Howland Island National Wildlife Refuge consists of the entire island and the surrounding 32,074 acres (129.80 km2) of submerged land. The island is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an insular area under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
The atoll has no economic activity. It is perhaps best known as the island Amelia Earhart was searching for but never reached when her airplane disappeared on July 2, 1937, during her planned round-the-world flight. Airstrips constructed to accommodate her planned stopover were subsequently damaged, were not maintained and gradually disappeared. There are no harbors or docks. The fringing reefs may pose a maritime hazard. There is a boat landing area along the middle of the sandy beach on the west coast, as well as a crumbling day beacon. The island is visited every two years by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Unincorporated U.S Territory
Howland Island seen from space
Unincorporated U.S Territory
Location of Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean
|Status||Unorganized, unincorporated territory|
|Claimed by U.S||August 28, 1867|
|• Total||0.6 sq mi (1.6 km2)|
|• Land||1.7 sq mi (4.5 km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−12:00 (IDLW/Yankee Time Zone)|
Coordinates: Howland Island (/ˈhaʊlənd/) is an uninhabited coral island located just north of the equator in the central Pacific Ocean, about 1,700 nautical miles (3,100 km) southwest of Honolulu. The island lies almost halfway between Hawaii and Australia and is an unincorporated, unorganized territory of the United States. Together with Baker Island it forms part of the Phoenix Islands. For statistical purposes, Howland is grouped as one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands. It covers 1,112 acres (4.50 km2), with 4 miles (6.4 km) of coastline. The island has an elongated banana-shape on a north–south axis.
The climate is equatorial, with little rainfall and intense sunshine. Temperatures are moderated somewhat by a constant wind from the east. The terrain is low-lying and sandy: a coral island surrounded by a narrow fringing reef with a slightly raised central area. The highest point is about six meters above sea level.
There are no natural fresh water resources. The landscape features scattered grasses along with prostrate vines and low-growing pisonia trees and shrubs. A 1942 eyewitness description spoke of "a low grove of dead and decaying kou trees" on a very shallow hill at the island's center. In 2000, a visitor accompanying a scientific expedition reported seeing "a flat bulldozed plain of coral sand, without a single tree" and some traces of building ruins from colonization or World War II building efforts, though it was all wood and stone ruins covered in flora and fauna that continues to grow on this island to this day. Howland is primarily a nesting, roosting and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds and marine wildlife.
Since Howland Island is uninhabited, no time zone is specified. It lies within a nautical time zone which is 12 hours behind UTC, named International Date Line West (IDLW). Howland Island and Baker Island are the only places on Earth observing this time zone. This time zone is also called AoE, Anywhere on Earth, which is a calendar designation which indicates that a period expires when the date passes everywhere on Earth.
Sparse remnants of trails and other artifacts indicate a sporadic early Polynesian presence. A canoe, a blue bead, pieces of bamboo, and other relics of early settlers have been found.[Note 1] The island's prehistoric settlement may have begun about 1000 BC when eastern Melanesians traveled north and may have extended down to Rawaki, Kanton, Manra and Orona of the Phoenix Islands, 500 to 700 km southeast. K.P. Emery, an ethnologist for Honolulu's Bernice P. Bishop Museum, indicated that settlers on Manra Island were apparently of two distinct groups, one Polynesian and the other Micronesian, hence the same might have been true on Howland Island, though no proof of this has been found.
The difficult life on these isolated islands along with unreliable fresh water supplies may have led to the dereliction or extinction of the settlements, much the same as other islands in the area (such as Kiritimati and Pitcairn) were abandoned.
Captain George B. Worth of the Nantucket whaler Oeno sighted Howland around 1822 and called it Worth Island. Daniel MacKenzie of the American whaler Minerva Smith was unaware of Worth's sighting when he charted the island in 1828 and named it after his ship's owners on December 1, 1828. Howland Island was at last named on September 9, 1842 after a lookout who sighted it from the whaleship Isabella under Captain Geo. E. Netcher of New Bedford.
Howland Island was uninhabited when the United States took possession of it under the Guano Islands Act of 1856. The island was a known navigation hazard for many decades and several ships were wrecked there. Its guano deposits were mined by American companies from about 1857 until October 1878, although not without controversy.
Captain Geo. E. Netcher of the Isabella informed Captain Taylor of its discovery. As Taylor had discovered another guano island in the Indian Ocean, they agreed to share the benefits of the guano on the two islands. Taylor put Netcher in communication with Alfred G. Benson, president of the American Guano Company, which was incorporated in 1857. Other entrepreneurs were approached as George and Matthew Howland, who later became members of the United States Guano Company, engaged Mr. Stetson to visit the Island on the ship Rousseau under Captain Pope. Mr. Stetson arrived on the Island in 1854 and described it as being occupied by birds and a plague of rats.
The American Guano Company established claims in respect to Baker Island and Jarvis Island which was recognised under the U.S. Guano Islands Act of 1856. Benson tried to interest the American Guano Company in the Howland Island deposits, however the company directors considered they already had sufficient deposits. In October 1857 the American Guano Company sent Benson's son Arthur to Baker and Jarvis Islands to survey the guano deposits. He also visited Howland Island and took samples of the guano. Subsequently, Alfred G. Benson resigned from the American Guano Company and together with Netcher, Taylor and George W. Benson formed the United States Guano Company to exploit the guano on Howland Island, with this claim being recognised under the U.S. Guano Islands Act of 1856.
However, when the United States Guano Company dispatched a vessel in 1859 to mine the guano they found that Howland Island was already occupied by men sent there by the American Guano Company. The companies ended up in New York state court,[Note 2] with the American Guano Company arguing that United States Guano Company had in effect abandoned the island, since the continual possession and actual occupation required for ownership by the Guano Islands Act did not occur. The end result was that both companies were allowed to mine the guano deposits, which were substantially depleted by October 1878.
In the late 19th Century there were British claims on the island, as well as attempts at setting up mining. John T. Arundel and Company, a British firm using laborers from the Cook Islands and Niue, occupied the island from 1886 to 1891.
To clarify American sovereignty, Executive Order 7368 was issued on May 13, 1936.
In 1935, colonists from the American Equatorial Islands Colonization Project arrived on the island to establish a permanent U.S. presence in the Central Pacific. It began with a rotating group of four alumni and students from the Kamehameha School for Boys, a private school in Honolulu. Although the recruits had signed on as part of a scientific expedition and expected to spend their three-month assignment collecting botanical and biological samples, once out to sea they were told, "Your names will go down in history" and that the islands would become "famous air bases in a route that will connect Australia with California".
The settlement was named Itascatown after the USCGC Itasca that brought the colonists to Howland and made regular cruises between the other equatorial islands during that era. Itascatown was a line of a half-dozen small wood-framed structures and tents near the beach on the island's western side. The fledgling colonists were given large stocks of canned food, water, and other supplies including a gasoline-powered refrigerator, radio equipment, complete medical kits and (characteristic of that era) vast quantities of cigarettes. Fishing provided much-needed variety for their diet. Most of the colonists' endeavors involved making hourly weather observations and gradually developing a rudimentary infrastructure on the island, including the clearing of a landing strip for airplanes. During this period the island was on Hawaii time, which was then 10.5 hours behind UTC.[Note 3] Similar colonization projects were started on nearby Baker Island, Jarvis Island and two other islands.
Ground was cleared for a rudimentary aircraft landing area during the mid-1930s, in anticipation that the island might eventually become a stopover for commercial trans-Pacific air routes and also to further U.S. territorial claims in the region against rival claims from Great Britain. Howland Island was designated as a scheduled refueling stop for American pilot Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan on their round-the-world flight in 1937. Works Progress Administration (WPA) funds were used by the Bureau of Air Commerce to construct three graded, unpaved runways meant to accommodate Earhart's twin-engined Lockheed Model 10 Electra.
The facility was named Kamakaiwi Field after James Kamakaiwi, a young Hawaiian who arrived with the first group of four colonists. He was selected as the group's leader and he spent more than three years on Howland, far longer than the average recruit. It has also been referred to as WPA Howland Airport (the WPA contributed about 20 percent of the $12,000 cost). Earhart and Noonan took off from Lae, New Guinea, and their radio transmissions were picked up near the island when their aircraft reached the vicinity but they were never seen again.
A Japanese air attack on December 8, 1941, by 14 twin-engined Mitsubishi G3M "Nell" bombers of Chitose Kōkūtai, from Kwajalein islands, killed two of the Kamehameha School colonists: Richard "Dicky" Kanani Whaley, and Joseph Kealoha Keliʻhananui. The raid came one day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and damaged the three airstrips of Kamakaiwi Field. Two days later a Japanese submarine shelled what was left of the colony's few buildings into ruins. A single bomber returned twice during the following weeks and dropped more bombs on the rubble of tiny Itascatown. The two survivors were finally evacuated by the USS Helm, a U.S. Navy destroyer, on January 31, 1942. Howland was occupied by a battalion of the United States Marine Corps in September 1943 and known as Howland Naval Air Station until May 1944.
All attempts at habitation were abandoned after 1944. Colonization projects on the other four islands were also disrupted by the war and ended at this time. No aircraft is known to have ever landed there, although anchorages nearby could be used by float planes and flying boats during World War II. For example, on July 10, 1944, a U.S. Navy Martin PBM-3-D Mariner flying boat (BuNo 48199), piloted by William Hines, had an engine fire and made a forced landing in the ocean offshore of Howland. Hines beached the aircraft and although it burned, the crew escaped unharmed, was rescued by the USCGC Balsam (the same ship that later took the USCG's Construction Unit 211 and LORAN Unit 92 to Gardner Island), transferred to a sub chaser and taken to Canton Island.
On June 27, 1974, Secretary of the Interior Rogers Morton created Howland Island National Wildlife Refuge which was expanded in 2009 to add submerged lands within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of the island. The refuge now includes 648 acres (2.62 km2) of land and 410,351 acres (1,660.63 km2) of water. Along with six other islands, the island was administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Pacific Remote Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex. In January 2009, that entity was upgraded to the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument by President George W. Bush.
The island habitat has suffered from the presence from multiple invasive exotic species. Black rats were introduced in 1854 and eradicated in 1938 by feral cats introduced the year before. The cats proved to be destructive to bird species, and the cats were eliminated by 1985. Pacific crabgrass continues to compete with local plants.
Public entry to the island is only by special use permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and it is generally restricted to scientists and educators. Representatives from the agency visit the island on average once every two years, often coordinating transportation with amateur radio operators or the U.S. Coast Guard to defray the high cost of logistical support.
|Howland Island Light|
Howland Island Light
|Year first constructed||1937|
|Tower shape||cylindrical tower, no lantern|
|Markings / pattern||white and black horizontal bands (originally)|
|Tower height||6 meters (20 ft)|
Colonists, sent to the island in the mid-1930s to establish possession claims by the United States, built the Earhart Light (, named after )Amelia Earhart, as a day beacon or navigational landmark. It is shaped somewhat like a short lighthouse. It was constructed of white sandstone with painted black bands and a black top meant to be visible several miles out to sea during daylight hours. It is located near the boat landing at the middle of the west coast by the former site of Itascatown. The beacon was partially destroyed during early World War II by the Japanese attacks, but it was rebuilt in the early 1960s by men from the U.S. Coast Guard ship Blackhaw. By 2000, the beacon was reported to be crumbling and it had not been repainted in decades.
Ann Pellegreno overflew the island in 1967, and Linda Finch did so in 1997, during memorial circumnavigation flights to commemorate Earhart's 1937 world flight. No landings were attempted but both Pellegreno and Finch flew low enough to drop a wreath on the island.
Amelia Mary Earhart (, born July 24, 1897; disappeared July 2, 1937) was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She received the United States Distinguished Flying Cross for this accomplishment. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. In 1935, Earhart became a visiting faculty member at Purdue University as an advisor to aeronautical engineering and a career counselor to women students. She was also a member of the National Woman's Party and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937 in a Purdue-funded Lockheed Model 10-E Electra, Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. Fascination with her life, career, and disappearance continues to this day.American Equatorial Islands Colonization Project
The American Equatorial Islands Colonization Project was a plan initiated in 1935 by the U.S. Department of Commerce to place citizens of the United States on uninhabited Howland, Baker and Jarvis islands in the central Pacific Ocean so that weather stations and landing fields could be built for military and commercial use on air routes between Australia and California. Additionally, the U.S. government wanted to claim these remote islands to provide a check on eastern territorial expansion by the Empire of Japan. The colonists, who became known as Hui Panala'au, were primarily young native Hawaiian men and other male students recruited from schools in Hawaii. In 1937, the project was expanded to include Canton and Enderbury in the Phoenix Islands. The project ended in early 1942 when the colonists were rescued from the islands at the start of the War in the Pacific.Ann Pellegreno
Ann Dearing Holtgren Pellegreno (born 1937 in Chicago, Illinois) has been a professional musician, teacher, author, lecturer, and farmer. In 1967, Pellegreno and a crew of three successfully flew a similar aircraft (a Lockheed 10A Electra) to complete a world flight that closely mirrored Amelia Earhart's flight plan in 1937. On the 30th anniversary of Earhart's disappearance, Pellegreno dropped a wreath in her honor over tiny Howland Island and returned to Oakland, California, completing the 28,000-mile (45,000 km) commemorative flight on July 7, 1967.Anywhere on Earth
Anywhere on Earth (AoE) is a calendar designation which indicates that a period expires when the date passes everywhere on Earth. The last place on Earth where any date exists is on Howland and Baker islands, in the IDLW time zone (the West side of the International Date Line), and so is the last spot on the globe for any day to exist. Therefore, the day ends AoE when it ends on Howland Island.The convention originated in IEEE 802.16 balloting procedures. At this point, many IEEE 802 ballot deadlines are established as the end of day using "AoE", for "Anywhere on Earth" as a designation. This means that the deadline has not passed if, anywhere on Earth, the deadline date has not yet passed.
The day's end AoE occurs at noon Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) of the following day, Howland and Baker islands being halfway around the world from the prime meridian that is the base reference longitude for UTC. Thus, in standard notation this is:
Daylight Saving Time: DST is not applied, nor applicableBaker Island
Baker Island is an uninhabited atoll located just north of the equator in the central Pacific Ocean about 3,090 km (1,920 mi) southwest of Honolulu. The island lies almost halfway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbor is Howland Island, 42 mi (68 km) to the north-northwest; both have been claimed as territories of the United States since 1857, though the United Kingdom considered them part of the British Empire between 1897 and 1936.
The island covers 2.1 km2 (0.81 sq mi), with 4.8 km (3.0 mi) of coastline. The climate is equatorial, with little rainfall, constant wind, and strong sunshine. The terrain is low-lying and sandy: a coral island surrounded by a narrow fringing reef with a depressed central area devoid of a lagoon with its highest point being 8 m (26 ft) above sea level.The island now forms the Baker Island National Wildlife Refuge and is an unincorporated and unorganized territory of the U.S. which vouches for its defense. It is visited annually by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For statistical purposes, Baker is grouped with the United States Minor Outlying Islands. Baker Island and Howland Island are also the last pieces of land that experience the New Year (earliest time zone - UTC−12:00).Fred Noonan
Frederick Joseph "Fred" Noonan (born April 4, 1893; disappeared July 2, 1937) was an American flight navigator, sea captain and aviation pioneer who first charted many commercial airline routes across the Pacific Ocean during the 1930s. He was last seen in Lae, New Guinea, on July 2, 1937, on the last land stop with famed aviator Amelia Earhart (1897-1937), as her navigator when they disappeared somewhere over the Central Pacific Ocean during one of the last legs of their attempted pioneering round-the-world flight.Howland and Baker islands
Howland and Baker islands are two uninhabited U.S. atolls in the Equatorial Pacific that are located close to one another. Both islands are wildlife refuges, the larger of which is Howland Island. The pair of islands may also be referred to as Baker and Howland Islands. They are both part of the larger political territory of the United States Minor Outlying Islands and they are also both part of the larger geographic grouping of the Phoenix Islands. Each is a National Wildlife Refuge managed by a division of Interior, the Fish and Wildlife Service. On January 6, 2009, President George Bush, in creating the monument, added both islands to the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.The Howland-Baker Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is a 400 nautical-mile diameter area protected by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Howland-Baker EEZ has 425,700 km2; and by comparison, California has 423,970 km2.
Howland Island was the area that Amelia Earhart was trying to reach in 1937 when she disappeared. In the age of internet communication, the islands have attracted attention as the only land masses in the world associated with UTC−12:00, which is the last area on earth for deadlines with a date to pass.List of butterflies of Kiribati
This is a list of butterflies of Kiribati. This list includes species found on the US islands Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island and Kingman Reef.Maps of present-day countries and dependencies
This is a list of articles holding galleries of maps of present-day countries and dependencies. The list includes all countries listed in the List of countries, the French overseas departments, the Spanish and Portuguese overseas regions and inhabited overseas dependencies.
See List of extinct countries, empires, etc. and Former countries in Europe after 1815 for articles about countries that are no longer in existence.
See List of countries for other articles and lists on countries. Wikimedia Commons includes the Wikimedia Atlas of the World. Entries available in the atlas
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Old atlasStielers Handatlas 1891Mary Robinson (clipper)
Mary Robinson was an 1854 medium clipper in the San Francisco, India, and the guano trades. She was known for having spent an entire month attempting to round Cape Horn in bad weather.Oeno (ship)
The Oeno was a nineteenth-century Pacific whaling vessel, registered in the United States in Nantucket, that disappeared in the Fiji Islands. Nine years later, the ship's cooper William Cary returned to Nantucket and claimed that the ship had wrecked on an island's reef and that the crew had been massacred. Previously, the ship's captain George Worth had discovered Howland Island in 1822 and Oeno Island in 1824.Outline of Oceania
The following outline is provided as an overview and topical guide to Oceania.
Oceania is a geographical, and geopolitical, region consisting of numerous lands—mostly islands in the Pacific Ocean and vicinity. The term is also sometimes used to denote a continent comprising Australia and proximate Pacific islands.The boundaries of Oceania are defined in a number of ways. Most definitions include parts of Australasia such as Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea, and parts of Maritime Southeast Asia. Ethnologically, the islands of Oceania are divided into the subregions of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument
The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument is a group of unorganized, mostly unincorporated United States Pacific Island territories managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States Department of Commerce. These remote refuges are "the most widespread collection of marine- and terrestrial-life protected areas on the planet under a single country's jurisdiction". They protect many endemic species including corals, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, seabirds, water birds, land birds, insects, and vegetation not found elsewhere.Phoenix Islands
The Phoenix Islands or Rawaki are a group of eight atolls and two submerged coral reefs, lying in the central Pacific Ocean east of the Gilbert Islands and west of the Line Islands. They are a part of the Republic of Kiribati. During the late 1930s, they became the site of the last attempted colonial expansion of the British Empire through the Phoenix Islands Settlement Scheme. The Phoenix Islands Protected Area, established in 2008, is one of the world's largest protected areas, and home to some 120 species of coral and more than 500 species of fish.
The group is uninhabited except for a few families on Kanton. The United States unincorporated territories of Baker Island and Howland Island are often considered northerly outliers of the group, in the geographical sense. Howland and Baker are statistically grouped with the United States Minor Outlying Islands, however. The United States previously claimed all the Phoenix Islands under the Guano Islands Act. The Treaty of Tarawa released all US claims to the Phoenix Islands, excluding Baker and Howland.
At various times, the islands were considered part of the Gilbert group (once also known as Kingsmill). The name Phoenix for this group of islands seems to have been settled on in the 1840s, after an island of that name within the group. Phoenix Island was probably named after one of the many whaleships of that name plying these waters in the early 19th century.Scouting in Hawaii
Scouting in Hawaii began in the 1900s. It serves thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live.United States District Court for the District of Hawaii
The United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (in case citations, D. Haw.) is the principal trial court of the United States Federal Court System in the state of Hawaii. The court's territorial jurisdiction encompasses the state of Hawaii and the territories of Midway Atoll, Wake Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Palmyra Atoll, Baker Island, Howland Island, and Jarvis Island. It is located at the Prince Kuhio Federal Building in downtown Honolulu, fronting the Aloha Tower and Honolulu Harbor. The court hears both civil and criminal cases as a court of law and equity. A branch of the district court is the United States Bankruptcy Court which also has chambers in the federal building. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over cases coming out of the District of Hawaii (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit). The United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii represents the United States in all civil and criminal cases within her district. The current United States Attorney is Kenji M. Price since January 5, 2018.United States Minor Outlying Islands
The United States Minor Outlying Islands are a statistical designation defined by the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 3166-1 code. The entry code is ISO 3166-2:UM. The minor outlying islands and groups of islands consist of eight United States insular areas in the Pacific Ocean (Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, Palmyra Atoll, and Wake Island) and one in the Caribbean Sea (Navassa Island).
The United States has a related territorial dispute with Colombia over administration of the Bajo Nuevo Bank and Serranilla Bank. These islands are not included in the ISO designation.United States Miscellaneous Pacific Islands
The United States Miscellaneous Pacific Islands is an obsolete term used to collectively describe Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Kingman Reef, and Palmyra Atoll, all of them territories controlled by the United States by the Guano Islands Act in the Pacific Ocean.
The islands were given the ISO country codes of PU (alpha-2), PUS (alpha-3), and 849 (numeric) before 1986 (now PUUM), and the FIPS country code of IQ before 1981. For ISO purposes, the islands are now defined as part of the United States Minor Outlying Islands, together with Johnston Atoll, Midway Atoll, Navassa Island, and Wake Island, while each island is now given a separate FIPS code.
|Marine National Monuments|
|National Wildlife Refuges|
|The Nature Conservancy|