It is a fortified coaling station for the British navy.
Algiers is the chief coaling station in the Mediterranean, having become so largely at the expense of Gibraltar.
2 Port Lloyd, the chief anchorage (situated on Peel Island), is considered by Commodore Perry - who visited the islands in 1853 and strongly urged the establishment of a United States coaling station there - to have been formerly the crater of a volcano from which the surrounding hills were thrown up, the entrance to the harbour being a fissure through which lava used to pour into the sea.
Shortly afterwards his term of office was brought to a close by the failure of an attempt to secure for Italy a coaling station at Sanmen and a sphere of influence in China; but his policy of active participation in Chinese affairs was continued in a modified form by his successor, the Marquis Visconti Venosta, who, entering the reconstructed Pelloux cabinet in May 1899, retained the portfolio of foreign affairs in the ensuing Saracco administration, and secured the despatch of an Italian expedition, 2000 strong, to aid in repressing the Chinese outbreak and in protecting Italian interests in the Far East (July 1900).
In 1877 the American consul hoisted his country's flag, but the action was repudiated by his government, which, however, in 1878 obtained Pago Pago as a coaling station and made a trading treaty with the natives.