Phoenix Islands


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Related to Phoenix Islands: Line Islands, Kanton Island

Phoenix Islands,

group of eight islands, 11 sq mi (28 sq km), central Pacific, N of Samoa. The chain comprises a portion of KiribatiKiribati
, officially Republic of Kiribati (2005 est. pop. 103,000), 342 sq mi (886 sq km), consisting of 33 islands scattered across 2,400 mi (3,860 km) of the Pacific Ocean near the equator.
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. The two most important are KantonKanton
, coral atoll, 3.5 sq mi (9 sq km), central Pacific, largest of the Phoenix Islands, which comprise part of Kiribati, c.2,000 mi (3,220 km) SE of Honolulu, Hawaii. Annexed by the British at the end of the 19th cent., the island was also claimed by American guano companies.
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 (or Abariringa) and Enderbury Island. The other islands include Rawaki (formerly Phoenix), Manra (formerly Sydney), Birnie, McKean, Nikumaroro (formerly Gardner), and Orona (formerly Hull). The islands are largely uninhabited. The atolls, their reefs, and their surrounding waters form the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, 164,200 sq mi (425,300 sq km), the largest marine protected area in the world.

The Phoenix Islands were visited between 1823 and 1840 by British and American explorers, but most of them were annexed by Great Britain in the late 19th cent. After the United States took over Howland and Baker islands in 1935, Britain included (1937) the Phoenix group in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony. In 1938 the United States claimed sovereignty over Kanton and Enderbury, and in 1939 Britain and the United States agreed to exercise joint control over the two islands for a period of 50 years.

Previously uninhabited, Orona, Manra, and Nikumaroro islands were colonized with people from the overcrowded Gilbert Islands between 1938 and 1940. By 1963, however, the three settlements had failed and the entire population was moved to the Solomon Islands. In 2006 the waters (73,800 sq mi/184,700 sq km) surrounding the islands were made a protected area and commercial fishing was banned; the protected area was expanded in 2008.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Phoenix Islands underwent one of the most severe coral bleaching events ever recorded, but over the last decade, the reef has recovered with remarkable speed and became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2010.
The Phoenix Islands have never had any significant permanent population.
The Line and Phoenix Islands were incorporated piecemeal over the next 20 years.
Marine biologist Gregory Stone, the aquarium's vice president for global marine programs, says the isolated Phoenix Islands (where Amelia Earhart's plane may have disappeared) are a treasure because of their pristine wilderness and marine and land biodiversity--including some 120 species of coral and 500 species of reef fish, not to mention countless dolphins, sea turtles and birds (but almost no people).
Located between Hawaii and Fiji, the Phoenix Islands archipelago is one of three island groups that make up the Republic of Kiribati, the largest atoll nation in the world, with a total of 33 islands.
On 12 July, Lexington and her destroyers arrived and took over the search, which now shifted away from the Phoenix Islands to the open waters north and west of Howland.
Since this was essentially the same reasoning that had led the Navy to send Colorado to search the Phoenix Islands, TIGHAR's network of volunteer investigators began a reexamination of historical records to look for facts that would support the theory of an island landing.
This new information supports the Navy's initial theory that Earhart and Noonan turned southeast and headed for the Phoenix Islands.
So it was a great disappointment to read Christopher Pala's article ("Something's Fishy," Autumn 2013) about the state of marine protections in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA).
In 2000, Stone went diving in the Phoenix Islands, which had been uninhabited for 20 years, and found them to be so abundant in now rare reef fish like sharks, Napoleon wrasses, and bumphead parrotfish that he persuaded Tong to create a marine reserve to protect them against future fishing.
As recently as March of this year, the New England Aquarium's website echoed such boasts: "Today, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area is one of the world's largest marine protected areas, and is safe from the threats of commercial fishing and habitat destruction.
The country is made up of three archipelagoes more than 500 miles apart: the Line Islands, south of Hawaii; the uninhabited Phoenix Islands in the center; and the Gilbert Islands to the west, where Tarawa is located.
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