Guam Place and People

Guam map

Guam: the place

Guam is the largest island in Marianas chain in the Western Pacific. It is approximately 30 miles long and 4 to 8 miles wide. The island of Guam is located at 10 degrees N. It is volcanic in the north and limestone in the south.

There have been marked changes in landscape due to humans, wars, and typhoons. Guam has been a US possession since the Spanish-American war, and became a US Territory in 1945.

Guam: the people

The Chamorros populated Guam around 1500 BC, arriving from Malaysia. There may have been as many as 50,000 Chamorros on Guam when Magellan arrived in 1573. The population declined and by the mid 1700s, there were fewer than 1,000 adult men. Repopulation included an admixture due to intermarriage with Filipinos, and to an extent Spanish settlers and whalers. After WW II there was greater movement within Guam, and also substantial emigration. Chamorros now number 45,000 out of 140,000.