|Native name: Luta|
Rota Island in Northern Mariana Islands
|Area||85.38 km2 (32.965 sq mi)|
|Length||19 km (11.8 mi)|
|Width||8 km (5 mi)|
|Highest elevation||495 m (1,624 ft)|
|Highest point||Mount Manira|
|Commonwealth||Northern Mariana Islands|
|Population||2,527 (2010 - U.S. Census Bureau) (as of 2010)|
Rota (Chamorro: Luta) also known as the “Peaceful Island”, is the southernmost island of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and the second southernmost of the Marianas Archipelago. It lies approximately 40 nautical miles (74 km) north-northeast of the United States territory of Guam. Songsong village is the largest and most populated followed by Sinapalo village (Sinapalu).
Rota is approximately 11 miles (18 km) long and 3 miles (4.8 km) wide. Its coastline is about 38 miles (61 km) long. The highest point on Rota is Mt. Manira which is 495 metres (1,624 ft). Rota is 47 nautical miles (87 km) north of Guam, and is 63 nautical miles (117 km) south of Tinian and is 73 nautical miles (135 km) south of Saipan. Rota has diverse flora and fauna.
In 1521 the first European to see Rota was the lookout on Ferdinand Magellan's ship Victoria, Lope Navarro. However, Magellan's armada of three ships did not stop until they reached Guam, so the first European to arrive in Rota (in 1524), was Spanish navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano, who annexed it together with the rest of the Marianas Archipelago on behalf of the Crown of Spain. As with the other islands of the northern Marianas, Rota was sold to the German Empire under the German–Spanish Treaty of 1899. In World War I, the islands were occupied by the Empire of Japan. In 1919, the League of Nations formally recognized Japanese control under the South Pacific Mandate. However, development of Rota lagged behind neighboring Tinian and Saipan, with only 1000 Japanese residents by the end of December 1935, mostly engaged in raising sugar cane and sugar refining. The refinery was not economical, and was closed three years later.
The Japanese garrison during World War II consisted of 1,031 Imperial Japanese Army men of the 10th Independent Mixed Brigade, under the command of Major Shigeo Imagawa, and about 600 Imperial Japanese Navy men. During the final stages of the war, Rota was occaionally bombedby United States Navy aircraft in an attempt to silence its radio transmitter, which provided warning to the Japanese home islands on the launch of B-29 Superfortress attacks from Tinian, but the island was never invaded by Allied ground forces. On 2 September 1945, one hour after the surrender of Japan, a detactment of US Marines arrived on Rota to accept the surrender of the Japanese garrison, which numbered 947 Imperial Japanese Army and 1853 Imperial Japanese Navy.
The current mayor is Melchor A. Mendiola, a local businessman.
Rota has an airport, Rota International Airport.
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Public School System operates public schools.
Rota has two public schools:
- Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Junior & Senior High School. In August 2011, Rota's junior and senior high schools were merged due to budget concerns. They are now Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Junior & Senior High School. With this merger, the junior high now consists only of the 7th and 8th grades. The 6th grade was moved to Sinapalo Elementary in Sinapalo Village. RHIJSHS is located on the former junior high school campus in Songsong Village.
- Sinapalo Elementary School is located in Sinapalo village.
Rota's elementary school and junior high school (middle school) were formerly located in the same area and shared class buildings at Songsong village. After the new elementary school was built in Sinapalo, the Songsong village school ground was reopened as Rota Junior High. In 2010, the junior high school was renamed for the former Commissioner of Education, Dr. Rita Hocog Inos.
Rota has two private schools:
- Eskuelan San Francisco De Borja (ESFDB): Prep-9th Grade (Located in Songsong Village)
- Grace Christian Academy (GCA): Prep-9th Grade (Located in Sinapalo Village)
- U.S. Census Bureau Releases 2010 Census Population Counts for the Northern Mariana Islands - August 24, 2011
- Takizawa, Akira; Alsleben, Allan (1999–2000). "Japanese garrisons on the by-passed Pacific Islands 1944-1945". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942.
- L, Klemen (1999-2000). "Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Rota Island|
- Rota Municipality, United States Census Bureau[dead link]
- Pascal Horst Lehne and Christoph Gäbler: Über die Marianen. Lehne-Verlag, Wohldorf in Germany 1972. and Rota