Johnston Atoll

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Johnston Atoll is a 50-square-mile (130 km2) atoll in the North Pacific Ocean[1] about 1,400 km (750 nmi) west of Hawaii. There are four islands located on the coral reef platform, two natural islands, Johnston Island and Sand Island, which have been expanded by coral dredging, as well as North Island (Akau) and East Island (Hikina), an additional two artificial islands formed by coral dredging.[1]

Johnston is an unincorporated territory of the United States, administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior as part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. For statistical purposes, Johnston Atoll is grouped as one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands.

Contents

History

The American brig Sally, captained by Joseph Pierpont, grounded on a shoal near Johnston Island on September 2, 1796, but did not name or claim the land.[2] The island was named for Captain Charles J. Johnston, commanding officer of HMS Cornwallis, who claimed its official discovery on December 14, 1807. Johnston Atoll was claimed by both the United States and the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1858. The atoll's guano deposits, mined by U.S. interests operating under the Guano Islands Act, were worked until depletion in about 1890.

The island was visited from July 10 to July 22, 1923, and a pioneering aerial photograph was taken then.

On July 29, 1926, by Executive Order, President Calvin Coolidge established Johnston Atoll as a federal bird refuge and placed it under the control of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. On December 29, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt transferred control of Johnston Atoll to the U.S. Navy in order to establish an air station, and also to the Department of the Interior to administer the bird refuge. In 1936 the Navy began to develop a seaplane base, an airstrip base, and refueling facilities on the atoll. Johnston Atoll was designated as a Naval Defensive Sea Area and Airspace Reservation on February 14, 1941. Johnston Atoll was shelled by lightly armed Japanese submarines once or twice during World War II.

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