History of Guam

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The history of Guam involves phases including the early arrival of people known today as the ancient Chamorros, the development of "pre-contact" society, Spanish colonization, and the present American rule of the island. Guam's history of colonialism is the longest among the Pacific islands.


Guam prior to European contact


It is believed that Guam was first discovered by sea-faring people who migrated from Southeast Asia around 4000 BC.

The original inhabitants of Guam are believed to be descendants of Austronesian people originating from Southeast Asia as early as 4,000 BC, having linguistic and cultural similarities to Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines[1]Austronesian languages

Most of what is known about Pre-Contact ("Ancient") Chamorros comes from legends and myths, archaeological evidence, Jesuit missionary accounts, and observations from visiting scientists like Otto von Kotzebue and Louis de Freycinet.

Ancient Chamorro society

When Europeans first arrived on Guam Chamorro society roughly fell into three classes: matao (upper class), achaot (middle class), and mana'chang (lower class). The matao were located in the coastal villages, which meant they had the best access to fishing grounds while the mana'chang were located in the interior of the island. Matao and mana'chang rarely communicated with each other, and matao often used achaot as a go-between.

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