(80 km) north of Guam and about 5 miles (8 km) southwest of its sister island, Saipan, from which it is separated by the Saipan Channel. The island has a land area of 39 sq.mi. (101.01 km²).
Tinian is the least populated of the three main Mariana Islands that constitute the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Federated States of Micronesia.
A covenant to establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in political union with the United States of America formally defines the unique relationship between the Northern Mariana Islands and the United States, as two separate but equal sovereign entities, recognizing U.S. sovereignty but limiting in some respects the applicability of federal law.
The island has a strong historical legacy remaining from the Pacific war of the 1940s. Over two thirds of the island is still retained by the U.S. military and the island has many historic relics of the Pacific war era.
At the beginning The Taotaomona “first people” landed here on Tinian Island. 25-50 years prior to this landing a large 100 ft. Sakman Outrigger canoe off loaded some 8 males and 8 female Matachang/Negrito and told them to find water and plant banana, taro, coconut, beetlenut breadfruit and other plants. The Matachang were told we will be back. As a result the Taotaomonas came back and established a A Malayo-Polynesian colony. The Peli or Atkoat people brought more Matachang/Negrito to aid them in laborious work. The MatoaMatua royals were placed in the caves until gumas could be errected close to the beach. The Matua were the royal chieftains and the Atkoat were calling themselves as tSaMorros. In the 1600’s the Spaniards called them Chamorros.
Most of the population of Tinian are of indigenous Chamorro descent or are the people of other islands in the Caroline Islands. There are also minorities of East Asians and people of European descent. On Tinian, the Chamorro people speak English and Japanese and the native language of Chamorro. Religious beliefs are a mixture of local traditions with Roman Catholic influences. The culture is a mix of original Chamorro culture with influences from 200 years of Spanish colonial rule and Japanese culture. The Spanish influence is seen not only from Catholicism but also from a somewhat modified form of the Cha-Cha-Cha dance. Japanese cultural influence can be still seen on Tinian through the presence of Japanese Shinto shrines.
Tinian is most easily accessed from the neighboring island of Saipan, which has international and regional air connections available. Until November 28, 2009, U.S. travelers required passports and had to pass through CNMI Immigration and Customs, as Saipan and the CNMI were considered international locations. On that date the CNMI Covenant required that the CNMI Federalization of Immigration law became effective. The CNMI remains under CNMI Customs laws.