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Howland Island

(territory of the US)


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Introduction

Geography

Location: Oceania, island in the North Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia

Geographic coordinates: 0 48 N, 176 38 W

Map references: Oceania

Area
  total: 1.6 sq km
  land: 1.6 sq km
  water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: about three times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 6.4 km

Maritime claims
  exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
  territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: equatorial; scant rainfall, constant wind, burning sun

Terrain: low-lying, nearly level, sandy, coral island surrounded by a narrow fringing reef; depressed central area

Elevation extremes
  lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
  highest point: unnamed location 3 m

Natural resources: guano (deposits worked until late 1800s)

Land use
  arable land: 0%
  permanent crops: 0%
  permanent pastures: 0%
  forests and woodland: 5%
  other: 95%

Irrigated land: 0 sq km (1998)

Natural hazards: the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard

Environment - current issues: no natural fresh water resources

Geography - note: almost totally covered with grasses, prostrate vines, and low-growing shrubs; small area of trees in the center; primarily a nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife

People

Population: uninhabited (Note: American civilians evacuated in 1942 after Japanese air and naval attacks during World War II; occupied by US military during World War II, but abandoned after the war; public entry is by special-use permit from US Fish and Wildlife Service only and generally restricted to scientists and educators; visited annually by US Fish and Wildlife Service (July 2000 est.))

Government

Country name
  conventional long form: none
  conventional short form: Howland Island

Data code: HQ

Dependency status: unincorporated territory of the US; administered from Washington, DC, by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the US Department of the Interior as part of the National Wildlife Refuge system

Flag description: the flag of the US is used

Economy

Economy - overview: no economic activity

Communications

Transportation

Ports and harbors: none; offshore anchorage only; note - there is one boat landing area along the middle of the west coast

Airports: airstrip constructed in 1937 for scheduled refueling stop on the round-the-world flight of Amelia EARHART and Fred NOONAN - they left Lae, New Guinea, for Howland Island, but were never seen again; the airstrip is no longer serviceable

Transportation - note: Earhart Light is a day beacon near the middle of the west coast that was partially destroyed during World War II, but has since been rebuilt; named in memory of famed aviatrix Amelia EARHART

Military

Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the US; visited annually by the US Coast Guard

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

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Site Version 1.75 - Last updated December 20, 2006

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