Diomede Islands

Diomede Islands
Diomede Islands

Diomede Islands: Little Diomede (left) and Big Diomede (right).

Satellite photo of the Bering Strait, with the Diomede Islands at center
Location Bering Strait
Coordinates 65°47′N 169°01′W / 65.783°N 169.017°W / 65.783; -169.017Coordinates: 65°47′N 169°01′W / 65.783°N 169.017°W / 65.783; -169.017

The Diomede Islands (Russian: острова Диомида , ostrová Diomída), also known in Russia as Gvozdev Islands (Russian: острова Гвоздева, ostrová Gvozdjeva), consist of two rocky, tuya-like islands:

The Diomede Islands are located in the middle of the Bering Strait between mainland Alaska and Siberia, with the Chukchi Sea to the north and the Bering Sea to the south. 9.3 km (5.8 mi) to the southeast is Fairway Rock, which is generally not considered part of the Diomede Islands. The islands are sometimes called Tomorrow Island (Big Diomede) and Yesterday Isle (Little Diomede) because the time in Big Diomede is 20 hours (approximately a day) ahead of Little Diomede.



The islands are separated by an international border, which is also part of the International Date Line, approximately 2 km (1 mi) from each island, at 168°58'37"W. At the closest distance between Little Diomede and Big Diomede, the two islands are about 3.8 km (2.4 mi) apart. The small habitation on Little Diomede Island is centered on the west side of the island at the village of Diomede.

The Big Diomede Island is considered the easternmost point of Russia.

The Diomede Islands are often mentioned as likely intermediate stops for a bridge or tunnel (Bering Strait bridge) spanning the Bering Strait.


The first European to reach the Bering Strait was the Russian explorer Semyon Dezhnev in 1648. He reported two islands whose natives had bone lip ornaments, but it is not certain that these were the Diomedes. A Danish navigator (in Russian service), Vitus Bering, re-discovered the Diomede Islands on 16 August (O.S., 26 August N.S.) 1728, the day when the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of the martyr St. Diomede (hence, the name of the islands). In 1732, a Russian geodesist, Mikhail Gvozdev, plotted the islands on the map (hence, another name).

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."

During the Cold War, that gap constituted the border between the USA and the USSR, and became known as the "Ice Curtain". In 1987, however, Lynne Cox swam from one island to the other, and was congratulated by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan.

In summer 1995, British television actor and documentary presenter Michael Palin 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.

Big Diomede Island was traditionally the easternmost landmass before the International Date Line, and the first landmass to ring in a new year, if using local solar time. When using official time, a large area in eastern Russia, as well as New Zealand, shares the same time zone. New Zealand also has Daylight Saving time in effect during late December, but Russia does not (see time in New Zealand and time in Russia). Starting in 1995 however, the IDL was moved to the east of Kiribati and that country's easternmost time zone (GMT+14) is now the world's earliest.

The native population of Big Diomede Island was relocated by the Soviet government to mainland Russia and the island is currently home to a small Russian military presence.[1] Little Diomede has an Inupiat Inuit population of 170,[2] entirely in the village site on the west side of the island, though the island as a whole comprises the City of Diomede. This village has a school and a store. Some Inuit residents are famous for their ivory carving. Passenger travel and mail delivery is by helicopter, weather permitting.

See also


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Diomede Islands — [dī′ə med΄] [so named by BERING Vitus, who discovered them (1728) on St. Diomede s Day (August 16)] two islands in the Bering Strait, between Siberia & Alaska; Big Diomede, Russia (Russ. name Ratmanov) & Little Diomede, U.S.: U.S. Russia boundary …   English World dictionary

  • Diomede Islands — Sp Diomèdo sãlos Ap Diomede Islands angliškai Sp Gvòzdevo sãlos Ap Gvozdev Islands rusiškai L Beringo sąs., Rusijos – JAV valst. siena ir datos keitimosi linija …   Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė

  • Diomede Islands — /duy euh meed / two islands in Bering Strait, one belonging to the Russian Federation (Big Diomede), ab. 15 sq. mi. (39 sq. km), and one belonging to the U.S. (Little Diomede), ab. 4 sq. mi. (10 sq. km): separated by the International Date Line.… …   Universalium

  • Diomede Islands — geographical name islands in Bering Strait comprising Big Diomede (Russia) & Little Diomede (United States) …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Diomede Islands — Di′o•mede Is′lands [[t]ˈdaɪ əˌmid[/t]] n. pl. geg two islands in the Bering Strait, one belonging to the Russian Federation (Big Diomede), ab. 15 sq. mi. (39 sq. km), and one belonging to the U.S.(Little Diomede) ab. 4 sq. mi. (10 sq. km):… …   From formal English to slang

  • Diomede Islands — /duy euh meed / two islands in Bering Strait, one belonging to the Russian Federation (Big Diomede), ab. 15 sq. mi. (39 sq. km), and one belonging to the U.S. (Little Diomede), ab. 4 sq. mi. (10 sq. km): separated by the International Date Line …   Useful english dictionary

  • Diomede Islands — /ˌdaɪəmid ˈaɪləndz/ (say .duyuhmeed uyluhndz) plural noun two islands in the Bering Strait, separated by the international date line and by the boundary between the US and Russia …   Australian-English dictionary

  • Diomede, Alaska — Diomede   City   Photo of Diomede (Inalik) village on the west coast …   Wikipedia

  • Diomede (disambiguation) — Diomede is the name of at least four women in Greek mythology. Diomede may also refer to: Diomede, Alaska Diomede Bay in the Sea of Japan Diomede Islands, in the Bering Strait Bernard Diomède (born 1974), French footballer HMS Diomede (D92),… …   Wikipedia

  • Big Diomede — Island ( ru. Острова Диомида , ostrová Diomida , native name Imaqliq ), is an island among the Diomede Islands in the middle of the Bering Strait. The island is a part of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug of Russia.GeographyBig Diomede Island is… …   Wikipedia

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