Swains Island ( /ˈsweɪnz/; Samoan: Olosega) is an atoll in the Tokelau chain. Culturally a part of Tokelau, it is an unincorporated unorganized territory of the United States administered by American Samoa. Swains Island has also been known at various times as Olosenga Island, Olohega Island, Quiros Island, Gente Hermosa Island, and Jennings Island. Owned by the Jennings family and used as a copra plantation, Swains Island has a population of 37 Tokelauans, who harvest the island's coconuts.
Swains Island has a total area of 460.9 acres (186.5 ha), of which 373 acres (150.8 ha) is land. The central lagoon accounts for the balance of 88 acres (35.8 ha). There is a small islet of 914 square yards (764 m2) in the eastern part of the lagoon.
The atoll is somewhat unusual, featuring an unbroken circle of land enclosing a freshwater lagoon cut off from the sea. Recent U.S. Coast Guard visitors to Swains described its lagoon as "brackish" and a source for the plentiful numbers of mosquitoes which plague the island. In April 2007, a member of an amateur radio expedition confirmed that the lagoon water was fit only for bathing and washing, and that fresh water seemed to be in rather short supply on the island at the time. According to a United States Department of the Interior description of Swains Island, drinking water on Swains is derived entirely from rainfall collected in two large mahogany tanks near the island's copra shed.
As of 2005[update], the population of Swains Island was 37, all located in the village of Taulaga on the island's west side. According to the Interior Department report, Talauga prior to 2005 consisted of a grassy malae (an open space similar to an American "village green"), twenty or so fale (Tokelauan-style houses), and a large red copra shed that doubled as the town hall and water-collection system. A communications building, school, and church rounded out Taulaga's buildings. Only the church remained standing after Cyclone Percy in 2005, though other structures have since been rebuilt.