Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Ryukyu Islands (琉球列島 Ryūkyū-rettō), also known as the Nansei-shoto (南西諸島 Nansei-shotō, which translates literally as the Southwest Islands), are an island chain stretching southwestward from the island of Kyushu in Japan. The portion south of Yoron belongs to Okinawa Prefecture, and the portion north of Yoron belongs to Kagoshima Prefecture. The archipelago is home to the Ryukyuan language family.
The Ryukyu Kingdom was once an independent kingdom occupying the island chain, from Yonaguni Island in the southwest to Amami Oshima in the north. In 1372, it obtained tributary status to the Chinese emperor. A 1609 expedition from Satsuma on Kyushu captured the kingdom. After that, the kings of the Ryukyus paid tribute to the Japanese shogun as well as the Chinese emperor.
In 1879, the Meiji government announced the annexation of the Ryukyus . China objected and the ex-President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant was asked to arbitrate. He decided that Japan's claim to the islands was stronger and ruled in Japan's favor.
Today, there are a host of problems arising from the Ryukyu's history. Some Ryukyuans and some Japanese feel that people from the Ryukyus are not "real" Japanese. Some natives of the Ryukyus claim that the central government is discriminating against the islanders by allowing so many American soldiers to be stationed on bases in Okinawa with a minimal presence on the mainland.
Nansei Islands subtropical evergreen forests
The Ryukyu Islands are recognized by ecologists as a distinct subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion. The flora and fauna of the islands have much in common with Taiwan, the Philippines, and Southeast Asia, and are part of the Indomalaya ecozone.
The coral reefs of the Ryukyus are one of the World Wildlife Fund's Global 200 ecoregions. The reefs are endangered by sedimentation and eutrophication, mostly a result of agriculture, as well as damage from fishing.
- Southwest Islands
- Satsunan Islands
- Ryukyu proper
- Amami Islands
- Amami Oshima
- Okinawa Islands
- Okinawa Honto (Okinawan mainland)
- Kerama Islands
- Daito Islands
- Miyako Islands
- Yaeyama Islands
- Senkaku Islands
- Amami Islands
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details