History of Palmyra Atoll

1802 Palmyra is discovered by an American captain named Swale. His ship, The Palmyra, drifted on to the shores of the atoll after a storm. Swale is the first person to make official reports for the atoll's existance and establish its fixed location. Palmyra not only has a reputation of amazing natural beauty, but also one of mystery and intrigue. Over the years haunting myths and stories have accumulated about the atoll and those that have come into contact with it.

1816 a Spanish Pirate boat, the Esperanza, shipwrecks on the shores of Palmyra. The surviving crew members alledgedly buried their booty of stolen silver and gold from the Incan temples in Peru under a palm grove on an islet named Home. They then sail off in rafts that they build by hand. Two of the rafts disappear, and only one is rescued. The only survivor to tell of the adventure becomes sick with pneumonia and dies soon after.

1922 the Fullard-Leo family of Hawaii buys the atoll from the owner, Judge Henry E. Cooper of Honolulu.

1940-1947 The U.S. Navy occupy the atoll during this period of time without consent from the Fullard Leo-family and developed it into a naval air facility. Over 6,000 military personnel are stationed on the atoll from 1940-1947. During their stay on the atoll, the United States military dredge a channel, build a harbor, construct a landing strip, create new islands and then leave potentially dangerous debris when they depart in 1947.

1974 A yachting couple is murdered by a fugitive drug dealer who is hiding on the atoll. The murderer most likely kills for the food and the couple's sailboat. Six years later the skeletal remains of the couple are found on the shores of Palmyra. This double homocide is made into a New York Bestseller named And the Sea Will Tell, and then into a TV movie.

2000 Palmyra is bought by The Nature Conservancy for 30 million dollars. The Fullard-Leo's sell Palmyra Atoll to The Nature Conservancy because they believe that the atoll should not be commercially developed and that it is worth the effort to attempt to conserve Palmyra's unique ecosystem.