Reference > World Factbook, 2003
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   The World Factbook.  2003.
 
Howland Island
 
Flag of Howland Island                Map of Howland Island
  
Background: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
  
Location:Oceania, island in the North Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and Australia
Geographic coordinates:0 48 N, 176 38 W
Map references:Oceania
Area:total: 1.6 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 1.6 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), 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: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 2003 est.)
  
Government
  
Country name:conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Howland 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
  
Economy—overview:no economic activity
  
Transportation
  
Waterways:none
Ports and harbors:none; offshore anchorage only; note - there is one small 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 (2002)
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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