Tabuaeran Atoll
This atoll in the west-central Pacific Ocean was known as Fanning Island or Fanning Atoll; it is comprised of islets that surround a lagoon that is roughly 50 km in circumference.1
The Fanning name is in reference to a US exporter and trader named Edmund Fanning, who found it in 1798.2 In 1888, Britain used it as a site for a transpacific cable-relay station, which remained in service until 1963.3
Its name changed to modern usage in 1979, when it joined the Republic of Kiribati.4 Today, the atoll exports seaweed and copra and, among other things, serves as a waypoint for yachts cruising southwest across the Pacific from Hawaii.5 As of 2005, its population was estimated at 2,539.
In the minutes to Pennell, Henry Cholmondeley to Fortescue, 1st Baron Carlingford Chichester 15 July 1861, CO 305:18, no. 6401, 10, Blackwood notes that, According to the Directory for the Pacific Ocean this Island [would] seem of little value to this Country as a Colony, & is likely to cause more trouble than it is worth. And, in a subsequent minute, Elliot asks rhetorically, What possible object there can have been in the folly of declaring this Island British I am unable to imagine.
  • 1. Tabuaeran Atoll, Encyclop√¶dia Britannica Online.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Ibid.
Mentions of this place in the documents