Hagåtña is the capital of Guam, which is an organized but unincorporated territory of the United States government. Therefore, the Chamorro who have inhabited the island for years and the Guamanians are Americans citizens by birth. Although the largest city is Dededo which is the most populated and Hagåtña is one of the smallest, it hosts the arms of the government and its commercial districts, effectively making the capital of Guam. By 2010 it had a population of 1,051.
Name And History
The name Hagåtña is derived from “haga” which means blood in the local Chamorro language. The specific aspect of blood is largely speculative in this case since the suffix “na” can be mentioned as several forms of pronouns such as hers, his, or its. The name Hagana, therefore, can be said to translate to “his” or “her” blood which according to some refers to the bloodlines that began Hagåtña as a village. Years before it became a territory of the United States, Hagåtña’s first visitors were the Spanish whose attempt to introduce Christianity ignited clashes with the Chamorro who sought to preserve their traditional customs and beliefs. They put a brave resistance spanning almost two decades but the Spanish eventually won and the larger Guam area became a Spanish colony after a major uprising in 1684.
Becoming A US Territory
For a while, Hagåtña became and assumed the features of a Spanish capital hosting the seat of the Spanish government after transitioning from village to city in 1687. The Spanish conquest lasted up to 1898 when Captain Henry Glass a captain of a US ship subdued the island in effect taking the Spanish governor Juan Marina of Guam and his entire military as prisoners of war. A year later Richard Leary arrived in Guam as an appointed US governor to administer over Guam and by 1941 Hagåtña had become the center of the American naval administration.
Tourism In Hagåtña
The city of Hagåtña has a rich history to it which provides some sites that tourists can visit. Latte Stone Park is one of these, and it features eight stone pillars or latte as the name suggests which were transferred from Fena and Me’pu while these areas where being commissioned as military bases. Post World War II the Japanese had taken over Hagåtña for two and a half years, the caves that they used to store supplies and to shelter. These caves were human-made by use of forced labor and today remain a historical site. The Guam Museum is located at the center of Hagåtña as a beacon of the cultural depth and diversity of the people of Guam and it was opened recently in 2016 to showcase the resilience of the inhabitants of Guam. Other notable sites include Ricardo J. Bordallo which is the governor’s complex, Plaza de Espana which housed the Spanish governor during the Spanish occupation of the island as well as Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica the site of the first ever Catholic church.
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