Sakhalin is a large Russian island in the North Pacific, lying between 45�50' and 54�24' N. It is Russia's largest island, and is administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast. Sakhalin, which is about one fifth the size of Japan, is just off the east coast of Russia, and just north of Japan.
The indigenous peoples of the island are the Ainu, Oroks, and Nivkhs. Sakhalin has been claimed by both Russia and Japan over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. This has led to bitter disputes between the two countries over control of the island. Russia seized the island from the Japanese near the end of World War II. Most Ainu relocated to Hokkaid? when the Japanese were displaced from the island in 1949.
The European names derive from misinterpretation of a Manchu name sahaliyan ula angga hada ("peak/craggy rock at the mouth of the Amur River"). Sahaliyan, the word that has been borrowed in the form of "Sakhalin", means "black" in Manchu and is the proper Manchu name of the Amur River which means "Land/Island/Country at the Shore of the God-Made (River) Mouth/Confluence." The name was used by the Japanese during their possession of its southern part (1905�1945)