Sakhalin history. Tour to Sakhalin Island. Sakhalin Island tour. Trip to Sakhalin Island.
WELCOME TO SAKHALIN ISLAND
SAKHALIN ISLAND. HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS
Sakhalin (Karafuto in Japanese) Island has a very old history. Geographically, this island, about
the size of Scotland, is an offshore extension of the Sikhote-Alin Mountains in
the southeast of Russia, though it looks just as much a northern extension of
The first Japanese settlers came across from Hokkaido in the
early 1800s attracted by seas full of fish, whales and seals. The island already
had local population (the Nivkhi, Oroki and Ainu peoples). In 1853 the Russian
Government claimed Sakhalin as part of its campaign to secure the Amur region.
From the very beginning of Sakhalin colonization not only the
Russians and Japanese 'paid attention' to this territory. According to
historical data, the first Japanese expedition visited Sakhalin in 1635. By the
end of the 18th century English and French explorers showed an interest in
Sakhalin and the Kurils. In 1787, ships of the La Perouse’s expedition
conducted their exploration. Jean Francois Galoup de la Perouse thus became the
first European to sail into the Tatar Strait. The French sailors explored more
than 700 kilometers of Sakhalin coastline and after a short stop the ships under
La Perouse's command sailed from the Japanese Sea to the Sea of Okhotsk via the
strait between Sakhalin and Hokkaido. This strait today bears his name.
In 1796-1797, the English captain William Robert Broughton
explored the coastline of Sakhalin and the Kurils. Broughton sailed eight miles
further than La Perouse up to the Tatar Straits and concluded that he was in a
gulf surrounded by low, sandy shores. Thus appeared the theory that Sakhalin was
Anton Chekhov, the Russian writer and medical doctor, spent
three months on Sakhalin in 1890, where he extensively researched the plight of
the prisoners and the native population. The publication of his Sakhalin Island
in 1895 highlighted the depravity of the situation in this remote corner of
Russia and led to public protests that helped to close the penal colony.
Owing to its remote location, the Island was chosen by the
Russian Tsar as a huge penal colony, echoing Britain’s Botany Bay in
Australia. Japan restaked its claim to the Island, seizing it during the
Russo-Japanese War and getting to keep the southern part of the Island under the
terms of the peace settlement (the Treaty of Portsmouth, 1905). The Treaty was
rubbished when, during WWII, the Soviet Union regained control over Sakhalin.
The Island became a highly militarized eastern outpost of the Soviet Empire
loaded with aircrafts, missiles and guns.
Nowadays, Sakhalin is one of the richest sources of natural
gas, coal, uranium and silver, as well as timbers, furs and a fine fishery.
Unfortunately, Sakhalin gained world attention in 1995 when
it suffered one of the worst earthquakes in Russian history.
The majority of Sakhalin’s population lives on the southern
half of the Island, centered mainly in the capital city of the region, Yuzhno
– Sakhalinsk, and the two ports, Kholmsk and Korsakov. The Sakhalin region
also includes the Island of Moneron and the disputed Kuril chain.
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