Reference > World Factbook, 2003
   The World Factbook.  2003.
Baker Island
Flag of Baker Island                Map of Baker Island
Background:The US took possession of the island in 1857, and its guano deposits were mined by US and British companies during the second half of the 19th century. In 1935, a short-lived attempt at colonization was begun on this island - as well as on nearby Howland Island - but was disrupted by World War II and thereafter abandoned. Presently the island is a National Wildlife Refuge run by the US Department of the Interior; a day beacon is situated near the middle of the west coast.
Location:Oceania, atoll in the North Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and Australia
Geographic coordinates:0 13 N, 176 31 W
Map references:Oceania
Area:total: 1.4 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 1.4 sq km
Area—comparative:about 2.5 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries:0 km
Coastline:4.8 km
Maritime claims:exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate:equatorial; scant rainfall, constant wind, burning sun
Terrain:low, nearly level coral island surrounded by a narrow fringing reef
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 8 m
Natural resources:guano (deposits worked until 1891), terrestrial and aquatic wildlife
Land use:arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:0 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard
Environment—current issues:no natural fresh water resources
Geography—note:treeless, sparse, and scattered vegetation consisting of grasses, prostrate vines, and low growing shrubs; primarily a nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife
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; a cemetery and remnants of structures from early settlement are located near the middle of the west coast; visited annually by US Fish and Wildlife Service (July 2003 est.)
Country name:conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Baker Island
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
Legal system:the laws of the US, where applicable, apply
Flag description:the flag of the US is used
Economy—overview:no economic activity
Ports and harbors:none; offshore anchorage only; note - there is one small boat landing area along the middle of the west coast
Airports:1 abandoned World War II runway of 1,665 m, completely covered with vegetation and unusable (2002)
Transportation—note:there is a day beacon near the middle of the west coast
Military—note:defense is the responsibility of the US; visited annually by the US Coast Guard
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