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Ujelang Atoll

Ujelang Atoll

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Encyclopedia
Ujelang Atoll is a coral atoll of 30 islands in the Pacific Ocean, in the Ralik Chain
Ralik Chain
The Ralik Chain is a chain of islands within the island nation of the Marshall Islands. Ralik means "sunset". It lies just to the west of the country's other island chain, the Ratak Chain...

 of the Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

. Its total land area is only 1.86 square kilometre (0.718150014982115 sq mi), but it encloses a lagoon of 185.94 square kilometres (71.8 sq mi). It is the westernmost island in the Marshall Islands, and located approximately 217 kilometres (134.8 mi) southeast of Enewetak
Enewetak
Enewetak Atoll is a large coral atoll of 40 islands in the Pacific Ocean, and forms a legislative district of the Ralik Chain of the Marshall Islands. Its land area totals less than , surrounding a deep central lagoon, in circumference...

, and approximately 600 kilometres (372.8 mi) west of the main Ralik Chain.

History


Ujelang Atoll was claimed by the Empire of Germany along with the rest of the Marshall Islands in 1884. It was the private property of German trading companies since 1880, who maintained copra
Copra
Copra is the dried meat, or kernel, of the coconut. Coconut oil extracted from it has made copra an important agricultural commodity for many coconut-producing countries. It also yields coconut cake which is mainly used as feed for livestock.-Production:...

-plantations on the largest island, also called Ujelang. After World War I, the island came under the South Pacific Mandate
South Pacific Mandate
The was the Japanese League of Nations mandate consisting of several groups of islands in the Pacific Ocean which came under the administration of Japan after the defeat of the German Empire in World War I.-Early history:Under the terms of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, after the start of World...

 of the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

. In 1935 there were only some 40 inhabitants. During World War II, the island was occupied by the Company I, 111th Infantry Regiment, which landed on April 22, 1944 and which used the island as a staging area prior to redeployment to Peleliu
Peleliu
Peleliu is an island in the island nation of Palau. Peleliu forms, along with two small islands to its northeast, one of the sixteen states of Palau. It is located northeast of Angaur and southwest of Koror....

 on February 1, 1945. Following the end of World War II, the island came under the control of the United States as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was a United Nations trust territory in Micronesia administered by the United States from 1947 to 1986.-History:...

 until the independence of the Marshall Islands in 1986. The island became a relocation center for the people of Enewetak Atoll in 1947 (due to atomic tests on that island from 1948–1958). The population on Ujelang grew from 145 in 1947 to 342 in 1973, despite near-famine and epidemics, especially in the fifties, due to the scarce supply of fish and vegetables. After the clean-up of Enewetak all inhabitants returned to that island in 1980. A hundred or so soon returned to Ujelang because Enewetak could not support them, but their stay on Ujelang was short-lived. In 1989 Ujelang became permanently uninhabited. Ujelang Atoll is currently owned by the Enewetak Council and is now very rarely visited.

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