Jarvis Island

Jarvis Island is an uninhabited 4.5 square kilometer coral island in the Line Island group near the equator, about 2,200 km south of Honolulu, Hawaii. It was discovered in 1821 by Captain Brown aboard the British ship Eliza Frances. The United States claimed possession of Jarvis under the Guano Islands Act of 1856. The Act gave American citizens the right to claim any unclaimed, uninhabited islands for the purpose of mining guano, or bird droppings. At the time guano was a very valuable asset used for fertilizer.

Settlers were moved to Jarvis Island in 1935 to maintain a weather station and plan a landing field. A settlement called Millersville was established on an area of the west coast of the island with the highest elevation, 7 meters (CIA). The Japanese shelled the island in 1942 and the men living on Jarvis were evacuated soon afterward. Nobody was hurt in the attack.

Since 1974 the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the United States Department of the Interior have maintained Jarvis Island as a National Wildlife Refuge and the Island is only available to visit with a special permit, however typically only researchers and similar persons are given permits. Amateur radio operators have also been known to be granted access to Jarvis Island (FWS).

The coordinates of Jarvis Island are 0.3783330°22' 42'' S, -160.016667160°1' W. Jarvis Island is frequently grouped together with Baker Island and Howland Island, which are over 1850 km west of Jarvis and, with Jarvis, make up a portion of the United States Minor Outlying Islands. (More...)