31 Interesting Facts About Guam

Last updated on September 11th, 2018

Guam is a small island country with a unique and complex culture. Although it is small in size, Guam plays a crucial, strategic role in U.S. defense. It is also known for its tropical beaches and ancient latte stones. Here is a chance to learn some interesting facts about Guam. Let’s begin!

1. Guam is located in the northwestern Pacific Ocean and was formerly known as the Territory of Guam.

2. The island was first visited by the Portuguese (learn some interesting facts about Portugal) explorer Ferdinand Magellan on March 6, 1521, while sailing for the King of Spain.

3. Guamanians get American citizenship by birth under Title 8 of the U.S. Code. However, the downside is that in the United States, the people of Guam are not given the full range of opportunities that many native-born Americans are given.

4. There is a beach in Guam known as ‘The Gun Beach.’ The beach also houses Guam’s largest beach bar.

Japanese Guns on the Beach of Agat Bay Guam
Japanese Guns on the Beach of Agat Bay Guam. Image credit – amanderson2

5. Would you believe the fact that Guam does not have sand? Yes, this is true! What you see on the beaches is coral, not sand. Paved roads in Guam are also made by mixing coral and cement together.

6. As per a study, the coral cover on Guam declined from 19 percent to 10 percent from 2003 to 2011. The coral reefs are estimated to be responsible for providing more than $20 million to Guam’s economy.

7. Did you know that a Japanese soldier hid in Guam’s jungle for nearly three decades? The soldier was waiting for the war to end; however, he spent the time unaware that the war had already ended. The soldier was discovered in 1972, and soon he went back to his home country, eventually getting married. Surprisingly, this soldier visited Guam several times, even after marriage.

8. The economy of the country is supported by tourism and the United States Armed Forces.

9. The descendants of Austronesian people are the original inhabitants of Guam.

10. The U.S. House of Representatives has a member from Guam; however, that person is a non-voting delegate.

Flag of Guam

Flag of Guam
Flag of Guam. Image source – CIA

11. Guam is also known as the “Island of Warriors.”

12. Guamanians have to fly 4000 miles to Hawaii to receive PTSD treatment (posttraumatic stress disorder).

13. Guam is located roughly 7,000 miles from the U.S. mainland.

14. Guam was also bombed after the attack (just over four hours) on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941). The lives of 7,000 Americans and 17,500 Japanese were lost during the battle.

15. Japan renamed the island “Omiya Jima” meaning “Great Shrine Island” during their siege between 1941 and 1944.

16. The capital city (Hagåtña, formely Agana) of the country is believed to be one of the oldest ‘European’ cities in the Pacific.

17. Also known as ‘ifit,’ the official tree of Guam is ‘ifil.’

Brown tree snakes
The Brown tree snakes from the island. Image credit – U.S. Department of Agriculture

18. Did you know that there were thousands of brown tree snakes on the island per every person during World War II?

19. ‘ABC’ is the name of a famous beach club in Guam (Alupang Beach Club).

20. The country is a strategic Army base for the U.S. in the Pacific.

21. The Guam Pacific War Museum, established by the late Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran John Gerber in 2011, is a great place to see artifacts like weapons, helmets and personal belongings of the soldiers of the Allied forces and Japan.

22. Guam is also one of the five U.S. territories that have an established civilian government.

23. About 99% of the foreign workers on the island come from the Philippines.

24. In 1957, a UFO was spotted in the skies of Guam by 1st Lt. Ted Brunson from his aircraft. The Lt. tried to follow the UFO, but to no avail. The speed of his aircraft could simply not match that of the UFO, the colonel said.

29th Bomb Group B-29 head shot
Interesting facts about Guam: 29th Bomb Group B-29 head shot airplane, taken on August 17, 1945. Image credit – Sms_S.

Guam facts for kids

25. The country is the largest island in Micronesia.

26. Guam was a Spanish colony for 300 years.

27. Tumon Bay is the most-visited area of the island.

28. ABC is the name of a famous beach club in Guam (Alupang Beach Club).

29. Guam observes only two national holidays.

30. The island nation is roughly the shape of a footprint. It is approximately 30 miles long, and its width varies between 4 and 12 miles at various points.

Map of Guam

Guam Map
Guam Map – looks like a footprint.

31. Ray Robson, one of the youngest players in history to become a Chess Grandmaster, was a Guamanian. Born on October 25, 1994, he defeated a National Master in tournament play at the tender age of nine.

Guam – country at a glance

Capital CityHagåtña (formely Agana)
13.4763° N, 144.7502° E
Largest CityDededo
(13.5453° N, 144.8511° E)
Total area544 sq km
Population167,358 (July 2017 est.)
DemonymGuamanian
Official LanguageEnglish & Chamorro
BordersIsland nation (No land borders)
CurrencyUnited States dollar (USD)
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Life expectancy76 years (2017)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Terrainvolcanic 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 hills in center, mountains in south
Natural resourcesaquatic wildlife (supporting tourism), fishing (largely undeveloped)
Agricultural land33.4%
Birth rate19.7 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Death rate6 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Sex ratio1.03 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
Government typepresidential democracy; a self-governing unincorporated territory of the US
President Donald Trump (R)
GovernorEddie Baza Calvo (R)
Suffrage18 years of age; universal; note - Guamanians are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
National symbolscoconut tree
National holidayDiscovery Day (or Magellan Day), first Monday in March (1521)
National anthem"Fanohge Chamoru" (Stand Ye Guamanians)
National colorsdeep blue, red
Industriesnational defense, tourism, construction, transshipment services, concrete products, printing and publishing, food processing, textiles
Exports$1.124 billion (2016 est.)
transshipments of refined petroleum products, construction materials, fish, foodstuffs and beverages
Imports$2.964 billion (2016 est.)
petroleum and petroleum products, food, manufactured goods
GDP - per capita (PPP)$35,600 (2015 est.)
Internet country code.gu
Time ZoneChamorro Standard Time (UTC+10)
Calling Code+1-671
Drives on theRight
Data sourcesCIA, Wikipedia
Table last updatedJuly 13, 2018