Sakhalin[lower-alpha 1] is the largest island of Russia.[3] It is the northernmost island of the Japanese archipelago, and is administered as part of the Sakhalin Oblast. Sakhalin is situated in the Pacific Ocean, sandwiched between the Sea of Okhotsk to the east and the Sea of Japan to the west. Sakhalin is located just off Khabarovsk Krai, and is north of Hokkaido in Japan. The island houses a population of roughly 500,000, the vast majority of which are Russians.

LocationRussian Far East,[1] Northern Pacific Ocean
Coordinates51°N 143°E
Area72,492 km2 (27,989 sq mi)[2]
Area rank23rd
Highest elevation1,609 m (5279 ft)
Highest pointMount Lopatin
Federal subjectSakhalin Oblast
Largest settlementYuzhno-Sakhalinsk (pop. 174,203)
Population489,638 (2019)
Pop. density6/km2 (16/sq mi)
Ethnic groupsmajority Russians

The indigenous peoples of the island are the Ainu, Oroks and Nivkhs, who are now found in very small numbers.[4] The Island's name derived from the Manchu word Sahaliyan. Sakhalin was once part of China during the Qing dynasty, although Chinese control was lax at times.[5][6] Sakhalin was later claimed by both Russia and Japan over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. These disputes sometimes involved military conflicts and divisions of the island between the two powers. In 1875, Japan ceded its claims to Russia in exchange for the northern Kuril Islands. In 1905, following the Russo-Japanese War, the island was divided, with the south going to Japan. Russia has held all of the island since seizing the Japanese portion—as well as all the Kuril Islands—in the final days of World War II in 1945. Japan no longer claims any of Sakhalin, although it does still claim the southern Kuril Islands. Most Ainu on Sakhalin moved to Hokkaido, 43 kilometres (27 mi) to the south across the La Pérouse Strait, when the Japanese were displaced from the island in 1949.[7]