Asia

Guam territory profile

Map of Guam Image copyright bbc

The US territory of Guam is a keystone of American military strategy in the Pacific.

Tourism and an expanding military presence form the bedrock of its economy.

The island is an important staging post, allowing rapid access to potential flashpoints in the Koreas and in the Taiwan Strait.

Washington plans to move thousands of troops to Guam from the Japanese island of Okinawa as part of a global realignment of its military.

This proposed build-up of US forces has brought the issue of the island's future political status to the fore in recent years,

Its official status is a "non-incorporated territory". Despite being US citizens, Guamanians lack voting rights in US elections.

The indigenous Chamorro are a people of mixed Micronesian, Spanish and Filipino descent but the diverse population also includes Japanese, Chinese, and incomers from other Pacific islands.

FACTS

Guam

US overseas territory

  • Population 184,000

  • Area 541 sq km (209 sq miles)

  • Major language English, Chamorro (both official)

  • Major religion Christianity

  • Life expectancy 74 years (men), 79 years (women)

  • Currency US dollar

LEADER

Head of state: Donald Trump

Governor: Eddie Calvo

Eddie Calvo, a Republican, was elected in November 2010 and was re-elected in 2014.

The governor is elected to a four-year term. Although they are US citizens, residents of Guam do not vote in US national elections.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Guam has a diverse population, including indigenous Chamorro, a people of mixed Mirconesian, Spanish and Filipino descent

MEDIA

Broadcasting on Guam is regulated by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

By June 2016 there were 112,196 internet users (InternetWorldStats).

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Tourism makes a major contribution to the economy

TIMELINE

2000 BC - Guam settled by Indonesian-Filipino people.

Circa 1521 - Explorer Ferdinand Magellan, sailing for the King of Spain, lands on Guam.

1565 - Spain claims the island.

1898 - Guam is ceded to the United States in the Spanish-American War.

1941 - Japan seizes Guam after the Pearl Harbor attack during the Second World War.

1944 - Allied forces retake the island, which becomes an important base from which to attack Japan towards the end of the war.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The US military has various facilities on the island including a naval base, an air force base as well as a hospital

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