Wake Island

Status: Territory

Total area: 2.51 sq mi (6.5 sq km)

Comparative size: about 11 times the size of the Mall in Washington, DC

Population (July 2003 est.): no indigenous inhabitants; 200 civilian contractors.

Economy: The economic activity is limited to providing services to U.S. military personnel and contractors on the island. All food and manufactured goods must be imported.

Major sources and definitions

Wake Island, about halfway between Midway and Guam, is an atoll consisting of the three islets of Wilkes, Peale, and Wake. The islets were discovered by the British in 1796 and annexed by the U.S. in 1899. In 1938, Pan American Airways established a seaplane base, and Wake Island was used as a commercial base for several years. On Dec. 8, 1941, it was attacked by the Japanese, who took possession on Dec. 23. It was surrendered by the Japanese on Sept. 4, 1945.

See also Encyclopedia: Wake Island.


Midway IslandsU.S. Territories and Outlying AreasJohnston Atoll