Sakhalin Island is colonized by Westerners and becomes a country

Hellespont

Banned
Very weird scenario I know, but it's fun.

Let's say that in the first half of the 19th century, several decades before Russia annexed the island as in OTL, a Western power decided to make Sakhalin a settlement colony like in Australia, for example.

Try to invent a scenario where the colonization of Sakhalin Island was so successful that Sakhalin Island is now an Western-cultured independent country with a population of several million and a very prosperous economy.
 
Best candidate is Britain, as few other countries had both the power projection abilities (in the area) in 18th / early 19th century, and the population.
It might even replace Australia as a destination for convicts and colonists.
 
Very weird scenario I know, but it's fun.

Let's say that in the first half of the 19th century, several decades before Russia annexed the island as in OTL, a Western power decided to make Sakhalin a settlement colony like in Australia, for example.

Try to invent a scenario where the colonization of Sakhalin Island was so successful that Sakhalin Island is now an Western-cultured independent country with a population of several million and a very prosperous economy.
Why though? Like, no offense, I just find the idea frankly pretty weird. Especially because it isn't even a specific nation-wank - it's just the West for some reason. Which could really mean anything from Spain to Denmark. What's the fun with such a random wank?[1]

As to answering your question, I personally don't really see any major motivating reason for any Western power to colonise a barren desolate island... maaaaybe if they really want to get into the fur trade, but you'd have to screw Russia first before any such colony becomes even half-way plausible.

[1] Like, I'd see the appeal in a British or say French Sakhalin, especially the geopolitical consequences with Russia and Japan it might spark, but the idea of a specifically Western Sakhalin - with not even a specific country - and the way it was worded frankly kinda strikes me as bizarre and a bit boostery. Forgive me, I guess I just find the idea of wanking the West even further just... meh.
 
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Hellespont

Banned
Best candidate is Britain, as few other countries had both the power projection abilities (in the area) in 18th / early 19th century, and the population.
It might even replace Australia as a destination for convicts and colonists.
Really ? Despite the harsh climate, could settlers in the Pacific really prefer Sakhalin to Australasia ?
 
Perhaps Britain colonises Sakhalin as a penal colony and naval base to checkmate Russia in the Far East and North Pacific. It could also be used as a trading post between North America and China, and perhaps Japan. Britain was keen on opening up both countries in the early 19th century.
 

Hellespont

Banned
Would it also be possible to make Sakhalin an agricultural colony as well, although the climate makes agriculture rather difficult on the island?
 
Really ? Despite the harsh climate, could settlers in the Pacific really prefer Sakhalin to Australasia ?
Well, I'm trying to fit the OP scenario.
Sakhalin's major advantage is its position close to China, Japan and Korea (for trade) as well as Russia (to block Russian expansion into the Pacific).

Of course, it would make the Great Game much worse...
 
Very weird scenario I know, but it's fun.

Let's say that in the first half of the 19th century, several decades before Russia annexed the island as in OTL, a Western power decided to make Sakhalin a settlement colony like in Australia, for example.

Try to invent a scenario where the colonization of Sakhalin Island was so successful that Sakhalin Island is now an Western-cultured independent country with a population of several million and a very prosperous economy.
A naive question: what are these “several million” going to eat? Existing 500,000 are heavily relying upon the food imports from mainland. Unless your scenario involves a drastic change of the local climate, situation with agriculture is not going to improve substantially or at least up to a degree needed to feed population few times greater than now. There is no locally grown grain or rice, only potato and some vegetables produced on the Southern part of the island and a limited number of cattle.

Second question is why few millions people voluntarily go there (I doubt that Britain had millions convicts)? Local oil, coal, etc. extraction industries are not big enough to support such numbers. The only formulated goal, to piss off Russia, does not look as a convincing stimulus unless I’m grossly underestimating the British, French, Danish, etc. patriotism. 😂
 
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Would it also be possible to make Sakhalin an agricultural colony as well, although the climate makes agriculture rather difficult on the island?
Agriculture would be a side-activity compared to lumbering, mining and fishing and it would be hard to make it so efficient that it can be exported in sizeable quantity. The island can probably support more people than it does today, heck the island had a similar population to today just before WW2 after all.

 
Agriculture would be a side-activity compared to lumbering, mining and fishing and it would be hard to make it so efficient that it can be exported in sizeable quantity. The island can probably support more people than it does today, heck the island had a similar population to today just before WW2 after all.

Yes. It looks like right now the island is more or less self-sufficient (on the level of 90% or higher) in potato and eggs but only around 60% in the vegetables, less so on meat and there is no locally grown grain of rice. Of course, it can be assumed that agriculture can be more effective but hardly up to a degree capable to support population 4-5 times bigger than OTL.

Speaking about pre-WW2 situation, between 1905 and 1945 Southern Sakhalin belonged to Japan (Prefecture Karafuto) and its population was only slightly over 400,000 (including 40,000 imported Korean workers) even if Japan was working hard on turning it into a major supplier of all types of the raw materials from oil (dependency upon imported oil had been cut in half) and coal to the furs. Big money had been spent on infrastructure development (over 700 km railroads) and growth of the local industry (735 enterprises) but local fish resources had been almost exhausted and the fur animals became almost extinct and had to be grown in the fur farms.

So it does not look like the population growth up to few millions would be either motivated or sustainable.
 
One thing to note is that the British and French did not know Sakhalin was an island until after the Crimean War. Any POD before that would assume they are trying to annex a peninsular claimed by Russia.
 
1) The Fisheries off it's coast along with the Kurils combined with a cold weather crop package should be enough.

2) Russia didn't get there until the 1800s and didn't get to Kamchatka and the Kurils until the 1700s.

3) My suggestion: Dutch in Japan realizing that they have lost their North American fur trading and fishing rights after losing New Amsterdam in the 1660s decide to set up a settler colony in Sakhalin in the 1670s which is used to fish and fur trade the Island along with the Kurils, Kommander islands, Aleutians, Kamchatka, and Alaska.

Fur clothing is then sold to the Shogunate court and Japanese nobility along with Korea and the Mong court as well.


Eventually whaling becomes the main industry too
 
Apparently the Japanese grew some wheat and other grains in their part of the island before World War II.
It was announced in 2017 that the 1st time in 30 years Sakhalin restored production of grain: the harvest brought 700 tons of barley which was used to feed the cattle. In 2018 they were planning to get 2,800 tons (compare this to 80,000 tons being imported) and it looks like in 2020 the harvest brought approximately 2,000 tons. As I understand, even before 1904 there were some attempts to grow the wheat and some other grains in the southern part of the island but the climate made it a high risk exercise.
Anyway, this is a far cry to what would be needed for independent state with population of few millions.
 
What if when Admiral Perry went to force open Japan he got rebuffed ended up sailing north to seize land on Sakhalin Island to set up a US naval port and a base to trade with China, Russia and intervene in Japan much easier.
 
What if when Admiral Perry went to force open Japan he got rebuffed ended up sailing north to seize land on Sakhalin Island to set up a US naval port and a base to trade with China, Russia and intervene in Japan much easier.
I don't think he had a crew that was ready to colonize new lands...
 
I don't think there's any nation that can colonize Sakhalin better than Russia (except maybe Japan), and oddly enough, Russia could still settle Sakhalin with Westerners, if it wanted to. Baltic Germans, German Mennonites along the Black Sea, Swedes in Finland, etc... It wouldn't really take much for the Russian government to invite them to settle there, or welcome even more German Mennonites from abroad. The only problem is that Russia wouldn't see any need to use any specific ethnicity other than Russians. If, for whatever reason, Russia manages to find one (e.g. exiling some German or Swedish populations for a major uprising), it can probably achieve it.
 
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