The site of the battle that turned the tide in favor of U.S. forces in the Pacific 60 years ago, Midway Atoll today is a national wildlife refuge.
Background: The United States took formal possession of Midway in 1867. The laying of the transpacific cable, which passed through the islands, brought the first residents in 1903. After the Battle of Midway on June 4-6, 1942, the islands served as a naval station until 1993. In 1996, the atoll was turned over to the Interior Department to be managed as a wildlife refuge. In 2000, the atoll was designated the Battle of Midway National Memorial, as authorized by Congress.
Location: Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, about 1,200 miles northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands and one-third of the way from Honolulu to Tokyo. The atoll includes Eastern Island, Sand Island and Spit Island.
Total area: 2.5 square miles, about nine times the size of the Mall in Washington, D.C.
Population: No indigenous inhabitants; approximately 30 people make up the staff that oversees the atoll under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.