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CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Wake Island
Flag of Wake Island
Map of Wake Island
Introduction Wake Island
The US annexed Wake Island in 1899 for a cable station. An important air and naval base was constructed in 1940-41. In December 1941 the island was captured by the Japanese and held until the end of World War II. In subsequent years, Wake was developed as a stopover and refueling site for military and commercial aircraft transiting the Pacific. Since 1974, the island's airstrip has been used by the US military and some commercial cargo planes, as well as for emergency landings. There are over 700 landings a year on the island.
Geography Wake Island
Oceania, atoll in the North Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to the Northern Mariana Islands
Geographic coordinates:
19 17 N, 166 36 E
Map references:
total: 6.5 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 6.5 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 11 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
19.3 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
atoll of three coral islands built up on an underwater volcano; central lagoon is former crater, islands are part of the rim
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 6 m
Natural resources:
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
0 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
occasional typhoons
Environment - current issues:
Geography - note:
strategic location in the North Pacific Ocean; emergency landing location for transpacific flights
People Wake Island
no indigenous inhabitants
note: US military personnel have left the island, but contractor personnel remain; as of October 2001, 200 contractor personnel were present (January 2003)
Government Wake Island
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Wake Island
Dependency status:
unincorporated territory of the US; administered from Washington, DC, by the Department of the Interior; activities on the island are managed by the US Air Force
Legal system:
the laws of the US, where applicable, apply
Flag description:
the flag of the US is used
Economy Wake Island
Economy - overview:
Economic activity is limited to providing services to contractors located on the island. All food and manufactured goods must be imported.
Electricity - production:
NA kWh
Communications Wake Island
Telephone system:
general assessment: satellite communications; 1 DSN circuit off the Overseas Telephone System (OTS)
domestic: NA
international: NA
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM NA, shortwave NA
note: Armed Forces Radio/Television Service (AFRTS) radio service provided by satellite (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
0 (1997)
Transportation Wake Island
Ports and harbors:
none; two offshore anchorages for large ships
1 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2002)
Transportation - note:
formerly an important commercial aviation base, now used by US military, some commercial cargo planes, and for emergency landings
Military Wake Island
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the US
Transnational Issues Wake Island
Disputes - international:
claimed by Marshall Islands

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003