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Guam as Unincorporated Territory of the United States

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Guam

The vast Pacific Ocean stand a silent spectator as development is seen among countries surrounding it together with all the island nations within. This calm and yet ferocious ocean was and is the picture of how the different islands struggles to stand among and be recognized in the world. For 3,500 years, the Chamorros (Guam natives) inhabited the Island now called Guam for several thousand of years they lived, made family and worked to survive until they were colonized.

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The understanding of Guam’s present situation and its struggle to survive the competitive and rigorous world of the 21sth century are well understood in its history, geography, politics, economy, and government.

History
Chamorro (Guam’s native) was believed to be originated in the Indo-Malaya race whose population were found in many Southeast Asian countries and at the same time shared the same language and culture with people of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. In 1521, Pigafetta (Magellan’s historian) wrote that the native were tall, with big bones, robust with tawny brown skin and long black hair and expert in fishing, flower propagation, and hunting (Guam’s History, People and Culture n.

p).

The June 1998 Congressional Record of the Library of Congress supports the historical accounts about the 1556 Spanish King’s claim of Chamorros’ islands, which Magellan renamed in 1521 as Ladrones.  The 1668 Jesuit missionary named Diego Luis de San Vitores named it Mariana and made the island as the way station for the trans-Pacific route of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade and making it as a way station.

The 1898 Treaty of Paris transferred Guam’s government to the United States and because of its location; the island was placed under the US Naval Administration from 1899 to 1940. In World War II, Japan occupied Guam for two and a half years.

Guam’s history states that Americans reclaimed the island on July 21, 1944, with 7,000 U.S. soldier and 11,000 Japanese lives were lost after a three-week of naval bombing. Pres. Harry Truman in 1949 signed a law that made Guam as a part of U.S. territory of the United States with some restrictions on how the island run its government and at the  same time granting American citizenships to its people.

Guam’s Politics
US military bases and aid from American government help Guam’s economy. Since 1949, Guam worked hard for its independence or at least the change of status from a US territory to at least a State; though, not forgetting the help from the Americans in its fight against the Japanese forces (Guam n.p). The change of status of Guam will have many benefits, like more federal funds for improvement of people’s lives, but if it will remain as an unincorporated territory of the United States—progress will be hard to attain.

Guam’s government is headed by a Governor and help by a Lt. Governor. The island has a locally mayors, a state congressman and an appointed judges.

Government

Guam’s present Governor is Felix Camacho and its Lt. Governor is Kaleo Moylan. There 15 state congressman elected and will serve for two years. On the other hand, Guam’s Congressional Delegate to the US Congress in Washington D.C., is not allowed to vote like any other regular members US Congress. There is a lower court-named the Superior Court in Guam and all its decisions can be reviewed by Guam’s Supreme Court. On the other hand, the US District Court decide cases involving federal violation and all its decisions can be reviewed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California.

Geography

The present Guam was formed because of the upward underwater movement of volcanoes several hundred years ago which was surrounded by coral reefs near the shore.  Guam is largest of the islands which is located in the southern most part of the Mariana Archipelago and is located 3,700 miles west-southwest of Honolulu; and 1,500 miles east of Manila.  The high coralline limestone measured 850 feet above sea level is located in the northern part of the island. This part contains the northern water lens which is the main source of fresh water in Guam. The southern region is mountainous with elevations from 700 to 1,300 feet above sea level and the total land mass is 212 square miles (Department of Interior n.p).

Economy

Tourism and rents from military bases are the two main sources of funds for Guam

The island experienced prosperity until 1992 when US military personnel located in the island were sent home, Japanese money collapsed and the 1997 Asian economic crisis. It was in 1997 that Guam experienced a many visitors that visit the island after which it declined a year after. Expecting for an increase in tourism in Asia in the early part of 21st century, Hotel construction were everywhere resulting to a reduced occupancy rates as well as profits (Wikipedia n.p.).

Conclusion

Being an unincorporated territory of the United States wholly dependent on federal help for its survival apart from the profits they earn from tourism and US military bases rents, it is very informative. On the other hand, as Guam continue to depend on American help it will not be able to stand on its own, resulting lose of identity and courage to fight for what it stands for. Guam should look for a solution to improve its economy, government and to look for source of money to be considered independent.

References:

Guam’s History, People and Culture. Guam-online. 01 June 06  <http://www.guam-online.com/people/people.htm>

Library of Congress. “Senate Resolution- 254.” U.S. Congressional Records, 105th CONGRESS, 2d Session, June 24, 1998 (S7021).

Guam. Wikipedia. 01 June 06  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guam?

 

Cite this Guam as Unincorporated Territory of the United States

Guam as Unincorporated Territory of the United States. (2017, Jan 26). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/guam/

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