About Guam

Posted on December 19th, 2016


Guam’s history is shaped by more than three centuries under Spanish, U.S. and Japanese control. The Spanish laid claim to the island, but the island was ceded to the United States in 1898. In 1941 the Japanese invaded and occupied the island until U.S. forces retook it three years later toward the end of World War II. All these influences have contributed to the diverse and colorful culture found here.

  • Geographic coordinates: 13°28’ N, 144°47’ E.
  • Capital: Hagåtña
  • Territorial bird: Ko’ko — Guam Rail, a native flightless bird.
  • Territorial tree: Ifit, a dense, reddish hardwood.
  • Territorial flower: Puti Tai Nobiu (Bougainvillaea).
  • Climate: Tropical marine; generally warm and humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; dry season from January to June, rainy season from July to December; little seasonal temperature variation.
  • Coolest months: January to February.
  • Coolest months: January to February.
  • Wettest months: July to October.
  • Humidity: Averages between 72 and 86 percent.
  • Terrain: Volcanic in origin, surrounded by coral reefs; relatively flat coralline limestone plateau (source of most fresh water), with steep coastal cliffs and narrow coastal plains in north, low-rising hills in center; mountains in south.
  • Time: One hour behind UTC plus 11 hours; Two hours behind UTC plus 12 hours. Guam lies west of the International Dateline and is one day ahead of Hawaii and the continental United States. It is the westernmost U.S. territory. “Where America’s day begins” is a popular saying.
  • Indigenous population: Chamorro
  • Currency: U.S. dollar

War History

Spain ceded Guam to the United States as part of the Treaty of Paris following the Spanish-American War in 1898. Guam was placed under the administration of the Department of the Navy and was used primarily as a coaling and communication station. That ended in 1941, when the island was invaded and conquered by Japan shortly after Pearl Harbor was bombed.

The island was officially surrendered to the Japanese on Dec. 10, 1941. The occupation of Guam lasted for 31 months, until the United States liberated the island on July 21, 1944.

Liberation Day

On July 21, 1944 — celebrated on Guam as Liberation Day — American forces landed on the beaches of Guam, beginning the battle to retake the island and restore freedom and return democracy to the island and it’s people. Every year the people of the Island take great pride in celebrating Liberation. There is a carnival, packed with games and all sorts of food. It’s the perfect outing for a night with the family. The parade is also an amazing spectacle. All villages, many government agencies, private businesses and other organizations take great pride in constructing floats that showcase what is important to them.