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The group approximately forms an ellipse with a north-south axis of 22 km (14 mi).

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Turtles and seabirds are native to the islands, which have a hot and humid climate, abundant rainfall and frequent typhoons.

The archipelago is surrounded by productive fishing grounds and a seabed with potential, but as yet unexplored, oil and gas reserves.

the group consists of low narrow islands with sand cays, enclosed shallow lagoons connected by reefs of rock, and is about 37 km (23 mi) northwest of Lincoln Island.

The Amphitrite were thus unoccupied until forces of the People's Republic of China landed in late 1955.

Meanwhile, French and Vietnamese forces landed on Pattle Island in the Crescent Group in January 1947.

By 1955 South Vietnam took possession of the Crescent islands until the Battle of the Paracel Islands in January 1974.South Vietnam's claim to the islands was inherited by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, which has ruled all of Vietnam since 1976.The Paracel Islands, also known as Xisha in Chinese and Hoàng Sa in Vietnamese, is a group of islands, reefs, banks and other maritime features in the South China Sea. The archipelago includes about 130 small coral islands and reefs, most grouped into the northeast Amphitrite Group or the western Crescent Group.They are distributed over a maritime area of around 15,000 square kilometres (5,800 sq mi), with a land area of approximately 7.75 square kilometres (2.99 sq mi).The archipelago is approximately equidistant from the coastlines of China (PRC) and Vietnam; and approximately about one-third of the way from central Vietnam to the northern Philippines.Forces of the Republic of China (Ro C) landed on Woody Island in the Amphitrite Group in November 1946 but abandoned it in May 1950.

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