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Guam: Where America's Day Begins

World  (tags: Guam, people, places, travel )

- 1575 days ago -
Most likely, you have heard of the island of Guam, but outside of that, there might not be much known about where in the world it is located, or anything else regarding the island.

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Kit B (276)
Thursday January 30, 2014, 8:35 pm
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Most likely, you have heard of the island of Guam, but outside of that, there might not be much known about where in the world it is located, or anything else regarding the island. There are many facts to be known about the island of Guam, all of which not only are going to help you locate the island on a map, but if you ever decide to visit the location, you know more about the island, before you set foot there.

--5 Facts You Might Not Know

1) Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States. It is also one of five territories owned by the United States. It is also one of the 16 non-self governing territories recognized by the United Nations.

2) Guam is located in the South Pacific. It is closer to Hawaii than any other area of the United States, although it is still fairly separated from any other large land mass.

3) Guam played a principle role in World War II. Guam was the only location the United States owned and operated, outside of Hawaii that far west, and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese invaded and took the island, holding it for two and a half years, before the United States took it back.

4) Guam makes most of its money off of tourism. Despite being owned by the United States, it is still rather far away from the mainland, so the main group of tourists are Japanese that visit. Outside of this, Guam brings in most of its other revenue from the United States military, which still runs a base and some operations out of the small island.

5) Guam is the largest island in Micronesia. Micronesia is a grouping of island throughout the South Pacific, and because many of these islands are either uninhabited, territories of other countries (mostly European countries), or are just small, independent islands, the islands are grouped together in order to better show the location of the islands on the map. Guam is only 209 square miles in size, and as this is the largest island, all others are considerably smaller.

Also know as The Rock by military families, too much island time causes island fever, a need to travel.


Guam is the southernmost island in the Mariana Islands chain. The Chamorro people and their language are indigenous throughout the archipelago.

Location and Geography.
Guam, the largest island in Micronesia, is fifteen hundred miles southeast of Tokyo and six thousand miles west of San Francisco. It has an area of 212 square miles, (550 square kilometers). A high limestone plateau forms the northern regions. The southern region is of volcanic origin, with a mountainous terrain of red clay hills, waterfalls, rivers, and streams.

Emergence of the Nation.
In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan landed on Guam. In 1565, Spain claimed the Mariana Islands, but a colonial settlement was not founded until 1668. After four years of conflict, the leader of the Jesuit mission was killed by Chamorros, leading to thirty years of warfare. Spain maintained a colonial presence until 1898, and contemporary Chamorro culture evidences much Hispanic influence, particularly the preeminence of the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1898, the United States military replaced Spanish rule as a consequence of the Spanish-American War. For the next fifty years, the United States Navy ruled in a nondemocratic, authoritarian fashion. The entire island was designated a naval base, and villagers were expected to conform to naval standards of hygiene and decorum. No political or civil rights were granted to the people until after World War II.

Japanese military forces invaded in 1944. For two and a half years, the Chamorro were forced to provide food and labor to the Japanese military.

The 1944 U.S. military campaign to reoccupy Guam resulted in many ambivalent encounters. Chamorros were elated to see their lives restored to postwar normalcy, but many were disappointed when their lands were seized by the U.S. military. By 1948, the U.S. military and other federal agencies

Food in Daily Life.
Food is a significant part of the cultural economy, reflecting an affinity with the land. Sharing food is part of a system of reciprocity based on a sense of perpetual interpersonal obligation. Daily foods include traditional staples such as rice, fish, breadfruit, and taro, in addition to growing quantities of imported foods such as canned goods, and fresh and frozen meats and vegetables, readily available for purchase at local grocery stores.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions.
Each village celebrates the feast day of its patron saint. These fiestas draw large crowds, with prolific amounts of food prepared for reciprocal exchanges among clan members and friends. Killing a pig or cow and preparing vegetable and seafood dishes are typical aspects of a fiesta.

Basic Economy.
By circulating items of food and other material goods, and lending support when labor is needed, Chamorros maintain and strengthen links of kin and friendship. During funerals, family members and friends give food, service, and money for nine days after the death. The family of the deceased acknowledges this support by reciprocating with money, goods, or services when those families are in need.

Guam's modern economy revolves around a growing cash sector and wage labor employment, particularly in the government and tourist industries. Guam's national currency is the U.S. dollar, and U.S. federal government spending and local government expenditures fuel Guam's domestic spending.

Political Life

In 1950, civil and political rights were granted to the Chamorro people through the passage of an Organic Act for Guam by the United States Congress, which also granted U.S. citizenship to the Chamorro. Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States. Political life revolves around articulating, explaining, and defining Guam's ambiguous relationship with the United States. The Organic Act established a unicameral legislature, a superior court, and a governor.

Leadership and Political Officials.
Leaders are elected and are predominantly of Chamorro ethnicity. These political officials come from the Democratic and Republican parties of Guam. These parties emerged in the 1970s along cultural rather than ideological lines. Party politics express historical clan rivalries more than differences in political ideology.

Social Problems and Control.
Uncontrolled population increases have contributed to a diminished level of social welfare in the last decade. Overcrowded schools, hospitals, housing areas, and prisons reflect the social problems of overpopulation. Unresolved land problems, unrestrained immigration, and indigenous rights issues, along with substance abuse and domestic violence, are significant sources of tension.

Military Activity.
The U.S. Navy and Air Force occupy one-third of the land and account for approximately 20 percent of the population. An air force base, a naval base, and a naval communications center form the largest concentration of military resources on the island.

Medicine and Health Care
Since World War II, American-trained and licensed doctors and nurses have been the prevalent health care professionals. Chamorro health care specialists continue to practice health care, using a variety of homemade herbal medicines and massage techniques.

Secular Celebrations
American colonialism introduced secular celebrations such as Veterans' Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The most widely celebrated secular holiday is Liberation Day, commemorated each year on 21 July to observe the retaking of Guam by the U.S. military in 1944. A parade with floats and marching bands is staged to honor military veterans and Chamorros who lived through years of wartime terror.
National Identity.
Chamorros have a dual identity as the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands and a part of the United States. The value of inafa'maolek , literally translates as "to make good" and connotes a spirit of interdependence and cooperation. This concept bonds people to the idea that residents can live peacefully and productively when they act in the interests of the group rather than the individual.

Ethnic Relations.
After the 1970s, ethnic tension between Chamorros and Filipinos became pronounced. Today, there is tension between a growing population of islanders from the Federated States of Micronesia and various indigenous groups. These tensions are exhibited more in the form of racial jokes than in violent acts.

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David C (25)
Thursday January 30, 2014, 9:45 pm
> Guam: Where America's Day Begins
Oh, really? And silly me was thinking this is where the bomber carrying "Little Boy" took off from.
Nope. Nearby: Tinian that was.

pam w (139)
Friday January 31, 2014, 9:30 am
One of the places still on my BUCKET LIST!

Nicole W (646)
Friday January 31, 2014, 10:08 am
ty dear Kit for always bringing the world closer

Malgorzata Zmuda (198)
Friday January 31, 2014, 12:31 pm
dzięki za info

Barbara K (60)
Friday January 31, 2014, 1:43 pm
Wow, what a beautiful place. Would love to visit this place, my friend. Just may not come back. lol.

Birgit W (160)
Friday January 31, 2014, 1:52 pm
Thanks for sharing Kit.

Mary Donnelly (47)
Friday January 31, 2014, 2:56 pm
Thanks for another great post Kit.

. (0)
Friday January 31, 2014, 4:03 pm
Outside the role Guam played in WWII, I knew little about it. Today, it looks just incredible-thanks.

Sheri Schongold (7)
Friday January 31, 2014, 4:42 pm
Thank you for info. I guess I never realized what a beautiful island Guam is.

JL A (281)
Friday January 31, 2014, 6:57 pm
The title made me want to end my day with this one...beautiful

Past Member (0)
Saturday February 1, 2014, 12:37 am
I knew very lil about Guam but it sure looks lovely! Thx 4 the trip Kit.

Marija M (29)
Saturday February 1, 2014, 6:07 am
Lovely, tks for the journey, Kit

Kerrie G (116)
Saturday February 1, 2014, 6:23 am
Noted, thanks.

Julia Staten (0)
Saturday February 1, 2014, 12:18 pm
m­­­y ­­­neighbor­­­'s mot­­­her-i­­­n-law mak­­­es $­­­80 an ­­­hour on the lap­­­top . She has been out of a job­­­ fo­­­r eig­­­ht m­­­onths b­­­ut last ­­­month­­­ h­­­er paym­­­ent w­­­as­­­ $1753­­­9­­­ ju­­­st wor­­­king on­­­ ­­­the ­­­lap­­­top f­­­o­­­r a few­­­ hour­­­s. ch­­­eck ­­­this­­­ sit­­­e o­­­ut ­­­

Arlene C (42)
Saturday February 1, 2014, 5:13 pm

Frans B (582)
Monday February 3, 2014, 3:06 am
paradise....thanks for these incredible journeys Kit ♥

Vallee R (280)
Monday February 3, 2014, 1:19 pm
Thanks Kit - these are great ideas= can't wait to go to Guatemala - my daughter's father was from there -
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