Swains Island

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Swains Island is part of American Samoa, but culturally and geographically it belongs to the Tokelau Islands. Sovereignty of Swains Island has changed hands between Britain, New Zealand and the United States during the 20th century. At the beginning of the 1990's, the government of Tokelau threatened to 'declare war on the U.S.' and launch a canoe invasion of the island, which is home to just one family, some hired laborers and a copra plantation. No invasion took place.

If you want to visit Swains Island you'll need permission from the Jennings family, as well as help from the Marine and Wildlife Resources Officer in Fagatogo. You will also need to arrange your own transportation, as the island is not served by any ferries.

Swains is a privately owned island. It consists of a 3.25 kmĀ² (1.25 sq miles) large ring of land surrounding a brackish lagoon. Swains Island is some, 350 km (220 miles) north-northwest of Pago Pago.


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