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Published: June 28, 2011


An island territory of the United States in the western Pacific Ocean, midway between the International Date Line and the Philippine Islands and at about the same latitude as the Philippines. It was ceded to the United States by Spain in 1898, following the Spanish-American War. Captured by the Japanese in 1941, it was recaptured in 1944, and in 1950 citizenship was granted to the indigenous Guamanians, or Chamorro, who now constitute less than half the population. Micronesian in origin, they speak their own language, although English is the official language taught in schools. The majority of the nearly 150,000 inhabitants in 1998 were U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force personnel and support staffs. Guam has more than 33,000 students enrolled in its three dozen elementary and five secondary schools. Guam has two institutions of higher education, which serve both the local and military communities: The University of Guam, a four-year liberal arts university with more than 5,000 students and more than 300 faculty, and Guam Community College, with more than 2,000 students and nearly 200 faculty.