The Midway Islands

The Midway Islands

The Midway Islands are also called Midway Atoll in English and this is an atoll located in the North Pacific. The islands are included in the remote islands of the United States and they have belonged to the United States since 1867 but are not one of the American states. The Midway Islands are located, as the name implies, halfway between Asia and North America, and the area was discovered in 1859 by Captain NC Middlebrooks. Historically, the islands have become known for events such as the battle fought here in 1942 and which was named the Battle of Midway. This battle took place between June 4 and 6 near the islands and it was the United States that managed to withstand a Japanese attack which became an important turning point during the war in the Pacific.

The Midway Islands are close to Hawaii’s archipelago and are a disorganized area less than 140 nautical miles east of the international date limit. Those who now live in the atoll are people from the American Fish and Wildlife Service who are there to overlook and investigate wildlife. The excursions that are arranged to these islands have the ecology in place as a focus and you can come here as a tourist. In fact, the islands’ economy is based exclusively on tourist revenues as well as subsidies. All food and other types of products must be imported.

Geography and climate

The total area of ​​the Midway Islands is about 5.2 km² and the atoll has two main islands, Easter Island and Sand Island. The highest point is only 1 meter and therefore the islands are very sensitive to floods due to tsunami waves. The reef that is here is mostly covered by water and that makes it quite dangerous to get through the area by boat. There is no permanent population on the islands but a runway for flights.

The Midway Atoll is part of a chain of volcanic islands and atolls that stretch from Hawaii to the tip of the Aleutian Islands. This chain is called Hawaii Emperor chain in English and consists of annular barrier reefs and many sandy islets. The Midway Islands are very important for seabirds. The islands have a tropical climate and no really cold season.


Many seabirds rely on the Midway Islands, for example, which are home to about 70% of all Laysan albatrosses. About 3 million birds move around these islands and each species has found its own place and niche on the islands. Here you can also see seals coming up on the beaches to raise their young. In the water and in the reef, there are turtles and octopuses, and dolphins live in the lagoon. Human activity has been changing the environment on the islands. In 1869, they tried to blow up the reef to create a harbor on Sandön and this is an example of something that has affected the ecology. Other examples are that alien species have been introduced, such as Ironwood trees from Australia as protection against the wind. The buildings on the islands have lead in the paint, which is an environmental hazard for the albatross population, but here efforts are being made to remove the paint. The Midway Islands, like the islands of Hawaii, have problems with the debris flowing in from the Pacific’s floating rubbish heap. This is rubbish that mostly consists of plastic that is collected on the beaches of the Midway Islands. The debris is a danger to the birds on the islands and albatrosses have been examined and it has been found that almost everyone has eaten the plastic, which leads to poisoning and that the young die.

The Midway Islands