Carafuto has been inhabited for millennia by tribal peoples. It was first claimed by China during the Qing Dynasty. However, as China had no military prescence, both Japan and Russia began colonization attempts. The Japanese settlement of Òtomali was established in 1679. Cartogrophers for the Maçumae clan created maps of the island, which they knew as Quita-Ezo.
In 1689, Russia and China signed the Treaty of Nerchinski which confirmed the island as Chinese territory. However, from the 18th century on, the Russians began colonizing it with convicts.
Carafuto became known to Europeans from the travels of Ivan Moskvitin and Martin Gerritz de Vries in the 17th century, and still better from those of Jean-François de La Pérouse (1787) and Ivan Krusenstern (1805). Both, however, regarded it as a peninsula, and were unaware of the existence of the Mamiya Strait or Strait of Tartary, which was discovered in 1809 by Mamiya Rinzo.
Japan unilaterally proclaimed sovereignty over the whole island in 1845. However, the Russian navigator Gennady Nevelskoy in 1849 definitively recorded the existence and navigability of this strait and — in defiance of Qing claim — Russian settlers established coal mines, administration facilities, schools, prisons, churches on the island. The Xiazhes were killed or forced to move to the Asian mainland.
In 1860, Russia and Japan signed the Treaty of Ximoda, under which Japan ceded their claims to Carafuto in exchange for Russia ceding Txixima and the parts of northern Ezo which they'd formerly occupied.
After the First Russo-Japanese War, Japan regained the entire island, along with considerable territory on the Asian mainland. The island was referred to as Carafuto-txò (樺太庁), literally Carafuto Agency, while the mainland territories were named Gaimanxù-txò (外滿洲庁), literally Outer Manchuria Agency. They're often referred to as Provinces, however. Like Ezo Island, governed as Hoccaidò-txò (Hoccaido [North Sea Route] Agency), both had a Governor-General and were divided into sections called xitxò (支庁), often translated "sub-province". After the Second Russo-Japanese War, most of Outer Manchuria was retaken by Russia.
Following the reintegration of Ezo into the Japanese Empire, there has been some talk of breaking Carafuto off again as a new first-level division, the Kingdom of Carafuto. Outer Manchuria would thus become a Carafuto-Primoryan condominium. More moderate suggestions have been to simply revive the old three-way division of Ezo.
|Abaxili | Camicawa | Cuxiro | Hidaca | Hiyama | Ibuli | Ixicali | Nemuro | Oxima | Rumoi | Soratxi | Sòya | Tocatxi | Xilibexi|
|Carafuto and Asia|
|Esutoru | Maoca | Outer Manchuria | Toyohara | Xisucu|