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Rose Atoll
National Wildlife Refuge

About 2,500 miles south of
Honolulu, HI   
E-mail: Susan_White@fws.gov
Phone Number: 808-792-9560
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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Rose Atoll named in 1819 after French navigator Louis de Freycinet’s wife. In 1824, it was seen by a German expedition under Otto von Kotzebue, and in the 1860s, a German firm tried to establish a fishing station and coconut plantation.

Following years of civil war among Samoan factions and of rivalry between the United States, Germany, and Great Britain, the Tripartite Convention of 1899 partitioned the Samoan archipelago between Germany and the United States. Eastern Samoa, including Rose Atoll, became a U.S. territory. The first governor, B.F. Tilley, visited the Atoll in 1900, hoisted the U.S. flag, and planted coconuts. In 1920, Governor W.J. Terhune landed on the Atoll, erected a sign to warn trespassers, and planted more coconuts.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt designated the Rose Atoll a Naval Defense Area in 1941, but it was never used for that purpose. On July 5, 1973, it was established as a National Wildlife Refuge by cooperative agreement between the Government of American Samoa and the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife (a predecessor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

Rose Atoll suffered from an oil spill, grounding, and wreck of a Taiwanese longliner in 1993. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's monitoring of injuries led to support from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund Act to remove the ship debris and monitor recovery of the atoll. By 2007, all ship debris had been removed, and the atoll continues to recover.

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