We often use the expression U.S. soil when talking about events and policies, but do we really know what constitutes U.S. soil? Did you know there’s technically U.S. soil over by Australia?
There are a lot of U.S. territories that we never hear about. Some because there’s simply no one living there and others because they don’t make the news. They live under different sets of rules and have been acquired by the United States for different reasons, however, they all share one thing in common.
Top 10 Places You Didn’t Know Are US Territories
They’re technically part of the good old US of A. How many can you name? Here we are going to know about the Top 10 Places You Didn’t Know Are US Territories. Let’s get started.
10. Wake Island
This island, a coral atoll, is unpopulated and is used mostly as a refuelling stop for the U.S. Air Force. It’s in Micronesia and is part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
Stop in for a refuel and then move on with your day, that’s basically it. Regardless, this island is a U.S. territory which makes stopping by all the easier without any need for pesky agreements with other nations about whether we can or can’t put our stuff there.
Navassa is also uninhabited, but it’s actually located in the Caribbean Sea, which is much more pleasant and fun to be in, at least in my opinion. It’s a small island located Northeast of Jamaica and South of Cuba.
Despite having no people living there, the island is currently in dispute between the U.S. and Haiti. Since 1857, the U.S. has claimed Navassa as theirs via an act of 1856 regarding the Guano Islands.
8. Kingman Reef
The last unpopulated one, I promise. Kingman Reef is an unpopulated triangular reef between Hawaii and American Samoa (which we’ll get to in a moment). It’s only 11 miles long! It’s likely that the U.S. only has this because it’s between two of its other territories, one now a State and one unincorporated.
Most of the reef is submerged, with two small strips of dry land made of coral rubble and giant clamshells. Its highest point and this is very telling, is just under 5 feet above sea level.
This means, even though some of its topography is considered “dry land”, you’re never “dry” or on “land” at all.
7. Palmyra Atoll
The Palmyra Atoll is a U.S. territory, but it is privately owned by the Nature Conservancy and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
It’s near Oahu, Hawaii, and is actually made up of 50 islands. The population of this island may be small, mostly staff and scientists that hardly add up to 20 people at any given time.
Imagine that, being a science nerd for years and then being rewarded by being sent to a bunch of small tropical private islands so that you can do your job?
6. The Midway Atoll Found in the Pacific Ocean,
this Atoll is at the halfway mark between the Asia and North American mainland. It used to be a Naval Air Facility owned by the United States. Now, there are about 60 people living there and they’re, much like in the Palmyra Atoll, mostly environmental workers.
I know what you’re thinking, the U.S. has remote islands that we didn’t know about and we’re still vacationing in Florida? Well, unfortunately, the island isn’t open to tourists, so you’ll have to find another island to set up for your vacation this year.
5. U.S. Virgin Islands
Now we’re getting somewhere! If you haven’t seen a commercial for the U.S. Virgin Islands by some travel agency, then, what kind of content are you even watching?
These islands are considered part of the Leeward Islands, covering over 133 square miles and serving as the home to over 100,000 people who are mostly Afro-Caribbean.
Tourism is the main economic activity on the island, so feel free to vacation here, everyone! Citizens of the island are U.S. citizens, though they’re not eligible to vote in U.S. Presidential elections.
4. Puerto Rico
You knew Puerto Rico had to be on this list. Or, well, maybe you didn’t. A large number of Americans don’t actually know that Puerto Rico is a part of the United States.
Not mentioning any names. Puerto Rico consists of the main island and other smaller ones all rich in history, pleasant in climate, and with a lot of delicious food to offer.
It’s located in the Northeast Caribbean Sea and was previously Spanish Territory until the U.S. invaded Puerto Rico and gained the territory via the signing of the Treaty of Paris.
This was all done with the promise of help and economic stability which the U.S. promised to provide.
There are close to 4 million people living on the island and all of those people are U.S. citizens, though, like those of the Virgin Islands, they are not eligible to vote in US elections. However, 61% of Puerto R are in favour of becoming a State.
This is a highly mentioned U.S. territory in pop culture. You’ll often hear it mentioned as a place far far away, perhaps where they keep prisoners or banish people. In reality, it’s a U.S. territory with an established civil government.
It’s located in the Western Pacific Ocean and has over 160,000 people living there. Most of them are American citizens by birth. The island is the largest of the Mariana Islands and is popular with tourists from Japan.
It’s been a territory since 1898 as part of the Treaty of Paris and was the site of fighting during WWII. Now, it’s home to two U.S. military bases and probably a lot of selfie stick kiosks to accommodate tourism.
2. Northern Mariana Islands
These 15 islands all belong to the United States. They cover an area of 183.5 square miles and are the home of about 77,000 people.
The majority of these people live on two islands, Saipan and Tinian. The administrative centre of the island is Capitol Hill, but most residents consider Saipan as the capital and centre.
These islands haven’t been a U.S. Territory forever, though. They may be as old as your dad. The negotiation for the islands, between the United States and the Northern Mariana Islands, began in 1972 and was approved in 1975.
In 1978, the islands formed a new local government and a new constitution for its 77,000 people. Much like the United States, the Northern Mariana Islands have a great melting pot of people.
Languages include Chamorro, Carolinian, English, Philippine languages, Chinese, and more. People are Asian, Pacific Islanders, Multiracial, and 2.5% “other”.
1. American Samoa
Though American Samoa doesn’t have the largest number of people on this list, it is one of the most interesting U.S. Territories. It consists of five mainland and coral atolls. Within the 76.8 square miles, 55,000 people call it home.
Though they are extremely proud of their heritage, they also feel very American, as they should, they’re American citizens nonetheless.
They have the highest military enlistment of all U.S. territories! They have a rich culture of tattoos famous around the world, a high sense of community, and some good exports like tuna. Most residents are bilingual and can speak both English and Samoan.
Thanks for reading! Let us know in the comments if you’re from one of these lovely places or tell us in the comments which one you’d most like to visit.