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Outlying Islands of United States (Minor)

Chances are that when you talk about the United States minor outlying islands, large segments of the population are likely to draw blank stares. But, yes, there is such a thing as the United States minor outlying islands. These islands are basically eight in number and they are as follows: Baker Islands, Howard Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Palmyra Island, and Wake Island.  There is no capital when reference is made about these Islands; the islands are basically administered from Washington D.C. These islands are spread out over the North and Central Pacific region as well as the Caribbean Sea.

United States Minor outlying Islands in figures

A picture of these islands in figures is given below:

  • 34.2: This is the vastness of this territory in square kilometres
  • 300: This is the total human population as per the 2009 official statistics
  • 46,381: This is the per capita income of the residents of this island nation

Interesting facts about these Islands


As stated in the beginning, even when these articles are occupied they do not have a capital city. They are all administered from Washington D. C. These islands are in most parts named after those who discovered them – or in this case were the first to lay claim to them. Consequently Johnson Island is named after Chris Johnson who discovered the island in 1807. Kingman Reef , after Captain William Kingman who discovered the Island in 1853; Midway Islands –on account of the fact that the Islands are halfway between California and Japan; and Wake Island discovered by Captain William Wake in 1796. This is just part of the storied history of these Islands. Surprisingly for such a small territory, the area has its fair share of ports, airstrips, and paved roads.         

On account of the fact that these islands were in large part occupied by US military forces for the better part of the 20th century, civilian life and to that extent civilian facilities such a car hire or car rental facilities are in most cases non existent. So if you are looking for a cheap car hire service on this island, you might not exactly be on to a wild goose chase but chances are that you might have to come with some ingenious method to procure car hire services from the residents of these isles.

Leaving matters car hire aside, an interesting gem of information on how this island came to be in such a state – an Act of congress passed in 1856 (Guano Act) that authorised any US citizen to seize any uninhabited, unclaimed island with Guano and to seize it on behalf of the USA. The subsequent seizures (100 in total) led to what we know today as the United States Minor Outlying Islands. As of 2008, only Wake Island is still fully occupied by the US military. The other elements of these islands have transient civilian activity on them. And that dear reader ,is history 101.

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