The New International Encyclopædia/Guam

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

GUAM, gwäm, or GUAJÁN, gwȧ-Hän′. The largest of the Ladrone Islands (q.v.), lying in the Pacific Ocean, and belonging to the United States. It is the southernmost of the group, and is situated in latitude 13° 30′ N., and longitude 144° 45′ E., about 1500 miles east of Manila, and nearly the same distance southeast of Yokohama. It is 31 miles long and from 5 to 7 miles wide, and has an area of about 195 square miles. The northern half consists of a level and barren plateau 250 feet above the sea, toward which it falls abruptly on all sides; the southern half is mountainous, and the whole island is surrounded by a coral reef, with here and there a break permitting entrance to the harbors, of which the largest and best is that of Apra, on the western coast. The climate is humid, with rain at all seasons, but not unhealthful. The indigenous flora is poor and little varied, the principal trees being the cocoanut-palm and the breadfruit tree. Rice, sugar, and indigo are also cultivated, and the farms are well stocked with domestic animals imported by the Spaniards. Agriculture and fishing are almost the only occupations of the inhabitants, who consist chiefly of aboriginal Chamorros intermixed with Tagalos and Malays. The island is of little importance to the United States except as a naval station and port of transit between America and Asia, to which end the harbor of Apra is being extensively improved. The population, in 1898, numbered 9000, of whom more than half live in the capital, Agaña (q.v.). Guam was captured by the United States cruiser Charleston on June 21, 1898, and by the Treaty of Paris was ceded by Spain to the United States. Consult: Griffis, List of Books (with references to periodicals) on Samoa and Guam (Washington, 1901); Wheeler, Report on the Island of Guam (Washington, 1900).

NIE 1905 Guam, U. S. and dependent territories.jpg