Title: The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Population: 51,659

Population Change: 0.6

National Average Age:

Urban Percentage: 88

Christian Population: 0

Christian Percentage:

Introduction: 'The Northern Mariana Islands are a U.S. commonwealth in the Pacific Ocean. Saipan the largest island is known for its sandy shores and mountainous landscapes. In clear waters off its west coast is the tiny coral-fringed Mañagaha islet. On Saipan''s northeast coast turtles inhabit the Grotto a cavern dive site. Nearby memorials mark Banzai Cliff and Suicide Cliff sites from WWII''s Battle of Saipan.'

Overview: Under US administration as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific the people of the Northern Mariana Islands decided in the 1970s not to seek independence but instead to forge closer links with the US. Negotiations for territorial status began in 1972. A covenant to establish a commonwealth in political union with the US was approved in 1975 and came into force on 24 March 1976. A new government and constitution went into effect in 1978.