The United States Minor Outlying Islands are a statistical designation defined by the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 3166-1 code. The entry code is ISO 3166-2:UM. The minor outlying islands and groups of islands consist of eight United States insular areas in the Pacific Ocean (Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, Palmyra Atoll, and Wake Island) and one in the Caribbean Sea (Navassa Island).
Except for Palmyra Atoll, all of these islands are unincorporated, unorganized territories of the United States. As of 2019[update], none of the islands have any permanent residents. The U.S. Territory of Palmyra Island is an incorporated territory, separated in 1959 from the rest of the former incorporated Territory of Hawaii when Hawaii became a state. The only human population consists of temporarily stationed scientific and military personnel. The 2000 census counted 315 people on Johnston Atoll and 94 people on Wake Island.
There has been no modern indigenous population, except at the 1940 census. In 1936 a colonization program began to settle Americans on Baker, Howland, and Jarvis, but all three islands were evacuated in 1942 as a result of World War II.
The islands are grouped together as a statistical convenience. They are not administered collectively, nor do they share a single cultural or political history beyond being uninhabited islands under the sovereignty of the United States. They are all outside of the customs territory of the United States and have no customs duties. Except for Midway Atoll, the Pacific islands are surrounded by large Exclusive Economic Zones and are within the bounds of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
ISO introduced the term "United States Minor Outlying Islands" in 1986. From 1974 until 1986, five of the islands (Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef) were grouped under the term United States Miscellaneous Pacific Islands, with ISO 3166 code PU. The code of Midway Atoll was MI, the code of Johnston Atoll was JT, and the code of Wake Island was WK. Prior to 1986, Navassa Island, along with several small islands in the Caribbean Sea—that are no longer under U.S. sovereignty—were grouped under the term United States Miscellaneous Caribbean Islands, with FIPS country code BQ.
The populated Stewart Islands, called Sikaiana and now effectively controlled by the Solomon Islands, are not included in official lists of U.S. Minor Outlying Islands. In 1856, the Kingdom of Hawaii Privy Council and King Kamehameha IV voted to accept their voluntary cession. The Kingdom later became the Republic of Hawaii, all of which was annexed by the United States in 1898. In 1959, the resulting federal U.S. Territory of Hawaii, excluding only Palmyra Island and Midway Island, became a U.S. state. Residents of the Stewarts, who are Polynesian like the native Hawaiians rather than Melanesian, claimed to be citizens of the United States since the Stewarts were given to King Kamehameha IV in 1856 and were part of Hawaii at the time of the United States' annexation in 1898. The U.S. federal and Hawaii state governments informally accept the recent claim of the Solomon Islands over the Stewarts, and the United States makes no official claim of sovereignty.
Most of the islands in the U.S. Minor Outlying Islands are closed to the public—visitors to islands such as Jarvis Island need a permit; Palmyra Atoll is open to the public, but there is no easy way to reach it.
Airports in the United States Minor Outlying Islands provide critical emergency landing points across the vast Pacific Ocean for all types of aircraft, allow for important military presence in key strategic zones, and have limited scheduled commercial services. The following is a list of island airports with ICAO (IATA) codes:
Other airports include:
Baker Island, Howland Island and Jarvis Island each have a small boat landing place. Kingman Reef and Navassa Island have offshore anchorage only.
|Atoll or island||Island area (km2)||Lagoon (km2)||Coordinates||NWR
|Midway Atoll||6.2||40||1996 November 1||1867 August 28||74300||MQ|
North Pacific Ocean, scattered isolated islands
|Wake IslandA||6.5||6||2009 January 6||1899 January 17||74450||WQ|
|Johnston AtollB||2.63||130||1926 July 29||1859 September 6||74200||JQ|
North Pacific Ocean, Northern Line Islands
|Kingman Reef||0.03||76||2001 January 18||1860 February 8||74250||KQ|
|Palmyra AtollB||11.9||15||2001 January 18||1912 February 21||74400||LQ|
North Pacific Ocean, Northern Phoenix Islands
|Howland Island||1.6||–||1974 June 27||1856 October 28||74100||HQ|
|Baker Island||1.5||–||1974 June 27||1856 October 28||74050||FQ|
South Pacific Ocean, Central Line Islands
|Jarvis Island||4.5||–||1974 June 27||1856 October 28||74150||DQ|
|Navassa IslandC||5.4||–||1999 December 3||1858 October 31||74350||BQ|
|Bajo Nuevo BankD||0.02||155||1869 November 22||(none)||(none)|
|Serranilla BankE||0.02||1200||1879 September 8
1880 September 13
|U.S. Minor Outlying Islands||40.26||267|
|A Claimed by the Marshall Islands.|
B Previously claimed by Hawaii when independent. Palmyra Atoll was officially part of Hawaii until 1959.
C Claimed by Haiti.
D Administered by Colombia and claimed by Jamaica and Nicaragua, not included in the ISO list of territories; its area is not included in the total.
E Administered by Colombia and claimed by Honduras and Nicaragua, not included in the ISO list of territories; its area is not included in the total.
FEach island (except for Bajo Nuevo Bank and Serranilla Bank) has a unique FIPS (INCITS) code treating it as a county-equivalent for statistical purposes; "74" is the state-level code for the U.S. Minor Outlying Islands.
GGEC stands for "Geopolitical Entities and Codes", a coding system superseding the FIPS 10-4 codes; the codes (such as FQ for Baker Island) treat each island as if it were a country.
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