alternative words: Ryuukyuu, Ryu-kyu, Ryukyu kingdom, Ryukyu island, Okinawa
related topics: Satsuma domain
related web sites: http://www.hi.u-tokyo.ac.jp/personal/yokoyama/index.htm , http://www.lib.u-ryukyu.ac.jp/academic/bull/photo/
explanation: Old name of Okinawa. Initially Chinese designated all the islands located on the east of Fukien province as Ryukyu. Because of its isolated geography, the unification process had been slow. It began in the 12th century and ended the 14th century when Sho dynasty had conquered all the archipelagos. Once a prosperous independent kingdom, thanks to its strategic position and the export of sulfur (to create explosive), it surrendered quickly before Japanese musketeers in 1609.