Howland Island

Main attractions

Earhart Light, Howland Island
Earhart Light / Joann94024, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, / CC BY-SA 3.0

This uninhabited atoll is a possssion of the United States. This elongated island is 1.8 km² large and is low lying – up to 6 m above the sea level, without fresh water and with scarce vegetation of grasses, low lying shrubs and trees.

The island is used by numerous sea birds and marine wildlife, it is protected area. Two marine molluscs – a snail Engina ovata and shell Neothais rugulosa – are found only here.

The island contains scarce remnants of prehistoric settlement by ancient Melanesians and Polynesians – it might have been inhabited already around 1000 BC. Due to the lack of freshwater and scarce natural resources the settlement was abandoned.

One more settlement – Itascatown – was developed by Americans in 1935 and abandoned in 1942.

Earhart Light – a daytime beacon – was built to provide orientation of the unlucky flight of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan in their round-the-world flight in 1937 – their plane did not reach the island. The beacon was renewed after the World War II but is abandoned now and in a ruinous state.

List of described attractions

Map of Howland Island

Recommended books:

Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will

The Atlas of Remote Islands, Judith Schalansky’s beautiful and deeply personal account of the islands that have held a place in her heart throughout her lifelong love of cartography, has captured the imaginations of readers everywhere. Using historic events and scientific reports as a springboard, she creates a story around each island: fantastical, inscrutable stories, mixtures of fact and imagination that produce worlds for the reader to explore.

Howland Island National Wildlife Refuge

Howland is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), within the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Service is the primary Federal entity responsible for conserving and enhancing the Nation’s fish and wildlife populations and their habitats.

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