CIA SealFactbook Logo Baker Island
(territory of the US)
Flag of Baker Island
   Introduction   Geography   People   Government   Economy   Transportation   Military   Transnational Issues  
Map of Baker Island

Baker Island    Introduction Top of Page
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.
Baker Island    Geography Top of Page
Location: Oceania, atoll in the North Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia
Geographic coordinates: 0 13 N, 176 31 W
Map references: Oceania
Area: total:  1.4 sq km

land:  1.4 sq km

water:  0 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%

permanent pastures:  0%

forests and woodland:  0%

other:  100%
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
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
Baker Island    People Top of Page
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; 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 2001 est.)
Baker Island    Government Top of Page
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
Baker Island    Economy Top of Page
Economy - overview: no economic activity
Baker Island    Transportation Top of Page
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: 1 abandoned World War II runway of 1,665 m, completely covered with vegetation and unusable (2000 est.)
Transportation - note: there is a day beacon near the middle of the west coast
Baker Island    Military Top of Page
Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the US; visited annually by the US Coast Guard
Baker Island    Transnational Issues Top of Page
Disputes - international: none