Basic Data


Official Country Name: Guam


Region (Map name): Oceania
Population: 154,623
Language(s): English, Chamorro, Japanese
Literacy rate: 99%

Guam, the largest and southernmost island in the Mariana Islands archipelago, is considered the gateway to Micronesia and the hub of the Pacific. The Spanish seized control of the island in 1521, but the United States won control in 1898 following the Spanish-American war. Japan occupied Guam briefly during World War II. Today Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States and hosts one of the most strategically important U.S. military bases in the Pacific. The population is approximately 157,000, and the literacy rate is 99 percent. English is the official language, but Chamorro, the language of the island's indigenous population, is widely spoken, as is Japanese. The U.S. President serves as the chief of state, and a Governor heads the local government. There is a unicameral, 15-seat legislature, and Guam elects one delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. The economy is largely dependent on the U.S. military, but fish and handicraft exports also play a role. The tourism industry is growing, and the island is an especially popular destination for Japanese tourists.

Guam enjoys the press and speech freedoms of the U.S. Constitution. The country's major English-language daily is the Pacific Daily News. It began as the Navy News in 1947, when it was published by the U.S. Navy. Today it is owned by Gannett, boasts a circulation of more than 20,000, and is available online. The Sunday edition is called the Pacific Sunday News. There are several weeklies, many of which target the island's Asian population and Asian tourists. Guam Chinese News is a biweekly community newspaper printed in Chinese. Its circulation is 3,500. Guam Shinbun, a Japanese-language weekly, appears every Friday, boasts a circulation of 20,000, and is available online. Korean language weeklies include Korean Community News, which has a circulation of 2,000, and the Korean News, which has a slightly lower circulation. Guam Shoppers' Guide is an English-language community newspaper that appears every Friday and has a circulation of 20,000. Micro Call is a weekly published by the Communication Department of the University of Guam. Serving the American military community are the weeklies Pacific Crossroads (Navy) and Tropic Topics (Air Force). The Pacific Voice, also a weekly, caters to the Catholic community.

Operating on the island are four AM radio stations, seven FM radio stations, five television stations, and 20 Internet service providers. There are approximately 221,000 radios and 106,000 televisions.


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Jenny B. Davis

Also read article about Guam from Wikipedia

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