- This article is about the Island of Guam and the United
States territory of Guam. For the Mariana Archipelago, see Mariana Islands. For the Commonwealth of the Northern
Mariana Islands, see Northern Mariana Islands.
Guam ( ; Chamorro: ) is an island in the western
Ocean and is an organized,
unincorporated territory of the United States.
- For GUAM, an eastern European international organization,
Organization for Democracy and Economic Development.
It is one of five U.S. territories
with an established
civilian government. The island's capital is Hagåtña (formerly Agana). Guam is the largest
and southernmost of the Mariana Islands.
, Guam's indigenous people,
first populated the island approximately 4,000 years ago. The
island has a long history of European colonialism
beginning on March
6, 1521 with the arrival of Ferdinand
and again in 1668, when the first Spanish colony was
established following the arrival of settlers including Padre San Vitores
, a Catholic
. The island was controlled by
until 1898, when it was
surrendered to the United States as part of the Treaty of Paris
following Spanish-American War
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
During the occupation, the people of Guam suffered terrible
atrocities, 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
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 . 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
believed that Guam was first discovered by people from southeastern
Indonesia around 2000 BCE.
Most of what is known about
Pre-Contact ("Ancient") Chamorros
from legends and myths, archaeological evidence, Jesuit
missionary accounts, and observations from
visiting scientists like Otto von
and Louis de
When Europeans first arrived on Guam, Chamorro society had three
(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 Sail
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
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" (BCE
2000? to A.D. 1) "Transitional Pre-Latte" (CE. 1 to CE 1000), and
"Latte" (CE. 1000 to CE 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
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
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
(Philippines). Guam, along with the rest of the Mariana and
Islands, were treated as part of Spain's colony in the
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
The Spanish-American War and World War II
The United States took control
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.
The Japanese Empire-1942
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
on July 21, 1944, to recapture the island from Japanese
military occupation. More than 18,000 Japanese were killed as only
485 surrendered. Corporal Shoichi
, who surrendered in January 1972, appears to have been
the last confirmed Japanese holdout
in Guam. To this day, Guam remains the only U.S. soil with a
sizable population to have been occupied by a foreign military
power, since the War of 1812
. The United
States also captured and occupied the Northern Marianas. After the
war, the Guam Organic Act of
, established Guam as an unincorporated organized territory
of the United
States, provided for the structure of the island's civilian
government, and granted the people U.S. citizenship. However, to
this day, though they are U.S. citizens, the people of 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.
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 , 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
This island chain was
created by the colliding Pacific and Philippine Sea tectonic
plates. Guam is the closest land mass to the
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 deep.
highest point in Guam is Mount Lamlam, which is 1,332 feet (406 m), and surprisingly, is
also considered the tallest mountain in the world from below sea
level, since it extends in to the Mariana Trench.
The island of Guam is long and to wide. The island
experiences occasional earthquakes due to
its location on the western edge of the Pacific Plate and near the Philippine
In recent years, earthquakes with
epicenters near Guam have had magnitudes ranging from 5.0 to 8.7.
the Anatahan volcano in the Northern
Mariana Islands, Guam is not volcanically active.
due to its proximity to Anatahan, vog
occasionally affect Guam.
The northern part of the island is a forested coralline limestone
plateau while the south contains volcanic peaks covered in forest
and grassland. A coral reef surrounds most of the island, except in
areas where bays exist that provide access to small rivers and
streams that run down from the hills into the Pacific Ocean and
Philippine Sea. The island's population is most dense in the
northern and central regions.
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
) 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 70's and generally lower humidity levels. The highest
risk of typhoons is during October and November. They can occur,
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
, with sustained winds of 125 miles per hour,
which slammed Guam on December 8, 2002, leaving massive
Since Super Typhoon
in 1976, wooden structures have been largely replaced by
concrete structures. During the 1980s wooden utility poles began to
be replaced by typhoon-resistant concrete and steel poles. After
the local Government enforced stricter construction codes, many
home and business owners built their structures out of reinforced
concrete with installed typhoon
According to the U.S. census conducted in 2000, the population of
Guam was 154,805. The 2008 population estimate for Guam is 178,000.
As of 2005, the annual population growth is 1.76%. 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 (2010-2014) will cause an
unprecedented population increase (approximately 40% or nearly
80,000 people at the peak of constructions) which will
significantly impact Guam's very limited and aging infrastructure.
This expected population increase would otherwise occur over a 20
year period. The official languages of the island are English and
visually manifested in dance
, sea navigation
, unique cuisine
, fishing, games
batu, chonka, estuleks, and bayogu), songs
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
of their conversion to Roman Catholic Christianity through Catálogo alfabético
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'
. Chenchule' is the
intricate system of reciprocity at the heart of Chamorro society.
It is rooted in the core value of inafa’maolek. Historian Lawrence
Cunningham in 1992 wrote, "In a Chamorro sense, the land and its
produce belong to everyone. , or interdependence, is the key, or
central value, in Chamorro culture … depends on a spirit of
cooperation and sharing. This is the armature, or core, that
everything in Chamorro culture revolves around. It is a powerful
concern for mutuality rather than individualism
and private property
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
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
(a string musical
instrument made from a gourd), fashioning of slings and
manufacture, burial rituals,
and preparation of herbal medicines
Master craftsmen and women specialize in weavings, including
plaited work (niyok
- and åkgak
-leaf baskets, mats, bags, hats, and food
-woven material (kalachucha-hibiscus
fiber skirts, belts and burial shrouds), and
body ornamentation (bead and shell necklaces, bracelets, earrings,
belts and combs made from tortoise
The cosmopolitan nature of modern Guam poses challenges for
Chamorros struggling to preserve their culture and identity amidst
forces of acculturation. The increasing numbers of Chamorros,
especially Chamorro youth, relocating to the U.S. Mainland has
further complicated both definition and preservation of Chamorro
identity. While only a few masters exist to continue traditional
art forms, the resurgence of interest among the Chamorros to
preserve the language and culture has resulted in a growing number
of young Chamorros who seek to continue the ancient ways of the
Government and politics
Guam is governed by a popularly elected governor
and a unicameral
, whose members are
known as senators. Guam elects one non-voting delegate, currently
Madeleine Z. Bordallo
, to the United States House of
. 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
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.
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
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.
Guam's citizens continue to have a real desire to be brought more
fully into the American political system. Two political aspects
that have not been realized include the inability of Guam's
non-voting delegate to have a vote on the Floor of the U.S. House
of Representatives. Islanders also desire to have a vote for the
President of the United States. Both of these political rights are
still not available to those who are citizens of Guam.
Villages and military bases
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 , 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.
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.
Image:2009_GU_Proof.png|2009 Guam Quarter
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,
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.
Significant sources of revenue include duty-free
designer shopping outlets, and the
American-style malls: Micronesia
, Guam Premier Outlets
the Agana Shopping Center
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.
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
In 2003, Guam had a 14% unemployment rate, and
the government suffered a $314 million shortfall.
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. Over the years,
Congress had appropriated "Compact Impact" aids to Guam, the
Mariana Islands and Hawaii, and
eventually this appropriation was written into each renewed
Some, however, continue to claim the compensation
is not enough or that the distribution of actual compensation
received is significantly disproportionate.
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
added to the North
American Numbering Plan in 1997 (country code 671 became NANP
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
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
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
Guam Customs and Quarantine
is served by the Antonio
B. Won Pat
International Airport, which is a regional hub for Continental Micronesia.
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
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
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.
Guam exemplifies the effects of bioinvasion
The brown tree snake
Thought to be a stowaway
on a U.S. military
transport near the end of World War II, the brown tree snake
) 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 treesnakes 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.
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 the brown tree snake, who view birds as food. The koko
bird population, which according to many elders used to be common
in Guam prior to World War II, are no longer around. This, in large
part, has been due to the brown tree snakes eating the birds.
Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle
Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle
An infestation of the coconut
(CRB), Oryctes rhinoceros, was detected on
Guam on September 12, 2007. CRB is not known to occur in the United
States except in American
Delimiting surveys performed September
13-25, 2007 indicated that the infestation was limited to Tumon Bay
and Faifai Beach, an area of approximately . Guam Department of
Agriculture (GDA) placed quarantine on all properties within the
Tumon area on October 5 and later expanded the quarantine to about
on October 25; approximately 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
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 ofadult
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,
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
detector dogs and their 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 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.
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
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 in 2002
leading to organized protests from island residents.
Other introduced species include cane
imported in 1937, the giant African snail
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
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
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
coconut palms, was first observed on the island in 1917 when
production was still a major part of
Guam's economy. Though coconut plantations no longer exist on the
island, the dead and infected trees that have resulted from the
epidemic are seen throughout the forests of Guam. Also during the
past century, the dense forests of northern Guam have been largely
replaced by thick tangan tangan
-native to the Americas). Much of Guam's
foliage was lost during World War II
In 1947, the U.S. military introduced tangan tangan
seeding the island from the air to prevent erosion
. In southern Guam, non-native grass species
also dominate much of the landscape.
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
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.
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.
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.
As a vacation spot for scuba divers
efforts have been made to protect Guam's coral reef habitats from
, eroded silt
, and overfishing
have led to decreased fish populations. In recent years the
Department of Agriculture, Division of Aquatic and Wildlife
Resources has established several new marine preserves where fish
populations are monitored by biologists. Prior to adopting U.S.
standards, portions of Tumon Bay were
dredged by the hotel chains in order to provide a better experience
for hotel guests. Tumon Bay has since been made into a preserve. A
federal Guam National Wildlife Refuge in northern Guam protects the
decimated sea turtle
addition to a small colony of Mariana
Guam Green Sea Turtle
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
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.
Colleges and universities
of Guam and Guam
Community College, both fully-accredited by the Western Association
of Schools and Colleges, offer courses in higher
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
serves the entire island of Guam. In 2000, 32,000
students attended Guam's public schools. Guam Public Schools have
struggled with problems such as high dropout rates and poor test
scores. Guam's educational system has always faced unique
challenges as a small community located from the U.S. mainland with
a very diverse student body including many students who come from
backgrounds without traditional American education. An economic
downturn in Guam since the mid-1990s has compounded the problems in
September 1997, the U.S. Department of Defense partnered with Guam Board of Education.
In September 1997 the DoDEA opened its own schools for children of
military personnel. DoDEA
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.
Guam Public Library
operates the Nieves M. Flores Memorial Library in Hagåtña and five branch libraries.
Government of Guam maintains Guam
Memorial Hospital in Tamuning.
In addition the U.S. Naval Hospital is
located in Agana Heights
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) came to an
agreement with Guam officials in August 2009 to create a hospital
with a scheduled open date in 2012. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
- " U.S. Territories." DOI Office of Insular
Affairs. February 9, 2007.
- " DEFINITIONS OF INSULAR AREA POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS."
Office of Insular Affairs.
Accessed October 31, 2008.
- Kristof, Nicholas D. "Shoichi Yokoi, 82, Is Dead; Japan Soldier Hid 27
Years," New York Times. September 26, 1997.
- "Geography of Guam," Official site of Guam,
November 8, 2007Retrieved November 8, 2007.
page of the Anahatan volcano," USGS-CNMI, November 8,
2007Retrieved November 8, 2007.
- "Guam," CIA World Factbook, April 17,
2007, Retrieved April 19, 2007.
- . "Guam Summary File," American
FactFinder, Census 2000 Guam, Retrieved April 19, 2007.
- EIS: 79,178 new people on island by 2014, Pacific Daily
- Guam Visitors Bureau Tourist Statistics
- Territory of Guam Fire Assessment January 2004,
- Welcome to the
Guam Public School System!
- " Rats, other problems face Guam schools."
Pacific Stars and Stripes.
October 3, 1993.