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Wake Island
Population:
no indigenous inhabitants
note: US military personnel have left the island, but contractor personnel remain; as of October 2001, 200 contractor personnel were present (July 2004 est.)
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Background:
The US annexed Wake Island in 1899 for a cable station. An important air and naval base was constructed in 1940-41. In December 1941, the island was captured by the Japanese and held until the end of World War II. In subsequent years, Wake was developed as a stopover and refueling site for military and commercial aircraft transiting the Pacific. Since 1974, the island's airstrip has been used by the US military and some commercial cargo planes, as well as for emergency landings. There are over 700 landings a year on the island.
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