Guam


Guam
Guamanian /gwah may"nee euhn/, n., adj.
/gwahm/, n.
an island, belonging to the U.S., in the N Pacific, E of the Philippines: the largest of the Marianas group; U.S. naval station. 84,996; 206 sq. mi. (535 sq. km). Cap.: Agaña. Abbr.: GU (for use with zip code).

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Guam

Introduction Guam -
Background: 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 installation on the island is one of the most strategically important US bases in the Pacific. Geography Guam
Location: Oceania, island in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines
Geographic coordinates: 13 28 N, 144 47 E
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 549 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 549 sq km
Area - comparative: three times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 125.5 km
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM
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
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
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point: Mount Lamlam 406 m
Natural resources: fishing (largely undeveloped), tourism (especially from Japan)
Land use: arable land: 10.91% permanent crops: 10.91% other: 78.18% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: NA sq km
Natural hazards: frequent squalls during rainy season; relatively rare, but potentially very destructive typhoons (June - December) Environment - current issues: extirpation of native bird population by the rapid proliferation of the brown tree snake, an exotic, invasive species
Geography - note: largest and southernmost island in the Mariana Islands archipelago; strategic location in western North Pacific Ocean People Guam -
Population: 160,796 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 35.1% (male 29,706; female 26,813) 15-64 years: 58.6% (male 49,457; female 44,697) 65 years and over: 6.3% (male 5,070; female 5,053) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.99% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 24.09 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 4.24 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.14 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.11 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.11 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 1 male(s)/female total population: 1.1 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 6.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 78.11 years female: 80.72 years (2002 est.) male: 75.81 years
Total fertility rate: 3.73 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA% HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Guamanian(s) adjective: Guamanian
Ethnic groups: Chamorro 37%, Filipino 26%, white 10%, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other 27%
Religions: Roman Catholic 85%, other 15% (1999 est.)
Languages: English, Chamorro, Japanese
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 99% male: 99% female: 99% (1990 est.) Government Guam -
Country name: conventional long form: Territory of Guam conventional short form: Guam local long form: Guahan
Dependency status: organized, unincorporated territory of the US with policy relations between Guam and the US under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior
Government type: NA
Capital: Hagatna (Agana) Administrative divisions: none (territory of the US)
Independence: none (territory of the US)
National holiday: Discovery Day, first Monday in March (1521)
Constitution: Organic Act of 1 August 1950
Legal system: modeled on US; US federal laws apply
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal; US citizens, but do not vote in US presidential elections
Executive branch: chief of state: President George W. BUSH of the US (since 20 January 2001); Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since 20 January 2001) election results: Carl GUTIERREZ reelected governor; percent of vote - Carl GUTIERREZ (Democrat) 53.2%, Joseph ADA (Republican) 46.8% elections: US president and vice president elected on the same ticket for a four-year term; governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 3 November 1998 (next to be held 5 November 2002) head of government: Governor Carl GUTIERREZ (since 8 November 1994) and Lieutenant Governor Madeleine BORDALLO (since 8 November 1994) cabinet: executive departments; heads appointed by the governor with the consent of the Guam legislature
Legislative branch: unicameral Legislature (15 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve two-year terms) elections: last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held 5 November 2002) note: Guam elects one nonvoting delegate to the US House of Representatives; election last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held 5 November 2002); results - Robert UNDERWOOD was reelected as delegate; percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Democratic Party 1 election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Republican Party 8, Democratic Party 7
Judicial branch: Federal District Court (judge is appointed by the president); Territorial Superior Court (judges appointed for eight-year terms by the governor) Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party (party of Governor GUTIERREZ) [leader NA]; Republican Party (controls the legislature) [leader NA] Political pressure groups and NA
leaders: International organization ESCAP (associate), Interpol
participation: (subbureau), IOC, SPC Diplomatic representation in the US: none (territory of the US) Diplomatic representation from the none (territory of the US)
US:
Flag description: territorial flag is dark blue with a narrow red border on all four sides; centered is a red-bordered, pointed, vertical ellipse containing a beach scene, outrigger canoe with sail, and a palm tree with the word GUAM superimposed in bold red letters; US flag is the national flag Economy Guam
Economy - overview: 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. Most food and industrial goods are imported. Guam faces the problem of building up the civilian economic sector to offset the impact of military downsizing.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $3.2 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: NA%
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $21,000 (2000 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: NA% industry: 15% (1993) services: NA% Population below poverty line: 23% (2001 est.) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0% (1999 est.)
Labor force: 60,000 (2000 est.) Labor force - by occupation: federal and territorial government 26%, private 74% (trade 24%, other services 40%, industry 10%) (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: 15% (2000 est.)
Budget: revenues: $420 million expenditures: $431 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Industries: US military, tourism, construction, transshipment services, concrete products, printing and publishing, food processing, textiles Industrial production growth rate: NA% Electricity - production: 825 million kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 767.25 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: fruits, copra, vegetables; eggs, pork, poultry, beef
Exports: $75.7 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)
Exports - commodities: mostly transshipments of refined petroleum products; construction materials, fish, food and beverage products
Exports - partners: US 25%
Imports: $203 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)
Imports - commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, food, manufactured goods
Imports - partners: US 23%, Japan 19%
Debt - external: $NA Economic aid - recipient: Guam receives large transfer payments from the US Federal Treasury ($143 million in 1997) into which Guamanians pay no income or excise taxes; under the provisions of a special law of Congress, the Guam Treasury, rather than the US Treasury, receives federal income taxes paid by military and civilian Federal employees stationed in Guam
Currency: US dollar (USD)
Currency code: USD
Exchange rates: the US dollar is used
Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September Communications Guam - Telephones - main lines in use: 84,134 (1998) Telephones - mobile cellular: 55,000 (1998)
Telephone system: general assessment: modern system, integrated with US facilities for direct dialing, including free use of 800 numbers domestic: modern digital system, including cellular mobile service and local access to the Internet international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); submarine cables to US and Japan (Guam is a trans-Pacific communications hub for MCI, Sprint, AT&T, IT&E, and GTE, linking the US and Asia) Radio broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 7, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios: 221,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 5 (1997)
Televisions: 106,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .gu Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 20 (2000)
Internet users: 5,000 (2000) Transportation Guam -
Railways: 0 km
Highways: total: 885 km paved: 675 km unpaved: 210 km note: there are also 685 km of roads classified non-public, including roads located on federal government installations
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: Apra Harbor
Merchant marine: none (2002 est.)
Airports: 5 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 4 over 3,047 m: 2 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 1 under 914 m: 1 (2001) Military Guam -
Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the US Transnational Issues Guam - Disputes - international: none

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Island (pop., 2000: 154,805), largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands, Micronesia.

Guam is an unincorporated U.S. territory; its capital is Agana. With an area of 209 sq mi (541 sq km), it is divided into a northern plateau and a southern chain of volcanic hills. The indigenous population is Chamorro, Malayo-Indonesian with a considerable admixture of Spanish, Filipino, and Mexican stock as well. They speak Chamorro in addition to English, the official language. Possibly visited by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, Guam was formally claimed by Spain in 1565 and remained Spanish for two centuries. It was ceded to the U.S. after the Spanish-American War in 1898. In World War II the Japanese occupied the island (1941–44). It subsequently became a major U.S. air and naval base. In 1950 it was made a U.S. territory and placed under the Department of the Interior. The military bases and tourism are the island's economic mainstays.

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Introduction
Guam, flag of    island and unincorporated territory of the United States in the north Pacific Ocean, the largest, most populous, and southernmost of the Mariana Islands. It lies about 5,800 miles (9,300 km) west of San Francisco and 1,600 miles (2,600 km) east of Manila. Hagåtña (Agana) is the capital. Major settlements are Tamuning, on the west coast, and Mangilao, near the east coast.

Land (Guam)
 The island is sharply divided into a northern limestone plateau with a general elevation of about 500 feet (150 metres) and a higher area of volcanic hills to the south. The plateau is covered with a thick growth of jungle; the volcanic hills support mainly sword grass. The hills rise to an elevation of more than 1,000 feet (300 metres); their lower slopes to the east (and also, in part, to the west) are covered with younger limestones, generally similar to those of the northern limestone plateau. The island rises to 1,332 feet (406 metres) at Mount Lamlam, the highest point. Other major hills are Mount Bolanos (1,207 feet [368 metres]) and Mount Sasalaguan (1,086 feet [331 metres]).

      Guam has a pleasant tropical climate tempered by the northeast trade winds and the north equatorial ocean current that flows west across the Pacific. Temperatures range between approximately 70 and 90 °F (20 and 30 °C) and are fairly even throughout the year. Average annual precipitation is about 95 inches (2,400 mm), three-fourths of which falls in storms during the wet season, generally starting in May or June and lasting through November. The evenness of the climate is punctuated by destructive typhoons (tropical cyclones) that occur at irregular intervals.

      Palm trees, ferns, and other tropical plants abound. Many types of marine life and insects are also found. However, as a result of the accidental introduction in the 1940s of the brown tree snake, an invasive species from New Guinea, indigenous bird life on Guam has been devastated. At least a dozen bird species have become extinct, and several more are endangered. The abundant snakes have also caused numerous power outages by crawling into power transmission equipment, and they have killed poultry, pets, and babies.

People (Guam)
      Native Guamanians, ethnically called Chamorros (Chamorro), are of basically Malayo-Indonesian descent with a considerable admixture of Spanish, Filipino, Mexican, and other European and Asian ancestries. Chamorros and other Pacific Islanders constitute more than two-fifths of the population. Nearly one-third of the people are Asians, notably Filipinos and Koreans, and there is a small minority of people of European ancestry. About three-fourths of the people are Roman Catholic, and one-eighth are Protestant.

      The Chamorro language is an Austronesian language (Austronesian languages) that has, over time, come to incorporate many Spanish words. The word Chamorro is derived from Chamorri, or Chamoli, meaning “noble.” English and Chamorro are the official languages; although Chamorro is still used in many homes, English is the language of education and commerce. Because of the number of tourists and investors from Japan, Japanese is increasingly also used.

      The island's rate of natural increase, although about average for the region, is high compared with that of the United States, partly because of a low death rate. There are large numbers of migrants from the Philippines and South Korea (Korea, South), as well as from neighbouring states such as the Federated States of Micronesia (Micronesia), Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (Marshall Islands).

Economy
      The development of Guam into an important U.S. military base brought about profound changes in the island's agricultural patterns after World War II. Foodstuffs were imported in increasing amounts at the expense of local cultivation, and Guam now imports most of its food.

      The U.S. armed forces are represented at multiple military facilities on Guam. Andersen Air Force Base and its annexes are concentrated at the northern end of the island. U.S. Navy facilities, located around the island, include a naval air station, a naval base with a ship repair yard, communications centres, and a hospital. Work at the military facilities has drawn many islanders away from their former lives of subsistence agriculture and fishing.

      Tourism is the most prominent component of the economy, with more than a million visitors arriving per year. There are several luxury hotels along Tumon Bay, which has been highly developed as a tourist area. An international airport links Guam with other Pacific islands, Asia, and Hawaii and the continental United States.

      Poultry farming, garment-finishing plants, and oil refining are important earners. Guam is a duty-free port, and this status has attracted a number of small manufacturing companies from countries in Asia and has also prompted some immigration. Major imports—mostly from the United States and Japan—include food products, motor vehicles and parts, and shoes and other leather products. The leading exports are motor vehicles and parts, fish and other food products, scrap metal, and tobacco products. Finland, Japan, and the Federated States of Micronesia are the main export destinations.

Government and society
      Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States governed under the Organic Act of Guam, passed by the U.S. Congress and approved by the president on Aug. 1, 1950. The Organic Act made all Chamorros U.S. citizens. Although they do not have the right to vote in national elections, voters do caucus during the presidential primary season and send delegates to the Democratic (Democratic Party) and Republican (Republican Party) national party conventions.

      A 1968 amendment to the Organic Act provides for the popular election of a governor and lieutenant governor to four-year terms. All persons age 18 years or older are permitted to vote. The legislature is a unicameral body with 15 senators directly elected at large for a term of two years. Guam also elects a delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives for a term of two years; that delegate has limited voting rights that exclude the ability to vote on the final passage of legislation.

      The people of Guam voted in 1982 in favour of pursuing a commonwealth relationship similar to that established in the Northern Marianas (Northern Mariana Islands). A draft Commonwealth Act was approved in 1987, and negotiations with the U.S. Congress were initiated.

      The highest appellate court is the Guam Supreme Court. There is also a District Court of Guam, whose judge is appointed by the U.S. president for a term of eight years. There are two levels of local trial courts: the Superior Court of Guam, for criminal and civil cases, and the traffic, juvenile, and small-claims courts. Judges are appointed by the governor with consent of the legislature and are reconfirmed by majority public vote every four years. Appeals may be made to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and to the U.S. Supreme Court.

      Each of the island's villages is headed by a popularly elected mayor. The mayors and vice mayors form the Mayors' Council of Guam, which makes recommendations regarding administrative and fiscal policies and acts as a liaison between the three branches of government, the military communities, and U.S. federal agencies.

      Education is free and compulsory between ages 6 and 16. The University of Guam, which opened in 1952, is a four-year institution that also provides graduate programs at the master's degree level. Health conditions are relatively advanced. Facilities include public, private, and military hospitals and local clinics. Life expectancies for men and women are roughly comparable to those of the United States. The main causes of death include heart diseases, cancers, cerebrovascular diseases, and accidents.

Cultural life
      Guam is culturally diverse, with Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and other Asian communities of significant size in addition to its indigenous population and people from the mainland United States. As a centre of transportation and communication for the region, it also attracts many islanders from various parts of Micronesia.

      Before World War II the villages were the main social and economic units, preserving customs and traditions similar to those of 19th-century Spain. Fiestas held in commemoration of patron saints were great social and religious events of the year for each village and brought together people from many parts of the island. Fiesta customs are still observed in Guam. However, changes in the social life and institutions of Guamanians have come about with economic development and increasing international contacts. The extended family is the main social unit for most groups on Guam, although many of the younger members travel and live in the United States.

      The folk arts and handicrafts of Guam have enjoyed a revival in recent years. Various public and private groups have been created to promote music, dance, and other traditional cultural arts for the benefit of both the local community and tourists. The University of Guam also promotes regional arts and culture.

      U.S. national holidays are celebrated on the island, as are several significant local dates such as Discovery Day, March 6, which commemorates the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan (Magellan, Ferdinand) in 1521.

      There are daily and semiweekly newspapers and quarterly and monthly magazines published on Guam, and several radio and television stations broadcast local and international news and features daily.

History (Guam)
      Guam, like the other Mariana Islands, was settled by the second quarter of the 2nd millennium BCE by an Indonesian-Filipino people. Archaeological research shows that by 800 CE they had developed a complex society that erected elaborate stone pillars (halege), which served as supports for communal houses (latte).

      Ferdinand Magellan (Magellan, Ferdinand) probably landed on Guam in 1521. Spain officially claimed the island in 1565 but did not attempt to conquer it until the latter part of the 17th century. After an uprising in 1670 and 25 years of intermittent warfare, the Spanish subdued the population with considerable bloodshed. Diseases introduced by the Europeans, particularly smallpox and influenza, also played an important role in the decimation of the population. Typhoons in 1671 and 1693 caused further destruction and loss of life. Guam remained a Spanish possession until 1898, when, in the course of the Spanish-American War, the U.S. warship Charleston steamed into Apra Harbor and bombarded the old fort. Guam was ceded to the United States, and Spain sold the other islands of the Marianas to Germany in 1899. From that time until 1950 (except for the period of its occupation by the Japanese during World War II) the governor of the island was a naval officer appointed by the president of the United States.

      During World War II the Japanese landed on Guam just after the Pearl Harbor attack and occupied the island by Dec. 12, 1941. Allied forces retook Guam by Aug. 10, 1944. It was a major air and naval base for the squadrons of bombers that attacked Japan near the end of the war. Under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Navy, it was made a territory (1950) that was administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Various offices within that department have administered Guam; the Office of Insular Affairs has had responsibility since 1995. Guam remains the site of major U.S. naval and air bases; about one-third of the land in Guam is owned by the U.S. armed forces.

      In the 1970s Guam gradually began to move toward representative self-government. The first popularly elected governor ran for office in 1970, and in 1972 Guam was given the right to send one nonvoting delegate (entitled to vote in committees, however) to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1978 the U.S. Senate accorded Guam the right to adopt a territorial constitution. In 1982, in a referendum offering six options, the option of commonwealth status won a plurality of votes. A draft Commonwealth Act was approved in 1987, and continuing negotiations with the United States took place through the late 20th century. Anderson Air Force Base was expanded in the 1990s, and in 2000 it became the first U.S. Air Force installation outside the continental United States to store conventional air-launched cruise missiles. In 2002 another typhoon struck Guam; it caused devastation across the island and left thousands homeless.

Dirk Anthony Ballendorf Sophie Foster

Additional Reading
Laura Thompson, Guam and Its People, 3rd rev. ed. (1947, reprinted 1969), is dated but remains a valuable source. An overview of economics, politics, and industry is given in William Lutz, Guam (1987). Historical works include Timothy P. Maga, Defending Paradise: The United States and Guam, 1898–1950 (1988); and Robert F. Rogers, Guam's Commonwealth Effort 1987–1988 (1988). Guam in World War II is discussed in Tony Palomo, An Island in Agony (1984). Robert F. Rogers, Destiny's Landfall: A History of Guam (1995), is an invaluable resource that covers the period from the first European contact to the 1990s.Sophie Foster

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Universalium. 2010.

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