Canton and Enderbury Islands

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Enderbury Island. Image courtesy of Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center

The Canton and Enderbury Islands consist of the coral atolls of Canton (now Kanton) and Enderbury in the northeastern part of the Phoenix Islands, about 1,850 miles (3,000 km) south of Hawaii in the central Pacific Ocean. The islands were vital naval and air bases on the route between the Americas and the Philippines and Australia and were claimed by both the United Kingdom and the United States.[1] From 1939 to 1979, they formed an Anglo–American condominium, with administration jointly exercised by the U.S. and the UK. This arrangement only covered Canton and Enderbury islands; the remaining Phoenix Islands, were still claimed by the U.S. under the Guano Islands Act, but remained under exclusive British control until 1979.[1]

Canton Island - NASA NLT Landsat 7 (Visible Color) Satellite Image

The United States and the United Kingdom relinquished control over the islands to the government of newly independent Kiribati under the Treaty of Tarawa in 1979 and the Canton and Enderbury Islands Condominium ceased to exist.[2] In this treaty, the U.S. acknowledged Kiribati sovereignty over fourteen islands.[3] Today the islands form part of the Phoenix Islands administrative group within the Republic of Kiribati (pronunciation: kiribas).

As of 2005, the population of Canton Island was 41, down from 61 in 2000.[4] In May 2010 the population was reportedly 24, with 14 adults and 10 children.[5] The island's sole village is called Tebaronga. Enderbury is uninhabited.

In 2006, the government of Kiribati declared the islands, together with other Phoenix Islands, to be a marine protected area, to preserve the unique flora and fauna of the archipelago and its surrounding waters. The Phoenix Islands Protected Area forms the largest such zone in the world.[6]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 3°00′S 171°24′W / 3.000°S 171.400°W / -3.000; -171.400


  1. ^ a b Resture, Jane. "Canton Island (Kanton - Abariringa) Phoenix Group, Kiribati". Jane Resture. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "Treaty of friendship between the United States of America and the Republic of Kiribati". Retrieved 2013-06-08. Advise and consent to ratification by the Senate June 21, 1983; 
  3. ^ US Department of State Background Note
  4. ^ "Kiribati 2005 Census of Population and Housing: Provisional Tables" (PDF). Government of Kiribati. 2005. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "Falmouth Coastguard helps starving remote islanders". National News. News Distribution Service. 9 May 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Editor. "Phoenix Islands Protected Area". Government of Kiribati. Retrieved 25 January 2015.