Guam: America's military base in the western Pacific

Posted August 09, 2017 11:11:37

Within hours of US President Donald Trump threatening North Korea with "fire and fury", the rogue state said its military was "carefully examining" a plan to strike the US Pacific territory of Guam.

So, where is Guam, who lives there and why is it significant?

Guam is a territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean.

The island is 550 square kilometres and has a population of just over 160,000 people.

Guam was captured by the US from Spain in 1898 during the Spanish-American war.

It is in the Micronesia region of the Pacific. It is about 5,300 kilometres north of Sydney. It's also about the same distance from Hawaii.

It is south-east of North Korea, about 3,400 kilometres from Pyongyang.

Who lives there?

All Guamanians are American citizens by birth.

Chamorro people, who are the indigenous peoples of the Mariana Islands, make up nearly 40 per cent of the population and are the biggest ethnic group.

There is also a large population of Filipinos.

Who rules in Guam?

Guam is run by an elected governor, currently Democrat Madeleine Bordallo.

The territory has a 15-member legislature made up of senators.

What is the military presence?

There are said to be about 6,000 US troops on Guam with almost a third of the land controlled by the US military.

The Joint Region Marianas is a US military command combining the Anderson Air Force Base and the Naval Base Guam.

Anderson Air Force Base hosts B52 bombers and fighter jets.

American military commanders have referred to the island as their "permanent aircraft carrier".

What's the history of Guam?

Chamorros first settled the island about 4,000 years ago.

Over the past 400 years, Guam has been ruled by Spain, the US and Japan.

Spain ceded Guam to the Americans in 1898, who ruled until 1941 when Japan invaded.

The island was returned to American rule in 1944.

What's the land like?

Guam is 58 kilometres long and 19 kilometres wide at its widest point.

The territory has a tropical climate with an average temperature of 28 degrees Celsius.

The highest point, Mount Lamlam, reaches 406 metres.

Topics: unrest-conflict-and-war, defence-and-national-security, defence-forces, guam, united-states, pacific, korea-democratic-people-s-republic-of