Northern Marianas Facts
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) consists of a chain of fourteen islands in the Pacific.
The Northern Mariana Islands belong to an area in the Pacific known as Micronesia.
(The islands of the Pacific are usually divided into three areas: Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia)
Micronesia includes the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Palau, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
The highest point on the Northern Mariana Islands is an unnamed location on Agrihan (965 m).
The Northern Mariana Islands are in the vicinity of the Marianas Trench which is 11,034 metres at its deepest point. This is the lowest point in the world.
Settlement in the Mariana Islands (the Northern Mariana Islands and nearby Guam) dates back around three and a half thousand years.
It is thought that early migrants to the Marianas, known as the Chamarro, were from Southeast Asia.
Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer in the service of Spain, landed at nearby Guam (Mariana Islands) in 1521.
Spain claimed the Mariana Islands in the sixteenth century.
The Spanish named the Mariana Islands after Queen Mariana, the mother of Charles II of Spain.
The Northern Mariana Islands were sold to Germany at the end of the nineteenth century. (Guam, now one of the most important US bases in the Pacific, was ceded to the United States)
Japan occupied the Northern Mariana Islands during the First World War (1914-1918).
Between 1919 and 1944 the Northern Marianas were colonized by Japan under a League of Nations' mandate.
During the Second World War (1939-1945) heavy fighting took place on the islands between the Americans and the Japanese.
Many Japanese soldiers committed suicide, jumping into the sea from a cliff, to avoid capture by the Americans.
The atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 were loaded onto war planes on the island of Tinian.
US administration began in 1947 - the islands were part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, under United Nations authority. Other members of the UN
Trust Territory were the Caroline Islands (FSM including Palau) and the Marshall Islands.
The Northern Marianas were known as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Mariana Islands District.
In the 1970s the people of the Northern Mariana Islands decided to forego independence and negotiate close links with the US.
The Northern Mariana Islands are officially known as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a self-governing Commonwealth in union with the United States.
Residents of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are US citizens.
Northern Marianas Sections
Read Marianas Island Legends