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Guam Facts

Guam Facts

Guam is a small U.S. island territory in the Western Pacific. It’s known for tropical beaches, native Chamorro culture, Spanish colonial heritage, and playing a significant role in World War II.

guam-seal

Quick Facts

  • Capital: Hagåtña
  • Population: 163,000
  • Nickname: Island of Warriors
  • Key Cities: Dededo, Hagåtña, Yigo, Tamuning
  • Postal Abbreviation: GU
  • Major Industries: National defense, tourism, construction, food processing

History

  • How did Guam get its name: When sailors from Spain came to Guam, the native Chamorro people would run out to their ships to sell fruit, calling “Guahan!” “Guahan” means “I have,” and it sounded like “Guam” to the Spanish sailors, who named the island after this greeting.
  • Date admitted to the Union: Guam became a U.S. territory in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. On August 1, 1950, the Organic Act of Guam gave U.S. citizenship to all Guamanians (people born in Guam).

Geography

  • Size: 210 sq. miles
  • Lowest point: Pacific Ocean at sea level
  • Highest point: Mount Lamlam at 1,334 ft.
  • Counties: 19 (called villages)
  • Famous locations: Two Lovers Point, Underwater World, Tumon Beach, Cetti Bay Overlook, Fort Nuestra Senora de la Soledad, Pacific National Historical Park

Famous Guamanians  

  • Ann Curry- journalist/TV personality
  • Joe Duarte- mixed martial artist
  • Pia Mia- singer
  • Benjamin Alves- actor
  • Donovan Patton- actor
  • Allan Brocka- television and film director

Fun Facts

  • Surprisingly, there is no sand on the island of Guam. The beaches are covered in coral instead of sand, and paved roads in Guam are made by mixing coral and cement. Guam’s coral reefs provide more than $20 million to the island’s economy.
  • Just four hours after Pearl Harbor was bombed during WWII, Guam was bombed too. It’s a Pacific Army base for the United States and is home to the Guam Pacific War Museum. Visitors can see weapons, helmets, and personal belongings of soldiers from both the United States and Japan.
  • It’s said that the island of Guam is shaped like a footprint. It’s about 30 miles long, and its width varies from 4 to 12 miles at different points.

guam-shape

  • Like Puerto Ricans, Guamanians are U.S. citizens but cannot vote in U.S. elections. They have delegate in Congress, but this delegate is also non-voting.
  • A popular slogan in Guam is “where the American day begins.” Guam is the first place where the sun rises on U.S. soil and is about 14 hours ahead of the U.S. east coast.
  • The dominant language in Guam is Chamorro, the language of the island’s native people. Although it is similar to Spanish, Chamorro is an Austronesian language spoken by around 58,000 people. English is also spoken on the island.

More US state facts.