The Mariana Islands ( // ; also the Marianas; in Chamorro: Manislan Mariånas) are a crescent-shaped archipelago comprising the summits of fifteen mostly dormant volcanic mountains in the western North Pacific Ocean, between the 12th and 21st parallels north and along the 145th meridian east. They lie south-southeast of Japan, west-southwest of Hawaii, north of New Guinea and east of the Philippines, demarcating the Philippine Sea's eastern limit. They are found in the northern part of the western Oceanic sub-region of Micronesia, and are politically divided into two jurisdictions of the United States: the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and, at the southern end of the chain, the territory of Guam. The islands were named after the influential Spanish queen Mariana of Austria following their colonization in the 17th century.
The indigenous inhabitants are the Chamorro people. Archaeologists in 2013 reported findings which indicated that the people who first settled the Marianas arrived there after making what may have been at the time the longest uninterrupted ocean voyage in human history. They further reported findings which suggested that Tinian is likely to have been the first island in Oceania to have been settled by humans.
Spanish expeditions, beginning with one by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in the early 16th century, were the first Europeans to arrive; eventually, Spain annexed and colonized the archipelago, establishing their capital on the largest island, Guam. The Marianas were the first islands Magellan encountered after traversing the Pacific from the southern tip of South America. The fruits found there helped save the survivors from scurvy, which had already killed dozens of crewmembers.
The Mariana Islands are the southern part of a submerged mountain range that extends 1,565 miles (2,519 km) from Guam to near Japan. Geographically, the Marianas are part of a larger region called Micronesia, situated between 13° and 21°N latitude and 144° and 146°E longitude.
The Mariana Islands have a total land area of 1,008 km2 (389 sq mi). They are composed of two administrative units:
The island chain geographically consists of two subgroups, a northern group of ten volcanic main islands, all are currently uninhabited; and a southern group of five coralline limestone islands (Rota, Guam, Aguijan, Tinian and Saipan), all inhabited except Aguijan. In the northern volcanic group a maximum elevation of about 2,700 feet (820 m) is reached; there are craters showing signs of activity, and earthquakes are not uncommon. Coral reefs fringe the coasts of the southern isles, which are of slight elevation.
The lowest point on the Earth's crust, the Mariana Trench, is near the islands and is named after them.
The islands are part of a geologic structure known as the Izu–Bonin–Mariana Arc system, and range in age from 5 million years old in the north to 30 million years old in the south (Guam). The island chain arose as a result of the western edge of the Pacific Plate moving westward and plunging downward below the Mariana plate, a region which is the most volcanically active convergent plate boundary on Earth. This subduction region, just east of the island chain, forms the noted Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the Earth's oceans and lowest part of the surface of the Earth's crust. In this region, according to geologic theory, water trapped in the extensive faulting of the Pacific Plate as serpentinite, is heated by the higher temperatures of depth during its subduction, the pressure from the expanding steam results in the hydrothermal activity in the area and the volcanic activity which formed the Mariana Islands.
|Marianas tropical dry forests|
|Biome||Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests|
|Area||1,036 km2 (400 sq mi)|
|Territories||Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands|
All the islands, except Farallon de Medinilla and Uracas or Farallon de Pajaros (in the northern group), are more or less densely wooded, and the vegetation is dense, much resembling that of the Carolines and also of the Philippines, from where species of plants have been introduced. Owing to the moistness of the soil cryptogams are numerous, as are also most kinds of grasses. On most of the islands there is a plentiful supply of water.
The fauna of the Marianas, though inferior in number and variety, is similar in character to that of the Carolines and certain species are indigenous to both island groups. The climate though damp is healthy, while the heat, being tempered by the trade winds, is milder than that of the Philippines; the variations of temperature are not great.
The majority of islands in the Marianas still retain their indigenous names end in the letters -an; e.g. Guahan (the indigenous name of Guam), Agrigan, Agrihan, Aguihan/Aguigan, Pagan, Sarigan, etc.
The islands are part of a geologic structure known as the Izu–Bonin–Mariana Arc system and range in age from 5 million years old in the north to 30 million years old in the south (Guam). The islands are formed as the highly dense and very old western edge of the Pacific plate plunges downward to form the floor of the Mariana Trench and carries trapped water under the Mariana plate as it does so. This water is super-heated as the plate is carried farther downward and results in the volcanic activity which has formed the arc of Mariana Islands above this subduction region.
The Mariana Islands were the first islands settled by humans in Remote Oceania. Incidentally it is also the first and the longest of the ocean-crossing voyages of the Austronesian peoples into Remote Oceania, and is separate from the later Polynesian settlement of the rest of Remote Oceania. They were first settled around 1500 to 1400 BCE by migrants departing from the Philippines.
Archeological studies of human activity on the islands has revealed potteries with red-slipped, circle-stamped and punctate-stamped designs found in the Mariana Islands dating between 1500 and 1400 BC. These artifacts show similar aesthetics to pottery found in Northern and Central Philippines, the Nagsabaran (Cagayan Valley) pottery, which flourished during the period between 2000 and 1300 BC.
Comparative and historical linguistics also indicate that the Chamorro language is most closely related to the Philippine subfamily of the Austronesian languages, instead of the Oceanic subfamily of the languages of the rest of Remote Oceania.
Mitchondrial DNA and whole genome sequencing of the Chamorro people strongly support an ancestry from the Philippines. Genetic analysis of pre-Latte period skeletons in Guam also show that they do not have Australo-Melanesian ("Papuan") ancestry which rules out origins from the Bismarck Archipelago, New Guinea, or eastern Indonesia. The Lapita culture itself (the ancestral branch of the Polynesian migrations) is younger than the first settlement of the Marianas (the earliest Lapita artifacts are dated to around 1350 to 1300 BCE), indicating that they originated from separate migration voyages.
Nevertheless, DNA analysis also show close genetic relationship between ancient settlers of the Marianas and early Lapita settlers in the Bismarck Archipelago. This may indicate that both the Lapita culture and the Marianas were settled from direct migrations from the Philippines, or that early settlers from the Marianas voyaged further southwards into the Bismarcks and reconnected with the Lapita people.
The Marianas also later established contact and received migrations from the Caroline Islands at around the first millennium CE. This brought new pottery styles, language, genes, and the hybrid Polynesian breadfruit.
The period 900 to 1700 CE of the Marianas, immediately before and during the Spanish colonization, is known as the Latte period. It is characterized by rapid cultural change, most notably by the massive megalithic latte stones (also spelled latde or latti). These were composed of the haligi pillars capped with another stone called tasa (which prevented rodents from climbing the posts). These served as supports for the rest of the structure which was made of wood. Remains of structures made with similar wooden posts have also been found. Human graves have also been found in front of latte structures, The Latte period was also characterized by the introduction of rice agriculture, which is unique in the pre-contact Pacific Islands.
The reasons for these changes is still unclear, but it is believed that it may have resulted from a third wave of migrants from Island Southeast Asia. Comparisons with other architectural traditions makes it likely that this third migration wave were again from the Philippines, or from eastern Indonesia (either Sulawesi or Sumba), all of which have a tradition of raised buildings with capstones. Interestingly, the word haligi ("pillar") is also used in various languages throughout the Philippines; while the Chamorro word guma ("house") closely resembles the Sumba word uma.
The first Europeans to see the island group were a Spanish expedition, who on March 6, 1521, observed a string of islands and sailed between two of them during a Spanish expedition of world circumnavigation under the command of Ferdinand Magellan. Historically, the southern village of Umatac, Guam has been credited as the site of the Spanish landing. As confirmation, a scholarly study of the navigator's diary, now kept in preservation in the Philippines, revealed a drawing of the islands with a tiny island to the south of a much larger island above it. The described placement of the islands confirms that Magellan had actually sailed between Guam and Cocos Island, and not Guam and Rota, as some originally thought. Especially since the Northern areas of Guam do not have safe coves or harbors to anchor. Moreover, the waters of Northern Guam are oftentimes more rough and the currents are even more treacherous in comparison to the safer coves and currents seen throughout South-Western side of Guam.
Regardless of where they landed, Spanish ships arrived in Guam and were unable to get fresh food as the inhabitants, Chamorros, "entered the ships and stole whatever they could lay their hands on", including "the small boat that was fastened to the poop of the flagship." : 129 The Spanish crew, in retaliation, attacked the Chamorros and dubbed the islands Islas de los Ladrones (Islands of the Thieves). "Those people are poor, but ingenious and very thievish, on account of which we called those three islands the islands of Ladrones." : 131 Pigafetta writes,
And the captain-general wished to approach the largest of these three islands to replenish his provisions. But it was not possible, for the people of those islands entered the ships and robbed us so that we could not protect ourselves from them. And when we wished to strike and take in the sails so as to land, they stole very quickly the small boat called a skiff which was fastened to the poop of the captain's ship. At which he, being very angry, went ashore with forty armed men. And burning some forty or fifty houses with several boats and killing seven men of the said island, they recovered their skiff.
Pigafetta also described the boats the inhabitants used, the sail shaped like a "lateen sail" (actually the crab claw sail), hence the name Islas de las Velas Latinas (Islands of the Lateen Sails), : 131 the name used first as Magellan claimed them for the Spanish crown. San Lazarus archipelago, Jardines ('gardens') and Prazeres are among the names applied to them by later navigators.
In 1667, Spain formally claimed them, established a regular colony there and in 1668 gave the islands the official title of Las Marianas, in honor of Spanish Queen Mariana of Austria, widow of King Philip IV of Spain and Queen Regent of the Spanish Empire ruling during the minority of her son King Charles II. [ citation needed ] They were characteristic Micronesians, with a considerable civilization. In the island of Tinian are some remarkable remains attributed to them, consisting of two rows of massive square stone columns, about 5 feet 4 inches (1.63 m) broad and 14 feet (4.3 m) high, with heavy-round capitals called latte stones. According to early Spanish accounts cinerary urns were found embedded in the capitals.[ dubious ]They then had a population of more than 50,000 inhabitants. With the arrival of passengers and settlers aboard the Manila Galleons from the Americas, new diseases were introduced in the islands, which caused many deaths in the native Chamorro population. The native population, who referred to themselves as Taotao Tano (people of the land) but were known to the early Spanish colonists as Chamurres or HachaMori, eventually died out as a distinct people, though their descendants intermarried. At the Spanish occupation in 1668, the Chamorros were estimated at 50,000, but a century later only 1,800 natives remained, as the majority of the population was of mixed Spanish-Chamorro blood or mestizo.
When Spanish settlement started on 14 June 1668, they were subordinate to the Mexican colony (soon viceroyalty) of New Spain, until 1817, when they became subordinated to the Philippines, like the bulk of the Spanish East Indies.
Research in the archipelago was carried out by Commodore Anson, who in August 1742 landed upon the island of Tinian.The Ladrones were visited by Byron in 1765, Wallis in 1767 and Crozet in 1772.
The Marianas and specifically the island of Guam were a stopover for Spanish galleons en route from Acapulco, Mexico to Manila, Philippines in a convoy known as the Galeon de Manila. Following the 1872 Cavite mutiny, several Filipinos were exiled to Guam, including the father of Pedro Paterno, Maximo Paterno, Dr. Antonio M. Regidor y Jurado and Jose Maria Basa. : 107–108
The islands were a popular port of call for British and American whaling ships in the 19th century. The first such visit on record was that of the Resource to Guam in October 1799.The last known visit was made by the American whaler Charles W. Morgan in February 1904.
The Marianas remained a Spanish colony under the general government of the Philippines until 1898, when, as a result of its loss in the Spanish–American War, Spain ceded Guam to the United States. Guam has been separate from the Northern Marianas since this time. Following the Philippine–American War, Apolinario Mabini and other Filipino leaders were exiled to Guam in 1901. : vi
Weakened from its defeat in the Spanish–American War, Spain could no longer effectively control and protect the nearly 6,000 islands it retained throughout Micronesia, including the Northern Marianas, Carolines and Pelew Islands. Therefore, Spain entered into the German-Spanish Treaty of February 12, 1899 to sell the Northern Marianas and its other remaining islands to Germany for 837,500 German gold marks (about $4,100,000 at the time). The Northern Marianas and other island groups were incorporated by Germany as a small part of the larger German Protectorate of New Guinea. The total population in the Northern Marianas portion of these islands was only 2,646 inhabitants around this time, with the ten most northerly islands being actively volcanic and thus mostly uninhabited.
Japan, allied with the Entente Powers during World War I, seized all of Germany's colonial possessions in East Asia and Micronesia, including the Northern Mariana Islands, and held them through the end of the war. Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, Germany was stripped of all her colonies worldwide, including the Palau, Caroline, Northern Mariana and Marshall Islands. By international agreement, these were all placed into trusteeship under the management of League of Nations which assigned them to Japan as the Class C South Seas Mandate. During this time, Japan used some of the islands for sugarcane production, modestly increasing the population of a few of the islands.
The island chain saw significant fighting during World War II. Guam, a possession of the United States since 1898, was captured by Japan in an attack from the Northern Mariana Islands that began on the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (December 8, 1941, the same time as the Pearl Harbor attack across the International Date Line). In 1944, the United States captured the Mariana Islands chain from Japan: the Northern Mariana Islands were desired by the U.S. as bombing bases to reach the Japanese mainland, with the invasion of Saipan being launched for that reason in June before the U.S. even moved to recapture Guam; a month later the U.S. recaptured Guam and captured Tinian. Once captured, Saipan and Tinian's islands were used extensively by the United States military as they finally put mainland Japan within a round-trip range of American B-29 bombers. In response, Japanese forces attacked the bases on Saipan and Tinian from November 1944 to January 1945. At the same time and afterwards, the United States Army Air Forces based on these islands conducted an intense strategic bombing campaign against the Japanese cities of military and industrial importance, including Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, and others. Both the Enola Gay and the Bockscar (which dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively) flew their missions from Tinian's North Field.
According to Werner Gruhl: "Mariana Island historians estimate that 10 percent of Guam's some 20,000 population were killed by violence, most by the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy."
The direct result of World War II on the Mariana Islands was that, after the war, the Northern Mariana Islands came under the control of the United States in the same way they had earlier come under the control of Japan after World War I. However, this time they became part of the U.S.-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 21. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands later became a U.S. territory following its exit from the TTPI pursuant to Security Council Resolution 683. Although now both under U.S. control, the Northern Mariana Islands are separate from Guam. Efforts at reunification have failed in part due to residual post-war tensions resulting from the very different histories of Guam (occupied by Japan for only 31 months, in wartime) and the Northern Mariana Islands (more peacefully occupied by Japan, for about 30 years).
|Island name||Population||Municipality or territory|
|Farallon de Pajaros||0||Northern Islands|
|Maug Islands||0||Northern Islands|
|Farallon de Medinilla||0||Northern Islands|
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Tourism in the Northern Marianas is split mainly between Filipino, Japanese, American, Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese tourists. There are several large tour operators in Saipan that cater to Asian tourists coming into the island. By far, the majority of tourism in the Northern Marianas is in Guam. Several flights a day land in Guam, mostly in the early hours between 1:00 AM and 3:30 AM. With the close of the garment industries in the Northern Marianas, tourism has grown slowly and is now a major part of the economy of the CNMI.[ citation needed ]
Amateur radio operators conduct DXpeditions to the Islands at intervals.
Common dishes in the Mariana Islands include red rice, meat or poultry on the grill or in coconut milk, chicken kelaguen, apigigi (young coconut with cassava paste wrapped in banana leaf),and tropical fruits.
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Micronesia subregion of the western Pacific Ocean. It is the westernmost point and territory of the United States ; in Oceania, it is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands and the largest island in Micronesia. Guam's capital is Hagåtña, and the most populous village is Dededo.
The history of Guam starts with the early arrival around 2000 BC of Austronesian people known today as the CHamorus. the CHamorus then developed a "pre-contact" society, that was Spanish colonized by the Spanish in the 17th century. The present American rule of the island began with the 1898 Spanish–American War. Guam's history of colonialism is the longest among the Pacific islands.
The demographics of Guam details an array of demographic statistics relating to the territory of Guam. This includes statistics on population, including the Indigenous population; religious affiliations; language; and immigration. Furthermore, The Demographics of Guam provides an overview of the history of Guam, as well as a depiction of the villages in the United States territory and its populace. The population of Guam, as of July 2021 was 168,801, based on data procured from the CIA World Factbook. While there are no large cities in Guam, however the populace resides in villages. The most populated village in Guam is Dededo, with a population of 44,943 in 2010. The Indigenous people of Guam are known as the Chamorro people, and are the largest ethnic group in Guam, however this group is categorised as a minority in the United States territory. The mean age in the territory of Guam is 31.4 years. Guam is in the Mariana Islands, and is the largest and most populated of the territories in this location.
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, consisting of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a close shared cultural history with three other island regions: the Philippines to the west, Polynesia to the east, and Melanesia to the south—as well as with the wider community of Austronesian peoples.
The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, is an unincorporated territory and commonwealth of the United States consisting of 14 islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. The CNMI includes the 14 northernmost islands in the Mariana Archipelago; the southernmost island, Guam, is a separate U.S. territory.
Saipan is the largest island of the Northern Mariana Islands, a commonwealth of the United States in the western Pacific Ocean. According to 2017 estimates by the United States Census Bureau and the Commonwealth's Department of Commerce, Saipan's population was 47,565.
Tinian is one of the three principal islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Together with uninhabited neighbouring Aguigan, it forms Tinian Municipality, one of the four constituent municipalities of the Northern Marianas. Tinian's largest village is San Jose.
The Chamorro people are the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands, politically divided between the United States territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Micronesia. Today, significant Chamorro populations also exist in several U.S. states including Hawaii, California, Washington, Texas, Tennessee, Oregon, and Nevada, all of which together are designated as Pacific Islander Americans according to the U.S. Census. According to the 2000 Census, approximately 65,000 people of Chamorro ancestry live in Guam and another 19,000 live in the Northern Marianas. Another 93,000 live outside the Marianas in Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States. The Chamorros are primarily Austronesian, but many also have European and Southeast Asian ancestry.
Rota, also known as the "Friendly Island", is the southernmost island of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the second southernmost of the Marianas Archipelago. In early Spanish records it is called "Zarpana"; the name Rota may have come from the Spaniards possibly naming the island after the municipality of Rota, Spain. It lies approximately 40 nautical miles (74 km) north-northeast of the United States territory of Guam. Sinapalo village is the largest and most populated, followed by Songsong village (Songsong). Rota also functions as one of the four municipalities of the CNMI.
A latte stone, or simply latte, is a pillar capped by a hemispherical stone capital (tasa) with the flat side facing up. Used as building supports by the ancient Chamorro people, they are found throughout most of the Mariana Islands. In modern times, the latte stone is seen as a sign of Chamorro identity and is used in many different contexts.
Maug consists of a group of three small uninhabited islands. This island group is part of the Northern Islands Municipality of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, itself part of the Marianas archipelago in the Oceanian sub-region of Micronesia.
Asuncion is the third northernmost island in the Northern Mariana Islands chain in the Pacific Ocean. The island is uninhabited. Asuncion is situated 101 kilometers (63 mi) northwest of Agrihan and 37 km (23 mi) southeast of the Maug Islands.
Alamagan is an island in the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean, 30 nautical miles (56 km) north of Guguan, 250 nautical miles (463 km) north of Saipan, and 60 nautical miles (111 km) south of Pagan. It is currently uninhabited.
Agrihan is an island in the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The island is currently uninhabited. Agrihan is located 62 kilometers (39 mi) to the north of Pagan.
Aguiguan is a small bean-shaped coralline island in the Northern Mariana Islands chain in the Pacific Ocean. It is situated 8 kilometers (5.0 mi) south-west of Tinian, from which it is separated by the Tinian Channel. Aguiguan and neighboring Tinian Island together form Tinian Municipality, one of the four main political divisions that comprise the Northern Marianas.
Chalan Piao is a village on the southwestern area of Saipan. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. It is bordered on the north by Chalan Kanoa, on the east by As Perdido village and on the south by San Antonio village. To the west is the Pacific Ocean.
Guam The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Guam:
Carolinians are a Micronesian ethnic group who originated in Oceania, in the Caroline Islands, with a total population of around 8,500 people. They are also known as Remathau in the Yap's outer islands. The Carolinian word means "People of the Deep Sea." It is thought that their ancestors may have originally immigrated from Asia and Indonesia to Micronesia around 2,000 years ago. Their primary language is Carolinian, called Refaluwasch by native speakers, which has a total of about 5,700 speakers. The Carolinians have a matriarchal society in which respect is a very important factor in their daily lives, especially toward the matriarchs. Most Carolinians are of the Roman Catholic faith.
The Jesuit Martyrs of Micronesia (1670–1685) were a group of people were martyred in Guam and Marianas Island.
The Spanish–Chamorro Wars, also known as the Chamorro Wars and the Spanish-Chamorro War, refer to the late seventeenth century unrest among the Chamorro people of the Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean against the colonial effort of Habsburg Spain. Anger at proselytizing by the first permanent mission to Guam, which was led by Diego Luis de San Vitores, and a series of cultural misunderstandings led to increasing unrest on Guam and a Chamorro siege of the Hagåtña incited by maga’låhi (Chief) Hurao in 1670. Maga’låhi Matå'pang killed San Vitores in 1672, resulting in a campaign of Spanish reprisal burnings of villages through 1676. Local anger at the attacks against villages resulted in another open rebellion led by Agualin and a second siege of the Hagåtña presidio. Governor Juan Antonio de Salas conducted a counter-insurgency campaign that successfully created a system of collaboration in which Guamanians turned in rebels and murderers and transferred most of the people from about 180 villages to seven towns, a policy known as reducción. By the early 1680s, Guam was largely "reduced," or pacified.
In 1668, 147 years after Magellan's encounter, Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores, a Jesuit priest, arrived in The Marianas with the mission to convert and implement Christianity among the Chamorros, thus beginning the colonization of The Marianas by Spain. The islands were named after Queen Maria Ana of Spain.
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