In order to understand the current crisis in native affairs on Guam we need some knowledge of the changes that have taken place on the island since its discovery by Magellan in 1521. In the four centuries which have elapsed since discovery this small island of only 225 square miles has been the meeting place of many diverse influences from the Old World, the Americas, the Orient and the Pacific. It became a port of call for early European trans-Pacific voyagers, for the Manila galleon, and for whalers in the nineteenth century. Thus, due to certain accidents of history, we have been able to assemble a documented account of culture history and change on Guam across several hundred years, and this record is fraught with meaning as regards current problems on the island.

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