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Guam
Guåhan
Flag Coat of arms
Motto"Where America's Day Begins"
AnthemFanohge Chamoru
Capital Hagåtña
Largest village Dededo
Official language(s) English and Chamorro
Ethnic groups  37.1% Chamorro, 26.3% Filipino, 11.3% Pacific, 6.9% white, 6.3% other Asian, 2.3% other, 9.8% Mixed[1]
Demonym Guamanian
Government
 -  President Barack Obama (D)
 -  Governor Felix Perez Camacho (R)
 -  Lieutenant Governor Michael W. Cruz (R)
Area
 -  Total 541.3 km2 (190th)
209 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) negligible
Population
 -  2009 [2] estimate 178,000 (181st)
 -  2000 census 154,805 
 -  Density 320/km2 (37th)
830/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2000 estimate
 -  Total $2.5 billion (2005 est.)1 (167th)
 -  Per capita $15,000(2005 est.)1 
Currency United States dollar (USD)
Time zone Chamorro Standard Time (UTC+10)
 -  Summer (DST) (no DST) (UTC)
Internet TLD .gu
Calling code +1-671
1 2000 estimate.

Guam (en-us-Guam.ogg /ˈɡwɑːm/ ; Chamorro: Guåhan) is an island in the western Pacific Ocean and is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government.[3][4] The island's capital is Hagåtña (formerly Agana). 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.[5] The island has a long history of European colonialism. First discovered by Europeans on March 6, 1521, by Ferdinand Magellan, the first colony was established in 1668 by Spain with the arrival of settlers including Padre San Vitores, a Catholic missionary. The island was controlled by Spain until 1898, when it was surrendered to the United States as part of the Treaty of Paris following the Spanish-American War.

As the largest island in Micronesia and the only American-held island in the region before World War II, Guam was captured by the Japanese on December 8, 1941, hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and was occupied for two and a half years.

During the occupation, the people of Guam suffered terrible atrocities[6] including torture, beheadings, and rape, and were forced to adopt the Japanese culture. The Japanese Occupant also imposed a new name to the island's name to Ō-miya Jima or Great Shrine Island for that same purpose. Guam was subject to fierce fighting when American troops recaptured the island on July 21, 1944, a date commemorated every year as Liberation Day, in a celebration that lasts all month[citation needed]. Today, Guam's economy is supported by its principal industry, tourism, which is primarily composed of visitors from Japan. Guam's second-largest source of income is the United States military.[7]

Contents

History

It is believed that Guam was first discovered by people from southeastern Indonesia around 2000 BC. Most of what is known about Pre-Contact ("Ancient") Chamorros comes from legends and myths, archaeological evidence, Jesuit missionary accounts, and observations from visiting scientists like Otto von Kotzebue and Louis de Freycinet.

When Europeans first arrived on Guam, Chamorro society had three classes: matua (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 society. 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 outpost in the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines, became the regular port between Acapulco, Mexico and Manila from 1565 to 1815, and (since Philippine independence) the most western outpost of actual United States territory in the Pacific—is the biggest single segment of Micronesia, the largest islands between the islands of Kyushu (Japan), New Guinea, and the Philippines, and the Hawaiian Islands.

Latte stone set on Guam

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 navigator Ferdinand Magellan, sailing for the King of Spain, reached the island in 1521 during his fleet's circumnavigation of the globe. General Miguel López de Legazpi 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 governed from the Philippines, which were in turn part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain based in Mexico City.

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 (Mexico) and Manila (Philippines). Guam, along with the rest of the Mariana and Caroline Islands, were treated as part of Spain's colony in the Philippines. While Guam's Chamorro culture is unique, the cultures of both Guam and the Northern Marianas were heavily influenced by Spanish culture and traditions during their 333 years of rule.[7]

The Spanish-American War and World War II

First assault wave of Marines take cover prior to moving inland during the 1944 Battle of Guam.

The United States took control of the island in the 1898 Spanish-American War, as part of the Treaty of Paris. 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 Japan.[7]

During World War II, Guam was attacked and invaded by the armed forces of Japan 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 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.

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, who surrendered in January 1972, appears to have been the last confirmed Japanese holdout in Guam.[8] 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. The United States also captured and occupied the Northern Marianas.

Post war

After the war, the Guam Organic Act of 1950, established Guam as an unincorporated organized territory of the United States, provided for the structure of the island's civilian government, and granted the people U.S. citizenship. However, to this day, U.S. citizens residing on Guam are not allowed to vote for president and their congressional representative is a non-voting member. This has caused contention amongst many Guamanians, who feel they are treated like third class citizens of the United States.[7]

Name change

The current flag spells out the island's English name in the Seal of Guam.

In his final State of the Island Address on February 15, 2010, outgoing Guamanian Governor Felix Camacho called for the name of Guam to formally be changed to the Chamorro language Guahan (Guåhan).[9] That same day, Camacho issued an executive order changing the name of the island territory from Guam to Guahan.[10][11] Camacho simultaneously began referring to himself as the "Governor of Guahan".[12]

According to historian Toni Ramirez of the Historic Preservation Office of the Guam Department of Parks and Recreation, the name Guahan means "we have"[11] or "a place that has",[9] in reference to the island's rivers and other natural resources, which were relatively rare on other neighboring Micronesian islands.[11]

Guahan was the name widely used on the island between 1521 and 1898.[9] 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 at the University of Guam.[12] Richard Leary, the first United States Naval Governor of the island, adopted the name Guam in 1900 when he called it "isle of Guam".[11] [12]

Two-term Governor Camacho, who cannot seek a third term, will leave office in 2011.[12] 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.[12] He argues that the change to Guahan will reaffirm the island's distinct identity and Chamorro cultural heritage.[11] 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".[12] The executive order will apply only to local Guamanian government institutions, official communications, business transactions and signs at this time.[12] However, Camacho expressed interest in having community leaders, businesses and lawmakers adopt the Guahan name as well.[12] He further announced that he would introduce Bill 331 in the Guam Legislature to change the name to Guahan in law.[9] 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.[12] Changes should be made when it is most convenient for the government agency, such as ordering new office letterhead.[12]

Reaction to the proposed change was mixed among both lawmakers and residents. Speaker of the legislature Judith Won Pat noted that the change could help restore a perceived loss of identity in Guam.[11] 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."[11] Author and former senator Katherine Aguon, who recently published a Chamorro–English dictionary, also supported the name change, but emphasized that any proposal should be approved by Guamanian voters.[12]

An official, sanctioned name change may have some economic repercussions on the island. Sen. Eddie Calvo, a Republican candidate in the upcoming 2010 gubernatorial election, 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.[11] The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB), which has spent millions of dollars to brand Guam as a major tourist and business destination using the island's current name, recently launched a new marketing campaign called "We Are Guam".[13] The economic costs of changing all road and welcome signs, as well as documents and tourism campaigns, would have to be evaluated.[13]

Geography

Map of Guam
Beach scenery in Guam

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. This island chain was created by the colliding Pacific and Philippine Sea tectonic plates. Guam is the closest land mass to the Mariana Trench, a deep subduction zone, that lies beside the island chain to the east. Challenger Deep, the deepest surveyed point in the Oceans, is southwest of Guam at 35,797 feet (10,911 m) deep. The highest point in Guam is Mount Lamlam, which is 1,332 feet (406 m).

The island of Guam is 30 miles (48 km) long and 4 mi (6 km) to 12 mi (19 km) wide. The island experiences occasional earthquakes due to its location on the western edge of the Pacific 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 volcano in the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam is not volcanically active.[14] However, due to its proximity to Anatahan, vog does occasionally affect Guam.[15]

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, where most of Guam's population lives, while unspoiled cascading waterfalls, hiking trails, and an abundance of lush agricultural lands occupy the south. [16]

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 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, 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 in 1976, wooden structures have been largely replaced by concrete structures.[17][18] 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

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1970 84,996
1980 105,979 24.7%
1990 133,152 25.6%
2000 154,805 16.3%

According to the U.S. census conducted in 2000, the population of Guam was 154,805.[19] The 2008 population estimate for Guam is 175,000.[16] As of 2005, the annual population growth is 1.76%.[20] 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%) indicates of both European often of Spanish and white American ancestry, and the rest are of Chinese, Japanese 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[21]) 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.

Culture

Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica in Hagåtña, faced by a statue of Pope John Paul II. Roman Catholicism is the main religion in Guam.

Traditional Chamorro culture is visually manifested in dance, sea navigation, unique cuisine, fishing, games (such as batu, chonka, estuleks, and bayogu), songs and fashion influenced by the immigration of peoples from other lands. Spanish policy during colonial rule (1668–1898) was one of conquest and conversion to Roman Catholicism. This led to the gradual elimination of Guam's male warriors and displacement of the Chamorro people from their lands. Today, many Chamorros have Spanish surnames because of their conversion to Roman Catholic Christianity through Catálogo alfabético de apellidos.

Due to cultural influence from outside forces, important aspects of the original Chamorro culture have been lost over the years. There has been a resurgence in protecting and preserving the culture the last few decades, and many scholars have traveled throughout the Pacific Islands conducting research to determine what Chamorro cultural practices such as dance, language, and canoe building may have been like.

Two aspects of Chamorro culture that withstood time are chenchule' and inafa'maolek. 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. Inafa'maolek, or interdependence, is the key, or central value, in Chamorro culture ... Inafa'maolek 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 and private property rights."

Chief Gadao is featured in many legends about Guam before European colonization.

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 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' canoe-making, making of the belembaotuyan (a string musical instrument made from a gourd), fashioning of åcho' atupat slings and slingstones, tool manufacture, Måtan Guma' burial rituals, and preparation of herbal medicines by Suruhanu.

Master craftsmen and women specialize in weavings, including plaited work (niyok- and åkgak-leaf baskets, mats, bags, hats, and food containments), loom-woven material (kalachucha-hibiscus and banana fiber skirts, belts and burial shrouds), and body ornamentation (bead and shell necklaces, bracelets, earrings, belts and combs made from tortoise shells) and Spondylus.

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.[citation needed] 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.

Tourism

In 1967, 109 passengers traveled from Tokyo, Japan, to explore Guam. Since then, Guam has grown into a major tourism hub for primarily Japanese travelers. The island's tourist district, Tumon, features more than 20 large hotels, a Duty-Free Shoppers Galleria, a shopping and nightlife district dubbed Pleasure Island, an indoor aquarium, Sandcastle Las Vegas-style shows and other entertainment venues.

The true beauty of Guam, however, can be found far beyond the bustling streets of downtown Tumon. Nature lovers are drawn to the island because of its unspoiled landscape – above and below sea level. From Ritidian Point, a former military area transformed into the Guam National Wildlife Refuge to preserve indigenous animals and plant life, to Inajaran village, a thriving example of Spanish-influenced endemic Chamorro culture from the island's past, visitors are bound to see sites they will not soon forget.

Many tourists and locals meet at Chamorro Village (I Sengsong Chamorro) each Wednesday and Friday night for food, music, arts and crafts. Centrally located along Hagatna Bay, the night market offers a chance to enjoy authentic local cuisine like seafood, fried chicken, pancit and barbecued ribs, and purchase handmade items. A main hall is used for shows featuring local talent and dancing, while an outside stage often hosts cultural dances. The event, traditionally held only on Wednesday nights, expanded to Friday nights in October 2009.

Newcomers to Guam are often attracted to historic World War II battle grounds and forts, including Fort Santa Agueda (better known as Fort Apugan), which overlooks the capital city of Hagatna, to South Pacific Memorial Park, a peaceful green space dedicated to the millions of locals, Japanese and American soldiers, who died in the Pacific War between 1941 to 1945.

The island's capital of Hagatna is dotted with remnants of the great Pacific war, along with influences of early Spanish culture, including Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica, the center of Catholic faith on Guam. Popular among tourists and widely used by the local population, the cathedral sits atop the site of the first Catholic Church built by Padre San Vitores in 1669.

"The Basilica" is just one stop on the new Heritage Walking Trail, a 2.5-mile trek that winds through 17 historic sites in Guam's capital district. Spearheaded by the island's Department of Parks & Recreation and funded by a grant obtained from the U.S. Department of Interior, the walking trail is expected for full completion in March 2010. Government officials and community leaders have envisioned the trail as a way to help tourists discover the historic capital city, which is currently undergoing a massive revitalization.

Historic sites in Guam are not just found above sea level, however. Many have been discovered in the island's surrounding waters, which saw action in World Wars I and II. The SMS Cormoran, a German cruiser that rests in more than 100 feet of water, was scuttled in Apra Harbor by her captain in 1917, when the United States first entered World War I. Another 8,300-ton Japanese passenger-cargo ship, the Tokai Maru, sunk by the U.S. submarine Flying Fish in World War II, lies on its port side next to the Cormoran, offering divers the unique opportunity of simultaneously touching two wrecks from two World Wars.

Water sports are arguably considered Guam's finest offering. With thriving coral reefs and clear blue waters, lovers of the ocean find solace in everything from kite boarding and deep-sea fishing to scuba diving. Located at the edge of the Marianas Trench, Guam is renowned for its vivid turquoise lagoons, deep-sea currents and water clarity. Between December and May, visibility is as much as 150 feet, and the average water temperature is a warm 85°F (27°C) year-round.

The mild climate also makes Guam ideal for many other outdoor activities, including jungle hiking – or as locals call it – "boonie stomping." Although much of the island's land is privately owned, the Department of Parks & Recreation publicizes several areas suitable to hike. The Guam Boonie Stompers, a local group that hosts guided hikes each weekend, also takes willing adventurers to out-of-the-way, seldom seen areas.

Traveling to Guam is a relatively short flight from Asia or Australia compared to Hawaii, and has luxury-class hotels and seven public golf courses accommodating more than 1 million tourists each year. Although 80 percent of the island's visitors are Japanese, Guam receives a sizable number of tourists from South Korea, the United States, the Philippines and Taiwan.

In an effort to increase the number of visitors the island receives annually, local organizations have made efforts to ease visa regulations for travelers. In 2009, an interim ruling was imposed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to ease travel among People's Republic of China, the Russia Federation and the CNMI. Local authorities believe there is a strategic need to develop a similar program with China, which Guam hopes to cultivate as a new market. Failing that, local authorities would like to at least pursue an expedited visa granting system, according to the Economic Forecast, 2009 Guam-CNMI Edition published by First Hawaiian Bank.

Other efforts aimed at increasing tourism in a struggling economic market include measures by national airlines like Continental Micronesia, which has an Asia-Pacific hub on Guam. Continental recently reinstated nonstop flights to Hong Kong.

For additional tourist information and a calendar of events, visit the Guam Visitors Bureau at www.visitguam.org.

Government and politics

War in the Pacific National Historical Park, Asan, Guam

Guam is governed by a popularly elected governor and a unicameral 15-member legislature, whose members are known as senators. Guam elects one non-voting delegate, currently Madeleine Z. Bordallo, to the United States House of Representatives. U.S. citizens in Guam vote in a straw poll for their choice in the U.S. Presidential general election, but since Guam has no votes in the Electoral College, the poll has no real effect. However, in sending delegates to the Republican and Democratic national conventions, Guam does have influence in the national presidential race, though these convention delegates are elected by local party conventions rather than voters in primaries.[7]

In the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a significant movement in favor of the territory becoming a commonwealth, which would give it a level of self-government similar to Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. 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. Contrasting movements are also in existence that advocate political independence from the United States, statehood, union with the Northern Mariana Islands as a single territory, or union with the current U.S. state of Hawaii.

Villages and military bases

Aerial photo of Apra Harbor
See footnote[22]

Guam is divided into 19 municipalities commonly called villages: Agana Heights, Agat, Asan‑Maina, Barrigada, Chalan‑Pago‑Ordot, Dededo, Hagåtña, Inarajan, Mangilao, Merizo, Mongmong‑Toto‑Maite, Piti, Santa Rita, Sinajana, Talofofo, Tamuning, Umatac, Yigo, Yona.

The U.S. military maintains jurisdiction over its bases, which cover approximately 39,000 acres (160 km2), or 29% of the island's total land area:

In addition to on-shore military installations, Guam, along with the rest of the Marianas Islands, is being prepared to be the Western most military training range for the U.S. Additional training will take place in conjunction with the proposed military build-up and separate from the military build-up. Guam is currently viewed as a key military hub that will further allow U.S. military power to be projected via air, land, sea and undersea.

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.

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 civlians 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

2009 Guam Quarter

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 into which Guam pays no income or excise taxes; under the provisions of a special law of Congress, 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, features over 20 large hotels, a Duty Free Shoppers Galleria, Pleasure Island district, indoor aquarium, Sandcastle Las Vegas–styled shows and other shopping and entertainment venues. It is a relatively short flight from Asia or Australia compared to Hawaii, with hotels and seven public golf courses accommodating over a million tourists per year. Although 75 percent of the tourists are Japanese, Guam receives a sizable number of tourists from South Korea, the U.S., the Philippines, and Taiwan.[23] Significant sources of revenue include duty-free designer shopping outlets, and the American-style malls: Micronesia Mall, Guam Premier Outlets, the Agana Shopping Center, and the world's largest Kmart.

The economy had been stable since 2000 due to increased tourism, 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 2010–2015 but will cause an unprecedented 10% increase in the island's overall population.[citation needed] In 2003, Guam had a 14% unemployment rate, and the government suffered a $314 million shortfall.[24]

The Compacts of Free Association between the United States, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau accorded the former entities of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands a political status of "free association" with the United States. The Compacts give citizens of these island nations generally no restrictions to reside in the United States (also its territories), and many were attracted to Guam due to its proximity, environmental, and cultural familiarity. Over the years, it was claimed by some in Guam that the territory has had to bear the brunt of this agreement in the form of public assistance programs and public education for those from the regions involved, and the federal government should compensate the states and territories affected by this type of migration.[citation needed] Over the years, Congress had appropriated "Compact Impact" aids to Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Hawaii, and eventually this appropriation was written into each renewed Compact. Some, however, continue to claim the compensation is not enough or that the distribution of actual compensation received is significantly disproportionate.[citation needed]

Transportation and communications

Most of the island has state-of-the-art mobile phone services, whereas digital cable and high-speed internet are now widely available through either cable or DSL. Guam was added to the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) in 1997 (country code 671 became NANP area code 671), removing the barrier of high cost international long-distance calls to the U.S. Mainland.

Flown cover carried both directions on the first commercial flights between Guam and the United States. October 5–24, 1935

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 UPS, DHL or FedEx, 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, 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, which is a regional hub for Continental Micronesia. The island is outside the United States customs zone so Guam is responsible for establishing and operating its own customs and quarantine agency and jurisdiction. Therefore, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection only carries immigration (but not customs) functions. Since Guam is under federal immigration jurisdiction, passengers arriving directly from the States skip immigration and directly proceed 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 to and from the Northern Mariana Islands (which have separate immigration regulations), a full inspection is performed though American citizens do not need a passport. Traveling between Guam and the States through a foreign point (for example, a Japanese airport), however, does requires 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.

Ecological issues

Guam exemplifies the effects of bioinvasion.

Brown tree snake

Believed to be a stowaway on a U.S. military transport near the end of World War II, the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) came to Guam and nearly decimated the island's native bird population 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. As well, the United States Geological Survey is developing dogs that are capable of detecting snakes in forested environments around the region's islands.[25][26]

The consequence of the introduction of the brown tree snake has been significant over the past several decades. The decimation of local bird populations has been attributed to the introduction and presence of brown tree snakes, who eat them. Koko birds according to many elders were common in Guam prior to World War II; they are no longer around largely due to being eaten by brown tree snakes.[27]

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle

An infestation of the coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB), Oryctes rhinoceros, was detected on Guam on September 12, 2007. CRB is not known to occur in the United States except in American 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 2,500 acres (10 km2) on October 25; approximately 0.5 miles (800 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.

A joint initiative between Guam Customs & Quarantine (trains CRB detector dogs and CRB handlers), Guam Department of Agriculture (employs CRB detector dog handlers), University of Guam College of Agriculture (provides CRB Detector Dog program funding) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Station (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 francolins, and water buffalo. Water buffalo, known as carabao 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.[28]

Other introduced species include cane toads imported in 1937, the giant African snail (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 population. Reports of loud chirping frogs native to the Caribbean and known as coquí, that may have arrived from Hawaii, have led to fears that the noise could threaten Guam's tourism.[29]

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 affecting coconut palms, was first observed on the island in 1917 when copra 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.[30] Also during the past century, the dense forests of northern Guam have been largely replaced by thick tangan tangan brush (Leucaena-native to the Americas). Much of Guam's foliage was lost during World War II. In 1947, the U.S. military introduced tangan tangan by seeding the island from the air to prevent erosion. In southern Guam, non-native grass species also dominate much of the landscape.

Wildfires

Guam's grassland

Wildfires plague the forested ("boonie" or "jungle") areas of Guam every dry season despite the island's humid climate. Most fires are man-caused with 80 percent resulting from arson.[31] Poachers often start fires to attract deer to the new growth. Invasive grass species that rely on fire as part of their natural life cycle grow in many regularly burned areas. Grasslands and "barrens" have replaced previously forested areas leading to greater soil erosion. During the rainy season sediment is carried by the heavy rains into the Fena Lake Reservoir and Ugum River 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.[32]

Aquatic preserves

As a vacation spot for scuba divers, efforts have been made to protect Guam's coral reef habitats from pollution, eroded silt, and overfishing 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.[33] Prior to adopting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‎ standards, portions of Tumon Bay were dredged by the hotel chains in order to provide a better experience for hotel guests.[34][35] Tumon Bay has since been made into a preserve. A federal Guam National Wildlife Refuge in northern Guam protects the decimated sea turtle population in addition to a small colony of Mariana fruit bats.[36] 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 have been known to occur on Guam, due to the traditional demand for its meat. However, capture of the responsible parties has been difficult, although arrests have been made in the past 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

Education

Colleges and universities

The University of Guam and Guam Community College, both fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, offer courses in higher education.[37] Pacific Islands University is a small Christian liberal arts institution nationally accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. They offer courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Primary and secondary schools

The Guam Public School System[38] 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.[39][40] Guam's educational system has always faced unique challenges as a small community located 6,000 miles (9,700 km) from the U.S. mainland with a very diverse student body including many students who come from backgrounds without traditional American education.[41] An economic downturn in Guam since the mid-1990s has compounded the problems in schools.[42]

Prior to September 1997, the U.S. Department of Defense partnered with Guam Board of Education.[43] In September 1997 the DoDEA opened its own schools for children of military personnel.[44] DoDEA schools, which also serve children of some federal civilian employees, had an attendance of 2,500 in 2000. DoDEA Guam operates three elementary/middle schools and one high school.[45]

Public libraries

Guam Public Library System operates the Nieves M. Flores Memorial Library in Hagåtña and five branch libraries.[46]

Health care

The Government of Guam maintains the island's main health care facility, Guam Memorial Hospital in Tamuning.[47] U.S. board certified doctors and dentists practice in all specialties. In addition, the U.S. Naval Hospital in Agana Heights.[48] serves active duty members and dependents of the military community.

For additional information, visit Guam Memorial Hospital at [www.gmha.org]

Motion Pictures

Several films have been shot on Guam including No Man Is an Island (1962), Arachnid (1998) and the Government funded Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon (2004), which has been mired in lawsuits and accusations of fraud perpetrated against the Government and people of Guam by Hollywood film makers John Laing and Albert Pyun. [49]

See also

References

  1. ^ CIA FActbook: Guam
  2. ^ "World Population Prospects – Table A.1". UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/wpp2008/. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  3. ^ "U.S. Territories." DOI Office of Insular Affairs. February 9, 2007.
  4. ^ "DEFINITIONS OF INSULAR AREA POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS." Office of Insular Affairs. Accessed October 31, 2008.
  5. ^ http://www.chamorro.com/kantontasi/commonw.html
  6. ^ http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/197751
  7. ^ a b c d e Rogers, Robert F. (1995). Destiny's Landfall: A History of Guam. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0824816780. 
  8. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. "Shoichi Yokoi, 82, Is Dead; Japan Soldier Hid 27 Years," New York Times. September 26, 1997.
  9. ^ a b c d "Camacho wants Guam renamed "Guahan"". KUAM. 2010-02-16. http://www.kuam.com/Global/story.asp?S=11996329. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  10. ^ "Governor Issues Executive Order Changing Island Name To Guahan". Pacific News Center. 2010-02-16. http://www.pacificnewscenter.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3315:governor-issues-executive-order-changing-island-name-to-guahan&catid=50:homepage-slideshow-rokstories. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Tamondong, Dionesis (2010-02-16). "Camacho: Name change will affirm identity". Pacific Daily News. http://www.guampdn.com/article/20100216/NEWS01/2160308/1002/Camacho-Name-change-will-affirm-identity. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Limtiaco, Steve (2010-02-18). "Residents mixed on name change". Pacific Daily News. http://www.guampdn.com/article/20100218/NEWS01/2180306/1002/NEWS01/Residents-mixed-on-name-change. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  13. ^ a b "GVB Reacts To Proposed Guam Name Change". Pacific News Center. 2010-02-16. http://www.pacificnewscenter.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3341:gvb-reacts-to-proposed-guam-name-change&catid=50:homepage-slideshow-rokstories. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  14. ^ "Geography of Guam," Official site of Guam, November 8, 2007Retrieved November 8, 2007.
  15. ^ "Home page of the Anahatan volcano," USGS-CNMI, November 8, 2007Retrieved November 8, 2007.
  16. ^ a b "Guam," CIA World Factbook, April 17, 2007, Retrieved April 19, 2007.
  17. ^ "Guam Catastrophe Model". Risk Management Solutions. http://www.rms.com/Catastrophe/Models/Guam.asp. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  18. ^ "Winds". PacificWorlds.com. http://www.pacificworlds.com/guam/land/winds.cfm. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  19. ^ . "Guam Summary File," American FactFinder, Census 2000 Guam, Retrieved April 19, 2007.
  20. ^ "MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base: Guam". 2007-05-17. http://www.tkb.org/Country.jsp?countryCd=GQ. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  21. ^ EIS: 79,178 new people on island by 2014, Pacific Daily News, 2009-11-21
  22. ^ Naval Air Station, Agana was deactivated. Military: Naval Air Station, Agana (Tiyan). GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2010-02-19. See also List of United States Navy installations #Guam.
  23. ^ Guam Visitors Bureau Tourist Statistics
  24. ^ "2004 Guam Yearbook" (PDF). http://web.archive.org/web/20051029043436/http://pacificweb.org/guam/2004+Guam+Yearbook/2004_Guam_Yearbook_FinalR2_Full+Version.pdf. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  25. ^ Fritts, T.H.; D. Leasman-Tanner (2001). "USGS: The Brown Tree Snake on Guam". http://www.fort.usgs.gov/Resources/Education/BTS/. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  26. ^ Vice, Daniel S.; Engeman, Richard M. (2000). "Brown Tree Snake Discoveries During Detector Dog Inspections Following Supertyphoon Paka". http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1181&context=icwdm_usdanwrc. Retrieved 2009-06-07. 
  27. ^ Rodda, Gordon H.; Thomas H. Fritts (June 1992). "The Impact of the Introduction of the Colubrid Snake Boiga irregularis on Guam's Lizards". Journal of Herpetology (Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles) 26 (2): 166–174. 
  28. ^ "More Than 100 Protest Guam Carabao Cull". AnimalRights.net. 2003-10-15. http://www.animalrights.net/archives/year/2003/000392.html. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  29. ^ Worth, Katie (2004-02-28). "Two Male Coqui Frogs Found in Guam". http://webspinners.com/coloherp/cb-news/Vol-31/cbn-0404/Coqui.php. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  30. ^ Hodgson, R. A. J.; Wall, G. C.; Randles, J. W. (1998). "Specific Identification of Coconut Tinangaja Viroid for Differential Field Diagnosis of Viroids in Coconut Palm". Phytopathology 88 (8): 774–781. doi:10.1094/PHYTO.1998.88.8.774. PMID 18944882. http://www.apsnet.org/phyto/PDFS/1998/0527-01R.pdf. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  31. ^ Territory of Guam Fire Assessment January 2004, Pgs. 6–7
  32. ^ National Park Service. "Fire and Guam". United States Department of the Interior. http://www.nps.gov/wapa/indepth/Park/Natural/fire/fireguam.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  33. ^ Brown, Valerie. "Guam's Marine Preserves". Pacific Daily News. http://www.guampdn.com/guampublishing/special-sections/mlsea/8-future.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  34. ^ "Management of Contaminated Harbor Sediments in Guam". EPA Guam Report. http://www.guamepa.govguam.net/programs/epr/sediment_report.pdf. 
  35. ^ Packbier, Paul E.R.. "Tumon Bay – Engineering a Better Environment". Directions Magazine; June/July 1996. http://www.pcrguam.com/press_releases/Tumon_Bay.htm. 
  36. ^ Holmes III, Rolston (2001). "Environmental Ethics in Micronesia, Past and Present, Part II—Guam Today: Still "on the Edge." Colonial Legacy and American Presence". International Society for Environmental Ethics Newsletter 12 (3). http://www.cep.unt.edu/ISEE/n12-3-01.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  37. ^ "Politics Trumps Performance in Guam School System". Pacific Islands Report. 2006-06-15. http://archives.pireport.org/archive/2006/june/06%2D15%2Ded.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  38. ^ Welcome to the Guam Public School System!
  39. ^ "Merrow Report: First to Worst". http://www.pbs.org/merrow/tv/ftw/intro.html. Retrieved 2007-11-08. 
  40. ^ "State Comparisons". 1996. http://www.nagb.org/pubs/1996science/stat_tbl.html#tab10. Retrieved 2007-11-08. 
  41. ^ Grace, Ted; Teresita Salos (July 1966). "Guam's Education Marches On". Peabody Journal of Education 44 (1): 37–39. doi:10.1080/01619566609537383. 
  42. ^ "AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A GUAM PARENTAL SCHOOL CHOICE PROGRAM" "AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A GUAM PARENTAL SCHOOL CHOICE PROGRAM". 1999. http://www.guamlegislature.com/25th_Guam_Legislature/Bills_Introduced_25th/Bill%20No.%20089.html "AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A GUAM PARENTAL SCHOOL CHOICE PROGRAM". Retrieved 2007-11-08. 
  43. ^ "Rats, other problems face Guam schools." Pacific Stars and Stripes. October 3, 1993.
  44. ^ http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=12381
  45. ^ "DODEA". http://www.pac.dodea.edu/aboutus/contacts/ContactSchools.htm. Retrieved 2006-05-10. 
  46. ^ http://gpls.guam.gov/Portals/50/GPLS_LOC/GPLS_Location_2007Apr12.xml
  47. ^ http://www.gmha.org/
  48. ^ http://www.usnhguam.med.navy.mil/home.htm
  49. ^ KUAM 3/28/07

External links

Coordinates: 13°27′N 144°47′E / 13.45°N 144.783°E / 13.45; 144.783


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Oceania : Guam
noframe
Flag
Image:gq-flag.png
Quick Facts
Capital Hagatna (Agana)
Government Overseas territory of the United States
Currency US dollar (USD)
Area total: 549 km2
water: 0 km2
land: 549 km2
Population 173,456 (July 2007 est.)
Language English, Chamorro, Japanese
Religion Roman Catholic 85%, other 15% (1999 est.)
Calling Code +1-671
Internet TLD .gu
Time Zone UTC+10

Guam [1] is an island in the western South Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines. (Geographic coordinates: 13 28 N, 144 47 E)

It is the largest and southernmost island in the Mariana Islands archipelago. Guam is a territory of the United States of America. It is considered to occupy a militarily strategic location, south of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Guam is one of many islands that make up Micronesia, which politically consists of Belau (Palau), the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati (anthropologically having affinities with Polynesia and Micronesia), the Marshall Islands, and several remote islands designated as the U.S.-administered islands of the Central Pacific. All of Micronesia has close political ties to the United States of America.

Map of Guam
Map of Guam

Northern Region- The Northern Region of Guam is lightly populated and mostly owned by the U.S. Military. Cities like Dededo and Yigo are in this region. The Northern Region contains Ritidian Beach, one of the most isolated, beautiful beaches in Guam. The Northern Region is the least-visited by tourists.

Central/Metropolitan Region- The Central Region holds the majority of Guam's population and cities. A lot of shopping and restaurants are located in this area. This is the island's most visited area. This area contains most of Guam's cities and the island's international airport. It is prone to heavy traffic congestion. The Central Region is the most diverse. The population of the Central Region is approximately 120,000, and expected to grow to at least 140,000 by 2015.

Southern Region- Guam's Southern Region is mostly rural and picturesque. It is one of the most untouched and undeveloped areas on the island and the Chamorro culture is most preserved here. Cocos Island and the black sand beaches at Talofofo are popular places to visit in this region.

Cities

No true cities exist on Guam (if one uses the 50,000 person rule), but each "city" represents an individual township, all of which have mayors and limited autonomy within the central government. The largest population concentration is in the center of the island, since the south is fairly lightly populated and the north is mostly owned by the US military.

Most of the island's population is in the central metropolitan area (includes the cites of Tumon, Agana, Dededo, Barrigada, Tamuning and Agana Heights) (metro pop. ~120,000)

Guam's Capital,Hagåtña
Guam's Capital,Hagåtña
The Tourist Center, Tumon
The Tourist Center, Tumon
  • Agana (Hagåtña) - the capital (pop. 1,100)
  • Agana Heights - Suburban area in the hills above Hagåtña. (pop. 3,940)
  • Tumon - where most tourists head, on the central west of the island (part of Tamuning)
  • Dededo - The most populous on Guam. (pop. 42,980)
  • Tamuning - Guam's third-most populous city and most industrial. (pop. 18,012)
  • Mangilao - Home to the University of Guam. (pop. 13,313)
  • Santa Rita - Suburb of the Hagåtña Area. (pop. 7,500)
  • Barrigada - Mostly middle-class residential area. (pop. 8,652)
  • Barrigada Heights - Upper-class residential area. (Part of Barrigada)
  • Merizo - Small town in Southern Guam. The ferry to Cocos Island stops here. (pop. 2,152)
  • Umatac - Small town in Southern Guam. (pop. 903)
  • Yigo - Home to many military families, second-most populous. (pop. 19,474)
  • Agat - Small town in Southern Guam. (pop. 5,656)
  • Inarajan - Rural Village in Southern Guam. (pop. 3,052)
  • Mongmong-Toto-Maite - Suburb of the Agana-Tamuning-Tumon-Barrigada Area. (pop. 5,845)
  • Piti - Village in Western Guam. (pop. 1,666)
  • Sinajana - Suburb of the Agana-Tamuning-Tumon-Barrigada Area. (pop. 2,853)
  • Talofofo - Village in the Jungles of Southern Guam. (pop. 3,215)
  • Yona - Home to the exclusive, Leo Palace Resort. (pop. 6,484)
  • Chalan-Pago-Ordot - Agana Area. (pop. 5,923)
  • Asan - known for the largest Easter Egg Hunt in Guam, with over 10,000 eggs every year. (pop. 2,090)
  • War In The Pacific National Historical Park - former battlefields, gun emplacements, trenches, and historic structures all serve as silent reminders of the bloody World War II battles that ensued on Guam. While the park is known for its historical resources, the warm climate, sandy beaches, and turquoise waters attract visitors and residents.

Understand

History

Guam was ceded to the US by Spain in 1898. Captured by the Japanese in 1941, it was retaken by the US three years later. The military installations on the island are some of the more strategically important US bases in the Western Pacific.

Economy

The economy depends on US military spending, tourism, and the export of fish and handicrafts. Total US grants, wage payments, and procurement outlays amounted to $1 billion in 1998. Over the past 20 years, the tourist industry has grown rapidly, creating a construction boom for new hotels and the expansion of older ones. More than 1 million tourists visit Guam each year. The industry has recently suffered setbacks because of the continuing Japanese slowdown; the Japanese normally make up almost 90% of the tourists. However, Guam tourism is branching out to attract people from other Asian countries such as Korea and China. Most food and industrial goods are imported. The possibility of a large military buildup has generated a lot of interest in increasing the tourist facilities on the island.

Area 
total land: 549 sq km
Area - comparative 
three times the size of Washington, DC
Coastline 
125.5 km
Maritime claims 
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
Natural resources 
fishing (largely undeveloped), tourism (especially from Japan)
Environment - current issues 
extirpation of native bird population by the rapid proliferation of the brown tree snake, an exotic, invasive species

Climate

tropical marine; generally warm and humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; dry season from January to June, rainy season from July to December; little seasonal temperature variation

Natural hazards 
frequent squalls during rainy season; relatively rare, but potentially very destructive typhoons (June - December)

Terrain

volcanic origin, surrounded by coral reefs; relatively flat coralline limestone plateau (source of most fresh water), with steep coastal cliffs and narrow coastal plains in north, low hills in center, mountains in south

Highest point 
Mount Lamlam 406 m
Land use 
arable land: 10.91%
permanent crops: 10.91%
other: 78.18% (1998 est.)

Get in

The entry requirements for Guam are largely the same as those for the United States, and nationals of all countries not needing a visa to enter the United States do not need a visa to enter Guam, although they may require an ESTA travel authorization. Foreign citizens may enter Guam using one of three options: (1)- the United States Visa Waiver Program, (2)- the Guam/CNMI Visa Waiver Program or (3)- a valid U.S. visa. If you are using the Guam/CNMI Visa Waiver Program, you do not need to apply for a travel authorization prior to going. The Guam/CNMI Visa Waiver Program includes seven US-VWP countries (Australia, Brunei, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore and the UK) plus Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea and Taiwan. Foreign citizens using the US-VWP may stay 90 days, while citizxens using the Guam/CNMI-VWP may stay for 45 days. Citizens of non-VWP countries must apply for a US visa at any US embassy.

By plane

Won Pat Guam International Airport (GUM) is the only civilian gateway to the island.

The airline servicing Guam is Continental Micronesia or Air Micronesia (as formerly known), a branch of Continental Airlines [2], which offers non-stop service to Honolulu with onward connections in Honolulu to Los Angeles, Newark, and Houston. It also offers non-stop flights from Guam to Cairns in Australia, as well as most major cities in Japan, Palau, Manila and Cebu in the Philippines, and many of the Federated States of Micronesia.

All other service to Guam is through East Asia on Delta Air Lines and JAL (both serving Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya), Korean Air (Seoul), ANA (Osaka), China Airlines (Taipei) and Philippine Airlines (Manila).

By boat

There is no regular ferry service from Guam, but cruise ships do stop in Guam on various itineraries, generally as part of a Pacific crossing or world circumnavigation.

Marine Corps Drive/Route 1 in Tamuning, Guam
Marine Corps Drive/Route 1 in Tamuning, Guam

Driving is fairly simple and similar to the mainland US. Roads are not graded to US standards and are very slippery in rain, take caution. The main route on the island is Marine Corps Drive/Guam Route 1 (Better known as Marine Drive). On main roads in Guam, expect congestion.

Busses are available, but the frequency at which they operate is low, you may end up waiting 1+ hours for a bus.

Walking is only possible in the central business districts of Hagåtña and Tumon. Walking anywhere else around the island is hazardous due to dangerous vehicular traffic and the lack of sidewalks.

Talk

English is a first language on Guam, though Chamorro words are an integral part of the local vocabulary, and like any area, a local accent of English exists. Chamorro borrows many words from Spanish, and many place names are pronounced as in Spanish, with key differences: "y" is pronounced as a "j" and vice-versa, such that the local name Reyes is pronounced ray-jez.

DFS GAlleria- Tumon, Guam
DFS GAlleria- Tumon, Guam

There are many retail outlets in Guam, including DFS (Duty Free Shoppers) which operates several stores in hotels, a large "Galleria," and a store in the Guam Airport. Further, visitors to Guam will note some of the same shopping opportunities that exist in "the States." Although there is no Wal-Mart, there is a large K-Mart that does a very high volume of business. Indeed, visitors who are used to the voided cavernous K-Marts in the USA may be surprised to find that they can barely squeeze through the aisles of the Guam K-Mart.

The Tumon Bay area possesses many duty-free shopping outlets and boutiques catering to Japanese tourists. Among these are boutiques selling Bvlgari, Chanel, Cartier, Dior, Fendi, Ferragamo, Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Rolex, and more.

Eat

Despite its small population Guam has a range of restaurants, including Ya Mon's Jamaican Grill (local made soon-to-be franchised ) Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe, Tony Romas and Chili's is a building next the the Guam Premier Outlets. Major hotels and restaurants serve continental meals and ethnic dishes.

Fresh seafood is bountiful. Fresh fish, octopus, and lobster are either grilled or baked with vegetables or fruit, sashimi, and in other ways unique to the Pacific.

Travelers who venture further will find Chamorro, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino, Chinese, Mexican, and European restaurants, each with its own distinct ambiance. Chamorro Village offers a great variety of choices for local chamorro food, especially Wednesday nights. Of course, American fast food chains, such as Wendy's, Burger King, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Long John Silvers, Pizza Hut, Winchells Donuts and Dominos are common.

Locals pride themselves in BBQ'ing and it is a frequent event in Guam. Families and friends often get together and for BBQs, so if you visit ask about BBQ's. It's a good chance you'll get invited!

  • Jeff's Pirates Cove, Ipan Talofofo, 671-789-COVE, [3]. A great place to stop for a burger, beer, or tasty Greek dishes. Situated just off the beach, the outdoor tables command a great view of the sea. Friendly staff, but hit-and-miss food quality. However, no trip to Guam is complete without a stop at Jeff's.  edit
  • Mama Gyros, 647 Marine Corps Drive (Next to Club Texas across from Napa Auto), 671-482-4976, [4]. 10:00 - 21:00. Great home made gyros and sandwiches shop in Guam. The average lunch dinner price is US$9 per person.  edit
  • Casa Nami, San Vitores Road, Tumon (Across from Pacific Islands Club, second floor), 646-NAMI.  edit
  • Buddies Billiards and Brew, (Behind Tick Tock in Tamuning), 649-CUES (2837).  edit
  • Bully’s Bar & Grill, (Located on the first floor of The Plaza in Tumon), 649-2389.  edit
  • C’s Karaoke Lounge, (Located next to Shen’s Furniture on Route 16), 647-0488.  edit
  • Cafe Havana, (Located at the Hyatt Regency Guam Resort in Tumon), 64SALSA (647-2572).  edit
  • Cho Cho’s Poolside Bar, (Located at Fiesta Resort).  edit
Westin Resort in Tumon, Guam
Westin Resort in Tumon, Guam
The main tourist area is around Tumon Bay, which has a number of high-rise hotels and resorts [5] similar to Waikiki Beach with an even larger percentage of Japanese tourists. Cheaper accommodations exist near the airport, especially around the village of Harmon. Be aware that Harmon hotels tend to be on the seedier side since Harmon is a mixed industrial/residential neighborhood. Many of the flights scheduled through Guam to other locations (especially in Asia) often require an overnight layover, so plan ahead. Some hotels offer airport pickup, as taxis can be quite expensive.
  • PIC Resorts - Guam, 210 Pale San Vitores Road., P.O.Box 9370 Tamuning Guam 96931, (1-670) 2347976, [6]. checkin: 12. Located in the Micronesia Islands, PIC Guam Hotel overlooks stunning Guam Beaches.\ (13.527184,144.813537) edit
  • Tamuning Plaza Hotel, 960 South Marine Drive, Tamuning, Guam 96913, +1.671.649.8646, [7]. checkin: 1300; checkout: 1200. Budget economy hotel located on Marine Drive, across the street from Agana (Hagatna) Bay and the beach. $49.50.  edit

Learn

The University of Guam [8] provides higher education opportunities for students on Guam, as well as providing higher education for much of Micronesia. The UOG is in Mangilao, on the central eastern side of Guam. Students can earn various Undergraduate degrees and several programs offer degrees at the Masters level. Two of the better known Masters level programs include the (1) Environmental Science Program, focusing on Agricultural sciences through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and Hydrology and Water Resources through the Water and Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific (WERI; [9]); and (2) the Marine Laboratory (http://www.uog.edu/marinelab), which focuses on Marine Biology and other environmental issues.

In recent years, the University of Guam has faced accreditation issues through the US university system.

Work

The largest employers on Guam are the Government of Guam and Continental Airlines, followed by a large duty-free retail firm (DFS Guam), the US Federal Government, the hotel industry and services sectors. Guam has two large military bases and several smaller military installations that employ many people. The only Air Force base is Andersen Air Force Base on the northern tip of the island. The US Navy has a large naval station -- Naval Station Guam --located on the west-central part of the island near the village Agat. The Navy operates the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station (NCTS) south of the village of Dededo. Additionally, the Navy controls the Fena Reservoir, which provides drinking water in addition to the aquifer in the northern part of the island.

Dive

Micronesian Diver's Association [10]has information on the may local dive sites as well as boat dives around the island. Highlights include: The Blue Hole, a more advanced dive with an incredible drop through a hole in the reef; and the Kitzagawa Maru and Tokei Maru, two Japanese warships sunk out in Apra Habor.

Stay safe

Observe caution when engaged in water activities on Guam, as in any coastal area, as currents can be swift and unpredictable, depending on the season. Also, roads are not graded according to US Standards, and during the rainy season (from about August until March), water can pool unevenly on road surfaces. Pooling of rain water can lead to flooding of roads in the southern half of Guam, which does not have sewer drainage built under the road surfaces. Furthermore, many roads are in disrepair and potholes are frequent, which can easily blow out tires. Violent crime is fairly low, but property crime tends to be high, so safeguard valuables in vehicles. Rental cars have stickers and can be targeted by thieves.

Stay healthy

The civilian Guam Memorial Hospital is in Tamuning, in the Central Region. If you have access to military bases, there's a Naval Hospital.

Respect

The Chamorro people, also known as the Chamoro or Chamoru, are indigenous to Guam. They possess a culture that mixes Micronesian, Spanish, and American cultures, and in general the people are gregarious and welcoming to visitors. Observe common courtesies and tend to err on the modest side, especially with clothing. Other cultures found in Guam include those from the Philippines, Japan, China, Korea, and other countries.

The Chamorro population is predominantly but not exclusively Catholic, with Protestantism also popular. On Guam, rosaries take the place of large formal gatherings to remember those whom have passed away, and such congregations can occur for up to 20 years after someone has passed.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GUAM (Span. Guajan; Guahan, in the native Chamorro), the largest and most populous of the Ladrone or Mariana Islands, in the North Pacific, in 13° 26' N. lat. and 144 39' E. long., about 1823 m. E. by S. of Hong Kong, and about 1450 m. E. of Manila. Pop. (1908) about 11,360, of whom 363 were foreigners, 140 being members of the U.S. naval force. Guam extends about 30 m. from N.N.E. to S.S.W., has an average width of about 6a m., and has an area of 207 sq. m. The N. portion is a plateau from 300 to 600 ft. above the sea, lowest in the interior and highest along the E. and W. coast, where it terminates abruptly in bluffs and headlands; Mt Santa Rosa, toward the N. extremity, has an elevation of 840 ft. A range of hills from 700 to nearly 1300 ft. in height traverses the S. portion from N. to S. a little W. of the middle - Mt Jumullong Mangloc, the highest peak, has an elevation of 1274 ft. Between the foot of the steep W. slope of these hills and the sea is a belt of rolling lowlands and to the E. the surface is broken by the valleys of five rivers with a number of tributaries, has a general slope toward the sea, and terminates in a coast-line of bluffs. Apra (formerly San Luis d'Apra) on the middle W. coast is the only good harbour; it is about 31 m. across, has a depth of 4-27 fathoms, and is divided into an inner and an outer harbour by a peninsula and an island. It serves as a naval station and as a port of transit between America and the Philippines, at which army transports call monthly. Deer, wild hog, duck, curlew, snipe and pigeon are abundant game, and several varieties of fish are caught. Some of the highest points of the island are nearly bare of vegetation, and the more elevated plateau surface is covered with sword grass, but in the valleys and on the lower portions of the plateaus there is valuable timber. The lowlands have a rich soil; in lower parts of the highlands raised coralliferous limestone, with a light covering of soil appears, and in the higher parts the soil is entirely of clay and silt. The climate is agreeable and healthy. From December to June the N.E. trade winds prevail and the rainfall is relatively light; during the other six months the monsoon blows and produces the rainy season. Destructive typhoons and earthquakes sometimes visit Guam. The island is thought to possess little if any mineral wealth, with the possible exception of coal. Only a small part of Guam is under cultivation, and most of this lies along the S.W. coast, its chief products being cocoanuts, rice, sugar, coffee and cacao. A United States Agricultural Experiment Station in Guam (at Agana) was provided for in 1908.

The inhabitants are of the Chamorro (Indonesian) stock, strongly intermixed with Philippine Tagals and Spaniards; their speech is a dialect of Malay, corrupted by Tagal and Spanish. There are very few full-blood Chamorros. The aboriginal native was of a very dark mahogany or chocolate colour. A majority of the total number of natives live in Agana. The natives are nearly all farmers, and most of them are poor, but their condition has been improved under American rule. Public schools have been established; in 1908 the enrolment was 1700. On the island there is a small colony of lepers, segregated only after American occupation. Gangrosa is a disease said to be peculiar to Guam and the neighbouring islands; it is due to a specific bacillus and usually destroys the nasal septum. The victims of this disease also are segregated. There is a good general hospital.

Agana (or San Ignacio de Agana) is the capital and principal town; under the Spanish regime it was the capital of the Ladrones. It is about 5 m. N.E. of Piti, the landing-place of Apra harbour and port of entry, with which it is connected by an excellent road. Agana has paved streets and sewer and water systems. Other villages, all small, are Asan, Piti, Sumay, Umata, Merizo and Inarajan. Guam is governed by a "naval governor," an officer of the U. S. navy who is commandant of the naval station. The island is divided into four administrative districts, each with an executive head called a gobernadorcillo (commissioner), and there are a court of appeals, a court of first instance and courts of justices of the peace. Peonage was abolished in the island by the United States in February 1900. Telegraphic communication with the Caroline Islands was established in 1905; in 1908 there were four cables ending at the relay station at Sumay on the Shore of Apra harbour.

Guam was discovered by Magellan in 1521, was occupied by Spain in 1688, was captured by the United States cruiser "Charleston" in June 1899, and was ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Paris on the 10th of December 1898.

See A List of Books (with References to Periodicals) on Samoa and Guam (1901; issued by the Library of Congress); L. M. Cox, "The Island of Guam," in Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, vol. 36 (New York, 1904); Gen. Joseph Wheeler, Report on the Island of Guam, June 1900 (War Department, Document No. 123); F. W. Christian, The Caroline Islands (London, 1899); an account of the flora of Guam by W. E. Safford in the publications of the National Herbarium (Smithsonian Institution); and the reports of the naval governor.


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also GUAM

Contents

English

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
Guam

Plural
-

Guam

  1. Unincorporated territory of the United States; placed in Oceania. Official name: Territory of Guam.

Translations

See: Countries of the world

Anagrams


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

{{Infobox Country or territory |native_name = Territory of Guam
Guåhan |common_name = Guam |image_flag = Flag of Guam.svg |image_coat = Coat of arms of Guam.svg |image_map = LocationGuam.png |national_motto = "Where America's Day Begins" |national_anthem = Fanohge Chamoru |official_languages = English and Chamorro |capital = Hagåtña |latd= |latm= |latNS= |longd= |longm= |longEW= |largest_settlement_type = village |largest_settlement = Dededo |leader_title1 = President |leader_name1 = George W. Bush (R) |leader_title2 = Governor |leader_name2 = Felix Perez Camacho (R) |area_rank = 192nd |area_magnitude = 1 E8 |area_km2 = 541.30 |area_sq_mi = 209.85 (330 km) of Guam each year. The most intense typhoon to pass over Guam recently was Super Typhoon Pongsona, with sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, which slammed Guam on December 8, 2002, leaving massive destruction. Since Super Typhoon Pamela in 1976 wooden structures have been largely replaced by concrete structures.[1][2] During the 1980s wooden utility poles began to be replaced by typhoon-resistant concrete and steel poles. In the 1990s many home and business owners installed typhoon shutters.

Contents

Demographics

According to the U.S. census conducted in 2000, the population of Guam was 154,805.[3] The 2007 population estimate for Guam is 173,456.[4] As of 2005, the annual population growth is 1.76%.[5] The largest ethnic group are the native Chamorros, accounting for 57% of the total population. Other ethnic groups include Filipino 25.5%, Caucasian 10%, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and others. Today, Roman Catholicism is the largest religion with 85% attesting to it. The official languages of the island are English and Chamorro.

Culture

Traditional Chamorro culture is visually manifested in dance, sea navigation, unique cuisine, fishing, games (such as batu, chonka, estuleks, and bayogu), songs and fashion influenced by the immigration of peoples from other lands. Spanish policy during colonial rule (1668-1898) was one of conquest and conversion to Roman Catholicism. This led to the gradual elimination of Guam's male warriors and displacement of the Chamorro people from their lands. In spite of the social upheavals, Guam's matriarchs—known as "I Maga'håga"—continued the indigenous culture, language, and traditions.

Historian Lawrence Cunningham in 1992 wrote, "In a Chamorro sense, the land and its produce belong to everyone. Inafa'maolek, or interdependence, is the key, or central value, in Chamorro culture ... Inafa'maolek depends on a spirit of cooperation. This is the armature, or core, that everything in Chamorro culture revolves around. It is a powerful concern for mutuality rather than individualism and private property rights."

The core culture or Pengngan Chamorro is comprised of complex social protocol centered upon respect: From the kissing of the hands of the elders (inspired by the kissing of a Roman Catholic bishop's ring by those whom he oversees), passing of legends, chants, and courtship rituals, to a person requesting forgiveness from spiritual ancestors when entering a jungle. Other practices predating Spanish conquest include galaide' canoe-making, making of the belembaotuyan (a string musical instrument), fashioning of åcho' atupat slings and slingstones, tool manufacture, Måtan Guma' burial rituals and preparation of herbal medicines by Suruhanu.

Master craftsmen and women specialize in weavings, including plaited work (niyok- and åkgak-leaf baskets, mats, bags, hats, and food containments), loom-woven material (kalachucha-hibiscus and banana fiber skirts, belts and burial shrouds), and body ornamentation (bead and shell necklaces, bracelets, earrings, belts and combs made from tortoise shells).

Today only few masters exist to continue traditional art forms. The cosmopolitan nature of 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.

Government and politics

War in the Pacific National Historical Park, Asan, Guam.
Main article: Politics of Guam
See also: List of Guam Governors

Guam is governed by a popularly elected governor and a unicameral 15 member legislature. Guam elects one non-voting delegate, currently Madeleine Bordallo, to the United States House of Representatives. Citizens in Guam vote in a straw poll for their choice in the U.S. Presidential general election, but since Guam has no votes in the Electoral College, the poll has no real effect. However, in sending delegates to the Republican and Democratic national conventions, Guam does have influence in the national presidential race, although these convention delegates are elected by local party conventions rather than voters in primaries.[6]

In the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a significant movement in favor of the territory becoming a commonwealth, which would give it a political status similar to Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. However, the federal government gave no response to Guam's request for commonwealth status for a decade before Guam leaders gave up the quest in the late 1990s. Competing movements with less significant influence exist, which advocate political independence from the United States, statehood, or a combination with the Northern Mariana Islands as a single commonwealth. These proposals however, are not seen as favorable or realistic within the U.S. federal government, which argues Guam does not have the financial stability or self sufficiency to warrant such status. The same sources quickly provide evidence of Guam’s increasing reliance on federal spending, and question how commonwealth status or statehood would benefit the United States as a whole.[7]

Villages and Military Bases

Aerial photo of Apra Harbor.
Main article: Villages of Guam

Guam is divided into 19 municipalities commonly called villages. The U.S. military maintains jurisdiction over bases comprising approximately one quarter of the island's area:

Economy

Guam's economy depends primarily on tourism, the United States military base presence, and other federal spending. Although Guam receives no foreign aid, it does receive large transfer payments from the general revenues of the U.S. federal treasury into which Guam pays no income or excise taxes; under the provisions of a special law of Congress, the Guam treasury, rather than the U.S. treasury, receives federal income taxes paid by military and civilian federal employees stationed in Guam.

Sometimes called "America in Asia," Guam is a popular destination for Japanese and Korean tourists, and with over 20 large hotels, a DFS Galleria, Pleasure Island aquarium, SandCastle Las Vegas-styled shows and other shopping and entertainment features in its chief tourism city of Tumon. It is a relatively short flight from Asia compared to Hawaii, with hotels and golf courses catering to tourists. About 90 percent of tourists to Guam are Japanese. Significant sources of revenue include duty-free designer shopping outlets, and the American-style malls: Micronesia Mall, Guam Premium Outlets, and the Agana Shopping Center.

The economy had been stable since 2000 due to increased tourism, mainly from Japan, but took a recent downturn along with the rest of Asia. It is expected to stabilize when U.S. Marine personnel and operations currently in Okinawa (appr. 8000, along with their 10,000 dependents) will transfer to Guam sometime in 2007-2008. Guam has a 14% unemployment rate, and the government suffered a $314 million shortfall in 2003.[8]

The Compacts of Free Association between the United States, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau accorded the former entities of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands a political status of "free association" with the United States. The Compacts give citizens of these new nations generally no restrictions to reside in the United States, and many were attracted to Guam due to its proximity. 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 and Hawaii, and eventually this appropriation was written into each renewed Compact. Some, however, continue to claim the compensation is not enough.

Transportation and communications

Main articles: Communications in Guam and Transportation in Guam

Most of the island has mobile phone service and high speed internet is now widely available through cable or DSL. Guam was added to the North American Numbering Plan in 1997, removing the barrier of high cost international long-distance calls to the U.S. Mainland.

As Guam is also part of the U.S. Postal System (the postal code is GU), mail to Guam from the mainland is considered domestic and no additional charges are required. Private shipping companies, such as UPS, DHL or FedEx, 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. 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 surface after reaching Hawaii. Most residents use post office boxes or private mail boxes, although residential delivery is becoming increasingly available.

Guam is served by the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport, which is a hub for Continental Micronesia. The island is outside the United States customs zone and maintains its own customs agency and jurisdiction. Therefore, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection only carries immigration (but not customs) functions for incoming flights. Since Guam is under federal immigration jurisdiction, passengers arriving directly from the States skip immigration and directly proceed to customs. Since Guam has a visa waiver program for certain Asian tourists, an eligibility pre-clearance check is carried for flights to the States. For travel to and from the Northern Mariana Islands (which are outside of U.S. immigration jurisdiction), a full inspection is performed though American citizens do not need a passport. Traveling between Guam and the States through a foreign point (for example, a Japanese airport), however, requires a passport.

Most residents travel within Guam using personally owned vehicles. The local government operates an inefficient public bus system (Guam Mass Transit Authority), and some commercial companies operated buses between tourist-frequented locations.

Ecological issues

Guam exemplifies the effects of bioinvasion.

The brown tree snake

Brown Tree Snake

Thought to be a stowaway on a U.S. military transport near the end of World War II, the slightly venomous—but rather harmless—brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) came to Guam and killed virtually all of the native bird population on an island that has no native species of snake; this snake has no natural predators on the island. Although some studies have suggested a high density of the brown tree snake, residents rarely see these nocturnal snakes. Prodigious climbers, the snakes cause frequent blackouts by shorting across lines and transformers.[9]

Other invasive animal species

From the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, the Spanish introduced pigs, dogs, chickens, the Philippine deer (Cervus mariannus), black francolins, and water buffalo. Water buffalo, known as carabao 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 euthanizing the herds leading to organized protests from island residents.[10]

Other introduced species include cane toads imported in 1937, the giant African Snail (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 population. Reports of loud chirping frogs, known as coquí, that may have arrived from Hawaii have led to fears that the noise could even threaten Guam's tourism.[11]

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 affecting coconut palms, was first observed on the island in 1917 when copra 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.[12] Also during the past century, the dense forests of northern Guam have been largely replaced by thick tangan tangan brush (Leucaena-native to the Americas). Much of Guam's foliage was lost during World War II. In 1947, the U.S. military introduced tangan tangan by seeding the island from the air to prevent erosion. In southern Guam, non-native grass species also dominate much of the landscape.

Wildfires

Guam's grassland.

Wildfires plague the forested ("boonie" or "jungle") areas of Guam every dry season despite the island's humid climate. Most fires are man-caused with 80 percent resulting from arson.[13] Poachers often start fires to attract deer to the new growth. Invasive grass species that rely on fire as part of their natural life cycle grow in many regularly burned areas. Grasslands and "barrens" have replaced previously forested areas leading to greater soil erosion. During the rainy season sediment is carried by the heavy rains into the Fena Lake Reservoir and Ugum River 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.[14]

Aquatic preserves

As a vacation spot for scuba divers, efforts have been made to protect Guam's coral reef habitats from pollution, eroded silt, and overfishing 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.[15] Prior to adopting USEPA standards, portions of Tumon bay were dredged by the hotel chains in order to provide a better experience for hotel guests.[16][17] Tumon Bay has since been made into a preserve. A federal Guam National Wildlife Refuge in northern Guam protects the decimated sea turtle population in addition to a small colony of Mariana fruit bats.[18]

<center>Reef fish of Guam

</center>

Education

Primary and secondary schools

See also: List of schools in Guam
The University of Guam campus

The Guam Public School System [1] serves the entire island of Guam. In 2000, 32,000 students attended Guam's public schools. As in many school United States school districts, Guam Public Schools, has struggled with problems such as high drop out rates and poor test scores.[19][20] Guam's educational system has always faced unique challenges as a small community located 6,000 miles form the U.S. mainland with a very diverse student body including many students who come from backgrounds without a traditional American education.[21] An economic downturn in Guam since the mid 1990s has compounded the problems in schools.[22] In 1998, the U.S. Department of Defense opened schools for children of American military personnel. DoDEA schools, which also serve children of some federal civilian employees, had an attendance of 2,500 in 2000. The four schools operated by DoDEA are Andersen Elementary School, Andersen Middle School, McCool Elementary/Middle School, and Guam High School.[23]

Colleges and universities

The University of Guam, Guam Community College, and Pacific Islands Bible College offer courses in higher education.[24]

See also

References

  1. ^ Guam Catastrophe Model. Risk Management Solutions. Retrieved on 2007-06-16.
  2. ^ Winds. PacificWorlds.com. Retrieved on 2007-06-16.
  3. ^ . "Guam Summary File," American FactFinder, Census 2000 Guam, Retrieved April 19, 2007.
  4. ^ "Guam," CIA World Factbook, April 17, 2007, Retrieved April 19, 2007.
  5. ^ MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base: Guam (2007-05-17). Retrieved on 2007-07-19.
  6. ^ Rogers, Robert F. (1995). Destiny’s Landfall: A History of Guam. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN-13: 978-0824816780. 
  7. ^ Willens, Howard P; Dirk A Ballendorf (2004). "The Secret Guam Study: How President Ford's 1975 Approval of Commonwealth Was Blocked by Federal Officials". Micronesian Area Research Center 18 (1). ISBN 1-878-453-77-7. 
  8. ^ 2004 Guam Yearbook (PDF). Retrieved on 2007-07-19.
  9. ^ Fritts, T.H.; D. Leasman-Tanner (2001). USGS: The Brown Tree Snake on Guam. Retrieved on 2007-07-28.
  10. ^ More Than 100 Protest Guam Carabao Cull. AnimalRights.net (2003-10-15). Retrieved on 2007-06-15.
  11. ^ Worth, Katie (2004-02-28). Two Male Coqui Frogs Found in Guam. Retrieved on 2007-07-19.
  12. ^ Hodgson, R. A. J.; Wall, G. C.; Randles, J. W. (1998), "Specific Identification of Coconut Tinangaja Viroid for Differential Field Diagnosis of Viroids in Coconut Palm", Phytopathology 88 (8): 774-781, http://www.apsnet.org/phyto/PDFS/1998/0527-01R.pdf, retrieved 2007-06-16 
  13. ^ Territory of Guam Fire Assessment January 2004, Pgs. 6-7
  14. ^ {{Cite web | url= http://www.nps.gov/wapa/indepth/Park/Natural/fire/fireguam.htm | work= United States Department of the Interior
  15. ^ Brown, Valerie. Guam’s Marine Preserves. Pacific Daily News. Retrieved on 2007-06-16.
  16. ^ Management of Contaminated Harbor Sediments in Guam. EPA Guam Report.
  17. ^ Packbier, Paul E.R.. Tumon Bay - Engineering a Better Environment. Directions Magazine; June/July 1996.
  18. ^ Holmes III, Rolston (2001). "Environmental Ethics in Micronesia, Past and Present, Part II — Guam Today: Still "on the Edge." Colonial Legacy and American Presence". International Society for Environmental Ethics Newsletter 12 (3). Retrieved on 2007-06-16. 
  19. ^ Merrow Report: First to Worst. Retrieved on 2007-11-08.
  20. ^ State Comparisons (1996). Retrieved on 2007-11-08.
  21. ^ Grace, Ted; Teresita Salos (Jul. 1966). "Guam's Education Marches On". Peabody Journal of Education 44 (1): 37-39. 
  22. ^ "AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A GUAM PARENTAL SCHOOL CHOICE PROGRAM" AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A GUAM PARENTAL SCHOOL CHOICE PROGRAM (1999). Retrieved on 2007-11-08.
  23. ^ DODEA. Retrieved on 2006-05-10.
  24. ^ Politics Trumps Performance in Guam School System. Pacific Islands Report (2006-06-15). Retrieved on 2007-06-16.

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Simple English

[[File:|thumb|Guam]] Guam is an island in Micronesia in the Pacific Ocean that is part of the United States. It is a territory and not one of the 50 U.S. States. The people that first lived there are called "Chamorros". The capital of Guam is the city of Hagåtña. The largest city is Dededo. Guam has important United States Air Force and Navy bases, which use a lot of Guam's land. Guam also has a lot of tourists.

Contents

History

Guam was one of the first islands in the Pacific Ocean to be visited by Europeans. In 1521, the first European to visit Guam was Ferdinand Magellan, on his voyage around the World. Spain took over Guam in 1668, and it was an important place for Spanish delivery boats every year going between Mexico and the Philippines, known as the Manila Galleon. During this time the people on Guam learned a great deal about the Spaniards.

In 1898, the United States had a war with Spain and took Guam under the Treaty of Paris, which also brought the giving of Cuba, the Philippines and Puerto Rico from Spain. Guam continued to be important due to its strategic location, both for shipping and air travel in the Pacific. During World War II, Japan captured Guam in 1941, but the U.S. fought to get it back in 1944. This meant that the Chamorro people on Guam were on a different side of the war than the Chamorro people on the nearby Northern Mariana Islands. Even though the Northern Mariana Islands were also taken over by America, they still feel different from the Chamorro people on Guam.

In 1950, the US Congress passed a law making the people of Guam American citizens.

Law and government

Most people on Guam are happy to be Americans. The American military bases make some jobs for a lot of Guam people. Being part of America also helps bring visitors from Japan who spend money.

But some people on Guam do not like Guam continuing its status as a U.S. territory. They want to be a more important part of America. Some of these people want Guam to be a commonwealth, like Puerto Rico. A few others want Guam to be a U.S. State, or for Guam to be its own country. But the United States does not think this would be a good idea. Guam needs a lot of money from the U.S. government, which it would lose if it changed into a commonwealth, a state, or its own country. Also, changing Guam might mean the U.S. would have to give up some of the important military bases.

Some people still want Guam to be able to make more of its own decisions. But they think the United States is not listening to them.they lived in the east.

Money

Guam gets most of its money from the United States government. Much of that money is spent on the military bases, but there are also federal grants given to the Guam government for various programs. Because it is only a territory, federal income taxes paid by Guam residents are given to the Guam government for its operations.

Guam also gets a lot of money from visitors on vacation. Almost all of these visitors are from Japan. Japanese tourists like Guam because it is closer to Japan than other American places. Guam has lots of hotels and other fun places for people to visit. Tumon Bay is Guam's biggest beach. It has lots of pretty white sand, and the water has lots of fish. Tumon is becoming a busy city.

Today, Guam has less visitors than it did a few years ago, because Asia has had some trouble. This means there are fewerjobs on Guam, and it has lost money.

Land and water

Guam is 212 square miles (549 square kilometers) large. In the north part, it has a flat area of coral and limestone rock. The south part has mountains. Around the island is a coral reef.

Guam is next to the Marianas Trench, which is the deepest part of the Earth and underwater. It sometimes has earthquakes, some of which have been very strong.

Weather

Guam is a tropical island. It is usually quite warm and wet and the temperature does not change very much. From February to July it is dry, but the rest of the year it is rainy. Sometimes Guam has very strong and dangerous storms in October and November.

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