Population: 159,358 (est.)
Language(s): English, Chamorro
- The US$ is the official currency of Guam.
- Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion, with around 85% of the population claiming an affiliation with it.
- Dededo is the largest city of Guam.
- The largest ethnic group are the native Chamorros, accounting for 37.1% of the total population. Other significant ethnic groups include those of Filipino (25.5%), White (10%), often of Spanish and European American ancestry.
- Guam is the largest and southernmost of the islands that form a part of the Mariana Islands.
- Marianas Rose Crown Fruit Dove, also known as Tottot and Ptilinopus roseicapilla, is the national bird of Guam.
- The motto of Guam is “Where America’s Day Begins”.
- Guam came under US occupation in 1898, under the Treaty of Paris.
- Tourism is the major source of income for the economy of Guam. Guam habitats some of the exquisite beaches of the world and therefore attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world.
- The weather in Guam is mostly warm and humid with northeast trade winds moderating it.
- The dry season is from January to June after which the rainy season begins. Guam experiences rains from July to December.
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of sixteen Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United Nations. The island’s capital is Hagåtña (formerly Agaña). Guam is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands.
The Chamorros, Guam’s indigenous people, first populated the island approximately 4,000 years ago. The island has a long history of European colonialism, beginning with its discovery by Ferdinand Magellan 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, a Catholic missionary. 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 until 1898, when it was surrendered to the United States during the Spanish-American War and later formally ceded as part of the Treaty of Paris.
As the largest island in Micronesia and the only U.S.-held island in the region before WW II, Guam was captured by the Japanese on December 8, 1941, just hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 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 U.S. troops recaptured the island on July 21, 1944, a date commemorated every year as Liberation Day.