Guampedia’s Micronesia and World Milestones

A Journey through 4,000 Years

2500 BC

Ancient Egyptians Build Sphinx

SphinxThe Great Sphinx of Giza, literally Father of Dread, is a limestone statue of a reclining sphinx, a mythical creature. Facing directly from West to East, it is on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture in Egypt.


 

2000 - 1500 BC

Ancient People Settle Marianas

Proas

Flying Proas of the Marianas. Courtesy of the Guam Public Library System.

The Marianas are home to one of the oldest Pacific Island cultures. The Marianas were settled by seafaring peoples from Island Southeast Asia more than 3,500 years ago. It is uncertain whether the islands were settled in waves of migration or all at once, though it is known that the Marianas were continuously occupied by people who became known as CHamorus.


 

1240 BC

Moses Gives 10 Commandments to the Jewish People

MosesThe Ten Commandments, also known as Aseret HaDibrot (“Ten Sayings” in Hebrew) or Decalogue, are the first ten of the 613 commandments given by God to the Jewish people. They form the foundation of Jewish ethics, as well as civil and religious law. These commandments are mentioned twice in the Torah—once in Exodus and again in Deuteronomy.


 

1100 BC

Ancient People Settle Palauan Islands

Palau SettlersThe Palauan archipelago was settled in a series of migrations originating from Island Southeast Asia around 1100 BC. Palau’s geographic location made it an easy stepping stone into the Pacific from Asia.


 

1000 - 500 BC

Ancient Peoples Settle Yap

Yap SettlersThe first settlers in Yap were ancient peoples from the Malay Peninsula, the Indonesian archipelago, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. Some of the people of Yap’s neighboring islands are descendants of Polynesian settlers and as such, have significant ethnic dissimilarities from the people of the Yap main islands.


 

604 BC

Birth of Lao-tzu (Laozi)

Lao-tzuLao-tzu, founder of Taoism, was born in 604 BC. Lao-Tzu, also Laozi, (literally “Old Master”) was a Chinese philosopher and writer. He was a scholar, the Keeper of the Archives for the royal court, and is the reputed author of the Tao Te Ching, the foundation of philosophical Taoism. A semi-legendary figure and contemporary of Confucius, Lao-tzu is a deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions.


 

563 BC

Birth of Siddhartha Gautama

BuddhaSiddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was born in what is modern day Nepal. Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism. He is believed by Buddhists to be an enlightened teacher that attained full Buddhahood.


 

4 BC

Birth of Jesus

JesusJesus of Nazareth, the founder of Christianity, was born around 4 BC. Jesus is a religious leader revered in Christianity, one of the world’s major religions. He is regarded by most Christians as the incarnation of God.


 

80 AD

Roman Colosseum is Built

ColosseumThe Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheater, opened to the public around 80 AD. The massive stone amphitheater was commissioned by Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty as a gift to the Roman people. Vespasian’s son Titus opened the Colosseum with 100 days of games, including gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights.


 

500 AD

Ancient People Settle Kiribati

Kiribati was first inhabited by Micronesian people about 500 AD. Later, invasions by Samoans and Tongans introduced Polynesian elements into the culture and invasions by Fijians introduced Melanesian elements too.

200 AD

Ancient People Settle Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae

Navigation, 1836. Courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

Ancient people settle Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae from Island Southeast Asia, Melanesia and West Polynesia in different waves of migration. These islands were inhabited for at least 1,000 years before they were visited by European explorers.


 

570 AD

Birth of Muhammad

MuhammadMuhammad was born at Mecca, Arabia (now in Saudi Arabia). He is the founder of Islam and the proclaimer of the Qurʾān. According to Islamic doctrine, he was a prophet and God’s messenger, sent to present and confirm the teachings preached previously by Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets.


 

750 AD

Mayans Build Chichen Itza Pyramid

Mayan PyramidChichen Itza, a large pre-Columbian city, was built by the Maya people around 750 AD. The archaeological site is located in Tinúm Municipality, Yucatán State, Mexico.


 

500 - 1000 AD

Marianas Pottery Transitions

Image of AD 500 to 1000 pottery courtesy of Dr. Mike Carson.

The oldest Marianas redware pottery was small thin walled bowls sometimes decorated with impressively fine designs. Over the years, though, pottery styles changed. Pottery became coarser, thicker and larger. By 1000 AD CHamorus were making large bowls with thickened rims, many with combing marks.


 

1000 AD

Development of Latte Architecture

Latte Mural

Latte village detail from Anita Bendo’s mural in the Guam Museum.

More than 1,500 years after the Marianas were first settled CHamorus developed latte, comprised of a stone pillar and a stone capstone. Latte were erected in two parallel rows of six to ten pillars and used as building foundations.


1000 AD

Polynesians Settle Hawai`i

Polynesian Settlers

Image of Polynesian seafarers created by Guampedia.com.

The original settlement of Hawai`i was by Polynesians who migrated northwest from the Marquesas Islands, followed by a second wave of people that sailed from Tahiti during the 9th or 10th century.


 

1000 AD

Nauru is First Settled

Nauru is settled by ancient people from both Micronesia and Polynesia. There are 12 traditional clans or tribes which are represented in the 12-pointed star in the nation’s flag. Nauruan society, like other Micronesian cultures, traces descent on the matrilineal, or female, line.

1200 AD

Leluh and Nan Madol are Built

Lelu Village. Image courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

Two ancient stone settlements, Leluh in Kosrae and Nan Madol in Pohnpei, were govern­mental centers and home to kings and high chiefs.


 

1295 AD

Marco Polo Returns from China

MarcosMarco Polo, a Venetian merchant, journeyed across Asia at the height of the Mongol Empire. Marco Polo remained abroad for 24 years. Though not the first European to explore China he became famous for his travels thanks to a popular book he co-authored while languishing in a Genoese prison.


 

1300 AD

Dryland Rice Farming in the Marianas

Altered farming image by J.A. Pellion from Frecinet’s Voyage Autour du Monde (Paris, 1824). Original image courtesy of the Guam Public Library System.

Early historic accounts about the Marianas say rice was produced in large quantities in pre-Spanish times. It was used as a commodity for trade between islands and later, with the Europeans to obtain metal and other goods. The CHamorus were the only Pacific Island people known to have cultivated rice dating back to pre-contact times. 


 

1487

Aztec Empire at its Peak

Aztec KingThe Aztec Empire, or the Triple Alliance, began as an alliance of three Nahua altepetl city-states: Mexico-Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan. It reaches its peak under the rule of Ahuitzotl.


1492

Ming Emperor Rebuilds Great Wall

The WallThe Ming emperor orders rebuilding of the Great Wall as protection against northern invaders. Building the Great Wall began when fortifications, built by various states from 771 BC on, were connected by the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, to protect against incursions by nomads from Inner Asia.


 

1493

Columbus Completes Atlantic Exploration

Columbus

Columbus’ Three Vessels. Image from the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC) courtesy of Marjorie G. Driver.

Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer and navigator, completes four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain. Columbus first left Spain in August 1492 with three ships, making landfall in the Bahamas.


 

1494

Treaty of Tordesillas is Signed

Treaty

Image courtesy of Carlos Madrid.

The Treaty of Tordesillas is signed by Pope Alexander VI, dividing the world between Spain and Portugal. The Mariana Islands are placed on the Spanish side.


 

1521

Aztec Capital Falls to Cortés

AztecThe Aztec empire flourished between 1345 and 1521, dominating ancient Mesoamerica. But Hernan Cortés, with his formidable firearms and thirst for treasure, brought devastating destruction and disease, along with willing local allies.


 

1521

CHamorus Encounter Ferdinand Magellan

Three Chiefs painting by Greg Flores courtesy of the Guam Museum.

The first European encounter for CHamorus in the Marianas was with Spain’s Ferdinand Magellan and his crew aboard three ships attempting to circumnavigate the world.


 

1529

Álvaro de Saavedra Sights the Marshall Islands

Spanish explorer Álvaro de Saavedra came across the Marshall Islands on an expedition to find new lands in the Pacific and to bring back spice plants to Europe. He sailed from Mexico to the Philippines, making him the first European navigator to cross the Pacific Ocean from the Americas.


 

1529

Treaty of Zaragoza is Ratified by Spain and Portugal

Charles VThis peace treaty did not modify the line of demarcation established by the Treaty of Tordesillas. However, Portugal gained control of all lands and seas west of the line, including all of Asia and its neighboring islands so far “discovered,” leaving Spain with most of the Pacific.


 

1545-1563

Council of Trent Convenes

CouncilThe Catholic Church’s Council of Trent, prompted by the Protestant Reformation, issued condemnations of what it defined to be heresies committed by Protestants. The Council issued key statements and clarifications of the Church’s doctrine and teachings, including scripture, sacred tradition, original sin, the sacraments, Mass and the veneration of saints.


 

1565

Miguel Legazpi Claims the Marianas for Spain

LegazpiMiguel López de Legazpi, a colonial official in Mexico, Pacific explorer and conquistador, led the 1565 expedition that visited Guam on its westward voyage from Mexico to Cebu in the Philippines. Legazpi claimed Guam for Spain, and was later granted possession of Guam and Rota by the Spanish King Philip II.


 

1568

Oda Nobunaga Moves to Unite Japan

NobunagaOda Nobunaga, a powerful feudal lord of Japan in the late 16th century, attempts to unify Japan during the late Sengoku period (Age of the Warring States), and gains control over most of Honshu. Nobunaga is regarded as one of three unifiers of Japan.


 

1568-1815

Manila Galleons Bring Trade from Asia to Mexico

Pilar

The Galleon Nuestra Señora del Pilar. Spanish Galleon Trade Route or La Nao de China courtesy of the Guam Museum.

The Manila Galleon (“Nao de China” or “Nao de Acapulco”) brings porcelain, silk, ivory, spices, and myriad other exotic goods from China to Mexico via Manila in exchange for New World silver. The Galleons stopped in the Marianas on the return trip to Manila, once or twice a year.


 

1580

Sir Francis Drake Circumnavigates the World

DrakeFrancis Drake, an English sea captain, privateer, slave trader, naval officer and explorer, was knighted for plundering Spanish ships and towns. He was the second explorer to circumnavigate the world in a single expedition, and was the first to complete the voyage as captain.


 

1588

England Defeats the Spanish Armada

ArmadaThe Spanish Armada, a fleet of 130 ships, tries to overthrow England and the establishment of Protestantism in 1588. The attack was Spain’s attempt to stop English interference in the Spanish Netherlands and the harm caused to Spanish interests by English and Dutch privateering. The armada was defeated, however, losing one third of the ships.


 

1602

Fray Juan Pobre de Zamora Jumps Ship on Rota

Chores

House Chores by Js. Arago from Frecinet’s Voyage Autour du Monde (Paris, 1824). Courtesy of the Guam Public Library System.

Franciscan lay brother Fray Juan Pobre de Zamora deserts a ship off the shores of Rota on his way to Manila. Although he was only in the Mariana Islands for seven months, he provided an invaluable historical contribution through descriptive written accounts of the lives, customs, and culture of CHamorus in the early 17th century.


 

1636

Manchus Establish Qing Dynasty

QingThe Qing dynasty is established, becoming the last imperial dynasty of China. It ruled China until 1912, when it was succeeded by the Republic of China. It lasted for almost three centuries and formed the territorial base for modern China. It was the fourth largest empire in world history.


 

1668

Padre Diego Luis de San Vitores Arrives on Guam

San Vitores

Image of Father Diego Luis de San Vitores courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

Padre Diego Luis de San Vitores, a Jesuit, brought Christianity to the Marianas in 1668. He was killed on Guam just a little less than four years after his arrival, a death he welcomed because he would be considered a martyr in his efforts to spread Christianity.


 

1669

First Catholic Boys School Established on Guam

Colegio

Image by Js. Arago from Freycinet’s Voyage Autour de Monde (Paris 1824). Courtesy of the Guam Public Library System.

The Colegio de San Juan de Letrán, a boy’s school or seminary, is established in 1669 in Hagåtña by Father Diego Luis de San Vitores, the Jesuit priest who started the first Catholic mission in the Marianas. It was still in existence in 1899 when the Americans claimed the island.


 

1671

Hurao Rallies 2,000 Warriors on Guam to Take a Stand

Hurao

Rendering of Hurao by Jose “Mala’et” Garrido.

Hurao, a Hagåtña CHamori (high caste) who, with the backing of the village makanas (spiritual leaders), was key in instigating a major battle. He rallied 2,000 CHamoru warriors to take up arms. This battle was the first mass movement by CHamorus against the Spanish.


 

1672

Matå’pang Kills San Vitores

Mata'pang

CHamoru Matå’pang kills San Vitores. 1985 Painting by David Sablan provided by the Guam Museum.

Matå’pang from Tomhom (Tumon) killed Father Diego Luís de San Vitores, the Spanish priest who brought Christianity to the Marianas. At first a Christian convert, Matå’pang rejected Christianity because he saw that it was being used as a tool to control his people and obliterate CHamoru traditions and beliefs.


 

1676

Agualin Attacks Catholic Mission

Agualin

Rendering of Agualin by Jose “Mala’et” Garrido.

Agualin (or “Aguarin”) was a CHamoru chief who led several revolts against the Spanish. He was from Hagåtña, but traveled from village to village to inspire other CHamorus to fight Spanish colonialism and Catholicism.


 

1678

Chief Metacom Resists British

Image created by Guampedia.

Chief Metacom, of the Wampanoag people, stood up to the British colonists in America. Metacom used his tribal alliances to coordinate efforts to push European colonists out of New England. Conflicts over land use, diminished game as a consequence of expanding European settlement, and other tensions, were behind their dissatisfaction.


 

1681

Control of the Marianas is Transferred from the Church to a Spanish Governor

The Spanish Governor’s Palace, Umatac (Humåtak). Image courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

Spanish Captain Antonio Saravia was appointed the first official Military Head Commander (later governor) of Guam upon the authority of King Charles II of Spain. One of Saravia’s first acts was to persuade all the CHamoru leaders to take and sign an oath of allegiance to Spain.


 

1684

Hineti Stops CHamoru Uprising

Hineti

Image of Hineti defending the Church by Raph Unpingco.

Hineti, a clan leader from Sinajana, chose to protect the Spanish in hopes of improving his personal status and gain power. Hineti defended the Spanish against CHamoru revolts, and is most known for curbing a CHamoru uprising in Hagåtña in 1684.


 

1686

Islands named Islas de Carolinas

Carolines Map

Caroline Islands Pacific Ocean Maritime Bellin, 1760.

Spanish explorer Francisco Lazcano named Chuuk, Kosrae, Palau, Pohnpei, and Yap “Islas de Carolinas” after King Carlos II of Spain. For about 300 years after this, explorers passed by having little contact with islanders.


 

1690

Santa Marian Kamalen Statue Found

Santa Marian Kamalen Park, Merizo. Photograph by George Miller 2014.

Santa Marian Kamalen statue is found in Merizo after the galleon Nuestra Señora del Pilar shipwrecked off Cocos Island.


 

1695

CHamoru Resistance to Spanish Colonialism Ceases

Shrine

People of Humåtak (Umatak) at Shrine. Image by de Sainson from d’Urville’s Voyage de la corvette L’Astrolabe (Paris, 1830-33). Courtesy of the Guam Public Library System.

Priests working to convert CHamorus to Christianity are met with resistance. CHamorus accept some but not all of their teachings. Once Padre San Vitores is killed, soldiers are brought to subdue the uprising. Many are killed. A last battle a Aguijan ends in defeat and the Spanish gain control over the Marianas.


 

1698

Spanish Forcibly Relocate CHamorus from Saipan and Tinian to Guam

Marianas Map

Mariana Islands and Guam map by Mallet, 1685. Courtesy of Dr. Don Rubinstein.

CHamorus fought the Spanish for control of the Marianas for almost 30 years. At the same time introduced diseases were taking their toll on people as they had no resistance to diseases. After the rebellion was quelled the Spanish forced CHamorus from the northern islands to relocate to Guam and Rota.


 

1707

United Kingdom of Great Britain Formed – England, Wales and Scotland

UKThe Acts of Union, passed by the English and Scottish Parliaments in 1707, led to the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. The UK Parliament met for the first time in October 1707.


 

1776

Americans Sign Declaration of Independence

IndependenceThis declaration announced that the 13 colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as no longer under British rule. With the declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America. It has become a well-known statement on human rights.


 

1783

The Antelope is Wrecked on Palau

AntelopeA British ship, the Antelope, is wrecked on Palau. Storyboards were first made as souvenirs at this time. Lee Boo, the son of the Ibedul, ruler of Korror, Palau, was taken to London by a British sea captain, Henry Wilson, to learn more about Europe. He died of Smallpox there a year later.


 

1787

Trading Resumes Between Carolines and Guam

Bancas

Bancas (Carolinian seafaring vessel). Courtesy of the Spanish Documents Collection at the Richard Flores Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

Ancient trading voyages from the Carolines to Guam are resumed after more than 100 years. Carolinians from the atolls of Lamotrek, Satawal, Elato, and Woleai sailed into Talofofo Bay in Guam. Luwito, the Carolinian navigator, said they had arrived in Guam using directions from an ancient chant.


 

1816

Russian Expedition Visits Marshalls

KotzebueRussian Otto von Kotzebue leads a scientific expedition through the Marshalls. He stays for a month on the atoll of Wojja and leaves plants and animals with the islanders there.


 

1819

Freycinet Documents Life in the Marianas

Distilling

Distilling on Guam by A. Pellion from Freycinet’s Voyage Autour du Monde (Paris, 1824). Courtesy of the Guam Public Library System.

Frenchman Louis Claude de Freycinet visits the Marianas, documenting the lifestyle, plants, animals of the time.


 

1820

Whaling Ships Frequent Micronesia

Whaling ship

Whale ship Three Brothers. Guam to Hawaii – 1868. From the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, image# pga.00670. Courtesy of Jillette Leon-Guerrero.

Whaling ships begin to appear in Micronesia, stopping on Guam for supplies and recruiting crew. Whales were hunted near Kosrae, Pohnpei, the Northern Marianas and the Marshalls for about 40 years.


 

1821

Mexico Achieves Independence from Spain

Mexican GeneralsThe Mexican War of Independence ended the rule of Spain in the territory of New Spain. The move for independence was inspired by the Age of Enlightenment and the American and French Revolutions. Social and political changes and a deep economic crisis in New Spain caused discomfort among the elite.


 

1824

Duperrey Documents Kosrae, Chuuk

DuperreyFrench Captain Louis Duperrey at Kosrae arrives on a scientific expedition aboard the ship Coquille. He and his crew stay in Kosrae for ten days. They bring the first pig and metal to the island. When Duperrey’s expedition leaves Kosrae, it moves to Chuuk, where Duperrey makes the first map of Chuuk.


 

1836

Trading Mission from Australia to Pohnpei

Captain C.H. Hart and his crew sail to Sapwuahfik, Pohnpei aboard Lampton of Sydney, Australia, on a trading mission. Hart and his crew were chased off the island. A year later, they returned. Two days of fighting left most of the islanders dead.


 

1852

Protestant Missionaries Arrive in Pohnpei

American protestant missionaries arrive in Pohnpei. Congressional Churches were established on Pohnpei, Kosrae, the Marshalls and Kiribati. By the end of the century Congressional Churches were established throughout eastern Micronesia along with the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Kiribati.


 

1859

Palomo Ordained as First CHamoru Catholic Priest

Photograph courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

Jose Torres Palomo is ordained as the first CHamoru Catholic priest. His parents died during the Smallpox epidemic in 1856 along with 5,532 others on Guam. Palomo was widely regarded as one of the wisest and most educated men on Guam and was fluent in Spanish, CHamoru, English, French, and Carolinian.


 

1860

Trading with Foreigners Becomes Widespread throughout Micronesia

Image from the Dumont d’Urville collection courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

Traders were in Micronesia at the same time as the whalers and missionaries, but it was around 1860 that trading activity became more widespread. Germans, Japanese and American traders mostly operated in the Marianas, the Marshalls, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Yap and Palau. Chuuk had fewer traders.


 

1861 - 1865

American Civil War

War broke out over the enslavement of black people shortly after US President Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists in the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states’ rights to uphold slavery.


 

1865

Some CHamorus Move Back to Saipan from Guam

Some CHamorus begin to move back to Saipan from Guam, 67 years after the Spanish forced their families to leave the island.

1871

David O’Keefe Washes Ashore in Yap

Stone MoneyIrish American David O’Keefe washes ashore on Yap after a storm wrecked the ship he was traveling on. He eventually brings about a new trade route in the region.


 

1875

Bartola Garrido of Guam Moves to Yap

Photo from Haas, Salesius, 1912. Courtesy of Pastor Edmund Kalau.

CHamoru Bartola Garrido moves to Yap and opens a school for girls. She later claims the island group for Spain. She was a devout Catholic and deeply loyal to Spain.


 

1875

Marianas Trench is First Sounded

The depth of the Marianas Trench is first sounded by the crew of the HMS Challenger, using a weighted rope which recorded a depth of 4,475 fathoms (26,850 feet). In 1877, a map was published showing the location of the sounding.


 

1876

Alexander Graham Bell Patents the Telephone

BellAlexander Graham Bell receives a patent for his revolutionary new invention, the telephone, at age 26. Bell wanted to improve on the telegraph by creating a device that combined aspects of the telegraph and record player to allow people to speak to each other from a distance.


 

1879

Escuela de Niñas Opens on Guam

The Escuela de Niñas built in 1879 by Governor Manuel Brabo y Barrera. Image courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

Escuela de Niñas, the first school for girls, opens on Guam. The teachers are paid from an endowment from Queen Mariana of Austria, Spain’s queen regent. One teacher and an assistant taught the young ladies, ages four to eleven. The curriculum consisted of Christian doctrine, reading, writing, arithmetic and sewing.


 

1885

Spain’s Claim to Yap Over Germany is Settled

Spain’s claim to Yap over Germany is officially settled. Soon Spanish Capuchin missionaries are in most Micronesian islands to establish Catholicism. In Yap and Palau this was their first introduction to Christianity. The other islands in the region were introduced to Christianity by American protestants 20 or 30 years prior.

1887

Islanders Showcased in Spain’s Philippine Exposition

Crystal Palace in Madrid, Spain. Photograph courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

People from Spain’s Pacific colonies are taken to Spain for an exposition, including two CHamorus from Guam and two Carolinians. The Philippine Exposition was held at the Crystal Palace in the Retiro of Madrid, Spain. The buildings are still there.


 

1893

Women Granted Right to Vote in New Zealand

Women CouncilNew Zealand becomes the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote. The governor, Lord Glasgow, signed a new Electoral Act into law making for a radical change. Many other democracies did not allow women to vote till decades later.


 

1894

CHamoru Families Move to Palau

The de Rosarios in Palau. Photograph courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

A group of CHamorus from Guam move to Palau to produce copra in a joint venture with American trader David O’Keefe. Palauans allowed them to use land for copra plantations. The families stay on Palau until the end of World War II. Some married Palauans and live there still.


 

1898

Treaty of Paris is Signed

Captain Henry Glass on the deck of the USS Charleston. Photograph from the Guam Public Library.

The Treaty cedes Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines from Spain to the US. Six months later Captain Henry Glass arrived on Guam aboard the USS Charleston to claim the island. Governor Juan Marina had no idea his country was at war with the US.


 

1898

Spain Sells Northern Marianas, the Carolines and the Marshalls to Germany

Germans In YapIt was the end of the Spanish empire in the Pacific and as Germany wanted a colonial empire, they bought the islands. Kaiser Wilhelm II at the time was building a new high seas navy. Saipan became the administrative center. The Germans built schools, a hospital, and other public buildings.


 

1899

First Protestant Church Established on Guam

Cusino

Luis (Castro) Cusino, 1902. Courtesy of the Micronesian Seminar.

Two CHamoru brothers, Jose and Luis (Castro) Cusino, return to establish the first protestant church on Guam. They had left the island years before to work as whalers, settling in Hawai`i and becoming Protestants. Hearing that their birthplace had become an American territory, they decided to return to Guam to evangelize.


 

1901

CHamorus Petition US Congress

US CongressGuam leaders sought self-government through a formal petition, shortly after they became subjects of the American empire. It was sent to US Congress in 1901, signed by 32 residents. The petition asserted the belief that the conditions instigated by the new naval government and the structure of the government itself were defective.


 

1901

Insular Cases Handed Down

The Insular Cases, a series of opinions by the US Supreme Court regarding the status of US territories, are issued. They respond to the question of how American rights apply to those in US territories. In short, the opinions said that the US Constitution does not automatically extend to territories.


 

1903

Guam Transpacific Cable Station Opens

Cable Station

Commercial Pacific Cable Company Station is depicted in this postcard from 1905. James Oelke-Farley private collection.

The first telephone calls were made through the privately built Transpacific Cable Station at Sumay. It was the first telephonic communications in the region. Guam was an important part of the East-West trade route because of its location, its deep water harbor and because of the plentiful fresh water supply.


 

1904-1905

Russo-Japanese War

The Russo-Japanese War is fought in which, for the first time, an Asian power defeats a modern European power. A victorious Japan forced Russia to abandon its expansionist policy in the Far East.


 

1905

First CHamoru Band Forms

CHamoru Band

First CHamoru Band organized about 1905. Courtesy of the Guam Museum.

The Insular Force Navy Band, also called the Guam Band, was made up of a mixture of mostly CHamorus, a few Filipinos and three Italian immigrants. The band played regularly at the Plaza de España.


 

1910

Pohnpeians Rebel Against German Rule

A group of Pohnpeians rise up against German rule in the Sokehs Rebellion. A trial was convened for the 36 rebels. Seventeen were convicted for the murder of four German officials and five boatmen and insurrection, and condemned to death. Twelve other received multi-year sentences of hard labor.

1912

Guam Lepers Exiled to Culion Island

Chamorro patients at Culion “Leper Colony,” Philippines. Courtesy of Dr. Anne Hattori.

The Navy forcibly relocates 18 CHamorus with Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) to Culion Island, Philippines. They had previously been confined at a colony in Tumon. Most would never see their families again. At Culion, CHamorus found themselves in isolation, unable to communicate with other patients.


 

1914

SMS Cormoran Anchors at Apra Harbor, Guam

SMS Cormoran II in Apra Harbor. Courtesy of the Guam Museum.

A German Naval ship, the SMS Cormoran II, sails into Apra Harbor in desperate need of fuel. As the US Navy refuses to give up their coal supply, the ship is marooned on Guam with its crew of 370 men. They were treated with hospitality and friendship.


 

1914

Japan’s Presence Expands in Micronesia

Award-winning group of sugar cane farmers, Saipan. Photograph courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

Japan takes control of German and Spanish possessions in Micronesia, including all of the Micronesian islands except Guam, which is under US control. The move was considered a political and economic necessity for expansion. The earliest Japanese migrants to Micronesia worked as traders and then as fishermen, farmers and laborers.


 

1914-1918

World War I

World War I was an international conflict that involved most of Europe along with Russia, the US, the Middle East, and other regions. The war pitted the Central Powers—Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey—against the Allies—mainly France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan, and, from 1917, the US. The Allies won.


 

1917

First US Shot of WWI is Fired at Cormoran

SMS Cormoran II crew members were taken prisoners of war and interned at Asan Point. Photograph courtesy of Tony “Malia” Ramirez.

The first shot by Americans during WWI is fired over the bow of the SMS Cormoran as it is scuttled in Apra Harbor, Guam. About 370 crew members became prisoners of war and taken to the US. The four Chinese and 29 New Guinean crew members were sent back to their homes.


 

1917

English Declared Official Language of Guam

SmithIn 1917, Guam Naval Governor Roy C. Smith banned speaking CHamoru. He said English was the only official language and that CHamoru must not be spoken except for official interpreting. Speaking CHamoru was also forbidden in schools, playgrounds and baseball fields. Students were reprimanded and fined for speaking their native language.


 

1919

The Guam Hymn is Penned by Ramon Sablan

Photograph provided by the family.

Ramon Sablan wrote the Guam Hymn, “Stand Ye Guamanians” while he was a young man. He later went on to become the first CHamoru medical doctor. He wrote the song in English as this was a time when the island was administered by the Navy and speaking CHamoru was discouraged.


 

1919

League of Nations Awards Islands to Japan

The League of Nations awards all of Germany’s possessions in the Pacific located north of the equator under mandate to Japan. Garapan, Saipan is developed as the regional capital, and numerous Japanese, Koreans, Okinawans and Taiwanese migrate to the islands.


 

1926

Guam Teachers Rally for a Guam Museum

Teachers

Photograph of the Guam Teachers Association from the Sanchez Collection.

The Guam Teachers Association begins planning for a Guam Museum. The teachers believed it was important to gather materials for future generations to know their past. They sponsored the first collection of natural and scientific specimens, works of art and literary curiosities for future study of the island’s history.


 

1930

A Bill of Rights Created for CHamorus of Guam

US Naval Gov. Willis Bradley creates a Bill of Rights for the CHamorus of Guam. Photograph courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

US Naval Governor Bradley supported CHamoru aspirations for citizenship and self-government. Bradley proclaimed a Bill of Rights for the people of Guam without waiting for federal approval. Despite Bradley’s efforts, however, US citizenship and a bill of rights for CHamorus were not approved at the federal level.


 

1932

Guam Museum Opens in Hagåtña

Photograph of the first Guam Museum courtesy of Don Farrell.

A small Guam Museum opens in Hagåtña under the direction of the American Legion. Artifacts and historical items collected by teachers and students were put on display and used to teach about the island’s history.


 

1933

Hitler Becomes German Chancellor

Adolf Hitler, leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party (or Nazi Party), is named chancellor of Germany. Hitler’s rise to prominence in Germany was spurred by the people’s frustration with economic conditions and the defeat in the Great War and the harsh peace terms of the Versailles treaty.


 

1935

Pan American Begins Regular Flights to Guam

PanAm

Pan American Clipper, 1935. R.O.D. Sullivan Collection.

The Pan American Clipper Service started flying a San Francisco to Manila route with stops at Midway, Wake and Guam. These were seaplanes that could land on the calm lagoons of the Pacific Islands. On Guam they landed at Apra Harbor where guests stayed at the Pan Am hotel, Sumay.


 

1936

First Telephone Call from Guam to Outside World

The first telephone contact with the outside world from Guam was made on 16 May 1936 when US Navy First Class Radioman A.B. Carter with his ham station, call letters unknown, worked V6LLQ in California.

1936

CHamorus Go to Washington DC to Ask for Civilian Government

BJ Bordallo and FB Leon Guerrero travel to Washington DC. Photograph from the Sanchez Collection.

The 2nd Guam Congress sends Francisco B. Leon Guerrero and Baltazar J. Bordallo to lobby in Washington DC for citizenship. There was an island-wide drive to collect donations for the lobbying trip in 1936 with about $6,000 collected. With government funding unavailable, Leon Guerrero sold family land to help pay the estimated $10,000 cost of the trip.


 

1937

Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan Disappear in the Pacific

Aviation pioneers, Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, disappear in the Pacific while attempting to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day.


 

1938

Anthropologist Brought to Guam to Study CHamorus

Thompson

Mending a clay pot from the Marianas at the Bishop Museum (1933). Photograph courtesy of Dr. Rebecca A. Stephenson.

Anthropologist Dr. Laura Thompson is brought to Guam to study the CHamoru people at the request of the Navy. Thompson was stationed in Hagåtña but soon set up field headquarters in Merizo at the south of Guam. She wrote a book “Guam and Its People” from her findings.


 

1939-1945

World War II

USS SHAW exploding during the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor.” December 7, 1941. 80-G-16871. National Archives Identifier: 520590.

World War II was a global war that lasted six years. The vast majority of the world’s countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries.


 

1941

Guam is Invaded by Japanese

Mass for Santa Marian Kamalen December 8th. Photograph from the Sanchez collection.

Terror gripped the people of Guam as Japanese warplanes bombed Sumay and strafed Piti and Hagåtña on December 8. A day later the planes returned striking military facilities and the Pan American Airways hotel in Sumay. On December 10 Japanese forces invaded Guam. American forces were outnumbered and the island was taken by the Japanese.


 

1941-1944

Japan Rules Micronesia, Including Guam

Dai Ichi Gakko (No. 1 School), formerly the Padre Palomo School, Hagåtña. Photograph courtesy of Don Farrell.

Peoples of Micronesia, including Guam, live under Japanese rule. The prosperous village of Sumay is evacuated by Japanese for their own use. 96,000 Japanese nationals live in Micronesia.


 

1944

CHamorus Forced to Concentration Camps

Manenggon

Manenggon survivors. Photograph courtesy of Don Farrell.

CHamorus on Guam are forced to march to concentration camps, as dozens of others are massacred by Japanese soldiers. They are confined in the camps as the Americans invade Guam. The Americans battle the Japanese all over Micronesia until WWII is finally over, with the US prevailing.


 

1945

US Military Begins Taking Land from CHamorus

WWII US Navy aerial photo of Guam, 1945. Photograph from the US National Archives courtesy of Micronesian Seminar (MicSem).

When the Navy took back control of Guam the appointed naval governor immediately began condemning huge tracts of land, including whole villages. The US had flattened portions of Guam during the intense bombing, and now the naval government began changing the landscape of the island to build several military bases.


 

1945

United Nations is Formed

UNThe United Nations, an intergovernmental organization tasked to promote international co-operation and to create and maintain international order, is established in 1945. It was a replacement for the ineffective League of Nations. It created the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands and assigned the US to administer Micronesia at the time.


 

1945

Guam Celebrates its First Liberation Day

The first Liberation Day celebration, 1945. Photograph courtesy of the Sanchez collection.

After World War II was over community leader Agueda Iglesias Johnston convinces US military leaders on Guam to support a celebration to commemorate the Liberation of the island from the Japanese. This celebration continues to this day as one of Guam’s holidays—Liberation Day, which is celebrated on July 21st.


 

1946

Rebuilding of Guam Gets Underway

Sinajana Village, 1944. Photograph from the Guam Public Library System.

Declared off-limits to resettlement, former Hagåtña residents move into areas where they had ranches before the war, especially Agana Heights, Sinajana, and Barrigada. Sumay was taken over by the military for new bases as was Fena, Tiyan and land in Yigo. Some 300 business licenses were issued in 1946.


 

1946 - 1958

US Tests Bombs in the Marshall Islands

Nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll began with a series of 23 nuclear devices detonated by the US at seven test sites on the reef, the sea, in the air and underwater. Residents were assured they could return home after the test but that proved untrue as the island is uninhabitable.


 

1947

Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands is Formed

The United Nations forms the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands to be administered by the US. The Territory contained 100,000 people scattered over a water area the size of continental United States. They represent a variety of cultures and spoke nine languages.


 

Late 1940s - Early 1950s

Brown Treesnake is Introduced to Guam

snake

Brown Treesnake Head. Photograph courtesy of Isaac Chellman.

The Brown Treesnake is introduced to Guam aboard a military cargo ship, probably from Australia or Papua New Guinea, starting the decimation of Guam’s native birds.


 

1948

Red “Blood” Border is Added to Guam’s Flag

While the Guam Flag dates back to 1917, a red border is added in 1948 to commemorate those lost in World War II. The addition was documented in the Guam Congress Bill No. 12 approved by Naval Governor Charles Pownall. World War II claimed 1,170 CHamoru lives.


 

1949

Guam Congress Walks Out

House of Assembly 9th Guam Congress. Photograph from the Sanchez Collection.

Guam Congress walks out as a protest against the US Naval Government and to underscore its quest for self-government. The protest drew nationwide attention. The walkout was the most openly rebellious act that CHamorus had committed against any of their colonial rulers since the CHamoru-Spanish resistance in the late 1600s.


 

1949

People’s Republic of China is Founded

Chinese leader Mao Zedong declares the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The party’s goal was an overhaul of the land ownership system and extensive land reforms. China’s old system of gentry landlord ownership of farmland and tenant peasants was replaced with a distribution system that reduced economic inequality.


 

1950

Organic Act for Guam is Signed

Organic Act

Signing of the Organic Act, 1950. Photograph courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

An Organic Act for Guam, created by US Congress, goes into effect and civilian rule begins with appointed governors. Carlton Skinner is the first appointed civilian governor of Guam.


 

1950 - 1953

Korean War

Korean WarThe Korean War, between North Korea (with the support of China and the Soviet Union) and South Korea (with support of the US), begins in 1950 when North Korea invades South Korea following a series of clashes along the border. Korea was split into two sovereign states. Both governments claim to be the sole legitimate government of all of Korea.


 

1950s

Rock n’ Roll is Popularized

ElvisRock n’ roll, an original music style, is created in the US and evolves by the mid-1960s into the international style known as rock. The seeds were in place for decades, but they flowered in the mid-1950s when nourished by a volatile mix of black culture and white spending power.


 

1950

First Guam Legislature is Elected

1st GL

Photograph provided by the Guam Legislature.

The First Guam Legislature is elected in 1950. The senators passed major laws such as: a uniform wage law eliminating higher wages for off-island government recruits; the reorganization of the island court system; the establishment of a merit system for government of Guam employees and the Government Employees Retirement law.


 

1952

Territorial College of Guam is Established

The University of Guam received Land Grant College Status. Photograph from the Sanchez Collection.

The Territorial College of Guam is founded in 1952 as a two-year teacher-training school, established by Guam’s first civilian governor, Carlton Skinner. Its first president was I.G. Andrews. The College eventually becomes the University of Guam.


 

1954

First Locally Owned Financial Institution Opens on Guam

Photograph courtesy of Philip Flores.

Joseph Flores creates a joint venture to found Guam Savings and Loan in 1954. He and his partners sold about 125 shares to start the first financial institution chartered on Guam and the first to be locally owned. It was also the first to sell shares to the public.


 

1955

Children are First Inoculated for Polio

SalkJonas Edward Salk, an American medical researcher and virologist, discovers and develops one of the first successful polio vaccines. Until 1955, when the Salk vaccine was introduced, polio was considered one of the most frightening public health problems in the world.


 

1962

Security Clearance Lifted on Guam

Guerrero

Governor Manuel Guerrero. Photograph courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

President John F. Kennedy’s Executive Order 11045 rescinds the Navy’s wartime authority to refuse entry to civilian visitors for security reasons. The action unleashed the island’s tourism potential and ushered in an era of unprecedented economic and social advancement. The security clearance program was highly criticized by Guam’s leaders.


 

1962

John Glenn Orbits the Earth

Glenn, Jr.NASA launches one of the most important flights in American history, to send a man to orbit Earth, observe his reactions and return him home safely. John Glenn, the pilot, became a symbol of American ambition. In 4 hours and 56 minutes, Glen circled the globe 3 times.


 

1962

Typhoon Karen Devastates Guam

Karen

Typhoon Karen damage to the village of Yona. Photograph courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

Typhoon Karen devastates Guam with wind gusts estimated up to 185 mph. Nearly all island homes were damaged or destroyed, leaving at least 45,000 people homeless and 11 dead. Communication and utilities were crippled. It is the first time US federal disaster assistance was offered, ushering in concrete houses.


 

1963

Solomon Commission Report Released

The Solomon Commission’s report to President Kennedy brings US government attention to the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI). Commission recommendations had a significant impact in Micronesia. For instance, one recommendation said that there was a need for a TTPI legislature with local representatives from all six districts (Northern Marianas, Palau, the Marshalls, Yap, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Chuuk).

1963

Civil Rights Rally in Washington DC

A civil rights rally is held by 250,000 people in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC to draw attention to continuing challenges and inequalities faced by African Americans 100 years after emancipation. It was also the occasion of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s now-iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.


 

1964

Congress of Micronesia is Created

Micronesian CongressUS President Lyndon Johnson approves the establishment of the Congress of Micronesia. Representatives to the Congress are elected from the six districts of the of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI). The six districts were the Northern Marianas, Palau, the Marshalls, Yap, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Chuuk. The first meeting of the Congress of Micronesia is held in Saipan in 1965.


 

1965 - 1975

Vietnam War

VietnamThe Vietnam War was a conflict in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The North Vietnamese army was supported by the Soviet Union, China and other communist allies. On the other side, the South Vietnamese army was supported by the US, South Korea, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. Bombing missions flew from Guam and many CHamorus lost their lives fighting in Vietnam.


 

1965

Anti-Vietnam War Movement Begins in US

Anit-VietnamThe Anti-Vietnam War protest movement began mostly on college campuses and then spread to become one of the largest social movements of its time. Women’s rights, Black Power and Native people’s rights were all getting started at the same time. The protests attracted a widening support for several years.


 

1966

Peace Corps Volunteers Come to Micronesia

Peace Corps volunteers begin arriving in many islands of Micronesia. They shared western ways, both good and bad, helping along many social and economic changes of the times.


 

1966

Nauru Becomes Independent

Nauru becomes the world’s smallest independent republic following a two-year constitutional convention. Hammer DeRoburt is chosen as its first president.


 

1968

Micronesian Area Research Center Opens at UOG

Photograph courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

Dr. Antonio C. Yamashita, president of the then-College of Guam, gathers noted scholars of Guam together to discuss the need to establish a research library in and about Micronesia in 1967. A year later the Micronesian Area Research Center opened. A law, written by Guam Congressman Richard Flores Taitano, provided funding.


 

1968

College of Guam Renamed University of Guam

In 1965, the College of Guam was accredited as a four-year, degree granting institution. Located in Mangilao, it became the University of Guam in 1968. Enrollment had reached 1,800 students while staff and faculty totaled more than 130.

1968

Congress Approves Elected Governor for Guam

Governor Guam Carlos G. Camacho. Photograph from the Guam Public Library System.

The Guam Elective Governor Act by US Congress passes in 1968. It granted the people of Guam the authority to elect their Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Carlos Camacho, who was serving as Guam’s last appointed governor, was elected as its first Governor of Guam.


 

1969

Failed Effort Made to Reunify the Marianas

In 1968, the Second Mariana Islands District Legislature adopts a resolution requesting that the US congressional visiting team urge US citizenship for the inhabitants of the Northern Mariana Islands and reunification of the Marianas. A vote taken on Guam in 1969, however, rejected the effort though the voter turnout was low.

Early 1970s

CHamoru Language Classes Added to Guam’s Public Schools

Clotilde Gould in classroom courtesy of Sandy Gould-Yow.

A CHamoru Language and Culture Program is added to Guam’s public school curriculum under the leadership of Clotilde “Ding” Castro Gould. She helped develop the CHamoru language curriculum for the elementary schools and train teachers for the new curriculum.


 

1970

Carlos Camacho First Elected Governor of Guam

Photograph of President Nixon and Governor Camacho. Photograph from 1970 Guam USA Magazine.

Governor Carlos G. Camacho served as not only Guam’s last appointed governor, but also its first elected governor after the Guam Elected Governor Act was passed in 1968. Camacho’s election in 1970 was the first time the people of Guam selected their own leader since the Spanish colonized the island beginning in 1668.


 

1972

Last Japanese Straggler Caught on Guam

Honorary Japanese Consul James Shintaku, Governor Carlos Camacho and Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi. Photograph courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

Japanese Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi is captured by Manuel De Gracia and Jesus Duenas of Talofofo. He was the last Japanese straggler on Guam, having hid in the jungle for 27 years. The two Talofofo men found and captured him while they were hunting at night. He lived in an underground cave.


 

1972

Guam Gains Non-Voting Congressional Representation

Speaker Antonio Won Pat (4th from right) was elected as Guam’s first delegate to the US Congress on January 3, 1973. Photograph courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

US Congress passes a law establishing a Delegate of Guam. An elected official from Guam can speak on the House floor and introduce legislation though not vote. Antonio B. Won Pat became the first from Guam to take the oath of office as a member of the 93rd Congress in 1973.


 

1973

Roe vs Wade Confirms Women’s Right to Choose

A landmark legal decision is issued whereby the US Supreme Court struck down a Texas statute banning abortion, effectively legalizing the procedure across the US. The Court ruling said that a woman’s right to an abortion is implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

1974

Guam Hymn is Translated to Fanhoge CHamoru

Lagrimas

Photograph from the Guam Legislature.

Lagrimas Leon Guerrero Untalan translates the “Guam Hymn” into CHamoru. Untalan was an educator, political pioneer and cultural advocate. “Fanhoge CHamoru” becomes the anthem for Guam. The original song was written by Ramon Sablan in 1919.


 

1975

CHamoru Land Trust Passes into Law

The CHamoru Land Trust Act, written by Sen. Paul Bordallo, passes with the intention of providing land to landless CHamorus, many of who had lost their land during the US Navy’s land takings just after World War II. Much of the land was used for military bases.

1975

University of Hawai`i Publishes CHamoru-English Dictionary

A comprehensive CHamoru-English Dictionary is published as a collaboration between linguistics professor Donald Topping of University of Hawai`i, Pedro M. Ogo of Rota and Bernadita C. Dungca of the University of Guam.


 

1975

Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Established

Governor Ricardo J. Bordallo establishes the Insular Arts Council, now the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency, as part of the executive office in 1975. The agency was dedicated to the development of programs in music, visual arts, cultural heritage, literature and arts education.

1975

Northern Marianas Approves US Commonwealth Status

The people of the Northern Mariana Islands decide not to seek independence, but instead to forge a closer relationship with the US. Negotiations for commonwealth status began in 1972 and a covenant to establish a commonwealth in political union with the US was approved in a 1975 referendum.


 

1976

Guam Attempts a Constitution

The second Guam Constitutional Convention. Photograph courtesy of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC).

Legislation authorizes a second Constitutional Convention to be held to make recommended modifications to the Organic Act of Guam. The proposed constitution incorporated social, economic, cultural, political and administrative reforms. It is rejected by the people who decided they must sort out their political relationship with the US first.


 

1976

Mau Pialiug Navigates the Hōkūle’a

Papa Mau

Photograph of Mau Piailug by Steve Thomas. Reference Number: 2-E-01-01. Traditional Micronesian Navigation Collection, managed by the Pacific Collection at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Library.

Pius Mau Piailug, master navigator from Satawal, Yap State, was a teacher of traditional wayfinding methods for open-ocean voyaging. Mau shared his knowledge with the Polynesian Voyaging Society. With Mau’s help, the group was able to sail the Hōkūle’a, a modern double-hulled Hawaiian voyaging canoe, from Hawai`i to Tahiti.


 

1977

Northern Marianas Constitution Goes Into Effect

NMI Gov.A new government and constitution go into effect in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Carlos S. Camacho becomes the first elected governor.


 

1979

Kiribati Attains Independence

Kiribati attains independence from the United Kingdom. Ieremia Tabai is the first President. The sovereign state comprises 32 atolls and reef islands and one raised coral island, Banaba. Kiribati is a total land area of 310 square miles and are dispersed over 1.3 million square miles. Tarawa is the capital.

1981

Republic of Palau is Established

Palau opts for independence in 1978. It approved a new constitution and became the Republic of Palau in 1981. Haruo Remeliik is elected its first president.


 

1982

CHamorus Revive Traditional Canoe Making

Segundo Blas trains Rob Limtiaco and Gary Guerrero how to build a traditional CHamoru canoe, an art that was nearly lost. Together the men built a 15-foot outrigger canoe with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency (CAHA).

1983

Republic of the Marshall Islands is Established

Republic of the Marshall Islands is established and Amata Kabua is elected its first president. Independence is achieved in 1986 and a Compact of Free Association goes into effect with the US.


 

1983

Benigno Aquino is Slain in the Philippines

Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., a political rival of Philippines president Marcos, is slain in Manila. Aquino was a leader of the opposition towards President Ferdinand Marcos. He had been permitted to leave the country for medical treatment in the US but was then assassinated at the airport upon his return.

1983

Federated States of Micronesia is Established

Federated States of Micronesia is established. It includes Chuuk, Pohnpei, Yap and Kosrae. Tosiwo Nakayama of Onoun, Chuuk, is elected its first president. Independence is achieved in 1986 and a Compact of Free Association goes into effect with the US.


 

1984

The Inifresi is Adopted by the Government of Guam

The Government of Guam adopts the Inifresi as a pledge for Guam’s schoolchildren to learn. It is usually recited during festivities after “Fanohge CHamoru” (“Guam Hymn”) and the Pledge of Allegiance. Inifresi was written by Bernadita Camacho Dungca, PhD.

1985

Palau President Remeliik is Assassinated

Palau President Haruo Remeliik is assassinated as negotiations for a nuclear free Palau are underway. He served as the first president of Palau from 1981 until his assassination in 1985. The murder was never solved.


 

1986

Marcos is Exiled from the Philippines

Ferdinand Marcos is exiled from the Philippines after ruling for 20 years. He was the 10th president of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He ruled as a dictator under martial law from 1972 to 1981. His political opponent’s wife, Corazon Aquino, becomes president.


 

1988

Palau’s Ngirmang Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Palauan Gabriela Ngirmang is nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her role in keeping Palau nuclear-free as the leader of a women’s organization “Otil a Beluad” (“Anchor of our Land”). She addressed the United Nations and US Congress in her efforts.


 

1989

Tiananmen Square Massacre

More than one million in Beijing demonstrate for democracy as chaos spreads across China. Thousands are killed in Tiananmen Square as Chinese leaders take hard line toward demonstrators.

1991

World Wide Web Debuts

The World Wide Web debuts, popularizing the internet. English scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web in 1989, writing the first web browser in 1990 while employed at CERN in Switzerland. The browser was released publicly in 1991. The Web has been central to the development of the Information Age.


 

1991

Nasion CHamoru is Formed

Proud Nasion CHamoru members, 1994. Photograph courtesy of Dr. Judy Flores.

Nasion CHamoru is formed, led by Angel LG Santos, with the intent of creating an independence movement for the CHamoru people. Santos read a declaration asserting the right of the CHamorus to exist as a nation and called on the CHamorus present to sign this declaration.


 

1992

Angel Santos takes Governor Ada to Court

Angel LG Santos, along with other members of Nasion CHamoru, asked the Superior Court of Guam to order Governor Joseph F. Ada to implement the CHamoru Land Trust Act and prevails. Later, as a senator, Santos authorized the Rules and Regulations for the CHamoru Land Trust Commission.

1993

CHamoru Land Trust Holds its First Meeting

An act to provide landless CHamorus with $1 a year leases for land to live and farm on finally had its first meeting 18 years after it was signed into law. The newly formed CHamoru Land Trust Commission began the difficult task of surveying land and making it available to eligible applicants.

1994

US Signs Nuclear-Free Compact with Palau

The Republic of Palau gains its independence and after much political upheaval and hard work, signs a nuclear-free 50 year compact with the US.

1994

UN’s TTPI Ends

The United Nation’s Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI), formed just after World War II, ends in 1994. All the islands under its jurisdiction had transitioned into various political entities. It was first administered from Guam and then Saipan.

1995

Adelup Protest for CHamoru Land Trust Act

Chamoru Nation protest at Adelup, 1992. Photograph provided by the Department of Chamorro Affairs.

Angel LG Santos begins a hunger strike to protest the distribution of land in the Land for the Landless program as it is open to non-CHamorus. Santos wants it placed under the CHamoru Land Trust. Two months later lawmakers approved a bill to transfer all land from the Land for the Landless program to the Trust.


 

1996

CHamoru Registry Created

The CHamoru Registry is created to register the people of Guam who were made US citizens by the Organic Act in 1950 and their descendants. The registry is also used “for historical, ethnological and genealogical proposes, as well as for the future exercise of self-determination by the indigenous Chamorro people of Guam.”

1998

Google is Launched

Google, a web search engine, is launched. Two Stanford University students built a search engine that used links to determine the importance of pages on the Web. The idea was to organize the world’s information and make it accessible and useful. They found some investors and it was launched.


 

2001

Terrorists Attack US

Hijackers ram jetliners into the twin towers of New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon, terrorizing the US. A fourth hijacked plane crashes 80 miles outside of Pittsburgh. More than 3,000 people died. Islamic militant Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist network are identified as behind the attacks.


 

2004

Tsunamis Devastate Indonesia

A series of tsunamis up to 100 ft high, created by an earthquake, flooded communities along the coasts of the Indian Ocean and killed an estimated 227,898 people in 14 countries. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history and the deadliest of the 21st century. Indonesia was the hardest-hit country.


 

2004

Facebook is Launched

The social networking service Facebook is launched in 2004. It was created by two Harvard University students to communicate with their friends. Later it was expanded to other colleges and then corporations, and by September 2006, to everyone with a valid email address along with an age requirement of being 13 and older.


 

2007

Apple Releases the First iPhone

The development of the iPhone began with a request from Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs to the company’s engineers, asking them to investigate the use of touchscreen devices with excellent synchronization software. Jobs also had Apple develop the iTunes software. The iconic cell phone went on the market in 2007.


 

2008

US Elects its First Black President

Barack Obama, born and raised in Hawai`i, is elected president of the United States, the first black man to lead the US. Obama, a Democrat, served two terms as the 44th President from 2009 to 2017. He previously served as a senator.


 

2008

Guampedia, Guam’s Online Resource, is Launched

After six years of development, Guampedia goes online. It is a community project that highlights the unique CHamoru heritage and history of Guam and the Mariana Islands. Through peer-reviewed entries and accompanying media, Guampedia provides an important educational and informational resource to those wanting a better understanding of the region.


 

2010

Lawsuit Filed to Save Pågat

We Are Guåhan demonstration.

Guam Preservation Trust and We Are Guahan join in a lawsuit with the National Trust for Historic Preservation against the Department of Defense over a decision to use an area of land adjacent to the historic and culturally-rich village of Pågat for a firing range complex for US Marines.


 

2011

DoD Moves Firing Range to Ritidian

A federal judge dismisses a lawsuit regarding building a military firing range at Pågat, Guam but only after the Department of Defense agrees to conduct more environmental research, in essence, beginning the site selection process all over again. Ritidian, on the northeast coast of Guam, is then chosen as the preferred firing range site.

2011

Bin Laden is Hunted Down, Killed by US

A US special forces team, under the direction of US President Barack Obama, kills Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, 10 years after he led a terrorist attack on the US.


 

2012

Palau’s Rock Islands Become a World Heritage Site

The Rock Island’s Southern Lagoon in Palau is added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. The vast marine site is recognized for its exceptional ecological diversity, coral reefs, lagoon, limestone islands and marine lakes. Since the islands are isolated from each other, 52 marine lakes are different marine ecosystems.


 

2016

Guam Hosts Festival of the Pacific

Guam is the site of FestPac. Every four years since 1972, the islands of the Pacific gather to share in a special celebration of the arts. Thousands participate in the festival for two weeks which showcases traditional arts other forms of artistic traditions unique to this part of the world.


 

2016

Guam Museum Opens

Photograph of opening exhibit courtesy of the Guam Museum.

The Guam Museum, a government owned institution with a focus on the history of Guam, opens in Hagåtña. It is hoped to encourage people to engage in dialogue, to share multiple perspectives and experiences, and debate issues that concern residents today. The building was designed by CHamoru architect Andrew Laguana.


 

2016

Marshall’s Elects First Woman President in Micronesia

Republic of the Marshall Islands elects Hilda C. Heine, first woman president in the Micronesian region. She is also the first person in the Marshalls to earn a doctorate. She founded Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI). Heine served as the Minister of Education prior to assuming office.


 

2016

Pohnpei’s Nan Madol Named World Heritage Site

Nan Madol, 99 ancient islets in Pohnpei, is added to UNESCO world heritage sites. The islets contain architectural remains dating from the 13th century. Nan Madol is located off the south-east coast of Pohnpei. It contains the remains of stone palaces, temples and tombs built between the 13th and 16th centuries.


 

2017

North Korea Threatens to Bomb Guam

North Korea renews its threat to attack Guam with missiles, warning that US President Donald Trump’s social media antics and military moves are pushing Pyongyang over the edge. The US responds by increasing the number of bombs stored on island. Tourism from Japan drops but increases from South Korea.


 

2018

Guam Museum’s Permanent Exhibit Opens

Photograph courtesy of the Guam Museum.

The Guam Museum’s permanent exhibit “I Hinanao-Ta Nu Manaotao Tåno’-I CHamoru Siha: The Journey of the CHamoru People” opens. It tells the 3,500 year story of the CHamoru people and of Guam. The exhibit has seven galleries that takes the visitor through a timeline of history.