Saipan is the largest island of the Northern Mariana Islands, a commonwealth of the United States in the western Pacific Ocean. According to the 2010 United States Census, Saipan’s population was 48,220.
The Commonwealth’s center of government is located in the village of Capital Hill on the island. As the entire island is organized as a single municipality, most publications term Saipan as the Commonwealth’s capital.
The current Mayor of Saipan is Marian Tudela, who was sworn into office on June 2, 2014.
Saipan is the second largest island in the Mariana Islands archipelago, after Guam. It is located about 120 mi (190 km) north of Guam and 5 nautical miles (9.3 km) northeast of Tinian, from which it is separated by the Saipan Channel. Saipan is about 12 mi (19 km) long and 5.6 mi (9.0 km) wide, with a land area of 115.38 km2 (44.55 sq mi).
The western side of the island is lined with sandy beaches and an offshore coral reef which creates a large lagoon. The eastern shore is composed primarily of rugged rocky cliffs and a reef.
The highest elevation on Saipan is a limestone-covered mountain called Mount Tapochau at 1,560 ft (480 m). Unlike many of the mountains in the Mariana Islands, it is not an extinct volcano, but is a limestone formation. To the north of Mount Tapochau towards Banzai Cliff is a ridge of hills. Mount Achugao, situated about 2 miles north, has been interpreted to be a remnant of a stratified composite volcanic cone whose Eocene center was not far north of the present peak.