Midway is an atoll 1300 miles west of Honolulu, near the end of the Hawaiian chain; only the uninhabited Ocean Island lies farther west. Midway is nearly circular and about 6 miles in diameter within the encircling reef. The lagoon, shallow for the most part, includes two islands, Sand and Eastern, with a combined area of about 2 square miles. Sand Island attains a height of 43 feet and is the site of an air base and cable station. The United States took possession of Midway in 1867, and technically it is not a part of the Territory of Hawaii. In 1935 Midway began to be used as a landing field for trans-Pacific airplanes, and it is an important strategic air base. To the west, in June, 1942, was fought the battle of Midway, which ended in the defeat of the Japanese fleet and was a turning point in the Pacific war. Airplanes are given a treatment for insects before proceeding from Midway.
Except for the Midway Islands, the islands in the Hawaiian chain are a part of the Territory of Hawaii and are included in the county and city of Honolulu, which also includes Palmyra Island far to the south. Honolulu has the greatest distance between its parts of any city on earth.
The islands are of two types. Those that are of lava and therefore erosional remnants are Nihoa, Necker, La Perouse Pinnacle or Rock, and Gardner Pinnacles; the low islands of coral sand are French Frigate Shoal, close to which rises La Perouse Pinnacle, Laysan Island, Lisianski Island, Pearl and Hermes Reef, all east of Midway, and Ocean or Kure Island to the west.