Monday, July 24, 2017


A village picked itself up and moved down the road.

What we call Agat today was not the original location of that village, called Hågat in Chamorro.

Why the change? World War II


In this pre-war map, you can see that Agat was located north of the present location of the village. A good landmark to orientate yourself is Ga'an Point, where there are Japanese guns located to this day. Ga'an Point is where the present village of Agat is located. In the higher circle, you can see the original village of Agat, with its several streets. The area which later became New Agat was once farmland.

Here is another map, based on pre-war information, showing the original location of the village. South of the old village, there is nothing but farmland and jungle.


But the war was to change all of that. In July of 1944, the Americans returned to invade the island and take it back from the Japanese. Two beaches were chosen to land the American invading forces : Asan and Agat. This meant the destruction of the two villages. American planes bombed Agat to smithereens in order to weaken the Japanese defensive forces entrenched in the village and its beaches.

This map shows the invasion point for the U.S. forces in Agat. The village is clearly in the way of the incoming American troops. The village church and its homes were all destroyed or damaged by American pre-invasion bombing.

Another view of the American invasion. The original village is just to the left of this map outlining the invasion. The new village lies in the center of this map, at Ga'an Point.


When the battle was over and the Americans had to care for the civilian population, it was decided to relocate the people down the road from the original village. The Americans did the same with the people of Sumay, relocating them a few miles east of the village. But this new village for the Sumay residents was not called New Sumay. It was called Santa Rita, the name of that location since before the war.

But in Agat's case, the Americans called the new location of the village "New Agat." The name "New Agat" persisted even into the 1960s.

The area where the current village is located covers places with different names. By the shoreline is Ga'an, which is also the name of the point. As the terrain then rises gently up to Mount Alifan, the inner part of present-day Agat was called Alifan. In the first map posted above, you can see the names of the other sites in the area.

In this map right after the war, you can see the village is now called "New Agat" and it is located down the road from the original location.

"New Agat" right after the war, with temporary housing structures built for the people.

A government record of planned sewage lines after the war talks about connecting the lines to "New Agat."

Even into the 1960s, as seen in this 1963 economic report, the government talked about "New Agat." The name "New Agat" disappeared from ordinary conversation by the 1970s. "New Agat" just became "Agat" or "Hågat."


The boundaries of Old Agat were the Ñåmo River to the north, and the old cemetery to the south. This area, once abandoned right after the war, became repopulated slowly over time, as this current map shows. The old cemetery is still in existence, and indicated the southern end of the old village of Agat before the war. A good landmark for old Agat is the 76 gas station, which older people say was the location of the pre-war church.

Photo by Frankie Casil
The 76 Gas Station is approximately where the pre-war church used to stand.

The old Agat Cemetery, which can be missed by passersby, is the southern border of the old village.

             Looking at a modern map, showing the relation between the old village and the new

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