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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.
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.
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 fewer jobs on Guam, and it has lost money.
Land and water
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.
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.
- Guampedia, Guam's Online Encyclopedia
- The Insular Empire: America in the Mariana Islands, PBS documentary film & website
- Guam Portal
- Official Portal for the Island of Guam
- CIA World Factbook information about Guam
- U.S. Census Bureau: Island Areas Census 2000
- Guam at the Open Directory Project
- Portals to the World: Guam from the U.S. Library of Congress
- Wikimedia Atlas of Guam
- KUAM TV/AM/FM
- War in the Pacific – Liberation of Guam
- Guam travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Maps – Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection
- Military: Naval Air Station, Agana (Tiyan) (closed). GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
- Goetzfridt, Nicholas J. (2011) Guahan: A Bibliographic History. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press
- NOAA's National Weather Service - Guam