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Navassa Island[Country flag of Navassa Island]
[Country map of Navassa Island]

Introduction Navassa Island
Background:
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 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
Location:
Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, 35 miles west of Tiburon Peninsula of Haiti
Geographic coordinates:
18 25 N, 75 02 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
total: 5.4 sq km
land: 5.4 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
about nine times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
Coastline:
8 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:
marine, tropical
Terrain:
raised coral and limestone plateau, flat to undulating; ringed by vertical white cliffs (9 to 15 m high)
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on southwest side 77 m
Natural resources:
guano
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2001)
Irrigated land:
0 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
NA
Environment - current issues:
NA
Geography - note:
strategic location 160 km south of the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; mostly exposed rock but with enough grassland to support goat herds; dense stands of fig-like trees, scattered cactus
People Navassa Island
Population:
uninhabited
note: transient Haitian fishermen and others camp on the island (July 2005 est.)
Government Navassa Island
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Navassa Island
Dependency status:
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
Legal system:
the laws of the US, where applicable, apply
Flag description:
the flag of the US is used
Economy Navassa Island
Economy - overview:
subsistence fishing and commercial trawling activities within refuge waters

Transportation Navassa Island
Ports and harbors:
none; offshore anchorage only
Military Navassa Island
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the US
Transnational Issues Navassa Island
Disputes - international:
claimed by Haiti, source of subsistence fishing

This page was last updated on 1 November, 2005


 

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