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Asunto:[dxcolombia] Swains Island
Fecha:Domingo, 20 de Febrero, 2005  02:07:44 (-0500)
Autor:Oscar A. Gaviria <hk6dos @.......co>




Swains Island

Swains Island, 1 sq mi (2.59 sq km), district of American Samoa, N of Tutuila. It is a ring of sand and coral with luxuriant vegetation. Swains Island has been privately owned by the same family for more than 100 years. Local government was ordered for the indigenous residents by the U.S. government in 1954. The island sends one nonvoting member to the territorial legislature.

If you're really feeling adventurous, try gaining permission to visit Swains Island, 220mi (350km) north-north-west of Tutuila. The privately owned island is a 1.25 sq mi (3.25 sq km) ring of land surrounding a brackish lagoon. Culturally and geographically it belongs to the Tokelau Islands, but politically it's a far more vexed issue. Without going into all the details, sovereignty of the island has bounced from Britain to New Zealand to the USA in the past 75 years.

In the early 1990s, the Toklauan government threatened to 'declare war on the US' and launch a canoe invasion of the island - home to one family, hired labourers and a copra plantation - but nothing has happened as yet. Visiting the island requires the permission of the Jennings family, favours from the Marine and Wildlife Resources Officer in Fagatogo, and negotiations with charter boat companies.

The island is a ring of sand and coral, a mile and a half east and west, a mile wide, and nowhere more than 20 feet high, surrounding a shallow lagoon, which is only slightly brackish, with no surface connection with the sea. Most of the land, from the crest of the narrow ocean beach to the very edge of the lagoon, is thickly covered with vegetation, about 800 acres of coconut palms and various trees and shrubs found widespread in the Pacific.







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