Little-known factoids about Guam's places & past

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Little-known factoids about Guam's places & past

by: . | .
National Park Service | .
published: February 28, 2016

Gadao’s Cave, listed in the National Register on November 19, 1974, borders Inarajan Bay in Guam. Little is known about who may have created the approximately 50 pictographs that line the walls of the cave or when they were created.

The pictographs were probably painted with a mixture of powdered lime, plentiful on this coral island, and tree sap. One of the most well-known of the pictographs in Gadao’s Cave are the two human figures, one of which has an object underneath its arm.

There are many interpretations to what the symbols in the cave may be telling us today.

The Plaza de Espana was the center of political power in Guam for over 200 years during Spanish, American, and Japanese occupation.

The original Governor’s Palace, which was the principle structure in the complex of buildings and gardens, was built in 1736 during the Spanish rule of Guam. At that time, the Plaza de Espana was named Plaza de Magalhaes and the Governor’s Palace was called the Casa Govierno.

In 1885, during the rule of Governor Don Enrique Solano, the original palace was replaced. Most of the buildings in the Plaza de Espana were constructed in the traditional Spanish style of either wood or manposteria (a combination of rough coral stones set in place and covered with a smooth lime mortar).

In 1898, following the Spanish American War, Guam was ceded from Spain to the United States. The United States continued to use the Governor’s Palace and renovated the building when it was damaged in an earthquake in 1905. During World War II, Guam was invaded and seized by the Japanese military. On the morning of Dec. 10, 1941, the Japanese Special Naval Landing Force began landing at numerous points on the eastern shore of Guam and began advancing toward Agana. The Guam Insular Forces Guard, along with U.S. sailors and marines, took up defensive positions in the Plaza de Espana, forcing the Japanese to halt.

However, resistance soon appeared hopeless and the American Governor, Captain George J. McMillin, USN, surrendered the island to the Japanese in the Plaza de Espana.

During the occupation of Guam by the Japanese, the Governor’s Palace became the headquarters of the Japanese occupation forces until the American invasion and bombardment in July, 1944.

The Governor’s Palace was destroyed during the bombardment, but the original 1736 garden house, adjacent to the Palace, survived and now houses the Guam Museum. The rest of the Plaza de Espana is now a public park.

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