CIA World Fact Book, 2004/Baker Island

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CIA WFB Seal.png Baker Island Flag of the United States (2004 World Factbook).svg
map of Baker Island

Introduction Baker Island
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.

Geography Baker Island
Location: Oceania, atoll in the North Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and Australia
Geographic coordinates: 0 13 N, 176 31 W
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 1.4 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 1.4 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: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 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%
other: 100% (2001)
Irrigated land: 0 sq km (1998 est.)
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

People Baker Island
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 (2004 est.)

Government Baker Island
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

Economy Baker Island
Economy - overview: no economic activity

Transportation Baker Island
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 (2003 est.)
Transportation - note: there is a day beacon near the middle of the west coast

Military Baker Island
Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the US; visited annually by the US Coast Guard

This page was last updated on 1 January 2003

This is a snapshot of the CIA World Fact Book as it existed on 26 March 2005