Catholic Church: Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica
Fiesta: December 8
Hagåtña, located in central Guam, is nestled between Agana Bay and the cliffs of Agana Heights. It is considered the first European city in the Pacific because of the early colonization of the Marianas, as compared to the rest of the Pacific. It was declared a city by a Spanish royal decree March 30, 1686 as the capital of the Marianas, the residence of the Spanish governor and the site of the garrison.
Guam’s main roadway, Marine Corps Drive, runs through the village from east to west. Another major artery, Route 4, dissects the village from the shoreline to the central part of the island, running east. Hagåtña borders the village of Tamuning in the east and Asan to the west.
The capital of Guam, Hagåtña is the seat of the island’s three branches of government: Judicial, Legislative, and Executive as well as the religious center for the Catholic Church. It is also home to numerous commercial activities including legal offices, banks, department/variety stores, insurance, technical and professional services and restaurants.
The cultural resources of the village are significant being home to a large number of Guam’s historical sites. The Hagåtña boat basin (formally known as the Gregorio D. Perez Marina), the Guam Public Library (formally the Nieves M. Flores Memorial Library) and numerous public facilities are also located within the village.
As opposed to the island’s historical past, Hagåtña is currently one of the least populated villages on the island. Residential homes primarily are located below the cliff at the western portion of the village.
Few detailed accounts of the village are known prior to the arrival of the Catholic mission headed by Father Diego Luis de San Vitores in 1668. San Vitores is credited with establishing the Catholic Church in the Mariana Islands. Shortly after arriving on the island of Guam, he renamed the village of Hagåtña, “San Ignacio de Agadña,” in honor of his holy father and patriarch. At that time Hagåtña was reported to be the island’s principal village. It is estimated that 1,000 people lived in the village that reportedly had 203 dwellings; fifty-three upper class homes and one hundred and fifty other dwellings that belonged to lower caste residents “who had no part of the affairs of Agadña.”