30 Interesting Facts About Guam

Last updated on March 8th, 2020

Guam, officially the Republic of Guam, is an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States in Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. It has an area of 544 square km. Hagåtña is its capital and Dededo is its largest city. English is its official language and the United States dollar is its official currency. It has no land bordering countries/regions.

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 (post traumatic 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. The country is a strategic Army base for the U.S. in the Pacific.

Guam Pacific War Museum.
Guam Pacific War Museum.

20. 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.

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

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

23. 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

24. The country is the largest island in Micronesia.

25. Guam was a Spanish colony for 300 years.

Tropical Tumon Bay in the tropical Pacific island of Guam, famous for its snorkeling.
Tropical Tumon Bay in the tropical Pacific island of Guam, famous for its snorkeling.

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

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

28. Guam observes only two national holidays.

29. 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.

Guam on the map

30. 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 – the 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
Land area544 sq km
three times the size of Washington, DC
Population169,086 (2022 est.)
Official LanguageEnglish & Chamorro
BordersIsland nation (No land borders)
CurrencyUnited States dollar (USD)
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Life expectancy at birth77.5 years (2022)
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
Lowest pointPacific Ocean 0 m
Highest pointMount Lamlam 406 m
Natural resourcesaquatic wildlife (supporting tourism), fishing (largely undeveloped)
Agricultural land33.4%
Birth rate18.56 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)
Death rate6.03 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)
Sex ratio1.06 male(s)/female (2022 est.)
Government typepresidential democracy; a self-governing unincorporated territory of the US
President Joe Biden (D)
GovernorLou Leon Guerrero (D)
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 (2016 est.)
Internet country code.gu
Time ZoneChamorro Standard Time (UTC+10)
Calling Code+1-671
Drives on theRight
Table last updatedAugust 01, 2022