Guam is an unincorporated, organized territory and is part of Micronesia and the United States. Citizens born in Guam are also designated American citizens by birth. The small country had a population of just over 162,000 in 2016 and has an area of 210 square miles.

On December 7, 1941 following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese captured Guam.  The US occupied the island after Spain's defeat in the 1898 Spanish–American War, as part of the Treaty of Paris of 1898 and control was transferred to the US Navy on December 23, 1898. The Guam Organic Act of 1950 established the island as an unorganized territory of the US.

Guam’s economy is dependent on tourism and the US Department of Defense installations. Guam is governed by an elected governor and unicameral 15-member legislature. Guam also elects one delegate of the US House of Representatives. During the 1980s and 1990s, Guam pushed to become a commonwealth of the US, which would give it similar standing as Puerto Rico. However, the US rejected the proposal, citing it was incompatible with the Territorial Clause. Nearly 30% of the island of Guam is covered by US military bases today.

The government of Guam is a Presidential representative democratic system. The President is head of the state and Governor is the head of government. The public relations between Guam and the US is governed by the Office of Insular Affairs.

The Federal Court system contains of three territorial courts. The U.S. District Court for the District of Guam, and district courts for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, also located within the Ninth Circuit, and the U.S. Territory of the Virgin Islands, located within the Third Circuit, make up the island’s court system. The highest judicial body of the government is the Supreme Court of Guam. Appeals of cases in the Supreme Court of Guam can only be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Under the 1950 Organic Act, signed by President Truman, Guam was given authority to administer its own policy and laws.


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