Saipan, with the other Marianas, was mandated to Japan in 1920 by the League of Nations. In World War II the island (site of a Japanese airbase) was taken by U.S. forces in 1944 and became a base for air attacks on the Japanese mainland. From 1953 to 1962 Saipan was used to train Nationalist Chinese guerrillas for infiltration of the Chinese mainland. Although the seat of the Northern Marianas' government from the beginning of internal self-government in 1978, the island was not officially designated the capital until 2015.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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