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  Howland Island  
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In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

Map of Howland Island

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Howland Island
Definition Field Listing
Discovered by the US early in the 19th century, the island was officially claimed by the US in 1857. Both US and British companies mined for guano until about 1890. 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; it is named in memory of the famed aviatrix Amelia EARHART. The island is administered by the US Department of the Interior as a National Wildlife Refuge.
   Geography    Howland Island
Definition Field Listing
Oceania, island in the North Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and Australia
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
0 48 N, 176 38 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
total: 1.6 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 1.6 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
about three times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
0 km
Definition Field Listing
6.4 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
Definition Field Listing
equatorial; scant rainfall, constant wind, burning sun
Definition Field Listing
low-lying, nearly level, sandy, coral island surrounded by a narrow fringing reef; depressed central area
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 3 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
guano (deposits worked until late 1800s), terrestrial and aquatic wildlife
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
0 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
no natural fresh water resources
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
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    Howland Island
Definition Field Listing
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 2002 est.)
   Government    Howland Island
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Howland Island
Dependency status:
Definition Field Listing
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
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
the laws of the US, where applicable, apply
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
the flag of the US is used
   Economy    Howland Island
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
no economic activity

   Transportation    Howland Island
Definition Field Listing
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
none; offshore anchorage only; note - there is one small boat landing area along the middle of the west coast
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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    Howland Island
Military - note:
Definition Field Listing
defense is the responsibility of the US; visited annually by the US Coast Guard
   Transnational Issues    Howland Island
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

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