Guam

Guam

Overview
Guam (ˈɡwɑːm; Chamorro
Chamorro language
Chamorro is a Malayo-Polynesian language, spoken on the Mariana Islands by about 47,000 people Chamorro (Chamorro: Fino' Chamoru or simply Chamoru) is a Malayo-Polynesian (Austronesian) language, spoken on the Mariana Islands (Guam, Rota, Tinian, and Saipan) by about 47,000 people Chamorro...

: ) is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 located in the western Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories
United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories
The United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories is a list of countries that, according to the United Nations, are non-decolonized. The list was initially prepared in 1946 pursuant to Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter, and has been updated by the General Assembly on recommendation...

 by the Special Committee on Decolonization
Special Committee on Decolonization
The Special Committee on Decolonization was created in 1961 by the General Assembly of the United Nations with the purpose of monitoring implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples...

 of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. The island's capital is Hagåtña
Hagåtña, Guam
Hagåtña , formerly English Agana and in Spanish Agaña, is the capital of the United States island territory of Guam. It is the island's second smallest village in both area and population. From the 18th through mid 20th century, it was Guam's population center...

 (formerly Agaña). Guam is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
The Mariana Islands are an arc-shaped archipelago made up by the summits of 15 volcanic mountains in the north-western Pacific Ocean between the 12th and 21st parallels north and along the 145th meridian east...

.

The Chamorros, Guam's indigenous
Indigenous
Indigenous means: belonging to a certain place.Indigenous may refer to:In Ecology and Geography*Indigenous resources, resources which exist within local geography, that are not imported...

 people, first populated the island approximately 4,000 years ago.
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Guam (ˈɡwɑːm; Chamorro
Chamorro language
Chamorro is a Malayo-Polynesian language, spoken on the Mariana Islands by about 47,000 people Chamorro (Chamorro: Fino' Chamoru or simply Chamoru) is a Malayo-Polynesian (Austronesian) language, spoken on the Mariana Islands (Guam, Rota, Tinian, and Saipan) by about 47,000 people Chamorro...

: ) is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 located in the western Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories
United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories
The United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories is a list of countries that, according to the United Nations, are non-decolonized. The list was initially prepared in 1946 pursuant to Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter, and has been updated by the General Assembly on recommendation...

 by the Special Committee on Decolonization
Special Committee on Decolonization
The Special Committee on Decolonization was created in 1961 by the General Assembly of the United Nations with the purpose of monitoring implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples...

 of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. The island's capital is Hagåtña
Hagåtña, Guam
Hagåtña , formerly English Agana and in Spanish Agaña, is the capital of the United States island territory of Guam. It is the island's second smallest village in both area and population. From the 18th through mid 20th century, it was Guam's population center...

 (formerly Agaña). Guam is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
The Mariana Islands are an arc-shaped archipelago made up by the summits of 15 volcanic mountains in the north-western Pacific Ocean between the 12th and 21st parallels north and along the 145th meridian east...

.

The Chamorros, Guam's indigenous
Indigenous
Indigenous means: belonging to a certain place.Indigenous may refer to:In Ecology and Geography*Indigenous resources, resources which exist within local geography, that are not imported...

 people, first populated the island approximately 4,000 years ago. The island has a long history of European colonialism. Discovered by Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" ....

 during a Spanish expedition on March 6, 1521, the first colony was established in 1668 by Spain with the arrival of settlers including Padre San Vitores
Diego Luis de San Vitores
Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores was a Spanish Jesuit missionary who founded the first Catholic church on the island of Guam. He is responsible for establishing the Spanish presence in the Mariana Islands.-Early life:...

, a Catholic missionary
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

. For more than two centuries Guam was an important stopover for the Spanish Manila Galleons that crossed the Pacific annually. The island was controlled by Spain
Spanish East Indies
Spanish East Indies was a term used to describe Spanish territories in Asia-Pacific which lasted for three centuries . With the seat of government in Manila, the territory encompassed the Philippine Islands, Guam and the Mariana Islands, the Caroline Islands, and for a period of time, parts of...

 until 1898, when it was surrendered to the United States during the Spanish-American War
Spanish-American War
The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, effectively the result of American intervention in the ongoing Cuban War of Independence...

 and later formally ceded as part of the Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1898)
The Treaty of Paris of 1898 was signed on December 10, 1898, at the end of the Spanish-American War, and came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the ratifications were exchanged....

.

As the largest island in Micronesia
Micronesia
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It is distinct from Melanesia to the south, and Polynesia to the east. The Philippines lie to the west, and Indonesia to the southwest....

 and the only U.S.-held island in the region before World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Guam was captured by the Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

ese on December 8, 1941, hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Puuloa, is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet...

, and was occupied for two and a half years.

During the occupation, the people of Guam were subjected to acts that included torture, beheadings and rape, and were forced to adopt the Japanese culture. Guam was subject to fierce fighting when US troops recaptured the island on July 21, 1944, a date commemorated every year as Liberation Day.

Today, Guam's economy is supported by its principal industry, tourism
Tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

, which is composed primarily of visitors from Japan. Guam's second-largest source of income is the United States military
Military of the United States
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

.

History



It is believed that Guam was first discovered by people from southeastern Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 around 2000 BC. Most of what is known about pre-contact ("Ancient") Chamorros
Chamorros
The Chamorro people, or Chamoru people, are the indigenous peoples of the Mariana Islands, which include the American territory of Guam and the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Micronesia. Today, significant Chamoru populations also exist in several U.S. states...

 comes from legends and myths, archaeological evidence, Jesuit missionary accounts, and observations from visiting scientists like Otto von Kotzebue
Otto von Kotzebue
Otto von Kotzebue was a Baltic German navigator in Russian service....

 and Louis de Freycinet
Louis de Freycinet
Louis Claude de Saulces de Freycinet was a French navigator. He circumnavigated the earth, and was one of the first to produce a comprehensive map of the coastline of Australia.-Biography:...

.

When Europeans first arrived on Guam, Chamorro society had three classes: matua
Matua
Matua may refer to:* Matua_Mahasangha, a sect of Hinduism in Bengal.* Matua , another name for the island of Matsuwa located in the Kurilian archipelago northeast of Japan between Hokkaidō and the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia...

(upper class), achaot (middle class), and mana'chang (lower class). The matua were located in the coastal villages, which meant they had the best access to fishing grounds, whereas the mana'chang were located in the interior of the island. Matua and mana'chang rarely communicated with each other, and matua often used achaot as an intermediary. There were also "makåhna" (similar to shamans), skilled in healing and medicine. Belief in spirits of ancient Chamorros called "Taotao mo'na" still persists as a remnant of pre-European culture. When Magellan arrived on Guam, he was greeted by hundreds of small outrigger canoes that appeared to be flying over the water, due to their considerable speed. These outrigger canoes were called Proas, and resulted in Magellan naming Guam Islas de las Velas Latinas ("Islands of the Lateen Sails").

Guam, the only Spanish
Age of Discovery
The Age of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration and the Great Navigations , was a period in history starting in the early 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century during which Europeans engaged in intensive exploration of the world, establishing direct contacts with...

 outpost in the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, became the regular port between Acapulco
Acapulco
Acapulco is a city, municipality and major sea port in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast of Mexico, southwest from Mexico City. Acapulco is located on a deep, semi-circular bay and has been a port since the early colonial period of Mexico’s history...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 and Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

 from 1565 to 1815, and (since Philippine independence) the most western outpost of actual United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 territory in the Pacific. It is the biggest single segment of Micronesia
Micronesia
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It is distinct from Melanesia to the south, and Polynesia to the east. The Philippines lie to the west, and Indonesia to the southwest....

, the largest islands between the islands of Kyushu (Japan), New Guinea, the Philippines, and the Hawaiian Islands.

Latte stones are stone pillars that are only found in the Mariana Islands and are a recent development in Pre-Contact Chamorro society. The latte stone was used as a foundation on which thatched huts were built. Latte consist of a base shaped from limestone called the haligi and with a capstone, or tåsa, made either from a large brain coral or limestone, placed on top. Using carbon-dating, archaeologists have broken Pre-Contact Guam (i.e. Chamorro) history into three periods: "Pre-Latte" (BC 2000? to AD 1) "Transitional Pre-Latte" (AD 1 to AD 1000), and "Latte" (AD 1000 to AD 1521).

Archaeological evidence also suggests that Chamorro society was on the verge of another transition phase by 1521, as latte stones became bigger. Assuming the larger latte stones were used for chiefly houses, it can be argued that Chamorro society was becoming more stratified, either from population growth or the arrival of new people. The theory remains tenuous, however, due to lack of evidence, but if proven correct, will further support the idea that Pre-Contact Chamorros lived in a vibrant and dynamic environment.

Spanish colonization and the Manila galleons


Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 navigator Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" ....

, sailing for the King of Spain, reached the island in 1521 during his fleet's circumnavigation of the globe. General Miguel López de Legazpi
Miguel López de Legazpi
Miguel López de Legazpi , also known as El Adelantado and El Viejo , was a Spanish conquistador who established one of the first European settlements in the East Indies and the Pacific Islands in 1565. He is the first Governor-General in the Philippines...

 claimed Guam for Spain in 1565. Spanish colonization commenced in 1668 with the arrival of Padre San Vitores, who established the first Catholic mission. The islands were part of the Spanish East Indies
Spanish East Indies
Spanish East Indies was a term used to describe Spanish territories in Asia-Pacific which lasted for three centuries . With the seat of government in Manila, the territory encompassed the Philippine Islands, Guam and the Mariana Islands, the Caroline Islands, and for a period of time, parts of...

 governed from the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, which were in turn part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain based in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

.

Between 1668 and 1815, Guam was an important resting stop for the Spanish Manila galleons, a fleet that covered the Pacific trade route between Acapulco
Acapulco
Acapulco is a city, municipality and major sea port in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast of Mexico, southwest from Mexico City. Acapulco is located on a deep, semi-circular bay and has been a port since the early colonial period of Mexico’s history...

 (Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

) and Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

 (Philippines). To protect these Pacific fleets, Spain built a number of defensive structures such as Fort Nuestra Señora de la Soledad in Umatac, which are still standing today. Other reminiscences of colonial times include the old Governor's Palace in Plaza de España and the Spanish Bridge, both in Hagatña. Guam's Cathedral Dulce Nombre de Maria
Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica
Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica is a structure located on the site where the first Catholic church on Guam was constructed in 1669 under the guidance of Padre San Vitores...

 was also built during Spanish times in the 17th century. Guam, along with the rest of the Mariana and Caroline Islands
Caroline Islands
The Caroline Islands are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the eastern part of the group, and Palau at the extreme western end...

, were treated as part of Spain's colony in the Philippines. While Guam's Chamorro culture has indigenous roots, the cultures of both Guam and the Northern Marianas have many similarities with Spanish and Mexican culture due to three centuries of Spanish rule.

The Spanish-American War and World War II




The United States took control
Capture of Guam
The Capture of Guam was a bloodless event between the United States and the Kingdom of Spain during the Spanish-American War. The U.S. Navy sent a single cruiser, the , to capture the island of Guam, then under Spanish control. However, the Spanish garrison on the island had no knowledge of the war...

 of the island in the 1898 Spanish-American War
Spanish-American War
The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, effectively the result of American intervention in the ongoing Cuban War of Independence...

, as part of the Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1898)
The Treaty of Paris of 1898 was signed on December 10, 1898, at the end of the Spanish-American War, and came into effect on April 11, 1899, when the ratifications were exchanged....

. Guam came to serve as a station for American ships traveling to and from the Philippines, while the Northern Mariana Islands passed to Germany, and then to Japan.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Guam was attacked and invaded
Battle of Guam (1941)
The First Battle of Guam, was an engagement during the Pacific War in World War II, and took place on 8 December 1941 on Guam in the Mariana Islands between the Empire of Japan and the United States...

 by the armed forces of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 on December 8, 1941. Anticipating the attack, the Navy had all military dependents transported away from the island, but did not inform the native Chamorros of the possible bombardment.

The Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , is a commonwealth in political union with the United States, occupying a strategic region of the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of 15 islands about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines...

 had become a Japanese protectorate before the war. It was the Chamorros from the Northern Marianas who were brought to Guam to serve as interpreters and in other capacities for the occupying Japanese force. The Guamanian Chamorros were treated as an occupied enemy by the Japanese military. After the war, this would cause resentment between the Guamanian Chamorros and the Chamorros of the Northern Marianas. Guam's Chamorros believed their northern brethren should have been compassionate towards them, whereas having been occupied for over 30 years, the Northern Mariana Chamorros were loyal to Japan.

Guam's Japanese occupation lasted for approximately thirty-one months. During this period, the indigenous people of Guam were subjected to forced labor, family separation, incarceration, execution, concentration camps and forced prostitution. Approximately one thousand people died during the occupation, according to Congressional Testimony in 2004. Some historians estimate that war violence killed 10% of Guam's some 20,000 population.

The United States returned and fought the Battle of Guam on July 21, 1944, to recapture the island from Japanese military occupation. More than 18,000 Japanese were killed as only 485 surrendered. Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi
Shoichi Yokoi
was a Japanese sergeant in the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second World War. He was among the last three Japanese hold-outs to surrender after the end of hostilities in 1945.-Early life:Yokoi was born in Saori, Aichi Prefecture...

, who surrendered in January 1972, appears to have been the last confirmed Japanese holdout
Japanese holdout
Japanese holdouts or stragglers were Japanese soldiers in the Pacific Theatre who, after the August 1945 surrender of Japan that marked the end of World War II, either adamantly doubted the veracity of the formal surrender due to strong dogmatic or militaristic principles, or were not aware of it...

 in Guam. To this day, Guam remains the only U.S. soil with a sizable population to have been occupied by a foreign military power, since the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

. The United States also captured and occupied the Northern Marianas.

Post-war


After the war, the Guam Organic Act of 1950
Guam Organic Act of 1950
The Guam Organic Act of 1950, is a United States federal law that redesignated the island of Guam as an unincorporated territory of the United States, established executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and transferred Federal jurisdiction from the United States Navy to the Department of...

, 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. 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.

Proposed name change



The name "Guam" is an exonym. In his final State of the Island Address on February 15, 2010, Governor Felix Camacho called for Guam to formally be henceforth referred to as Guahan (Guåhån), the name of the island in the indigenous Chamorro language
Chamorro language
Chamorro is a Malayo-Polynesian language, spoken on the Mariana Islands by about 47,000 people Chamorro (Chamorro: Fino' Chamoru or simply Chamoru) is a Malayo-Polynesian (Austronesian) language, spoken on the Mariana Islands (Guam, Rota, Tinian, and Saipan) by about 47,000 people Chamorro...

, and issued an executive order to make it official. Camacho simultaneously began referring to himself as the "Governor of Guahan".

According to historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

 Toni Ramírez of the Historic Preservation Office of the Guam Department of Parks and Recreation, the name Guahan means "we have" or "a place that has", in reference to the island's rivers and other natural resources
Natural Resources
Natural Resources is a soul album released by Motown girl group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas in 1970 on the Gordy label. The album is significant for the Vietnam War ballad "I Should Be Proud" and the slow jam, "Love Guess Who"...

, which were relatively rare on other neighboring Micronesia
Micronesia
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It is distinct from Melanesia to the south, and Polynesia to the east. The Philippines lie to the west, and Indonesia to the southwest....

n islands.

Guahan or Guaján was the name widely used on the island between 1521 and 1898. However, both the names Guam and Guahan appear in historic documents and maps dating back hundreds of years, according to Peter Onedera, a historian and Chamorro language professor
Professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

 at the University of Guam
University of Guam
University of Guam is a four-year land-grant institution, located in the village of Mangilao on the island of Guam in the Western Pacific Ocean...

. Richard Leary, the first United States Naval Governor of the island, adopted the name Guam in 1900 when he called it "isle of Guam".

Two-term Governor Camacho, who cannot seek a third term, will leave office in 2011. He explained in his final State of the Island Address that the name change will solidify his legacy as governor and cement his place in history. He argues that the change to Guahan will reaffirm the island's distinct identity and Chamorro cultural heritage
Cultural heritage
Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations...

. Camacho's order specifically states that the change "enhances the practice of the Chamorro language and promotes the historic and cultural connection to the island". The executive order will apply only to local Guamanian government institutions, official communications, business transactions and signs at this time. However, Camacho expressed interest in having community leaders, businesses and lawmakers adopt the Guahan name as well. He further announced that he would introduce Bill 331 in the Guam Legislature to change the name to Guahan in law. The executive order does not have a set deadline for agencies to adopt the change, in order to lessen any time or monetary burdens on the government during a prolonged economic recession. Changes should be made when it is most convenient for the government agency, such as ordering new office letterhead
Letterhead
A letterhead is the heading at the top of a sheet of letter paper . That heading usually consists of a name and an address, and a logo or corporate design, and sometimes a background pattern...

.

Reaction to the proposed change was mixed among both lawmakers and residents. Speaker of the legislature
Legislature of Guam
The Legislature of Guam is the territorial legislature of Guam. The legislative branch of the unincorporated U.S. territory is unicameral, with a single house consisting of fifteen senators, serving for a two year term...

 Judith Won Pat noted that the change could help restore a perceived loss of identity
Cultural identity
Cultural identity is the identity of a group or culture, or of an individual as far as one is influenced by one's belonging to a group or culture. Cultural identity is similar to and has overlaps with, but is not synonymous with, identity politics....

 in Guam. She told the media, "This is the age where, throughout the world, people want to know who they are and find their identity. This is very important for Guam as well." Author and former senator Katherine Aguon, who recently published a Chamorro–English dictionary
Dictionary
A dictionary is a collection of words in one or more specific languages, often listed alphabetically, with usage information, definitions, etymologies, phonetics, pronunciations, and other information; or a book of words in one language with their equivalents in another, also known as a lexicon...

, also supported the name change, but emphasized that any proposal should be approved by Guamanian voters.

An official, sanctioned name change may have some economic repercussions on the island. Then senator (and later governor) Eddie Calvo, while supporting the order, noted that the costs of changing the name on signage, documents and advertising campaigns would have to be taken into account. The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB), which has spent millions of dollars to brand
Nation branding
Nation branding is a field of theory and practice which aims to measure, build and manage the reputation of countries . Some approaches applied, such as an increasing importance on the symbolic value of products, have led countries to emphasise their distinctive characteristics...

 Guam as a major tourist and business destination using the island's current name, recently launched a new marketing campaign called "We Are Guam". The economic costs of changing all road and welcome signs, as well as documents and tourism campaigns, would have to be evaluated.

Geography



Guam lies between 13.2°N and 13.7°N and between 144.6°E and 145.0°E, and has an area of 212 square miles (549 km²), making it the 32nd largest island of the United States. It is the southernmost and largest island in the Mariana island chain and is also the largest island in Micronesia
Micronesia
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It is distinct from Melanesia to the south, and Polynesia to the east. The Philippines lie to the west, and Indonesia to the southwest....

. This island chain was created by the colliding Pacific and Philippine Sea tectonic plates. Guam is the closest land mass to the Mariana Trench
Mariana Trench
The Mariana Trench or Marianas Trench is the deepest part of the world's oceans. It is located in the western Pacific Ocean, to the east of the Mariana Islands. The trench is about long but has a mean width of only...

, a deep subduction zone
Subduction
In geology, subduction is the process that takes place at convergent boundaries by which one tectonic plate moves under another tectonic plate, sinking into the Earth's mantle, as the plates converge. These 3D regions of mantle downwellings are known as "Subduction Zones"...

, that lies beside the island chain to the east. Challenger Deep
Challenger Deep
The Challenger Deep is the deepest known point in the oceans, with a depth of to by direct measurement from submersibles, and slightly more by sonar bathymetry . It is located at the southern end of the Mariana Trench near the Mariana Islands group...

, the deepest surveyed point in the Oceans, is southwest of Guam at 35797 feet (10,911 m) deep. The highest point in Guam is Mount Lamlam
Mount Lamlam
Mount Lamlam is a peak on the island of Guam. It is located in the village of Agat, in the southwest of the island. At 1,332 feet , it is the highest peak in Guam. The distance from the peak to the bottom of the nearby Mariana Trench is perhaps the greatest change in elevation on Earth over such a...

, which is 1,332 feet (406 m).

The island of Guam is 30 miles (48 km) long and 4 miles (6 km) to 12 miles (19 km) wide. The island experiences occasional earthquake
Earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

s due to its location on the western edge of the Pacific Plate
Pacific Plate
The Pacific Plate is an oceanic tectonic plate that lies beneath the Pacific Ocean. At 103 million square kilometres, it is the largest tectonic plate....

 and near the Philippine Sea Plate. In recent years, earthquakes with epicenters near Guam have had magnitudes ranging from 5.0 to 8.7. Unlike the Anatahan
Anatahan
Anatahan is one of the most active volcanoes of the Northern Mariana Islands. The island of Anatahan is 9 kilometers  long and has a land area of . Formerly inhabited, it now has no population because of the always-present danger of volcanic eruptions...

 volcano
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 in the Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , is a commonwealth in political union with the United States, occupying a strategic region of the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of 15 islands about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines...

, Guam is not volcanically active. However, due to its proximity to Anatahan, vog
Vog
Vog is a form of air pollution that results when sulfur dioxide and other gases and particles emitted by an erupting volcano react with oxygen and moisture in the presence of sunlight. The word is a portmanteau of the words "volcanic" and "smog"...

 does occasionally affect Guam.

A coral table reef with deepwater channels surrounds most of Guam. Sandy beaches, rock cliff lines and mangroves characterize the coastline area. Sheer limestone coastal cliffs dominate the north, while the southern end of the island is mountainous, with lower hills in between.

Climate


The climate is characterized as tropical marine. The weather is generally hot and very humid with little seasonal temperature variation. The mean high temperature is 86 °F (30 °C) and mean low is 76 °F (24 °C) with an average annual rainfall of 96 inches (2,180 mm). The dry season runs from December through June. The remaining months (July through November) constitute the rainy season. The months of January and February are considered the coolest months of the year with night time temperatures in the mid to low 70s and generally lower humidity levels. The highest risk of typhoons is during October and November. They can, however, occur year-round.

Guam is located in what has been nicknamed "Typhoon Alley" and it is common for the island to be threatened by tropical storms and possible typhoons during the wet season. The most intense typhoon to pass over Guam recently was Super Typhoon Pongsona
Typhoon Pongsona
Typhoon Pongsona was the last typhoon of the 2002 Pacific typhoon season, and was the costliest United States disaster in 2002. The name "Pongsona" was contributed by North Korea for the Pacific tropical cyclone list and is the Korean name for the garden balsam...

, with sustained winds of 144 miles per hour, gusts to 173 miles per hour, which slammed Guam on December 8, 2002, leaving massive destruction.

Since Super Typhoon Pamela
Typhoon Pamela (1976)
Typhoon Pamela was a powerful typhoon that struck the U.S. territory of Guam in May 1976, causing about $500 million in damage . The sixth named storm and third typhoon of the 1976 Pacific typhoon season, Pamela developed on May 14 from a trough near the Federated States of Micronesia...

 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.

Demographics


According to the U.S. census conducted in 2000, the population of Guam was 154,805. The 2008 population estimate for Guam is 175,000. As of 2005, the annual population growth is 1.76%. The largest ethnic group are the native Chamorros
Chamorros
The Chamorro people, or Chamoru people, are the indigenous peoples of the Mariana Islands, which include the American territory of Guam and the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Micronesia. Today, significant Chamoru populations also exist in several U.S. states...

, accounting for 37.1% of the total population. Other significant ethnic groups include those of Filipino
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 (25.5%), White (10%) indicates of both European often of Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 and European American
European American
A European American is a citizen or resident of the United States who has origins in any of the original peoples of Europe...

 ancestry, and the rest are of Chinese
Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese birth or descent who live outside the Greater China Area . People of partial Chinese ancestry living outside the Greater China Area may also consider themselves Overseas Chinese....

, Japanese
Japanese people
The are an ethnic group originating in the Japanese archipelago and are the predominant ethnic group of Japan. Worldwide, approximately 130 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 127 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live in other countries...

 and Korean ancestry. Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion, with 85% of the population claiming an affiliation with it.

The programmed U.S. military buildup (2010–14) will cause an unprecedented population increase (approximately 40% or nearly 80,000 people at the peak of constructions) which will significantly impact Guam's very limited and aging infrastructure. This expected population increase would otherwise occur over a 20 year period. The official languages of the island are English and Chamorro
Chamorro language
Chamorro is a Malayo-Polynesian language, spoken on the Mariana Islands by about 47,000 people Chamorro (Chamorro: Fino' Chamoru or simply Chamoru) is a Malayo-Polynesian (Austronesian) language, spoken on the Mariana Islands (Guam, Rota, Tinian, and Saipan) by about 47,000 people Chamorro...

.

Culture



Traditional Chamorro culture is a combination of indigenous pre-Hispanic customs and Spanish or Mexican traditions. It is manifested in Chamorro language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

, music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

, dance
Dance
Dance is an art form that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting....

, sea navigation
Navigation
Navigation is the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle from one place to another. It is also the term of art used for the specialized knowledge used by navigators to perform navigation tasks...

, unique cuisine
Cuisine
Cuisine is a characteristic style of cooking practices and traditions, often associated with a specific culture. Cuisines are often named after the geographic areas or regions that they originate from...

, fishing, game
Game
A game is structured playing, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool. Games are distinct from work, which is usually carried out for remuneration, and from art, which is more often an expression of aesthetic or ideological elements...

s (such as batu, chonka, estuleks, and bayogu), songs and fashion
Fashion
Fashion, a general term for a currently popular style or practice, especially in clothing, foot wear, or accessories. Fashion references to anything that is the current trend in look and dress up of a person...

. During Spanish colonial rule (1668–1898) the majority of the population was converted to Roman Catholicism and religious festivities such as Easter and Christmas became widespread. Traditional Chamorro cuisine is largely based on corn, and includes tortillas, tamales, atole and chilaquiles, which are a clear influence from Mexico. The Chamorro language
Chamorro language
Chamorro is a Malayo-Polynesian language, spoken on the Mariana Islands by about 47,000 people Chamorro (Chamorro: Fino' Chamoru or simply Chamoru) is a Malayo-Polynesian (Austronesian) language, spoken on the Mariana Islands (Guam, Rota, Tinian, and Saipan) by about 47,000 people Chamorro...

 is a Malayo-Polynesian language with much Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 influence. Many Chamorros also have Spanish surnames because of their conversion to Roman Catholic Christianity and the adoption of names from the Catálogo alfabético de apellidos
Catálogo alfabético de apellidos
The Alphabetical Catalog of Surnames is a book of surnames published in the Philippines and other islands of Spanish East Indies in the mid-19th century...

, a phenomenon common to the Philippines.

Due to foreign cultural influence from Spain and the United States, important aspects of the early indigenous culture have been lost over the years, though there has been a resurgence in preserving this pre-Hispanic culture in the last few decades. Some scholars have traveled throughout the Pacific Islands conducting research to study what the original Chamorro cultural practices such as dance, language, and canoe building may have been like.

Two aspects of indigenous pre-Hispanic culture that withstood time are chenchule' and inafa'maolek
Inafa'maolek
Inafa'maolek is a charitable organisation which works on the island of Guam. The non-profit making organisation aims to tackle social problems such as domestic violence. The organisation also works with young people doing workshops on issues such as eating disorders, bullying, suicide and sexual...

. Chenchule' is the intricate system of reciprocity at the heart of Chamorro society. It is rooted in the core value of inafa'maolek. Historian Lawrence Cunningham in 1992 wrote, "In a Chamorro sense, the land and its produce belong to everyone. , or interdependence, is the key, or central value, in Chamorro culture ... depends on a spirit of cooperation and sharing. This is the armature, or core, that everything in Chamorro culture revolves around. It is a powerful concern for mutuality rather than individualism
Individualism
Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses "the moral worth of the individual". Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one's own...

 and private property rights."


The core culture or Pengngan Chamorro is based on complex social protocol centered upon respect: From sniffing over the hands of the elders (called mangnginge in Chamorro), the passing down of legends, chants, and courtship
Courtship
Courtship is the period in a couple's relationship which precedes their engagement and marriage, or establishment of an agreed relationship of a more enduring kind. In courtship, a couple get to know each other and decide if there will be an engagement or other such agreement...

 rituals, to a person asking for permission from spiritual ancestors before entering a jungle or ancient battle grounds. Other practices predating Spanish conquest include galaide'
Outrigger canoe
The outrigger canoe is a type of canoe featuring one or more lateral support floats known as outriggers, which are fastened to one or both sides of the main hull...

 canoe-making, making of the belembaotuyan
Belembaotuyan
-Sources:* Guampedia, Guam's Online Encyclopedia...

 (a string musical instrument made from a gourd), fashioning of slings and slingstones, tool
Tool
A tool is a device that can be used to produce an item or achieve a task, but that is not consumed in the process. Informally the word is also used to describe a procedure or process with a specific purpose. Tools that are used in particular fields or activities may have different designations such...

 manufacture, burial rituals, and preparation of herbal medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

s by Suruhanu
Suruhanu
Suruhanu or Suruhana are people who function as herbal healers in some Pacific Island cultures. Such people exist on the island of Guam and are a result of Pre-colonial times where people known as makahna were believed to mediate between the physical and spiritual worlds....

.

Master craftsmen and women specialize in weavings, including plaited work (niyok
Coconut
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae . It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word...

- and åkgak
Pandanus
Pandanus is a genus of monocots with about 600 known species. They are numerous palmlike dioecious trees and shrubs native of the Old World tropics and subtropics. They are classified in the order Pandanales, family Pandanaceae.-Overview:...

-leaf baskets, mats, bags, hats, and food containments), loom
Loom
A loom is a device used to weave cloth. The basic purpose of any loom is to hold the warp threads under tension to facilitate the interweaving of the weft threads...

-woven material (kalachucha-hibiscus
Plumeria
Plumeria is a genus of flowering plants of the family that includes Dogbane: the Apocynaceae. It contains 7-8 species of mainly deciduous shrubs and small trees...

 and banana
Banana
Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red....

 fiber skirts, belts and burial shrouds), and body ornamentation (bead and shell necklaces, bracelets, earrings, belts and combs made from tortoise
Tortoise
Tortoises are a family of land-dwelling reptiles of the order of turtles . Like their marine cousins, the sea turtles, tortoises are shielded from predators by a shell. The top part of the shell is the carapace, the underside is the plastron, and the two are connected by the bridge. The tortoise...

 shells) and Spondylus
Spondylus
Spondylus is a genus of bivalve molluscs, the only genus in the family Spondylidae. As well as being the systematic or scientific name, Spondylus is also the most often used common name for these animals, though they are also known as thorny oysters or spiny oysters.There are many species of...

.

The cosmopolitan nature of modern Guam poses challenges for Chamorros struggling to preserve their culture and identity amidst forces of acculturation. The increasing numbers of Chamorros, especially Chamorro youth, relocating to the U.S. Mainland has further complicated both definition and preservation of Chamorro identity. While only a few masters exist to continue traditional art forms, the resurgence of interest among the Chamorros to preserve the language and culture has resulted in a growing number of young Chamorros who seek to continue the ancient ways of the Chamorro people.

Government and politics


Guam is governed by a popularly elected governor
Governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

 and a unicameral 15-member legislature
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

, whose members are known as senators. Guam elects one non-voting delegate, currently Democrat Madeleine Z. Bordallo, to the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

. U.S. citizens in Guam vote in a straw poll
Straw poll
A straw poll or straw vote is a vote with nonbinding results. Straw polls provide dialogue among movements within large groups, reflecting trends like organization and motivation...

 for their choice in the U.S. Presidential general election, but since Guam has no votes in the Electoral College
United States Electoral College
The Electoral College consists of the electors appointed by each state who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States. Since 1964, there have been 538 electors in each presidential election...

, 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, though these convention delegates are elected by local party conventions rather than voters in primaries.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a significant movement in favor of the territory becoming a commonwealth
Commonwealth (United States insular area)
In the terminology of the United States insular areas, a Commonwealth is a type of organized but unincorporated dependent territory.The definition of "Commonwealth" according to current U.S. State Department policy reads: "The term 'Commonwealth' does not describe or provide for any specific...

, which would give it a level of self-government similar to Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 and the Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , is a commonwealth in political union with the United States, occupying a strategic region of the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of 15 islands about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines...

. However, the federal government rejected the version of a commonwealth that the government of Guam proposed, due to it having clauses incompatible with the Territorial Clause (Art. IV, Sec. 3, cl. 2) of the U.S. Constitution. Other movements are also in existence that advocate becoming a U.S. state, union with the state of Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, union with the Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , is a commonwealth in political union with the United States, occupying a strategic region of the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of 15 islands about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines...

 as a single territory, or independence.

Villages and military bases



See footnote

Guam is divided into 19 municipalities
Municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

 commonly called village
Village
A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet with the population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand , Though often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighbourhoods, such as the West Village in Manhattan, New...

s: Agana Heights
Agana Heights, Guam
Agana Heights is one of the 19 villages of Guam. It is located in the hills south of Hagåtña , in the central part of the island. The U.S. Naval Hospital is located in this largely residential village.-Education:...

, Agat
Agat, Guam
Agat is a village on the island of Guam, an unincorporated territory of the United States. It is located south of Apra Harbor on the island's western shore. The village's population has decreased since the island's 2000 census....

, Asan‑Maina
Asan, Guam
Asan is a village located on the western shore of the U.S. territory of Guam. The municipality of Asan-Maina combines Asan with Maina, a community in the hills to the east. It was a primary landing site for United States Marines during Guam's liberation from the Japanese in World War II. Asan...

, Barrigada
Barrigada, Guam
Barrigada is a village in central Guam. A largely residential municipality, its main village is located south of the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport near the intersections of Routes 8, 10, and 16...

, Chalan‑Pago‑Ordot
Chalan Pago-Ordot, Guam
Chalan Pago-Ordot is a municipality in the United States territory of Guam, containing the villages of Chalan-Pago and Ordot. It is located in the eastern-central part of the island and is part of the Kattan District. The village's population has increased slightly following the island's 2000...

, Dededo
Dededo, Guam
Dededo is the most populated village of the United States territory of Guam. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Dededo's population was just under 45,000 in 2010. The village is located on the coral plateau of Northern Guam.- Etymology :...

, Hagåtña
Hagåtña, Guam
Hagåtña , formerly English Agana and in Spanish Agaña, is the capital of the United States island territory of Guam. It is the island's second smallest village in both area and population. From the 18th through mid 20th century, it was Guam's population center...

, Inarajan
Inarajan, Guam
Inarajan is a village located on the Southeastern coast of the Marianas Island of Guam. The village's original Chamoru name, Inalåhan, was altered when transliterated during Spainish control of the island....

, Mangilao
Mangilao, Guam
Mangilao is a village on the eastern shore of the United States territory of Guam. The village's population has increased slightly following the island's 2000 census....

, Merizo
Merizo, Guam
Merizo , is the southernmost village in Guam, a U.S. territory. Cocos Island is a part of the municipality. The village's population has decreased since the island's 2000 census. - History :...

, Mongmong‑Toto‑Maite
Mongmong-Toto-Maite, Guam
Mongmong-Toto-Maite is a municipality in Guam composed of three separate villages east of Hagåtña that experienced development after World War II. Mongmong is adjacent to the Hagåtña Swamp. Toto is situated to the northeast near Barrigada. Maite is located on the cliffs over Agana Bay. The...

, Piti
Piti, Guam
Piti is a village located on the western shore of Guam. It contains the commercial port of Guam at Apra Harbor as well as several of the island’s largest power plants.- Education :Guam Public School System serves the island....

, Santa Rita
Santa Rita, Guam
Santa Rita is a village located on the southwest coast of the United States territory of Guam with hills overlooking Apra Harbor. According to the 2000 census it has a population of 7,500, down from 11,857 in 1990....

, Sinajana
Sinajana, Guam
Sinajana is smallest of the nineteen Villages of Guam. It is located in the hills south of Hagåtña . The village's name may have come from the word "china-jan," cookware used to cook wild yams that once grew in the area. Sinajana is one of a few villages that was urbanized as a result of a...

, Talofofo
Talofofo, Guam
Talofofo is a village located in the southern part of the United States territory of Guam, on the east coast. The village center is located in the hills above the coast, while the smaller coastal community below the cliff is known as Ipan....

, Tamuning
Tamuning, Guam
Tamuning, also known as Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon is a municipality or "village" located on the western shore of the island of Guam. The village of Tamuning can be viewed as the economic center of Guam, containing Tumon , Harmon Industrial Park, and commercial districts in other parts of the...

, Umatac
Umatac, Guam
Umatac is a village on the south-western coast of the island of Guam. The month of March in Chamorro is "Umatalaf," or "to catch guatafi," which is believed to be the root word of Umatac. The village's population has decreased since the island's 2000 census...

, Yigo
Yigo, Guam
Yigo is the northernmost village of the United States territory of Guam, and is the location of Andersen Air Force Base. The municipality of Yigo is larger than any other village on the island in terms of area....

, Yona
Yona, Guam
- History :The village was historically a farming community but today is mostly residential. During World War II, the Japanese forced the indigenous Chamorros to march from camps in northern Guam to prison camps in the Manenggon area in Yona shortly before the Americans liberated the island...

.

The U.S. military maintains jurisdiction over its bases, which cover approximately 39000 acres (15,782.8 ha), or 29% of the island's total land area:
  • U.S. Naval Base Guam, U.S. Navy – Sumay
  • U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam, – Sumay
  • Andersen Air Force Base
    Andersen Air Force Base
    Andersen Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located approximately northeast of Yigo in the United States territory of Guam....

    , U.S. Air Force – Yigo
  • Apra Harbor
    Apra Harbor
    Apra Harbor is a deep-water port on the western side of Guam in the Mariana Islands. The harbor is formed by Orote Peninsula in the south and Cabras Island in the north. To the south, the harbor narrows and then widens again to form an inner harbor. The southern end of the harbor is the location...

     – Orote peninsula
  • Ordnance Annex
    Ordnance Annex
    Ordnance Annex is the name of a US naval base situated on the Island of Guam, which used to be known as 'Naval Magazine, Guam. The base is situated on the south-central section of the island and occupies an area of .-References:...

    , U.S. Navy – South Central Highlands (formerly known as Naval Magazine)
  • Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station, U.S. Navy – Barrigada and Finegayan
  • Joint Force Headquarters-Guam, Guam National Guard
    Guam National Guard
    The Guam National Guard is the National Guard of the Territory of Guam, made up of the Guam Army National Guard and the Guam Air National Guard....

     – Radio Barrigada and Fort Juan Muna


In addition to on-shore military installations, Guam, along with the rest of the Mariana Islands, is being prepared to be the westernmost military training range for the U.S. Guam is currently viewed as a key military hub that will further allow U.S. military power to be projected via sea and sky.

The U.S. military has proposed to build a new aircraft carrier berth on Guam and to move 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 45%. In a February 2010 letter, the United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 sharply criticized these plans because of a water shortfall, sewage problems and the impact on coral reefs.

With the proposed increased military presence stemming from the upcoming preparation efforts and relocation efforts of U.S. Marines from Okinawa, Japan to Guam slated to begin in 2010 and last for the next several years thereafter, the amounts of total land that the military will control or tenant may grow to or surpass 40% of the entire landmass of Guam.

In January, 2011, the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for FY2011 indicated that recent significant events will delay the deadline for realigning U.S. Marine Corps service members and their families from Okinawa to Guam. The transfer may be as late as 2020. In addition, the Defense Authorization Act cut approximately $320 million from the 2011 budget request.

Villagers and the military community are inter-connected in many ways. Many villagers serve in the military or are retired. Many active duty personnel and Defense Department civilians also live in the villages outside of the military installation areas. The military and village communities have "adoption" programs where Guam's population and military personnel stationed in Guam perform community service projects.

Economy


Guam's economy depends primarily on tourism, Department of Defense installations, and locally owned businesses. Although Guam receives no foreign aid, it does receive large transfer payments from the general revenues of the U.S. federal treasury
United States Department of the Treasury
The Department of the Treasury is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. It was established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue...

 into which Guam pays no income or excise taxes; under the provisions of a special law of Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, the Guam treasury, rather than the U.S. treasury, receives federal income taxes paid by local taxpayers to include military and civilian federal employees assigned to Guam.

Guam is a popular destination for Japanese tourists. Its tourist hub, Tumon
Tumon
Tumon is an area located on the west coast of the island of Guam, United States territory. Located in the municipality of Tamuning, it is the center of Guam's tourist industry.-History of Tumon:...

, features over 20 large hotels, a Duty Free Shoppers Galleria, Pleasure Island district, indoor aquarium, Sandcastle Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

–styled shows and other shopping and entertainment venues. It is a relatively short flight from Asia or Australia compared to Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, with hotels and seven public golf courses accommodating over a million tourists per year. Although 75 percent of the tourists are Japanese, Guam receives a sizable number of tourists from South Korea, the U.S., the Philippines, and Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

. Significant sources of revenue include duty-free designer shopping outlets, and the American-style malls: Micronesia Mall
Micronesia Mall
Micronesia Mall, located in Dededo at the intersection of Guam Highways 1 and 16, is the largest shopping center in the Western Pacific on the tropical island of Guam....

, Guam Premier Outlets
Guam Premier Outlets
Guam Premier Outlets or GPO is a shopping mall located in Tamuning, Guam...

, the Agana Shopping Center
Agana Shopping Center
Agana Shopping Center is a shopping center located in downtown Hagåtña, Guam. It opened in 1978. The mall is one of numerous malls on Guam. Main competitors include Micronesia Mall, Guam's largest shopping mall and Guam Premier Outlets in Tamuning....

, and the world's largest Kmart
Kmart
Kmart, sometimes styled as "K-Mart," is a chain of discount department stores. The chain acquired Sears in 2005, forming a new corporation under the name Sears Holdings Corporation. The company was founded in 1962 and is the third largest discount store chain in the world, behind Wal-Mart and...

.

The economy had been stable since 2000 due to increased tourism, but took a recent downturn along with most of Asia. It is expected to stabilize well ahead of the projected transfer of U.S. Marine Corps' 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, currently in Okinawa (approximately 8,000 Marines, along with their 10,000 dependents), to Guam between 2010 and 2015. In 2003, Guam had a 14% unemployment rate, and the government suffered a $314 million shortfall.

The Compacts of Free Association
Compact of Free Association
The Compact of Free Association defines the relationship that three sovereign states—the Federated States of Micronesia , the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau—have entered into as associated states with the United States.Now sovereign nations, the three freely associated...

 between the United States, the Federated States of Micronesia
Federated States of Micronesia
The Federated States of Micronesia or FSM is an independent, sovereign island nation, made up of four states from west to east: Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae. It comprises approximately 607 islands with c...

, the Republic of the Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

 and the Republic of Palau
Palau
Palau , officially the Republic of Palau , is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines and south of Tokyo. In 1978, after three decades as being part of the United Nations trusteeship, Palau chose independence instead of becoming part of the Federated States of Micronesia, a...

 accorded the former entities of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was a United Nations trust territory in Micronesia administered by the United States from 1947 to 1986.-History:...

 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
Northern Mariana Islands
The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , is a commonwealth in political union with the United States, occupying a strategic region of the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of 15 islands about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines...

 and Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, 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, is Continental Micronesia
Continental Micronesia
Continental Micronesia, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Continental Airlines. It operated daily flights to Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as international services to Asia, Micronesia and Australia from its base of operations at Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport on Guam, a U.S. territory in...

, a subsidiary of Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines was a major American airline now merged with United Airlines. On May 3, 2010, Continental Airlines, Inc. and UAL, Inc. announced a merger via a stock swap, and on October 1, 2010, the merger closed and UAL changed its name to United Continental Holdings, Inc...

. As of 2008 the airline's annual payroll in Guam was $90 million.

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)
North American Numbering Plan
The North American Numbering Plan is an integrated telephone numbering plan administered by Neustar which encompasses 24 countries and territories, including the United States and its territories, Canada, Bermuda, and 16 nations of the Caribbean...

 in 1997 (country code 671 became NANP area code 671
Area code 671
The area code 671 is the local telephone area code of the United States territory of Guam. It was created in 1997, replacing Guam's previous country code, 671.-Origins:...

), removing the barrier of high cost international long-distance calls to the U.S. Mainland.


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 ("state" code: GU, 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 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
Commercial mail receiving agency
A commercial mail receiving agency , also known as a mail drop, typically operates as a Private Mail Box Operator.A customer of a CMRA can receive mail and other deliveries at the street address of the CMRA rather than the customer's own street address...

, 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 Commercial Port of Guam is the island's lifeline because most products must be shipped into Guam for consumers. 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 US 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
Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport
Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport , also known as Guam International Airport, is an airport located in Tamuning and Barrigada, three miles east of the capital city of Hagåtña in the U.S. territory of Guam. It is named for Antonio Borja Won Pat, the first delegate from Guam to the United...

, which is a hub for Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines was a major American airline now merged with United Airlines. On May 3, 2010, Continental Airlines, Inc. and UAL, Inc. announced a merger via a stock swap, and on October 1, 2010, the merger closed and UAL changed its name to United Continental Holdings, Inc...

. 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
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations, including trade, customs and immigration. CBP is the...

 only carries immigration (but not customs) functions. Since Guam is under federal immigration jurisdiction, passengers arriving directly from the States skip immigration and proceed directly to Guam Customs and Quarantine.

However, due to the 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 (for example, a Japanese airport), however, does require a passport.

Most residents travel within Guam using personally owned vehicles. The local government currently outsources the only public bus system (Guam Mass Transit Authority), and some commercial companies operate buses between tourist-frequented locations.

Brown tree snake



Believed to be a stowaway
Stowaway
A stowaway is a person who secretly boards a vehicle, such as an aircraft, bus, ship, cargo truck or train, to travel without paying and without being detected....

 on a U.S. military transport near the end of World War II, the brown tree snake
Brown tree snake
The brown tree snake is an arboreal rear-fanged colubrid snake native to eastern and northern coastal Australia, Papua New Guinea, and a large number of islands in northwestern Melanesia....

 (Boiga irregularis) came to Guam and nearly eliminated the native bird population of an island that previously had no native species of snake; this snake has no natural predators on the island. While slightly venomous, the brown tree snake is relatively harmless to human beings. Although some studies have suggested a high density of brown tree snakes on Guam, residents rarely see these nocturnal snakes. The United States Department of Agriculture has trained detector dogs to keep brown tree snakes out of the island's cargo flow, and the United States Geological Survey has dogs capable of detecting snakes in forested environments around the region's islands.

The consequence of the introduction of the brown tree snake has been significant over the past several decades. The reduction of local bird populations has been attributed to the introduction and presence of brown tree snakes, who eat them. According to many elders, koko birds
Guam Rail
The Guam Rail, Gallirallus owstoni, is a flightless bird, endemic to Guam. The Guam Rail, which is locally known as the Ko'ko' in Chamorro, disappeared from southern Guam in the early 1970s and was extirpated from the entire island by the late 1980s...

 were common in Guam prior to World War II; they are no longer around largely due to predation by brown tree snakes.

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle


An infestation of the coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB), Oryctes rhinoceros
Oryctes rhinoceros
Oryctes rhinoceros, the Indian rhinoceros beetle, attacks the developing fronds of coconut, oil - and other palms in tropical Asia and a number of Pacific islands. Damaged fronds show typical triangular cuts. The beetle kills the palms when the growing point is destroyed during feeding...

, was detected on Guam on September 12, 2007. CRB is not known to occur in the United States except in American Samoa
American Samoa
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of the sovereign state of Samoa...

. Delimiting surveys performed September 13–25, 2007 indicated that the infestation was limited to Tumon Bay and Faifai Beach, an area of approximately 900 acres (3.6 km²). Guam Department of Agriculture (GDA) placed quarantine on all properties within the Tumon area on October 5 and later expanded the quarantine to about 2500 acres (10.1 km²) on October 25; approximately 0.5 miles (804.7 m) radius in all directions from all known locations of CRB infestation. CRB is native to Southern Asia and distributed throughout Asia and the Western Pacific including Sri Lanka, Upolu, Western Samoa, American Samoa, Palau Islands, New Britain, West Irian, New Ireland, Pak Island and Manus Island (New Guinea), Fiji, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Mauritius, and Reunion.

Adults are the injurious stage of the insect. They are generally night-time fliers and when they alight on a host, they chew down into the folded, emerging fronds of coconut palms to feed on sap. V-shaped cuts in the fronds and holes through the midrib are visible when the leaves grow out and unfold. If the growing tip is injured, the palm may be killed or severe loss of leaf tissue may cause decreased nut set. Feeding wounds may also serve as an infection pathway for pathogens or other pests. The effects of
adult boring may be more severe on younger palms where spears are narrower. Mortality of young palms has already been observed on Guam. Oviposition and larval development typically occurs in decaying coconut logs or stumps.

Control measures have been developed for CRB and the current strategy on Guam is to implement an integrated eradication program using pheromone-baited, attractive traps to capture adults, various methods to eliminate infested and susceptible host material, and pesticides to kill larvae and adults. Pesticides may also be applied to uninfested trees as a preventive treatment. USDA-APHIS has completed an Environmental Assessment for the coconut rhinoceros beetle eradication program on Guam (EA Number: GU-08-1, http://www.guaminsects.net/uogces/kbwiki/images/d/dc/CRB_EA.pdf). The eradication program is a cooperative effort between USDA (APHIS and Forest Service), GDA and the University of Guam (UOG). This document follows the Forest Service Pest Risk Assessment (Kliejunas et al. 2001) format and is intended to provide information regarding the current status of CRB on Guam, its potential to spread to uninfested locales, and the consequences of establishment. The high, moderate or low riskvalues are based on available biological information and the subjective judgment of the authors. In 2010, GDA and UOG set out to introduce a virus in the adult population designed to kill the beetle through infection by beetles released from the labs.

In June 2010, during a controlled release of infected adult beetles and in a joint venture with a team from New Zealand, they discovered "...unusual rhino beetle behavior: the beetles were not breeding on the ground in decayed logs as normal; they were breeding in the detritus trapped in the tree branches. In cutting down 11 large coconut palms they found a complete ecosystem in the crowns including brown tree snakes, crabs, and, unfortunately, all life stages of rhinoceros beetles, from eggs to larva to young adults. This new discovery makes the release of the bio-control virus even more vital. Moore thinks this arboreal breeding behavior, seen only on Guam, may be because the brown tree snake has wiped out most of Guam's rats. Elsewhere, rats love to live in coconut crowns, and they love to eat rhino beetle grubs. This never-before-seen rhino beetle behavior of breeding in the crowns of coconut trees underscores an important point of invasive species on small islands. Their impact is often severe because there are no natural enemies, such as predators, parasites, or diseases, to control their population growth."

A joint initiative between Guam Customs & Quarantine (which trains CRB detector dogs and CRB handlers), Guam Department of Agriculture (which employs CRB detector dog handlers), University of Guam College of Agriculture (which provides CRB Detector Dog program funding) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Station (the federal agency providing strategic direction and regulatory guidance) to form the nation's first Bio-Security Task Force which features the nation's first CRB trained detector dogs. This program will provide enhanced capability and capacity for the invasive species interdiction and eradication program in order to mitigate these species on Guam and prevent it from spreading to other jurisdictions in the United States. This Task Force increases the island's capacity to handle the increased volume of invasive species associated with the unprecented military buildup on Guam.

Other invasive animal species



From the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, the Spanish introduced pigs, dogs, chickens, the Philippine deer (Cervus mariannus), black francolin
Black Francolin
The Black Francolin, Francolinus francolinus, is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds. It was formerly known as the Black Partridge.-Identification:...

s, and water buffalo. Water buffalo, known as carabao
Carabao
The carabao or Bubalus bubalis carabanesis is a subspecies of the domesticated water buffalo found in the Philippines, Guam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and various parts of Southeast Asia...

 locally, have cultural significance. Herds of these animals obstruct military base operations and harm native ecosystems. After birth control and adoption efforts were ineffective, the U.S. military began culling the herds in 2002 leading to organized protests from island residents.

Other introduced species include cane toad
Cane Toad
The Cane Toad , also known as the Giant Neotropical Toad or Marine Toad, is a large, terrestrial true toad which is native to Central and South America, but has been introduced to various islands throughout Oceania and the Caribbean...

s imported in 1937, the giant African snail
Achatina achatina
Achatina achatina, common name the giant Ghana snail, also known as the giant tiger land snail, is a species of very large, air-breathing land snail, or more technically a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Achatinidae...

 (an agricultural pest introduced during WWII by Japanese occupation troops) and more recently frog species which could threaten crops in addition to providing additional food for the brown tree snake
Brown tree snake
The brown tree snake is an arboreal rear-fanged colubrid snake native to eastern and northern coastal Australia, Papua New Guinea, and a large number of islands in northwestern Melanesia....

 population. Reports of loud chirping frogs native to Puerto Rico and known as coquí, that may have arrived from Hawaii, have led to fears that the noise could threaten Guam's tourism.

Introduced feral pigs and deer, over-hunting, and habitat loss from human development are also major factors in the decline and loss of Guam's native plants and animals.

Threats to indigenous plants


Invading animal species are not the only threat to Guam's native flora. Tinangaja, a virus
Plant virus
Plant viruses are viruses that affect plants. Like all other viruses, plant viruses are obligate intracellular parasites that do not have the molecular machinery to replicate without a host. Plant viruses are pathogenic to higher plants...

 affecting coconut palms, was first observed on the island in 1917 when copra
Copra
Copra is the dried meat, or kernel, of the coconut. Coconut oil extracted from it has made copra an important agricultural commodity for many coconut-producing countries. It also yields coconut cake which is mainly used as feed for livestock.-Production:...

 production was still a major part of Guam's economy. Though coconut plantations no longer exist on the island, the dead and infected trees that have resulted from the epidemic are seen throughout the forests of Guam. Also during the past century, the dense forests of northern Guam have been largely replaced by thick tangan tangan brush (Leucaena
Leucaena
Leucaena is a genus of flowering plants in the subfamily Mimosoideae of the legume family Fabaceae. It contains about 24 species of trees and shrubs, which are commonly known as Leadtrees. They are native to the Americas, ranging from Texas in the United States south to Peru...

-native to the Americas). Much of Guam's foliage was lost during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. In 1947, the U.S. military is thought to have planted tangan tangan by seeding the island from the air to prevent erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

. Tangan tangan was present on the island before 1905 (Stone,Useful Plants of Guam, 1905). In southern Guam, non-native grass species also dominate much of the landscape.

Wildfires



Wildfire
Wildfire
A wildfire is any uncontrolled fire in combustible vegetation that occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area. Other names such as brush fire, bushfire, forest fire, desert fire, grass fire, hill fire, squirrel fire, vegetation fire, veldfire, and wilkjjofire may be used to describe the same...

s plague the forested ("boonie" or "jungle") areas of Guam every dry season
Dry season
The dry season is a term commonly used when describing the weather in the tropics. The weather in the tropics is dominated by the tropical rain belt, which oscillates from the northern to the southern tropics over the course of the year...

 despite the island's humid climate. Most fires are man-caused with 80 percent resulting from arson
Arson
Arson is the crime of intentionally or maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires...

. Poachers
Poaching
Poaching is the illegal taking of wild plants or animals contrary to local and international conservation and wildlife management laws. Violations of hunting laws and regulations are normally punishable by law and, collectively, such violations are known as poaching.It may be illegal and in...

 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. Grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

s and "barrens" have replaced previously forested areas leading to greater soil erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

. During the rainy season sediment is carried by the heavy rains into the Fena Lake
Fena Lake
Fena Lake is the largest lake on the island of Guam. It is located in the south of the island, and is overlooked by the nearby peaks of Mounts Lamlam, Alifan and Jumullong. The lake's outflow is to the northwest, its waters eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean at Talofofo Bay.-References:*Bendure,...

 Reservoir and Ugum River
Ugum River
-References:*...

, 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 to plant trees have had little success in preserving natural habitats.

Aquatic preserves



As a vacation spot for scuba divers, efforts have been made to protect Guam's coral reef habitats from pollution
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

, eroded silt
Silt
Silt is granular material of a size somewhere between sand and clay whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil or as suspended sediment in a surface water body...

, and overfishing
Overfishing
Overfishing occurs when fishing activities reduce fish stocks below an acceptable level. This can occur in any body of water from a pond to the oceans....

 that have led to decreased fish populations. 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. Prior to adopting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‎
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 standards, portions of Tumon Bay were dredged by the hotel chains in order to provide a better experience for hotel guests. Tumon Bay has since been made into a preserve. A federal Guam National Wildlife Refuge in northern Guam protects the decimated sea turtle
Sea turtle
Sea turtles are marine reptiles that inhabit all of the world's oceans except the Arctic.-Distribution:...

 population in addition to a small colony of Mariana fruit bats.
Harvest of sea turtle eggs was a common occurrence on Guam prior to World War II. The Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) was harvested legally on Guam prior to August 1978, when it was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) has been on the endangered list since 1970. In an effort to ensure protection of sea turtles on Guam, routine sightings are counted during aerial surveys and nest sites are recorded and monitored for hatchlings.

Traditional harvests of sea turtles were primarily for local consumption at fiestas, weddings, funerals, and christenings. In recent times, poaching of sea turtles has been known to occur on Guam due to the traditional demand for its meat. Capture of the responsible parties has been difficult, although arrests have been made for unauthorized take. Effective conservation and enforcement will be critical to the recovery efforts of this project.

DAWR will continue to give sea turtle presentations for community awareness, especially through the elementary-secondary school system and University of Guam. In addition, the recommendation to produce and distribute sea turtle posters and pamphlets would help to enhance conservation and recovery awareness within the local community.

Guam's Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources (DAWR) Sea Turtle Recovery Program (STRP) is funded in part by the NMFS Honolulu, PIAO to determine the extent of Guam's resident/nesting sea turtle populations and nesting habitats by conducting beach surveys and satellite tracking. ComNavMarianas has funded part of the satellite telemetry portion of the project through the purchase of satellite tags and satellite time. The objectives of the project are:
  1. To collect baseline population size-structure (age and size) and genetic information for sea turtles in and about Guam.
  2. To survey Guam's beaches for sea turtle nesting activity for both green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) throughout the nesting period in order to determine the size of the nesting population of sea turtles on Guam and to employ a variety of tagging techniques to determine movement, residency and further define population dynamics.
  3. To establish a Guam-based sea turtle-working group consisting of natural resource stakeholders and involve them in the refinement of the implementation plan.


The acquisition of satellite tagging materials and training was completed in March and April 2000. On June 28, 2000, an approximately 250–300 pound Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) was Argos satellite-tagged and tracked after making a false crawl (i.e., one in which no nest was made) on Explosive Ordnance Disposal Beach, Andersen Air Force Base. A poaching arrest was also made on the following morning concerning a 22 lb. C. mydas that was illegally speared in the Tumon Bay Marine Preserve Area.

Reef fish of Guam


Colleges and universities



The University of Guam
University of Guam
University of Guam is a four-year land-grant institution, located in the village of Mangilao on the island of Guam in the Western Pacific Ocean...

 (UOG), Guam's land-grant university
Land-grant university
Land-grant universities are institutions of higher education in the United States designated by each state to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890....

, and Guam Community College
Guam Community College
Guam Community College is a two year college located in Mangilao, Guam, United States. It was created by Public Law 14-77 in 1977....

, both fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges is one of six official academic bodies responsible for the accreditation of public and private universities, colleges, secondary and elementary schools in the United States and foreign institutions of American origin. The Western Association of...

, offer courses in higher education. UOG is a member of the exclusive group of only 76 U.S. 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
Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools
The Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools is a U.S. national educational accreditation agency for Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries...

. They offer courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Primary and secondary schools



The Guam Public School System
Guam Public School System
Guam Public School System , formerly the Guam Department of Education, is a school district that serves the entire island of Guam, a United States insular area...

 serves the entire island of Guam. In 2000, 32,000 students attended Guam's public 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 6000 miles (9,656 km) 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.

Prior to September 1997, the U.S. Department of Defense partnered with Guam Board of Education. In September 1997 the DoDEA opened its own schools for children of military personnel. DoDEA
Department of Defense Education Activity
The Department of Defense Education Activity is a civilian agency of the United States Department of Defense that manages all schools for military children and teenagers, as well as foreign service children and teenagers, in the United States and also overseas at American military bases worldwide...

 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 one high school.

Public libraries


Guam Public Library System
Guam Public Library System
Guam Public Library System is the public library system of Guam, a United States territory. The main library is the Nieves M...

 operates the Nieves M. Flores Memorial Library in Hagåtña and five branch libraries.

Health care


The Government of Guam maintains the island's main health care facility, Guam Memorial Hospital
Guam Memorial Hospital
Guam Memorial Hospital is located in Tamuning, Guam and is the only civilian hospital serving the community of Guam. The hospital has 158 licensed acute care beds, plus 40 beds at its off-site, long-term care Skilled Nursing Facility....

 in Tamuning
Tamuning, Guam
Tamuning, also known as Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon is a municipality or "village" located on the western shore of the island of Guam. The village of Tamuning can be viewed as the economic center of Guam, containing Tumon , Harmon Industrial Park, and commercial districts in other parts of the...

. U.S. board certified doctors and dentists practice in all specialties. In addition, the U.S. Naval Hospital in Agana Heights
Agana Heights, Guam
Agana Heights is one of the 19 villages of Guam. It is located in the hills south of Hagåtña , in the central part of the island. The U.S. Naval Hospital is located in this largely residential village.-Education:...

 serves active-duty members and dependents of the military community.

Motion pictures


Several films have been shot on Guam including Arachnid (1998) and the government-funded Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon
Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon
Max Havoc: Curse of The Dragon is an action film directed by Albert Pyun on the island of Guam in 2004. The movie was written by Irina Diether. A sequel titled Max Havoc: Ring of Fire was shot in Canada in 2006.- Plot :...

(2004), which has been mired in lawsuits and accusations of fraud perpetrated against the government and people of Guam by Hollywood filmmakers John Laing and Albert Pyun
Albert Pyun
Albert Pyun is an American film director best known for having made many low-budget B-movies and direct-to-video action films. He frequently blends kickboxing and hybrid martial arts with science fiction and dystopic or post-apocalyptic themes, which often include cyborgs...

.
Although set on Guam, No Man Is an Island
No Man Is an Island (film)
No Man Is an Island is a 1962 war film about the exploits of George Ray Tweed, a United States Navy radioman who avoided capture and execution by the Japanese during their years-long World War II occupation of Guam. It stars Jeffrey Hunter as Tweed...

(1962), was not shot on the island, but rather in the Republic of the Philippines.

Pacific Games


Guam has hosted the Pacific Games twice, for the first time in 1975 and most recently in 1999. Guam finished 7th of 22 countries at the 2007 Pacific Games
2007 Pacific Games
The 2007 Pacific Games were held in Apia, Samoa, from 25 August to 8 September, 2007. The Games were also known as the XIII South Pacific Games....

 and are due to compete in the 2011 Pacific Games
2011 Pacific Games
The 2011 Pacific Games took place in Nouméa, New Caledonia, from August 27 to September 10, 2011. Nouméa was the 14th host of the Pacific Games...

 from August 27 to September 10.

Football


The Guam national football team
Guam national football team
The Guam national football team is the national team of Guam, an overseas territory of the United States in the Pacific Ocean, and is controlled by the Guam Football Association. They are affiliated to the Asian Football Confederation's East Asian Football Federation region.The team was founded in...

 was founded in 1975 and joined FIFA
FIFA
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association , commonly known by the acronym FIFA , is the international governing body of :association football, futsal and beach football. Its headquarters are located in Zurich, Switzerland, and its president is Sepp Blatter, who is in his fourth...

 in 1996. Guam
Guam national football team
The Guam national football team is the national team of Guam, an overseas territory of the United States in the Pacific Ocean, and is controlled by the Guam Football Association. They are affiliated to the Asian Football Confederation's East Asian Football Federation region.The team was founded in...

 are one of FIFA's weakest teams and only managed their first victory over a FIFA-registered side in 2009, when they defeated Mongolia
Mongolia national football team
The Mongolian national football team represents the republic of Mongolia in international football under the Mongolian Football Federation. Founded in 1959 the association was inactive between 1960 and 1998 when the team did not feature in any international fixtures...

 in the East Asian Cup
East Asian Cup
East Asian Football Championship is an association football competition of East Asian countries and territories, held by the East Asian Football Federation ....

. The national team play at the Guam National Football Stadium
Guam National Football Stadium
Guam National Football Stadium is a multi-use stadium in Hagåtña, Guam. It is currently used mostly for football matches. The stadium holds 1,000....

, which has a capacity of 1,000.
The top division in Guam is the Guam Men's Soccer League. The current champions are Cars Plus FC and Guam Shipyard
Guam Shipyard
Guam Shipyard are a top level soccer club based who currently play in the Guam BGMSL sponsored by Budweiser.- Current players :...

 are the country's most successful club, with six championships.

Rugby Union


The country are represented in rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 by the Guam national rugby union team
Guam national rugby union team
The Guam national rugby union team represents Guam in international rugby union. They have yet to make their debut at the Rugby World Cup, though they have attempted to qualify for the World Cup.-History:...

. The team have never qualified for a Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup
The Rugby World Cup is an international rugby union competition organised by the International Rugby Board and held every four years since 1987....

. Guam played their first match in 2005, an 8-8 draw with India
India national rugby union team
The Indian national rugby union team is a national rugby team representing the country of India in international competition. It is ranked 75th in the world , out of 95teams. Their captain is Nasser Hussain, nicknamed "Nino" and they are currently being coached by South Africans Norman Laker and...

. Guam's biggest win was a 74-0 thrashing of Brunei
Brunei national rugby union team
The Brunei National Rugby Team represents Brunei in international rugby union. They have yet to make their debut at the Rugby World Cup. It is governed by the Brunei Rugby Football Union-History:...

 in June 2008.

See also



  • Mariana Islands
    Mariana Islands
    The Mariana Islands are an arc-shaped archipelago made up by the summits of 15 volcanic mountains in the north-western Pacific Ocean between the 12th and 21st parallels north and along the 145th meridian east...

  • Mariana Trench
    Mariana Trench
    The Mariana Trench or Marianas Trench is the deepest part of the world's oceans. It is located in the western Pacific Ocean, to the east of the Mariana Islands. The trench is about long but has a mean width of only...

  • Micronesia
    Micronesia
    Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It is distinct from Melanesia to the south, and Polynesia to the east. The Philippines lie to the west, and Indonesia to the southwest....

  • Pacific Ocean
    Pacific Ocean
    The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

  • Territories of the United States


External links