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Map of Jarvis Island
Introduction Jarvis Island
First discovered by the British in 1821, the uninhabited island was annexed by the US in 1858, but abandoned in 1879 after tons of guano had been removed. The UK annexed the island in 1889, but never carried out plans for further exploitation. The US occupied and reclaimed the island in 1935. Abandoned after World War II, the island is currently a National Wildlife Refuge administered by the US Department of the Interior; a day beacon is situated near the middle of the west coast.
Geography Jarvis Island
Oceania, island in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and the Cook Islands
Geographic coordinates:
0 22 S, 160 03 W
Map references:
total: 4.5 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 4.5 sq km
Area - comparative:
about eight times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
8 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
tropical; scant rainfall, constant wind, burning sun
sandy, coral island surrounded by a narrow fringing reef
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 7 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 poses a maritime hazard
Environment - current issues:
no natural fresh water resources
Geography - note:
sparse bunch grass, prostrate vines, and low-growing shrubs; primarily a nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife
People Jarvis Island
note: Millersville settlement on western side of island occasionally used as a weather station from 1935 until World War II, when it was abandoned; reoccupied in 1957 during the International Geophysical Year by scientists who left in 1958; 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 2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Government Jarvis Island
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Jarvis 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 Jarvis Island
Economy - overview:
no economic activity

Transportation Jarvis Island
Ports and harbors:
none; offshore anchorage only; note - there is one small boat landing area in the middle of the west coast and another near the southwest corner of the island
Transportation - note:
there is a day beacon near the middle of the west coast
Military Jarvis Island
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the US; visited annually by the US Coast Guard
Transnational Issues Jarvis Island
Disputes - international:

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002