The United States Exploring Expedition Lands On And Surveys Wake

On December 20, 1840, the United States Exploring Expedition commanded by Commodore Charles Wilkes of the U.S. Navy, landed on and surveyed Wake.

Wilkes described the atoll as "a low coral one, of triangular form and eight feet above the surface. It has a large lagoon in the centre, which was well filled with fish of a variety of species among these were some fine mullet." He also noted that Wake had no fresh water and that it was covered with shrubs, "the most abundant of which was the tournefortia." The expedition's naturalist, Titian Peale, collected many new specimens, including an egg from a short-tailed albatross and various marine life specimens.

Wake Island, annexed in 1899 (the claim is currently disputed by the Marshall Islands.)