Ganghwa Island

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Ganghwa Island
Korean transcription(s)
 • Hangul
 • Hanja
 • Revised Romanization Ganghwado
 • McCune–Reischauer Kanghwado
Ganghwa
Ganghwa
Map showing location of Ganghwa Island.
Map showing location of Ganghwa Island.
Country South Korea
Area
 • Total 302.4 km2 (116.8 sq mi)
Population (est.)
 • Total 65,500
 • Density 220/km2 (560/sq mi)

Ganghwa Island, also known by its native name Ganghwado, is a South Korean island in the estuary of the Han River. It lies in the Yellow Sea off Korea's west coast, separated from Gimpo on the South Korean mainland by a narrow channel spanned by two bridges and from Kaesong (Gaeseong) in North Korea by the main channel of the Han River.

The island is strategically located, controlling access to the river which runs through the former Joseon and present South Korean capital Seoul. Its fortifications were repeatedly attacked during the 19th century. With an area of 302.4 km2 (116.8 sq mi), it now constitutes most of Ganghwa County, a division of Incheon Municipality. It has a population of about 65,500 people, half of whom live in Ganghwa Town (Ganghwa-eup) on the northeast.

Name[edit]

"Ganghwado" or "Ganghwa-do" (Korean: 강화도, formerly ) is Korean for "Island Made Prosperous", "Illustrious", or "Flourishing by the River" in reference to its formation from the silt carried downriver by the Han. Former romanizations include Kang-hoa[1] and Kang-hwa.

Geography[edit]

The island lies in the estuary of Korea's Han River. It is 302.4 km2 (116.8 sq mi), measuring 28 kilometers (17 mi) long and 22 kilometers (14 mi) wide, making it the 4th largest island in South Korea. Its highest point is Mani-san (469 m or 1,539 ft above sea level).

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Ganghwa (1981–2010, extremes 1971–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.6
(54.7)
17.4
(63.3)
22.3
(72.1)
29.2
(84.6)
31.0
(87.8)
33.2
(91.8)
35.5
(95.9)
35.8
(96.4)
31.7
(89.1)
28.0
(82.4)
23.8
(74.8)
16.0
(60.8)
35.8
(96.4)
Average high °C (°F) 1.2
(34.2)
4.1
(39.4)
9.4
(48.9)
16.3
(61.3)
21.3
(70.3)
25.4
(77.7)
27.5
(81.5)
29.0
(84.2)
25.3
(77.5)
19.3
(66.7)
11.2
(52.2)
4.1
(39.4)
16.2
(61.2)
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.8
(25.2)
−1.0
(30.2)
4.3
(39.7)
10.7
(51.3)
15.9
(60.6)
20.3
(68.5)
23.5
(74.3)
24.5
(76.1)
19.8
(67.6)
13.4
(56.1)
6.0
(42.8)
−0.8
(30.6)
11.1
(52)
Average low °C (°F) −8.7
(16.3)
−6.1
(21)
−0.9
(30.4)
5.1
(41.2)
10.8
(51.4)
15.8
(60.4)
20.4
(68.7)
20.8
(69.4)
15.1
(59.2)
7.8
(46)
0.8
(33.4)
−5.6
(21.9)
6.3
(43.3)
Record low °C (°F) −22.5
(−8.5)
−19.4
(−2.9)
−11.3
(11.7)
−4.4
(24.1)
1.6
(34.9)
6.9
(44.4)
12.7
(54.9)
12.5
(54.5)
3.0
(37.4)
−4.2
(24.4)
−12.0
(10.4)
−19.8
(−3.6)
−22.5
(−8.5)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 17.7
(0.697)
19.2
(0.756)
39.6
(1.559)
66.9
(2.634)
108.8
(4.283)
123.4
(4.858)
358.2
(14.102)
326.6
(12.858)
165.4
(6.512)
51.2
(2.016)
50.7
(1.996)
18.8
(0.74)
1,346.7
(53.02)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 5.7 4.7 6.2 6.7 8.4 8.7 13.9 12.0 7.3 5.7 7.0 6.6 92.9
Average snowy days 7.3 4.3 2.4 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 1.5 5.1 20.6
Average relative humidity (%) 66.1 63.0 62.9 62.8 69.5 75.3 82.7 80.3 74.8 69.9 68.2 67.3 70.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 179.8 188.3 218.3 233.3 241.4 221.0 173.2 201.3 214.4 220.4 170.0 165.9 2,431.5
Percent possible sunshine 58.7 61.8 58.9 59.0 54.8 50.0 38.6 47.7 57.4 63.3 55.7 55.6 54.6
Source: Korea Meteorological Administration[2][3][4] (percent sunshine and snowy days)[5]

History[edit]

As the location of the primary fortifications protecting the Joseon capital of Seoul from foreign invasion, Ganghwa Island was the site of several punitive expeditions during the 19th century. The mass execution of Catholic French missionaries and Korean converts under the ministry of the Heungseon Daewongun in the mid-1860s led to a French invasion in 1866 which held the island for several weeks, although Admiral Roze was unable to sail up the shallow and uncharted Han River and fortified monasteries prevented overland incursion. In 1871, a Korean assault on an American diplomatic mission led to the Battle of Ganghwa. Rear Admiral Rodgers took five forts on the island but withdrew after the Koreans refused to meet for negotiations. Following a diplomatic incident related to Korea's refusal to recognize the imperial status of the sovereign of Japan in 1868, the forts at Ganghwa fired upon a Japanese boat from the surveying gunship Un'yō in 1875. During the Japanese Battle of Ganghwa, the Un'yō's captain Inoue Yoshika silenced the batteries with superior firepower, then landed a raiding force which plundered local communities. The Imperial Japanese Navy then blockaded the area and compelled the 1876 Treaty of Ganghwa, which opened Korea to Japanese commerce.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ EB (1878), p. 393.
  2. ^ "평년값자료(1981–2010) 강화(201)" (in Korean). Korea Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  3. ^ "기후자료 극값(최대값) 전체년도 일최고기온 (℃) 최고순위, 강화(201)" (in Korean). Korea Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 9 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "기후자료 극값(최대값) 전체년도 일최저기온 (℃) 최고순위, 강화(201)" (in Korean). Korea Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 9 February 2017. 
  5. ^ "Climatological Normals of Korea" (PDF). Korea Meteorological Administration. 2011. p. 499 and 649. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 December 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2017. 

Bibliography[edit]

Coordinates: 37°42′N 126°26′E / 37.700°N 126.433°E / 37.700; 126.433