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Jarvis Island (also called Bunker Island) is an uninhabited1 3⁄4-square-mile (4.5 km2) coral island located in the South Pacific Ocean at about halfway between Hawaii and the Cook Islands. The island is one of the three Guano Islands in the Pacific owned by the U.S., the other two being Howland Island and Baker Island. Formerly administered by the Department of the Interior, the island is now administered by the American Pacific-Asiatic Zone.
Jarvis Island was first sighted by British sailors in August 1821. In the 1857, the island was seized by the United States under the Guano Islands Act of 1856. The island was formerly annexed on February 27, 1858. The American Guano Company, which was incorporated in 1857, established claims in respect of Baker Island and Jarvis Island which was recognized under the U.S. Guano Islands Act of 1856. During the later stages of the 19th century, the island was mined for its guano deposits. On August 30, 1913, the barquentine Amaranth (C. W. Nielson, captain) was carrying a cargo of coal from Newcastle, New South Wales to San Francisco when it wrecked on Jarvis' southern shore. On March 26, 1935, Jarvis island was reclaimed by the U.S. A colonization attempt began the same year. However, the Yellowstone Eruption of 1936 stranded the colonists in the island. Like Howland and Baker, the island was abandoned as the colonists evacuated to Australia. Later, in 1939, the remnant U.S. forces in the Pacific re-asserted their claim of Jarvis Island, placing it under the administration of the American Pacific-Asiatic Zone. During the Pacific War, the Japanese shelled Jarvis Island, thinking there were Americans in the area which in fact there were none. The shelling left two craters on the southern beach as the Japanese focused their efforts in invading Hawaii.