The Territory of Guam is an island in the Mariana Islands archipelago in the Western Pacific Ocean, which has the status of an unincorporated organized territory of the United States (that is, not part of the United States, but being their possession). Guam is the westernmost territory belonging to the United States, along with the rest of the Mariana Islands. As a political entity, Guam shares an archipelago with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The capital of Guam is the city of Hagatna, and the most populous city is Dededo. Guam has been a member of the Pacific Community since 1983. Residents of Guam are called Guamanians and are American citizens by birth. Native Guamanians are Chamorros who are related to other Austronesian natives of Eastern Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan. The Chamorros settled the island about 4,000 years ago.

As of 2016, 162,742 people lived in Guam. Guam has an area of 544 km², so the population density is 299 people per km². In Oceania, it is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands and the largest island in Micronesia. The highest point is Mount Lamlam, 406 meters above sea level. Since the 1960s, tourism and subsidies from the US military have been the main revenue items of the island budget.

On March 6, 1521, the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who was in the service of Spain, became the first European to visit the island. Guam was colonized by Spain in 1668; among the settlers was the Catholic Jesuit missionary Diego Luis de San Vitores. In the 16th and 18th centuries, Guam was an important staging post for Spanish galleons bound for Manila. On June 21, 1898, during the Spanish-American War, the United States captured Guam. On December 10 of that year, Spain ceded Guam to the United States in accordance with the Treaty of Paris.

Before World War II, there were five American territorial entities in the Pacific: Guam and Wake Atoll in Micronesia, American Samoa and Hawaii in Polynesia, and the Philippines.

On December 8, 1941, a few hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Guam was captured by the Japanese, who occupied the island for two and a half years. During the occupation, Guamanians were subjected to forced labor, rape, torture, and beheadings. American troops regained control of the island on July 21, 1944.

Guam's unofficial motto is "Where America's Day Begins", a reference to the island's proximity to the International Date Line.


Hagatna (Agatna) - the administrative center
Dededo is the largest city
Tumon is the most popular tourist destination, with the resort area of Tumon Bay

How to get there
By plane
The island has an international airport. Antonio B. Won Pat (IATA:GUM).

The official languages of the island are English and Chamorro.

The US dollar is used as the currency.

The territory of Guam is considered a duty-free zone Duty Free. The prices will pleasantly surprise you.

The international dialing code for Guam is +1-671. Internet domain of the island .gu


Physical and geographical characteristics

Guam Island stretches from north to south for 50 km, the width in the narrowest middle part is 12 km. The northern tip of the island is Cape Ritidian (English Ritidian Point).

Guam has an area of 544 km², making it the 32nd largest island in the United States, and has a coastline of 125.5 km.

Guam is the southernmost and largest island in the Marianas, and also the largest in Micronesia. It stretches along the Mariana Trench 340 km northeast of the deepest point in the world's oceans - the "Challenger Abyss" with a depth of 10,911 m.

The island is of volcanic origin and is surrounded by coral reefs. The relief of the northern part of Guam differs sharply from the southern one. The northern part is a limestone plateau composed of corals. The plateau is Guam's main source of drinking water. In the northwest and north, the plateau drops off steeply towards the shore. The southern part of the island is of volcanic origin and has a hilly relief. The hills are composed of lavas, as well as quartzites and shale. There are outcrops of granites and sandstones. The highest point of the island is Mount Lamlam (406 m).

There are no large rivers, the Talofofo, Ilig, Pago, Hagatna and Apra rivers have the largest basins.

The Mariana chain, of which Guam is a part, was formed as a result of the collision of the tectonic plates of the Pacific Ocean and the Philippine Sea. Guam is the closest landmass to the Mariana Trench, a deep subduction zone that runs east of the Marianas. Due to its location near the subduction zone, earthquakes occasionally occur on Guam. In the past, most epicenters near Guam had magnitudes ranging from 5.0 to 8.7. Unlike Anatahan Island in the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam is not volcanically active, although the vog (volcanic smog) from Anatahan reaches it.


The Köppen climate on Guam is humid tropical, although March, as the driest month, also falls under the classification of tropical monsoon climate, moderated by seasonal trade winds from the northeast.

The average daily air temperature in Guam is the same throughout the year and stays around 26-27 °C. The dry season runs from January to May, and the rainy season runs from July to November, when the southwest monsoon sets in. The average annual rainfall between 1981 and 2010 was about 2490 mm.

The wettest month on record was August 1997 with 977.6 mm of precipitation; the driest month is February 2015 with 3.8 mm of precipitation. The wettest calendar year was 1976 with 3345.2 mm of precipitation, and the driest year was 1998 with 1470.2 mm of precipitation. The rainiest day on record was October 15, 1953, when 393.2 mm of rain fell.

The average high temperature is 30°C and the average low temperature is 24.4°C. In general, temperatures rarely exceed 32.2°C or fall below 21.1°C. Relative humidity typically exceeds 84% at night throughout the year, however the average monthly humidity hovers around 66%. The highest temperature was recorded in Guam twice: April 18, 1971 and April 1, 1990 - and amounted to 35.6 ° C; the lowest is 18.3 °C on February 8, 1973.

Guam lies in the path of typhoons and the island is prone to tropical storm and typhoon threats during the rainy season. Typhoon risk is highest from August to November, where typhoons and tropical storms are most likely in the Western Pacific. The most intense typhoon to hit Guam in recent memory was Typhoon Pongsona. The wind speed in it was 232 km / h with gusts up to 278 km / h. A typhoon hit the island on December 8, 2002, causing widespread destruction.

After the destruction caused by Typhoon Pamela in 1976, many wooden buildings were replaced with concrete ones. So, during the 1980s, wooden poles began to be replaced with typhoon-resistant concrete and steel ones. After the local government introduced stricter building codes, many home and business owners began building their structures using reinforced concrete and installing storm shutters.

The soils of the island are fertile ferrallitic, thin in places. The northern part of Guam is covered with savanna vegetation. Tropical rainforests are found only in river valleys and on the hillsides of the southern part of the island. Along the coast are groves of coconut palms.

The fauna of Guam is poor. There are rodents (rats, mice), bats. In the forests there are deer brought by the Spaniards from the Philippines. Wild boars can be found in the northern and southern parts of the island. Until the mid-1940s, the island was inhabited by many species of birds, most of which were subsequently exterminated by the brown snake, accidentally introduced at the end of World War II. Although the snake is only slightly venomous and practically harmless to humans, it has nevertheless become a real disaster for the local fauna. Rapidly breeding snakes have led not only to the extinction of some species of birds, but also cause short circuits in high voltage wires. The density of snakes, which were not previously found on Guam, has reached 2,000 per square kilometer, which is one of the highest rates in the world. According to Reuters in 2013, to prevent the spread of snakes, it was decided to dump poisoned mice on the island.



Guam was settled by one of the Austronesian peoples, the Chamorros, about 3,500 years ago.

The mitochondrial haplogroup E2a was identified in the RBC1 and RBC2 samples from the Ritidian Beach Cave in northern Guam, dated at 2180±30 years ago, and the Y-chromosomal haplogroup O2a2-P201 was determined in the RBC1 sample.

In ancient Chamorro society, there were four classes: Chamorri (English chamorri, leaders), Matua (English matua, upper class), achaot (English achaot, middle class) and mana'chan (English mana'chang, lower class) . The Matua lived in coastal villages with better access to fishing grounds, while the Mana'chan lived in the central part of the island. The Matua and Mana'chan rarely communicated with each other, and the Matua often resorted to achaoths as intermediaries in communication. The Chamorros also had makåhna or kakahna, shamans with magical powers, and suruhanu (suruhånu) or suruhåna, healers who used various types of plants and natural materials to make medicines. . Belief in the spirits of the ancient Chamorros, called "taotao-moa" (English taotao mo'na), is still preserved as a remnant of pre-European culture. It is believed that the Suruhanu are the only ones who can safely collect plants and other natural materials in their homes without being subjected to the wrath of the "taotao-moa". Chamorro society was organized along matrilineal clans.

Lattes are stone pillars that can only be found in the Marianas; they were the pinnacle of pre-European Chamorro culture. The lattes were used as foundations on which the thatched huts were built. The stones consist of a base formed of limestone called haligi and with a capstone on top called tåsa, made from a large coral brain or limestone. A possible source of these stones, the Rota Latte stone quarry, was discovered on the island of Rota in 1925.

Expedition of Magellan
The first European to land on Guam was the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan on March 6, 1521, during his circumnavigation. Upon arrival, his ship was surrounded by hundreds of small canoes with balance beams. They were nicknamed proa, and Guam was called the "Islands of Latin Sails" (Spanish: Islas de las Velas Latinas). Magellan's associate Antonio Pigafetta also wrote that the inhabitants "boarded the ships and stole everything they could," including a small fixed boat. Because of this, the archipelago was also characterized by the pioneers as the "Robber Islands" (Spanish: Las Islas de los Ladrones).

Guam was declared a Spanish colony in 1565. Since 1600, the island has been used by Spanish galleons en route from Mexico to the Philippines to rest their crews and replenish provisions. As a result, the physical mixing of the Chamorro natives with the Spaniards, as well as the Mexicans and Filipinos, who were part of the teams of the Spanish galleons, began.

The actual Spanish colonization, accompanied by the Christianization of the Chamorros, began in 1668, with the arrival of Catholic preachers on the island. The period from 1670 to 1695 was marked by a series of Chamorro riots put down by Spanish soldiers. The number of Chamorros, especially men, was greatly reduced. This led to further mixing of the Chamorros with the Spaniards, Filipinos and Mexicans. However, the Chamorros retained their own language and some customs.

The United States conquered the island during the Spanish-American War in 1898 and received it under the Paris Peace Agreement signed the same year. After that, Guam served as a transshipment base for American ships departing from the Philippines or to the Philippines.

During World War II, Guam was bombed by the Japanese on December 8, 1941, three hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The island surrendered to Japanese forces on 10 December.

The Japanese occupation of Guam lasted two and a half years. At the height of the war, approximately 19,000 Japanese soldiers and sailors were stationed on the island.

On July 21, 1944, the Americans landed on Guam. The battle for the island lasted 20 days, and almost all the Japanese on the island died.

After the surrender of Japan, Corporal Shoichi Yokoi lived on the island for 28 years.