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Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the
Micronesia Micronesia (, ; from grc, μικρός ''mikrós'' "small" and ''nêsos'' "island") is a subregion of Oceania, consisting of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a close shared cultural history with three other isl ...

Micronesia
subregion of the western
Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. ...

Pacific Ocean
. It is the westernmost point and territory of the United States (reckoned from the geographic center of the U.S.); in
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
, it is the largest and southernmost of the
Mariana Islands The Mariana Islands (; also the Marianas; in ChamorroChamorro may refer to: * Chamorro language, an Austronesian language indigenous to The Marianas * Chamorro people, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific * Chamorr ...
and the largest island in Micronesia. Guam's capital is Hagåtña, and the most populous village is
Dededo Dededo ( ch, Dedidu; formerly in Spanish language, Spanish: , in Japanese language, Japanese: ''デデド'', ''Dededo'') is the most populated Villages of Guam, village in the Territories of the United States, United States territory of Guam. Accord ...
. People born in Guam are
American citizens American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States ** Americans, citizens and nationals of the United States of America ** American ancestry, people who self-id ...
but have no vote in the
United States presidential elections The election of the president and the vice president of the United States is an indirect election in which Citizenship of the United States, citizens of the United States who are Voter registration in the United States, registered to vote in on ...
while residing in Guam and Guam delegates to the
United States House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, with the United States Senate, Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national Bicameralism, bicameral legislature of the United S ...
have no vote on the floor. Indigenous Guamanians are the Chamoru, historically known as the Chamorro, who are related to the
Austronesian Austronesian may refer to: *The Austronesian languages *The historical Austronesian peoples who carried Austronesian languages on their migrations {{disambiguation ...
peoples of Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan,
Micronesia Micronesia (, ; from grc, μικρός ''mikrós'' "small" and ''nêsos'' "island") is a subregion of Oceania, consisting of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a close shared cultural history with three other isl ...

Micronesia
, and
Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; fj, Kai-Polinesia; sm, Polenisia; rar, Porinetia; ty, Pōrīnetia; tvl, Polenisia; tkl, Polenihia) is a ...

Polynesia
. As of 2021, Guam's population is 168,801. Chamorus are the largest ethnic group, but a minority on the multi-ethnic island. The territory spans and has a population density of . The Chamoru people settled the island approximately 3,500 years ago. Portuguese explorer
Ferdinand Magellan Ferdinand Magellan ( or ; pt, Fernão de Magalhães, ; es, link=no, Fernando de Magallanes, ; c. 1480 – 27 April 1521) was a Portuguese explorer Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery of information In ...

Ferdinand Magellan
, while in the service of Spain, was the first European to visit the island on March 6, 1521. Guam was colonized by Spain in 1668. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, Guam was an important stopover for the Spanish
Manila Galleons The Manila Galleons ( es, Galeón de Manila; fil, Galyon ng Maynila) were Spain, Spanish trading sailing ship, ships which for two-and-a-half centuries linked the Spanish Captaincy General of the Philippines with Mexico across the Pacific Ocean ...
. During the
Spanish–American War The Spanish–American War (April 21 – August 13, 1898, es, Guerra hispano-estadounidense or ; fil, Digmaang Espanyol-Amerikano) was an armed conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, S ...
, the United States captured Guam on June 21, 1898. Under the Treaty of Paris, signed December 10, 1898, Spain ceded Guam to the U.S. effective April 11, 1899. Before
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, Guam was one of five American jurisdictions in the Pacific Ocean, along with
Wake Island Wake Island ( mh, Ānen Kio, translation=island of the Sida fallax, kio flower; also known as Wake Atoll) is a coral atoll in the western Pacific Ocean in the northeastern area of the Micronesia subregion, east of Guam, west of Honolulu, sou ...

Wake Island
in Micronesia,
American Samoa #REDIRECT American Samoa American Samoa ( sm, Amerika Sāmoa, ; also ' or ') is an unincorporated territory of the United States Under United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) ...

American Samoa
and
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Hawaii
in Polynesia, and the Philippines. On December 8, 1941, hours after the
attack on Pearl Harbor The Attack on Pearl HarborAlso known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike In the United States Armed Forces, military of the United States, strikes and raids are a group of military operations that, alongside quite ...

attack on Pearl Harbor
, Guam was captured by the
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or ...

Japanese
, who occupied the island for two and a half years. During the occupation, Guamanians were subjected to forced labor, incarceration, torture and execution. American forces recaptured the island on July 21, 1944, which is commemorated as
Liberation Day Liberation Day is a day, often a public holiday, that marks the liberation of a place, similar to an independence day. Liberation marks the date of either a revolution, as in Cuba, the fall of an oppressive regime, as in Portugal, or the end of a ...
. Since the 1960s, Guam's economy has been supported primarily by tourism and the
U.S. military The United States Armed Forces are the military forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between ...

U.S. military
, for which Guam is a major strategic asset. An unofficial but frequently used territorial motto is "Where America's Day Begins", which refers to the island's proximity to the
International Date Line The International Date Line (IDL) is an internationally accepted demarcation on the Earth#Surface, surface of Earth, running between the South Pole and North Pole and serving as the boundary between one calendar day and the next. It passes ...

International Date Line
. Guam is among the 17 non-self-governing territories listed by the United Nations, and has been a member of the
Pacific Community The Pacific Community (SPC) is an international development International development or global development is a broad concept denoting the idea that societies and countries have differing levels of "development" on an international scale. It ...
since 1983.


Pre-Contact era

Guam, along with the
Mariana Islands The Mariana Islands (; also the Marianas; in ChamorroChamorro may refer to: * Chamorro language, an Austronesian language indigenous to The Marianas * Chamorro people, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific * Chamorr ...
, were the first islands settled by humans in
Remote OceaniaRemote Oceania is the part of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a population of over 4 ...
. Incidentally it is also the first and the longest of the ocean-crossing voyages of the
Austronesian peoples The Austronesian peoples, also sometimes referred to as the Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of various peoples in Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eas ...
, and is separate from the later
Polynesian Polynesian is the adjectival form of Polynesia. It may refer to: * Polynesians, an ethnic group * Polynesian culture, the culture of the indigenous peoples of Polynesia * Polynesian mythology, the oral traditions of the people of Polynesia * Polyne ...
settlement of the rest of Remote Oceania. They were first settled around 1500 to 1400 BC by migrants departing from the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
. This was followed by a second migration from the
Caroline Islands The Caroline Islands (or the Carolines) are a widely scattered archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolat ...
by the first millennium AD, and a third migration from
Island Southeast Asia Maritime Southeast Asia comprises the countries of Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi alphabet, Jawi: ), is a sovereign state, country located on the north co ...
(likely the Philippines or eastern
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
) by 900 AD. These original settlers of Guam and the
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territories of the Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
evolved into the Chamoru people, historically known as Chamorros after first contact with the Spaniards. The ancient Chamoru society had four classes: (chiefs), (upper class), (middle class), and (lower class). The were located in the coastal villages, which meant they had the best access to fishing grounds, whereas the were located in the island's interior. and rarely communicated with each other, and often used as intermediaries. There were also "" or "", shamans with magical powers and "'" or "", healers who used different kinds of plants and natural materials to make medicine. Belief in spirits of ancient Chamorus called "" still persists as a remnant of pre-European culture. It is believed that "" or "" are the only ones who can safely harvest plants and other natural materials from their homes or "" without incurring the wrath of the "." Their society was organized along
matrilineal Matrilineality is the tracing of kinship through the female line. It may also correlate with a social system in which each person is identified with their matriline – their mother's Lineage (anthropology), lineage – and which can inv ...
clans. The Chamoru people raised colonnades of megalithic capped pillars called upon which they built their homes. Latte stones are stone pillars that are found only in the Mariana Islands; they are a recent development in Pre-Contact Chamoru society. The latte-stone was used as a foundation on which thatched huts were built. Latte stones consist of a base shaped from limestone called the and with a capstone, or , made either from a large brain coral or limestone, placed on top. A possible source for these stones, the Rota Latte Stone Quarry, was discovered in 1925 on
Rota Rota or ROTA may refer to: Places * Rota (island), in the Marianas archipelago * Rota (volcano), in Nicaragua * Rota, Andalusia, a town in Andalusia, Spain * Naval Station Rota, Spain People * Rota (surname), a surname (including a list of people ...
.


Spanish era

The first European to travel to Guam was Portuguese navigator
Ferdinand Magellan Ferdinand Magellan ( or ; pt, Fernão de Magalhães, ; es, link=no, Fernando de Magallanes, ; c. 1480 – 27 April 1521) was a Portuguese explorer Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery of information In ...

Ferdinand Magellan
, sailing for the
King of Spain , coatofarms = Coat of Arms of Spanish Monarch.svg , coatofarms_article = Coat of arms of the King of Spain , image = King Felipe VI of Spain.jpg , incumbent = Felipe VI Felipe VI or Philip VI (; Felipe Juan ...
, when he sighted the island on March 6, 1521, during his fleet's circumnavigation of the globe. Despite Magellan's visit, Guam was not officially claimed by Spain until January 26, 1565, by
Miguel López de Legazpi Miguel López de Legazpi (; c. 1502 – 20 August, 1572), also known as '' El Adelantado'' and ''El Viejo'' (The Elder), was a Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigeno ...
. From 1565 to 1815, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, the only Spanish outposts in the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines, were reprovisioning stops for the
Manila galleons The Manila Galleons ( es, Galeón de Manila; fil, Galyon ng Maynila) were Spain, Spanish trading sailing ship, ships which for two-and-a-half centuries linked the Spanish Captaincy General of the Philippines with Mexico across the Pacific Ocean ...
, a fleet that covered the Pacific trade route between
Acapulco Acapulco de Juárez (), commonly called Acapulco ( , also ), is a city and major seaport in the Political divisions of Mexico, state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast of Mexico, south of Mexico City. Acapulco is located on a deep, semicircular b ...

Acapulco
and
Manila Manila ( , ; fil, Maynila, ), officially the City of Manila ( fil, Lungsod ng Maynila, ), is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are ...

Manila
. Spanish colonization commenced on June 15, 1668, with the arrival of a mission led by
Diego Luis de San Vitores Diego Luis de San Vitores (November 12, 1627 – April 2, 1672) was a Spanish Jesuit missionary who founded the first Catholic The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations b ...
, who established the first Catholic church. The islands were part of the
Spanish East Indies Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_an ...
, and in turn part of the
Viceroyalty of New Spain New Spain, officially the Viceroyalty of New Spain ( es, Virreinato de Nueva España, ), or Kingdom of New Spain, was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as t ...
, based in
Mexico City Mexico City ( es, link=no, Ciudad de México, ; abbreviated as CDMX; nah, Āltepētl Mēxihco) is the capital city, capital and largest city of Mexico, as well as the List of North American cities by population, most populous city in North Americ ...

Mexico City
. The
Spanish-Chamorro Wars The Spanish–Chamorro Wars, also known as the Chamorro Wars and the Spanish-Chamorro War, refer to the late seventeenth century unrest among the Chamorro people of the Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean against the colonial effort of Hab ...
on Guam began in 1670 over growing tensions with the Jesuit mission, with the last large-scale uprising in 1683. Intermittent warfare, plus the typhoons of 1671 and 1693, and in particular the
smallpox Smallpox was an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology), host tissues to the infectious ...

smallpox
epidemic of 1688, reduced the Chamoru population from 50,000 to 10,000, finally to less than 5,000. The island became a rest stop for starting in 1823. A devastating typhoon struck the island on August 10, 1848, followed by a severe earthquake on January 25, 1849, which resulted in many refugees from the
Caroline Islands The Caroline Islands (or the Carolines) are a widely scattered archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolat ...
, victims of the resultant
tsunami A tsunami ( ; from ja, 津波, lit=harbour wave, ) is a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake. Earthquake An earthquake (also known as a quake, t ...

tsunami
. After a smallpox epidemic killed 3,644 Guamanians in 1856, Carolinians and Japanese were permitted to settle in the Marianas.


American era

After almost four centuries as part of the
Kingdom of Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...
, the United States occupied the island following Spain's defeat in 1898
Spanish–American War The Spanish–American War (April 21 – August 13, 1898, es, Guerra hispano-estadounidense or ; fil, Digmaang Espanyol-Amerikano) was an armed conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, S ...
, as part of the
Treaty of Paris of 1898 The Treaty of Paris of 1898 ( Filipino: ''Kasunduan sa Paris ng 1898;'' Spanish: ''Tratado de París de 1898'') was a treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered ...
. Guam was transferred to the
United States Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unofficial). , colors = Blue and gold  , colors_label = Colors , march = "Anchors Aweigh" , mascot = , equipment = List of equipment of the United St ...
control on December 23, 1898, by Executive Order 108-A from 25th President
William McKinley William McKinley (January 29, 1843September 14, 1901) was the 25th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power of ...
. Guam was a station for American merchants and warships traveling to and from the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
(another American acquisition from Spain) while the
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territories of the Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
were sold by Spain to Germany for part of its rapidly expanding
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
. A U.S. Navy yard was established at
Piti In relation to a mortgage A mortgage loan or simply mortgage () is a loan In finance, a loan is the lending of money by one or more individuals, organizations, or other entities to other individuals, organizations etc. The recipient (i. ...
in 1899, and a
United States Marine Corps The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is the maritime land force service branch Military branch (also service branch or armed service) is according to common standard the subdivision of the na ...
barracks at Sumay in 1901.Rottman, G. (2004) ''Guam 1941 & 1944: Loss and Reconquest''. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, A marine seaplane unit was stationed in Sumay from 1921 to 1930, the first in the Pacific. The
Commercial Pacific Cable Company Commercial Pacific Cable Company was founded in 1901, and ceased operations in October 1951. It provided the first direct telegraph Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of textual messages where the sender uses a semaphore system, ...
built a telegraph/telephone station in 1903 for the first trans-Pacific communications cable, followed by
Pan American World Airways Pan American World Airways, originally founded as Pan American Airways and commonly known as Pan Am, was the principal and largest international airline, air carrier and unofficial overseas flag carrier of the United States for much of the 20t ...
established a seaplane base at Sumay for its trans-Pacific ''
China Clipper ''China Clipper'' (NC14716) was the first of three Martin M-130 The Martin M-130 was a commercial flying boat designed and built in 1935 by the Glenn L. Martin Company in Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore ( , locally: ) is the List of municipa ...

China Clipper
'' route.


World War II

During
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, Guam was attacked and invaded by
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
on Monday, December 8, 1941, at the same time as the
attack on Pearl Harbor The Attack on Pearl HarborAlso known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike In the United States Armed Forces, military of the United States, strikes and raids are a group of military operations that, alongside quite ...

attack on Pearl Harbor
, across the International Date Line. The Japanese renamed Guam (Great Shrine Island). The
Japanese occupation of Guam The Japanese occupation of Guam was the period in the history of Guam between 1941 and 1944 when Empire of Japan, Imperial Japanese forces occupied Guam during World War II. The island was renamed Ōmiya-Jima (Great Shrine Island). Events leadin ...
lasted for approximately 31 months. During this period, the indigenous people of Guam were subjected to forced labor, family separation, incarceration, execution, concentration camps, and forced prostitution. Approximately 1,000 people died during the occupation, according to later committee testimony in 2004. Some historians estimate that war violence killed 10% of Guam's then 20,000 population. The
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
returned and fought the Battle of Guam from July 21 to August 10, 1944, to recapture the island from Japanese military occupation. July 21 is now celebrated as
Liberation Day Liberation Day is a day, often a public holiday, that marks the liberation of a place, similar to an independence day. Liberation marks the date of either a revolution, as in Cuba, the fall of an oppressive regime, as in Portugal, or the end of a ...
, a territorial holiday.


Post-war

After World War II, the Guam Organic Act of 1950 established Guam as an unincorporated organized territory of the United States, provided for the structure of the island's civilian government, and granted the people U.S. citizenship. The Governor of Guam was federally appointed until 1968 when the Guam Elective Governor Act provided for the office's popular election. Since Guam is not a U.S. state, U.S. citizens residing on Guam are not allowed to vote for president and their congressional representative is a non-voting member. They do, however, get to vote for party delegates in presidential primaries. In 1969, a referendum on unification with the Northern Mariana Islands was held and rejected. During the 1970s, Dr.
Maryly Van Leer Peck Maryly Van Leer Peck (June 29, 1930 – November 3, 2011) was an American academic, founder of Guam Community College, first female president of Polk Community College aka Polk State College, first woman to graduate with a degree in chemical e ...
started an engineering program, expanded
University of Guam University of Guam ( ch, Unibetsedåt Guåhan) (U.O.G.) is a public land-grant university A land-grant university (also called land-grant college or land-grant institution) is an institution of higher education in the United States designate ...
, and founded
Guam Community College Guam Community College (GCC) is a community college in Mangilao, Guam. It was founded by Dr. Maryly Van Leer Peck, the former dean of University of Guam and officially created by Public Law 14-77 in 1977. The U.S. Census Bureau puts the community ...
. The removal of Guam's security clearance by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 allowed for the development of a
tourism Tourism is travel Travel is the movement of people between distant geographical location In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of th ...

tourism
industry. When the United States closed U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay and
Clark Air Base Clark Air Base is a Philippine Air Force base on Luzon Island in the Philippines, located west of Angeles City, about northwest of Metro Manila. Clark Air Base was previously a United States military facility, operated by the U.S. Air Force ...
bases in the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
after the expiration of their leases in the early 1990s, many of the forces stationed there were relocated to Guam. The
1997 Asian financial crisis The Asian financial crisis was a period of financial crisis that gripped much of East Asia and Southeast Asia beginning in July 1997 and raised fears of a worldwide economic meltdown due to financial contagion. The crisis started in Thailand (kno ...
, which hit Japan particularly hard, severely affected Guam's tourism industry. Military cutbacks in the 1990s also disrupted the island's economy. Economic recovery was further hampered by devastation from Supertyphoons in 1997 and Pongsona in 2002, as well as the effects of the
September 11 terrorist attacks The September 11 attacks, often referred to as 9/11, were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Wahhabi Wahhabism ( ar, الوهابية, ') is a religious reform movement and doctrine associated with the teachings of ...
on tourism.


Geography and environment

Guam is long and wide, giving it an area of (three-fourths the size of
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
) and making it the 32nd largest island of the United States. It is the southernmost and largest island in the Mariana Island archipelago, as well as the largest in
Micronesia Micronesia (, ; from grc, μικρός ''mikrós'' "small" and ''nêsos'' "island") is a subregion of Oceania, consisting of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a close shared cultural history with three other isl ...

Micronesia
. Guam's Point Udall is the westernmost point of the U.S., as measured from the geographic center of the United States. The Mariana chain of which Guam is a part was created by collision of the Pacific and Philippine Sea
tectonic plate This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface Earth is the third planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibri ...
s, with Guam located on the micro Mariana Plate between the two. Guam is the closest land mass to the
Mariana Trench The Mariana Trench or Marianas Trench is located in the western Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's five oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, de ...
, the deep
subduction zone Subduction is a geological process in which the oceanic lithosphere is recycled into the Earth's mantle at convergent boundaries. Where the oceanic lithosphere of a tectonic plate This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface. Tec ...

subduction zone
that runs east of the Marianas. Volcanic eruptions established the base of the island in the
Eocene The Eocene ( ) Epoch is a geological epoch In chronology 222px, Joseph Scaliger's ''De emendatione temporum'' (1583) began the modern science of chronology Chronology (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the ...
, roughly 56 to 33.9 million years ago. The north of Guam is a result of this base being covered with layers of
coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient c ...

coral reef
, turning into
limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in its na ...

limestone
, and then being thrust upward by tectonic activity to create a plateau. The rugged south of the island is a result of more recent volcanic activity.
Cocos Island Cocos Island ( es, Isla del Coco) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe image:Small_Island_in_Lower_Saranac ...
off the southern tip of Guam is the largest of the many small
islet An islet is a very small island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll ( ...

islet
s along the coastline. Guam's highest point is
Mount Lamlam Mount Lamlam (meaning ''lightning Lightning is a naturally occurring electrostatic discharge during which two electrically charged regions in the atmosphere or ground temporarily equalize themselves, causing the instantaneous release of ...
at above sea level."Geography of Guam". ''Official site of Guam'', April 19, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2014, from . If its base is considered to be nearby
Challenger Deep The Challenger Deep is the deepest known point in the Earth's seabed hydrosphere (the oceans), with a depth of by direct measurement from deep-diving submersible A submersible is a small watercraft designed to operate underwater. The t ...
, the deepest surveyed point in the
Oceans The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
Oceans
, Mount Lamlam is the world's highest mountain at . Politically, Guam is divided into 19 villages. The majority of the population lives on the coralline limestone plateaus of the north, with political and economic activity centered in the central and northern regions. The rugged geography of the south largely limits settlement to rural coastal areas. The western coast is
leeward Windward () is the direction ''upwind'' from the point of reference, i.e. towards the direction from which the wind is coming. Leeward () is the direction ''downwind'' from the point of reference, i.e. along the direction towards which the wind ...
of the
trade winds The trade winds or easterlies are the permanent east-to-west prevailing winds that flow in the Earth's equatorial region. The trade winds blow mainly from the northeast in the Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of E ...
and is the location of
Apra Harbor Apra Harbor, also called Port Apra, is a deep-water port A port is a maritime Maritime may refer to: Geography * Maritime Alps, a mountain range in the southwestern part of the Alps * Maritime Region, a region in Togo * Maritime ...

Apra Harbor
, the capital Hagåtña, and the tourist center of
Tumon Tumon ( ch, Tomhom) is a district located on Tumon Bay along the northwest coast of the United States unincorporated territory of Guam. Located in the municipality of Tamuning, it is the center of Guam's tourist industry. History Tumon Bay or Aga ...
. The U.S. Defense Department owns about 29% of the island, under the management of
Joint Region Marianas Joint Region Marianas' mission is to provide installation management support to all Department of Defense components and tenants through assigned regional installations on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands in support of training in the Marianas ...

Joint Region Marianas
.


Climate

Guam has a
tropical rainforest climate A tropical rainforest climate or equatorial climate is a tropical climate Tropical climate is one of the five major climate groups in the . Tropical climates are characterized by monthly average temperatures of 18 °C (64.4 °F) or hi ...
( Köppen ''Af''), though its driest month of March almost averages dry enough to qualify as a
tropical monsoon climate An area of tropical monsoon climate (occasionally known as a tropical wet climate or a tropical monsoon and trade-wind littoral climate) is a type of climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmos ...
(Köppen ''Am''). The weather is generally hot and humid throughout the year with little seasonal temperature variation. Hence, Guam is known to have equable temperatures year-round.
Trade winds The trade winds or easterlies are the permanent east-to-west prevailing winds that flow in the Earth's equatorial region. The trade winds blow mainly from the northeast in the Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of E ...
are fairly constant throughout the year, but there is often a weak westerly monsoon influence in summer. Guam has two distinct seasons: Wet and dry season. The dry season runs from January through May and June being the transitional period. The wet season runs from July through November with an average annual rainfall between 1981 and 2010 of around . The wettest month on record at Guam Airport has been August 1997 with and the driest was February 2015 with . The wettest calendar year has been 1976 with and the driest was in 1998 with . The most rainfall in a single day occurred on October 15, 1953, when fell. The mean high temperature is and mean low is . Temperatures rarely exceed or fall below . The
relative humidity Humidity is the concentration of water vapour (99.9839 °C) , - , Boiling point , , - , specific gas constant , 461.5 J/( kg·K) , - , Heat of vaporization , 2.27 MJ/kg , - , Heat capacity , 1.864 kJ/(kg·K) Water vap ...

relative humidity
commonly exceeds 84 percent at night throughout the year, but the average monthly humidity hovers near 66 percent. The highest temperature ever recorded in Guam was on April 18, 1971, and April 1, 1990. A record low of was set on February 1, 2021, while the lowest recorded temperature was 65 °F (18.3 °C), set on February 8, 1973. Guam lies in the path of
typhoon A typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm, storm system characterized by a Low-pressure area, low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, Beaufort scale, strong winds, and ...

typhoon
s and it is common for the island to be threatened by tropical storms and possible typhoons during the wet season. The highest risk of typhoons is from August through November, where typhoons and tropical storms are most probable in the western Pacific. They can, however, occur year-round. Typhoons that have caused major damage on Guam in the American period include the Typhoon of 1900, Karen (1962), (1976), (1997), and Pongsona (2002). Since in 1976, wooden structures have been largely replaced by concrete structures. During the 1980s, wooden utility poles began to be replaced by typhoon-resistant concrete and steel poles. After the local Government enforced stricter construction codes, many home and business owners built their structures out of reinforced concrete with installed typhoon shutters.


Ecology

Guam has experienced severe impacts from
invasive species An invasive species is an introduced organism that becomes overpopulated and negatively alters its new environment. Although their spread can have beneficial aspects, invasive species adversely affect the invaded habitat Ibex in an ...
upon the natural
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the Genetics, genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near ...

biodiversity
of the island. These include the
local extinction Local extinction, also known as extirpation, is the condition of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A speci ...
of endemic bird species after the introduction of the
brown tree snake The brown tree snake (''Boiga irregularis''), also known as the brown catsnake, is an arboreal Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In habitats in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some animal ...
, an infestation of the Asiatic rhinoceros beetle destroying
coconut The coconut tree (''Cocos nucifera'') is a member of the palm tree family (biology), family (Arecaceae) and the only living species of the genus ''Cocos''. The term "coconut" (or the archaic "cocoanut") can refer to the whole coconut palm, t ...

coconut
palms, and the effect of introduced
feral in St. Kilda, Scotland, St Kilda, Scotland A feral animal or plant (from la, fera, 'a wild beast') is one that lives in the wild but is descended from Domestication, domesticated specimens. As with an introduced species, the introduction of ...
mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
s and
amphibian Amphibians are ectothermic, tetrapod vertebrates of the Class (biology), class Amphibia. All living amphibians belong to the group Lissamphibia. They inhabit a wide variety of habitats, with most species living within terrestrial animal, ter ...
s.
Wildfire A wildfire, bushfire, wildland fire or rural fire is an unplanned, unwanted, uncontrolled fire BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction ...

Wildfire
s plague the forested areas of Guam every
dry season The dry season is a yearly period of low rainfall, especially in the tropics The tropics are the region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of ...
despite the island's humid climate. Most fires are caused by humans with 80% resulting from
arson {, The remains of Kyoto Animation , often abbreviated , is a Japanese animation studio An animation studio is a company producing animated media. The broadest such companies conceive of products to produce, own the physical equipment for produ ...
. Poachers often start fires to attract deer to the new growth. Invasive grass species that rely on fire as part of their natural life cycle grow in many regularly burned areas. Grasslands and "barrens" have replaced previously forested areas leading to greater soil erosion. During the rainy season, sediment is carried by the heavy rains into the Fena Lake Reservoir and
Ugum River The Ugum River is a river in the United States territory of Guam. See also *List of rivers of Guam References

Rivers of Guam Talofofo, Guam {{Guam-river-stub ...
, leading to water quality problems for southern Guam. Eroded silt also destroys the marine life in reefs around the island. Soil stabilization efforts by volunteers and forestry workers (planting trees) have had little success in preserving natural habitats. Efforts have been made to protect Guam's coral reef habitats from pollution, eroded silt and overfishing, problems that have led to decreased fish populations. This has both ecological and economic value, as Guam is a significant vacation spot for scuba divers, and one study found that Guam's reefs are worth $127 million per year. In recent years, the Department of Agriculture, Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources has established several new marine preserves where fish populations are monitored by biologists. These are located at Pati Point, Piti Bomb Holes, Sasa Bay, Achang Reef Flat, and
Tumon Bay Tumon Bay is a bay in the United States territory of Guam, opening to the Philippine Sea. It is bounded to the north by Two Lovers Point and to the south by Ypao Point. The entirety of the bay falls within the Tumon Bay Marine Preserve, also known a ...

Tumon Bay
. Before adopting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards, portions of Tumon Bay were dredged by the hotel chains to provide a better experience for hotel guests. Tumon Bay has since been made into a preserve. A federal
Guam National Wildlife Refuge The Guam National Wildlife Refuge is composed of three units: the Andersen Air Force Base Overlay Unit (Air Force Overlay Unit), the Navy Overlay Unit, and the Ritidian Unit. The Ritidian Unit, known to the native CHamoru people as Puntan Litekyan, ...
in northern Guam protects the decimated
sea turtle Sea turtles (superfamily Chelonioidea), sometimes called marine turtles, are reptiles of the order Testudines Turtles are reptile Reptiles are tetrapod Tetrapods (; from Greek 'four' and 'foot') are four-limbed animals constitut ...

sea turtle
population in addition to a small colony of Mariana fruit bats. Harvest of sea turtle eggs was a common occurrence on Guam before World War II. The
green sea turtle The green sea turtle (''Chelonia mydas''), also known as the green turtle, black (sea) turtle or Pacific green turtle, is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank ...

green sea turtle
(''Chelonia mydas'') was harvested legally on Guam before August 1978, when it was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The
hawksbill sea turtle The hawksbill sea turtle (''Eretmochelys imbricata'') is a critically endangered sea turtle Sea turtles (superfamily Chelonioidea), sometimes called marine turtles, are reptiles of the order Testudines and of the suborder Cryptodira. The seven ...

hawksbill sea turtle
(''Eretmochelys imbricata'') has been on the endangered list since 1970. In an effort to ensure the protection of sea turtles on Guam, routine sightings are counted during aerial surveys and nest sites are recorded and monitored for hatchlings.


Demographics

According to the
2010 United States Census The United States Census of 2010 was the twenty-third United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in ...
, the largest ethnic group are the native Chamorus, accounting for 37.3% of the total population. Asians (including Filipinos, Koreans, Chinese, and Japanese) account for 33% of the total population. Other ethnic groups of
Micronesia Micronesia (, ; from grc, μικρός ''mikrós'' "small" and ''nêsos'' "island") is a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is ...
(including those of Chuukese, Palauan, and Pohnpeians) accounts for 10% of the total population. 9.4% of the population are
multiracial Multiracial people are people of more than one race or ethnicity. A variety of terms have been used for multi-racial people, including ''mixed-race'', ''biracial'', ''multiethnic'', ''polyethnic'', ''Métis The Métis (; ) are Indigenous ...
(two or more races).
White Americans White Americans are Americans who identify as and are perceived to be white people. This group constitutes the majority of the people in the United States. As of the 2020 Census, 61.6%, or 204,277,273 people, were white alone, and 71.0%, or 235 ...
account for 7.1% of the total population. The estimated interracial marriage rate is over 40%. The official languages of the island are English and Chamoru.
Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, ...
is also a common language across the island. Other Pacific island languages and many Asian languages are spoken in Guam as well.
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
, the language of administration for 300 years, is no longer commonly spoken on the island, although vestiges of the language remain in proper names, loanwords, and place names and it is studied at university and high schools. The most common religion is
Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...
. According to the Pew Research Center, the religious denominations constitute of the following, in 2010: * Roman Catholicism: 75% * Protestantism: 17.7% * Other religions: 1.6% * Folk religions: 1.5% * Other Christianity: 1.4% * Buddhism: 1.1% * Eastern Orthodoxy: <1% * Hinduism: <1% * Islam: <1% * Judaism: <1%


Culture

The culture of Guam is a reflection of traditional Chamoru customs in combination with American, Spanish and Mexican traditions. Post-European-contact Chamoru Guamanian culture is a combination of American, Spanish, Filipino, other Micronesian Islander and Mexican traditions. Few indigenous pre-Hispanic customs remained following Spanish contact. Hispanic influences are manifested in the local language, music, dance, sea navigation, cuisine, fishing, games (such as , , , and ), songs, and fashion. The island's original community is of Chamorro natives who have inhabited Guam for almost 4000 years. They had their own language related to the languages of Indonesia and southeast Asia. The Spanish later called them Chamorros, a derivative of the word Chamorri is "noble race"). They began to grow rice on the island. Historically, the native people of Guam venerated the bones of their ancestors, keeping the skulls in their houses in small baskets, and practicing incantations before them when it was desired to attain certain objects. During Spanish rule (1668–1898) the majority of the population was converted to Catholicism and religious festivities such as Easter and Christmas became widespread. Many Chamorus have Spanish name, Spanish surnames, although few of the inhabitants are themselves descended from the Spaniards. Instead, Spanish names and surnames became commonplace after their conversion to Catholicism and the imposition of the Catálogo alfabético de apellidos in Guam. Historically, the diet of the native inhabitants of Guam consisted of fish, fowl, rice, breadfruit, taro, Yam (vegetable), yams, bananas, and coconuts used in a variety of dishes. Post-contact CHamoru cuisine is largely based on corn, and includes tortillas, tamales, atole, and chilaquiles, which are a clear influence from Mesoamerica, principally Mexico, from Spanish trade with Asia. Due to foreign cultural influence from Spain, most aspects of the early indigenous culture have been lost, though there has been a resurgence in preserving any remaining pre-Hispanic culture in the last few decades. Some scholars have traveled throughout the Pacific Islands conducting research to study what the original Chamoru cultural practices such as dance, language, and canoe building may have been like.


Sports

Guam's most popular sport is American football, followed by basketball and baseball respectively. Soccer and other sports are also somewhat popular. Guam hosted the Pacific Games in 1975 South Pacific Games, 1975 and 1999 South Pacific Games, 1999. At the 2007 Pacific Games, 2007 Games, Guam finished 7th of 22 countries in the medal count, and 14th at the 2011 Pacific Games, 2011 Games. Guam men's national basketball team and the Guam women's national basketball team, women's team are traditional powerhouses in the FIBA Oceania, Oceania region, behind the Australia men's national basketball team and the New Zealand national basketball team. , the men's team is the reigning champion of the Pacific Games Basketball Tournament. Guam is home to various basketball organizations, including the Guam Basketball Association. The Guam national football team was founded in 1975 and joined FIFA in 1996. It was once considered one of FIFA's weakest teams, and experienced their first victory over a FIFA-registered side in 2009. Guam hosted qualifying games on the island for the first time in 2015 and, in 2018, clinched their first 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification, FIFA World Cup Qualifying win. The Guam national rugby union team played its first match in 2005 and has never qualified for a Rugby World Cup.


Economy

Guam's economy depends primarily on tourism, Department of Defense installations and locally owned businesses. Under the provisions of a special law by United States Congress, Congress, it is Guam's treasury rather than the U.S. treasury that receives the federal income taxes paid by local taxpayers (including military and civilian federal employees assigned to Guam).Lin, Tom C.W.
Americans, Almost and Forgotten
, 107 California Law Review (2019)


Tourism

Lying in the western Pacific, Guam is a popular destination for Japanese tourists. Its tourist hub,
Tumon Tumon ( ch, Tomhom) is a district located on Tumon Bay along the northwest coast of the United States unincorporated territory of Guam. Located in the municipality of Tamuning, it is the center of Guam's tourist industry. History Tumon Bay or Aga ...
, features over 20 large hotels, a Duty Free Shoppers Galleria, Pleasure Island district, indoor aquarium, Sandcastle Las Vegas–styled shows and other shopping and entertainment venues. It is a relatively short flight from Asia or Australia compared to Hawaii, with hotels and seven public golf courses accommodating over a million tourists per year. Although 75% of the tourists are Japanese, Guam also receives a sizable number of tourists from South Korea, the U.S., the Philippines, and Taiwan. Significant sources of revenue include duty-free designer shopping outlets, and the American-style malls: Micronesia Mall, Guam Premier Outlets, the Agana Shopping Center, and the world's largest Kmart. The economy had been stable since 2000 due to increased tourism. It was expected to stabilize with the transfer of U.S. Marine Corps' 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, currently in Okinawa, Japan (approximately 8,000 Marines, along with their 10,000 dependents), to Guam between 2010 and 2015. However, the move was delayed until late 2020, the number of marines decreased to 5,000, and expected to be complete in 2025. In 2003, Guam had a 14% unemployment rate, and the government suffered a $314 million shortfall. As of 2019 the unemployment rate had dropped to 6.1%. By September 2020, however, the unemployment rate had risen again to 17.9%. The Compact of Free Association, Compacts of Free Association between the United States, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau accorded the former entities of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands a political status of "free association" with the United States. The Compacts give citizens of these island nations generally no restrictions to reside in the United States (also its territories), and many were attracted to Guam due to its proximity, environmental, and cultural familiarity. Over the years, it was claimed by some in Guam that the territory has had to bear the brunt of this agreement in the form of public assistance programs and public education for those from the regions involved, and the federal government should compensate the states and territories affected by this type of migration. Over the years, Congress had appropriated "Compact Impact" aids to Guam, the
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territories of the Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
, and Hawaii, and eventually this appropriation was written into each renewed Compact. Some, however, continue to claim the compensation is not enough or that the distribution of actual compensation received is significantly disproportionate. Guam's largest single private sector employer, with about 1,400 jobs, was Continental Micronesia, a subsidiary of Continental Airlines; it is now a part of United Airlines, a subsidiary of Chicago-based United Airlines Holdings, Inc. the Continental Micronesia annual payroll in Guam was $90 million.


Military bases

Currently,
Joint Region Marianas Joint Region Marianas' mission is to provide installation management support to all Department of Defense components and tenants through assigned regional installations on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands in support of training in the Marianas ...

Joint Region Marianas
maintains jurisdiction over installations which cover approximately , or 29% of the island's total land area. These include: * U.S. Naval Base Guam, United States Navy, U.S. Navy (Santa Rita), comprising the Orote Peninsula, additional lands, and with jurisdiction of the majority of
Apra Harbor Apra Harbor, also called Port Apra, is a deep-water port A port is a maritime Maritime may refer to: Geography * Maritime Alps, a mountain range in the southwestern part of the Alps * Maritime Region, a region in Togo * Maritime ...

Apra Harbor
* Andersen Air Force Base, United States Air Force, U.S. Air Force (Yigo), including Northwest Field * Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz, United States Marine Corps, U.S. Marine Corps (Dededo) * Ordnance Annex, U.S. Navy – South Central Highlands (formerly known as Naval Magazine) * Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Guam, U.S. Navy (Dededo), sometimes referred to "NCTS Finegayan" * Naval Radio Station Barrigada (Barrigada), often referred to as "Radio Barrigada" *
Joint Region Marianas Joint Region Marianas' mission is to provide installation management support to all Department of Defense components and tenants through assigned regional installations on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands in support of training in the Marianas ...

Joint Region Marianas
Headquarters (Asan), at Nimitz Hill Annex * Naval Hospital Guam (Agana Heights) * South Finegayan (Dededo), a military housing complex * Andersen South (Yigo), formerly Marine Barracks Guam until its closure in 1992 * Fort Juan Muña, Guam National Guard (Tamuning) The U.S. military has proposed building a new aircraft carrier berth on Guam and moving 8,600 Marines, and 9,000 of their dependents, to Guam from Okinawa, Japan. Including the required construction workers, this buildup would increase Guam's population by a total of 79,000, a 49% increase over its 2010 population of 160,000. In a February 2010 letter, the United States Environmental Protection Agency sharply criticized these plans because of a water shortfall, sewage problems and the impact on coral reefs. By 2012, these plans had been cut to have only a maximum of 4,800 Marines stationed on the island, two thirds of whom would be there on a rotational basis without their dependents.


Government and politics

Guam is governed by a popularly elected Governor of Guam, governor and a unicameral 15-member Legislature of Guam, legislature, whose members are known as senators. Its judiciary is overseen by the Supreme Court of Guam. The District Court of Guam is the court of United States federal jurisdiction in the territory. Guam elects one delegate (United States Congress), delegate to the United States House of Representatives, currently Democrat Michael San Nicolas. The delegate does not have a vote on the final passage of legislation, but is accorded a vote in committee, and the privilege to speak to the House. U.S. citizens in Guam vote in a United States presidential straw polls in Guam, presidential straw poll for their choice in the U.S. presidential general election, but since Guam has no votes in the United States Electoral College, Electoral College, the poll has no real effect. However, in sending delegates to the Republican and Democratic national conventions, Guam does have influence in the national presidential race. These delegates are elected by local party United States presidential primary#Types of primaries and caucuses, conventions.


Political status

In the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a significant movement in favor of this U.S. territory becoming a commonwealth (United States insular area), commonwealth, which would give it a level of self-government similar to Puerto Rico and the
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territories of the Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
. In a 1982 plebiscite, voters indicated interest in seeking commonwealth status. However, the federal government rejected the version of a commonwealth that the government of Guam proposed, because its clauses were incompatible with the Territorial Clause (Art. IV, Sec. 3, cl. 2) of the United States Constitution, U.S. Constitution. Other movements advocate U.S. statehood for Guam, union with the state of Hawaii, or union with the Northern Mariana Islands as a single territory, or independence. A Commission on Decolonization was established in 1997 to educate the people of Guam about the various political status options in its relationship with the U.S.: statehood, free association and independence. The island has been considering another non-binding plebiscite on decolonization since 1998, however, the group was dormant for some years. In 2013, the commission began seeking funding to start a public education campaign. There were few subsequent developments until late 2016. In early December 2016, the Commission scheduled a series of education sessions in various villages about the current status of Guam's relationship with the U.S. and the self-determination options that might be considered. The commission's current Executive Director is Edward Alvarez and there are ten members. The group is also expected to release position papers on independence and statehood but the contents have not yet been completed. The United Nations is in favor of greater self-determination for Guam and other such territories. The UN's Special Committee on Decolonization has agreed to endorse the Governor's education plan. The commission's May 2016 report states: "With academics from the University of Guam, [the Commission] was working to create and approve educational materials. The Office of the Governor was collaborating closely with the Commission" in developing educational materials for the public. The United States Department of the Interior had approved a $300,000 grant for decolonization education, Edward Alvarez told the United Nations Pacific Regional Seminar in May 2016. "We are hopeful that this might indicate a shift in [United States] policy to its Non-Self-Governing Territories such as Guam, where they will be more willing to engage in discussions about our future and offer true support to help push us towards true self-governances and self-determination." On July 31, 2020, the Government of Guam joined the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO).


Villages

Guam is divided into 19 municipal villages: * Agana Heights, Guam, Agana Heights * Asan-Maina, Guam, Asan‑Maina * Barrigada, Guam, Barrigada * Chalan Pago-Ordot, Guam, Chalan Pago‑Ordot * Dededo, Guam, Dededo * Hågat, Guam, Hågat * Hagåtña * Humåtak, Guam, Humåtak * Inalåhan, Guam, Inalåhan * Malesso, Guam, Malesso * Mangilao, Guam, Mangilao * Mongmong-Toto-Maite, Guam, Mongmong‑Toto‑Maite *
Piti In relation to a mortgage A mortgage loan or simply mortgage () is a loan In finance, a loan is the lending of money by one or more individuals, organizations, or other entities to other individuals, organizations etc. The recipient (i. ...
* Sånta Rita-Sumai, Guam, Sånta Rita-Sumai * Sinajana, Guam, Sinajana * Talo'fo'fo, Guam, Talo'fo'fo * Tamuning, Guam, Tamuning * Yigo, Guam, Yigo * Yona, Guam, Yona


Transportation and communications

Most of the island has state-of-the-art mobile phone services and high-speed internet widely available through either cable or DSL. Guam was added to the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) in 1997 (country code 671 became NANP area code 671), removing the barrier of high-cost international long-distance calls to the Continental United States, U.S. mainland. Guam is also a major hub for submarine cables between the Western U.S., Hawaii, Australia and Asia. Guam currently serves twelve submarine cables, with most continuing to China. In 2012 ''Slate (magazine), Slate'' stated that the island has "tremendous bandwidth" and internet prices comparable to those of the U.S. Mainland due to being at the junction of undersea cables. In 1899, the local postage stamps were overprinted "Guam" as was done for the other former Spanish colonies, but this was discontinued shortly thereafter and regular U.S. postage stamps have been used ever since. Because Guam is also part of the U.S. Postal System (List of U.S. state abbreviations, postal abbreviation: GU, ZIP code, ZIP code range: 96910–96932), mail to Guam from the U.S. mainland is considered domestic and no additional charges are required. Private shipping companies, such as FedEx, UPS, and DHL, however, have no obligation to do so, and do not regard Guam as domestic. The speed of mail traveling between Guam and the states varies depending on size and time of year. Light, first-class items generally take less than a week to or from the mainland, but larger first-class or Priority items can take a week or two. Fourth-class mail, such as magazines, are transported by sea after reaching Hawaii. Most residents use post office boxes or private mail boxes, although residential delivery is becoming increasingly available. Incoming mail not from the Americas should be addressed to "Guam" instead of "USA" to avoid being routed the long way through the U.S. mainland and possibly charged a higher rate (especially from Asia). The Port of Guam is the island's lifeline because most products must be shipped into Guam for consumers. It receives the weekly calls of the Hawaii-based shipping line Matson, Inc. whose container ships connect Guam with Honolulu, Hawaii, Los Angeles, California, Oakland, California and Seattle, Washington. The port is also the regional transhipment hub for over 500,000 customers throughout the Micronesian region. The port is the shipping and receiving point for containers designated for the island's U.S. Department of Defense installations, Andersen Air Force Base and Commander, Naval Forces Marianas and eventually the Third Marine Expeditionary Force. Guam is served by the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport. The island is outside the United States customs zone, so Guam is responsible for establishing and operating its own customs and quarantine agency and jurisdiction. Therefore, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection only carries out immigration (but not customs) functions. Since Guam is under federal immigration jurisdiction, passengers arriving directly from the United States skip immigration and proceed directly to Guam Customs and Quarantine. However, due to the Visa waiver program#Guam and Northern Mariana Islands Visa Waiver Program, Guam and CNMI visa waiver program for certain countries, an eligibility pre-clearance check is carried on Guam for flights to the States. For travel from the Northern Mariana Islands to Guam, a pre-flight passport and visa check is performed before boarding the flight to Guam. On flights from Guam to the Northern Mariana Islands, no immigration check is performed. Traveling between Guam and the States through a foreign point, however, does require a passport. Most residents travel within Guam using personally owned vehicles. The Guam Regional Transit Authority provides fixed route bus and paratransit services, and some commercial companies operate buses between tourist-frequented locations.


Education

Guam Public Library System operates the Nieves M. Flores Memorial Library in Hagåtña and five branch libraries. The Guam Department of Education serves the entire island of Guam. In 2000, 32,000 students attended Guam's public schools, including 26 elementary schools, eight middle schools, and six high schools and alternative schools. Guam Public Schools have struggled with problems such as high dropout rates and poor test scores. Guam's educational system has always faced unique challenges as a small community located from the U.S. mainland with a very diverse student body including many students who come from backgrounds without traditional American education. An economic downturn in Guam since the mid-1990s has compounded the problems in schools. Before September 1997, the U.S. Department of Defense partnered with Guam Board of Education. In September 1997, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) opened its own schools for children of military personnel. DoDEA schools, which also serve children of some federal civilian employees, had an attendance of 2,500 in 2000. DoDEA Guam operates three elementary/middle schools and Guam High School (Guam), one high school. The
University of Guam University of Guam ( ch, Unibetsedåt Guåhan) (U.O.G.) is a public land-grant university A land-grant university (also called land-grant college or land-grant institution) is an institution of higher education in the United States designate ...
(UOG) and
Guam Community College Guam Community College (GCC) is a community college in Mangilao, Guam. It was founded by Dr. Maryly Van Leer Peck, the former dean of University of Guam and officially created by Public Law 14-77 in 1977. The U.S. Census Bureau puts the community ...
, both fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, offer courses in higher education. UOG is a member of the exclusive group of only 106 land-grant university, land-grant institutions in the entire United States. Pacific Islands University is a small Christian liberal arts institution nationally accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.


Health care

The Government of Guam maintains the island's main health care facility, Guam Memorial Hospital, in Tamuning, Guam, Tamuning. U.S. board certified doctors and dentists practice in all specialties. In addition, the Naval Hospital Guam, U.S. Naval Hospital in Agana Heights, Guam, Agana Heights serves active-duty members and dependents of the military community. There is one subscriber-based air ambulance located on the island, CareJet, which provides emergency patient transportation across Guam and surrounding islands. A private hospital, the Guam Regional Medical City, opened its doors in early 2016.Medicaid is accepted in Guam.


See also

* 51st state * Index of Guam-related articles * Lists of hospitals in the United States#Insular areas * List of people from Guam * Outline of Guam * Voting in Guam


References


Further reading

* Maga, Timothy P. ''Defending Paradise: The United States and Guam, 1898–1950'' (Garland, 1988). * Rogers, Robert F. ''Destiny's Landfall: A History of Guam'' (U of Hawaii Press, 1995). * Spear, Jane E. "Guamanian Americans." ''Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America,'' edited by Thomas Riggs, (3rd ed., vol. 2, Gale, 2014), pp. 263–273
online


External links

*
Guampedia, Guam's Online Encyclopedia

"Guam Society of America"
fosters the CHamoru language, culture, and traditions
''The Insular Empire: America in the Mariana Islands''
PBS documentary film website.
Guam
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency.
U.S. Census Bureau: Island Areas Census 2000


*

rom the U.S. Library of Congress. * * {{Authority control Guam, 1898 establishments in Oceania English-speaking countries and territories Former Spanish colonies Geography of Micronesia Insular areas of the United States Island countries Islands of Oceania Members of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization Pacific islands of the United States Small Island Developing States States and territories established in 1898 World War II sites