Kwajalein Atoll is part of the Ralik Chain in the Marshall Islands, which is an island country in the Pacific Ocean. About 13,500 residents live on the atoll, and they must be granted permission to live there by the United States Army. The largest island in the atoll is Kwajalein Island. Kwajalein Island has about 1,000 residents, mostly US military personnel. Ebeye, which has about 9,600 residents, is located five miles away from Kwajalein Island. It is connected to the island by a long causeway. The third-largest island in the atoll is Ebadon, which has a small village called Ebadon. Coral reefs off the coasts of Kwajalein Atoll's islands provide habitat for fish, sharks, and aquatic vegetation. The combination of marine wildlife and shipwrecks around the atoll makes it appealing for scuba diving and snorkeling, but people must get permission from the US military before partaking in those activities.
Like the other atolls in the archipelago, Kwajalein has a long and complex history of ownership and governance. The atoll was said to have mystical qualities by native inhabitants. They believed that a mythical tree with spiritual powers grew on the island of Kwajalein and enticed foreigners to stay. Like many atolls in the Marshall Islands, Kwajalein's first European visitors were Spanish explorers. The first Spanish ship is documented to have arrived in 1543. Explorers named Kwajalein “The Gardens” because of its colorful flowers and lush trees. The atoll was placed peacefully under German rule until 1922, when it was taken over by the Japanese government through a mandate. The Marshall Islands were then handed over to the American government, and they finally gained independence in 1979.
While the plant and animal populations are still quite low in Kwajalein Atoll due to nuclear testing, there are sea turtles, over 160 kinds of coral, and 800 species of fish in the Marshall Islands. The wildlife, shipwrecks, and old plane wrecks off the islands' shores make them ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling. The atoll has a tropical rainforest climate, and its driest months fall between January and March. Kwajalein receives an average of 10 inches of rain each year, and its humidity rate ranges from the upper 70s and low 80s throughout the year. The local economy depends primarily on fishing, but there is some revenue from tourism based on aquatic activities like diving and snorkeling too.