repeated requests to Berlin, this “auxiliary postal station” was not authorized by the Reichspost.
Herr Reichel had a handstamp created with the name “ROTA” and the date. He used this handstamp in 1904.
Upon Reichel’s return to Saipan due to illness in 1904, he surrendered the original handstamp to local authorities. Upon his recovery and return to Rota, the handstamp could not be found, so he created a new one that was used in 1906. Additionally, he was now required by the Reichspost to affix his signature alongside the handstamp.