Tuesday, September 27, 2005

History of the Northern Mariana Islands

History of the Northern Mariana Islands. This is a short introduction to the history of the American territory known as the Northern Mariana Islands.

Wikipedia notes, "The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a commonwealth in political union with the United States of America at a strategic location in the West Pacific Ocean. It consists of 14 islands about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines, at 15°1′2″ N 145°4′5″ E."

From the site:

The first people to come to the Marianas arrived over 3500 years ago, probably from Southeast Asia through the Philippines. The south islands were occupied early, the north later. The ancient people evolved into Chamorro people. An ancient trading route between the central Carolinian islands brought ancestors of the Carolinians to Saipan.

The first European to arrive in these islands was the Portuguese navigator, Ferdinand Magellan, who came to Guam and Rota in 1521 during his circumnavigation of the world in an attempt to find a route across the Pacific. Spain took possession of the archipelago in 1565 and ruled it for more than 300 years. The first permanent Spanish colony was established in 1668. Spain ceded Guam to the United States following the Spanish-American War, then sold the Northern Mariana Islands to Germany in 1899. Germany acquired these islands primarily to increase their international prestige. German economic development was based on the copra industry.

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