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United States Pacific Dependencies

UNITED STATES
PACIFIC DEPENDENCIES

AMERICAN SAMOA
GUAM
HOWLAND, BAKER, AND JARVIS ISLANDS
JOHNSTON ATOLL
MIDWAY
NORTHERN MARIANAS
PALMYRA ATOLL
WAKE ISLAND

AMERICAN SAMOA

American Samoa, an unincorporated and unorganized insular US territory in the South Pacific Ocean, comprises that portion of the Samoan archipelago lying e of longitude 171°w. (The rest of the Samoan islands comprise the independent state of Western Samoa.) While the Samoan group as a whole has an area of 3,121 sq km (1,205 sq mi), American Samoa consists of only seven small islands (between 14° and 15°s and 168° and 171°w) with a total area (land and water) of 197 sq km (76 sq mi). Five of the islands are volcanic, with rugged peaks rising sharply, and two are coral atolls.

The climate is hot and rainy; normal temperatures range from 24°c (75°f) in August to 32°c (90°f) during DecemberFebruary; mean annual rainfall is 330 cm (130 in), the rainy season lasting from December through March. Hurricanes are common. The native flora includes flourishing tree ferns, coconut, hardwoods, and rubber trees. There are few wild animals.

As of mid-2005, the estimated population was 57,881, an increase over the 1986 population estimate of 37,500. However, the total population has remained relatively constant for many years because of the substantial number of Samoans who migrate to the United States. The inhabitants, who are concentrated on the island of Tutuila, are almost pure Polynesian. Most people are bilingual: English and Samoan are the official languages. Most Samoans are Christians.

The capital of the territory, Pago Pago, on Tutuila, has one of the finest natural harbors in the South Pacific and is a duty-free port. Passenger liners call there on South Pacific tours, and passenger and cargo ships arrive regularly from Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and the US west coast. There are regular air and sea services between American Samoa and Western Samoa, and scheduled flights between Pago Pago and Honolulu.

American Samoa was settled by Melanesian migrants in the 1st millennium bc. The Samoan islands were visited in 1768 by the French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, who named them the Îles des Navigateurs as a tribute to the skill of their native boatmen. In 1889, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany agreed to share control of the islands. The United Kingdom later withdrew its claim, and under the 1899 Treaty of Berlin, the United States was internationally acknowledged to have rights extending over all the islands of the Samoan group lying east of 171° w, while Germany was acknowledged to have similar rights to the islands west of that meridian. The islands of American Samoa were officially ceded to the United States by the various ruling chiefs in 1900 and 1904, and on 20 February 1929 the US Congress formally accepted sovereignty over the entire group. From 1900 to 1951, the territory was administered by the US Department of the Navy, and thereafter by the Department of the Interior. The basic law is the Constitution of 1966.

The executive branch of the government is headed by a governor who, along with the lieutenant governor, is elected by popular vote; before 1977, the two posts were appointed by the US government. Village, county, and district councils have full authority to regulate local affairs.

The legislature (Fono) is composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The 15 counties elect 18 matais (chiefs) to four-year terms in the senate, while the 20 house members are elected for two-year terms by popular vote within the counties. (There is one appointed member from Swains Island.) The secretary for Samoan affairs, who heads the Department of Local Government, is appointed by the governor. Under his administration are three district governors, the county chiefs, village mayors, and police officials. The judiciary, an independent branch of the government, functions through the high court and five district courts. Samoans living in the islands as of 17 April 1900 or born there since that date are nationals of the United States. The territory sends one delegate to the US House of Representatives.

The economy is primarily agricultural. Small plantations occupy about one-third of the land area; 90% of the land is communally owned. The principal crops are bananas, breadfruit, taro, papayas, pineapples, sweet potatoes, tapioca, coffee, cocoa, and yams. Hogs and poultry are the principal livestock raised; dairy cattle are few. The principal cash crop is copra. A third of the total labor force is employed by the federal and territorial government. The largest employers in the private sector, with more than 15% of the labor force, are two modern tuna canneries supplied with fish caught by Japanese, us, and Taiwanese fishing fleets. Canned tuna is the primary export. Most foreign trade is conducted with the United States.

Samoans are entitled to free medical treatment, including hospital care. Besides district dispensaries, the government maintains a central hospital, a tuberculosis unit, and a leprosarium. US-trained staff physicians work with Samoan medical practitioners and nurses. The LBJ Tropical Medical Center opened in 1986.

Education is a joint undertaking between the territorial government and the villages. School attendance is compulsory for all children from 6 through 18. The villages furnish the elementary-school buildings and living quarters for the teachers; the territorial government pays teachers' salaries and provides buildings and supplies for all but primary schools. Since 1964, educational television has served as a basic teaching tool in the school system. About 97% of the population is literate. In 1997, total enrollment in American Samoa's 29 public elementary and secondary schools was over 19,000. American Samoa Community College enrolled 1,178 in the fall of 2001.

Radiotelegraph circuits connect the territory with Hawaii, Fiji, and Western Samoa. Every village in American Samoa has telephone service.

GUAM">GUAM

The largest and most populous of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific, Guam (13° 28 n and 144° 44 e) has an area, including land and water, of 540 sq km (208 sq mi) and is about 48 km (30 mi) long and from 612 km (47 mi) wide. The island is of volcanic origin; in the south, the terrain is mountainous, while the northern part is a plateau with shallow fertile soil. The central part of the island (where the capital, Agana, is located) is undulating country.

Guam lies in the typhoon belt of the Western Pacific and is occasionally subject to widespread storm damage. In May 1976, a typhoon with winds of 306 km/hr (190 mph) struck Guam, causing an estimated $300 million in damage and leaving 80% of the island's buildings in ruins. Guam has a tropical climate with little seasonal variation. Average temperature is 26°c (79°f); rainfall is substantial, reaching an annual average of more than 200 cm (80 in). Endangered species include the giant Micronesian kingfisher and Marianas crow.

The mid-2005 population, excluding transient US military and civilian personnel and their families, was estimated at 168,564, an increase over the 1986 estimate of 117,500. The increase was attributed largely to the higher birthrate and low mortality rate. The present-day Chamorro, who comprise about 37% of the permanent resident population, descend from the intermingling of the few surviving original Chamorro with the Spanish, Filipino, and Mexican settlers, plus later arrivals from the United States, United Kingdom, Korea, China, and Japan. Filipinos (26%) are the largest ethnic minority. English and Chamorro are official languages. The predominant religion is Roman Catholicism.

The earliest known settlers on Guam were the original Chamorro, who migrated from the Malay Peninsula to the Pacific around 1500 bc. When Ferdinand Magellan landed on Guam in 1521, it is believed that as many as 100,000 Chamorro lived on the island; by 1741, their numbers had been reduced to 5,000most of the population either had fled the island or been killed through disease or war with the Spanish. A Spanish fort was established in 1565, and from 1696 until 1898, Guam was under Spanish rule.

Under the Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish-American War in 1898, the island was ceded to the United States and placed under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Navy. During World War II, Guam was occupied by Japanese forces; the United States recaptured the island in 1944 after 54 days of fighting. In 1950, the island's administration was transferred from the Navy to the US Department of the Interior. Under the 1950 Organic Act of Guam, passed by the US Congress, the island was established as an unincorporated territory of the United States; Guamanians were granted US citizenship, and internal self-government was introduced.

The governor and lieutenant governor have been elected directly since 1970. A 15-member unicameral legislature elected for two years by adult suffrage is empowered to legislate on all local matters, including taxation and appropriations. The US Congress reserves the right to annul any law passed by the Guam legislature, but must do so within a year of the date it receives the text of any such law.

Judicial authority is vested in the district court of Guam, and appeals may be taken to the regular US courts of appeal and ultimately to the US Supreme Court. An island superior court and other specialized courts have jurisdiction over certain cases arising under the laws of Guam. The judge of the district court is appointed by the US president; the judges of the other courts are appointed by the governor. Guam's laws were codified in 1953.

Guam is one of the most important US military bases in the Pacific, and the island's economy has been profoundly affected by the large sums of money spent by the US defense establishment. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the United States took the role of a major combatant in the Vietnam conflict, Guam served as a base for long-range US bombers on sorties over Indochina. In 2005, there were 3,384 active-duty US military personnel stationed on the island.

Prior to World War II, agriculture and animal husbandry were the primary activities. By 1947, most adults were wage earners employed by the US armed forces, although many continued to cultivate small plots to supplement their earnings. In 2002, agriculture accounted for 7% of GDP; a considerable amount of arable land is taken up by military installations. Fruits and vegetables are grown and pigs and poultry are raised for local consumption, but most food is imported. Current fish catches are insufficient to meet local demand.

Tourism became a major industry and sparked a boom in the construction industry in the mid-1980s. The number of visitors grew rapidly from 6,600 in 1967 to around one million per year in the mid-2000s, 90% of whom come from Japan. The stagnation in the Japanese economy since the early 1990s slowed the growth of Guam's tourism sector.

The Guam Rehabilitation Act of 1963 has funded the territory's capital improvement program. Further allocations in 1969 and 1977 provided over $120 million for additional capital improvements and development of the island's power installations. More than $200 million of federal funds were authorized for typhoon relief in 197778. Total expenditures by the government of Guam were $445 million in 2000; revenues were $340 million.

Guam's foreign trade usually shows large deficits. The bulk of Guam's trade is with the United States, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.

US income tax laws are applicable in Guam; all internal revenue taxes derived by the United States from Guam are paid into the territory's treasury. US customs duties, however, are not levied. Guam is a duty-free port. In its trade with the US mainland, Guam is required to use US shipping.

Typical tropical diseases are practically unknown today in Guam. Tuberculosis, long the principal killer, was brought under control by the mid-1950s. The Guam Memorial Hospital has a capacity of 208 beds. Village dispensaries serve both as public health units and first-aid stations. In addition, there are a number of physicians in private practice. Specialists from the US Naval Hospital in Guam, assisting on a part-time basis, have made possible a complete program of curative medicine.

School attendance is compulsory from the age of 6 through 16. Twenty-five elementary schools, seven middle schools, four high schools and an alternative school serve over 30,000 students.

HOWLAND, BAKER, AND JARVIS ISLANDS

Howland Island (0° 48 n and 176° 38 w), Baker Island (0° 14 n and 176° 28 w), and Jarvis Island (0° 23 s and 160° 1 w) are three small coral islands, each about 2.6 sq km (1 sq mi) in area, belonging to the Line Islands group of the Central Pacific Ocean. All are administered directly from Washington as US unincorporated territories. Public entry is by special permit and generally restricted to scientists and educators. Howland was discovered in 1842 by US sailors, claimed by the United States in 1857, and formally proclaimed a US territory in 193536. It was worked for guano by US and British companies until about 1890.

Baker, 64 km (40 mi) s of Howland, and Jarvis, 1,770 km (1,100 mi) e of Howland, also were claimed by the United States in 1857, and their guano deposits were similarly worked by US and British enterprises. The United Kingdom annexed Jarvis in 1889. In 1935, the United States sent colonists from Hawaii to all three islands, which were placed under the US Department of the Interior in 1936 and are administered as part of the National Wildlife Refuge system. Baker was captured by the Japanese in 1942 and recaptured by the United States in 1944. The three islands lack fresh water and have no permanent inhabitants. They are visited annually by the US Coast Guard. A lighthouse on Howland Island is named in honor of the US aviatrix Amelia Earhart, who vanished en route to the island on a round-the-world flight in 1937.

JOHNSTON ATOLL

Johnston Atoll, located in the North Pacific 1,151 km (715 mi) sw of Honolulu, consists of two islands, Johnston (16° 44 n and 169° 31 w) and Sand (16° 45 n and 169° 30 w), with a total land and water area of about 2.6 sq km (1 sq mi). The islands are enclosed by a semicircular reef. It was discovered by English sailors in 1807 and claimed by the United States in 1858. For many years, it was worked for guano and was a bird reservation. Commissioned as a naval station in 1941, it remains an unincorporated US territory under the control of the US Department of the Air Force. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was used primarily for the testing of nuclear weapons. Until late in 2000, it was maintained as a storage and disposal site for chemical weapons. Munitions destruction is now complete, and cleanup and closure of the facility was completed by May 2005.

The population usually stood at 1,100 government personnel and contractors, but decreased significantly after the September 2001 departure of the US Army Chemical Activity Pacific (USACAP). As of May 2005, all US government personnel had left the island. The atoll is equipped with an excellent satellite and radio telecommunications system.

MIDWAY

The Midway Islands (28° 1217 n and 177° 1926 w) consist of an atoll and two small islets, Eastern Island (177° 20 w) and Sand Island (177° 2224 w), 2,100 km (1,300 mi) wnw of Honolulu. Total land and water area is 5 sq km (2 sq mi). As of 2005, 40 people made up the staff of the US Fish and Wildlife service on the atoll.

Discovered and claimed by the United States in 1859 and formally annexed in 1867, Midway became a submarine cable station early in the 20th century and an airlines station in 1935. Made a US naval base in 1941, Midway was attacked by the Japanese in December 1941 and January 1942. In one of the great battles of World War II, a Japanese naval attack on 36 June 1942 was repelled by US warplanes. Midway is a US unincorporated territory; there is a closed naval station, and the islands are important nesting places for seabirds. In 1993, administrative control of Midway was transferred from the US Department of the Navy to the US Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service.

NORTHERN MARIANAS

The Northern Marianas, a US commonwealth in the Western Pacific Ocean, is comprised of the Mariana Islands excluding Guam (a separate political entity). Located between 12° and 21°n and 144° and 146° e, it consists of 16 volcanic islands with a total land area of about 475 sq km (183.5 sq mi). Only six of the islands are inhabited, and most of the people live on the three largest islandsRota, 85 sq km (33 sq mi); Saipan, 122 sq km (47 sq mi); and Tinian, 101 sq km (39 sq mi).

The climate is tropical, with relatively little seasonal change; temperatures average 2129°c (7085°f), and relative humidity is generally high. Rainfall averages 216 cm (85 in) per year. The southern islands, which include Rota, Saipan, and Tinian, are generally lower and covered with moderately heavy tropical vegetation. The northern islands are more rugged, reaching a high point of 959 m (3,146 ft) on Agrihan, and are generally barren due to erosion and insufficient rainfall. Pagan and Agrihan have active volcanoes, and typhoons are common from August to November. Insects are numerous and ocean birds and fauna are abundant. The Marianas mallard is a local endangered species.

The Northern Marianas had an estimated population of 80,362 in mid-2005. Three-fourths of the population is descended from the original Micronesian inhabitants, known as Chamorros. There are also many descendants of migrants from the Caroline Islands and smaller numbers of Filipino and Korean laborers and settlers from the US mainland. English, Chamorro, and Carolinian are official languages. However, only 10.8% of the population speaks English in the home. About 90% of the people are Roman Catholic.

It is believed that the Marianas were settled by migrants from the Philippines and Indonesia. Excavations on Saipan have yielded evidence of settlement around 1500 bc. The first European to reach the Marianas, in 1521, was Ferdinand Magellan. The islands were ruled by Spain until the Spanish defeat by the United States in the Spanish-American War (1898). Guam was then ceded to the United States and the rest of the Marianas were sold to Germany. When World War I broke out, Japan took over the Northern Marianas and other German-held islands in the Western Pacific. These islands (the Northern Marianas, Carolines, and Marshalls) were placed under Japanese administration as a League of Nations mandate on 17 December 1920. Upon its withdrawal from the League in 1935, Japan began to fortify the islands, and in World War II they served as important military bases. Several of the islands were the scene of heavy fighting during the war. In the battle for control of Saipan in June 1944, some 23,000 Japanese and 3,500 US troops lost their lives in one day's fighting. As each island was occupied by US troops, it became subject to US authority in accordance with the international law of belligerent occupation. The US planes that dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bringing an end to the war, took off from Tinian.

On 18 July 1947, the Northern Mariana, Caroline, and Marshall islands formally became a UN trust territory under US administration. This Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was administered by the US Department of the Navy until 1 July 1951, when administration was transferred to the Department of the Interior. From 1953 to 1962, the Northern Marianas, with the exception of Rota, were administered by the Department of the Navy.

The people of the Northern Marianas voted to become a US commonwealth by a majority of 78.8% in a plebiscite held on 17 June 1975. A covenant approved by the US Congress in March 1976 provided for the separation of the Northern Marianas from the Caroline and Marshall island groups, and for the Marianas' transition to a commonwealth status similar to that of Puerto Rico. The islands became internally self-governing in January 1978. On 3 November 1986, US president Ronald Reagan proclaimed the Northern Marianas a self-governing commonwealth; its people became US citizens. The termination of the trusteeship was approved by the UN Trusteeship Council in May 1986 and received the required approval from the UN Security Council. On 3 November 1986, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands came into force.

A governor and a lieutenant governor are popularly elected for four-year terms. The legislature consists of 9 senators elected for four-year terms and 18 representatives elected for two-year terms. A district court handles matters involving federal law and a commonwealth court has jurisdiction over local matters.

The traditional economic activities were subsistence agriculture, livestock raising, and fishing, but much agricultural land was destroyed or damaged during World War II and agriculture has never resumed its prewar importance. Garment production and tourism are the mainstays of the economy. Tourism employs about 50% of the work force. The construction industry is also expanding, and there is some small-scale industry, chiefly handicrafts and food processing.

The Northern Marianas is heavily dependent on federal funds. The United States also pays to lease property on Saipan, Tinian, and Farallon de Medinilla islands for defense purposes. The principal exports are garments, milk, and meat; imports include foods, petroleum, construction materials, and vehicles. US currency is the official medium of exchange.

Health care is primarily the responsibility of the commonwealth government and has improved substantially since 1978. Tuberculosis, once the major health problem, has been controlled. There is a hospital on Saipan and health centers on Tinian and Rota. The largest hospital in the commonwealth is a 76-bed, full service facility.

Education is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 8 and 14, and literacy is high. Northern Marianas College had an enrollment of 1,101 in 2006. There are 2 AM, 3 FM, and 1 television stations.

PALMYRA ATOLL

Palmyra, an atoll in the Central Pacific Ocean, containing some 50 islets with a total area of some 10 sq km (4 sq mi), is situated about 1,600 km (1,000 mi) ssw of Honolulu at 5° 52 n and 162° 5 w. It was discovered in 1802 by the USS Palmyra and formally annexed by the United States in 1912, and was under the jurisdiction of the city of Honolulu until 1959, when Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States. It is now the responsibility of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The atoll is privately owned by the Nature Conservancy.

Kingman Reef, nw of Palmyra Atoll at 6° 25 n and 162° 23 n, was discovered by the United States in 1874, annexed by the United States in 1922, and became a naval reservation in 1934. Now abandoned, it is under the control of the US Department of the Navy. The reef only has an elevation of 1 m (3 ft) and is awash most of the time, making it hazardous for ships.

WAKE ISLAND

Wake Island, actually a coral atoll and three islets (Wake, Peale, and Wilkes) about 8 km (5 mi) long by 3.6 km (2.25 mi) wide, lies in the North Pacific 3,380 km (2,100 mi) w of Honolulu at 19° 17 n and 166° 35 e. The total land and water area is about 8 sq km (3 sq mi). Discovered by the British in 1796, Wake was long uninhabited.

In 1898, a US expeditionary force en route to Manila landed on the island. The United States formally claimed Wake in 1899. It was made a US naval reservation in 1934, and became a civil aviation station in 1935. Captured by the Japanese on 23 December 1941, Wake was subsequently the target of several US air raids. It was surrendered by the Japanese in September 1945 and has thereafter remained a US unincorporated territory under the jurisdiction, since 1972, of the Department of the Air Force.

As of 2001, only around 200 contractor personnel inhabited Wake Island. The island was no longer being used for missile launches by the US Army's Space and Strategic Defense Command. It is a stopover and fueling station for civilian and military aircraft flying between Honolulu, Guam, and Japan.

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United States Pacific Dependencies

United States Pacific Dependencies

AMERICAN SAMOA

American Samoa, an unincorporated and unorganized insular US territory in the South Pacific Ocean, comprises that portion of the Samoan archipelago lying e of longitude 171°w. (The rest of the Samoan islands comprise the independent state of Western Samoa.) While the Samoan group as a whole has an area of 3,121 sq km (1,205 sq mi), American Samoa consists of only seven small islands (between 14° and 15°s and 168° and 171°w) with a total area (land and water) of 197 sq km (76 sq mi). Five of the islands are volcanic, with rugged peaks rising sharply, and two are coral atolls.

The climate is hot and rainy; normal temperatures range from 24°c (75°f) in August to 32°c (90°f) during December-February; mean annual rainfall is 330 cm (130 in), the rainy season lasting from December through March. Hurricanes are common. The native flora includes flourishing tree ferns, coconut, hardwoods, and rubber trees. There are few wild animals.

As of mid-2005, the estimated population was 57,881, an increase over the 1986 population estimate of 37,500. However, the total population has remained relatively constant for many years because of the substantial number of Samoans who migrate to the United States. The inhabitants, who are concentrated on the island of Tutuila, are almost pure Polynesian. Most people are bilingual: English and Samoan are the official languages. Most Samoans are Christians.

The capital of the territory, Pago Pago, on Tutuila, has one of the finest natural harbors in the South Pacific and is a duty-free port. Passenger liners call there on South Pacific tours, and passenger and cargo ships arrive regularly from Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and the US west coast. There are regular air and sea services between American Samoa and Western Samoa, and scheduled flights between Pago Pago and Honolulu.

American Samoa was settled by Melanesian migrants in the 1st millennium bc. The Samoan islands were visited in 1768 by the French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, who named them the Îles des Navigateurs as a tribute to the skill of their native boatmen. In 1889, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany agreed to share control of the islands. The United Kingdom later withdrew its claim, and under the 1899 Treaty of Berlin, the United States was internationally acknowledged to have rights extending over all the islands of the Samoan group lying east of 171° w, while Germany was acknowledged to have similar rights to the islands west of that meridian. The islands of American Samoa were officially ceded to the United States by the various ruling chiefs in 1900 and 1904, and on 20 February 1929 the US Congress formally accepted sovereignty over the entire group. From 1900 to 1951, the territory was administered by the US Department of the Navy, and thereafter by the Department of the Interior. The basic law is the Constitution of 1966.

The executive branch of the government is headed by a governor who, along with the lieutenant governor, is elected by popular vote; before 1977, the two posts were appointed by the US government. Village, county, and district councils have full authority to regulate local affairs.

The legislature (Fono) is composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The 15 counties elect 18 matais (chiefs) to four-year terms in the senate, while the 20 house members are elected for two-year terms by popular vote within the counties. (There is one appointed member from Swains Island.) The secretary for Samoan affairs, who heads the Department of Local Government, is appointed by the governor. Under his administration are three district governors, the county chiefs, village mayors, and police officials. The judiciary, an independent branch of the government, functions through the high court and five district courts. Samoans living in the islands as of 17 April 1900 or born there since that date are nationals of the United States. The territory sends one delegate to the US House of Representatives.

The economy is primarily agricultural. Small plantations occupy about one-third of the land area; 90% of the land is communally owned. The principal crops are bananas, breadfruit, taro, papayas, pineapples, sweet potatoes, tapioca, coffee, cocoa, and yams. Hogs and poultry are the principal livestock raised; dairy cattle are few. The principal cash crop is copra. A third of the total labor force is employed by the federal and territorial government. The largest employers in the private sector, with more than 15% of the labor force, are two modern tuna canneries supplied with fish caught by Japanese, us, and Taiwanese fishing fleets. Canned tuna is the primary export. Most foreign trade is conducted with the United States.

Samoans are entitled to free medical treatment, including hospital care. Besides district dispensaries, the government maintains a central hospital, a tuberculosis unit, and a leprosarium. US-trained staff physicians work with Samoan medical practitioners and nurses. The LBJ Tropical Medical Center opened in 1986.

Education is a joint undertaking between the territorial government and the villages. School attendance is compulsory for all children from 6 through 18. The villages furnish the elementary-school buildings and living quarters for the teachers; the territorial government pays teachers' salaries and provides buildings and supplies for all but primary schools. Since 1964, educational television has served as a basic teaching tool in the school system. About 97% of the population is literate. In 1997, total enrollment in American Samoa's 29 public elementary and secondary schools was over 19,000. American Samoa Community College enrolled 1,178 in the fall of 2001.

Radiotelegraph circuits connect the territory with Hawaii, Fiji, and Western Samoa. Every village in American Samoa has telephone service.

GUAM

The largest and most populous of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific, Guam (13° 28 n and 144° 44 e) has an area, including land and water, of 540 sq km (208 sq mi) and is about 48 km (30 mi) long and from 6-12 km (4-7 mi) wide. The island is of volcanic origin; in the south, the terrain is mountainous, while the northern part is a plateau with shallow fertile soil. The central part of the island (where the capital, Agana, is located) is undulating country.

Guam lies in the typhoon belt of the Western Pacific and is occasionally subject to widespread storm damage. In May 1976, a typhoon with winds of 306 km/hr (190 mph) struck Guam, caus-ing an estimated $300 million in damage and leaving 80% of the island's buildings in ruins. Guam has a tropical climate with little seasonal variation. Average temperature is 26°c (79°f); rainfall is substantial, reaching an annual average of more than 200 cm (80 in). Endangered species include the giant Micronesian kingfisher and Marianas crow.

The mid-2005 population, excluding transient US military and civilian personnel and their families, was estimated at 168,564, an increase over the 1986 estimate of 117,500. The increase was attributed largely to the higher birthrate and low mortality rate. The present-day Chamorro, who comprise about 37% of the permanent resident population, descend from the intermingling of the few surviving original Chamorro with the Spanish, Filipino, and Mexican settlers, plus later arrivals from the United States, United Kingdom, Korea, China, and Japan. Filipinos (26%) are the largest ethnic minority. English and Chamorro are official languages. The predominant religion is Roman Catholicism.

The earliest known settlers on Guam were the original Chamorro, who migrated from the Malay Peninsula to the Pacific around 1500 bc. When Ferdinand Magellan landed on Guam in 1521, it is believed that as many as 100,000 Chamorro lived on the island; by 1741, their numbers had been reduced to 5,000most of the population either had fled the island or been killed through disease or war with the Spanish. A Spanish fort was established in 1565, and from 1696 until 1898, Guam was under Spanish rule.

Under the Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish-American War in 1898, the island was ceded to the United States and placed under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Navy. During World War II, Guam was occupied by Japanese forces; the United States recaptured the island in 1944 after 54 days of fighting. In 1950, the island's administration was transferred from the Navy to the US Department of the Interior. Under the 1950 Organic Act of Guam, passed by the US Congress, the island was established as an unincorporated territory of the United States; Guamanians were granted US citizenship, and internal self-government was introduced.

The governor and lieutenant governor have been elected directly since 1970. A 15-member unicameral legislature elected for two years by adult suffrage is empowered to legislate on all local matters, including taxation and appropriations. The US Congress reserves the right to annul any law passed by the Guam legislature, but must do so within a year of the date it receives the text of any such law.

Judicial authority is vested in the district court of Guam, and appeals may be taken to the regular US courts of appeal and ultimately to the US Supreme Court. An island superior court and other specialized courts have jurisdiction over certain cases arising under the laws of Guam. The judge of the district court is appointed by the US president; the judges of the other courts are appointed by the governor. Guam's laws were codified in 1953.

Guam is one of the most important US military bases in the Pacific, and the island's economy has been profoundly affected by the large sums of money spent by the US defense establishment. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the United States took the role of a major combatant in the Vietnam conflict, Guam served as a base for long-range US bombers on sorties over Indochina. In 2005, there were 3,384 active-duty US military personnel stationed on the island.

Prior to World War II, agriculture and animal husbandry were the primary activities. By 1947, most adults were wage earners employed by the US armed forces, although many continued to cultivate small plots to supplement their earnings. In 2002, agriculture accounted for 7% of GDP; a considerable amount of arable land is taken up by military installations. Fruits and vegetables are grown and pigs and poultry are raised for local consumption, but most food is imported. Current fish catches are insufficient to meet local demand.

Tourism became a major industry and sparked a boom in the construction industry in the mid-1980s. The number of visitors grew rapidly from 6,600 in 1967 to around one million per year in the mid-2000s, 90% of whom come from Japan. The stagnation in the Japanese economy since the early 1990s slowed the growth of Guam's tourism sector.

The Guam Rehabilitation Act of 1963 has funded the territory's capital improvement program. Further allocations in 1969 and 1977 provided over $120 million for additional capital improvements and development of the island's power installations. More than $200 million of federal funds were authorized for typhoon relief in 197778. Total expenditures by the government of Guam were $445 million in 2000; revenues were $340 million.

Guam's foreign trade usually shows large deficits. The bulk of Guam's trade is with the United States, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.

US income tax laws are applicable in Guam; all internal revenue taxes derived by the United States from Guam are paid into the territory's treasury. US customs duties, however, are not levied. Guam is a duty-free port. In its trade with the US mainland, Guam is required to use US shipping.

Typical tropical diseases are practically unknown today in Guam. Tuberculosis, long the principal killer, was brought under control by the mid-1950s. The Guam Memorial Hospital has a capacity of 208 beds. Village dispensaries serve both as public health units and first-aid stations. In addition, there are a number of physicians in private practice. Specialists from the US Naval Hospital in Guam, assisting on a part-time basis, have made possible a complete program of curative medicine.

School attendance is compulsory from the age of 6 through 16. Twenty-five elementary schools, seven middle schools, four high schools and an alternative school serve over 30,000 students.

HOWLAND, BAKER, AND JARVIS ISLANDS

Howland Island (0° 48 n and 176° 38 w), Baker Island (0° 14 n and 176° 28 w), and Jarvis Island (0° 23 s and 160° 1 w) are three small coral islands, each about 2.6 sq km (1 sq mi) in area, belonging to the Line Islands group of the Central Pacific Ocean. All are administered directly from Washington as US unincorporated territories. Public entry is by special permit and generally restricted to scientists and educators. Howland was discovered in 1842 by US sailors, claimed by the United States in 1857, and formally proclaimed a US territory in 193536. It was worked for guano by US and British companies until about 1890.

Baker, 64 km (40 mi) s of Howland, and Jarvis, 1,770 km (1,100 mi) e of Howland, also were claimed by the United States in 1857, and their guano deposits were similarly worked by US and British enterprises. The United Kingdom annexed Jarvis in 1889. In 1935, the United States sent colonists from Hawaii to all three islands, which were placed under the US Department of the Interior in 1936 and are administered as part of the National Wildlife Refuge system. Baker was captured by the Japanese in 1942 and recaptured by the United States in 1944. The three islands lack fresh water and have no permanent inhabitants. They are visited annually by the US Coast Guard. A lighthouse on Howland Island is named in honor of the US aviatrix Amelia Earhart, who vanished en route to the island on a round-the-world flight in 1937.

JOHNSTON ATOLL

Johnston Atoll, located in the North Pacific 1,151 km (715 mi) sw of Honolulu, consists of two islands, Johnston (16° 44 n and 169° 31 w) and Sand (16° 45 n and 169° 30 w), with a total land and water area of about 2.6 sq km (1 sq mi). The islands are enclosed by a semicircular reef. It was discovered by English sailors in 1807 and claimed by the United States in 1858. For many years, it was worked for guano and was a bird reservation. Commissioned as a naval station in 1941, it remains an unincorporated US territory under the control of the US Department of the Air Force. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was used primarily for the testing of nuclear weapons. Until late in 2000, it was maintained as a storage and disposal site for chemical weapons. Munitions destruction is now complete, and cleanup and closure of the facility was completed by May 2005.

The population usually stood at 1,100 government personnel and contractors, but decreased significantly after the September 2001 departure of the US Army Chemical Activity Pacific (USACAP). As of May 2005, all US government personnel had left the island. The atoll is equipped with an excellent satellite and radio telecommunications system.

MIDWAY

The Midway Islands (28° 12-17 n and 177° 19-26 w) consist of an atoll and two small islets, Eastern Island (177° 20 w) and Sand Island (177° 22-24 w), 2,100 km (1,300 mi) wnw of Honolulu. Total land and water area is 5 sq km (2 sq mi). As of 2005, 40 people made up the staff of the US Fish and Wildlife service on the atoll.

Discovered and claimed by the United States in 1859 and formally annexed in 1867, Midway became a submarine cable station early in the 20th century and an airlines station in 1935. Made a US naval base in 1941, Midway was attacked by the Japanese in December 1941 and January 1942. In one of the great battles of World War II, a Japanese naval attack on 3-6 June 1942 was repelled by US warplanes. Midway is a US unincorporated territory; there is a closed naval station, and the islands are important nesting places for seabirds. In 1993, administrative control of Midway was transferred from the US Department of the Navy to the US Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service.

NORTHERN MARIANAS

The Northern Marianas, a US commonwealth in the Western Pacific Ocean, is comprised of the Mariana Islands excluding Guam (a separate political entity). Located between 12° and 21°n and 144° and 146° e, it consists of 16 volcanic islands with a total land area of about 475 sq km (183.5 sq mi). Only six of the islands are inhabited, and most of the people live on the three largest islandsRota, 85 sq km (33 sq mi); Saipan, 122 sq km (47 sq mi); and Tinian, 101 sq km (39 sq mi).

The climate is tropical, with relatively little seasonal change; temperatures average 21-29°c (70-85°f), and relative humidity is generally high. Rainfall averages 216 cm (85 in) per year. The southern islands, which include Rota, Saipan, and Tinian, are generally lower and covered with moderately heavy tropical vegetation. The northern islands are more rugged, reaching a high point of 959 m (3,146 ft) on Agrihan, and are generally barren due to erosion and insufficient rainfall. Pagan and Agrihan have active volcanoes, and typhoons are common from August to November. Insects are numerous and ocean birds and fauna are abundant. The Marianas mallard is a local endangered species.

The Northern Marianas had an estimated population of 80,362 in mid-2005. Three-fourths of the population is descended from the original Micronesian inhabitants, known as Chamorros. There are also many descendants of migrants from the Caroline Islands and smaller numbers of Filipino and Korean laborers and settlers from the US mainland. English, Chamorro, and Carolinian are official languages. However, only 10.8% of the population speaks English in the home. About 90% of the people are Roman Catholic.

It is believed that the Marianas were settled by migrants from the Philippines and Indonesia. Excavations on Saipan have yielded evidence of settlement around 1500 bc. The first European to reach the Marianas, in 1521, was Ferdinand Magellan. The islands were ruled by Spain until the Spanish defeat by the United States in the Spanish-American War (1898). Guam was then ceded to the United States and the rest of the Marianas were sold to Germany. When World War I broke out, Japan took over the Northern Marianas and other German-held islands in the Western Pacific. These islands (the Northern Marianas, Carolines, and Marshalls) were placed under Japanese administration as a League of Nations mandate on 17 December 1920. Upon its withdrawal from the League in 1935, Japan began to fortify the islands, and in World War II they served as important military bases. Several of the islands were the scene of heavy fighting during the war. In the battle for control of Saipan in June 1944, some 23,000 Japanese and 3,500 US troops lost their lives in one day's fighting. As each island was occupied by US troops, it became subject to US authority in accordance with the international law of belligerent occupation. The US planes that dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bringing an end to the war, took off from Tinian.

On 18 July 1947, the Northern Mariana, Caroline, and Marshall islands formally became a UN trust territory under US administration. This Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was administered by the US Department of the Navy until 1 July 1951, when administration was transferred to the Department of the Interior. From 1953 to 1962, the Northern Marianas, with the exception of Rota, were administered by the Department of the Navy.

The people of the Northern Marianas voted to become a US commonwealth by a majority of 78.8% in a plebiscite held on 17 June 1975. A covenant approved by the US Congress in March 1976 provided for the separation of the Northern Marianas from the Caroline and Marshall island groups, and for the Marianas' transition to a commonwealth status similar to that of Puerto Rico. The islands became internally self-governing in January 1978. On 3 November 1986, US president Ronald Reagan pro-claimed the Northern Marianas a self-governing commonwealth; its people became US citizens. The termination of the trusteeship was approved by the UN Trusteeship Council in May 1986 and received the required approval from the UN Security Council. On 3 November 1986, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands came into force.

A governor and a lieutenant governor are popularly elected for four-year terms. The legislature consists of 9 senators elected for four-year terms and 18 representatives elected for two-year terms. A district court handles matters involving federal law and a commonwealth court has jurisdiction over local matters.

The traditional economic activities were subsistence agriculture, livestock raising, and fishing, but much agricultural land was destroyed or damaged during World War II and agriculture has never resumed its prewar importance. Garment production and tourism are the mainstays of the economy. Tourism employs about 50% of the work force. The construction industry is also expanding, and there is some small-scale industry, chiefly handicrafts and food processing.

The Northern Marianas is heavily dependent on federal funds. The United States also pays to lease property on Saipan, Tinian, and Farallon de Medinilla islands for defense purposes. The principal exports are garments, milk, and meat; imports include foods, petroleum, construction materials, and vehicles. US currency is the official medium of exchange.

Health care is primarily the responsibility of the commonwealth government and has improved substantially since 1978. Tuberculosis, once the major health problem, has been controlled. There is a hospital on Saipan and health centers on Tinian and Rota. The largest hospital in the commonwealth is a 76-bed, full service facility.

Education is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 8 and 14, and literacy is high. Northern Marianas College had an enrollment of 1,101 in 2006. There are 2 AM, 3 FM, and 1 television stations.

PALMYRA ATOLL

Palmyra, an atoll in the Central Pacific Ocean, containing some 50 islets with a total area of some 10 sq km (4 sq mi), is situated about 1,600 km (1,000 mi) ssw of Honolulu at 5° 52 n and 162° 5 w. It was discovered in 1802 by the USS Palmyra and formally annexed by the United States in 1912, and was under the jurisdiction of the city of Honolulu until 1959, when Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States. It is now the responsibility of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The atoll is privately owned by the Nature Conservancy.

Kingman Reef, nw of Palmyra Atoll at 6° 25 n and 162° 23 n, was discovered by the United States in 1874, annexed by the United States in 1922, and became a naval reservation in 1934. Now abandoned, it is under the control of the US Department of the Navy. The reef only has an elevation of 1 m (3 ft) and is awash most of the time, making it hazardous for ships.

WAKE ISLAND

Wake Island, actually a coral atoll and three islets (Wake, Peale, and Wilkes) about 8 km (5 mi) long by 3.6 km (2.25 mi) wide, lies in the North Pacific 3,380 km (2,100 mi) w of Honolulu at 19° 17 n and 166° 35 e. The total land and water area is about 8 sq km (3 sq mi). Discovered by the British in 1796, Wake was long uninhabited.

In 1898, a US expeditionary force en route to Manila landed on the island. The United States formally claimed Wake in 1899. It was made a US naval reservation in 1934, and became a civil aviation station in 1935. Captured by the Japanese on 23 December 1941, Wake was subsequently the target of several US air raids. It was surrendered by the Japanese in September 1945 and has thereafter remained a US unincorporated territory under the jurisdiction, since 1972, of the Department of the Air Force.

As of 2001, only around 200 contractor personnel inhabited Wake Island. The island was no longer being used for missile launches by the US Army's Space and Strategic Defense Command. It is a stopover and fueling station for civilian and military aircraft flying between Honolulu, Guam, and Japan.

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"United States Pacific Dependencies." Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"United States Pacific Dependencies." Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/united-states-pacific-dependencies

"United States Pacific Dependencies." Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States. . Retrieved June 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/united-states-pacific-dependencies