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
19 17 N, 166 39 E
total: 6.5 sq km
country comparison to the world: 242
land: 6.5 sq km
water: 0 sq km
about 11 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
0 km
19.3 km
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Current Weather
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
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 6 m
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
0 sq km
occasional typhoons
strategic location in the North Pacific Ocean; emergency landing location for transpacific flights
People ::Wake Island
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 ::Wake Island
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Wake Island
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
the laws of the US where applicable apply
the flag of the US is used
Economy ::Wake Island
Economic activity is limited to providing services to military personnel and contractors located on the island. All food and manufactured goods must be imported.
NA kWh
Communications ::Wake Island
general assessment: satellite communications; 2 DSN circuits off the Overseas Telephone System (OTS)
domestic: NA
international: NA
American Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) provides satellite radio/television broadcasts (2009)
Transportation ::Wake Island
1 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 213
total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2010)
none; two offshore anchorages for large ships
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
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 ::Wake Island
claimed by Marshall Islands