History of the Kuril Islands discovery
Up to the beginning of the XVII century Kuril Islands and a part of Hokkaido were the territory of the Ainu.
In Japan, in 1635 samurai of Matsumae principality (now Hokkaido), Hiroyoshi Murakami conducted research of Ezo Island, and for the first time mapped Kunashir, Iturup and other northern areas. In 1644 the geographic map was shown to Tokugawa government, and it was called the Map of Shoho period. It was the oldest map in the world, on which the group of islands Habomai, Shikotan, Kunashir and Iturup were clearly plotted. The Ainu, who lived on these islands, rendered tribute and conducted trade with Matsumae principality.
During XV-XVI centuries the Russians created the centralized state around Moscow and started to expand their territory. Russian Cossacks began to digest new territories, moving to the east. Thereby, in 1640 Russian Cossacks, who were from I.Y. Moskvitin’s group under command by Nekhoroshko Kolobov, went out to the Okhotsk Sea nearby the mouth of the Amur River to northwest of Sakhalin.
In 1643, Dutch navigator Martin Gerits de Vries on the ship "Castricum" reached the southeastern coast of Hokkaido, rounded the island, and went through the Strait in the Okhotsk Sea. Expedition of M.G. de Vries discovered and mapped Iturup, Urup and Kunashir, but Kuril Islands were not assigned to the Netherlands.
In 1697−1699 V. Atlasov was the first man, who observed the Northern Kuril Islands from the southern extremity of Kamchatka.
In 1711, the expedition of Daniel Anciferov and Ivan Kozyrevsky landed on Shumshu island, and in 1713 their second expedition reached Paramushir. When Ivan Kozyrevsky had received information from the Ainu about the location of 14 islands, stretching to Matsumae island, he drew "The draft of the sea islands". In 1721
I.M. Evreinov and F.F. Luzhin, who were graduated from St. Petersburg Academy of Geodesy and Cartography, toured to Kuril Islands, then I.M. Evreinov personally presented to Peter I with a report of the voyage and the map.
In 1739, Russian ships of the second Kamchatka expedition under command by M.P. Spanberg and V. Walton had been at the most Southern Kuril Islands, including the Small (Lesser) Kuril Ridge.
June 18, 1739 Russian ships dropped anchor in the Tashirohama bay on the northeast coast of Honshu. It was here the first meeting between Russian sailors and the Japanese on their land.
In 1766, Cossack lieutenant Ivan Chernyi with a group of brave seafarers had been on Kuril Islands. He made a detailed geographical description of Iturup and other Kuril Islands. When I. Chernyi had visited Iturup, he brought 83 Ainu in Russian citizenship. Collected rich ethnographic collection by Ivan Chernyi was presented to the Russian Academy of Sciences.
In 1777, the expedition of I.M. Antipin and D.M. Shabalin went out on Kuril Islands. They gained the affection of the Ainu. During 1778−1779, I.M. Antipin and D. Shabalin brought more than 1,500 Ainu from Iturup and Kunashir in Russian citizenship.
In spring and summer 1779, expedition of D. Shabalin and I. Antipin arrived to the shores of Hokkaido, where was opened trade with the Japanese, and were conducted negotiations for further trade relations.
In 1754, Matsumae principality began direct operation of Kunashir, where was created trade post. In 1786, Tokunai Mogami, the officer of the central government, conducted research of Iturup and Urup.
In 1776−1779, English navigator James Cook, trying to find a northern passage to the Atlantic Ocean, proceeded along the coast of Alaska and Aleutian Islands, and tried to confirm the rights of the British Crown in some places, which were previously discovered by Russian sailors: renamed the bays, the rivers and the mountains, planted the English flag and buried the coins with the image of the king.
France also tried to settle on Kuril Islands. So, in 1785, two frigates "Bussol" and "Astrolabe" under command by captain Jean-Francois de Gallo, Comte de La Perouse were equipped according to decree of Louis XVI. The main goals of the expedition were exploration of the Pacific Ocean and possible territorial acquisitions. In June — early July 1787, the French ships went to Tatar Strait to the north. At the entrance to a narrow strait (Nevelski Strait later) La Perouse turned to the south, having decided that Sakhalin was connected to the mainland by an isthmus. August 11, he crossed the strait between Sakhalin and Ezo, which was named after him, and then — along the northern coast of Ezo. August 18−20, La Perouse proceeded to the north-east past the islands of States (Iturup), Company (Urup) and Four Brothers. August 29, he crossed Boussole Strait (named after his ship) between the islands of Four Brothers and Simushir. The latter was named Marikan, and south-western cape on the island — Rollin Cape (named after the ship’s surgeon). Next, the path lay in the open ocean, along the ridge of Kuril Islands. French expedition proved that Aniva bay and cape Aniva were the southern shore of Sakhalin, and they were not part of Ezo, but did not make novel in the exploration of Kuril Islands.
In 1794, the expedition of William Robert Broughton on the corvette "Providence" was sent by British Admiralty. The expedition had to research the shores of China and Japan. To some extent, Broughton repeated La Perouse’s way, but he was getting to Kuril Islands otherwise: he went out Honshu from the east, and crossed along the southern and western coast of Ezo (Hokkaido). October 8, "Providence" came in the island, which was defined by sailors as Spanberg Island (Shikotan), and soon Anthony peak (on Kunashir) appeared to the north-east. Broughton supposed wrongly that the land was extension of Ezo. When he had rounded the island of States from the south, the ship went past the land of Company on the west side of the Kuril ridge. The first of these islands Broughton identified with the island of Hope, and the second — with Urup. October 14, English captain discovered Makanruru Island, which was named Kruglyi (later Broughton Island). October 16, the ship went into the strait between Simushir and Ketoi. On the northeast coast of the island sailors discovered the entrance to the bay (later Broughton harbour). The boat with officer and some sailors was sent to the coast to investigate the bay, which in the long view could be used for creating British trading post and searching of Russian settlement. The settlement was abandoned by the Russians, but there were found crosses with Russian emblem in the different places.
Because of fogs and strong winds the "Providence" turned to the south. October 18, doubled Kruglyi Island from the east, the sailors saw the island with two low mountains, which was called Hummok Island (Holmik). Two days after Broughton found out two islands (North and South Chirpoi). In connection with the winter came, the captain decided to turn to the south. After passing Boussole Strait, the ship ran into strip of fogs and rains, and had to give up the original intent to explore Kuril Islands from the east side
Since 1798 the Japanese government had taken series of measures to strengthen the Japanese influence on the Southern Kuril Islands. In 1799, Shigetoshi Kondo and Yamada Rihei brought under control Kunashir, and imposed taxes and duties upon the Ainu. In 1800, the Japanese began colonization of Iturup, and prohibited the residents of Kunashir, Akkeshi and Nemuro to trade with the colonists of Urup. In 1801, Toyama Genzuro and Miyama Uheida visited Urup, and fixed up a post with the inscription: "The Island, subordinating to a great Japan while there are the sky and the earth".
Such practice and strict control for the activities of Russian settlement led to a gradual relaxation of Russian influence on the Southern Kuril Islands.
July 8, 1799 Russian-American Company was established by decree of Paul I, which had the right to carry on business and extraction of minerals on Kuril Islands.
The attempt to conduct trade negotiations with the Japanese was made in 1805, when valid state councillor Nikolai Petrovich Rezanov arrived at Nagasaki — the only port in Japan, where foreign ships could call — in the capacity of ambassador extraordinary. However, his audience with the governor was failed. Rezanov was denied to take the government charter and gifts. The Japanese delivered acts prohibited to conduct trade relations with Russia.
Inspite of the prohibition of the Japanese authorities, I.F. Krusenstern decided to pass along the western coast of Japan to make a detailed description of this area. He mapped west and north-west coast of the Japanese islands, discovered and mapped a lot of capes and bays. I.F. Krusenstern devoted a lot of time to the research and description of the coast of Sakhalin. The difficult ice conditions did not allow to continue the voyage to the north and to complete the description of Sakhalin. I.F. Krusenstern decided to change route and to go back to this area later, when the ice will be thawed. He navigated the ship to Kuril Islands, where four small rocky islands, hardly overflow water, were discovered. I.F. Krusenstern named these islands as Stone Traps, and mapped it. But I.F. Krusenstern exactly mapped north part of Kuril Islands to Rasshua island inclusive.
June 24, 1806 Russian brig "Juno" under the command by I.A. Khvostov and cutter "Avos" under the command by G.I. Davydov ran for Sakhalin. October 6, 1806, when had made a landing on the coast of Aniva Bay, Russian sailors ruined Japanese shops and factories, burned all structures and supplies of building wood. In May 1807, "Juno" and "Avos" appeared inshore of Iturup. There was attacked by Shyan (now Kurilsk) — the largest settlement of the Japanese in Iturup. The shops of Japanese merchants and manufacturers were ransacked, and the settlement was burned. When had visited Urup, June 10, both ships entered in Aniva Bay, where the Japanese structures were burned.
In 1811, the captain of warship "Diana" Vasily Mikhailovich Golovnin went to explore the Kuril Islands. He was the first, who determined the correct names of Kuril Islands. He discovered new islands. He determined that the Kuril Ridge consists of twenty-six islands. The expedition of V.M. Golovnin also found out climate patterns of Kuril Islands, shoreline features, the depth of the inshore waters and the ocean features in the district of the islands. New names of the opened straits were plotted on the map: Sredniy Strait, Rikord Strait, Diana Strait, Catherine Strait and Golovnin Strait. In July 1811, V.M. Golovnin was captured on Kunashir, and was held prisoner by the Japanese about 2 years. This event went down in history as "The incident of Golovnin".
In 1854, in order to establish trade and diplomatic relations with Japan, the government of Nicholay I sent vice-admiral E.V. Putyatin. His mission had to distinguish Russian and Japanese domains. Russia demanded to recognize its rights on Sakhalin and Kuril islands. At the beginning of 1855, E.V. Putyatin signed the first Russian-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship in Shimoda — the Shimoda treaty, in accordance with which Sakhalin was declared as undivided territory between Russia and Japan, the south islands of the Kuril Ridge — Shikotan, Kunashir, Iturup and some smaller islands were retroceded to Japan, and three Japanese ports were opened for the Russian ships: Shimoda, Hakodate and Nagasaki. In 1858, in the capital of Japan was opened permanent Russian diplomatic mission, and three Japanese ports were yet opened for the Russian ships.
April 25, 1875 the Treaty of Trade and Navigation was signed between the Russian Empire and Japan — the Petersburg treaty, under which Russia transferred to Japan the Kuril Ridge in exchange for waiver of the South Sakhalin. An additional article to this treaty had been established that the "inborn" inhabitants of Kuril Islands, if they wanted to remain nationals of the Russian government, had to leave their residence and move over to Russian territory within three years.
As a result of the Russian-Japanese War of 1904−1905 on the Portsmouthian Peace Treaty of 1905 Japan received the South Sakhalin. Japan practically reserved all Kuril Islands.