The United States has a total of 16 territories, five of which are permanently inhabited and 11 of which are uninhabited or barely inhabited. The uninhabited territories of 11 are small islands, cliffs or atolls and do not support any kind of permanent population. The United States has always maintained the territories in one way or another. The term “territory” was used when new land was purchased from the United States, as in the case of Hawaii and Alaska. Although many of these former territories eventually became states, some areas remained as territories.
Unincorporated and incorporated territories
US territories may be incorporated or not incorporated into companies. Regardless of whether a territory is incorporated or not incorporated, it is at the discretion of the US federal government. Most US territories are unincorporated territories. In unincorporated territories, the United States constitution is only partially applied. Palmyra Atoll is the only incorporated territory of the United States. This is because Palmyra Atoll was acquired by the United States as part of the Hawaiian island chain. Instead of joining Hawaii in a state, Palmyra Atoll has become an incorporated territory. However, since Palmyra Atoll is uninhabited, its incorporated state is irrelevant.
Organized and unorganized territories
Furthermore, the territories of the United States can be organized or disorganized . To be considered an organized territory, the United States Congress must approve an organic law that gives jurisdiction to the territory, in order to govern its business. Unorganized territories do not have a formal local government system and whose government is the responsibility of the country to which it belongs. The non-organized territories usually host few or no permanent populations.
All those born in the US territories are American citizens, with the exception of American Samoa. Below is a closer look at each US territory.
Puerto Rico (non-incorporated organized territory) – Population: 3,667,084
Puerto Rico is a US territory found in the northeast Caribbean Sea. Previously, Puerto Rico was a Spanish territory. However, in the Spanish-American war, the United States invaded Puerto Rico, which was ceded to the United States by Spain in the signing of the Treaty of Paris. With the promise of US economic aid and stability, the people of Puerto Rico supported the United States in their fight against Spain. However, many Puerto Ricans were dismayed when the United States did not take sides with the local government after the war, instead resorting to establishing its own system that ignored what was already in place on the island.
The territory of Puerto Rico consists of the main island and other smaller islands such as Mona, Culebra and Vieques. The population of Puerto Rico is around 3.7 million people. The island is rich in history, climate and traditional cuisines that make it a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. The residents of Puerto Rico are American citizens. An estimated 61% of Puerto Ricans are in favor of the state.
Guam (non-incorporated organized territory) – Population: 159.358
Guam is a US territory with an established civilian government located in the western Pacific Ocean. Guam has a population of 161,785 people who are mainly American citizens by birth. The island covers an area of 210 square miles, the largest of the Mariana Islands. Guam is a popular tourist destination for tourists, especially from Japan. The United States took over the island in 1898 as part of the Paris treaty and was transferred to the US Navy in December 1898 through a 108-A executive order. Guam was the site of fighting during the Second World War. Guam now houses two military bases.
US Virgin Islands (non-incorporated organized territory) – 106,405
The US Virgin Islands are groups of islands in the Caribbean Sea. They are considered part of the Leeward Islands. The islands cover a total area of 133.73 square miles and have a population of 106,105 people who are mostly Afro-Caribbean. Tourism is the main economic activity on the islands with different productive activities that integrate the economy. Christopher Colombus called the US Virgin Islands during his trip in 1493. The islands are part of the territories of the United States, but the island’s citizens have no right to vote in the US presidential election.
Northern Mariana Islands (non-incorporated organized territory) – Population: 77,000
The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, are a territory of the United States consisting of the 15 Pacific islands. The islands 15 include those of the Marianas archipelago and cover an area of square miles 183.5. The Northern Mariana Islands have a population of 77,000 people with the vast majority living in Saipan and Tinian. The administrative center of the islands is the Capitol, although many residents consider Saipan the capital of the island. Negotiation between the United States and the Northern Mariana Islands for territorial status began in 1972 and was approved in 1975 through a referendum. The island formed a new local government under its new constitution in 1978.
American Samoa (non-organized territory not incorporated) – Population: 55.519
American Samoa is a territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean. It consists of five continental and coral atolls. Samoa has a population of 55,500 people and covers an area of square miles 76.8. American Samoa has the highest military lighting in the sixteen US territories. The main export from the island includes the tuna product with the United States as the main trading partner. The Samoa government is defined by the Constitution of American Samoa. Most of the island’s inhabitants are bilingual and can speak English and Samoan.
Midway atoll (non-organized territory not incorporated) – Population: 60
Midway atoll (non-organized territory not incorporated) – Population: 60
The Midway Atoll is located in the Pacific Ocean. It represents the brand halfway between Asia and continental America. The Atoll was previously the site of a naval structure. Today the atoll has a population of about 60 people, mostly made up of environmental workers. It is not possible to visit the island as a tourist.
Palmyra Atoll (non-organized territory incorporated) – Population: 4-20
The Palmyra Atoll is unique among US territories for private ownership – both the Nature Conservancy and the US Fish and Wildlife Service own the island. Found around 1,600 km from Oahu, Hawaii, the Palmyra Atoll is actually an archipelago of 50 islands. The Atoll’s location is remote – it is thousands of miles from any continent. Its population is mainly composed of personnel and scientists.
Baker Island (non-organized territory not incorporated) – Population: 0
Baker Island was formally annexed by the United States on May 13, 1836. It is an atoll found around 1,900 miles southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii. It is visited by the US Fish and Wildlife Service every year.
Howland Island (non-organized non-incorporated territory) – Population: 0
Howland is also in the Pacific Ocean, about 1,700 nautical miles southwest of Honululu. It is halfway between Hawaii and Australia. Made of coral, the island has no inhabitants.
Jarvis Island (non-organized territory not incorporated) – Population: 0
Jarvis Island is also a coral island and is located in the South Pacific Ocean. It is administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Johnston Atoll (non-organized non-incorporated territory) – Population: 0
Also known as the Kalama Atoll, the Johnston Atoll is administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Entry is permitted only with a permit from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Kingman Reef (non-organized non-incorporated territory) – Population: 0
Kingman Reef is a triangular reef located between Hawaii and the territory of American Samoa. The coral reef is only 11 meters long.
Wake Island (non-organized territory not incorporated) – Population: 0
Located in Micronesia, Wake Island is also a coral atoll. The US Fish and Wildlife Service administers the national reserve of Midway Atoll.
Island of Navassa (non-organized territory not incorporated) – Population: 0
Unlike the other uninhabited territories of this list so far, the island of Navassa is located in the Caribbean Sea. The island, which is small and without human settlements, is currently the subject of a dispute between the United States and Haiti.
Serranilla Bank (non-syndicated territory not incorporated) – Population: 0
Serranilla Bank is a small atoll found in the Atlantic Ocean. Mostly submerged underwater, Colombia gained control of the International Court of Justice in 2012. However, the United States does not recognize this ruling.
Bajo Nuevo Bank (non-organized territory not incorporated) – Population: 0
Bajo Nuevo Bank is a coral reef located in the Caribbean Sea. Like the Sarranilla Bank, Baja Nuevo Bank is the subject of a dispute between Colombia and the United States.
What are the territories of the United States?
|Territory||Where is it||Population|
|Puerto Rico||Carribean Sea||3,337,177|
|US Virgin Islands||Carribean Sea||106.405|
|Northern Mariana Islands||Pacific Ocean||77,000|
|American Samoa||Pacific Ocean||55.519|
|Midway Atoll||Pacific Ocean||60|
|Palmyra Atoll||Pacific Ocean||20|
|Baker Island||Pacific Ocean||0|
|Howland Island||Pacific Ocean||0|
|Jarvis Island||Pacific Ocean||0|
|Johnston Atoll||Pacific Ocean||0|
|Kingman Reef||Pacific Ocean||0|
|Isle of Wake||Pacific Ocean||0|
|Island of Navassa||Carribean Sea||0|
|Serranilla Bank||Carribean Sea||0|
|Bajo Nuevo Bank||Carribean Sea||0|