Background: The United States claimed this uninhabited island in 1857 because of its guano deposits, which were mined from 1865 to 1898. According to 800zipcodes, the lighthouse, built in 1917, was closed in 1996 and administration of the island was transferred from the Coast Guard to the Department of the Interior. A 1998 scientific expedition described the island as having preserved the Caribbean’s unique wildlife diversity; the following year, the island was declared a national wildlife sanctuary.
Location: Caribbean, an island in the Caribbean about one quarter of the way from Haiti to Jamaica.
Geographic coordinates: 18° 25′ N. latitude, 75° 02′ W e.
Reference map: Central America and the Caribbean.
Area: total: 5.2 km2; land surface area: 5.2 km2; water surface area: 0 km2
Comparative area: about nine times the size of the Mall Park in Washington, DC.
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 8 km.
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: maritime tropical.
Relief: coral and limestone plateau, flat or hilly; white steep rocky coast (from 9 to 15 m high).
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m; highest point: unnamed height in the southwest of the island 77 m.
Natural resources: guano.
Land use: arable land: 0%; cultivated land: 0%; pastures: 10%; forests and plantations: 0%; others: 90%.
Irrigated land: 0 sq. km. (1998).
Natural hazards: no data available.
Current environmental issues: no data available.
International agreements on environmental protection:
Note to the section “Geography”: strategic position 160 km south of the US naval base Guantanamo Bay (Cuba); mostly bare rocks, but enough grassy ground provides food for goats; dense thickets of trees related to figs; cacti.
Population: uninhabited; note: there is a temporary camp on the island for Haitian fishermen and other visitors (July 2001 est.). State Title:
Common long form: no;
Common short form: Navassa Island. Dependency state: Territory not included in the United States; operated from Washington by the US Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service; in September 1996, the Coast Guard stopped maintaining the 46-meter lighthouse located on the southern tip of the island; there is also a private claim to the island.