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  Introduction Back To Top

The US annexed Wake Island in 1899 for a cable station. An important air and naval base was constructed in 1940-41. In December 1941, the island was captured by the Japanese and held until the end of World War II. In subsequent years, Wake was developed as a stopover and refueling site for military and commercial aircraft transiting the Pacific. Since 1974, the island's airstrip has been used by the US military, as well as for emergency landings. All operations on the island were suspended and all personnel evacuated in August 2006 with the approach of super typhoon IOKE (category 5), which struck the island with sustained winds of 250 kph and a 6 m storm surge inflicting major damage. A US Air Force assessment and repair team returned to the island in September and restored limited function to the airfield and facilities. The future status of activities on the island will be determined upon completion of the survey and assessment.

  Geography Back To Top

Land boundaries:
0 km


Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
19 17 N, 166 39 E

Natural resources:

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 6 m

atoll of three low coral islands, Peale, Wake, and Wilkes, built up on an underwater volcano; central lagoon is former crater, islands are part of the rim

Geography - note:
strategic location in the North Pacific Ocean; emergency landing location for transpacific flights

total: 6.5 sq km
land: 6.5 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Oceania, atoll in the North Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to the Northern Mariana Islands

19.3 km

Area - comparative:
about 11 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC

Irrigated land:
0 sq km

Environment - current issues:

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Natural hazards:
occasional typhoons

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)

  People Back To Top

no indigenous inhabitants
note: since super typhoon IOKE, a small military contingent along with 75 contractor personnel have returned to the island to conduct clean-up and restore basic operations on the island (July 2008 est.)

  Government Back To Top

Dependency status:
unorganized, unincorporated territory of the US; administered from Washington, DC, by the Department of the Interior; activities in the atoll are currently conducted by the US Air Force

Legal system:
the laws of the US, where applicable, apply

Flag description:
the flag of the US is used

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Wake Island

  Economy Back To Top

Economy - overview:
Economic activity is limited to providing services to military personnel and contractors located on the island. All food and manufactured goods must be imported.

Electricity - production:
NA kWh

  Communications Back To Top

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 0, shortwave 0 (Armed Forces Radio/Television Service (AFRTS) radio service provided by satellite (2005)

Television broadcast stations:
0 (2005)

Telephone system:
general assessment: satellite communications; 2 DSN circuits off the Overseas Telephone System (OTS)
domestic: NA
international: NA

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:
none; two offshore anchorages for large ships

Transportation - note:
there are no commercial or civilian flights to and from Wake Island, except in direct support of island missions; emergency landing is available

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2007)

1 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the US; the US Air Force is responsible for overall administration and operation of the island; the launch support facility is administered by the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
claimed by Marshall Islands

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