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Wake Island NASA photo map

Wake Island map overlaying a enhanced astronaut photograph taken from ISS Expedition 33 on September 27, 2012. Atribution: Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center.

Flag of Wake Island

The unofficial flag of Wake Island.


Wake Atoll is small, sandy Pacific Island that is a an unorganized (run by an pointed governor not an elected council), unincorporated territory (not officially part of the USA proper) that was claimed by U.S. on January 17, 1899. Wake Island derives its name from British sea captain Samuel Wake, who rediscovered the atoll in 1796 while in command of the Prince William Henry. The name is sometimes attributed to Captain William Wake, who also is reported to have discovered the atoll from the Prince William Henry in 1792.


The Wake Atoll group.
Island. acres. hectares.
Wake Islet. 1,367.04. 553.22.
Wilkes Islet. 197.44. 79.90.
Peale Islet. 256.83. 103.94.
Wake Island. 1,821.31. 737.06.
The Lagoon (water). 1,480.00. 600.00.
Sand Flat. 910.00. 370.00.

It is 1,501 miles (2,416 kilometres) east of Guam, 2,298 miles (3,698 kilometres) west of Honolulu and 1,991 miles (3,204 kilometres) southeast of Tokyo. It is one of the most isolated islands in the world and the nearest inhabited island is Utirik Atoll in the Marshall Islands, 592 miles (953 kilometres) to the southeast. The island is also claimed by the near by Marshall Islands.

  • Motto: "Where America's Day Really Begins".
  • Population: About 94 people live on the island and access to it is restricted for security reasons.



SS North Haven unloading at Wilkes Island, Wake Atoll

Pan American Airways (PAA) construction workers lighter building materials from the SS North Haven to the dock at Wilkes Island, Wake Atoll.

PAA Hotel and facilities at Wake Island

Aerial view of Pan American Airways Hotel and facilities on Peale Island at Wake Atoll. The hotel is on the left, the anchor from the Libelle shipwreck and the pergola leading to the "Clipper" seaplane dock is on the right.

Wake Island was first encountered by Europeans on October 2, 1568 by Spanish explorer and navigator Álvaro de Mendaña de Neyra in 1567, but it had been visited for centuries by passing fishermen from the Marshall Islands.

In 1796, Captain Samuel Wake of the British merchantman Price William Henry also came upon Wake Island, naming the atoll for himself. Soon thereafter the 80 ton British fur trading merchant brig Halcyon arrived at Wake and Master Charles William Barkley, unaware of Captain Wake's earlier and other prior European contact, named the atoll Halcyon Island in honor of his ship.

In 1823, Captain Edward Gardner, while in command of the British Royal Navy's whaling ship H.M.S. Bellona, visited an island at 19°15′00″N 166°32′00″E, which he judged to be 20–25 miles (32–40 kilometres) long. The island was "covered with wood, having a very green and rural appearance". This report is considered to be another sighting of Wake Island.

On December 20, 1841, the United States Exploring Expedition, commanded by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, U.S.N., arrived at Wake on the USS Vincennes and sent several boats to survey the island and described the island for the first time.

Some ship wrecks occurred on it between the 1840s and 1900s.

Commander Edward D. Taussig of the USS Bennington tooks formal possession of Wake Island for the United States with the raising of the flag and a 21-gun salute on January 17, 1899.

Japanese feather poachers arrived between the 1904 and 1935. 

Hector C. Bywater recommended 1921 establishing a well-defended American fueling station at Wake Island in order to provide coal and oil for United States Navy ships engaged in future operations against Japan.

A joint 1923 expedition by the then Bureau of the Biological Survey (in the U.S. Department of Agriculture), the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum and the United States Navy was organized to conduct a thorough biological reconnaissance of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, then administered by the Biological Survey Bureau as the Hawaiian Islands Bird Reservation.


Juan Trippe, president of the world's then largest airline, Pan American Airways (PAA), wanted to expand globally by offering passenger air service between the United States and China, but it would need to island-hop, stopping at various points for refueling and maintenance such as Wake Island.  They got permision to act in 1935.

The , U.S. Navy military planners and the State Department were increasingly alarmed by the Empire of Japan's expansionist attitude and growing belligerence in the Western Pacific. Japan had began to develop harbors and airfields throughout Micronesia in defiance of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 which prohibited both the United States and Japan from expanding military fortifications in the Pacific islands, which angerd and frighntend te USA badly.

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William H. Standley ordered a survey of Wake by the USS Nitro and on December 29, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6935 which placed Wake Island, and also Johnston, Sand Island at Midway and Kingman Reef, under the control of the Department of the Navy. In an attempt to disguise the Navy's military intentions, Rear Admiral Harry E. Yarnell then designated Wake Island as a bird sanctuary. 

The USS Nitro arrived at Wake Island on March 8, 1935 and conducted a two-day ground, marine and aerial survey, providing the Navy with strategic observations and complete photographic coverage of the atoll. Four days later on March 12, 1935, Secretary of the Navy Claude A. Swanson formally granted Pan American Airways permission to construct facilities at Wake Island. 

To construct bases in the Pacific, Pan American Airways (PAA) chartered the 6,700 ton freighter SS North Haven which arrived at Wake Island on May 9, 1935 with construction workers and the necessary materials and equipment to start to build Pan American facilities and to clear the lagoon for a flying boat landing area.

On June 12, the North Haven departed for Guam, leaving behind various PAA technicians and a construction crew. The atoll's encircling coral reef (like many others in the Pacific) prevented the ship from entering and anchoring in the shallow lagoon itself. The only suitable location for ferrying supplies and workers ashore was at nearby Wilkes Island; however, the chief engineer of the expedition, Charles R. Russell, determined that Wilkes was too low and at times flooded and that Peale Island was the best site for the Pan American facilities.

On August 17, 1935, the first aircraft landing at Wake Island occurred when a PAA flying boat, on a survey flight of the route between Midway and Wake, landed in the lagoon.

In 1937, Wake Island became a regular stop for PAA's international trans-Pacific passenger and airmail service with two scheduled flights per week, one westbound from Midway and one eastbound from Guam. Pan American Airways "Flying Clippers" would use the island as part of the route to Guam .

Wake Island is credited as being one of the early successes of hydroponics, which enabled Pan American Airways to grow vegetables for its passengers, as it was very expensive to airlift in fresh vegetables and the island lacked natural soil. PAAville remained in operation up to the day of the first Japanese air raid in December 1941, forcing the U.S. into World War II.

World War 2Edit

Wake island 1945 surrender

The Surrender of Wake Atoll, 4 September 1945: Raising the U.S. flag over Wake Island on 4 September 1945, as a U.S. Marine Corps bugler plays "Colors". This was the first time the Stars and Stripes had flown over Wake since its capture by the Japanese on 23 December 1941. The officer saluting in the right foreground is Rear Admiral Shigematsu Sakaibara, Japanese commander on Wake. Colors carried by the U.S. party, right background, include the U.S. Marine Corps flag.


A destroyed Japanese patrol boat (#33) on Wake.

On December 8, 1941, the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7 in Hawaii, which is on the other side of the International Date Line), at least 27 Japanese Mitsubishi G3M "Nell" medium bombers flown from bases on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands attacked Wake Island, destroying eight of the 12 Grumman F4F Wildcat fighter aircraft belonging to United States Marine Corps Fighter Squadron 211 (VMF-211) on the ground. The Marine garrison's defensive emplacements were left intact by the raid, which primarily targeted the aircraft.

The Battle of Wake Island began simultaneously with the attack on Pearl Harbor and ended on 23 December 1941, with the surrender of the American forces to the Empire of Japan. It was fought on and around the atoll formed by Wake Island and its islets of Peale and Wilkes Islands by the air, land, and naval forces of the Empire of Japan against those of the U.S., with Marines playing a prominent role on both sides.

The island was held by the Japanese for the duration of the Pacific War; the remaining Japanese garrison on the island surrendered to a detachment of United States Marines on 4 September 1945.

In the aftermath of the battle, most of the captured civilians and military personnel were sent to POW camps in Asia, though some of the civilian laborers were enslaved by the Japanese and tasked with improving the island's defenses.

The Japanese-occupied island (called by them Otori-Shima (大鳥島) or "Big Bird Island" for its birdlike shape) was bombed several times by American aircraft; one of these raids was the first mission for future United States President George H. W. Bush.

On September 4, 1945, the Japanese garrison surrendered to a detachment of United States Marines under the command of Brigadier general Lawson H. M. Sanderson. By this time the American government and military had resolved it would never lose such a strategic island ever again, which lead to the American government getting sum-what paranoid about Soviet and Red Chinese intrigues in the Western Pacific region, especially on Guam, Tinian Island and Wake Atoll.

Cold War eraEdit


Original Drifter's Reef bar, Wake Island

The original Drifter's Reef bar, built near the harbor area at Wake Island, opened its doors to aircrews, visitors and other "drifters" on November 8, 1949.

With the end of wartime hostilities with Japan and the increase in international air travel driven in part by war-time advances in aeronautics, Wake Island became a critical mid-Pacific base for the servicing and refueling of military and commercial aircraft. The United States Navy resumed control of the island and in October 1945, 400 Seabees from the 85th Naval Construction Battalion arrived at Wake to clear the island of the effects of the war and to build basic facilities for a Naval Air Base.

The air base was completed in March 1946 and on September 24, 1946, regular commercial passenger service was resumed by Pan American Airways (Pan Am). The era of the flying boats was nearly over so Pan Am switched to longer range, faster and more profitable airplanes that could land on Wake's new coral runway. Other airlines that established transpacific routes through Wake included British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), Philippine Airlines and Transocean Airlines. Due to the substantial increase in the number of commercial flights, on July 1, 1947, the Navy transferred administration, operations and maintenance of the facilities at Wake to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). In 1949, the CAA upgraded the runway by paving over the coral surface and extending its length to 7,000 feet.

Korean WarEdit

President Truman pinning medal on General MacArthur on Wake Island

President Harry S. Truman awards the Distinguished Service Medal (of the U.S. Army), Fourth Oak Leaf Cluster, to General Douglas McArthur during the Wake Island Conference.

In June 1950, the Korean War began with the United States leading United Nations forces against North Korea. In July, the Korean Airlift was started and the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) used the airfield and facilities at Wake Island as a key mid-Pacific refueling stop for its mission of transporting men and supplies to the Korean front. By September 1950, 120 military aircraft were landing at Wake per day.

On October 15, 1950, U.S. President Harry S. Truman and General Douglas MacArthur met at the Wake Island Conference to discuss progress and war strategy for the Korean Peninsula. They chose to meet at Wake Island because of its closer proximity to Korea so that General MacArthur would not have to be away from the troops in the field for long.

During 1953, the last year of the war, more than 85% of the air traffic through Wake was military aircraft or civilian contract carriers supporting the Korean war effort. Military use had soared and civil use had nearly died off.

Shipwreck tanker and it's oil spillEdit

On September 6, 1967, Standard Oil of California's 18,000-ton tanker SS R. C. Stoner was driven onto the reef at Wake Island by a strong southwesterly wind after the ship failed to moor to the two buoys near the harbor entrance. An estimated 6 million gallons of refined fuel oil, including 5.7 million gallons of aviation fuel, 168,000 gallons of diesel oil and 138,600 gallons of bunker C fuel spilled into the small boat harbor and along the southwestern coast of Wake Island to Peacock Point.

Large numbers of fish were stranded and killed by the oil spill, and personnel from the FAA and crewman from the ship cleared the area closest to the spill of dead fish. The U.S. Navy salvage team Harbor Clearance Unit Two and Pacific Fleet Salvage Officer, Commander John B. Orem flew to Wake to assess the situation and by September 13, Navy tugs USS Mataco and USS Wandank, salvage ships USS Conserver and USS Grapple, tanker USS Noxubee, and USCGC Mallow, arrived from Honolulu, Guam and Subic Bay in the Philippines, to assist in the cleanup and removal of the vessel.

At the boat harbor, the salvage team pumped and skimmed oil which they burned each evening in nearby pits. Recovery by the Navy salvage team of the R. C. Stoner and its remaining cargo, however, was hampered by strong winds and heavy seas. On September 16, Super Typhoon Sarah made landfall on Wake Island at peak intensity with winds up to 145-knots, causing widespread damage. The intensity of the storm had the beneficial effect of greatly accelerating the cleanup effort by clearing the harbor and scouring the coast. Oil did remain, however, embedded in the reef's flat crevices and impregnated in the coral. The storm also had broken the wrecked vessel into three sections and, although delayed by rough seas and harassment by blacktip reef sharks, the salvage team used explosives to flatten and sink the remaining portions of the ship that were still above water.

A few dead sharks bobbed up shortly afterwards and may have been killed by residual oil.

Commercial aviation ends and the U.S. Air Force assumes controlEdit

In the early 1970s, higher-efficiency jet aircraft with longer-range capabilities lessened the use of Wake Island Airfield as a refueling stop and the number of commercial flights landing at Wake declined sharply. Pan Am had replaced many of their Boeing 707s with more efficient 747s thus eliminating the need to continue weekly stops at Wake Island. Other airlines began to eliminate their scheduled flights into Wake. In June 1972, the last scheduled Pan Am passenger flight landed at Wake and in July, Pan Am's last cargo flight departed the island, marking the end of the heyday of Wake Island's commercial aviation history. During this same time period, the U.S. military had transitioned to longer-range C-5A and C-141 aircraft leaving the C-130 as the only aircraft that would continue to regularly use the island's airfield. The steady decrease in air traffic control activities at Wake Island was apparent and was expected to continue into the future.

On June 24, 1972, responsibility for the civil administration of Wake Island was transferred from the FAA to the United States Air Force under an agreement between the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of the Air Force. In July 1972, the FAA turned over administration of the island to the Military Airlift Command (MAC), although legal ownership stayed with the Department of the Interior and the FAA continued to maintain the air navigation facilities and provide air traffic control services. On December 27, 1972, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force (CSAF) John D. Ryan directed MAC to phase out en route support activity at Wake Island effective June 30, 1973. On July 1, 1973, all FAA activities ended and the U.S. Air Force under Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Detachment 4, 15th Air Base Wing assumed control of Wake Island.

Missile basesEdit

On June 24, 1972, responsibility for the civil administration of Wake Island was transferred from the FAA to the United States Air Force under an agreement between the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of the Air Force. In July 1972, the FAA turned over administration of the island to the Military Airlift Command (MAC), although legal ownership stayed with the Department of the Interior and the FAA continued to maintain the air navigation facilities and provide air traffic control services. On December 27, 1972, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force (CSAF) John D. Ryan directed MAC to phase out en route support activity at Wake Island effective June 30, 1973. On July 1, 1973, all FAA activities ended and the U.S. Air Force under Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Detachment 4, 15th Air Base Wing assumed control of Wake Island.

In 1973, Wake Island was selected as a launch site for the testing of defensive systems against intercontinental ballistic missiles under the U.S. Army's Project Have Mill. Air Force personnel on Wake and the Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) Space and Missile Systems Organization (SAMSO) provided support to the Army's Advanced Ballistic Missile Defense Agency (ABMDA). A missile launch complex was activated on Wake and, from February 13 to June 22, 1974, seven Athena H missiles were launched from the island to the Roi-Namur Test Range at Kwajalein Atoll.

Vietnam War refugees and Operation New LifeEdit

File:Vietnamese refugees on Wake Island.jpg

In the spring of 1975, the population on Wake Island consisted of 251 military, government and civilian contract personnel whose primary mission was to maintain the airfield as a Mid-Pacific emergency runway. With the imminent fall of Saigon to North Vietnamese forces, President Gerald Ford ordered American forces to support Operation New Life, the evacuation of refugees from Vietnam. The original plans included Subic Bay and Guam as refugee processing centers but due to the high number of Vietnamese seeking evacuation, Wake Island was selected as an additional location.

In March 1975, Island Commander Major Bruce R. Hoon was contacted by Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) and ordered to prepare Wake for its new mission as a refuge processing center where Vietnamese evacuees could be medically screened, interviewed and then transported to the United States or to other resettlement countries. A 60-man civil engineering team was brought in to reopen boarded-up buildings and housing, two complete MASH units arrived to set up field hospitals and three Army field kitchens were deployed. A 60-man Security Police team, processing agents from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and various other administrative and support personnel were also on Wake.

Potable water, food, medical supplies, clothing and other supplies were shipped in. On April 26, 1975, the first C-141 military transport aircraft carrying refugees arrived. The airlift to Wake continued at a rate of one C-141 every hour and 45 minutes, each aircraft with 283 refugees on board. At the peak of the mission, 8,700 Vietnamese refugees were on Wake. When the airlift ended on August 2, a total of about 15,000 refugees had been processed through Wake Island as part of Operation New Life.

Bikini Islanders resettlementEdit

The heavy nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll program was a series of 23 nuclear devices detonated by the United States between 1946 and 1958 at seven test sites on the reef itself, on the sea, in the air and underwater. The test weapons produced a combined fission yield of 42.2 Mt of explosive power.

On March 20, 1978, Undersecretary James A. Joseph of the U.S. Department of the Interior reported that radiation levels, from Operation Crossroads and other atomic tests conducted in the 1940s and 1950s on Bikini Atoll, were still too high and that island natives that returned to Bikini would once again have to be relocated. In September 1979, a delegation from the Bikini/Kili Council came to Wake Island to assess the island's potential as a possible resettlement site. The delegation also traveled to Hawaii (Molokai and Hilo), Palmyra Atoll and various atolls in the Marshall Islands including Mili, Knox, Jaluit, Ailinglaplap, Erikub and Likiep but the group agreed that they were only interested in resettlement on Wake Island due to the presence of the U.S. military and the island's proximity to Bikini Atoll. Unfortunately for the Bikini Islanders, the U.S. Department of Defense responded that "any such resettlement is out of the question.".

Commemorative and memorial visitsEdit


Missile systems testing resumes and the U.S. Army takes controlEdit

China Clipper II at Wake Island 1985

Passengers and crew of Pan Am's China Clipper II Boeing 747 pose for a "class picture" at Wake Island during a 1985 trip across the Pacific to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first China Clipper flight.

The island has been used for strategic defense and operations during and after the Cold War with Wake Island serving as a launch platform for military rockets involved in testing anti-missile defense systems and atmospheric re-entry trials. Wake's location allows for a safe launch and trajectory over the unpopulated ocean with open space for intercepts.

In 1987, Wake Island was selected as a missile launch site for a Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program named Project Starlab/Starbird. In 1989, the U.S. Army Strategic Defense Command (USASDC) constructed two launch pads on Peacock Point, as well as nearby support facilities, for the eight-ton, sixty-foot, multi-stage Starbird test missiles. The program involved using electro-optical and laser systems, mounted on the Starlab platform in the payload bay of an orbiting space shuttle, to acquire, track and target Starbird missiles launched from Cape Canaveral and Wake. After being impacted by mission scheduling delays caused by the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger, the program was cancelled in late September 1990 to protect funding for another U.S. Army space-based missile defense program known as Brilliant Pebbles. Although no Starbird missiles were ever launched from Wake Island, the Starbird launch facilities at Wake were modified to support rocket launches for the Brilliant Pebbles program with the first launch occurring on January 29, 1992. On October 16, a 30-foot Castor-Orbus rocket was destroyed by ground controllers seven minutes after its launch from Wake. The program was canceled in 1993.

Missile testing activities continued with the Lightweight Exo-Atmospheric Projectile (LEAP) Test Program, another U.S. Army strategic defense project that included the launching of two Aerojet Super Chief HPB rockets from Wake Island. The first launch, on January 28, 1993, reached apogee at 240 miles (390 kilometres) and was a success. The second launch, on February 11, reached apogee at 1.2 miles (1.9 kilometres) and was a failure.

Due to the U.S. Army's continued use of the atoll for various missile testing programs, on October 1, 1994, the U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command (USASSDC) assumed administrative command of Wake Island under a caretaker permit from the U.S. Air Force. The USASSDC had been operating on Wake since 1988 when construction of Starbird launch and support facilities was started. Now under U.S Army control, the island, which is located 690 miles (1,110 kilometres) north of Kwajalein Atoll, became a rocket launch site for the Kwajalein Missile Range known as the Wake Island Launch Center.

U.S. Air Force regains controlEdit

On October 1, 2002, administrative control and support of Wake Island was transferred from the U.S. Army to the U.S. Air Force's 15th Wing, an aviation unit of Pacific Air Forces based at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. The 15th Wing had previously been in control of Wake from July 1, 1973 to September 30, 1994. Although the Air Force was once again in control, the Missile Defense Agency would continue to operate the Wake Island Launch Center and the U.S. Army's Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site would continue to maintain and operate the launch facilities and also provide instrumentation, communications, flight and ground safety, security, and other support.

On January 6, 2009, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 8836, establishing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to preserve the marine environments around Wake Atoll, Baker Island, Howland Island, and Jarvis Islands, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, and Palmyra Atoll.

On September 27, 2014, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 9173 to expand the area of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument out to the full 200 nautical miles U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) boundary for each island. By this proclamation, the area of the monument at Wake Island was increased from 15,085 sq mi (39,069 km2) to 167,336 sq mi (433,398 km2). .

Post-Cold WarEdit

President George W. Bush declared the submerged and emergent lands at the atoll as a unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in 2009.

Territorial claims by the Marshall IslandsEdit

Offical Marshallese claimsEdit

The Republic of the Marshall Islands has claimed Wake Island which is known by the name Enen-kio. In 1973, Marshallese lawmakers meeting in Saipan at the Congress of Micronesia, the legislative body for the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, asserted that "Enen-kio is and always has been the property of the people of the Marshall Islands". Their claim was based on oral legends and songs, passed down through generations, describing ancient Marshallese voyages to Wake to gather food and a sacred bird's bone wing used in traditional tattooing ceremonies. In 1990, legislation in the U.S. Congress proposed including Wake Island within the boundaries of the U.S. territory of Guam. In response, Marshallese President Amata Kabua reasserted his nation's claim to Wake, declaring that Enen-kio was a site of great importance to the traditional chiefly rituals of the Marshall Islands.

The Marshall Islands now accepts de facto American control over the atoll for the foreseeable future.

The 'Kingdom of EnenKio'Edit

Flag of EnenKio

Separatist flag of EnenKio


A small separatist group, known as the Kingdom of EnenKio, has also claimed Wake Island as a separate sovereign micro-nation and has issued passports and other diplomatic papers. On April 23, 1998, the Marshall Islands government notified all countries with which it has diplomatic ties that the claims of the 'Kingdom of EnenKio' are fraudulent.

The Kingdom of EnenKio, or "EnenKio" for short, is a small separatist group of Marshall Islander heritage who lay claim to the United States' unincorporated territory of Wake Island. EnenKio seeks recognition as a sovereign Micronesian state in the Northern Marshall Islands. The Kingdom of EnenKio derives its name from the native name of the northernmost Marshallese atoll, Eneen-Kio, which was also written as Enen-kio. In the Marshallese language, Enen-kio means "Island of the orange flower."

The Kingdom of EnenKio, which claims Wake Atoll in the Marshall Islands belonging to the US minor outlying islands, has been condemned by the governments of the Marshall Islands and of the United States for selling passports and diplomatic papers. On April 23, 1998, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Marshall Islands issued an official Circular Note, denouncing representatives of both "EnenKio" and "Melchizedek" for making fraudulent representations.

The proclaimed 'king' is currently Iroijlaplap Remios Hermios.

Wake Island comprises three proximate coral atolls currently known as Peale Island, Wake Island, and Wilkes Island. In aggregate they make up an area of approximately 6.5 km² and are approximately 2,300 statute miles west of the Hawaiian Islands and 2,000 miles from Japan. The nearest island neighbor is Bokak Atoll of the Marshall Islands group, some 300 miles to the south. Westerners have called Wake Island by different names throughout history, such as San Francisco, Lamira, Disclerta, Halcyon, Helsion, and Wilson.

Iroijlaplap Remios HermiosEdit

Iroijlaplap (female: leroij) is the title given to the paramount chiefs in the Marshall Islands. An ordinary chief holds the title of iroij (female: leroij); -ļapļap is a superlative suffix.

Article III of the Constitution of the Marshall Islands recognises the title, and establishes a Council of Iroij, composed of holders of the title of Iroijlaplap, or other analogous traditional titles, chosen from holders of the chieftainship among the several constituent islands. The Council is empowered to "consider any matter of concern to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and it may express its opinion thereon to the Cabinet". The Council is also entitled to formally request the reconsideration of any bill in the Nitijela (the legislature of the Marshall Islands), that affects customary law, traditional practices, or land tenure.

There are currently four iroijlaplap, two of which have served as the country's president:

  1. Imata Kabua
  2. Anjua Loeak
  3. Jurelang Zedkaia
  4. Remios Hermios

The Dominion of Melchizedek has been widely condemned for promoting fraudulent banking activities and other financial scams, and for the involvement by one of its founders in the attempted secession of the Fijian island of Rotuma.

Remios Hermios is one of two iroijlaplap (or paramount chiefs) of the Ratak Chain in the Marshall Islands. His traditional domain includes the atolls of Aur, Maloelap, Erikub, Wotje, Likiep, Ailuk, Utirik and Taongi; he and his predecessors have also laid claim to U.S.-administered Wake Island. The other paramount chief in the chain is incumbent president, Jurelang Zedkaia, whose domain covers Majuro, Arno and Mili atolls.

Remios succeeded the chiefly title upon the death of his father, Murjel Hermios, in December 1998.

Basis of claimEdit

The Kingdom of EnenKio bases their claim over Wake Island upon primarily three factors.

First, indigenous Marshallese oral tradition suggests that, before European exploration, nearby Marshall Islanders travelled to what is now Wake Island, which the ancient travelers called Enen-kio after a small orange shrub-flower said to have been found on the island. In ancient Marshallese religion, rituals surrounding the tattooing of tribal chiefs, called Iroijlaplap, were done using certain fresh human bones, which required a human sacrifice. A man could save himself from being sacrificed if he obtained a wing bone from a certain very large seabird said to have existed on Enen-kio. Small groups would therefore brave traveling to the island in hope of obtaining and returning with this bone, thus saving the life of the potential human sacrifice.

Second, EnenKio's Monarch claims to be a direct descendant of ancient travelers to Wake Island, as described above.

Third, and based upon the above two factors, EnenKio bases their claim upon concepts of first-usage lands rights commonly held in Micronesian cultures and legal systems as legitimate for settling indigenous land disputes.

However, because there is no evidence of any permanent Marshall Islander settlement on Wake Atoll, the kingdom's claims have been questioned by many. Becoming a citizen requires membership in Kio Royale, a "private independent service-oriented advocacy group" that requires an initiation fee ranging from $500 to $10,000. EnenKio is characterized as a scam by, whose view is shared by the Marshall Islands Journal.


To date, EnenKio is not recognized in any international forum as a sovereign state nor does any internationally recognized state recognize it. In 1997 the Dominion of Melchizedek a micronation engaged in financial fraud, reported that the two had entered into relations.

On 23 April 1998 the Marshall Islands government issued Circular Note 01-98, which vigorously denied EnenKio's Wake Island claims.

The Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands condemns the claims and activities asserted by representatives of the "Kingdom of EnenKio" and the "Dominion of Melchizedek". The representatives making claims of separate sovereignty are not citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and have no right to make claims on behalf of Marshallese landowners.

Furthermore, these representatives are making fraudulent assertions that violate the Republic of the Marshall Islands' constitution. The area of land and ocean which the "Kingdom of EnenKio" asserts as a sovereign nation separate from the Marshall Islands and the area of land and ocean which the "Dominion of Melchizedek" is asserting control over are areas within the geographical and political boundaries of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

The Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands discourages all independent sovereign nations having diplomatic relations with the Republic from acknowledging any fraudulent claims made by representatives of the "Kingdom of EnenKio" and the "Dominion of Melchizedek".

According to a WHOIS websearch at Network Solutions, the domain "", which had been used for a website promoting the claims of the "Kingdom of EnenKio", was secured by the Japanese firm GMO Internet, Inc. on 6 June 2011. As of 5 December 2011, the domain links to a Japanese dating website.

A related and similar issueEdit

The Republic of Minerva was a libertarian project that succeeded in building a small man-made island on the Minerva Reefs south of Fiji in 1972 before being invaded by troops from Tonga, who annexed it and destroyed the island.


On June 24, 1972, the United States Air Force assumed responsibility for the civil administration of Wake Island pursuant to an agreement between the Department of the Interior and the Department of the Air Force.

The civil administration authority at Wake Island has been delegated by the Secretary of the Air Force to the General Counsel of the Air Force in accordance with U.S. federal law known as the Wake Island Code. This position is currently held by General Counsel Gordon O. Tanner. The general counsel provides civil, legal and judicial authority and can appoint one or more judges to serve on the Wake Island Court and the Wake Island Court of Appeals.

Certain authorities have been re-delegated by the general counsel to the Commander, Wake Island, a position currently held by Captain Allen Jaime with Detachment 1, Pacific Air Forces Regional Support Center. The commander may issue permits or registrations, appoint peace officers, impose quarantines, issue traffic regulations, commission notaries public, direct evacuations and inspections and carry out other duties, powers and functions as the agent of the general counsel on Wake.

Since Wake Island is an active Air Force airfield, the commander is also the senior officer in charge of all activities on the island.

Rumored and suspected manganese nodulesEdit

The Marshall Islands was found since the 1960s to have untapped phosphate deposits, marine products and deep seabed minerals like manganese nodules. Wake was initially thought to have some, but this was later disproved as no more than the odd scattered individuals in the island's exclusive ecanomic zone (EEZ).

Air base and airportEdit

Wake Island Airfield (IATA: AWK, ICAO: PWAK) is a military airport located on Wake Island, which is known for the Battle of Wake Island during World War II. It is owned by the U.S. Air Force and operated by the 611th Air Support Group. It was once a Pan Am airstrip.

It is primarily used as a mid-Pacific refueling stop for military aircraft and as an emergency landing area.

The 9,800-foot (3,000 m) runway is the longest strategic runway in the Pacific islands as of 2014.

Missile baseEdit

Located south of the airport runway is the Wake Island Launch Center, a Reagan Test Site missile launch facility operated by the United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command and the Missile Defense Agency.

Also seeEdit

  1. Airports
  2. Republic of Minerva
  3. Wake Island Airfield
  4. Bikini Atoll
  5. MASH Units
  6. Vietnam War
  7. Dustoff crews
  8. Midway Island
  9. Manganese nodules
  10. Johnston Atoll
  11. 1950–1953 Korean War
  12. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands


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