Thursday, May 22, 2014



In the foreground is the barrio of San Ignacio, where the Spanish and South American officers and soldiers lived in the 1700s, many of them with Chamorro wives.  By the time this photo was taken, San Ignacio was home to a wide variety of Chamorros, of many racial mixes.  Though some considered San Ignacio the barrio of the upper class, the truth is that poor Chamorros also lived in San Ignacio, and upper class Chamorros also lived in other barrios of the city.

The Hagåtña church, plaza and Governor's Palace (palåsyo) were actually situated at the extreme north end of the city.  Beyond the church, in the direction of Minondo and Mongmong, there were hardly any houses.

To the west of the church was the barrio of San Nicolás.  North of that, going in the direction of Tamuning, was the barrio of San Antonio, the northern extent of the city. By the 1920s, these two barrios were heavily populated, more than San Ignacio.  By 1940, San Antonio was actually the most populated barrio of the city.

The rural plains of Tiyan, Barrigada, Ungåguan and other districts are visible; rich farming lands inhabited by 800+ people.  Mount Tuyan, now known as Barrigada Heights, is noticeable for its lack of housing, so different from today.

The main thing : Hagåtña was, at this time, a place people actually lived.  Over 10,000 of them by 1940, roughly half the entire island population.  Prior to that, when Guam counted just 10,000 people, about 80% of the people lived in Hagåtña.  Today, out of 160,000 people living on Guam in 2010, only 1,000 or just .63% of the island population live in the capital city!

Ninety Years Later

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