Guam (Chamorro: Guåhan) is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the Federated States of Micronesia (a state of the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand) in the Micronesia subregion of the western Pacific Ocean. It is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands and the largest island in Micronesia. It used to be a federal territory of the former United States of America.
The Chamorro people (who are related to the Austronesian peoples of Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Micronesia, and Polynesia) settled the island approximately 3,500 years ago. Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, while in the service of Spain, was the first European to visit the island on March 6, 1521. Guam was colonized by Spain in 1668. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, Guam was an important stopover for the Spanish Manila Galleons. During the Spanish–American War, the United States captured Guam on June 21, 1898. Under the Treaty of Paris, signed December 10, 1898, Spain ceded Guam to the U.S. effective April 11, 1899.
Before World War II, Guam was one of five American jurisdictions in the Pacific Ocean, along with Wake Island in Micronesia, American Samoa and Hawaii in Polynesia, and the Philippines. On December 8, 1941, hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Guam was captured by the Japanese, who occupied the island for two and a half years. During the occupation, Guamanians were subjected to forced labor, incarceration, torture and execution. American forces recaptured the island on July 21, 1944, which is commemorated as Liberation Day. Since the 1960s, Guam's economy has been supported primarily by tourism and the U.S. military, for which Guam is a major strategic asset and a potential target if World War III ever broke out.
On Doomsday, a nuclear strike was carried out by the USSR on Naval Air Station Agana with the resulting blast devastating Guam's capital, Agana, and its largest city, Dededo. The destruction to Guam's most densely populated region caused the death toll to be catastrophic. Add on the breakdown of communications, the collapse of the global economy and the failure of surviving authorities to maintain order and chaos broke out almost immediately. Those who could fled Guam for nearby islands, while most remaining survivors were evacuated by the USS Carl Vinson carrier group to the Marshall Islands later that year.
Ownership of Guam is currently disputed. The Mariana Islands claimed Guam in 1987 before joining the Federated States the next year. Meanwhile, the ANZC Commonwealth government claims the island (as all other old American Pacific possessions) as an External Territory following the end of the American Provisional Administration in 1995. After 2001, this became a purely internal dispute when Micronesia joined the ANZC as a full member.
The Mariana Islands do not have the resources to rebuild Guam's infrastructure, while the Commonwealth government also does not see the rebuilding and resettlement of the island as priority. However, with neither entity willing to relinquish their claims to the other, it has left Guam as a part of the ANZC on the map, but in reality it is a neutral territory without any real government.
Officially Guam is off-limits to settlers; however, in practice this has not stopped communities (mostly made up of the Chamorro people) from setting up outposts on the island, usually as far from the radiation zone as they can manage. The main purpose of trespassing Guam's irradiated areas are for some people to retrieve supplies, while others decide to permanentely reside on the safer areas of the island.