Country Fast Facts: Guam


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Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, sailing for the King of Spain, reached the island in 1521 during his circumnavigation of the globe. General Miguel López de Legazpi claimed Guam for Spain in 1565.

Spanish colonisation commenced in 1668 with the arrival of Padre San Vitores, who established the first Catholic mission.

The islands were then governed as part of the Spanish East Indies from the Philippines.

Between 1668 and 1815, Guam was an important resting stop on the Spanish trade route between Mexico and the Philippines.

Guam, along with the rest of the Mariana and Caroline Islands, was treated by Spain as part of their colony in the Philippines.

While Guam's Chamorro culture is unique, the cultures of both Guam and the Northern Marianas were heavily influenced by Spanish culture and traditions.

Guam was ceded to the U.S. by Spain in 1898.

Captured by the Japanese in 1941, it was retaken by the U.S. three years later.

The military installation on the island is one of the most strategically important U.S. bases in the Pacific.

Source: CIA World Fact Book