Fishing Tours on Sakhalin Island
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History of the Island

The most ancient history of the Island:

   Sakhalin was not always separated from the mainland and the Japanese island of Hokkaido. At the dawn of civilization, the level of water in the world's oceans has been steadily declining, resulting in so-called "bridges" in the strait. Presumably, by using that “bridges” the first people, mammoths and other animals moved here (about 300 thousand years ago). In the Middle Ages the main inhabitants of Sakhalin were the Nivkh and Ainu. 

Ancient History of the Island:
   The first mention of Sakhalin dates back to the 11th century BC in the ancient Chinese geographic tract "Shan Hai Jing" ("Catalog of mountains and seas") reported that to the north-east of China is Xuangugo - "The Kingdom of the Blackfeet", and to the north of it - Maomingo - "The Kingdom of Hairy" and Laomi - people lao. According to many researchers, we are talking about the lands of Gilyaks (Nivkhs) and Ainu.  

Discoverers and invaders of the island:
   A map of Sakhalin becomes known in Europe after it was made in the period 1271-1295 during a trip to Eastern and Central Asia by the Venetian traveler Marco Polo.
The period from 1263 to 1426 can safely be called the time of destructive raids and the subordination of the island to the Mongolian "Golden Horde" under the leadership of Genghis Khan. The Mongolian troops reach the mouth of the Amur and subjugate the tribes of the Gilyaks or Nivkhs of the Lower Amur and Northern Sakhalin, imposing them on tribute until the twenties of the 14thcentury. 
At the beginning of the 16th century, the Japanese imperial house began to show interest in Sakhalin and the vassal of the Matsumae clan was exploring the southern part of Sakhalin. 

   Almost simultaneously with the Japanese, in 1640 a troops of Russian Cossacks led by Ivan Moskvitin goes to the Sea of Okhotsk and receives the first information about the people of Sakhalin. 
Following him, in 1645 the participants of the Amur expedition led by VassiliPoyarkov observed for the first time the northwestern coast of Sakhalin. 
   In 1787, the French expedition led by Jean Francois La Perouse observed coasts of Sakhalin.
   The first Russian round-the-world expedition on the sloops "Nadezhda" and "Neva" under the direction of Ivan FedorovichKruzenshtern, approached Sakhalin on May 14, 1805, and dropped anchor in the Gulf of Aniva. Ivan FedorovichKruzenstern explores the island in detail, got acquainted with the life of Ainu and gave them gifts. In the summer of the same year, the expedition members described and put on the map all the eastern and northwestern coasts of Sakhalin, as well as 14 islands of the Kuril chain. However, Kruzenshtern considered Sakhalin "a peninsula", considering that it is connected to the mainland by a sandy isthmus. Such a conclusion he made under the influence of erroneous statements of such famous foreign seafarers as Jean Francois La Perouse (1787) and William Broton (1797). 

First conflicts and claims to Sakhalin:

   Such an unofficial rivalry between the two empires inevitably leads to conflict situations. 
   In 1806, NikolaiKhvostov proclaims Sakhalin ownership of Russia, after which the Russian ships "Juno" and "Avos" under his command are smashing the Japanese settlements of Naybo and Xiang in Southern Sakhalin and the Japanese garrison on the island of Iturup. 
In response, in 1811, the Japanese garrison of the island of Kunashir captured the Russian navigator VassiliGolovnin. He spent more than two years in Japanese captivity and gets freedom only after the Russian administration assures the Japanese that Nikolai Khvostov's raids on Sakhalin and Iturup were self-imposed. 
   (The plot of the poem "Juno and Avos" (1970) and the rock opera is based on real events and is dedicated to the journey of the Russian statesman NikolaiPetrovichRezanov to California in 1806. The name of the performance uses the names of two sailboats, "Juno" and "Avos", on which made its voyage the expedition of NikolaiRezanov).

Russian transport "Baikal" under the command of Gennady Nevelskoy conducts research of the Amur estuary. Russian sailors found the southern entrance to the Amur estuary - the strait between Sakhalin and the mainland and thus put an end to the dispute that Sakhalin is Island. Russian military posts and villages appear one by one and in 1850 Gennady Nevelskoy raises the Russian flag on the Lower Amur and proclaims it and Sakhalin Island the possession of Russia. 

   Peaceful period of coexistence of the two powers on Sakhalin:
In 1855, the governments of Japan and Russia concluded the Shimoda Treaty, according to which both states declared Sakhalin a joint possession. 
   In 1875, Russia exchanged the Northern Kurils belonging to Japan, receiving in return all rights to Sakhalin. 
During this period, relations with neighbours (the Japanese) were quite good neighborly and nothing-foreshadowed war. But it, nevertheless, was inevitable and happened in 20 years.
   However, before describing the military events, let us dwell in details on the pre-war history of the presence of the Russian Empire on the Island in the period from 1858 to 1905. 

   For 50 years on the outskirts of the Russian Empire, an experiment was under way to re-educate especially dangerous criminals. For the experiment was chosen Sakhalin Island - an ideal place from the point of view of guarding convicts: around the sea, and beyond the sea - deserted places. As later admitted by one of the senior officials, the Sakhalin experiment was written off from the Australian experiment - at that time the British practically the same ways colonized the "green continent". 
   The first exile appeared on Sakhalin in 1858. At the same time, the first 10 years exile sent to Sakhalin on foot through Siberia - and sometimes they took their way here for up to 14 months. Since 1879 convicts began to be transported by sea on the steamers of the Voluntary Fleet. The route took an average of 65-75 days. 
    The life of convicts on the island was very harsh. For the first 3-5 years they were shackled in hand and leg shackles, and sometimes riveted to a wheelbarrow. 80% of convicts worked in coalmines, the rest - in logging and construction work. While convicts were serving time, they committed new violations, for particularly serious (mostly murder) they were sentenced to death. The verdict was carried out in Voevodsky prison, and the executioner was selected from among the convicts themselves. So, executioner Komlev, sentenced to 55 years of hard labor for killing and escaping from prison, personally executed 13 people. 
By the beginning of 1904 on the island lived about 46 thousand people prisoners, exiles, free residents and indigenous people of Ainu (about 2 thousand).

The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905:
   In January 1904, Japan broke diplomatic relations with Russia and on January 27, 1904, attacked warships near Port Arthur. This was the beginning of the war. 
August 20, 1904 Russian cruiser “Novik” is attacked in the Aniva Bay by the Japanese cruiser “Tsushima”. After the battle, the Russian sailors flooded the damaged “Novik” near the Korsakovsky post. 
   May 14-15, 1905, the Tsushima naval battle took place, in which the Russian squadrons were defeated. The loss of the Russian army amounted to 19 ships and 10 thousand killed and captured, and in June 1905 the Japanese landing (of 12 battalions, 18 guns, 14,000 soldiers, 40 sea vessels) landed on Sakhalin, the forces proved to be unequal, and in the first days of fighting, Governor of Sakhalin, General Lebedev, together with the staff surrendered.

The loss of the southern part of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. Separation of Sakhalin into the Northern and Southern part (1905-1945):
   In the same year 1905, under the strong pressure of the US, the tsarist government signed in Portsmouth (USA) a peace treaty between Russia and Japan under which Russia was losing half of Sakhalin (its southern part) and all the Kuril islands. 
   From the Japanese part of the island, almost all Russians were evacuated. About 400 escaped convicts and exiled settlers, who had strayed into gangs and lived by robberies and murders, were captured and shot by the Japanese within six months (the tsarist authorities sought them for years). 
   Over the next 40 years, the development of the northern and southern parts of Sakhalin occurred in completely different ways. The dynamic development of the economy and colonies in southern Sakhalin (the county of Karafuto) was absolutely the opposite of what was happening in northern Sakhalin, shaking from the social cataclysms that swept the whole of Russia in these troubled years. 

Southern part of Sakhalin (Japanese): At the same time, the accession to Japan of Southern Sakhalin, or as it was now called Karafuto, caused a surge of patriotic sentiments among the population and business activity in the industrial circles of this country. It is significant that in the first 15 years of colonization the Japanese population grew more than 20 times and by 1920 it was 105.9 thousand people, and by 1940, 415 thousand people lived in Karafuto (which is correlated with the population of the whole Sakhalin region in our days). 
Toyohara (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk).
After the deportation, the Japanese left us 735 enterprises, more than 700 km of railways, 24 tunnels, 618 bridges, 6 highways, and 13 airfields. In Maoke (the city of Kholmsk) two ports were built - sea and fish. There were 113 communication enterprises. The mail delivered by all types of transport (except air), including on foot and on horses. The enterprises that worked during this time period: 31 rice production factory, 20 production of sake, 3 distilleries, 2 factory for the production of technical oils, 10 soybean factories, 8 starch factories, 3 mills, 2 bakeries, 4 soap factories, oxygen production, sugar, confectionery, porcelain, sausage, macaroni, pharmaceutical factories, a factory for the production of fir oil, 36 coal mines, more than 100 brick factories. The Japanese even adapted to make gasoline called 'tara', oils, fuel oil and coke. At Karafuto, there were 10 pulp and paper mills. In some years the number of people employed on the fishing route reached 65 thousand people. As a work force, Koreans were forcibly recruited to work on mines, building roads and structures, as well as felling and exporting forests.
Northern part (Russian): After the Russo-Japanese War, the restoration of normal life on the Russian part of the island went extremely slowly. By 1917, around 7,000 people lived throughout northern Sakhalin. Many villages were depopulated, and some of them were simply abandoned. The mining of coal in closed mines was stopped.      The roads built during the years of katorga fell into decay, covered with forests and ravines. The government simply did not reach their hands to Sakhalin. Russia in this period of time was plunged into the turbulent whirlpool of the revolutionary upheavals of 1905-1907.
March 1917 in Northern Sakhalin, the administration appointed by the tsarist government was removed from power. Authority on the island passes to the Commissar of the Provisional Government. 
   August 1918 the leaders of the self-governments of Northern Sakhalin declare the non-recognition of Soviet power. The power of the government of Alexander Kolchak extends to the Northern Sakhalin. 
January 13-14, 1920 Anti-Kolchak coup in Aleksandrovsk. The power in Northern Sakhalin passes into the hands of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee. The proclamation of the power of the Soviets in Northern Sakhalin. 
Russia's loss of the Northern part of Sakhalin for 5 years and its return to the USSR:
The weakness of the young Soviet power was immediately taken advantage of by the Japanese, who were closely monitoring the situation and waiting for the right moment to seize the North of the island. 
On 22.04.1920, the Japanese occupied northern Sakhalin (a two thousandth Japanese military landing was planted in Aleksandrovsk). Following the transfer of power in Northern Sakhalin into the hands of the Japanese military administration, the arrests and killings of the most authoritative supporters of the Soviets follow. The occupation lasted from 1920 to 1925 and ended with the signing in Beijing of the "Convention on the Basic Principles of Relations between the USSR and Japan." The Peking Convention returned the Soviet Union to Northern Sakhalin, after which the last Japanese detachment left North Sakhalin. The power of the Soviet administration again spreads to the northern part of the island. 

The return to the USSR of the entire Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands:

   The decision that the USSR will enter the war with Japan was adopted at the Yalta Conference in February 1945. 
   In exchange for participating in hostilities, the USSR was to receive Southern Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, which after 1905 belonged to Japan. August 8, 1945 the USSR declares war on Japan. 

    As a result of the war, the USSR actually returned to its territory the territories lost by the Russian Empire in 1905 following the results of the Portsmouth Peace.
   The loss of the South Kuril by Japan has not been recognized to her until now. According to the San Francisco Peace Treaty, Japan renounced the rights to Sakhalin (Karafuto) and the main group of Kuril, but did not recognize them as having transferred to the USSR.

Surprisingly, this treaty has not yet been signed by the USSR, which, thus, until the end of its existence, was legally at war with Japan. At present, these territorial problems hamper the conclusion of a peace treaty between Japan and Russia as the successor of the USSR.