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Northern Mariana Islands: islands north of the Equator

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The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands form a Commonwealth united with the United States of America. The islands have as their capital the town of Garapan, on the island of Saipan. The state of the Northern Mariana Islands includes all the islands of the Mariana archipelago except for the island of Guam (which is an unincorporated territory of the United States).

The Mariana Islands are located north of the equator in the western Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines, south of Japan and north of the Caroline Islands. The archipelago is composed of 14 coral and volcanic islands, the main islands are: Saipan (116 sq km), Tinian (101 sq km), Rota (85 sq km), Pagan (48 sq km), Agrihan (43 sq km) and Anatahan (31 sq km).


The southern islands of Rota, Aguijan, Tinian and Saipan are mainly limestone islands of coral origin. While the northern islands (Farallon de Pajaros (Uracas), Maug, Asuncion, Agrihan (Agrigan), Pagan, Alamagan, Guguan, Sarigan, Anatahan), are islands of volcanic origin. Some still have volcanic manifestations, with volcanoes active in the islands of Anatahan, Pagan and Agrihan.

Currently the only permanently inhabited islands are those of Saipan, where more than 90% of the total population of the state resides, and the two islands of Tinian and Rota. The islands of Agrihan and Pagan, which were inhabited, were evacuated due to the continuous volcanic eruptions.

The volcano on the island of Agrihan is the highest point of the entire archipelago (965 meters). The islands are located along the Mariana Trench, the deepest ocean trench in the world. But the deepest point, the Challenger Abyss (-10,911 meters), is located in the maritime space of the Federated States of Micronesia, south-west of Guam. The main economic resource of the Mariana Islands is above all tourism. While agriculture has a lesser economic importance (coconut palms, banana trees, sugar cane, pineapple, rice) and fishing.

The site of the Government of the Mariana Islands.

  • Area: 477 sqkm.
  • Population: 84,500 (2007 data) (Asian 56% (Filipino, Chinese, Korean), Chamorros 36%, Whites 2%).
  • State Capital: Garapan (Saipan).
  • Languages: Official languages are English, Chamorro and Carolinian.
  • Religion: Christian (Catholic 90%, Protestant 3%).
  • Currency: American Dollar (USD).
  • Time: UTC +10 hours.



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