Baker Island is an uninhabited unincorporated territory of the United States—one of the smallest U.S. Minor Outlying Islands. It is in the Polynesia region of the Pacific Ocean, north of Kiribati, roughly halfway between Hawaii and Australia.
Or maybe notIn the early 2000s, a writer of "alternate histories" put up a web site which presented itself as the official site of the government of the "Republic of Baker Howland and Jarvis", portraying a bustling tourism destination, including a fake CIA World Factbook article providing statistics for the island nation. The web site is no longer online, but puzzled more than a few armchair travelers.
HistoryThe US took possession of the island in 1857, and its guano deposits were mined by US and British companies during the second half of the 19th century. In 1935, a short-lived attempt at colonization was begun on this island—as well as on nearby Howland Island—but it was disrupted by World War II and thereafter abandoned. The island is now a National Wildlife Refuge run by the US Department of the Interior; there is a day beacon near the middle of the west coast.
LandscapeLow, nearly level coral island surrounded by a narrow fringing reef. Treeless, sparse and scattered vegetation consisting of grasses, prostrate vines, and low growing shrubs; primarily a nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife.
Flora and fauna
ClimateEquatorial: scant rainfall, constant wind, burning sun.
There is an abandoned World War II runway of , completely covered with vegetation and unusable.
By boatThere is one small boat landing area along the middle of the west coast.
Fees and permits
Public entry is by special-use permit from US Fish and Wildlife Service and generally restricted to scientists and educators.
There are a cemetery and remnants of structures from early settlement near the middle of the west coast.
There is no economic activity on Baker Island.
There is no accommodation on Baker Island.
There are no natural sources of fresh water on Baker Island—come with some distilled water and purification tablets.