Hagåtña

Hagåtña

Hagåtña or Agaña, city (1990 pop. 4,785), capital of the island of Guam, W Pacific, in the Mariana Islands. It is the administrative center of Guam, and many of the city's economic activities are related to the provision of goods and services to the large U.S. military bases on the island. Tourism, especially from Japan, also is a major industry. Completely destroyed in World War II, Hagåtña was subsequently rebuilt. Formerly known as Agaña, the name of the city was officially changed to its Chamorro form in 1998.
Hagåtña (), formerly Agana and in Spanish Agaña, is the capital of the American island territory of Guam. It is the island's second smallest village in both area and population. From the 18th through mid 20th century, it was Guam's population center. Today, it remains one of the island's major commercial districts in addition to being the seat of government.

Etymology

"Hagåtña" means "his or her blood" in the Chamorro/Chamoru language. There is much speculation that the natives originally migrated from the village of Agat. The Chamorro name for Agat is "Hågat, which means "blood". The "ña" suffix signifies a third person perspective/ownership/etc.; therefore "Hagåtña" translates into "his or her blood" which may mean "relative for him or her". In 1998, the Guam Legislature changed the name from "Agana" back to the original Chamorro/Chamoru form. However, the name of the neighboring village Agana Heights remains unchanged.

Geography

Hagåtña is located at the mouth of the Hagåtña river on Guam's west coast. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1 square mile (2.6 km²). The village is bounded by the sandy beaches of Agana Bay to the north, the Agana River and associated wetlands to the east, and a cliff (above which is the village of Agana Heights) to the South. Several high-rise office buildings are in the center of the village, while the western portion of the city known as Anigua is more residential. Unlike many villages, central Hagåtña is divided into city blocks with shops and small restaurants throughout the center of the village. Highly populated residential areas in the villages of Mongmong-Toto-Maite, Sinajana, and Agana Heights surround Hagåtña.

Government

As the island's capital, the Legislature, the Office of the Governor and other government offices are located in Hagåtña. As in all villages of Guam, the municipality is governed by an elected mayor. The Government house (Chamorro: Guma I Taotao Guam), traditionally the governor's official residence, is situated above the cliff but technically within the city limit of Hagåtña. Adelup, home of the governor's office and executive complex since 1990, was once part of Asan-Maina before being annexed into Hagåtña so that Hagåtña remains the seat of the Government of Guam.

History

Hagåtña was a prominent village prior to Guam's colonization by the Spanish. In 1668, the first Spanish missionary, Padre San Vitores arrived on the island. The family of Chief Kepuha donated land in Hagåtña enabling San Vitores to build the first church (Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica) on Guam.

Under Spanish rule, much of the indigenous population of Guam and other Mariana Islands was forced to relocate to the city. The remains of buildings from the Spanish administration can be seen in the Plaza de España located beside the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Agana.

After Guam was ceded by Spain to the United States in the Spanish-American War of 1898, 'Agana' remained the seat of government under U.S. Naval Administration. By 1940, the city's population had grown to about 10,000 containing nearly half of the island's residents.

Guam was captured by Japanese forces on December 8, 1941. During Guam's 1944 liberation from the Japanese during World War II, the city was heavily damaged by U.S. naval bombardment. Many former residents settled in other parts of Guam after the war. As part of Guam's reconstruction plan, the U.S. Navy constructed new straight city streets that passed through existing lots and created many plots of land with multiple owners. This has hindered the development of the city to the present day. In December 1944 Guam was the scene of the Agana race riot, between black and white servicemen stationed on the island.

Today, despite a resident population of only 1,100 (less than 1% of Guam's total), the city remains the seat of the territorial government. Its historic sites are major attractions for visitors. Hagåtña is served by Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport in Tamuning and Barrigada.

Culture

As Guam's historic population and administrative center, many traditional celebrations take place in Hagåtña. On December 8, Santa Marian Kamalen, Patroness of the Mariana Islands, is honored by a procession where a statue of the patroness is pulled on a cart amid the prayers of thousands of the island's Catholics Guam's most celebrated patriotic holiday, Liberation Day is on July 21. The annual Liberation Day Parade takes place on Marine Corps Drive in Hagåtña. In addition to the historic sites at the Plaza de España and the Basillica, Latte stone park and the Chamorro Village shopping area offer further information about the island's history and culture.

Education

Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

The Guam Public School System serves the entire island of Guam.

Hagåtña residents are zoned to:

Private schools

Private schools in Hagåtña include:

Public libraries

Guam Public Library System operates the Nieves M. Flores Memorial Library at 254 Martyr Street in Hagåtña.

References

  • Rogers, Robert F (1995). Destiny's Landfall: A History of Guam: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0-8248-1678-1
  • Carter, Lee D; Carter, Rosa Roberto; Wuerch, William L (1997). Guam History: Perspectives Volume One: MARC. ISBN 1-878453-28-9
  • Sanchez, Pedro C. Guahan, Guam: The History of our Island: Sanchez Publishing House.
  • (1996) Kinalamten Pulitikat: Sinenten I Chamorro: Issues in Guam's Political Development: The Chamorro Perspective: The Political Status Education Coordinating Commission. ISBN 1-883488-03-6

External links

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