Baker Island: Background & Geography

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 - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
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% (1998 est.)
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

See Also: