The Mariana Islands (also the Marianas) 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 Spanish queen Mariana of Austria. Spaniards, who in the early 16th century were the first Europeans to arrive, eventually annexed and colonized the archipelago. The indigenous inhabitants are the Chamoru. Archaeologists in 2013 reported findings which indicated that the people who first settled the Marianas arrived there after making what was 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 and German Dominion status 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 retained a different political character from the Northern Marianas since this time. Following the Philippine–American War, Apolinario Mabini and other Filipino leaders were exiled to Guam in 1901.
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 Pacific Mandate or Nanyo. During this time, Japan used some of the islands for sugarcane production, modestly increasing the population of a few of the islands.
This category has only the following subcategory.
- ► Mariana Islands Definitives (1)
Pages in category "Mariana Islands"
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