CENTRAL PACIFIC ISLANDS

           

Sprinkled across the central Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and Samoa, and east of the 180th meridian, are about thirty low coral islands. One hundred years ago many of these were claimed by American guano interests, and a number of them were the scene of busy enterprise. So generally accepted was the claim to them by citizens of the United States that a distinguished German geographer, E. Behm, writing in 1859, called the area "American Polynesia."

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All but forgotten for half a century or more, these islands have come into sudden prominence through the recent rise of trans-Pacific aviation. Some of the islands are atolls, with spacious lagoons, which would serve as excellent seaplane ports - regular or emergency stepping stones along the air routes. Other coral islands have broad expanses of flat surface which would provide a resting place for land planes. Still others, not so well fitted as landing places, would provide spots at which weather observations, so necessary to safe air travel, could be made.

These islands comprise the Equatorial or Line group, the Phoenix group, the Tokelau or Union group, and several islands scattered to the southeast of these, most of which now have been placed under political control of the Cook group.

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Central Pacific Islands
Click on the above for a larger map

So similar are some of these coral islands in their geography, fauna, flora, and general history, that we will precede the Web sites of each of these islands by some general notes on these topics. What follows is a discussion of the setting of these islands in the central Pacific basin.

THE CENTRAL PACIFIC BASIN

The Pacific Ocean occupies nearly one-third of the earth's surface. One can sail across it along the equator, for a distance of 10,000 miles. From the Aleutian Islands on the north to the Antarctic continent on the south is a distance almost as great. The surface of the ocean has an area of about 65,000,000 square miles.

This ocean contains more than half of all the earth's volume of water, 165,000,000 cubic miles of it. The average depth of the Pacific Ocean is about 13,400 feet. The eastern half is of nearly uniform depth, averaging about 16,000 feet, and is rather free from islands. The western half has areas which are comparatively shallow alternating with narrow areas of very great depth, and there are numerous islands. One of the deep places (troughs), off the N.E. corner of Mindanao, Philippine Islands, contains the greatest depth yet sounded, 35,400 feet.

The central Pacific area contains ocean of rather uniform depth on its north-eastern side, and the remains of the ancient "Melanesian Continent" on its south-western side. Between are alternate ridges and troughs, most of which trend from northwest to southeast. Along the ridges are scattered chains of islands. Nearly parallel to each other, from north to south, we find: (1) the chain of Hawaiian Islands, (2) the Christmas-Palmyra chain, which may extend north-westward to Johnston Island, and to the southeast through the Marquesas Islands, (3) a ridge through Tongareva (Penrhyn) Island, which extends north-westward toward Baker and Howland Islands, and, after interruption, is continued south-eastward as the western Tuamotu Islands, (4) a ridge through Pukapuka and Nassau Islands, (after an interruption) through the Society Islands, and (after another break) through the eastern Tuamotu Islands, and (5) a ridge through the Samoan islands, and in line with it, one through the Cook and Austral Islands.

These ridges are great ranges of volcanic mountains rising from the bottom of the ocean. Where they protrude above the surface they form volcanic islands. In other places they have been carved off just below the surface and have been capped over with coral to form coral islands. Some of these form a ring around a central lagoon and are called atolls. Others have been pushed up to a height of several hundred, even a thousand feet, to form upraised coral islands. Coral reefs also may form around the margin of volcanic islands, or may surround them, at a little distance off shore to form barrier reefs.

Many millions of years ago perhaps hundreds of millions of years, a great mass of land extended south-eastward from the southeast corner of Asia. This has been called the "Melanesian Continent," because now it has broken up to form the high, but scattered islands of Melanesia. The edge of this continent included Fiji, and may have extended out to parts of Tonga. Its eastern edge is marked on the map. East of this we find two especially deep troughs, known as the Tongan Deep and the Kermadec Deep, with depths of more than 28,000 feet. One place in the Kermadec trough, known as Aldrich Deep, has a sounding of 30,930 feet.

This is the setting in which are located the central Pacific islands. How might they have been formed?

HOW WERE THESE ISLANDS FORMED?

The atolls and coral islands of the central Pacific are thought to be caps of reef rock upon the summits of volcanic mountains. These mountains rise steeply from the nearly level floor of the ocean, which lies more than three miles below the surface of the sea.

To explain how this has come about presents many problems to geologists. (1) What made the broad, flat expanse of ocean bottom? (2) How were volcanic mountains built up in nearly parallel ranges? (3) How did the peaks of these mountains become capped with rings of coral? (4) By what process did atolls and coral pancakes develop from these rings? Few geologic questions have aroused more controversy than these.

Geologists explain the depressed floor of the Pacific ocean by the theory of isostasy. This suggests that the earth's surface is made up of great blocks, some of which are of heavy material, others light. The heaviest ones have sunk under the pull of the earth's gravity and form the ocean bottom; lighter blocks stand higher and form the continents.

Where these blocks push against each other, earthquakes and volcanic activity occur. The Pacific is surrounded by a belt characterized by earthquakes and volcanism. The chains of volcanic mountains across the Pacific are believed to have been built up by outpourings of lava from great rifts in the ocean bottom, which were, perhaps, the joints between huge surface blocks. The volcanic material could have been produced by the force of the blocks pushing against each other; or, if one believes there is molten lava beneath the earth's crust, it could have escaped through the cracks.

The two best of several theories as to how peaks of these mountains were capped with rings of coral reef are: the "subsidence theory" of Charles Darwin, and the "glacial-control theory" of R. A. Daly. These are illustrated by the diagrams.

Darwin suggested that coral, forming around a sinking island, would first form a fringing reef, then a barrier reef, and finally an atoll, when the peak had completely disappeared and only a shallow lagoon was left within the coral ring.

The other theory suggests that the rings of coral reef grew up around the edge of circular submarine platforms. Volcanic peaks are thought to have been cut off by sea erosion during the glacial period, at which time the surface of the sea stood a few hundred feet below its present level, because much water had been turned into ice which covered parts of the land. By the time the sea had become warm enough to allow the growth of corals, the sea-level had risen a little, and the cut-off platforms were at the right depth for corals and other marine organisms to grow upon them. They grew best around the margin of the platform, and as the sea-level rose, due to the melting of the glaciers, they grew upward, forming rings of coral reef.

Reef-forming corals will not grow out of water or below about 150 feet. Dry land must be formed on the reefs in other ways. Reef rock is made up of all sorts of marine animal and plant remains, cemented together with lime (pulverized coral). Pieces of this rock from around the edge, in time, were piled up on the surface of the reef by the force of the waves. Sand, shells, and broken coral accumulated in the shelter of these, especially on the windward side, where the beach is almost always highest. The principal break in the atoll rim is usually on the lee side. Other lagoon entrances might be formed by sea water flowing in and out with the tide.

The lagoons of some atolls became filled with sand and coral until only small pools remained, without connection with the sea, such as several of the Phoenix islands. On some of the coral islands, such as Howland, Baker, and Jarvis, the lagoons have entirely dried up, leaving large coral "pancakes." Small elevation of land or fluctuations in the ocean level may have helped also, but these are not to be confused with the great earth movements which pushed up coral islands to as much as 1000 feet in other parts of the Pacific.

THE CLIMATE OF THE CENTRAL PACIFIC

The principal feature of the climate of the Central Pacific is its extreme uniformity, except in rainfall. Being located entirely within the tropics and lacking elevation, the temperature never becomes cold. Being entirely surrounded by great expanses of ocean and subjected to nearly continuous trade winds, the temperature never becomes very hot.

The annual mean temperature over this area is more than 75 degrees but not more than 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Average maximum temperatures above 90 degrees are rare; and the thermometer falls below 70 only on cold winter days. The highest recorded temperature is 106 degrees on Christmas Island; on other islands it is seldom above 100, and then only for a few hours, with cooler nights.

The seasons are marked principally by the direction of shallows, as the sun passes overhead from south to north and back again, and by a tendency to more stormy weather between November and May, especially south of the equator. The mean barometric pressure is between 29.8 and 30.0 inches of mercury. On some islands this does not vary a tenth of an inch for month to month averages throughout the length of the record. That does not mean that there are not small ups and downs; but these are of short duration and tend to compensate each other in the course of a month.

Rainfall is the most variable factor in the island climate of this region. Not only does this vary from island to island, but on any one island it varies from year to year. The monthly averages are rather uniform, perhaps a little heavier during the period of storms. Records have been kept on only a few islands, such as Fanning, Malden, and Christmas, until recently, but they are representative of other islands. On Fanning the annual rainfall has varied from 47.4 to 208.8 inches; on Malden from 3.94 to 93.59 inches, in different years.

Although actual rainfall measurements are lacking, considerable can be told about the rainfall on these islands by the state of their vegetation. We can trace out zones of dry islands and zones of wet islands. The five northern Phoenix islands (Phoenix, Enderbury, Birnie, Canton and McKean) together with Baker, Howland, Jarvis, and Malden, are dry islands with an average rainfall probably not exceeding 25 inches a year. In contrast to this, Palmyra, Washington, Fanning, and Swains islands have a heavy rainfall, in many years approaching or even exceeding 100 inches. On Christmas Island, the three Tokelau islands, Pukapuka, Nassau, and the three southern Phoenix islands (Sydney, Hull, and Gardner) the rainfall is intermediate between these.

The central Pacific islands north of the equator lie in the path of the northern equatorial current, which sweeps across the Pacific from east to west, and are crossed by trade winds from the northeast. Those that lie south of the equator are bathed by the south equatorial current, which also moves from east to west, and they have trade winds which blow from the east or southeast. The narrow equatorial counter-current flows from west to east just north of the equator and ordinarily does not touch any of these islands. Only in time of storm do winds blow from other quarters. There may be local tropical squalls, but severe storms are rare in the central Pacific.

MARINE COLLECTOR'S PARADISE

Coral reefs of tropical seas are fertile spots for the growth and development of marine life. The reefs themselves are composed of the hard skeletons of many kinds of marine organisms, both plant and animal, which have become cemented together. 

On most atolls, coral of various kinds is the chief component of the reefs. But coralline algae may form a considerable part of some reefs, such as Rose Atoll, where the entire surface is coated with a pink calcareous algae called lithothamnium. Added to these are the limey shells of all sorts of sea creatures, from minute, one-celled foraminifera to giant clams.

Each of several habitats develops its own association of marine life. The diagrammatic section through an atoll suggests some of these. Some organisms thrive in deep water on the steep coral slope, much of which had been formed by broken pieces of reef rock sliding down the face, coming to rest, and becoming cemented fast. Corals thrive at the lip of the reef, where the waves break, and where there is a continual supply of uncontaminated salt water. Here also one finds many kinds of mollusks.

Pools on the fringing platform reef contain many small fishes, sea urchin, starfish, seaweeds, rock crabs, mollusks, and the likes. On the steep outer sandy beach, below the high beach ridge of broken coral and sand, live burrowing crabs, such as the small "ghost" crab.

Within the lagoon, especially if the lagoon entrances are few and small, live many forms of marine life not commonly found outside. These include many little creatures, found on or burrowing in the fine, soft sand, such as marine worms, eels, sea-cucumbers, burrowing crabs, and flat-fishes. Another association is found among the reefs and coral heads, the latter standing up like mushrooms or opened umbrellas, with many choice hiding-places or mollusks, eels, octopuses, crabs, and tiny fishes. Some forms even become voluntary prisoners within the cavities of coral.

A central Pacific atoll is indeed a marine collector's paradise.

PLANT LIFE ON A CORAL ISLAND

The number of different kinds of plants to be found on the low coral islands of the Central Pacific is limited. Some of the dryer islands have fewer than a dozen species; Johnston Island has only three. On the most luxurious islands there may not be more than fifty kinds, excluding the ornamental and food plants introduced by man.

The principal plants found throughout the region are listed below in their systematic botanical order, with a word of description about each.

There are two kinds of ferns: Polypodium scolopendria has large, deeply lobed fronds, like giant oak leaves, with small cushion-like sori on the back; Asplenium nidus is the large birds-nest fern. These are found only on the wettest islands; abundant on Palmyra. Psilotum nudum is a low, erect, much branched, leafless fern ally sparingly found.

Various species of Pandanus or screw-pine are found; two varieties are native to Palmyra.

The commonest grass is the wiry bunch grass, Lepturus repens, with one-flowered spikelets embedded in the spike. Another grass, Digitaria pacifica, has hairy leaves and the flower head divided into fingers. Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), bur grass, and other species have followed man to islands. Sugar cane has been planted on a few islands.

A common sedge, Fimbristylis cymosa variety microcephala, grows on central flats and has a rosette of leaves and slender flower stalk ending in globular head. A species of Cyperus grows in marshy places. 

Coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) have been planted; do well on all but the drier islands; and propagate themselves readily on the wet islands.

Taro (Colocasia antiquorum variety esculenta) and a related form with triangular leaves (Cyrtosperma) are cultivated on some of the more moist, inhabited islands. Bananas are sparingly grown in well-cared-for patches.

The dye fig or mati (Ficus tinctoria) is found on a few islands. Of the nettle family: Pipturus velutinus is a shrub or small tree; more common is Fleurya ruderalis, an erect herb with deep-green leaves and reddish flower stalks.

Low, branching herbs of the amaranth family are found. The four-o'clock family is represented by a low, vine-like herb, Boerhaavia tetrandra, and the tall puka or buka tree, Pisonia grandis, with massive trunks of soft wood.

Pisonia grandis trees on Palmyra

Very common on dry islands are two kinds of purslane: Portulaca lutea with robust stems and large yellow flowers; Portulaca oleracea with slender purplish stems and smaller yellow flowers. Seaside purslane, Sesuvium portulacastrum, forms a tangled mat of fleshy stems and leaves along the edge of lagoons and on flats.

Dodder-like Cassytha filiformis, of the laurel family, spreads its slender orange-green stems over other plants, on which it is parasitic.

Hernandia ovigera is a tall tree, having peltate glossy leaves with red veins.

Pepper-weed, Lepidium bidentoides, is a tough, branching herb, with notched, spatulate leaves, and bottlebrush-shaped flower stalk.

Tribulus cistoides is a trailing herb with silky leaves and stem, yellow flowers, and thorny fruit, like sets of miniature cow's horns.

Suriana maritima and Pemphis acidula are two wiry shrubs with short, narrow leaves; the former has velvety stem and alternate, closely spaced leaves, which hide the yellow flowers; the latter has opposite leaves and hairs only on young growth.

Some low Euphorbia herbs are of species considered wayside weeds in Hawaii.

Triumfetta procumbens, of the linden family, is a prostrate herb with runners, harsh leaves, yellow flowers, and spherical burs, common on beach flats.

The mallow family is represented by a common ilima, Sida fallax, and the larger, rarer Abutilon indicum; both have fuzzy leaves and stems, and yellow flowers.

The true kamani of Hawaii, Callophyllum inophyllum, with shining, leathery leaves, forms large trees on some islands. Another tree, called pua, Fagraea berteriana, has fragrant, tubular white flowers and scarlet fruit.

In wet places is a shrub, Jussiaea erecta, with long narrow leaves, and long-tubed yellow flowers.

Morning-glory vines include the beach or goat's foot morning-glory, Ipomoea pes-caprae, with pinkish petals; and Ipomoea grandiflora, with white flowers.

The heliotrope family furnishes two common trees: the tree-heliotrope, Tournefortia, now called Messerschmidia argentea, with rosettes of leaves covered with silvery hairs; and the kou tree, Cordia subcordata, with orange flowers.

The coffee family is represented by three trees: Gardenia tahitensis, famous for its fragrant white blossoms; Guettarda speciosa, also with fragrant flowers; and the noni, Morinda citrifolia, with compound flower-heads and fruits.

The goodenia family presents Scaevola frutescens, a large, coarse, branching shrub, with large, thick glossy leaves, white half-trumpet flowers, and pithy white fruit.

The composite family is represented only by chance immigrant weeds.

These plants grow together in various associations, some of which are suggested in the diagrammatic cross-sections of dry, medium, and wet islands. 

 

LAND ANIMALS AND THE COMING OF MAN

The principal land animals of the Central Pacific Islands are sea birds. It may seem unusual to call sea birds land animals; but even though they get most of their food from the sea, they still must come to land to rest, nest, lay their eggs, and raise their young.

There are about two dozens different species of sea birds throughout the Central Pacific. In addition to these, there are several kinds of migratory birds, which stop off at the islands in the course of their trans-Pacific flights; and on a few of the islands there are land birds.

Most conspicuous are the boobies or gannets, tropic birds, frigate birds and terns.

There are three kinds of boobies: the large masked gannet or blue-faced booby, which nests on the ground; the smaller red-footed booby, which will nest in a tree or bush if there is one; and the brown-vested booby, at once distinguished by its brown breast, looking as if it had on white trousers and a brown coat. Boobies measure two to two and a half feet in length, with mask-like bills, long and pointed. The young are not white with brown markings like the adults, but are all grey, distinguished respectively by yellow feet, reddish feet and darker grey breast.

Blue-faced booby

The red-tailed tropic bird can be seen circling gracefully overhead, its long rudder trailing behind; or more commonly hidden under a bush or beneath a tilted slap of sandstone. It is satiny white, tinged with salmon, and with a few black spots on head, wings, and tail, especially on the young.

Adult male frigate bird

The frigate or man-o'-war bird is three feet long, glossy black; male distinguished by a red pouch under its chin, which can inflate like a child's balloon. These birds have the reputation of being robbers. They have to rob the smaller birds to get their food, for nature did not furnish them with fully webbed feet, so that, if they alight on the water, they cannot take off again.

A young frigate bird

Half a dozen kinds of terns occur. Commonest is the wide-awake or sooty tern, sooty black on wings, back and crown, white beneath. The noddy, all sooty brown except for lavender-grey crown is also common. The grey-backed or bridled tern is found on some islands. Not abundant, but very conspicuous, are the pure white tern (only his eye is black), and the small grey tern, of about the same size, entirely quaker grey. These last two will hover in a most friendly manner just overhead, seldom uttering a sound; while the other terns circle round and round, making a terrific din.

Pacific golden plover

Seldom seen, but often numerous are the petrels and shearwaters, which hide by day in burrows in the sand, and come out at night to moan or go fishing. Largest of these is the wedge-tailed shearwater, dark grey on the back and white beneath.

Most famous of the migratory birds is the Pacific golden plover. Much larger is the bristle-thighed curlew, with its long, down-curving bills. Wandering tattlers, turnstones, and other migrants are also found. The cuckoo occasionally comes up from the south.

On Fanning, Washington, and other islands are land birds, such as reed-warblers and parrakeets. Islands near Samoa and the Cook group also have fruit pigeons, and in past years had ducks. These native land birds are now rare.

 

Reptiles include a snake-eyed skink, and one or two species of gecko. All are widespread on Pacific Islands. Turtles periodically come ashore to lay their eggs. Two kinds of water snakes are very poisonous and should be avoided when they come on shore.

The insect fauna is small in number of species, but abundance in individuals. Most of the insects such as leaf hoppers, caterpillars, leaf bugs, a spiny-legged grasshopper, field cricket, and small flies are closely associated with plants. A few species of flies, dermestid beetles, ants, etc. are found on dead birds. Lice, mites and hippoboscid flies are parasitic on live birds. Small spiders and a few kinds of insects are predacious. Only a few of the islands have mosquitoes. Silver fish are found under rocks, and roaches come out at night. The wettest of the islands have dragonflies and one or two species of butterflies.

Probably all of these thirty-three islands were known to the Polynesians. Seven of them, Atafu, Nukunono, Fakaofu (Fakaofo), Pukapuka, Manihiki, Rakahanga, and Tongareva, have native inhabitants today. Rats, plants, and ruins give evidence of former human habitation on a dozen others. The rest were either too small or too dry to offer more than temporary shelter to voyagers, or else information about them is lacking.

Kenneth P. Emory, Bishop Museum ethnologist, has made a study of the archaeological remains on these islands, and can associate the former inhabitants with eastern and western Polynesia. The center of the eastern culture, from which voyagers sailed forth, was in the Society Islands. That of the western was in Samoa and Tonga.

The peoples of the Tokelau Islands and Pukapuka are related to the western culture. Those of Manihiki, Rakahanga, and Tongareva (Penrhyn) have affinity with the eastern. Archaeological remains on Malden and Swains Island (the present population on the latter dates from 1856), and an adze from Nassau, show eastern affinity. Ruins on Fanning indicate a Tongan settlement about the 15th century. The Phoenix group (especially Sydney and Hull Islands) and Christmas Island have ruins which suggest that they were visited by parties from both the east and the west.

With the exception of the occupation of Fanning Island by Tongans, it is not possible to date native visits. It is likely that adventurous Polynesian navigators have explored these islands and made them periodic stopping places and fishing bases for a dozen or more centuries.

THE GUANO DIGGERS

Guano is formed from the excrement of sea birds, where it has accumulated in dry regions, such as islands off the coast of Peru and in the mid-Pacific. The word comes from huanu, Peruvian for dung. This greyish, powdery material is high in phosphates and ammonium compounds which are readily assimilated by plants, and forms a valuable fertilizer.

American whalers and other visitors to islands in the central Pacific, landing in some instances to bury dead seamen, discovered guano on several of these islands, between 1830 and 1850.

There was immediate interest in the form of prospecting, and after considerable debate the United States Congress, on August 18, 1856, passed an act which allowed Americans to claim unoccupied islands in the name of the United States, for the purpose of removing the guano. Claims were made to about 48 islands under this Guano Act.

A list of these was published in the New York Tribune, March 5, 1858. It was reprinted in the Friend (Honolulu) for April 20, 1859, and in a German article by E. Behm, in 1859, already noted. In the American Journal of Science, September, 1862, J. D. Hague again lists these islands; and the author discusses their identity in the Paradise of the Pacific magazine for September and October 1939.

Only 18 of the islands are now known by the names given. Twelve are known today by different names; three names are duplicate; and 15 are not known to exist at all.

In the spring following the passage of the Guano Act, representatives of the American Guano Co., of New York, arrived at central Pacific islands, via Honolulu. Alfred G. Benson of New York, and Charles H. Judd, of Honolulu, representing this company, took possession of Howland Island, February 5, 1857, and Baker, February 12. Jarvis was occupied by Mr. Judd and 24 Hawaiian labourers in March the same year.

Officially representing the government, the U.S.S. St. Marys, Captain Charles Henry Davis, visited Jarvis and Baker later the same year, surveying the islands, taking guano samples, and announcing formal possession in the name of the United States.

The Phoenix Guano Co. began activities on McKean island. A.M. Goddard with 29 Hawaiians left Honolulu for Phoenix Island on the brig Agate, Captain Long, on April 19, 1859, but ended up at McKean. The American schooner Modern Times was loaded there in 45 days, sailing August 15, 1859. Work was commenced on Phoenix Island in September, 1860.

Supplies were taken to the guano islands about four times a year from Honolulu by schooners, which also transported native labourers, and white overseers and chemists. Following the Agate, this run was made by the Helen, the Odd Fellow, and the Active, 1863 to 1864; the Hawaiian barque Kamehameha V, 1865 to 1869; and the C. M. Ward, 1870 to the end of activity in 1879.

A large number of schooners, barques, and clipper ships, flying various flags, called at the islands and carried the guano away to American and foreign ports. We have a record of those which touched at Honolulu; others went direct.

The loading of these vessels with thousands of tons of guano was an enormous task. The powder had to be sifted from the rocks, shovelled into bags, run on tram cars to the beach, loaded into small boats, and these run through the surf to the waiting ships; all hand work. There was little or no anchorage. Vessels had to make fast to buoys or lines leading out from shore, risking the danger of piling up on the reef should the wind shift. Many fine ships were wrecked. Navigation was difficult because of the swift currents which swept past the islands.

Enderbury was added to the guano islands in 1862, and reached the height of its enterprise between 1870 and 1873, under the management of Captain Elias Hempstead. During the summer of 1870, alone, four vessels were loaded there with more than 6,000 tons of guano.

McKean was the first to be worked out, no vessel being recorded as visiting it after 1870. Phoenix Island was abandoned in August, 1871. Activities continued on Enderbury until 1877, there having been four white persons and 55 Hawaiians there in 1876. Several of the superintendents were accompanied by their wives and families.

After the American guano diggers withdrew, nearly all of these islands were worked by John T. Arundel and Co., a British firm, between 1883 and 1891. Parties were supplied by schooner from Apia. The labourers were mainly from Niue and the Cook Islands.

Other islands also were worked by this company, such as Sydney Island, 1884-5, Canton Island, 1885-6, Flint, and Starbuck. Gardner and Hull were planted to coconut palms. It was mainly at Mr. Arundel's request that the Phoenix Islands were annexed by Great Britain during June and July 1889.

After 1891 this company turned its attention to phosphate deposits on islands off the coast of North Queensland. Later much richer deposits were found on Nauru and Ocean Island (Banaba). 

Other guano companies were also active, most of them with headquarters in Australia. Guano deposits were found on Malden Island about 1848 by an American whaler, who sold his find to a company in Sydney, New South Wales. That island has been worked almost continuously until about 1940.  

 

Islands of the Hawaiian Chain 
Kiribati - Line Group
Kiribati - Phoenix Group
Tokelau Islands

The Northern Equatorial Islands

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