Big Diomede

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Big Diomede

Satellite image, Big Diomede on the left, Little Diomede on the right.
Geography
LocationBering Sea
Coordinates65°46′52″N 169°03′25″W / 65.78111°N 169.05694°W / 65.78111; -169.05694
Area29 km2 (11.2 sq mi)
Country
Demographics
Population0
 
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Big Diomede

Satellite image, Big Diomede on the left, Little Diomede on the right.
Geography
LocationBering Sea
Coordinates65°46′52″N 169°03′25″W / 65.78111°N 169.05694°W / 65.78111; -169.05694
Area29 km2 (11.2 sq mi)
Country
Demographics
Population0

Big Diomede Island (Russian: о́стров Ратма́нова, ostrov Ratmanova; native name Imaqliq) is an island among the Diomede Islands in the middle of the Bering Strait. The island is a part of the Chukotsky District of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug of Russia.

Big Diomede as viewed from Little Diomede
Big Diomede to the right

Contents

Geography

Big Diomede Island is located about 45 km (28 mi) southeast of Cape Dezhnev on the Chukchi Peninsula and is Russia's easternmost point. The coordinates are 65°46′52″N 169°03′25″W / 65.78111°N 169.05694°W / 65.78111; -169.05694Coordinates: 65°46′52″N 169°03′25″W / 65.78111°N 169.05694°W / 65.78111; -169.05694. The rocky tuya-type island has an area of about 29 km2 (11 sq mi)[1] The International Date Line is about 1.3 km (0.81 mi)[2] east of the island.

History

The island was originally inhabited by Yupik Eskimos. During the Cold War all local population was forcibly moved to Chukotka in order to prevent contacts with American Little Diomede island Inupiat inhabitants. Unable to assimilate or live among Russians, they have perished. The First Alaskans Institute[3] says that, "The people of the Diomede and King Islands are Inupiat...".

The first European to reach the islands was the Russian explorer Semyon Dezhnev in 1648. The Danish navigator (in Russian service) Vitus Bering re-discovered the Diomede Islands on August 16, 1728, the day on which the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of the martyr St. Diomede.[4]

In 1732, the Russian geodesist Mikhail Gvozdev plotted the island's map.

In 1867 during the Alaska Purchase the new border between the nations was drawn between the Big Diomede and Little Diomede islands.

20th century

During World War II Big Diomede became a military base, and remained so for some time into the Cold War.[5]

After World War II the native population was forced off Big Diomede Island to the mainland in order to avoid contacts across the border. Today it has no permanent population but it is the site of a Russian weather station and a base of Russian Border guard troops (FSB).[6][7]

During the Cold War, that line[clarification needed] constituted the border between the USA and the Soviet Union, and became known as the "Ice Curtain". In 1987, however, Lynne Cox swam from Little Diomede to Big Diomede (approx. 2.2 miles (3.5 km) and was congratulated jointly by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan.

See also

References

  1. ^ History.com
  2. ^ Wikimapia
  3. ^ Bering Straits, First Alaskans Institute, Regional Fact Sheets
  4. ^ Russia.com
  5. ^ "Diomede - Inalik, Alaska". Usgennet.org. http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ak/state/diomede.html. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  6. ^ Diomede Islands, britannica.com
  7. ^ "Google Maps". Maps.google.com. 1970-01-01. http://maps.google.com/?ll=65.813909,-169.033563&spn=0.001987,0.006899. Retrieved 2012-03-24.