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| Disputed island |
Native name: Ainu: クナシㇼ
Other names: Russian: Кунаши́р; Japanese: 国後島
Location of Kunashir Island
|Location||Sea of Okhotsk|
|Area||1,490 square kilometres (580 sq mi)|
|Length||123 kilometres (76 mi)|
|Width||from 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to 30 kilometres (19 mi)|
|Federal subject||Sakhalin Oblast|
|Population||approx. 7000 (as of 2007)|
Kunashir Island (Russian : Кунаши́р, romanized: Kunashír; Japanese : 国後島, romanized: Kunashiri-tō; Ainu : クナシㇼ, romanized: Kuna=sir), possibly meaning Black Island or Grass Island in Ainu, is the southernmost island of the Kuril Islands archipelago. The island is currently under Russian control, though Japan also claims the island (see Kuril Islands dispute).
Kunashir lies between the straits of Kunashir Island, Catherine, Izmena, and South Kuril. Kunashir Island is visible from the nearby Japanese island of Hokkaido, from which it is separated by the Nemuro Strait.
Kunashir Island is formed by four volcanoes which were separate islands but have since joined together by low-lying areas with lakes and hot springs. All these volcanoes are still active: Tyatya (1,819 m (5,968 ft)), Smirnov, Mendeleev (Rausu-yama), and Golovnin (Tomari-yama). The island is made up of volcanic and crystalline rocks.
The climate is humid continental with very heavy precipitation especially in the autumn and a strong seasonal lag with maximum temperatures in August and September. The vegetation mostly consists of spruce, pine, fir, and mixed deciduous forests with lianas and Kuril bamboo underbrush. The mountains are covered with birch and Siberian Dwarf Pine scrub, herbaceous flowers or bare rocks. Tree cores of century-old oaks (Quercus crispula) were found in July 2001 on Kunashiri Island.
Kunashir, along with the neighbouring Lesser Kuril Chain of smaller islands, has been recognised as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because they support populations of various threatened bird species, including many waterbirds, seabirds and waders.
Matsumae Domain established Kunashir fishery and trading site (国後場所,Kunashiri-basho) in 1754.Administration office of the fishery and trading site located in Tomari (now Golovnino). Area of Kunashir fishery and trading site was consisted of Kunashir, Iturup and Urup islands.
In 1789 Kunashir Island was one of the settings of the Menashi-Kunashiri Battle in which Ainu revolted against Japanese tradespeople and colonists.
Russian navigator Vasily Golovnin attempted to map and explore the island in 1811, but was apprehended by Japanese authorities and spent two years in prison.
On September 1, 1945, or one day before the surrender documents of World War II were signed on September 2, 1945, in accordance with decisions made at the Yalta Conference, the Soviet Union acquired the Kuril Islands. This occurred after the Soviet Union renounced the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in April 1945 and declared war on Japan on August 9, 1945 (formally, the pact itself remained in effect until April 13, 1946). Although Japan agreed after deliberations to cede its claims on the entire island chain including the Northern Territories as part of the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951, the Japanese government has claimed since the 1960s that the southern islands were not part of the ceded Kuril Islands.
The largest settlement on Kunashir Island is Yuzhno-Kurilsk, administrative center of Yuzhno-Kurilsky District.
The primary economic activity is the fishing industry. The island has a port next to Yuzhno-Kurilsk. Kunashir Island enjoys a Mendeleevskaya GeoPP geothermal power plant with the capacity of 1.8 MW
The island is served by Mendeleyevo Airport.
After the 1994 earthquake, about one-third of Kunashir Island's population left and did not return. By 2002, the island's population was approximately 7,800. The total population of the disputed Kuril islands at that time was approximately 17,000.
The Kuril Islands or Kurile Islands is a volcanic archipelago part of Sakhalin Oblast in the Russian Far East. It stretches approximately 1,300 km (810 mi) northeast from Hokkaido in Japan to Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the north Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many minor rocks. The Kuril Islands consist of the Greater Kuril Chain and the Lesser Kuril Chain. They cover an area of around 10,503.2 square kilometres (4,055.3 sq mi), with a population of roughly 20,000.
The Kuril Islands dispute, also known in Japan as the Northern Territories dispute, is a disagreement between Japan and Russia and also some individuals of the Ainu people over sovereignty of the four southernmost Kuril Islands. The Kuril Islands is a chain of islands that stretch between the Japanese island of Hokkaido at the southern end and the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula at the northern end. The islands separate the Sea of Okhotsk from the Pacific Ocean. The four disputed islands, like other islands in the Kuril chain that are not in dispute, were annexed by the Soviet Union following the Kuril Islands landing operation at the end of World War II. The disputed islands are under Russian administration as the South Kuril District of the Sakhalin Oblast. They are claimed by Japan, which refers to them as its Northern Territories or Southern Chishima, and considers them part of the Nemuro Subprefecture of Hokkaido Prefecture.
The Treaty of Saint Petersburg between the Empire of Japan and Empire of Russia was signed on 7 May 1875, and its ratifications exchanged at Tokyo on 22 August 1875. The treaty itself went into effect in 1877.
The Invasion of the Kuril Islands was the World War II Soviet military operation to capture the Kuril Islands from Japan in 1945. The invasion was part of the Soviet–Japanese War, and was decided on when plans to land on Hokkaido were abandoned. The successful military operations of the Red Army at Mudanjiang and during the Invasion of South Sakhalin created the necessary prerequisites for invasion of the Kuril Islands.
Iturup is one of the Kuril Islands. It was formerly known as Staten Island. It is the largest and northernmost island in the southern Kurils, ownership of which is disputed by Japan and Russia.
Shikotan, also known as Shpanberg, is an island in the Kurils administered by the Russian Federation as part of Yuzhno-Kurilsky District of Sakhalin Oblast. It is claimed by Japan as the nominal Shikotan District, part of Nemuro Subprefecture of Hokkaido Prefecture.
Chishima Province was a province of Japan created during the Meiji Era. It originally contained the Kuril Islands from Kunashiri northwards, and later incorporated Shikotan as well. Its original territory is currently occupied by Russia, and its territory was renounced in the San Francisco Treaty.
The Habomai Islands (Russian: Хабомаи, Japanese: 歯舞群島 or 歯舞諸島 are a group of islets in the southernmost Kuril Islands. They are currently under Russian administration, but together with Iturup, Kunashir, and Shikotan are claimed by Japan.
Paramushir, is a volcanic island in the northern portion of Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean. It is separated from Shumshu by the very narrow Second Kuril Strait in the northeast 2.5 km (1.6 mi), from Antsiferov by the Luzhin Strait to the southwest, from Atlasov in the northwest by 20 km (12 mi), and from Onnekotan in the south by the 40 km (25 mi) wide Fourth Kuril Strait. Its northern tip is 39 km (24 mi) from Cape Lopatka at the southern tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula. Its name is derived from the Ainu language, from “broad island” or “populous island”. Severo-Kurilsk, the administrative center of the Severo-Kurilsky district, is the only permanently populated settlement on Paramushir island.
Matua is an uninhabited volcanic island near the center of the Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean, 16 kilometers (9.9 mi) across Golovnin Strait from Raikoke. Its name is derived from the Ainu language, from “hellmouth”.
Yuri (Iurii) is an island in the Habomai Islands sub-group of the Kuril Islands chain in the south of the Sea of Okhotsk, northwest Pacific Ocean. The island is uninhabited from 1945 after the Soviet invasion of the Kuril Islands and deportation of Japanese to Hokkaido. It is currently administered as part of Yuzhno-Kurilsky District, Sakhalin Oblast of the Russian Federation. Its name is derived from the Ainu language word for cormorant.
Yuzhno-Kurilsk is an urban locality and the administrative center of Yuzhno-Kurilsky District of Sakhalin Oblast, Russia. Population: 5,832 (2010 Census); 5,751 (2002 Census); 6,344 (1989 Census). It is the largest settlement on the Kunashir Island of the Kuril Islands.
Golovnin is a caldera located in the southern part of Kunashir Island, Kuril Islands, Russia. It is the southernmost volcano of the Kuril Islands.
Mendeleyeva is a stratovolcano located in the southern part of Kunashir Island, Kuril Islands, Russia.
Burevestnik is a military air base on Iturup Island, Russia, establishing the nation's presence on the disputed South Kuril Islands with the largest airfield in the region. It is also the former Soviet Union's most remote interceptor base, home of 387 IAP. During the 1970s, it flew MiG-21bis and upgraded to MiG-23 jets in 1983. An Army helicopter combat support squadron was also stationed at the airfield in the early 1980s, providing limited fire support and transport capability. Burevestnik's communications and logistics were tied to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and supplies were flown in weekly on An-12 aircraft.
Yuzhno-Kurilsk Mendeleyevo Airport is an airport in Yuzhno-Kurilsk, on the Russian island of Kunashir in the Kuril Islands.
The Golovnin Incident involved the capture of Russian explorer and naval captain, Vasily Golovnin in 1811, by soldiers of the Japanese shogunate in accordance of Japan's policy of isolationism (Sakoku). Golovnin was interned in Japan for two years before being released in 1813. The incident was an important flashpoint in Russo-Japanese relations over the control of the Kuril islands. Golovnin's book Memoirs of a Captivity in Japan during the Years 1811, 1812 and 1813 with observations on the country and the people, recounted his captivity, was a popular work in Europe and was translated into several languages.
Kuril Ainu or Kuril, is an extinct and poorly attested Ainu language of the Kuril Islands, now part of Russia. The main inhabited islands were Kunashir, Iturup and Urup in the south, and Shumshu in the north. Other islands either had small populations or were visited for fishing or hunting. There may have been a small mixed Kuril–Itelmen population at the southern tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula.
Kurils Nature Reserve is a Russian 'zapovednik' covering the north and south portions of Kunashir Island, the largest and most southernmost of the Kuril Islands, which stretch between Hokkaido Island in Japan to the Kamchatka peninsula in the Russia Far East. It also covers two smaller islands nearby to the southeast. The area is one of the largest wintering sites for coastal seabirds. The reserve sits on a tectonically unstable location, and is one of two Russian national reserves that protects territory of active volcanoes. The reserve is situated in the Yuzhno-Kurilsky District of Sakhalin Oblast. The reserve was created in 1984, and covers an area of 65,364 ha (252.37 sq mi).
Shikotan is a village in Shikotan District, both of which are located in the disputed Northern Territories area of the Kuril Islands. It is currently administered by Russia as part of Yuzhno-Kurilsky District in Sakhalin Oblast, although Japan continues to claim it as part of Hokkaido Prefecture.
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