Inalåhan was officially established in 1680 by the Spanish, along with St. Joseph Church, and was one of the main villages on Guam during the Spanish era. The Spanish relocation of the Chamoru's, including the consolidation of the villages of Guam, was done to better control the local people during the Spanish-Chamorro wars that were going on at the time. Inalåhan was designed in the Spanish custom with the church as its focus.
The St. Joseph Church is named after the village’s patron saint of San Jose or St. Joseph. It contains a large statue of St. Joseph that, according to oral tradition, was brought to Guam by the Spanish, who intended to bring it to Umatac. But a storm prevented the ship from going to Umatac, and it ended up landing in Inarajan, where the statue remained.
The church has been rebuilt several times, and the current church was built in 1939. It was damaged during the bombing of World War II, and in the earthquake of 1993, the church’s steeple fell to the ground. It was rehabilitated in the late 1990s by the Parish Council, the church Pastor, and parishioners.
The church alter is the burial site of Father Jesus Baza Duenas, a local martyr who was one of the only two Chamorro priests on Guam during World War II. Father Duenas was arrested on July 8, 1944 in Inarajan by the Japanese police on suspicion of aiding the American fugitive, navy radioman George Tweed. Father Duenas had also angered the Japanese authorities by opposing official directives and calling the two Japanese priests on Guam propagandists for Japan. He was tortured, along with his nephew, former Island Attorney Eduardo Duenas, at Inarajan and at the police headquarters in Agana Heights. On July 12, the two men were beheaded at Tai, a section in the village of Mangilao. Father Duenas’s body was exhumed in March 1945 and reburied under the altar of St. Joseph’s, where he had served. The island’s only Catholic boys’ high school in Tai, Mangilao is named after him.
While Inarajan, sitting so close to the sea, has been hit hard by a number of typhoons, the most notable include a super typhoon in 1900 that killed twenty-eight Inarajan residents when huge waves engulfed the village, and Typhoon Allyn, which destroyed many homes in the village in 1949.