SAIPAN (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     26th June 2024        
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Context: Julian Assange is heading to a courtroom in Saipan to plead guilty to a single criminal charge as part of a plea deal. This agreement will allow him to walk free and return home to Australia after a 14-year legal battle.


  • About: It is the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth in the western Pacific which begins roughly 70 kilometers north of Guam and stretches across 14 islands.
  • U.S. Commonwealth Status: Like territories such as Guam or Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands are part of the U.S. without the full status of a state.
  • Citizenship and Voting Rights: The roughly 51,000 residents are U.S. Citizens but cannot vote in presidential elections. Crucially, some, like Saipan, also host U.S. district courts.
  • Historical Background: The U.S. took control of Saipan during World War II. After decades under U.S. control, residents in 1975 voted to join the U.S. as a territory. The territory has a permanent delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Northern Mariana Islands

  • About: It is a self-governing commonwealth in association with the United States.
  • Composition: It is composed of 14 islands and islets in the western Pacific Ocean.
  • Principal Islands: These are Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

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