Diomede Islands

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Satellite photo of the Bering Strait, with the Diomede Islands at center
Image:Diomede Islands Bering Sea Jul 2006.jpg
Little Diomede Island (left) and Big Diomede Island
Image:Wfm diomede islands.jpg
Closeup satellite photo (in false color) of the Diomede Islands

The Diomede Islands (Russian: острова́ Диоми́да; ostrova Diomida), consisting of the western island Big Diomede, also known as Imaqliq, Nunarbuk or Ratmanov Island, and the eastern island Little Diomede, also known as Krusenstern Island or Inaliq, are two rocky islands located in the middle of the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia.

The islands are separated by an international border and the International Date Line which is approximately 1.5 km (1 mi) from each island. At the closest land approach between the United States, which controls Little Diomede, and Russia, which controls Big Diomede (part of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug), they are 3 km (2 mi) apart. Big Diomede Island is Russia's easternmost point, while Alaska's Aleutian Islands are the westernmost point of the United States.

[edit] History

The first European to reach the islands was the Russian navigator (of Danish origin) Vitus Bering on August 16 (St. Diomede's Day), 1728.

The text of the 1867 treaty finalizing the sale of Alaska uses the islands to designate the boundary between the two nations: The border separates "equidistantly Krusenstern Island, or Ignaluk, from Ratmanov Island, or Nunarbuk, and heads northward infinitely until it disappears completely in the Arctic Ocean."

Because the International Date Line runs down the 4-km (2.5-mi) gap between the two islands, you can look from Alaska into "tomorrow" in Russia.

During the Cold War, Lynne Cox swam from one island to the other. The Diomede Islands are often mentioned as likely intermediate stops for a bridge or tunnel spanning the Bering Strait.

In summer 1995, British television actor Michael Palin, famous as one of the stars of the BBC's Monty Python's Flying Circus television series of the 1970s and several movie spinoffs, started his counterclockwise circumnavigation of the Pacific Rim, encompassing 18 different countries, on Little Diomede Island, as part of the BBC series Full Circle. He intended to set foot on it again at the very end of his journey lasting nearly eight months, but was unable to do so because he was returning during the following winter (on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro), and the sea became too rough to allow him and his film crew to land on the island.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Coordinates: 65°47′N 169°01′War:جزيرتي دايوميد de:Diomedes-Inseln el:Νησιά Διομήδη fr:Îles Diomède ko:디오메드 제도 it:Isole Diomede hu:Diomede-szigetek ja:ダイオミード諸島 nl:Diomedeseilanden ru:Диомида (острова) sv:Diomedeöarna zh:代奧米德群島

Diomede Islands

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