Guam is a territory of the United States. Its flag, which measures 40 inches long and 78 inches wide, is dark blue rimmed in a thin two inch red border. In its center is an almond shaped coat of arms featuring a brown multihull sailboat sailing on the water set against a blue sky with a cliff in the far background. A sandy shoreline is prominently featured in the forefront of the emblem as well as a depiction of a lone coconut palm tree. In the center of the emblem is the word “Guam”. This flag design was officially adopted on Feb.9, 1948.
The red border around the flag is symbolic of the blood that was spilt during a number of violent conflicts such as the Japanese occupation of Guam during World War II. The coat of arms in the center of the flag is shaped to resemble the traditional slingshot stones used for hunting and sporting activities by the indigenous peoples of the island. The body of water depicted on the emblem references Agana Bay while the land is representative of Guam’s Punta Dos Amantes cliff.
Guam’s flag was designed by Helen L. Paul. It was approved by the Guam Congress along with the third military governor of Guam, Charles Alan Pownall. Pownall, an American Rear Admiral served in this influential post from 1946 to 1949. It’s assumed that Mrs. Paul was inspired to create the territorial flag after the United States entered World War I. Paul’s original flag design, which was initially adopted on July 4, 1917, didn’t include the red border. This feature was added in 1948.
Interestingly, the original inhabitants of Guam, known as the Chamorro didn’t use flags. During 1521-1898 when the island was under the jurisdiction of the European country of Spain the territory didn’t have an official flag. It wasn’t until the advent of World War I when U.S. troops were stationed at Guam that the territory adopted its first flag which was designed by Helen L. Paul. This version of the national flag was adopted in 1917 and then confirmed in 1931. The flag’s red border was added to the design seventeen years later following Japan’s war time occupation of the island.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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