Reference > World Factbook, 2003
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   The World Factbook.  2003.
 
Midway Islands
 
Flag of Midway Islands                Map of Midway Islands
  
Background:The US took formal possession of the islands in 1867. The laying of the trans-Pacific cable, which passed through the islands, brought the first residents in 1903. Between 1935 and 1947, Midway was used as a refueling stop for trans-Pacific flights. The US naval victory over a Japanese fleet off Midway in 1942 was one of the turning points of World War II. The islands continued to serve as a naval station until closed in 1993. Today the islands are a national wildlife refuge. From 1996 to 2001 the refuge was open to the public. It is now temporarily closed.
  
Geography
  
Location:Oceania, atoll in the North Pacific Ocean, about one-third of the way from Honolulu to Tokyo
Geographic coordinates:28 13 N, 177 22 W
Map references:Oceania
Area:total: 6.2 sq km
note: includes Eastern Island, Sand Island, and Spit Island
water: 0 sq km
land: 6.2 sq km
Area—comparative:about nine times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries:0 km
Coastline:15 km
Maritime claims:exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate:subtropical, but moderated by prevailing easterly winds
Terrain:low, nearly level
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 13 m
Natural resources:wildlife, terrestrial and aquatic
Land use:arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:0 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:NA
Environment—current issues:NA
Geography—note:a coral atoll managed as a national wildlife refuge and open to the public for wildlife-related recreation in the form of wildlife observation and photography, sport fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving; the refuge is temporarily closed for reorganization at present (2003)
  
People
  
Population:no indigenous inhabitants; approximately 40 people make up the staff of US Fish and Wildlife Service and their services cooperator living at the atoll (July 2003 est.)
  
Government
  
Country name:conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Midway Islands
Dependency status:unincorporated territory of the US; formerly administered from Washington, DC, by the US Navy, under Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific Division; this facility has been operationally closed since 10 September 1993; on 31 October 1996, through a presidential executive order, the jurisdiction and control of the atoll was transferred to 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:The economy is based on providing support services for the national wildlife refuge activities located on the islands. All food and manufactured goods must be imported.
  
Transportation
  
Highways:total: NA km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km
Waterways:none
Pipelines:7.8 km
Ports and harbors:Sand Island
Airports:2 (2002)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2002)
  
Military
  
Military—note:defense is the responsibility of the US
  
Transnational Issues
  
Disputes—international:none
 
 
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