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Northern Mariana Islands

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is one of the five inhabited U.S. island territories. It consists of fifteen islands in the western part of the Pacific Ocean and its capital is Saipan, made famous during fighting there toward the end of World War II. The commonwealth had a population estimated at 77,000 in 2007, falling to 53,833 in the 2010 census. There are no official poverty estimates available for the Northern Mariana Islands.

The islands had been inhabited for thousands of years before the arrival in nearby Guam of the Spanish under Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. The Spanish tried to convert the islands’ indigenous people, the Chamorros, to Roman Catholicism, and moved large communities from various islands to Guam. After the Spanish-American War of ...

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