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Map Saipan Tinian islands closer.jpg
Tinian in area map, southwest of Saipan, showing waters around islands, and deeper Pacific section.
Mariana Islands - Tinian.PNG
Location Pacific Ocean
Coordinates 15°00′N 145°38′E / 15°N 145.633°E / 15; 145.633
Archipelago Marianas
Area 101.01 km2 (39.00 sq mi)
United States
Commonwealth  Northern Mariana Islands
Largest city San Jose
Population 3,540 (as of 2000)
Density 35.05 /km2 (90.8 /sq mi)

Tinian (pronounced /ˈtɪniən/, /ˌtiːniˈɑːn/) is one of the three principal islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. It is perhaps best known for being the base from which the United States lauched their atomic bomb attacks on Japan during World War II.



Saipan, Tinian & Agiguan.

Tinian is about 5 miles (8km) southwest of its sister island, Saipan, from which it is separated by the Saipan Channel. It has a land area of 39 sq.mi. (101.01 km²). Together with uninhabited neighboring Aguijan Island (2.74 sq mi, or 7.09 km²), it forms Tinian Municipality, one of the four constituent municipalities of the Northern Marianas. The total area of the municipality is 41.74 sq mi (108.1 km²). Tinian's largest village is San Jose. The island has a variety of flora and fauna, as well as limestone cliffs and caves. There is also a variety of marine life and coral reefs surrounding the island. Its clear, warm waters are ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving, as well as sport fishing.

Tourist destinations

Tinian has two gas stations and a casino, The Dynasty, which includes a luxury hotel, shops and restaurants and is adjacent to Tachogna beach and Taga Beach. The village of San Jose has several smaller hotels and restaurants and bars. The airport is small and serviced by two airlines, Freedom Air, which operates daily scheduled flights, and Star Marianas Air, which operates by charter. There is also ferry boat service twice daily between Tinian and Saipan. The island also has the only intact Shinto shrine on the Mariana Islands.

House of Chief Taga

There are also the ruins of the House of Chief Taga, one of the Chiefs of the Mariana Islands during the pre-Spanish period. The House of Taga is a Latte stone site, one of the largest such structures in the Marianas. The stones are quarried limestone, each approximately 20 feet in length. Of the twelve large Latte structures, only one is still standing. Much of the local economy is dependent on tourism. The largest employers on the island are the government and the casino. As of March 2006, the island has plans to put in four new casinos. The 2000 census showed a population of 3,540[1] for the island.

World War II

Lightly populated, but heavily garrisoned by Japanese forces in World War II, Tinian, with its sister islands, had passed through Spanish and German hands prior to becoming a protectorate of Japan after World War I. Under Japanese administration, Tinian was largely a sugar plantation.[2]

Tinian was captured by the United States in July 1944 in the Battle of Tinian. The island was transformed into the busiest airbase of the war, with two B-29 airfields (West and North) having six 8,500 foot (2700 m) runways. The airfields are now overgrown and abandoned.[3]

West Field

West Field, Tinian, 8 July 1945

The area south of West Field which was developed from the main Japanese installation at Sunharon was nicknamed "The Village" because its location corresponded to that of Greenwich Village, and a large square area between West and North Fields, used primarily only for the location of the base hospitals and otherwise left undeveloped was called Central Park.

Airfield construction was originally built by the Japanese, and built with two parallel runways. It was repaired by the Americans, and then called West Field.[4]

Post World War II, West Field was Tinian's airport called Gurguan Point Airfield[4]; and today is Tinian International Airport.

North Field

See main article: North Field (Tinian)

This North Field (Ushi Point Airfield) is not to be confused with the prior name of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

The Japanese had constructed three small fighter strips[2] on Tinian but none were suitable for bomber operations. When the United States turned the entire island, excepting its three highland areas, into a 40,000-personnel installation, Navy Seabees (107th NCB ) laid out the base in a pattern of city streets resembling New York's Manhattan Island and named the streets accordingly. Nearly the entire northern end of the island was occupied by the runways, nearly 11 miles of taxiways and the airfield area, designed to accommodate an entire 313th Bombardment Wing and of B-29 Superfortress bombers.[2]

Enola Gay dropped Little Boy.

It was from Tinian that the bombers from the 509th Composite Group carrying the atomic bombs Little Boy and Fat Man were launched against Hiroshima and Nagasaki.[3] The bomb had been delivered to the island by the USS Indianapolis on 26 July 1945.

North Field, where the remains of the US bomber base and Atom Bomb Pits[3] as well as the remains of Japanese fortifications can be found. There is a memorial on the old airfield at the loading pits, which had been filled in for safety. Both pits were recently reopened in conjunction with the 60th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battles of Saipan and Tinian. Originally, the pits had been constructed to load the large bombs, since each bomb was too large to be loaded in the conventional manner. The planes were maneuvered over a pit with their bomb bay doors open to facilitate loading.


Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Public School System operates public schools.

See also


Census data

External links

Coordinates: 15°00′N 145°38′E / 15°N 145.633°E / 15; 145.633

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Tinian is one of the Northern Mariana Islands, located just south of Saipan.

Get in

However you choose to do it, Tinian is most easily accessed from the neighboring island of Saipan, which has international and regional air connections available.

By air

Tinian is served by propeller aircraft from Saipan every 30 minutes during the day ($65 r/t, Freedom Air, 670-433-3288).

By ferry

There is a ferry making four daily roundtrips between Tinian and Saipan ($26 round trip, 670-328-2233).

Get around

Car rentals are available.

  • Tinian's main attractions are the airstrips used by the US military during World War II. There is a monument at the north end of Tinian where the bomber Enola Gay took off for Hiroshima carrying the first atomic bomb.
  • Tinian is home to the only remaining Shinto shrine in the Mariana Islands, an artifact from the days of Japanese colonisation.
  • Chief Taga's House is a traditional Micronesian island chief's house.
  • Minako's Cafe, Broadway. Serves a mixture of Japanese, Filipino, Chamorro and American food at reasonable prices.


Tinian has few options besides Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino, but since the hotel suffers from low occupancy rates, deep discounts may be available.


There is an internet cafe on the first floor of the Tinian Dynasty.

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