DOKDO ISLAND of the KOREA

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Located 87.4km away from Ulleungdo Island, and formed entirely from volcanic rock, Dokdo is an isolated islet off the east coast of Korea bearing a latitude of 3714' north and a longitude of 13152' east. Collectively, both Ulleungdo Island and Dokdo Islet once belonged to a country named Usanguk. According to geographical records, Usanguk became part of the Silla Dynasty (57B.C. ~ 935 A.D.) in June of the 13th year that King Jijeung ruled Silla. Isabu (a general and politician of Silla) gained significant strength during this period to overtake Usanguk.

In the Seongjong Memoir of the Joseon Dynasty, there are passages by Kim Jaju describing Dokdo Islet, which was referred to as Sambongdo at the time. Dokdo was initially called 'Sambongdo', 'Gajido' or 'Usando', but the name was later changed to Dokdo in 1881. The name 'Dokdo' was first used in 1906 by the Headman of Ulleung County Sim Heungtaek. In 1914, Dokdo Island officially became an administrative district of the Gyeongsangbuk-do Province.

After The Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592, Japanese fishermen often came near Ulleungdo and Dokdo. Sukjong Sillok, the Annals of King Sukjong (1674-1720), records that An Yongbok went to Japan twice in order to protest against Japanese nationals trespassing into Korean territory. He asked the Japanese authorities to recognize Korea's sovereignty over these islands and to forbid Japanese nationals to sail to the islets.

Dokdo Islet is comprised of two main islets: Dongdo, or East Islet which sits 98m above sea level, and Seodo, or West Islet, which sits 168m above sea level, together with 36 smaller rock formations. Seperating Dongdo and Seodo is the Hyeongjegul Cave, together with Cheonsanggul Cave on Dongdo. Over time, other caves and topographic features of the islet formed due to weathering and erosion.

Japan acknowledged the value of Dokdo Islet after the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. Japan unilaterally transferred Dokdo Island to Shimane Prefecture, Japan and renamed it "Dakesima". Several authorities in Japan have continuously declared their dominion, over the islet, which led to diplomatic conflicts between Korea and Japan. Such conflicts have yet to be resolved.

Presently there are security guards on Dokdo Islet that protect several houses that were built onto the rocks as well as a small harbor.




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