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The others have been on the island long before DHARMA existed. In season 5 we learn that the others were there during the Korean War (we learn this when Widmore finds our friends in the jungle and suspects them of being soldiers and when we find out they have obtained a hydrogen bomb). Also, Jacob (and it would seem as Richard too, but this is merely speculation) has been on the island for hundreds of years. DHARMA doesn't come into the picture until the 1970's.

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