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Saipan(sī`păn, sīpän`), volcanic island (2010 pop. 48,220), 47 sq mi (122 sq km), W Pacific, capital of the Northern Mariana IslandsNorthern Mariana Islands
, officially Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a self-governing entity in association with the United States (2010 pop. 53,883), c.185 sq mi (479 sq km), comprising 16 islands (6 inhabited) of the Marianas chain (all except Guam), in the W
..... Click the link for more information. . It is mountainous; the highest peak is Mt. Tagpochau (1,526 ft/465 m). Like the rest of the country it is subject to sometimes devastating typhoons. Clothing was the main export, but the industry died (2005–9) after trade quotas were ended. Sugarcane, coffee, citrus fruits, and coconuts are grown, and the island has phosphate and manganese deposits. The main campus of Northern Marianas College is on the island.
Saipan, with the other Marianas, was mandated to Japan in 1920 by the League of Nations. In World War II the island (site of a Japanese airbase) was taken by U.S. forces in 1944 and became a base for air attacks on the Japanese mainland. From 1953 to 1962 Saipan was used to train Nationalist Chinese guerrillas for infiltration of the Chinese mainland. Although the seat of the Northern Marianas' government from the beginning of internal self-government in 1978, the island was not officially designated the capital until 2015.
an island of volcanic origin in the Pacific Ocean; one of the Mariana Islands. Population 10,500 (1970). Covering an area of 181 sq km, the island reaches an elevation of 465 m. Sugarcane, sweet cassava, coconuts, and bananas are cultivated on plantations. The island was discovered by Magellan in 1521.