Sighted and claimed for Spain by
Álvaro de Mendaña
Neira (b. 1542 - d. 1595),
named Isla de San
Visited by British Capt. Samuel Wake
William Henry. Soon
Barkley (b. 1759 - d. 1832)
aboard merchant brig Halcyon sights
and names the
atoll Halcyon Island.
20 Dec 1840
Commodore Charles Wilkes (b. 1798 - d.
Expedition, on the U.S.S.
lands on the island (Wake's Island).
of Bremen, Germany, wrecks on the
eastern reef of
General Francis V. Greene
(b. 1850 - d. 1921) from
the ship Thomas
raises the U.S. flag.
Commander Edward D. Taussig (b.
1847 - d. 1921),
on the U.S.S.
formally takes U.S.
island remains generally
Wake an unincorporated territory of
Administered by U.S. Navy Department,
which on 12
1935 contracts it to Pan
Airways (Pan Am).
Pan Am Sikorsky S-42 flying
boat made the first
aerial landing at the atoll.
A typhoon passes Wake Island causing
damage to Pan Am property, but
10 Jan 1941
U.S. Naval Air Station, Wake Island
All aircraft, large guns, above ground
destroyed in 17 Japanese air raids on
23 Dec 1941 - 4 Sep
1945 Occupied by Japan
(Wake renamed "Ōtori-shima" [Big
Bird Island], Wilkes Islet as
Peale Islet as "Hani-shima").
Sep 1945 - 4 Sep 1962 Administered
by the U.S. Navy Department
Naval Air Base).
U.S. Navy delegates administration of
Wake to the
Civil Aeronautics Administration (from
Aviation Agency [both
within Department of Commerce to 1 Apr
then under Department of
30 Jun 1973).
Typhoon Olive hits Wake destroying 85%
structures, but no deaths.
4 Sep 1962 - 24 Jun
1972 Administered by U.S.
Department of Interior;
administration is carried out
by the caretaker,
Aviation Agency (from 1 Apr
Federal Aviation Administration).
Typhoon Sarah hits Wake Island, 95%
on the were damaged, but no deaths.
Final scheduled Pan Am
passenger flight landed
on the island and in Jul 1972
Pam Am's last
cargo fight departed the island.
25 Jun 1972
Wake Island an
unincorporated territory of U.S.
25 Jun 1972 -
1 Oct 1994 Administered by
U.S. Air Force (Wake Island Air
Force Base), under Military Airlift
(MAC), from 1 Jul 1973 under Detachment
Air Base Wing of Pacific Air
Marshall Islands claim Wake Island as
Last regularly scheduled
flights ceased calling at Wake Island.
26 Apr 1975 – 3 Sep
1975 U.S. forces on Wake
support the movement of 92,126
evacuees from South Vietnam in
support of Operations "Babylift" and
Typhoon Freda hit Wake Island.
Wake Island is
designated a National Historic
Landmark by National Park Service of
1 Oct 1994 -
16 Jan 1997 Administered
by U.S. Army Space and
(USASMDC) by Detachment 1 of 15th
Logistics Group, 15 ABW Group of the
Space and Missile Defense Command
16 Jan 1997
U.S. Department of Interior;
on the island are managed by U.S.
Army to 1 Oct 2002, then U.S. Air
Wing to 1 Oct 2010, then 11th Air
Detachment 1 Pacific Air Forces
Center as Wake Island Airfield).
Typhoon Ioke hits Wake Island (which
evacuated 28 Aug - 12 Sep 2006).
6 Jan 2009
Wake Island's submerged waters part of
Marine National Monument (expanded
27 Sep 2014 out to the full 200
Typhoon Halola passes Wake Island
evacuated 15-18 Jul 2015).