The Northern Mariana Islands are a group of 15 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. Only three of the islands are inhabited, with a large majority living on the island of Saipan. Rota and Tinian are the other two occupied islands. The fifteen islands cover an area of almost 180 square miles, with a total population of approximately 54,000 people.
The islands have experienced volcanic eruptions in 2003 and in 2005 on Anatahan island. There are also active volcanoes on Argihan and Pagan. Argihan's volcano also has the highest elevation among the islands at over 3,100 feet. The southern islands are composed of limestone, similar to Guam which sits to the south of Northern Mariana Islands.
Similar to Puerto Rico, it is a commonwealth of the United States. It became a commonwealth of the United States between 1976 and 1986. The government is located in Capital Hill, and operates as a single municipality.
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