Asia

Guam territory profile

  • 23 November 2016
  • From the section Asia
Map of Guam Image copyright bbc

The US territory of Guam is a keystone of American military strategy in the Pacific.

Tourism and an expanding military presence form the bedrock of its economy.

The island is an important staging post, allowing rapid access to potential flashpoints in the Koreas and in the Taiwan Strait.

Washington plans to move thousands of troops to Guam from the Japanese island of Okinawa as part of a global realignment of its military.

This proposed build-up of US forces has brought the issue of the island's future political status to the fore in recent years,

Its official status is a "non-incorporated territory". Despite being US citizens, Guamanians lack voting rights in US elections.

The indigenous Chamorro are a people of mixed Micronesian, Spanish and Filipino descent but the diverse population also includes Japanese, Chinese, and incomers from other Pacific islands.

FACTS

Guam

US overseas territory

  • Population 184,000

  • Area 541 sq km (209 sq miles)

  • Major language English, Chamorro (both official)

  • Major religion Christianity

  • Life expectancy 74 years (men), 79 years (women)

  • Currency US dollar

LEADER

Head of state: Barack Obama

Governor: Eddie Calvo

Eddie Calvo, a Republican, was elected in November 2010 and took office in January 2011.

He said bringing down the territory's budget deficit was his immediate priority and ordered a tough austerity programme to achieve this.

This included a cut in pay for both himself and all senior government officials.

The governor is elected to a four-year term. Although they are US citizens, residents of Guam do not vote in US national elections.

MEDIA

Broadcasting on Guam is regulated by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

By June 2016 there were 112,196 internet users (InternetWorldStats).

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Guam has a diverse population, including indigenous Chamorro, a people of mixed Mirconesian, Spanish and Filipino descent

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