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coral-covered sandbank only 15 feet (4.5 metres) high at low tide, located in the Caribbean Sea about 350 miles (560 km) north of Venezuela and 70 miles (110 km) west of Dominica. (The island is not a part of the group of Venezuelan islands of similar name, Islas de Aves, comprising Aves de Barlovento and Aves de Sotavento, located 145 miles [230 km] north of Caracas, just east of Bonaire.) The uninhabited islet was valued in the past for its abundant guano (used as fertilizer) and was claimed or occupied by a number of powers (Spain, Venezuela, the United States, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Dominica) after the arrival of Europeans in the West Indies