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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, March 28) – A new book on Marianas history titled "Beyond Distances: Politics and Deportation in the Mariana Islands from 1870 to 1877," was launched on Guam yesterday.

The book was researched and authored by Spanish historian Carlos Madrid.

The Micronesian Area Research Center organized the book launching held at the University of Guam’s JFK Library AV2 beginning at 3 p.m. yesterday, MARC said in a press release.

The book chronicles the events surrounding the 400 Spanish political prisoners exiled to the Mariana Islands more than 100 years ago.

Madrid’s research, funded by the Northern Mariana Islands Council for the Humanities with grants from the Spanish Program for Cultural Cooperation and the CNMI Division of Historic Preservation, took him to archives in Spain, the Philippines, and Guam. He also conducted interviews with descendants of some of the deportees in Spain to collect surviving family histories and memorabilia.

The resulting 245-page, hard bound publication presents a broad outline of the history of the Mariana Islands, Spain, and the Philippines during the second half of the 19th Century.

According to Paz Younis, executive director of the NMI Humanities Council, "Beyond Distances" is "an outstanding addition to the history that may change our vision of the Mariana Islands during the 19th Century."

Six photographs included in the book were taken in 1876, and are believed to be the earliest photos ever taken in Agaña and Saipan.

The book was also launched on Saipan last week.

Madrid began his research in 2002 in Manila, the Philippines which was a Spanish colony from 1565 to 1898.

Madrid’s book narrates in detail how the Spanish dissidents who were sent to the Marianas in the summer of 1875 survived with the help of the indigenous people of the islands which were Spanish possessions at the time.

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