|Native name: |
Landsat view of Shiashkotan Island
|Location||Sea of Okhotsk|
|Area||122 km2 (47 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||944 m (3,097 ft)|
|Highest point||Pik Sinarka|
|Ethnic groups||Ainu (formerly)|
Shiashkotan (Russian: Шиашкотан); (Japanese: 捨子古丹島; Shasukotan-tō) is an uninhabited volcanic island near the center of the Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean, separated from Ekarma by the Ekarma Strait. Its name is derived from the Ainu language, from “Konbu village”.
Shiashkotan is roughly dumbbell shaped, formed by two volcanic islands joined together by a narrow landspit. The island has a total length of 25 kilometres (16 mi) with a width ranging from 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) at its widest point to 0.9 kilometres (0.56 mi) at its narrowest, and an area of 122 square kilometres (47 sq mi). Both ends of the island are complex stratovolcanos, and landing is possible only on the sandy isthmus.
Shiashkotan was inhabited by the Ainu, who subsided off of hunting and fishing at the time of European contact. The island appears on an official map showing the territories of Matsumae Domain, a feudal domain of Edo period Japan dated 1644, and these holdings were officially confirmed by the Tokugawa shogunate in 1715. Subsequently, claimed by the Empire of Russia, sovereignty initially passed to Russia under the terms of the Treaty of Shimoda. During an eruption of 1872, Russian authorities recorded that 13 inhabitants died; however, when the island was returned to the Empire of Japan per the Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1875) along with the rest of the Kuril islands, no inhabitants remained as they had chosen to move north to Kamchatka, which remained under the Russian jurisdiction. The island was formerly administered as part of Shimushu District of Nemuro Subprefecture of Hokkaidō. In 1893, a settlement was attempted by nine members of the Chishima Protective Society led by Gunji Shigetada; however, when a ship called on the island a year later, five of the colonists had already died, and the remaining four were critically ill with beri-beri. After World War II, the island came under the control of the Soviet Union, and is now administered as part of the Sakhalin Oblast of the Russian Federation.
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