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Guam

Map Courtesy CIA World Factbook

The Territory of Guam (Guåhån in Chamorro) is an island in the Western Pacific Ocean and is an organized unincorporated territory of the United States. Its indigenous people are the Chamorros, who first inhabited the island approximately 3,500 years ago. The capital is Hagåtña, formerly Agana (pronounced Agaña). Guam's economy is mainly supported by tourism (particularly from Japan) and its United States armed forces base. The latter takes up one-third of the entire land mass of the island. The United Nations Committee on Decolonization includes Guam on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Guam's history of colonialism is the longest along the Pacific islands, starting with Ferdinand Magellan's visit in 1521 during his around the world voyage. The island became an important resting stop on the Spanish trade route between the Philippines and Mexico.

The United States took control of the island in 1898 after the Battle of Guam of 1898 in the Spanish-American War. Guam came to serve as a way station for American ships traveling to and from the Philippines.

During World War II, Guam was attacked and invaded by the Japanese armed forces in 1941. The United States came back in the Battle of Guam in 1944 to recapture the island from Japanese military occupation.

In the early 1960s, the United States granted U.S. citizenship to the Chamorro people and gradually the island obtained semi-autonomous status through the Organic Act.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Guam".