Carolinian people

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Carolinians
Total population
8,500
Regions with significant populations
Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, Caroline Islands
Languages
Carolinian, Chamorro, and American English
Religion
Roman Catholic

The Carolinian, or Refaluwasch, people are an Austronesian ethnic group who originated in the South Pacific, eastern Caroline Islands, with a total population of around 8,500 people. It is thought that their ancestors may have originally immigrated from Asia and Indonesia to Micronesia around 2,000 years ago. Their primary language is Carolinian, called Refaluwasch by native speakers, which has a total of about 5,700 speakers. The Carolinians have a matriarchal society in which respect is a very important factor in their daily lives, especially toward the matriarchs. Most Carolinians are of the Roman Catholic faith.

The immigration of Carolinians to Saipan began in the early 19th century, after the Spanish reduced the local population of Chamorro natives to just 3,700. They began to immigrate mostly sailing from small canoes from other islands, which a typhoon previously devastated. The Carolinians have a much darker complexion than the native Chamorros.

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