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CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Wake Island
Flag of Wake Island
Map of Wake Island
Introduction Wake Island
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 Wake Island
Oceania, atoll in the North Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to the Northern Mariana Islands
Geographic coordinates:
19 17 N, 166 39 E
Map references:
total: 6.5 sq km
land: 6.5 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 11 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
19.3 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
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
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 6 m
Natural resources:
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
Irrigated land:
0 sq km
Natural hazards:
occasional typhoons
Environment - current issues:
Geography - note:
strategic location in the North Pacific Ocean; emergency landing location for transpacific flights
People Wake Island
no indigenous inhabitants
note: US military personnel have left the island, but contractor personnel remain; as of October 2001, 200 contractor personnel were present (July 2006 est.)
Government Wake Island
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Wake Island
Dependency status:
unincorporated territory of the US; administered from Washington, DC, by the Department of the Interior; activities on the island are 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
Economy Wake Island
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 Wake Island
Telephone system:
general assessment: satellite communications; 1 DSN circuit off the Overseas Telephone System (OTS)
domestic: NA
international: NA
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 0, shortwave 0
note: Armed Forces Radio/Television Service (AFRTS) radio service provided by satellite (2005)
Television broadcast stations:
note: Armed Forces Radio/Television Service (AFRTS) radio service provided by satellite (2005)
Transportation Wake Island
1 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2006)
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
Military Wake Island
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the US; launch support facility is part of the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site (RTS) administered by US Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC)
Transnational Issues Wake Island
Disputes - international:
claimed by Marshall Islands

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007