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The island of Guam, which is called Guahan in the Chamorro language; it is an unincorporated U.S. territory. It is the most southern of the Mariana Islands and is located in the western Pacific Ocean, about three fourths of the way between Hawaii and the Philippines.

It is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States. Geographically speaking, the island is located around 1,500 miles to south of Japan, 1,400 miles to east of the Philippines, 2,000 miles to north of Australia and 3,800 miles to west of Hawaii. It is about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippine. Guam shares most of the rights of Americans and is one of the five US territories that have an established civilian government.

Guam is the largest of the Mariana Islands. The highest point in Guam is Mount Lamlam. Settlement in the Mariana Islands dates back around three and a half thousand years. It is thought that early migrants to the Marianas, which are known as the Chamarro and it was from Southeast Asia.


The economy depends on US military spending, tourism, and the export of fish and handicrafts. Over the past 20 years, the tourist industry has grown rapidly, creating a construction boom for new hotels and the expansion of older ones. 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. Most food and industrial goods are imported.

Wildfires plague the forested areas of Guam every dry season despite the island's humid climate. Most fires are man-caused with 80 percent resulting from arson. Poachers often start fires to attract deer to the new growth. Invasive grass species that rely on fire as part of their natural life cycle grow in many regularly burned areas.

During the rainy season sediment is carried by the heavy rains into the Fena Lake Reservoir and Ugum River leading to water quality problems for southern Guam. Eroded silt also destroys the marine life in reefs around the island. Soil stabilization efforts by volunteers and forestry workers to plant trees have had little success in preserving natural habitats.

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