islands separated by less than 5 kilometers… but with 19 hours of difference between them
Who could imagine that two islands that are separated by barely five kilometers would be so different from each other. This is the case of the Diomedes Islandslocated in the Beiring Sea and categorized as the border between the United States and Russia.
Diomedes Majoralso known as Imaqliq, Nunarbuk or Ratmanov, is the western island that belongs to the Russian territory, while Diomedes Minor –Krusenstern or Inaliq-is integrated within the U.S. region. These separate the state of Alaska – to which Diomedes Minor is annexed – from the Russian peninsula of Chukotka.
According to archaeologists, this archipelago began to be settled 3,000 years ago by hunter-gatherers who came to it for whale fishing. At first, their visits to the islands were occasional, but little by little they settled down to create a nucleus of citizens recognized as Eskimos.
The Diomedes Islands are two small rocky islands located in the middle of the Bering Strait, between Alaska and the Chukotka Peninsula. One of them, the westernmost, belongs to Russia and is uninhabited, while the easternmost, inhabited by an Inuit community, belongs to the USA. pic.twitter.com/W4sQITSOAy
– Mar Gomez (@MarGomezH). June 8, 2023
In the 19th century, Western explorers began to investigate the territory and found that this group of people had already adopted a village feeling, even turning their economic supply into something symbolic, as they they turned fishing into a ritual. Once this population was discovered, the settlers in the area began to establish trade relations with their relatives in Siberia and managed to reach Asia to trade their products.
This stopped with the advent of World War II, since. citizens were moved to Siberian territory. because of the enmity between Russia and the United States during the conflict. When the war ended, the inhabitants were able to return to the island and reunite with those who had refused to leave.
Crossing ‘on foot’ from one to the other.
As for its population, strangely enough, it is the smallest which is inhabited by 160 people.and the larger one, on the other hand, is uninhabited. This is because during the Second World War and part of the Cold War, Diomedes Major became a military base. and navigation was suspended until 1988, when travel and contacts were reestablished. Affected by the crusades, the island has been left with only a settlement for the Russian Border Service and a research weather station.
These islands are connected by a 3.7 km wide channel, so when frozen, it is possible to cross from one island to another on foot. on skis or snowmobile, although this is illegal, as there is no customs office controlling the passage from one country to another. Therefore, this route becomes the only one that connects Russia and the United States ‘overland’.
The town of Diomedes Minor, composed of low houses, is located in. the hill overlooking a small beach On the western side of the island, which means that from this point of the island you can see the other.
19 hours difference
One of the consequences of the war was that the geopolitical map changed and this meant that, although the two islands are less than 5 kilometers from each other, their time zone would be radically affected.
On the one hand, the clocks of the larger island run on a par with those of Russia and, on the other, the smaller island had to adopt U.S. time. Thus, their time difference is 19 hourswhen on the larger island it is 8 o’clock in the morning, on the smaller island it is already the end of the day. However, since they are geographically next to each other, their solar time is the same.
This reason leads to the Diomedes islands being commonly known as. ‘Tomorrow’s Island’ and ‘Yesterday’s Island’, since moving between one and the other becomes an authentic journey into the future or into the past.