The Ryūkyū Islands (琉球諸島, Ryūkyū-shotō), also known as the Nansei Islands (南西諸島, Nansei-shotō, lit. "Southwest Islands"), are a chain of Japanese islands in a line between Kyushu and Taiwan. The native people of the Ryūkyū Islands are the Ryūkyūan people and its native languages are the endangered Ryukyuan languages.
- 1314: Kingdoms of Nanzan, Chūzan, and Hokuzan are founded
- 1429: Ryūkyū Kingdom is founded
- 1609: Ryūkyū Kingdom is invaded by the Satsuma Domain, causing its vassal status to Japan and its loss of the Amami Islands
- 1945: Battle of Okinawa
- 1972: United States gives the Ryūkyū Islands back to Japan
The Islands are separated into two geographical regions: the Northern Ryūkyū Islands, centered on Amami Island, and the Southern Ryūkyū Islands, centered on Okinawa Island. Sometimes the Southern Ryūkyū Islands are further divided into the Okinawa Islands and the Sakishima Islands.
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Ryūkyū Islands" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 801.
- Klaproth, Julius. (1832). San kokf tsou ran to sets, ou Aperçu général des trois royaumes, p. 175 n1.
- Kerr, George. (2000). Okinawa: The History of an Island People, p. 63.
- Klaproth, pp. 177.
- Smits, Gregory. (1999). Visions of Ryūkyū: Identity and Ideology in Early-Modern Thought and Politics, p. 28.
- Klaproth, pp. 169-180.
- Matsumura, Wendy. (2007). Becoming Okinawan: Japanese Capitalism and Changing Representations of Okinawa, p. 38; excerpt, "March 27, 1879 marks the birth of Okinawa Prefecture and the death of the short-lived Ryukyu domain, which itself came into being on September 14, 1872, replacing the Ryukyu kingdom."
- Nussbaum, "Okinawa-ken" at pp. 746-747.