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Central America and Caribbean :: Navassa Island
(territory of the US)
Page last updated on January 22, 2015
 
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Navassa Island
  • Introduction :: NAVASSA ISLAND

  • This uninhabited island was claimed by the US in 1857 for its guano. Mining took place between 1865 and 1898. The lighthouse, built in 1917, was shut down in 1996 and administration of Navassa Island transferred from the US Coast Guard to the Department of the Interior. A 1998 scientific expedition to the island described it as a unique preserve of Caribbean biodiversity; the following year it became a National Wildlife Refuge and annual scientific expeditions have continued.
  • Geography :: NAVASSA ISLAND

  • Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, 35 miles west of Tiburon Peninsula of Haiti
    18 25 N, 75 02 W
    Central America and the Caribbean
    total: 5.4 sq km
    land: 5.4 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 248
    about nine times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
    0 km
    8 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    marine, tropical
    raised coral and limestone plateau, flat to undulating; ringed by vertical white cliffs (9 to 15 m high)
    lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
    highest point: unnamed elevation on southwest side 77 m
    guano
    arable land: 0%
    permanent crops: 0%
    other: 100% (2014 est.)
    hurricanes
    NA
    strategic location 160 km south of the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; mostly exposed rock with numerous solution holes (limestone sinkholes) but with enough grassland to support goat herds; dense stands of fig trees, scattered cactus
  • People and Society :: NAVASSA ISLAND

  • uninhabited
    note: transient Haitian fishermen and others camp on the island
  • Government :: NAVASSA ISLAND

  • conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Navassa Island
    unorganized, unincorporated territory of the US; administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the Interior from the Caribbean Islands National Wildlife Refuge in Boqueron, Puerto Rico; in September 1996, the Coast Guard ceased operations and maintenance of Navassa Island Light, a 46-meter-tall lighthouse on the southern side of the island; there has also been a private claim advanced against the island
    the laws of the US, where applicable, apply
    none (territory of the US)
    the flag of the US is used
  • Economy :: NAVASSA ISLAND

  • Subsistence fishing and commercial trawling occur within refuge waters.
  • Transportation :: NAVASSA ISLAND

  • none; offshore anchorage only
  • Military :: NAVASSA ISLAND

  • defense is the responsibility of the US
  • Transnational Issues :: NAVASSA ISLAND

  • claimed by Haiti, source of subsistence fishing
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