Timeline Mariana Islands

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Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)

A group of 15 islands in the Pacific, E. of the Philippines formerly mandated to Japan and now under US  trusteeship. Saipan is part of the Marianas.
 (WUD, 1994, p.876, 1261)
A US protectorate in the Pacific. Its capital is Saipan. The Chamorros and Carolinians make up the indigenous population.
 (WSJ, 6/10/97, p.A16)
 The commonwealth is exempt from American labor, immigration and customs laws.
 (SFC, 8/10/99, p.A3)

1521        March 6, Magellan made landfall at the island of Guam in the Marianas.
    (HN, 3/6/98)(V.D.-H.K.p.177-178)

1521        Apr 26, Magellan was killed in a fight with natives on Mactan Island. Magellan named the Mariana Islands Islas de los Ladrones (Islands of Thieves), and was killed by natives on Cebu. Juan Sebastian Elcano, Magellan’s second in command, returned to Spain with 18 men and one ship, the Vittorio, laden with spices. His coat of arms was augmented in reward with the inscription Primus circumdisti me: “You were the first to encircle me." Some 50,000 Chamorro people populated the islands.
    (V.D.-H.K.p.177-178)(SFEC,11/10/96,Z1p.2)(TL-MB, p.12)(SFEC, 3/7/99,Z1 p.4)

1668        The Spaniards established a permanent settlement on Guam. They forced the Chamorros to convert to Catholicism. Under Spanish rule the Chamorro numbers were reduced to some 2,000.
    (SFEC, 3/7/99,Z1 p.4)

1720        The Spanish quashed Chamorro resistance and forcibly evacuated to Guam all Chamorros on Saipan and the other Northern Marianas.
    (SFEC, 3/7/99, Z1 p.4)

1810        A typhoon devastated the Caroline Islands, 500 miles south of the Marianas. The survivors sailed to Guam but only half survived. Spanish authorities sent the Carolinians to Saipan and Tinian to manage the Spanish cattle herds.
    (SFEC, 3/7/99, Z1 p.4)

1880s        The Spanish began to allow the Chamorros to return from Guam to the Northern Marianas. Successive Spanish, German, Japanese and American rulers favored the Chamorros over the traditionalist semi-nude Carolinians.
    (SFEC, 3/7/99, Z1 p.4)

1898        Jun 20, During the Spanish-American War on the way to the Philippines to fight the Spanish, the U.S. Navy cruiser Charleston seized the island of Guam.
    (AP, 6/20/98)(HN, 6/20/98)

1898        Jun 21, Guam became a US territory. [see Jun 20, Jul 21]
    (MC, 6/21/02)

1898        Aug 12, The peace protocol ending the Spanish-American War was signed after three months and 22 days of hostilities. 460 US soldiers died in battle. The US paid Spain $20 million to vacate Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Over the next 3 years US casualties in the Philippines war totaled over 4,000. [see Dec 10]
    (AP, 8/12/97)(WSJ, 2/23/98, p.A20)(HN, 8/12/00)(SSFC, 3/30/03, p.D1)(WSJ, 7/2/03, p.B1)

1898        Dec 10, The United States and Spain signed the Treaty of Paris, ending the Spanish-American War. This ceded Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam to the United States. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty February 6, 1899. [see Aug 12]
    (AP, 12/10/97)(HN, 12/10/98)(HNQ, 7/28/01)(MC, 12/10/01)

1898        Guam became a US naval base after the Spanish-American War.
    (WSJ, 2/20/97, p.A20)

1903        Jul 3, The first cable across the Pacific Ocean was spliced between Honolulu, Midway, Guam and Manila. [see Jul 4]
    (HN, 7/3/98)

1903        Jul 4, Pacific Cable (SF, Hawaii, Guam, Philippines) opened, and Pres. Teddy Roosevelt sent a message. [see Jul 3]
    (Maggio, 98)

1941        Dec 10, Japanese troops invaded the Filipino island of Luzon and overran Guam.
    (WUD, 1944, p.1683)(HN, 12/10/98)(MC, 12/10/01)

1941        Dec 18, Defended by 610 fighting men, the American-held island of Guam fell to more than 5,000 Japanese invaders in a three-hour battle.
    (HN, 12/18/98)

1944        Feb 17, US began night bombing of Truk in the Marianas Islands.
    (MC, 2/17/02)

1944        Feb 23, American bombers struck the Marianas Islands bases, only 1,300 miles from Tokyo.
    (HN, 2/23/98)

1944        Feb 25, U.S. forces destroyed 135 planes in Marianas and Guam.
    (HN, 2/25/98)

1944        Jun 11, U.C. carrier-based planes attacked Japanese airfields on Guam, Rota, Saipan and Tinian islands, preparing for the invasion of Saipan.
    (HN, 6/11/99)

1944        Jun 19, The Battle of the Philippine Sea (Battle of the Marianas), called the "Marianas Turkey Shoot," began when Japanese naval forces attacked the stronger U.S. naval forces. 280 Japanese planes were shot down by U.S. carrier- based planes and anti-aircraft fire from U.S. ships. Americans shoot down 220 Japanese planes while only losing 20.
    (BEP, 1994)(DT, 6/19/97)(HN, 6/19/98)
1944        Jun 19, “Ace of Aces" David McCampbell (1910-1996) and the Fabled 15 challenged 80 Japanese carrier based aircraft bearing down on an American fleet. He shot down 7 Zeroes and the group routed the enemy fliers at the Battle of the Marianas.
    (SFC, 7/3/96, p.C4)

1944        Jul 7, There was a heavy Japanese counter offensive on Saipan.
    (MC, 7/7/02)

1944        Jul 8, Japanese kamikaze attacked US lines at Saipan.
    (MC, 7/8/02)

1944        Jul 9, During World War Two, American forces secured Saipan as the last Japanese defenses fell.
    (AP, 7/9/00)

1944        Jul 20, US invaded Japanese occupied Guam. Japanese aircraft carrier Hijo was sunk by US air attack.
    (MC, 7/20/02)

1944        Jul 21, US Army and Marine forces landed on Guam in the Marianas during WW II.
    (AP, 7/21/97)(HN, 7/21/98)

1944        Jul 26, There was a Japanese suicide attack on US lines in Guam.
    (MC, 7/26/02)

1944        Jul 27, U.S. troops completed the liberation of Guam.
    (HN, 7/27/98)

1944        Jul, Guy Gabaldon (1926-2006), US Marine private, talked some 800 Japanese soldiers into surrendering and following him back to his US camp. In 1990 Gabaldon authored the memoir “Saipan: Suicide Island." The story became part of the 1960 film “Hell to Eternity."
    (SFC, 9/8/06, p.B9)

1944        Aug 8, U.S. forces completed the capture of the Marianas Islands.
    (HN, 8/8/98)

1944        Aug 10, During World War II, American forces overcame Japanese resistance on Guam.
    (AP, 8/10/97)

1944        Oct 28, The first B-29 Superfortress bomber mission flew from the airfields in the Mariana Islands in a strike against the Japanese base at Turk [Truk].
    (HN, 10/28/98)

1944        Nov 24, US bombers based on Saipan attacked Tokyo in the first raid against the Japanese capital by land-based planes. American B-29's flying from Saipan bombed Tokyo.
    (AP, 11/24/05)(HN, 11/24/98)

1944        In “Operation Hailstone" US carrier-based pilots dropped 400 tons of bombs on the Truk Lagoon and 94 tons on airfields at Chook Island.
    (SFC, 6/19/00, p.A10)

1944        The Japanese forced the indigenous people into slave labor.
    (SFEC, 3/7/99,Z1 p.4)

1944        Hundreds of natives died during the US invasion of the Northern Marianas. 5,000 American troops and 40,000 Japanese also died.
    (SFEC, 3/7/99,Z1 p.4)

1944        The fighting on Peleliu, 5-sq. miles, killed 1,252 Americans and 10,900 Japanese.
    (SFC, 6/19/00, p.A10)

1945        Jul 16, The US cruiser Indianapolis left SF with atomic bomb components to be assembled at Tinian Island in the western Pacific.
    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Indianapolis_(CA-35))(SSFC, 7/31/05, p.B1)

1945        Jul 26, US cruiser Indianapolis reached Tinian carrying the enriched uranium and other parts required for the assembly of the atomic bomb codenamed "Little Boy", which would be dropped on Hiroshima a few weeks later.

1945        Saipan and some nearby islands began to be administered by the US on behalf of the United Nations after WW II.
    (WSJ, 2/20/97, p.A20)

c1946        The brown tree snake, Boiga irregularis, arrived on Guam shortly after WW II and began to feed on the native bird population. By 1998 an estimated 9 of 11 native birds were eliminated.
    (SFC, 7/25/98, p.A8)(WSJ, 7/1/99, p.B1)

1947-1978    The US governed the Northern Marianas Islands as a UN Trust Territory. The natives largely abandoned fishing and Spam and Budweiser became staples.
    (SFEC, 3/7/99,Z1 p.4)

1949        Pres. Truman appointed Carlton Skinner (d.2004) as the 1st civilian governor of Guam. Skinner established the island‘s 1st university and wrote a constitution.
    (SSFC, 8/29/04, p.B7)

1960        Jan 23, Bathysphere "Trieste" reached bottom of Pacific at 10,900 m. Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh descended for 20 minutes in the bathyscaph Trieste into the Mariana Trench, a 1,500 mile gash in the Earth’s crust east of the Philippines with a depth of 37,000 feet below sea level, nearly 7 miles.
    (SFC, 10/29/96, p.A11)(SFEC, 11/17/96, BR p.4)(MC, 1/23/02)

1969        Jul 25, The Nixon Doctrine was put forth in a press conference in Guam. He stated that the US henceforth expected its Asian allies to take care of their own military defense.

1975        Feb 15, In local elections 78.8% of the residents approved a covenant under which the Northern Marianas would become a US Commonwealth. In 1976 the US Congress approved a covenant whereby Saipan became the capital of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The 34,000 permanent residents became US citizens but could not vote in US presidential elections. The CNMI was allowed to set its own tax, immigration and labor policies. A new government and constitution went into effect in 1978.
    (SFEC, 3/7/99,Z1 p.4)(http://macmeekin.com/Library/NMIchron/1971.htm)(WSJ, 2/20/97, p.A20)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Mariana_Islands)

1980s        Tourism and apparel manufacturing became huge industries on Saipan. Foreign contract workers began to outnumber the locals.
    (SFEC, 3/7/99,Z1 p.4)

1986        The Chamorros and Carolinians of the Northern Marianas were given US citizenship.
    (SFEC, 3/7/99,Z1 p.4)

1990        Guam passed a law that prohibited nearly all abortion procedures. In 1992 The U.S. Supreme Court sustained women's basic right to abortion, voting 6-3 against reviving the Guam law.
    (AP, 11/30/97)

1994        Guam began to use Jack Russell terriers to check outgoing cargo for brown tree snakes.
    (SFC, 7/25/98, p.A8)

1995        May 21, Larry Lee Hillblom, co-founder and majority shareholder of DHL Corp., disappeared into the Pacific Ocean in his World War II vintage seaplane. He was conservatively valued at 500 million and willed most of his estate to a charitable trust for medical research. $240 million was set aside for medical research at UCSF. He named the Bank of Saipan as executor but left behind a number of illegitimate children in the Philippines and the Mariana Islands who are laying claim to his estate. In 1998 4 children won $90 million settlements each. Later it was learned that many of his personal effects in Saipan were buried to avoid DNA tests for paternity confirmation. In 2012 James D. Scurlock authored “The Life and Ruins of a Billionaire Genius."
    (WSJ, 5/15/96, p.A1,8)(SFEC, 1/11/98, p.A1)(SFEC, 8/16/98, p.A1)(WSJ, 3/20/00, p.A1)(SSFC, 2/12/12, p.F7)

1995        May, A Kmart store opened on Guam.
    (WSJ, 7/12/99, p.A17)

1997        Jun 10, It was reported that Gov. Froilan Tenorio and Rep. Heinz Hofschneider had proposed a Parental Choice Scholarship Program that would be implemented in the fall. Every student would get a $1500 scholarship for the school of their choice.
    (WSJ, 6/10/97, p.A16)

1997        Aug 6, Korean Air Flight 801 from Seoul crashed into a hillside a short distance from Guam’s Agana International Airport. There were 29 survivors and 254 people killed. The Boeing 747-300 jumbo jet crashed just a few miles away from the Guam airport. A programming glitch in the ground radar system was later identified as a contributing factor but not the cause. The Korean Air crash in Guam killed 228.
    (SFC, 8/11/97, p.A3)(WSJ, 4/8/99, p.A1)(AP, 8/6/98)(WSJ, 11/13/01, p.A14)

1999        Jan, Class-actions law suits were filed against American corporations for sweatshop working conditions in Saipan.
    (SFC, 8/10/99, p.A1)

1999        Mar, Recession in Japan and South Korea caused a drop in tourism and sweatshop conditions on Saipan caused many large apparel corporations to cancel their contracts.
    (SFEC, 3/7/99,Z1 p.4)

1999        Aug 9, Four large apparel corporations settled out of court in a suit to end sweatshop labor in Saipan. Nordstrom, J. Crew, Cutter & Buck and Gymboree agreed to pay $1.25 million to reimburse workers for recruitment fees and to set up a program to monitor island contractors.
    (SFC, 8/10/99, p.A1)

1999        Oct 6, Five clothing designers agreed to settle a class action suit over working conditions in Saipan. They included Ralph Lauren, Philips-Van Heusen, Bryland L.P., Karan Int'l., and Dress Barn.
    (SFC, 10/7/99, p.A3)

1999        Dec 12, On Guam a referendum was scheduled to choose independence, US statehood or free association status.
    (SFC, 11/24/98, p.A14)

1999        On Guam a new strategy to control the brown tree snakes used aspirin, toxic to the snakes, inserted into frozen baby mice.
    (WSJ, 7/1/99, p.B1)

2001        Mar 23, It was reported that 22 Guam teenagers had committed suicide over the past 26 months. Members of a secretive club called Prestigious Angels promised to kill themselves if their friends would follow.
    (SFC, 3/23/01, p.D6)

2001-2004    US Sen. Conrad Burns, a Montana Republican, received some $150,000 in donations from Jack Abramoff, his firms and his clients during this period. On May 23, 2001 Burns voted against a bill favorable to Abramoff’s clients in the Northern Mariana Islands. The bill would have phased out a non-resident contract worker program benefiting benefiting the Mariana’s garment industry.
    (SFC, 12/7/05, p.A6)

2002        Dec 8, Typhoon Pongsona hit Guam with wind gusts of more than 180 mph. The U.S. territory was declared a federal disaster area.
    (AP, 12/11/02)

2003        Aug 8, A US federal judge ruled that some 264,000 square miles of submerged lands in the Northern Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth, belong to the United States.
    (AP, 8/8/03)

2004        Mar 31, Air America Radio went live in 3 of largest US markets with a left-leaning, round-the-clock, talk format featuring Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo. Air America was conceived by Anita and Sheldon Drobny of Chicago. The idea was purchased by Guam entrepreneurs Evan M. Cohen and Rex Sorensen, who resigned May 5.
     (SFC, 3/31/04, p.C1)(WSJ, 6/21/04, p.A1)

2004        Jul 20, Former Guam Gov. Carl Gutierrez (1995-2003) was acquitted on charges he used government workers and public money to build and improve his cliffside ranch.
    (AP, 7/21/04)

2005        Jan 7, The nuclear submarine USS San Francisco ran aground 350 miles off the Pacific Ocean territory of Guam, injuring about 20 crew members. One died the next day.
    (AP, 1/8/05)(AP, 1/9/05)

2005        Feb 15, The Guam-based Citizens Security Bank (CSB) ended credit card and other services to the Bank of Marshall Islands. Residents of the Marshall Islands will be unable to use their credit cards after the central Pacific nation's leading bank was cut off from a US partner by the anti-terrorist Patriot Act.
    (AFP, 2/10/05)

2005        Oct 29, The US and Japan agreed to step up military cooperation and substantially reduce the number of Marines on the strategically important southern island of Okinawa. The US will move 7,000 US Marines from Japan's Okinawa prefecture to Guam.
    (AP, 10/29/05)(AFP, 10/29/05)

2009        Jan 6, Pres. Bush designated parts of 3 Pacific island chains as national monuments to protect them from oil and gas extraction and commercial fishing. The areas totaled some 195,274 square miles and included the Mariana Trench as well as waters and coral surrounding 3 islands in the Northern Mariana Islands, Rose Atoll in American Samoa and 7 islands along the equator in the central Pacific Ocean.
    (SFC, 1/6/09, p.A4)

2009        Nov 20, In the Northern Mariana Islands a gunman went on a rampage on the Pacific resort island of Saipan, killing 4 people and wounding six others before fatally shooting himself. Li Zhongren (42), a Chinese citizen, was believed to have been employed at the shooting range and left notes indicating personal financial problems and frustrations.
    (AP, 11/20/09)(SFC, 11/23/09, p.A2)

2012        Mar 25, "Titanic" director James Cameron (57) made a solo submarine dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific, the deepest point in the world's oceans. On Jan 23, 1960, a two-man crew aboard the US Navy submersible Trieste, then the only humans to have reached Challenger Deep, spent just 20 minutes on the bottom.
    (AFP, 3/26/12)(Econ, 3/31/12, p.90)

2016        Jul 27, In Saipan community members and an environmental group sued the US Navy over a plan to turn the islands of Pagan and Tinian in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands into live-fire testing sites.
    (SFC, 7/28/16, p.A5)

2018        Mar, US officials announced settlements with four Chinese construction firms to pay $14 million in back wages and damages to 2,400 affected workers in Saipan. The companies, contracted by Hong Kong's Imperial Pacific International, brought workers on tourist visas, paid them less than required by law and failed to secure proper work authorization by exploiting a visa waiver program that allows Chinese citizens to travel to the Northern Mariana Islands.
    (AP, 3/14/18)

2018        Oct 25, Residents of the Northern Mariana Islands braced for months without electricity or running water after the islands were slammed by Super Typhoon Yutu, the strongest storm to hit any part of the US this year. At least one person was killed.
    (AP, 10/25/18)(SFC, 10/26/18, p.A8)

2018        Dec 29, The United States detained Russian citizen Dmitry Makarenko (b.1979) on the Northern Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth in the Pacific Ocean. He was soon transferred to Florida. Makarenko was accused in June 2017 by federal prosecutors of conspiring with another man, Vladimir Nevidomy, to export defense articles including night-vision scopes from the United States to Russia without US approval. Court papers showed Nevidomy pleaded guilty in the case in June 2018 and was sentenced to 26 months in prison with three years of supervised release.
    (Reuters, 1/5/19)

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