Sumay’s history dates before the Spanish colonial period, although not much is known about its pre-contact history. When the Spanish proclaimed Guam as theirs, Sumay’s chieftain was supposedly among those who held strong opposition to the Spanish colonizers, although the Spanish government eventually gained control. Sumay, like other villages, was centered around the Catholic church.
The Spaniards kept a settlement at Sumay, and its easy access to San Luis de Apra Harbor made it a favorite anchorage town for whalers and other sailors. Sumay grew into a thriving little port town in the 1800s.
Much of the naval shipping operations were situated along this coastal village when the American government took over. The Trans-Pacific Cable Company anchored its station at Sumay in 1903, linking Guam with both Asia and the United States. Pan American Airways landed its China Clipper at Sumay in 1935, and built Guam’s first hotel there.
Because military shipping and communications centered around Sumay, it was one of the first areas to be bombed when the Japanese attacked on December 8, 1941. The people of Sumay fled and scattered inland to their small ranches in the jungles.
After World War II was over the Navy did not allow the Sumay residents to reclaim their home, saying they needed the property for U.S. Naval Base, Guam. The former Sumay residents were eventually relocated to the newly created village of Santa Rita.