Flint Island is an uninhabited coral atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, part of the Southern Line Islands belonging to Kiribati.
Flint Island is located about 740 kilometers (400 nautical miles
) northwest of Tahiti
, 190 km (100 nautical miles) south-southeast of Vostok Island
, and 220 km (120 nautical miles) southwest of Caroline Island
. The island is about long and wide at its widest point (4.0 by 0.8 km). It has a land area of 1 mi² (3 km ²) and rises to a height of 25 feet (8 m) above sea level. The island is surrounded by a narrow fringing reef and with no safe anchorage landing is difficult.
According to the U.S. Exploring Expedition (February 5, 1841), the island was thickly wooded, however the island is now mostly covered with planted coconut palms.
The island was first sighted in 1801; the name of its discoverer is unknown. An entry in Krusenstern's 'Hydrographie der grössern Ozeane' published in 1819 makes it clear, that the name 'Flint' does not stem from Capt. Keen in 1835, who in all probability already found the term on a navigational chart. Flint Island was claimed under the 1856 U.S. Guano Act
but apparently never occupied. It was leased by the British to Houlder Brothers and Co., of London who carried out guano
digging in the central part of the island from 1875 to 1880 under field manager John T. Arundel
. The excavated areas have since filled with brackish water, forming two or three small lagoons. Coconut palms were planted on the island by Arundel in 1881 and copra
was produced until 1891. The island was leased in 1911 to S.R. Maxwell and Co., Ltd. who employed 30 men and one manager to harvest copra from the approximately 30,000 coconut palms.
On January 3, 1908 a total eclipse of the sun was observed on the island by an expedition from the Lick Observatory in California. The observation point on the island was determined to be at latitude.
- Flint Island information
- More Flint Island information
- Krusenstern, A. J. von: Beyträge zur Hydrographie der grössern Ozeane als Erläuterungen zu einer Charte des ganzen Erdkreises nach Mercators Projection; Leipzig : Kummer, 1819 (from the digital collections of the Göttingen Library) (p. 208)