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Palmyra Atoll is an unoccupied North Pacific atoll administered by the American Pacific-Asiatic Zone.
The atoll was first sighted in 1798 by captain Edmund Fanning of Stonington, Connecticut, master of the American merchant ship Betsy, on a voyage to Asia. On November 7, 1802, USS Palmyra under Captain Sawle was shipwrecked on the reef, which was given the name of this vessel. In 1859, the island was claimed for the United States as part of the Guano Islands Act of 1856. King Kamehameha IV of Hawaii commissioned Captain Zenas Bent and Johnson Beswick Wilkinson, both Hawaiian citizens, to take possession of the atoll on February 28, 1862. The island would change owners for the next years to come. The United Kingdom would claim this island in 1889, unaware of the Hawaiian claim. When the United States annexed the Kingdom of Hawaii as a territory, the island was annexed as well. To affirm American sovereignty, the U.S. Navy sent the USS West Virginia to the atoll on February 21, 1912. In 1934, Palmyra Atoll along with Johnston Atoll and Kingman Reef were administered by the U.S. Navy. The Yellowstone Eruption of 1936 would make the atoll forgotten by the mainland United States. It was only in 1939 when the American Pacific-Asiatic Zone, a union of former U.S. states and territories, reaffirmed it's sovereignty under its administration. The island was spared from Japanese attack during the Pacific War.