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Map of Midway Islands
Introduction Midway Islands
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 Midway Islands
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:
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
15 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
subtropical, but moderated by prevailing easterly winds
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:
Environment - current issues:
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 (2002)
People Midway Islands
no indigenous inhabitants; approximately 40 people make up the staff of US Fish and Wildlife Service and their services cooperator living at the atoll (April 2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Government Midway Islands
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 Midway Islands
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 Midway Islands
total: NA km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km
7.8 km
Ports and harbors:
Sand Island
3 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2001)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001)
Military Midway Islands
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the US
Transnational Issues Midway Islands
Disputes - international:

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002