The Info List - Northern Mariana Islands

The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
(CNMI; Chamorro: Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; Refaluwasch
or Carolinian: Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an insular area and commonwealth of the United States
United States
consisting of 15 islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. The CNMI includes all islands in the Mariana Archipelago
except Guam
which is the southernmost island of the chain and a separate U.S. territory. The United States
United States
Department of the Interior cites a landmass of 183.5 square miles (475.26 km2).[4] According to the 2010 United States Census, 53,883 people were living in the CNMI at that time.[5] 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.[6][7] 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.


1 History

1.1 Arrival of humans 1.2 Spanish possession

1.2.1 Carolinian immigration

1.3 German and Japanese possession 1.4 World War II 1.5 United States
United States
Territory (Commonwealth)

2 Geography

2.1 Climate

3 Politics and government

3.1 Administrative divisions 3.2 Political status

4 Economy

4.1 Infrastructure

5 Demographics

5.1 Ethnic groups 5.2 Religion 5.3 Education

6 Culture

6.1 Cuisine 6.2 Religion 6.3 Sports

7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links

History[edit] Arrival of humans[edit] The first people of the Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
immigrated at some point between 4000 BC and 2000 BC from Southeast Asia. After first contact with Spaniards, they eventually became known as the Chamorros, a Spanish word similar to Chamori, the name of the indigenous caste system's higher division. The ancient people of the Marianas raised colonnades of megalithic capped pillars called latte stones upon which they built their homes. The Spanish reported that by the time of their arrival, the largest of these were already in ruins, and that the Chamorros believed the ancestors who had erected the pillars lived in an era when people possessed supernatural abilities. Archeologists in 2013 posited that the first people to settle in the Marianas may have made what was at that point the longest uninterrupted ocean-crossing voyage in human history, and that archeological evidence indicates that Tinian
might have been the first Pacific island outside of Asia to be settled.[8] Spanish possession[edit]

Colonial tower, a vestige of the former Spanish colony

The first European explorer of the area, the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, arrived in 1521. He landed on Guam, the southernmost island of the Marianas, and claimed the archipelago for Spain. The Spanish ships were met offshore by the native Chamorros, who delivered refreshments and then helped themselves to a small boat belonging to Magellan's fleet. This led to a cultural clash: in Chamorro tradition, little property was private and taking something one needed, such as a boat for fishing, did not count as stealing. The Spanish did not understand this custom, and fought the Chamorros until the boat was recovered. Three days after he had been welcomed on his arrival, Magellan fled the archipelago. Spain
regarded the islands as annexed and later made them part of the Spanish East Indies
Spanish East Indies
(1565). In 1734, the Spanish built a royal palace in Guam
for the governor of the islands. Its remains are visible even in the 21st century; see the Plaza de España (Hagåtña)
Plaza de España (Hagåtña)
article. Guam
operated as an important stopover between Manila and Mexico for galleons carrying gold between the Philippines
and Spain. Some galleons sunk in Guam
remain. In 1668, Father Diego Luis de San Vitores
Diego Luis de San Vitores
renamed the islands Las Marianas in honor of his patroness the Spanish regent Mariana of Austria (1634–1696), widow of Felipe IV (reigned 1621–1655). Most of the islands' native population (90–95%)[9] died from Spanish diseases or married non-Chamorro settlers under Spanish rule. New settlers, primarily from the Philippines
and the Caroline Islands, were brought[by whom?] to repopulate the islands. The Chamorro population gradually recovered, and Chamorro, Filipino, and Refaluwasch
languages and other ethnic differences remain in the Marianas. During the 17th century, Spanish colonists forcibly moved the Chamorros to Guam, to encourage assimilation and conversion to Roman Catholicism. By the time they were allowed to return to the Northern Marianas, many Carolinians from present-day eastern Yap State
Yap State
and western Chuuk State
Chuuk State
had settled in the Marianas.[citation needed] Both languages, as well as English, are now official in the Commonwealth. Carolinian immigration[edit] The Northern Marianas experienced an influx of immigration from the Carolines during the 19th century. Both this Carolinian subethnicity and Carolinians in the Carolines archipelago refer to themselves as the Refaluwasch. The indigenous Chamoru word for the same group of people is gu'palao. They are usually referred to simply as "Carolinians", though unlike the other two monikers, this can also mean those who actually live in the Carolines and who may have no affiliation with the Marianas. The conquering Spanish did not focus attempts at cultural suppression against Carolinian immigrants, whose immigration they allowed during a period when the indigenous Chamoru majority was being subjugated with land alienation, forced relocations and internment. Carolinians in the Marianas continue to be fluent in the language[which?], and have maintained many of the cultural distinctions and traditions of their ethnicity's land of ancestral origin.[10][need quotation to verify] German and Japanese possession[edit]

under the administration of Japan

Following its loss during the Spanish–American War
Spanish–American War
of 1898, Spain ceded Guam
to the United States
United States
and sold the remainder of the Marianas (i.e., the Northern Marianas), along with the Caroline Islands, to Germany under the German–Spanish Treaty of 1899. Germany administered the islands as part of its colony of German New Guinea and did little in terms of development. Early in World War I, Japan
declared war on Germany and invaded the Northern Marianas. In 1919, the League of Nations
League of Nations
awarded all of Germany's islands in the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
located north of the Equator, including the Northern Marianas, under mandate to Japan. Under this arrangement, the Japanese thus administered the Northern Marianas as part of the South Pacific Mandate. During the Japanese period, sugar cane became the main industry of the islands. Garapan
on Saipan
was developed as a regional capital, and numerous Japanese (including ethnic Koreans, Okinawan, and Taiwanese) migrated to the islands. In the December 1939 census, the total population of the South Pacific Mandate was 129,104, of whom 77,257 were Japanese (including ethnic Taiwanese and Koreans). On Saipan
the pre-war population comprised 29,348 Japanese settlers and 3,926 Chamorro and Caroline Islanders; Tinian
had 15,700 Japanese settlers (including 2,700 ethnic Koreans and 22 ethnic Chamorro). World War II[edit] On December 8, 1941, hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces from the Marianas launched an invasion of Guam. Chamorros from the Northern Marianas, which had been under Japanese rule for more than 20 years, were brought to Guam
to assist the Japanese administration. This, combined with the harsh treatment of Guamanian Chamorros during the 31-month occupation, created a rift that would become the main reason Guamanians rejected the reunification referendum approved by the Northern Marianas in the 1960s.

Marine infantrymen in Garapan, Saipan

On June 15, 1944, near the end of World War II, the United States military invaded the Mariana Islands, starting the Battle of Saipan, which ended on July 9. Of the 30,000 Japanese troops defending Saipan, fewer than 1,000 remained alive at the battle's end.[11] Many Japanese civilians were also killed, by disease, starvation, enemy fire, and suicide. Approximately 1,000 civilians committed suicide by jumping off the cliffs at Mt. Marpi or Marpi Point.[12] U.S. forces then recaptured Guam
on July 21, and invaded Tinian
on July 24; a year later Tinian
was the takeoff point for the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Rota was left untouched (and isolated) until the Japanese surrender in August 1945, owing to its military insignificance. The war did not end for everyone with the signing of the armistice. The last group of Japanese holdouts surrendered on Saipan
on December 1, 1945. On Guam, Japanese soldier Shoichi Yokoi, unaware that the war had ended, hid in a jungle cave in the Talofofo
area until 1972. Japanese nationals were eventually repatriated to the Japanese home islands. United States
United States
Territory (Commonwealth)[edit] See also: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands

The island of Saipan.

After Japan's defeat in World War II, the Northern Marianas were administered by the United States
United States
pursuant to Security Council Resolution 21 as part of the United Nations
United Nations
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, which gave responsibility for defense and foreign affairs to the United States. Four referenda offering integration with Guam
or changes to the islands' status were held in 1958, 1961, 1963 and 1969. On each occasion, a majority voted in favor of integration with Guam, but this did not happen: Guam
rejected integration in a 1969 referendum. The people of the Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
decided in the 1970s not to seek independence, but instead to forge closer links with the United States. Negotiations for commonwealth status began in 1972 and a covenant to establish a commonwealth in political union with the United States[13] was approved in a 1975 referendum. A new government and constitution came into effect in 1978 after being approved in a 1977 referendum. The United Nations
United Nations
approved this arrangement pursuant to Security Council Resolution 683. The Commonwealth does not have voting representation in the United States Congress, but, since 2009, has been represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by a delegate who may participate in debate but may not vote on the floor. The Commonwealth has no representation in the U.S. Senate.[14] Geography[edit]


Map of the Northern Mariana Islands.

See also: Extreme points of the Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, together with Guam
to the south, compose the Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
archipelago. The southern islands are limestone, with level terraces and fringing coral reefs. The northern islands are volcanic, with active volcanoes on several islands, including Anatahan, Pagan, and Agrihan. The volcano on Agrihan
has the highest elevation at 3,166 feet (965 m).[15] Anatahan
is a small volcanic island 80 miles (130 km) north of Saipan. It is about 6 miles (10 km) long and 2 miles (3 km) wide. Anatahan
began erupting from its east crater on May 10, 2003. It has since alternated between eruptive and calm periods.[15] On April 6, 2005, an estimated 50,000,000 cubic feet (1,416,000 m3) of ash and rock were ejected, causing a large, black cloud to drift south over Saipan
and Tinian.[16] Climate[edit] The Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
have a tropical rainforest climate moderated by seasonal northeast trade winds, with little seasonal temperature variation. The dry season runs from December to June; the rainy season runs from July to November and can include typhoons. The Guinness Book of World Records
Guinness Book of World Records
has said Saipan
has the most equable climate in the world.[17] Politics and government[edit] Main article: Politics of the Northern Mariana Islands

Ralph Torres, the Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands

The Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
have a multiparty presidential representative democratic system. They are a commonwealth of the United States. Federal funds to the commonwealth are administered by the Office of Insular Affairs
Office of Insular Affairs
of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Replicating the separation of powers elsewhere in the United States, the executive branch is headed by the Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands; legislative power is vested in the bicameral Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Legislature and the judicial power is vested in the CNMI Supreme Court and the trial courts inferior to it. Some critics, including the author of the political website Saipan Sucks, say that politics in the Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
is often "more a function of family relationships and personal loyalties" where the size of one's extended family is more important than a candidate's personal qualifications. They charge that this is nepotism carried out within the trappings of democracy.[18][19] In April 2012, anticipating a loss of funding by 2014, the Commonwealth's public pension fund declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[20] The retirement fund is a defined benefit-type pension plan and was only partially funded by the government, with only $268.4 million in assets and $911 million in liabilities. The plan experienced low investment returns and a benefit structure that had been increased without raises in funding.[21] In August 2012, cries for impeachment[22] arose, as the sitting governor Benigno Fitial
Benigno Fitial
was being held responsible for withholding payments from the pension fund,[23] not paying the local utility (Commonwealth Utilities or "CUC") for government offices,[24] cutting off funding to the only hospital in the Northern Marianas,[25][26] interfering with the delivery of a subpoena to his attorney general,[27] withholding required funds from the public schools,[28][29] and for signing a sole source $190 million contract for power generation.[30][31] Further information: Political party strength in the Northern Mariana Islands Administrative divisions[edit] The islands total 179.01 square miles (463.63 km2). The table gives an overview, with the individual islands from north to south:

No. Island Area Population (2010 census) Height Highest peak Location

sq mi km2 feet m

Northern Islands (Northern Islands Municipality)

1 Farallon de Pajaros
Farallon de Pajaros
(Urracas) 0.985 2.55 — 1,047 319

20°33′N 144°54′E / 20.550°N 144.900°E / 20.550; 144.900 (Farallon de Pajaros)

2 Maug Islands[n 1] 0.822 2.13 — 745 227 (North Island) 20°02′N 145°19′E / 20.033°N 145.317°E / 20.033; 145.317 (Maug Islands)

3 Asuncion 2.822 7.31 — 2,923 891

19°43′N 145°41′E / 19.717°N 145.683°E / 19.717; 145.683 (Asuncion)

4 Agrihan
(Agrigan)[n 2] 16.80 43.51 — 3,166 965 Mount Agrihan 18°46′N 145°40′E / 18.767°N 145.667°E / 18.767; 145.667 (Agrihan)

5 Pagan[n 3] 18.24 47.24 — 1,900 579 Mount Pagan 18°08′36″N 145°47′39″E / 18.14333°N 145.79417°E / 18.14333; 145.79417 (Pagan)

6 Alamagan 4.29 11.11 — 2,441 744 Alamagan 17°35′N 145°50′E / 17.583°N 145.833°E / 17.583; 145.833 (Alamagan)

7 Guguan 1.494 3.87 — 988 301

17°20′N 145°51′E / 17.333°N 145.850°E / 17.333; 145.850 (Guguan)

8 Zealandia Bank >0.0 >0.0 — >0 >0

16°45′N 145°42′E / 16.750°N 145.700°E / 16.750; 145.700

9 Sarigan[n 4] 1.92 4.97 — 1,801 549 — 16°43′N 145°47′E / 16.717°N 145.783°E / 16.717; 145.783 (Sarigan)

10 Anatahan[n 2] 12.05 31.21 — 2,582 787

16°22′N 145°40′E / 16.367°N 145.667°E / 16.367; 145.667 (Anatahan)

11 Farallon de Medinilla 0.328 0.85 — 266 81

16°01′N 146°04′E / 16.017°N 146.067°E / 16.017; 146.067 (Farallon de Medinilla)

Southern Islands (3 municipalities)

12 Saipan 44.55 115.38 48,220 1,555 474 Mount Tapochau 15°11′06″N 145°44′28″E / 15.18500°N 145.74111°E / 15.18500; 145.74111 (Saipan)

13 Tinian 39.00 101.01 3,136 558 170 Kastiyu (Lasso Hill) 14°57′12″N 145°38′54″E / 14.95333°N 145.64833°E / 14.95333; 145.64833 (Tinian)

14 Aguijan
(Agiguan)[n 5] 2.74 7.10 — 515 157 Alutom 14°42′N 145°18′E / 14.700°N 145.300°E / 14.700; 145.300 (Aguijan)

15 Rota 32.97 85.39 2,527 1,611 491 Mt. Manira 14°08′37″N 145°11′08″E / 14.14361°N 145.18556°E / 14.14361; 145.18556 (Rota)

Northern Mariana Islands 179.01 463.63 53,883 3,166 965 Mount Agrihan 14°08' to 20°33'N, 144°54° to 146°04'E


^ Japanese military occupation 1939 to 1944 ^ a b evacuated 1990 due to volcanic eruptions ^ evacuated 1981 due to volcanic eruptions ^ formerly inhabited (population of 21 in 1935, but only 2 in 1968) ^ part of Tinian

Administratively, the CNMI is divided into four municipalities: The Northern Islands (north of Saipan) form the Northern Islands Municipality. The three main islands of the Southern Islands form the municipalities of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, with uninhabited Aguijan forming part of Tinian
municipality. Because of volcanic threat, the northern islands have been evacuated. Human habitation was limited to Agrihan, Pagan, and Alamagan, but population varied due to various economic factors, including children's education. The 2010 census showed no residents in Northern Islands municipality and the Northern Islands' mayor office is located in "exile" on Saipan. Saipan, Tinian, and Rota have the only ports and harbors, and are the only permanently populated islands. Political status[edit] In 1947, the Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
became part of the post–World War II United Nations
United Nations
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
(TTPI). The United States
United States
became the TTPI's administering authority under the terms of a trusteeship agreement. In 1976, Congress approved the mutually negotiated Covenant to establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
in Political Union with the United States
United States
of America. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
(CNMI) government adopted its own constitution in 1977, and the constitutional government took office in January 1978. The Covenant was fully implemented on November 3, 1986, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation no. 5564, which conferred United States
United States
citizenship on legally qualified CNMI residents. This led to CNMI being represented in the United States
United States
(and especially Washington, D.C.) by a Resident Representative who was elected at-large by CNMI voters and whose office was paid for by the CNMI government. The Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 ("CNRA"), approved by the U.S. Congress
U.S. Congress
on May 8, 2008, established a CNMI delegate's seat; Democrat Gregorio Sablan was elected in November 2008 as the first CNMI delegate and took office in the 111th Congress. On December 22, 1990, the United Nations
United Nations
Trusteeship Council terminated the TTPI as it applied to the CNMI and five other of the TTPI's original seven districts (the Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
and the Federated States of Micronesia
Federated States of Micronesia
(Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap)), this was acknowledged in United Nations
United Nations
Security Council Resolution 683 passed on the same day.

TTPI High Court judges

Under the Covenant, in general, United States
United States
federal law applies to CNMI. However, the CNMI is outside the customs territory of the United States and, although the internal revenue code does apply in the form of a local income tax, the income tax system is largely locally determined. According to the Covenant, the federal minimum wage and federal immigration laws "will not apply to the Northern Mariana Islands except in the manner and to the extent made applicable to them by the Congress by law after termination of the Trusteeship Agreement."[32] The local control of minimum wage was superseded by the United States
United States
Congress in 2007. Prior to November 28, 2009, U.S. immigration laws did not apply in the CNMI. Rather, a separate immigration system existed in the CNMI. This system was established under the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
in Political Union with the United States of America ("Covenant"), which was signed in 1975 and codified as 48 U.S.C. § 1801. The Covenant was unilaterally amended by the CNRA, thus altering the CNMI's immigration system. Specifically, CNRA § 702(a) amended the Covenant to state that "the provisions of the 'immigration laws' (as defined in section 101(a)(17) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(17))) shall apply to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands." Further, under CNRA § 702(a), the "immigration laws," as well as the amendments to the Covenant, "shall...supersede and replace all laws, provisions, or programs of the Commonwealth relating to the admission of aliens and the removal of aliens from the Commonwealth."[33] Transition to U.S. immigration laws began November 28, 2009.[34][35] The CNMI has a United States
United States
territorial court which exercises jurisdiction over the District of the Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
(DNMI), which is coterminous with the CNMI. The District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
was established by act of Congress in 1977, and began operations in January 1978. The court sits on the island of Saipan, but may sit other places within the Commonwealth. The district court has the same jurisdiction as all other United States
United States
district courts, including diversity jurisdiction and bankruptcy jurisdiction. Appeals are taken to the Ninth Circuit. Economy[edit] Main article: Economy of the Northern Mariana Islands

Pagan Island

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
benefits from its trading relationship with the federal government of the United States and cheap trained labor from Asia. Historically, the CNMI's economy has relied on tourism, mostly from Japan, and on the garment manufacturing sector. The economy has declined since quotas were lifted in 2005, eventually leading all the garment factories on Saipan to close by February 2009. Tourism also declined after 2005 when Japan Airlines stopped serving the Marianas.[36] The Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
had successfully used its position as a free trade area with the U.S., while at the same time not being subject to the same labor laws. For example, the $3.05 per hour minimum wage in the Commonwealth, which lasted from 1997 to 2007, was lower than in the U.S. and some other worker protections are weaker, leading to lower production costs. That allowed garments to be labeled "Made in USA" without having to comply with all U.S. labor laws. However, the U.S. minimum wage law signed by President Bush on May 25, 2007, resulted in stepped increases in the Northern Marianas' minimum wage, which will allow it to reach the U.S. level by 2015.[37] The first step (to $3.55) became effective July 25, 2007, and a yearly increase of $0.50 will take effect every May thereafter until the CNMI minimum wage equals the nationwide minimum wage. However, a law signed by President Obama in December 2009 delayed the yearly increase from May to September. As of September 30, 2014, the minimum wage is $6.05 per hour.[38] The island's exemption from U.S. labor laws had led to many alleged exploitations including recent claims of sweatshops, child labor, child prostitution, and even forced abortions.[39][40] An immigration system mostly outside of federal U.S. control (which ended on November 28, 2009) resulted in a large number of Chinese migrant workers (about 15,000 during the peak years) employed in the islands' garment trade. However, the lifting of World Trade Organization restrictions on Chinese imports to the U.S. in 2005 had put the Commonwealth-based trade under severe pressure, leading to a number of recent factory closures. Adding to the U.S.-imposed scheduled wage increases, the garment industry became extinct by 2009.[41] Agricultural production, primarily of tapioca, cattle, coconuts, breadfruit, tomatoes, and melons exists but is relatively unimportant in the economy.[citation needed] Non-native islanders are not allowed to own land, but can lease it.[42] Infrastructure[edit] The islands have over 220 miles (350 km) of highways, three airports with paved runways (one about 9,800 feet [3,000 m] long; two around 6,600 feet [2,000 m]), three airports with unpaved runways, and one heliport. The main commercial airport is Saipan
International Airport. Mail service for the islands is provided by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Each major island has its own zip code in the 96950–96952 range, and the USPS two-letter abbreviation for the CNMI is "MP".[43][44] For phone service, the islands are included in the North American Numbering Plan, using area code 670.[43] Television service is provided by KPPI-LP, Channel 7, which simulcasts Guam's ABC affiliate KTGM, as well as WSZE, Channel 10, which simulcasts Guam's NBC
affiliate KUAM-TV. About 10 radio stations broadcast within the CNMI. Demographics[edit] Main article: Demographics of the Northern Mariana Islands See also: List of U.S. states and territories by population

Historical population

Year Pop. ±%

1960 6,000 —    

1970 9,436 +57.3%

1980 16,780 +77.8%

1990 43,345 +158.3%

2000 69,221 +59.7%

2010 53,883 −22.2%

2016 53,467 −0.8%

According to the 2010 census, the population of the CNMI as of April 1, 2010, was 53,883, down from 69,221 in 2000, a decrease of 22.2%.[45] The decrease was reportedly due to a combination of factors including the demise of the garment industry (the vast majority of whose employees were females from China), economic crises, and a decline in tourism, one of the CNMI's primary sources of revenue.[35] Except for the U.S. Minor Outlying Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands are the least populous sub-federal jurisdiction in the United States, with fewer people than any of the 50 states, the other commonwealth and three self-governing territories, and the District of Columbia).[46] Ethnic groups[edit]

Asian (including Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Bangladeshi and other Asian) 49.9% Chamorro, Carolinian, Palauan and Other Pacific Islander 34.9% Multiracial
12.7% Others 2.5%

Religion[edit] According to the Pew Research Center, 2010:[47]

Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
64.1% Protestants
16% Buddhists
10.6% Folk religions 5.3% Other Christians 1.2% Other religions 1.1% Unaffiliated 1.0% Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
<1% Hindu
<1% Muslim
<1% Jews

Education[edit] The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
Public School System operates public schools in the commonwealth and there are numerous private schools. Northern Marianas College
Northern Marianas College
is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
and offers a range of programs similar to other small U.S. community colleges. Culture[edit]

Chamorro people

Much of the Chamorro culture in the Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
was heavily influenced by the Spanish during the Spanish era, as well as by the Germans and Japanese. In Chamorro culture, respect is the biggest thing taught, and one common display is the tradition of "manngingi'". This tradition has been around for centuries and involves an elder and a young Chamorro child. The child takes the hand of the elder, places it on their nose and says ñot to the men and ñora to the women with the elders responding diosti ayudi, meaning "God help you". The Carolinian culture is very similar to the Chamorro culture with respect being very important. The Carolinian culture can be traced back to Yap
and Chuuk, where the Carolinians originated. Cuisine[edit] Much of Chamorro cuisine is influenced by various cultures. Examples of popular foods of foreign origin include various types of sweet or savory empanada, originally introduced from Spain, and pancit, a noodle dish from the Philippines. Archeological evidence reveals that rice has been cultivated in the Marianas since prehistoric times. Red rice made with achoti is a distinct staple food that strongly distinguishes Chamorro cuisine from that of other Pacific islands. It is commonly served for special events, such as parties (gupot or "fiestas"), novenas, and high school or college graduations. Fruits such as lemmai, mangga, niyok, and bilimbines are included in various local recipes. Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and American cuisine are also commonly available. Local specialities include kelaguen, a dish in which meat is cooked in whole or in part by the action of citric acid rather than heat; tinaktak, a meat dish made with coconut milk; and kå'du fanihi (flying fox/fruit bat soup). Fruit bats and local birds have become scarce in modern times, primarily due to the World War II-era introduction of the brown tree snake, which decimated the populations of local birds and threatens the fanihi population as well; hunting them is now illegal. The Marianas and the Hawaiian islands are the world's foremost consumers, per capita, of Spam, with Guam
at the top of the list, and Hawaii
second (details regarding the rest of the Marianas are often absent from statistics). Spam was introduced to the islands by the American military as war rations during the World War II
World War II
era. Religion[edit]

seen from the International Space Station

Owing to the Spanish missionaries in the Marianas, a large majority of Chamorros and Carolinians practice Roman Catholicism, including the use of rosaries and novenas. The Japanese occupation had the effect of creating a sizable Buddhist
community which remained even after their departure. Due to influence of the United States, diverse denominations of Protestantism
also entered the islands. Sports[edit] Team sports popular in the United States
United States
were introduced to the Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
by American soldiers during World War II. Baseball
is the islands' most popular sport. CNMI teams have made appearances in the Little League World Series
Little League World Series
(in the Little, Junior, Senior and Big league divisions) as well as winning gold medals in the Micronesian Games and South Pacific Games. Basketball
and mixed martial arts are also popular in the islands, which hosted the official 2009 Oceania
Tournament. Trench Wars is the CNMI's Mixed Martial Arts brand.[citation needed] Fighters from the CNMI have competed in the Pacific Xtreme Combat. Other sports in the CNMI include volleyball, tennis, soccer, outrigger sailing, softball, beach volleyball, rugby, golf, boxing, kickboxing, tae kwon do, track and field, Swimming, Triathlon, and American football. See also[edit]

Outline of the Northern Mariana Islands Index of Northern Mariana Islands-related articles List of National Register of Historic Places in the Northern Mariana Islands

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United States


^ Bureau, U.S. Census. "American FactFinder - Results". factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2018-01-31.  ^ "AAPI - Asian American and Pacific Islander - Primer". Environmental Protection Agency. 2006-06-28. Retrieved 2015-08-29.  ^ a b "Australia-Oceania :: Guam
(Territory of the US)". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 26 August 2015.  ^ Doi.gov Archived September 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. ^ 2010.census.gov Archived September 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. ^ Todiño, Junhan B. (June 10, 2015). "US military 'not sensitive to indigenous, cultural factors,' says Mayor Aldan". Marianas Variety. Retrieved September 23, 2015.  ^ Villegas Zotomayor, Alexie (January 15, 2015). "Pagan has 8 residents". Marianas Variety. Retrieved September 23, 2015.  ^ Zotomayor, Alexie (March 11, 2013). "Archaeologist says migration to Marianas longest ocean-crossing in human history". Marianas Variety. Retrieved December 29, 2014.  ^ "Culture of Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands". www.everyculture.com. Retrieved September 17, 2007.  ^ Cunningham, Lawrence J. (1992). Ancient Chamorro Society. Bess Press. pp. 193–195.  ^ "Battle Of Saipan". Historynet.com. Retrieved 2015-08-29.  ^ Trefalt, Beatrice (November 2009). "After the Battle for Saipan: the Internment of Japanese Civilians at Camp Susupe, 1944–1946". Japanese Studies. 29: 337–352 – via Taylor & Francis Online.  ^ The Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States
United States
of America, Pub.L. 94–241, 90 Stat. 263, enacted March 24, 1976 ^ Pacificmagazine.net ^ a b "Global Volcanism Program Agrigan". volcano.si.edu. Retrieved 2017-02-03.  ^ Observatory, HVO, Hawaiian Volcano. " Anatahan
Volcano's Ash Clouds Reach New Heights". hvo.wr.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2017-02-03.  ^ Net.saipan.com Archived 2006-09-06 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Total resource sharing among collegiate and public libraries in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands : a narrative case study". worldcatlibraries.org.  ^ Charles P. Reyes Jr. (March 30, 1999). "Primitive tribalism". Saipan Tribune. Retrieved September 1, 2008.  ^ "Review & Outlook: The Mariana Pension Foreshock". The Wall Street Journal. 2012-05-11. Retrieved 2015-08-29.  ^ Mercado, Darla (April 19, 2012). "In apparent first, a public pension plan files for bankruptcy". Pensions and Investments. Retrieved April 28, 2012.  ^ "Impeach The Governor". Marianas Variety. Retrieved August 21, 2012.  ^ "Retirement Fund in Disarray". Marianas Variety. Retrieved August 21, 2012.  ^ "Gov't Owes CUC $8.9 million". Marianas Variety. Retrieved August 21, 2012.  ^ "Hospital Needs To Move Away From Culture of Gov't Subsidy". Retrieved August 21, 2012.  ^ "CHC Tailspin Continues". Retrieved August 21, 2012.  ^ "Wiseman issues $50K Bench Warrant for Buckingham". Saipan
Tribune. Retrieved August 21, 2012.  ^ "Central Gov't owes PSS $11.8 million in unremitted maintenance of effort". Retrieved August 20, 2012.  ^ "PSS to lawmakers: Some schools could have 'double sessions'". Saipan
Tribune. Retrieved 2015-08-29.  ^ "Maratita takes Fitial to court over 'unconstitutional' power agreement; seeks TRO". Retrieved August 21, 2012.  ^ "Buckingham, Fitial sign off on $190M power purchase deal". Retrieved August 20, 2012.  ^ Department of the Interior Archived June 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. ^ Department of Justice Archived September 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. ^ Robert J. Misulich. "A Lesser-Known Immigration Crisis : Federal Immigration Law in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands" (PDF). Digital.law.washington.edu. Retrieved 2015-08-29.  ^ a b Saipantribune.com Archived September 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. ^ International Business Publications, USA (January 1, 2012). Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
Business Law Handbook: Strategic Information and Laws. Int'l Business Publications. pp. 41–48. ISBN 978-1-4387-7068-0.  ^ Jayvee L. Vallejera (May 27, 2007). "NMI minimum wage hike OK'd". Saipan
Tribune. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.  ^ Eugenio, Haidee V. (September 29, 2014). "$6.05 minimum wage tomorrow". Saipan
Tribune. Retrieved December 21, 2015.  ^ Rebecca Clarren (May 9, 2006). "Sex, Greed And Forced Abortions". TomPaine.com. Archived from the original on December 26, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2008.  ^ Rebecca Clarren (Spring 2006). "Paradise Lost: Greed, Sex Slavery, Forced Abortions and Right-Wing Moralists". Ms.  ^ Haidee V. Eugenio (May 1, 2014). "NMI economy generates $1.3B sales". Saipan
Tribune.  ^ "Overseas Territories Review: Northern Marianas Retains constitutional land ownership provisions". Overseasreview.blogspot.com. 2012-06-10. Retrieved 2015-08-29.  ^ a b "About the CNMI". CNMI Commonwealth Law Revision Commission. Archived from the original on May 9, 2009. Retrieved January 24, 2010.  ^ "Official USPS Abbreviations". United States
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Postal Service. Retrieved January 24, 2010.  ^ Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "American FactFinder - Results". U.S. Census Bureau.  ^ https://www.census.gov/2010census/news/pdf/cb11cn178_ia_cnmi_totalpop_2010map.pdf ^ Northern Mariana Islands

Further reading[edit]

The World Factbook, 2000. Land areas and population data from United States
United States
Census Bureau. Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
and constituent municipalities, United States Census Bureau

External links[edit]

Find more aboutNorthern Mariana Islandsat's sister projects

Definitions from Wiktionary Media from Wikimedia Commons News from Wikinews Quotations from Wikiquote Texts from Wikisource Textbooks from Wikibooks Travel guide from Wikivoyage Learning resources from Wikiversity


Gov .mp – Official Government Website The CNMI Covenant The CNMI Constitution CNMI Office of Resident Representative Pedro A. Tenorio H.R. 873 – The Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
Delegate Act H.R. 5550 – The United States-Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Human Dignity Act


U.S. Census Bureau: Island Areas Census 2000 "Northern Mariana Islands". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.  Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
at Curlie (based on DMOZ) Wikimedia Atlas of Northern Mariana Islands Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
travel guide from Wikivoyage

News media

KSPN-TV Channel 2 News Saipan
Tribune Marianas Variety The Pacific Times Food for Thought – Weekly commentary on CNMI society by KZMI and KCNM manager Harry Blalock


The Insular Empire: America in the Mariana Islands, PBS documentary film & website Northern Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
Online Encyclopedia USA Department of the Interior – Insular Area Summary for the Northern Mariana Islands

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 Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands



Archipelago Geography Politics Economy Campaign



(Agrigan) Aguijan
(Agiguan) Alamagan Anatahan Asuncion Farallon de Medinilla Farallon de Pajaros
Farallon de Pajaros
(Urracas) Guguan Mañagaha Maug Islands
Maug Islands
(Ma'ok) Pagan Rota (Luta) Saipan Sarigan Tinian Zealandia Bank


Mount Tapochau


Northern Islands Rota Saipan Tinian



Achugao As Lito As Matuis As Perdido As Teo As Terlaje Capital Hill Chalan Kanoa Chalan Kiya Chalan Laulau Chalan Piao Chinatown Dandan Fina Sisu Garapan Gualo Rai Kagman Kannat Tabla Koblerville Lower Base Marpi Navy Hill Oleai Papago Sadog Tasi San Antonio San Roque San Vicente Susupe Tanapag


Sinapalo Songsong


Carolinas Heights Marpo Heights Marpo Heights II Marpo Valley San Jose Village




Kagman HS (Saipan) Marianas HS (Saipan) Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Jr-Sr HS (Rota) Saipan
Southern HS Tinian
Jr-Sr HS

International Marianas Baptist Academy Mount Carmel Grace Christian Academy


Northern Marianas College State Library


International Airport Rota International Airport Tinian
International Airport


Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral


Marianas Variety Saipan
Tribune Radio stations Television stations

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Countries and territories of Oceania

Sovereign states


Australia Federated States of Micronesia Fiji Kiribati Marshall Islands Nauru New Zealand Palau Papua New Guinea Samoa Solomon Islands Tonga Tuvalu Vanuatu

In part


Easter Island Juan Fernández Islands


West Papua Papua


Bonin Islands Minami-Tori-Shima

United States

Hawaii Palmyra Atoll

Associated states of New Zealand

Niue Cook Islands

Dependencies and other territories


Ashmore and Cartier Islands Coral
Sea Islands Norfolk Island

United States

American Samoa Baker Island Guam Howland Island Jarvis Island Johnston Atoll Kingman Reef Midway Atoll Northern Mariana Islands Wake Island

New Zealand



French Polynesia New Caledonia Wallis and Futuna

United Kingdom

Pitcairn Islands

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Former German colonies and protectorates



East Africa

Kionga Triangle Wituland

South-West Africa West Africa





New Guinea Samoa








New Swabia
New Swabia
(claimed by Nazi Germany)

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Political divisions of the United States


Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Federal district

Washington, D.C.

Insular areas

American Samoa Guam Northern Mariana Islands Puerto Rico U.S. Virgin Islands

Outlying islands

Baker Island Howland Island Jarvis Island Johnston Atoll Kingman Reef Midway Atoll Navassa Island Palmyra Atoll Wake Island

Indian reservations

List of Indian reservations

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United States
United States


Division State Federal District Insular area

American Samoa Guam Northern Mariana Islands Puerto Rico United States
United States
Virgin Islands

ZIP Code Tabulation Area

Native areas

Native corporation Indian reservation


Hawaiian home land Off-reservation trust land Oklahoma
Tribal Statistical Area


Primary statistical area


Combined statistical area Core-based statistical area


Metropolitan statistical area


Micropolitan statistical area


New England city and town area Urban area



Congressional district County

list Alaska
census area Independent city Municipio



Public use microdata area School district


State legislative district Urban growth area


Census county division Minor civil division Traffic analysis zone Voting district


Block Block group Tract

Census Bureau Office of Management and Budget

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Pacific Islands Forum
Pacific Islands Forum


Australia Cook Islands Fiji Kiribati Marshall Islands Micronesia Nauru New Zealand Niue Palau Papua New Guinea Samoa Solomon Islands Tonga Tuvalu Vanuatu

Associate members

French Polynesia New Caledonia


Commonwealth of Nations East Timor Tokelau United Nations Wallis and Futuna Guam American Samoa Northern Mariana Islands Asian Development Bank Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)

Dialogue partners

Canada China Cuba European Union France India Indonesia Italy Japan Korea Malaysia Philippines Spain Thailand Turkey United Kingdom United States



Coordinates: 17°N 146°E / 17°N 146°E / 17; 146

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 243533643 LCCN: n78015606 GN