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 Howland Island
(territory of the US)
[Country Flag of Howland Island]
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Transportation
Military
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Howland Island]

Howland Island

Geography

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Location: Oceania, island in the North Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia

Geographic coordinates: 0 48 N, 176 38 W

Map references: Oceania

Area:
total: 1.6 sq km
land: 1.6 sq km
water: 0 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)

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 5%
other: 95%

Irrigated land: 0 sq km (1993)

Natural hazards: the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard

Environment—current issues: no natural fresh water resources

Environment—international agreements:
party to: NA
signed, but not ratified: NA

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; feral cats

People

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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 only and generally restricted to scientists and educators

Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Howland Island

Data code: HQ

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: NA

Flag description: the flag of the US is used

Economy

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Economy—overview: no economic activity

Transportation

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Ports and harbors: none; offshore anchorage only; note—there is one 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

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

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Military—note: defense is the responsibility of the US; visited annually by the US Coast Guard

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none