This is coolbert:
Back to the subject to guano. A valuable nineteenth century commodity. Essential in fact, to the the large, industrial scale manufacture of GUNPOWDER!
Guano - - containing nitrates and saltpeter - - found in quantities that enabled the world powers of the era to ensure themselves a ready supply of the basic and integral ingredients needed to MAKE WAR!
"The discovery during the 1840s of the use of guano as a fertilizer and saltpeter as a key ingredient in explosives made the area strategically valuable."
The United States, as a burgeoning g world-power, DID NOT find itself immune from the desire to take dominion and control of oceanic islands rich in deposits of guano.
The American Congress  specifically enacted a law, STILL VALID AND IN EFFECT [??], ALLOWING FOR WHAT IN ESSENCE WAS A WORLD-WIDE IMPERIALIST LAND GRAB!!
The Guano Islands Act!
"the US passed the Guano Islands Act in 1856 giving citizens discovering a source of guano the right to take possession of unclaimed land and entitlement to exclusive rights to the deposits. However, the guano could only be removed for the use by citizens of the United States. This enabled US citizens to take possession of unoccupied islands containing guano.
ISLANDS - - ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, COULD [AND STILL CAN??!!], UNDER THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES, BECOME AMERICAN TERRITORY, SUBJECT TO AMERICAN CONTROL, DOMINION AND JURISDICTION!
The Guano Islands Act . . . [of] August 18, 1856, which enables citizens of the U.S. to take possession of islands containing guano deposits. The islands can be located anywhere, so long as they are not occupied and not within the jurisdiction of other governments.
The criteria [under the Guano Islands Act] to take possession of a guano island is:
* Island not occupied.
* Not within the jurisdiction of other governments.
AND - - "It [Guano Islands Act] also empowers the President of the United States to use the military to protect such interests"
Some guano islands remaining under U.S. control [to this very day] are:
* Baker Island
* Jarvis Island
* Howland Island
* Kingman Reef
* Johnston Atoll
* Palmyra Atoll
* Midway Atoll.
Johnston Atoll until a few years ago was a weapons depot that contained vast stores of nerve gas considered to be so toxic and deadly it was impossible to store safely stateside! That stockpile has been destroyed?
[In the Caribbean]
* Navassa Island. [territory disputed with Haiti]
* Serranilla Bank.
* Bajo Nuevo Bank.
"The United States considers Serranilla Bank to be an unorganized, unincorporated United States territory. The United States may assert sovereignty over West Breaker, Middle Cay, East Cay and Beacon Cay in particular."
"The US considers the reef [Bajo Nuevo Bank] to be an unorganized, unincorporated United States territory"
Serranilla Bank and Bajor Nuevo Bank are uninhabited and uninhabitable cays. NOT even geologic features as the term is ordinarily understood! Underwater reefs upon which have formed islands composed primarily of bio-matter from small dead animals!
THESE ISLANDS, AT ONE TIME, WERE FELT WORTHY OF USING MILITARY FORCE TO PROTECT!
BUT, still remain as American territory, thanks to considerations that in the nineteenth century were felt to be vital and crucial to national defense, as the term was understood at the time!
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