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How the United States Ended Up With Guam

How the United States Ended Up With Guam



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The tiny western Pacific island of Guam has been a U.S. territory for over a century, and is considered a strategically important link between the U.S. and Asia. Yet given its significance, the story of how an island 6,000 miles from California become an American territory is surprisingly short.

The only reason America annexed Guam and its Chamorro inhabitants all those years ago was because the U.S. was at war with Spain. When the Spanish-American War broke out in April of 1898, Guam was under Spanish control (as it had been since the 1600s). The U.S. was actually more interested in conquering the Spanish Philippines, but it figured it needed to take Guam to secure the larger territory. The Philippines and Guam are only 1,500 miles apart.

In June of that year, the U.S. sent the second USS Charleston (C-2) to capture the island. When the ship arrived, the Americans on board sent up warning signals to let the Spanish know they were there, says Dr. Diana L. Ahmad, a professor of history and political science at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

“They of course expected the Spanish to respond in some sort of war-like manner, defending their island and so forth,” she says. “But there was no response from them at all.”

The Americans were confused because they didn’t know what was going on. Why wasn’t anyone responding to the declaration that they were there to attack?

In a couple of hours, a boat of Spanish authorities sailed over to the Charleston to talk with the Americans. When they reached the ship, the Spanish apologized for not responding to what they’d perceived as a salute or greeting from the Americans—in other words, the Spanish thought the Americans’ signals had been a polite knock on the door.

“The Americans just looked at them and said, ‘No, we’re at war,’” Ahmad says.

Turns out, the Spanish stationed on the remote island hadn’t known they were two months into the Spanish-American War. Once the parties established that they were enemies, the Americans sent a letter to the Spanish governor of Guam giving him 30 minutes to surrender.

“A couple of the documents I’ve read said he took until the 29th minute to respond,” Ahmad says. However long he took, “the island of Guam surrendered and it became American. It was that simple.”

Afterwards, the Americans “stayed for about 24 to 36 hours” before sailing away again, she says. “They left no Americans in charge of the island and even took the flag [they’d raised] with them.” It was the first and last event in the Spanish-American War that ever took place in Guam, and it was completely bloodless.

When the U.S. won the war, it made Guam an official U.S. territory. Guamanians, as the U.S. government calls them, are now U.S. citizens by birth. However, unlike citizens in America’s 50 states, they cannot vote for president. And just like citizens of Washington D.C. and the other U.S. territories—Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa—Guam’s 162,000 people have no voting representatives in Congress.

Though political movements have sought to either incorporate Guam as a state or liberate it from the U.S., Ahmad doesn’t see that happening in the near future. But she thinks that if the U.S. is going to keep Guam as a nebulous non-state in order to benefit from its strategic location, it should play more of a role in improving the island’s strained infrastructure.

Most recently, Guam has asked the U.S. to help de-escalate the threat posed by North Korea. On August 9, 2017, the people of Guam woke up to read that Kim Jong-un was considering a nuclear attack on their island. Shortly thereafter, North Korea released a statement saying it “will complete a plan by mid-August for the ‘historic enveloping fire at Guam,’” according to the Associated Press.

“I’ve reached out to the White House this morning,” Eddie Baza Calvo, the governor of Guam, said in a video address that day. “An attack or threat on Guam is a threat or attack on the United States. They have said that America will be defended.”


Strategic Air Command

Strategic Air Command (SAC) was both a United States Department of Defense (DoD) Specified Command and a United States Air Force (USAF) Major Command (MAJCOM), responsible for Cold War command and control of two of the three components of the U.S. military's strategic nuclear strike forces, the so-called "nuclear triad", with SAC having control of land-based strategic bomber aircraft and intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBMs (the third leg of the triad being submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) of the U.S. Navy).

SAC also operated all strategic reconnaissance aircraft, all strategic airborne command post aircraft, and all USAF aerial refueling aircraft, to include those in the Air Force Reserve (AFRES) and Air National Guard (ANG).

However, SAC did not operate the KB-50, WB-50 and WB-47 weather reconnaissance aircraft operated through the mid and late 1960s by the Air Weather Service, nor did SAC operate the HC-130 or MC-130 operations aircraft capable of aerial refueling helicopters that were assigned to Tactical Air Command (TAC), then Military Airlift Command (MAC), and from 1990 onward, those MC-130 aircraft operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), or any AFRES (now Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC)) or ANG tactical aerial refueling aircraft (e.g., HC-130, MC-130) operationally gained by TAC, MAC or AFSOC.

SAC primarily consisted of the Second Air Force (2AF), Eighth Air Force (8AF) and the Fifteenth Air Force (15AF), while SAC headquarters (HQ SAC) included Directorates for Operations & Plans, Intelligence, Command & Control, Maintenance, Training, Communications, and Personnel. At a lower echelon, SAC headquarters divisions included Aircraft Engineering, Missile Concept, [1] and Strategic Communications.

In 1992, as part of an overall post-Cold War reorganization of the U.S. Air Force, SAC was disestablished as both a Specified Command and as a MAJCOM, and its personnel and equipment redistributed among the Air Combat Command (ACC), Air Mobility Command (AMC), Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), and Air Education and Training Command (AETC), while SAC's central headquarters complex at Offutt AFB, Nebraska was concurrently transferred to the newly created United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), which was established as a joint Unified Combatant Command to replace SAC's Specified Command role.

In 2009, SAC's previous USAF MAJCOM role was reactivated and redesignated as the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC), with AFGSC eventually acquiring claimancy and control of all USAF bomber aircraft and the USAF strategic ICBM force. [2]


How the United States Ended Up With Guam

SGT (Join to see)

On June 21, 1898, the US captured Guam from Spain during the Spanish-American War. From the article:

"How the United States Ended Up With Guam
The capture of Guam was short and bloodless.
The tiny western Pacific island of Guam has been a U.S. territory for over a century, and is considered a strategically important link between the U.S. and Asia. Yet given its significance, the story of how an island 6,000 miles from California become an American territory is surprisingly short.

The only reason America annexed Guam and its Chamorro inhabitants all those years ago was because the U.S. was at war with Spain. When the Spanish-American War broke out in April of 1898, Guam was under Spanish control (as it had been since the 1600s). The U.S. was actually more interested in conquering the Spanish Philippines, but it figured it needed to take Guam to secure the larger territory. The Philippines and Guam are only 1,500 miles apart.

In June of that year, the U.S. sent the second USS Charleston (C-2) to capture the island. When the ship arrived, the Americans on board sent up warning signals to let the Spanish know they were there, says Dr. Diana L. Ahmad, a professor of history and political science at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

“They of course expected the Spanish to respond in some sort of war-like manner, defending their island and so forth,” she says. “But there was no response from them at all.”

The Americans were confused because they didn’t know what was going on. Why wasn’t anyone responding to the declaration that they were there to attack?

In a couple of hours, a boat of Spanish authorities sailed over to the Charleston to talk with the Americans. When they reached the ship, the Spanish apologized for not responding to what they’d perceived as a salute or greeting from the Americans—in other words, the Spanish thought the Americans’ signals had been a polite knock on the door.

“The Americans just looked at them and said, ‘No, we’re at war,’” Ahmad says.

Turns out, the Spanish stationed on the remote island hadn’t known they were two months into the Spanish-American War. Once the parties established that they were enemies, the Americans sent a letter to the Spanish governor of Guam giving him 30 minutes to surrender.

“A couple of the documents I’ve read said he took until the 29th minute to respond,” Ahmad says. However long he took, “the island of Guam surrendered and it became American. It was that simple.”

Afterwards, the Americans “stayed for about 24 to 36 hours” before sailing away again, she says. “They left no Americans in charge of the island and even took the flag [they’d raised] with them.” It was the first and last event in the Spanish-American War that ever took place in Guam, and it was completely bloodless.

When the U.S. won the war, it made Guam an official U.S. territory. Guamanians, as the U.S. government calls them, are now U.S. citizens by birth. However, unlike citizens in America’s 50 states, they cannot vote for president. And just like citizens of Washington D.C. and the other U.S. territories—Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa—Guam’s 162,000 people have no voting representatives in Congress.

Though political movements have sought to either incorporate Guam as a state or liberate it from the U.S., Ahmad doesn’t see that happening in the near future. But she thinks that if the U.S. is going to keep Guam as a nebulous non-state in order to benefit from its strategic location, it should play more of a role in improving the island’s strained infrastructure.

Most recently, Guam has asked the U.S. to help de-escalate the threat posed by North Korea. On August 9, 2017, the people of Guam woke up to read that Kim Jong-un was considering a nuclear attack on their island. Shortly thereafter, North Korea released a statement saying it “will complete a plan by mid-August for the ‘historic enveloping fire at Guam,’” according to the Associated Press.

“I’ve reached out to the White House this morning,” Eddie Baza Calvo, the governor of Guam, said in a video address that day. “An attack or threat on Guam is a threat or attack on the United States. They have said that America will be defended.”


Incorporation of U.S. Territories

Incorporated territories are considered integral parts of the United States. Prior to statehood, both Alaska and Hawaii were incorporated territories. In incorporated territories, the Constitution is in full effect. Incorporated territories would be similar to territories found in Canada (Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut) or the Northern Territory of Australia—in these places, they do not have a large enough population for statehood, but are still considered part of the parent country.

Today the U.S. has only one incorporated territory: Palmyra Atoll.

Most people have never heard of Palmyra Atoll, but it is legally the only incorporated territory of the U.S. It has this status because of a quirk of history. When Hawaii gained statehood in 1959, Palmyra was part of the territory of Hawaii. The act of statehood, which admitted Hawaii to the union, explicitly excluded Palmyra from joining the rest of the Hawaiian Islands from becoming a state. I’ve searched high and low for an explanation as to why Palmyra was not included with Hawaii as a state, but I could never find a reason.

Today, Palmyra is owned by The Nature Conservancy and has no permanent human settlement.

All other U.S. territories today are unincorporated territories. A such, they are not considered integral parts of the United States that the U.S. has permanent sovereignty over.


How Many Slaves Landed in the U.S.?

Perhaps you, like me, were raised essentially to think of the slave experience primarily in terms of our black ancestors here in the United States. In other words, slavery was primarily about us, right, from Crispus Attucks and Phillis Wheatley, Benjamin Banneker and Richard Allen, all the way to Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass. Think of this as an instance of what we might think of as African-American exceptionalism. (In other words, if it’s in “the black Experience,” it’s got to be about black Americans.) Well, think again.

The most comprehensive analysis of shipping records over the course of the slave trade is the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, edited by professors David Eltis and David Richardson. (While the editors are careful to say that all of their figures are estimates, I believe that they are the best estimates that we have, the proverbial “gold standard” in the field of the study of the slave trade.) Between 1525 and 1866, in the entire history of the slave trade to the New World, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage, disembarking in North America, the Caribbean and South America.

And how many of these 10.7 million Africans were shipped directly to North America? Only about 388,000. That’s right: a tiny percentage.

Diagram of a slave ship from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, 1790-1 (Public Domain)

Fifty of the 100 Amazing Facts will be published on The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross website. Read all 100 Facts on The Root.


Aftermath of the Spanish-American War

With the Spanish facing defeat on all fronts, they elected to sign an armistice on August 12 which ended hostilities. This was followed by a formal peace agreement, the Treaty of Paris, which was concluded in December. By the terms of the treaty Spain ceded Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States. It also surrendered its rights to Cuba allowing the island to become independent under the guidance of Washington. While the conflict effectively marked the end of the Spanish Empire, it saw the rise of the United States as world power and aided healing the divides caused by the Civil War. Though a short war, the conflict led to protracted American involvement in Cuba as well as spawned the Philippine-American War.


Where is Guam?

Guam is an organized unincorporated territory of the United States in Micronesia, located in the Western North Pacific Ocean. It is geographically positioned both in the Northern and Eastern hemispheres of the Earth. Guam is situated to the east of Philippines to the north of Papua New Guinea to the west of Hawaii and to the southeast of North Korea. Guam’s southern maritime boundary forms a border with the Federated States of Micronesia while its northern maritime boundary forms a border with the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.

Regional Maps: Map of


Incorporated/Unincorporated Territories, Organized/Unorganized Territories

The territories are defined as either incorporated or unincorporated. Actually, only one territory, Palmyra Atoll, is considered an incorporated territory, which means that the US Constitution fully applies in the territory. The other territories are all unincorporated, which means that only select parts of the Constitution apply to them. For example, unincorporated territories do not have the right to full representation in the US Congress.

The territories are also distinguished by whether they are organized or unorganized. All territories with permanent populations with the exception of American Samoa are organized, meaning that the US government has given these territories their own governments with limited autonomy. All US Territories without permanent populations are considered unorganized.


Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War, 1898-1902

The 51st Iowa Volunteers leaving the Presidio and heading for the Philippines in 1898.

PARC, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

On April 21, 1898, the United States declared war against Spain. The causes of the conflict were many, but the immediate ones were America's support of Cuba's ongoing struggle against Spanish rule and the mysterious explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor. It would be the first overseas war fought by the United States, involving campaigns in both Cuba and the Philippine Islands.

The Spanish fleet guarding the Philippines was defeated by the U.S. Navy under the command of Commodore George Dewey on May 1, 1898. Ignorant of Dewey’s success, President McKinley authorized the assembling of troops in order to mount a campaign against the capital of Manila. The military base best suited as the staging point for troops bound for the Philippines was the Presidio of San Francisco. The majority of these soldiers were volunteers, originating from all over the United States, gathering and training at the Presidio before the long sea voyage to the Philippines and their part in, as Secretary of State John Hay put it, the "splendid little war."

The Presidio's Role

The Presidio was a natural staging point because of its proximity to the finest harbor on the west coast, and possessed enough land to house and train large numbers of troops for service in the Philippines. The first soldiers left the Presidio in May 1898, and consisted of the 1 st California Infantry and the 2 nd Oregon Infantry Regiments. Soon soldiers from Washington, Montana, Iowa, Wyoming, Kansas, Tennessee, and Utah would be stationed at the Presidio in addition to the regular garrison. From the beginning of the war to 1900, some 80,000 men passed through the post on their way to the Philippines. At the turn of the century, San Francisco offered many attractions, but army life at the Presidio was cramped, and sickness often flared up in the temporary tent camps. This situation prompted the military to improve troop facilities and helped change the face of the Presidio over the ensuing years.


Characteristics

The Guam quarter reverse design depicts the outline of the island, a flying proa (a seagoing craft built by the Chamorro people), and a latte stone (an architectural element used as the base of homes). The proa represents the endurance, fortitude and discovery of the Chamorro people. The vessel, made by expert carvers and sailed by master navigators, is admired as a technical marvel. The latte speaks to a historic icon that hails from the Micronesian area. Chamorro is one of the official languages of Guam, and its usage is enjoying a renaissance there and on the Mariana Islands.

Guam Governor Felix P. Camacho solicited and reviewed reverse design narratives from the public, narrowing hundreds of submissions down to two—the outline of the Island of Guam with a flying proa and latte stone and a flying proa at sail, a coconut tree bending toward the water and Two Lovers Point in the background. These narratives were forwarded to the United States Mint for the production of artistic renderings, which were then proposed to the territory. Through a public vote, the island, flying proa and latte stone design was recommended for the Guam quarter, and the Secretary of the Treasury approved it on July 31, 2008.


Watch the video: Στη δίνη του πολικού ψύχους παραμένουν οι ΗΠΑ. 122019. ΕΡΤ (August 2022).