History Timeline

1799 – Captain Don M. Zipiani of the Spanish vessel Senhor del pilar discovered an island at about Kure’s longitude and latitude and named it Patrocinio.

1825 – Captain Benjamin Morrell Jr. Schooner Tartar and named it Morrell

1827 – Captain Stankovitch Russian ship Moller

1835 – Russian captain/cartagrapher Krusenstern synonomizes all the written accounts, coordinates, and names to be referring to the same place and categorically unifies them under “Cure Island”.

1837Captain Brown --British whaler Gledstanes Shipwreck (British)

1842Parker Shipwreck (New Bedford)

1870USS Saginaw Shipwreck (US Navy)

1886Dunnottar Castle Shipwreck

1894 – Provisional Government leased Kure to North Pacific Phosphate Fertilizer

1898 – Nation of Hawaiʻi illegally becomes US Territory

1909 – Northwestern Hawaiians Islands are set aside by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a Hawaiian Island Bird Reservation, administered by the Department of Agriculture.

1915 – Short visit by naturalist

1923 – Tananger expeditions

1936 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt placed Kure under Naval authority

1940 – July 25, 1940: Roosevelt signs proclamation changing the names of certain federal wildlife refuges; Hawaiian Islands Reservation becomes Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

1952 – Nov. 17, 1952: Executive order by President Harry Truman "restores" Kure (Ocean) Island to the authority of the Territory of Hawai’i (the rest of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are under the Department of the Interior)

1955 – Radar reflector built by US Navy

1957 – Botanical survey (supposed)

1958 – Botanical survey (supposed)

1959 – Two D7 bulldozers cut eighteen 45’ wide trails through the naupaka to open up habitat for albatross’.  The open spaces were created to lure young albatross away from Midway where bird strikes were a serious problem for US Navy aircraft. Verbesina was first introduced to Kure during this period by the bulldozers.

1960 – Botanical survey

1960 – The United Stated Coast Guard installed a LORAN C navigational aid station in the central plains of Kure as well as a 4000’ runway on the southwest end of the island.

1972 Smithsonian Report "The Natural History of Kure Atoll, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands" by Paul Woodward

1976 – Tripartite agreement between State of Hawaii, US FWS, NOAA

1978 – Kure was included in the State Seabird Sanctuary system.

1978 -- May 23, 1978: National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources sign cooperative agreement for the "Survey and Assessment of the Living Resources on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands." Fisheries service assigned to implement the agreement and assess the offshore fisheries, Fish and Wildlife to study the marine mammals and birds, DLNR to assess the fisheries of the nearshore zone. Field research completed in 1982.

1992 – The Coast Guard LORAN station closes.

1993 – Management transferred to State of Hawaii DLNR DOFAW Wildlife Sanctuary

1993 to 1994- The State Department of Land and Natural Resources/Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DLNR/DOFAW) and USDA eradicated Polynesian rats (Rattus exulans) on Kure.

2000 – Dec. 7, 2000: An area about 1,200 nautical miles long and 100 wide of surrounding State of Hawai'i and National Wildlife Refuge waters is designated by Clinton through Executive Order #13158 as The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve.

2001 -- Jan. 18, 2001: Clinton signs executive order amending the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve "to ensure the comprehensive, strong, and lasting protection of the resources of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands."

2003 and 2004 – DLNR/DOFAW increased their annual field season from 2 months to 5 months

2005 – Sept. 29, 2005: Gov. Linda Lingle signs regulations setting up all state waters in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a state marine refuge.

2006 – June 15, 2006: President George Bush establishes Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument.

2010 – UNESCO World Heritage Designation

2010 – Year-round camps begin on Kure

2014 – Full-island habitat management/restoration program

2014 – Laysan Ducks are translocated to Kure

2016 – Obama through EO expands the jurisdiction/protections of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument from 50 na miles from shore to entire EEZ 200 miles out. The expansion also elevated the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (an agency represented on the Monument Management Board) from manager to co-trustee to sit alongside 3 government agencies (NOAA, FWS, and State of Hawaiʻi).


The Shipwrecks of Kure: 

Gledstanes (British Whaler)

Kelly Gleason investigates an anchor at the British whaling ship Gledstanes at Kure Atoll. Credit: NOAA/Casserley.

Parker (American Whaler)

Kelly Gleason investigates an anchor in the bow section of the Parker shipwreck site. Credit: NOAA/Casserley.

Dunnottar Castle

Sailing vessel Dunnottar Castle, wrecked at Kure Atoll in 1886. Credit: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library).

USS Saginaw (US Navy)

Sketch of USS Saginaw on the reef at Kure Atoll. Credit: George H. Read, 1912