Mariana Islands

Mariana Islands
/mair"ee an"euh, mar"-, mair'-, mar'-/; Sp. /mah'rddee ah"nah/
a group of 15 small islands in the Pacific, E of the Philippines: divided into Guam, a possession of the U.S., and the North Marianas, formally under U.S. trusteeship. 453 sq. mi. (1127 sq. km). Also called Marianas. Formerly, Ladrone Islands, Ladrones. Cf. North Mariana Islands.

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Island group, western Pacific Ocean.

Located east of the Philippines, it comprises 15 islands and is divided politically into Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The population is descended from the pre-Spanish Chamorro people and Spanish, Mexican, German, Philippine, and Japanese settlers. Spanish cultural traditions are strong. After Ferdinand Magellan became the first European to discover them in 1521, they were visited frequently but were not colonized until 1668, at which time Jesuit missionaries changed their name to honor Mariana of Austria, regent of Spain.

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▪ islands, Pacific Ocean
 island arc, a series of volcanic and uplifted coral formations in the western Pacific Ocean, about 1,500 miles (2,400 km) east of the Philippines. They are the highest slopes of a massive undersea mountain range, rising some 6 miles (9.5 km) from the Marianas Trench in the ocean bed and forming a boundary between the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean. They are divided politically into the island of Guam (an unincorporated territory of the United States) and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, which was part of the U.S.-administered UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands from 1947 to 1986. The Northern Marianas extend for about 450 miles (725 km) north of Guam. The more important islands of the commonwealth are Saipan, Tinian, Agrihan, and Rota. The Mariana Islands have several active volcanoes, including Mount Pagan, Asuncion, and Farallon de Pajaros. The climate of the islands is tropical.

      After their European discovery by Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan (1521), the Marianas were visited frequently but were not colonized until 1668. In that year Jesuit missionaries changed the islands' name from Islas de los Ladrones (Thieves' Islands) in order to honour Mariana of Austria, then regent of Spain. The Jesuits then began to forcibly convert the native Chamorro people to Roman Catholicism. Guam was ceded to the United States following the Spanish-American War (1898), and the Northern Marianas were sold to Germany in 1899. Occupied by Japan in 1914, the Northern Marianas became a Japanese mandate from the League of Nations after 1919. Seized by the United States in World War II, they were prepared as forward bases for the invasion of Japan but were never used as such. The islands were part of a trusteeship granted to the United States by the United Nations in 1947; in 1978 they chose to become a self-governing commonwealth and achieved this formal status upon the dissolution of the trust territory in 1986.

      The economy of the Marianas is largely based on subsistence agriculture, with some income from copra and services to U.S. military installations; cattle are also raised. The population is descended from the pre-Spanish Chamorro with considerable intermingling of Spanish, Mexican, Philippine, German, and Japanese blood. Spanish cultural traditions are strong. Pop. (2007 est.) 257,500.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Mariana Islands — [mer΄ē an′ə, mar΄ē an΄ə] group of islands in the W Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines: it includes Guam and the U.S. commonwealth of the NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS: formerly (except Guam) a Japanese possession and (1947 86) part of the Trust… …   English World dictionary

  • Mariana Islands — • The Marianas Archipelago (also called the Ladrone Islands) is a chain of fifteen islands in the Northern Pacific, first discovered in 1521 by Magellan Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Mariana Islands — For other uses, see Mariana. Mariana Islands at map right, east of the Philippine Sea, and just west of the Mariana Trench in the ocean floor. The Mariana Islands (also the Marianas; up to the early 20th century sometimes called Ladrones Islands …   Wikipedia

  • Mariana Islands — /mæriˌanə ˈaɪləndz/ (say maree.ahnuh uyluhndz) plural noun 1. Also, Marianas. a group of fifteen small islands in the Pacific, east of the Philippine Islands, forming two separate US dependencies. 1006 km2. Formerly (1521–1668), Ladrone Islands,… …  

  • Mariana Islands — noun a chain of coral and volcanic islands in Micronesia (including Guam and the Northern Marianas) halfway between New Guinea and Japan; discovered by Magellan in 1521 • Syn: ↑Marianas, ↑Ladrone Islands • Instance Hypernyms: ↑archipelago • Part… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Mariana Islands — or formerly Ladrone Islands geographical name islands W Pacific S of Bonin Islands; comprise commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands & Guam …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Mariana Islands — Mar′i•an′a Is′lands [[t]ˈmɛər iˈæn ə, ˈmær , ˌmɛər , ˌmær [/t]] n. pl. geg a group of 15 islands in the W Pacific, E of the Philippines: divided into Guam, a U.S. possession, and the commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. 396 sq. mi. (1026 …   From formal English to slang

  • Mariana Islands, Prefecture Apostolic of —     Prefecture Apostolic of Mariana Islands     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Prefecture Apostolic of Mariana Islands     The Marianas Archipelago (also called the Ladrone Islands) is a chain of fifteen islands in the Northern Pacific, situated… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Mariana Islands — n. chain of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean …   English contemporary dictionary

  • MARIANA ISLANDS —    See LADRONES …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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