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 Name: Dokdo. Former Romanization: Tokdo, Tokto, Dokto.

Dokdo has had several different names depending on who was referring to them and at what time in history.

In the past, Koreans have variously used Usando, Sambongdo, Seokdo and Gajido ("-do" means "island"). The reason there was no continuity in these names was because, until this century, there was no residents on the Island. The first mention in official texts was as Usando in 512 in connection with a state known as Usanguk, which was incorporated into Korea's Silla Dynasty (57 BC to 935 AD).

Some historical texts describe Dokdo as having three peaks when viewed from a certain angle - hence the name Sambongdo, which means "island of three peaks" (even though now it's most known for two main craggy peaks). The "gaji" in Gajido comes from the old Korean word for seal. Seokdo and Dokdo is two different Chinese translations of the same Korean word - Dokseom - which means "rocky island" in the dialect used by the people of the nearest inhabited island, Ulleungdo.

When translated from Chinese characters on the basis of pronunciation, Dokseom became Dokdo, and this name became commonly used around 1882.

European

Since 1849, a French whale hunter later christened the grouping as the "Liancourt Rocks." This name continues to be used in some Western books and maps. In 1855, a British expedition named Dokdo the "Hornet Rocks" after the expedition's ship, the Hornet.

Japanese

Since at least 1905, the Japanese have referred to the Island as "Takeshima," but previous names included "Yanggo" and the "Liancourt" island.

Location

Dokdo is 87.4 kilometers (47.2 miles) from Ulleungdo.

On clear days, it is visible from Ulleungdo. The closest Japanese island, Oki, is 157.5 kilometers (85.0 miles) to the southeast.

Dokdo is composed of two main islands that are 151 meters apart. Their total area is 187,453 square meters. Dongdo, or the east island, is 98.6 meters high. Seodo, the west island, is 168.5 meters high.

The weather is turbulent around Dokdo, prone to brisk winds and rough seas that can frequently prevent boats from docking.

Dokdo is 87.4 kilometers (47.2 miles) from Ulleungdo.On clear days, it is visible from Ulleungdo. The closest Japanese island, Oki, is 157.5 kilometers (85.0 miles) to the southeast.Dokdo is composed of two main islands that are 151 meters apart. Their total area is 187,453 square meters. Dongdo, or the east island, is 98.6 meters high. Seodo, the west island, is 168.5 meters high.The weather is turbulent around Dokdo, prone to brisk winds and rough seas that can frequently prevent boats from docking.



Administration

The Republic of Korea has maintained a police station and a lighthouse on Dokdo since August 1954. A helicopter pad was constructed later.

The island fall under the jurisdiction of Ulleungdo and Gyeongbuk Provincial Police Agency. The two-story lighthouse is equipped with Internet. Mobile phone service also extends to Dokdo.

The Korean military constantly monitors approaching ships and airplanes and responds if there is an attempt to illegally encroach. For example, the Air Force dispatched fighters in March 2005 after a civilian plane carrying Japanese media approached Dokdo without permission to enter the airspace around Dokdo.

The Republic of Korea has maintained a police station and a lighthouse on Dokdo since August 1954. A helicopter pad was constructed later.The island fall under the jurisdiction of Ulleungdo and Gyeongbuk Provincial Police Agency. The two-story lighthouse is equipped with Internet. Mobile phone service also extends to Dokdo.The Korean military constantly monitors approaching ships and airplanes and responds if there is an attempt to illegally encroach. For example, the Air Force dispatched fighters in March 2005 after a civilian plane carrying Japanese media approached Dokdo without permission to enter the airspace around Dokdo.

Ecology

Dokdo's volcanic rocks are covered with thin soil and moss that produce a small amount of fresh water. Around 80 species of plants and 37 species of insects have been recorded on the island along with 22 species of birds.

Just off Dokdo, cold and warm ocean currents meet, and a diverse community of marine organisms, along with 100 species of fish, lives in the waters.

In 1999, the Korean government designated Dokdo as an environmentally protected area in accordance with the Protection of Cultural Properties Act. Dokdo was also recognized under a special act of the Preservation of the Ecosystem of Dokdo and other Island Groups in 2000.

Since the early 1970s, environmental groups have planted trees and flowers, daubing Dokdo's volcanic rock with splashes of color.

Dokdo's volcanic rocks are covered with thin soil and moss that produce a small amount of fresh water. Around 80 species of plants and 37 species of insects have been recorded on the island along with 22 species of birds.Just off Dokdo, cold and warm ocean currents meet, and a diverse community of marine organisms, along with 100 species of fish, lives in the waters.In 1999, the Korean government designated Dokdo as an environmentally protected area in accordance with the Protection of Cultural Properties Act. Dokdo was also recognized under a special act of the Preservation of the Ecosystem of Dokdo and other Island Groups in 2000.Since the early 1970s, environmental groups have planted trees and flowers, daubing Dokdo's volcanic rock with splashes of color.


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