Mariana Islands

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Related to Mariana Islands (US): Mariana Trench, Caroline Islands, Saipan Island

Mariana Islands:

see Northern Mariana IslandsNorthern Mariana Islands
, officially Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a self-governing entity in association with the United States (2015 est. pop. 55,000), c.
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 and GuamGuam
, Chamorro Guåhan, officially Territory of Guam, the largest, most populous, and southernmost of the Mariana Islands (see also Northern Mariana Islands), an unincorporated territory of the United States (2015 est. pop. 162,000), 209 sq mi (541 sq km), W Pacific.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mariana Islands


(named after the wife of King Philip IV of Spain), a group of islands in the west-central Pacific Ocean, in Micronesia.

The Mariana Islands consist of 15 fairly large islands and several small islands and reefs, forming two chains—the northern and southern. The island of Guam (the administrative center is Agana) is a US possession; the others are a United Nations trust territory governed by the USA (the administrative center is on Saipan). Area of the trust territory, 600 sq km; population, 13,400 (1972). About half of Guam’s population consists of native inhabitants called the Chamorros; approximately 40 percent are Americans from the USA, and approximately 10 percent are Filipinos. Chamorros make up the overwhelming majority of the population on the rest of the islands. A small number of emigrants from the Caroline Islands live on Saipan among the aborigines. The Chamorro language belongs to the group of Austronesian languages. Catholicism is the predominant religion.

The islands in the northern chain of the Marianas are volcanic cones (there are some active volcanoes), with elevations to 965 m; those in the southern chain, which includes the larger islands, are coral and volcanic. There are deposits of phosphorite, sulfur, and iron and manganic ores. The climate is tropical, with trade winds; precipitation measures 1,800-2,100 mm per year. The months from July to October are the most humid. Typhoons are frequent. Vegetation on the Mariana Islands includes humid tropical forests (on the windward slopes) and savannas. There are sugarcane, coconut, banana, cotton, and citrus-fruit plantations; livestock is raised, and there is commercial fishing. The Mariana Islands have naval and military air bases. The islands were discovered in 1521 by F. Magellan.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.