Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of sixteen Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United Nations.
Guam was ceded to the US by Spain in 1898. Captured by the Japan ese in 1941, it was retaken by the US three years later. The military installations on the island are some of the more strategically important US bases in the Western Pacific.
More than 1 million tourists visit Guam each year. The industry has recently suffered setbacks because of the continuing Japanese slowdown; the Japanese normally make up almost 90% of the tourists. However, Guam tourism is branching out to attract people from other Asian countries such as Korea and China. Most food and industrial goods are imported. The possibility of a large military buildup has generated a lot of interest in increasing the tourist facilities on the island.
The other pillar of our economy, the US Military, is currently making tremendous amounts of investment into Guam. This is due in part to the transfer of the Okinawa based Marines and their families to the island. In addition, the military will be constructing many new facilities to accommodate this increased growth in the Pacific Rim.
Guam has two primary pillars in its economy, which are Tourism and Military. While tourism has been the primary driver of the island's economy for the last three decades, the government of Guam and leaders in the private sector have jointly made aggressive strides in creating an environment conducive to the development of other industries, such as financial services, telecommunications and transportation.
The largest military installation, Andersen Air Force Base, was used by B-52 bombers during the Vietnam War in the early 1970s. Nuclear attack submarines are based on the island.
The tropical island of Guam, a US territory in the western Pacific, is a keystone of American military strategy in the region.
Guam is governed under the 1950 Organic Act of Guam. The president of the United States is the head of state. The government is headed by a governor, who is popularly elected for a four-year term and is eligible for a second term. Members of the unicameral 15-seat Legislature are popularly elected for two-year terms.
Guamanians are U.S. citizens but cannot vote in U.S. elections. Guam's permanent inhabitants are predominantly of native Chamorro stock (37%) or Filipino descent (26%); the rest of the population mainly consists of other Pacific Islanders, Caucasians, and other persons of Asian descent.
Ominously, Guam is in a sector of the Pacific Ocean known as 'Typhoon Alley'; typhoons are said to hit the island once every eight years, usually during October and November. The most recent occurrence was in 2002, when Supertyphoon Pongsona stalled over Guam for a full day, with wind speeds of 180km/h that levelled over 1000 homes and killed four people.
Guam has a uniform climate: warm and humid throughout the year. Daily temperatures average a low of 22°C and a high of 30°C. The dry season (January to late April) provides the most pleasant weather, with slightly lower humidity and a monthly rainfall average of just 114mm.