island in the W Pacific: seat of government of the Northern Mariana Islands: 47 sq mi (122 sq km)
The largest island of the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It was held by Spain, Germany, and Japan before being captured by US troops in July 1944 during World War II. It was part of the US Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands from 1947 to 1978 and now serves as the capital of the Northern Marianas.
- The northern part of the Marianne Trench leads to a wave-like configuration of the ocean floor, the depth to the east of Saipan being over 4300 fathoms, followed by a rise to 1089 fathoms and then a descent to 3167 fathoms.