Kingman Reef was named for Captain W. E. Kingman, who discovered it in the American ship Shooting Star, of Boston, on November 29, 1853. He said that it was near the spot assigned to "Danger rock" on some charts. Under the name of "Danger", it was among the islands listed as claimed by Americans under the Guano Act of 1856.
The American flag was hoisted over Kingman Reef, May 10, 1922, by the late Lorrin A. Thurston, at the request of Leslie and Ellen Fullard-Leo. He took formal possession by reading a proclamation of annexation and leaving a record of the proceedings, a certificate of possession, the flag, and copies of the Honolulu Advertiser and Star-Bulletin of May 3, 1992, in a glass jar, deposited at the base of a cairn of coral slabs about four feet high.
A December 29, 1934, Executive Order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt placed Kingman Reef under the control and jurisdiction of the U.S. Navy, in immediate charge of the 14th Naval District and, on February 14, 1941, he issued another Executive Order making Kingman Reef a U.S. national defense area and prohibiting foreign planes and surface craft.
Kingman Reef is under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Navy.
Kingman Reef lies 382 nautical miles north of the equator. It is about 33 miles northwest of Palmyra Island and 925 miles south by west of Honolulu.
It is a triangular, atoll-like reef and shoal about 9 ½ miles east and west by 5 miles north and south, of which all but the eastern end is now submerged.
The area supports a rich marine fauna, including large numbers of fishes. There is no land flora. Various seabirds roost on exposed coral rubble.
Transportation Facilities - None
For Additional Information
Contact the Department of the Navy, Office of Public Information, Washington, DC 20350. Telephone number is (703) 695-0965