coral atoll, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Northern Line Islands, west-central Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) southwest of Honolulu. The atoll has an area of 1.6 square miles (4.1 square km). It was sighted in 1821 by Capt. Brown of the British ship Eliza Francis and was claimed in 1856 by the United States under the Guano Act. The guano deposits were worked from 1857 to 1879. Britain annexed Jarvis in 1889 but did not exploit it. The United States reclaimed it in 1935. There are no permanent inhabitants. The island, which is now a U.S. National Wildlife Refuge, is visited by migratory seabirds and shorebirds as well as threatened and endangered sea turtles.
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