The Northern Mariana Islands are composed of volcanic rock, the southern islands of madrepore limestone covering a volcanic base.There are active volcanoes, and the islands are subject to typhoons. More than two fifths are Pacific Islanders (mainly Chamorros), and Asians form nearly as large a portion of the inhabitants; there are minorities of Caucasians and persons of mixed descent. Most of the people are Roman Catholics. Chamorro, Philippine languages, Chinese, English, and other languages are spoken.
Settlement of the islands, by people of Indo-Malayan stock, dates back to c.1500 BC The Latte Culture, beginning c.AD 800, is noted for the surviving large stone pillars and foundations of what are believed to have been ruling class houses, but the nature of the sites had been forgotten by the indigenous Chamorros at the time of European contact.
After Japan’s defeat in World War II, the Northern Marianas were administered by the United States pursuant to Security Council Resolution 21 as part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, which gave responsibility for defense and foreign affairs to the United States. Four referenda offering integration with Guam or changes to the islands’ status were held in 1958, 1961, 1963 and 1969. On each occasion, a majority voted in favor of integration with Guam. But, this did not happen: Guam rejected integration in a 1969 referendum. The people of the Northern Mariana Islands decided in the 1970s not to seek independence, but instead to forge closer links with the United States. Negotiations for territorial status began in 1972 and a covenant to establish a commonwealth in political union with the United States was approved in a 1975 referendum. A new government and constitution came into effect in 1978 after being approved in a 1977 referendum. The United Nations approved this arrangement pursuant to Security Council Resolution 683. Like other U.S. territories, the islands do not have representation in the U.S. Senate, but, since 2009, are represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by a delegate who may vote in committee but not on the House floor.
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) government adopted its own constitution in 1977, and the constitutional government took office in January 1978.
Constitution Day in Northern Mariana Islands is celebrated on December 8.
Historical facts: On December 8, 1941, hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces from the Marianas launched an invasion of Guam.
Source: wikipedia.org | encyclopedia.com | gov.mp