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Northern Mariana Islands History

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History[edit | edit source]

The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is an insular area and commonwealth of the United States consisting of 14 islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. It includes the 14 northernmost islands in the Mariana Archipelago except the southernmost island of the chain, Guam, which is a separate U.S. territory. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam are the westernmost point, in terms of jurisdiction, and territory of the United States.

The vast majority of the population resides on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. The other islands of the Northern Marianas are sparsely inhabited; the most notable among these is Pågan, which for various reasons over the centuries has experienced major population flux, but formerly had residents numbering in the thousands.

The administrative center is Capitol Hill, a village in northwestern Saipan. However, most publications consider Saipan to be the capital because the island is governed as a single municipality.
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Timeline[edit | edit source]

1898 - Following its loss during the Spanish–American War, Spain ceded Guam to the United States and sold the remainder of the Marianas along with the Caroline Islands, to Germany under the German–Spanish Treaty of 1899
1919 - Early in World War I, Japan declared war on Germany and invaded the Northern Marianas
1919 - The League of Nations awarded all of Germany's islands in the Pacific Ocean located north of the Equator, including the Northern Marianas, under mandate to Japan
1944 - Near the end of World War II, the United States military invaded the Mariana Islands, starting the Battle of Saipan, and of the 30,000 Japanese troops defending Saipan, fewer than 1,000 remained alive at the battle's end. Many Japanese civilians were also killed, by disease, starvation, enemy fire, and suicide