Saipan today is a commonwealth of the United States, the largest island of the Northern Mariana Islands. Guam is the largest island in the Mariana Islands archipelago, however, it is not a member of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Guam is a separate territory of the U.S. As of the 2017 Federal Census, Saipan had a population of just over 52,000. Along with Saipan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has fourteen member islands.
Pre-WWI, Saipan was a colonial possession of Germany. Japan seized the island in 1914 and was given full colonial rights by the League of Nations in 1919. Occupation of Saipan in WWII began on 15 Jun 1944 with the landing of US Marine and Army forces. The Battle for Saipan lasted from 15 Jun to 9 Jul 1944. American casualties were approximately 2,949 killed and 10,464 wounded. Japanese casualties were estimated at 29,000 or more. Civilian deaths can only be guessed at. More than 1000 civilians, prompted by Japanese propaganda, committed suicide by walking off cliffs, often throwing their children in front of them.