The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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Howland Island (176.615W
0.804N) is a small island, little more than a sandbar 2 miles (3 km) long, located just
north of Baker Island and
about 1600 miles (2600 km) southwest of Hawaii.
The island is shaped like a shallow saucer, with its highest elevation
(10' or 3 meters) on the western rim, and it is heavily vegetated. It
was mined for guano, but this was exhausted by 1890.
A small airstrip
(2400' or 730 meters) had been built here to support aviatrix Amelia
Earhart's attempt at a round-the-world flight in the late 1930s, but
she disappeared somewhere near the island. The island also had a
lighthouse on its western rim.
The island was heavily bombed on 8 December 1941
and subsequently shelled by Japanese warships, destroying the
facilities. It was evacuated in January 1941, then reoccupied by
Marines in 11 August 1943. By September the airfield was reconditioned
but saw little operational use.
The Kamehameha Schools Archives (accessed 2007-10-1)
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