Saipan is an island of the US insular Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. It constitutes an archipelago of 15 islands located in the western Pacific Ocean, with an area of 115.39 km², this island being the largest in the archipelago, the city has a population of 62,392 residents according to the 2000 census.
Saipan was inhabited for the first time around 2000 BC The Portuguese navigator Fernando de Magallanes in the service of Spain was the first European to see the island and who met the Chamorros in 1521, after which the island was annexed to Spain as part of the Mariana Islands. Around the year 1815, many residents of Satawal settled in Saipan during a period when the Chamorros were imprisoned on Guam, resulting in a loss of land and rights for the natives. In 1899, after the Spanish-American War, Spain decided to sell the Marianas, Carolinas and Marshall Islands to United States, but the government of William McKinley considered the amount of money requested high, so all these islands, including Saipan, were finally sold to the German Empire. In 1922 at the end of the First World War the Japanese Empire took control of the island under the South Pacific Mandate of the League of Nations, in it the Japanese developed the fishing and sugar industries.
In the 1930s they filled the island with garrisons that housed the troops that arrived later and that in 1941 there were about 30,000. In 1935 they built an airstrip south of Saipan. Shortly after, a seaplane base was added to the west and a fighter track to the north. After this evolution, some US officials publicly declared that Japan was converting Saipan into a military base, which was not allowed in the mandate. In March 1943, during World War II, Saipan became the headquarters of the Second Fleet of Convoy Escorts and on June 15, 1944, during World War II, the Marines of the United States landed on the beaches in the southwest of the island and fought for three weeks in the Battle of Saipan to vacate the Japanese. In November 1986 the Mariana Islands joined the United States.
Saipan is located 200 km north of Guam, it is about 20 km long and 9 km wide. Its highest point is Mount Tapochau with 474 meters above sea level, considered by some an extinct volcano, it is actually a limestone formation. Most of the island is covered with dense grass meadows, the dry forest is known as Tangan-Tangan. Wild fruits such as coconuts, papayas, and Thai peppers grow in it, there are also fruits grown by farmers, such as mangoes, taros, and bananas. Tuna sport fishing on the coast is also important.
In 1941, 30,000 people lived in Saipan and fewer than 4,000 of them were natives; the population increased to 62,392 people according to the 2000 census, of which almost 12,000 are natives. A large number of foreigners from China, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia live on the island, who came to them through employment contracts, in addition, a high percentage of the island’s population includes first-rate immigrants. generation from Japan, China, and Korea, as well as other Micronesian states. The most widely spoken language is English, although a minority of approximately 20% also speaks Chamorro (derived from Spanish), also an official language in the country. Residually, a minority of the elderly have Spanish as their second language.
Garment manufacturing is the main economic activity in Saipan, driven mainly by foreign workers, mainly those from China. In March 2007 there were 19 clothing manufacturing companies. Many popular clothing brands in the US operate on the island. Another important economic activity for the island is tourism.