‘Where America’s day begins’
Located in the North Pacific Ocean in a region geographically known as Micronesia, Guam is the largest, southernmost and most populous of the Mariana islands.
Today Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States of America and is home to America’s military base in the western Pacific. The military command comprising of Anderson Airforce Base and Naval Base Guam occupies about one third of the island. Guamanian is the term for the inhabitants of Guam who are American citizens by birth and Chamorro is the name for the indigenous people of all the Mariana Islands.
The Mariana islands have been inhabited for thousands of years and the Chamorro people are one of the oldest Pacific Island cultures. The history of Guam and it’s people is complex and unique, over the past 400 years the island was ruled by Spain, Japan and America. Ferdinand Magellan a Portuguese explorer arrived in Guam in 1521 and this is the first known contact between the Chamorro and the Europeans however the island was not officially claimed by Spain until 1565. Spain ceded the island to the U.S in 1898 during the Spanish American War. During World War II, not long after the attack on Pearl Harbour, the Japanese invaded Guam and held it from 1941 until 1944 when they surrendered to the U.S after weeks of heavy battle.
The Chamorro people showed an amazing amount of resilience in adapting to so many historical, cultural and political changes over all the years and Chamorro culture remains strong. Delicious traditional cuisine, fiestas, barbeques, arts, music and dance are all integral aspects of the island lifestyle.
Hafa Adai is “hello” in Chamorro language, it is a very friendly and welcoming greeting and is frequently seen and heard all over the island. Guam is known for it’s stunning beaches, clear pristine waters, friendly people and world famous sunsets!