Traces of human settlements on Saipan have been found by archaeologists ranging over 4, years, including ancient Latte Stones , and other artifacts pointing to cultural affinities with Melanesia and with similar stone monuments in Micronesia and Palau.
Saipan, together with Tinian, was possibly first sighted by Europeans by the Spanish expedition of Ferdinand Magellan , when it made a landing in the southern Marianas on 6 March Gonzalo de Vigo deserted in the Maugs from Gomez de Espinosa's Trinidad and in the next four years, living with the local indigenous Chamorro people , visited thirteen main islands in the Marianas and possibly Saipan among them.
After , it became a port of call for Spanish and occasional English, Dutch and French ships as a supply station for food and water. The survivors were forcibly relocated to Guam in for better control and assimilation. Under Spanish rule, the island was developed into ranches for raising cattle and pigs, which were used to provision Spanish galleons on their way to Mexico.
Around , many Carolinians   from Satawal settled Saipan during a period when the Chamorros were imprisoned on Guam, which resulted in a significant loss of land and rights for the Chamorro natives. The initial leader of this company was an individual named "Chief Aghurubw". However, it was then sold by Spain to the German Empire in The island was administered by Germany as part of German New Guinea , but during the German period, there was no attempt to develop or settle the island, which remained under the control of its Spanish and mestizo landowners.
Japan was awarded formal control of the island in by the League of Nations as a part of its mandated territory of the South Seas Mandate. Militarily and economically, Saipan was one of the most important islands in the mandate and became the center of subsequent Japanese settlement. Immigration began in the s by ethnic Japanese, Koreans, Taiwanese and Okinawans , who developed large-scale sugar plantations. The South Seas Development Company built sugar refineries and, under Japanese rule, extensive infrastructure development occurred, including the construction of port facilities, waterworks, power stations, paved roads and schools, along with entertainment facilities and Shinto shrines.
By October , Saipan had a civilian population of 29, Japanese settlers and 3, Chamorro and Caroline Islanders. Japan considered Saipan to be part of the last line of defenses for the Japanese homeland, and thus had strongly committed to defending it. The Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy garrisoned Saipan heavily from the late s, building numerous coastal artillery batteries, shore defenses, underground fortifications and an airstrip.
In mid, nearly 30, troops were based on the island. The United States Marine Corps and United States Army landed on the beaches of the south-western side of the island and, after more than three weeks in heavy fighting, captured the island from the Japanese. The battle cost the Americans 3, killed and 10, wounded. Of the estimated 30, Japanese defenders, only were taken prisoner. The weapons used, and the tactics of close quarter fighting, also resulted in high civilian casualties.
Some 20, Japanese civilians perished during the battle, including over 1, who jumped from " Suicide Cliff " and " Banzai Cliff " rather than be taken prisoner. Seabees of the U. Navy also landed, to initiate construction projects. After the war, nearly all of the surviving Japanese settlers were repatriated to Japan.
The island continued to be dominated by the United States military. Since , the island has been a municipality of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Saipan is the second-largest island in the Mariana Islands archipelago, after Guam. The western side of the island is lined with sandy beaches and an offshore coral reef creates a large lagoon. The eastern shore is composed primarily of rugged rocky cliffs and a reef.
Unlike many of the mountains in the Mariana Islands, it is not an extinct volcano but is a limestone formation. To the north of Mount Tapochau towards Banzai Cliff , is a ridge of hills. Saipan's flora is predominantly limestone forest. Some developed areas on the island are covered with Leucaena leucocephala , also known as "tangan-tangan" trees, which were spread broadly sometime after World War II. Tangan-Tangan trees were introduced, primarily, as an erosion-prevention mechanism, due to the decimation of the landscape brought on by WWII.
Remaining native forest occurs in small isolated fragments on steep slopes at low elevations and highland conservation areas of the island. Mango , taro root, breadfruit locally called "Lemai" , and bananas are a few of the many foods cultivated by local families and farmers.
Saipan is home to multiple endemic bird species. Among them: the Mariana fruit dove , white-throated ground dove , bridled white-eye , golden white-eye , Micronesian myzomela and the endangered Saipan reed warbler. The island used to have a large population of giant African land snails , introduced either deliberately as a food source, or accidentally by shipping, which became an agricultural pest. Unfortunately, possibly due to the flatworm, the native tree-snails also became extinct.
There is little seasonal temperature variation, and Saipan has been cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as having the least fluctuating temperatures in the world. However, the temperature is affected by elevation; hence, the island shows considerable variations between the coastal and mountainous areas.
The drier season runs from December to June and the rainier season from July to November. Typhoon season runs from July to December, and Saipan, along with the rest of the Mariana Islands, is subject to at least one typhoon each year.
Music on Saipan can generally be broken down into three categories: local, mainland American, and Asian. Local consists of Chamorro , Carolinian , Micronesian Hawaiian Reggae and Palauan music, often with traditional dance for many occasions. Mainland American consists of much of the same music that can be found on U. Asian consists of Japanese , Korean , Thai and Philippine music, among others. There are seven radio stations on Saipan, which play mainly popular and classic English-language songs as well as local and Philippine music.
Travel to and from the island is available from nine international airlines via Saipan International Airport. A ferry once operated between Saipan and Tinian but was halted in , reportedly for maintenance, but was never reinstated. Taxis are available within Saipan only. One of the island's two main thoroughfares, Beach Road, is located on the western coast of Saipan. At some parts of the road, the beach is only a few feet away. Flame trees and pine trees line the street. The street also connects more than six villages that lie on the western coast of the island.
Middle Road is the island's largest road and runs through its central section. Like Beach Road, Middle Road connects several villages throughout the island. Several offices, shops, hotels, and residences lie on or nearby these highways. Middle Road is labeled "Chalan Pale Arnold" on maps, but very few people call it that. As of , a few vehicle companies, such as Toyota and Mazda, have opened up on Saipan, leading to a major shift to cars. The island of Saipan has a total of 30 "official" villages.
However, there are many sub-areas and neighborhoods located in certain villages such as Afetnas in San Antonio and Tapochau and I Denne in Capitol Hill. Those marked "SV:" are the sub-villages. Tourism had traditionally been a vital source of the island's revenue and economic activities. But in the s, garment manufacturing became one of the main economic driving forces in Saipan when the U. While one result of these changes was an increase in hotels and tourism, the main consequence was that dozens of garment factories opened and clothing manufacturing became the island's chief economic force, employing thousands of foreign contract laborers mostly young Chinese women at low wages.
The manufacturers could legally label these low cost garments "Made in the U. The working conditions and treatment experienced by employees in these factories were the subject of controversy and criticism. As of March ,  19 companies manufactured garments on Saipan. In addition to many foreign-owned and run companies, many well-known U. From a high of 34 garment factories in the late s, Saipan's last factory closed on January 15, More recently, casino gaming has come to Saipan with at least five casinos now operating on the island.
As of , Imperial Pacific International Holdings , a Chinese company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange but majority owned by billionaire businesswoman Cui Lijie , which develops and operates casinos, hotels, and restaurants in CNMI, was reportedly the largest taxpayer in Saipan. In , Imperial Pacific was granted a year license to build and operate casinos on Saipan with an option to extend the license for another 15 years. The Imperial Pacific Resort, still unfinished as of June , is set to include a luxury hotel, casino, restaurants, retail space, and leisure facilities.
The complex was supposed to be completed by August Later lobbying efforts involved mailings from a Ralph Reed marketing company and bribery of Roger Stillwell, a Department of the Interior official who in pleaded guilty to accepting gifts from Abramoff. Over time, the CNMI has developed an immigration system dominated by the entry of foreign temporary contract workers. These now outnumber US citizens but have few rights within the CNMI and are subject to serious labor and human rights abuses.
In contrast to US immigration policy, which admits immigrants for permanent residence and eventual citizenship, the CNMI admits aliens largely as temporary contract workers who are ineligible to gain either US citizenship or civil and social rights within the commonwealth. Only a few countries and no democratic society have immigration policies similar to the CNMI.
The closest equivalent is Kuwait. The end result of the CNMI policy is to have a minority population governing and severely limiting the rights of the majority population who are alien in every sense of the word. The Commonwealth shares our American flag, but it does not share the American system of immigration. When the workers arrive in Saipan, they find their recruiter has vanished and there are no jobs in sight. Hundreds of these destitute workers roam the streets of Saipan with little or no chance of employment and no hope of returning to their homeland.
There is something fundamentally wrong with an immigration system that allows the government of China to prohibit Chinese workers from exercising political or religious freedom while employed in the United States. Something is fundamentally wrong with a CNMI immigration system that issues entry permits for and year-old girls from the Philippines and other Asian nations, and allows their employers to use them for live sex shows and prostitution.
Finally, something is fundamentally wrong when a Chinese construction worker asks if he can sell one of his kidneys for enough money to return to China and escape the deplorable working conditions in the Commonwealth and the immigration system that brought him there.
There are voices in the CNMI telling us that the cases of worker abuse we keep hearing about are isolated examples, that the system is improving, and that worker abuse is a thing of the past. These are the same voices that reap the economic benefits of a system of indentured labor that enslaves thousands of foreign workers — a system described in a bi-partisan study as "an unsustainable economic, social and political system that is antithetical to most American values.
It was revealed that Chinese laborers in those factories suffered under what the U. Department of Labor called "slavelike" conditions. Levi Strauss claimed that it had no knowledge of the offenses, severed ties to the Tan family, and instituted labor reforms and inspection practices in its offshore facilities.
In , Sweatshop Watch, Global Exchange, Asian Law Caucus, Unite, and the garment workers themselves filed three separate lawsuits in class-action suits on behalf of roughly 30, garment workers in Saipan. The defendants included 27 U. In —, the issue of immigration and labor practices on Saipan was brought up during the American political scandals of Congressman Tom DeLay and lobbyist Jack Abramoff , who visited the island on numerous occasions.
Congress has the authority to make immigration and naturalization laws applicable to the CNMI. Through the bill that we are discussing today, Congress is proposing to take this legislative step to bring the immigration system of the CNMI under Federal administration.
During the twelve-month period ending on April 30, , 36 female victims of human trafficking were admitted to or otherwise served by Guma' Esperansa, a women's shelter operated by a Catholic nonprofit organization. All of these victims were in the sex trade. Secretary Kempthorne personally visited the shelter and met with a number of women from the Philippines who were underage when they were trafficked into the CNMI for the sex industry.
I]t is clear that local control over CNMI immigration has resulted in a human trafficking problem that is proportionally much greater than the problem in the rest of the U. A number of foreign nationals have come to the Federal Ombudsman's office complaining that they were promised a job in the CNMI after paying a recruiter thousands of dollars to come there, only to find, upon arrival in the CNMI, that there was no job.
Secretary Kempthorne met personally with a young lady from China who was the victim of such a scam and who was pressured to become a prostitute; she was able to report her situation and obtain help in the Federal Ombudsman's office. We believe that steps need to be taken to protect women from such terrible predicaments. We are also concerned about recent attempts to smuggle foreign nationals, in particular Chinese nationals, from the CNMI into Guam by boat.
A woman was recently sentenced to five years in prison for attempting to smuggle over 30 Chinese nationals from the CNMI into Guam. A movement to federalize labor and immigration in the Northern Marianas Islands began in early A letter writing campaign to reform CNMI labor and immigration was debated in the local newspapers. Worker groups organized a successful Unity March December 7, Estimates of GDP will be revised to reflect methodological improvements and the availability of more complete data over time, in some cases back to BEA currently plans to release these estimates, in addition to new GDP estimates for , in the fall of GDP by industry and compensation by industry estimates for will also be released.
Gross domestic product GDP is the value of the goods and services produced by the CNMI economy less the value of the goods and services used up in production. GDP is also equal to the sum of personal consumption expenditures, private fixed investment, net exports of goods and services, and government consumption expenditures and gross investment.
Private fixed investment PFI measures spending by private businesses, nonprofit institutions, and households on fixed assets in the CNMI economy. Fixed assets consist of structures, equipment, and software that are used in the production of goods and services.
Net exports of goods and services is the difference between exports of goods and services and imports of goods and services. Exports measures the portion of total CNMI production of goods and services that is provided to the rest of the world.
Imports measures the portion of total CNMI expenditures that is accounted for by goods and services provided by the rest of the world. Government consumption expenditures consists of spending by government to produce and provide services to the public. Gross investment consists of spending by government for fixed assets that directly benefit the public or that assist government agencies in their production activities. Real values are inflation-adjusted estimates—that is, estimates that exclude the effects of price changes.
Quantities and prices. Quantity and price indexes are calculated using a Fisher chain-weighted formula that incorporates weights from two adjacent years. Chained-dollar values are not additive because the relative weights for a given period differ from those of the reference year. News Release. These data have been superseded. Please see our latest releases for current estimates and contact information. Explore Product View.
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