H[enry] Justin Roddy.

Complete geography online

. (page 5 of 22)
Online LibraryH[enry] Justin RoddyComplete geography → online text (page 5 of 22)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of the same grade, 3,830 boys attended the Orthodox schools ;
1,906 the Armenian-Gregorian; 289 the Catholic; 150 Protes-
tant; 265 Jewish; 288 other schools. Boys attending family
schools, 3,240. The number of girls attending the g)minasia
was 8,151, of whom 4,326 were Russians; 1,095 Georgians;
1,830 Armenians; 25 Tartars; 320 Jews; 511 other races. Of
these 5,513 are Orthodox; 1,796 Armenians; 288 Catholics;
170 Protestants; 317 Jews; 67 other sects. In family schools,
3,813. In public schools, 10,577; of whom 6,972 are Russians;
2,792 Georgians ; 2,908 Armenians ; 547 Tartars ; 172 Jews ;
and 606 other nationalities. In family schools, 1,187. I"
primary schools, 44,367 ; of which 5,273 were Russians ; 19,079
Georgians; 12,007 Armenians; 3,078 Tartars; 1,020 Moun-
taineers ; 263 Jews ; 3,647 other tribes. Religiously, these were
Orthodox, 24,048; Armenian-Gregorian, 11,783; Catholic,
1,178; Protestant, 2,130; Jewish, 303; Mohammedan, 3,369;
other sects, 1,256. Altogether there was expended for educa-
tion by the government, 1,076,257 rubles.

Digitized by VjOOQIC



I. Akmolinsk

AKMOLINSK is situated between the forty-fifth and
fifty-fifth paraUels of north latitude, and the eighty-
fourth and ninetieth meridians of east longitude. It
is bounded on the north by Tobolsk and Tomsk, on the east
by Semipalatinsk, on the south by Syr Daria, and on the west
by Turgai. It has an area of 229,609 square miles, with a
peculation of 678,957, of whom 354,370 are males, 324,587
females. Its principal cities, each of which is capital of a
province, are Omsk, with a population of 37470; Akmolinsk,
9,557; Atbazarsk, 3,034; Kokchetaf, 4,994; Petropavlovsk,

The southern part of this province lies in the Aral-Caspian
depression, and is watered by the Sarai-su, which, after run-
ning southward a distance of five hundred miles, empties into
the inclosed salt marshes of Aitsi-kul, just over the border in
Syr Daria. Many other shorter streams flow part way down
this southern watershed, and disappear in a similar manner.
The watershed between the Aral-Caspian basin and the tribu-
taries of the Obi consists in freneral of a broad swell in the


Digitized by VjOOQIC


earth's surface, averaging less than one thousand feet above
the sea, but with occasional granitic peaks running up to a
height of from two thousand to four thousand feet. These
are flanked by sedimentary deposits, which also appear in
extensive areas on the intermediate portions of the plateau, and
contain coal deposits of much value. The western boundary is
formed by a low range of hills similar to those which mark the
northern watershed. The entire southern portion is unfavor-
able to agriculture, but gives support to a considerable nomadic
population of Kirghiz Tartars. Fully three fourths of the
entire population are nomads. The character of the southern
portion is well indicated by its name, " Golodnaya," or " Hun-
gry Steppe."

The northern part of the province lies largely between the
Ishim and Irtysh rivers, and contains most of the settled popu-
lation. But both near the watershed and upon its northern
side there are numerous salt lakes which have no outlet, sev-
eral of them being of considerable size. Its undulating surface
is chiefly covered with " black earth," making it really an east-
ward extension of the fruitful plains of Southern Russia.

The climate of the entire district is severe, the thermometer
rising to 104* in summer, and sinking to — ^35' in winter. At
Omsk the Irtysh river freezes in October, and the ice does
not break up until April ; while the dates are about the same
for the Ishim. The average rainfall is eleven inches, mostly
falling in June and July.

The province is almost entirely devoid of forests, but the
problem of procuring fuel has been partially solved by the

Digitized by VjOOQIC

(Another) Typical Siberian Village Street.

A Market Scene in Omsk.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

Digitized by VjOOQIC


discovery of coal over a considerable portion of the watershed.
G>pper and gold are also found to a limited extent, and salt is
obtainable from the numerous inclosed lakes and lakelets.

Of agricultural products there were reported in 1897, 61421
cwt. of winter wheat, 1,658,5544 cwt. of spring wheat, 591,-
7004 cwt. of oats, 201431.2 cwt. of potatoes.

Of livestock there were 876,610 horses, 583,256 homed
cattle, 1,850,231 sheep, I45»335 goats, 15,876 swine, and 102,-
551 camels.

The products of the chase amounted to 3,700 wolf skins,
2,500 of fox skins, 111,000 marmots, 35,000 hares, 7,000
skunks, 11,000 panthers, 1,100 martens, and of birds, 870
swans, and 7,800 geese, having a total value of 59,325 rubles.
The salt collected amounted to 124,000 cwt.

The manufactured products were valued at 1,289,108
rubles, of which the brick were valued at 105,365 ; iron ware,
120495; tobacco, 28,870; tallow, 408,997; sheep skins,
107,809; goat skins, 184,281 ; woolen fabrics, 135,000; sheep's
intestines, 34,600.

The trade mostly passes through Omsk and Petropavlovsk,
which are on the line of the Siberian railroad, at the crossing
of the Irtysh and Ishim rivers. In Omsk, 519 establishments
did business to the amount of 28,132,050 rubles; while in
Petropavlovsk the transactions of 548 firms amounted to

The higher educational work of the province is represented

by 196 classical schools, in which there are 7,619 boys, and

2,902 girls, 10,521 in all.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


a. Semipaladnsk

This province lies between the forty-fifth and fifty-third de-
grees of north latitude, and between the seventy-second and
eighty-fifth of east longitude. It is bounded on the north
by Tobolsk and Tomsk, on the east by Tomsk, on the south
by China and Semirechensk, and on the west by Semir-
echensk and Akmolinsk, having an area of 184,631 square
miles, with a population of 685,197, of whom 364,839
are males, and 320,358 females. Its principal cities,
each of which is capital of a district, are: Semipalatinsk,
with a population of 26,353; Zaisan, 4,471; Kokpek, 2,908;
Karkaralinsk, 4415; Pavlodar, 7,730; Ust-Kamenogorsk,
8,958. Administratively it belongs to the government of the
Steppes. Its southeastern portion stretches well up into the
Altai Mountains on one side of the Irtysh River, and follows
the axis of the Tarbagatai on the other side; the river itself
forming one of the main channels through which communica-
tion has always been kept up between Siberia and Mongolia.

Near the southeastern border Lake Zaisan occupies an en-
largement of the river fifty-six miles long, and averaging
thirteen miles in width, covering an area of seven hundred
square miles, but its depth nowhere exceeds forty feet, averag-
ing about twenty-five. Like all tht lakes in this region, this
was formerly much more extensive than now, as is shown by
old shore lines. The lake abounds in several varieties of valu-
able fish, and is surrounded by broad plains on every side,
over which one can see the snow-clad mountains of the Altai
range on the east, and the lower peaks of the Tarbagatai on the

Digitized by VjOOQIC

Scene in Vemi.

A Camel in the Market-Place at Omsk.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

Digitized by VjOOQIC


west and north. A long line of rapids too swift to be navi-
gable, extends from Lake Zaisan to Ust-Kamenogorsk, whence
the river flows northward by a gentle grade through ever-
broadening plains, to the Arctic Ocean. The mountainous
tracts contain all kinds of crystalline rocks, indosing in their
folds extensive areas of Secondary and Tertiary strata, and
abound in rich gold-bearing sands, with silver, lead, and
graphite, and in some portions copper. Coal is also found
in considerable quantities on the flanks of the Tarbagatai
range and in the steppe r^on to the west of the Irtysh.

The Irtysh River flows for a distance of seven hundred and
sixty miles within the limits of the province, and, except
through the rapids above Ust-Kamenogorsk, is freely navi-
gated; whfle rafts are floated the entire length. Steamers
ascend, also^ a hundred miles above Lake Zaisan into the
Chinese province of Sungaria.

The valleys of the Kurtschum, the Naryn, and Bukhtarma
coming down from the Altai Mountains are rich ag^cultural
districts. Forests also abound in all the mountain districts,
the logs being floated down the streams to supply the wants
of the vast treeless prairies of Western Siberia.

Lake Balkash lies upon the southwestern border, but its
shores are practically uninhabited. This formerly received
several tributaries from the Jenghiz Tau range, which con-
nects the Tarbagatai Mountains with the northern rim of the
Aral-Caspian basin, but these streams no longer reach the
lake, illustrating, with many similar phenomena, the fact that
this whole region is going through a process of rapid desicca-

Digitized by VjOOQIC


tion. The broad plains on either side of the Irtysh below
Semipalatinsk are dotted with small lakes having no outlet,
many of which dry up in the simimer, and all of which are

According to the last census, the chief agricultural produc-
tions were: Rye, 53,072.8 cwt.; wheat, 861,907.6 cwt.; oats,
298,018 cwt; millet, 148,825.6 cwt.; barley, 31,246.8 cwt.;
peas, 2,236.8 cwt. ; potatoes, 86,728.8 cwt.

Of livestock there were 822,013 horses, 452,108 homed
cattle, 2,392,589 sheep and goats, 73,889 camels, but only
1,071 swine. From bees were collected 457.2 cwt. of honey
and 86 cwt. of wax.

In the gold mines there were washed 36,850,520 cwt
of gold-bearing sand, which yielded 20,624 ounces of gold,
having a value of $371,232.

The estimated value of the merchandise exchanged in their
various markets was 2,060,749 rubles.

3. Semirechensk

This province lies between the 42d and 47th parallels of
north latitude, and between the 70th and 82d degrees of east
longitude. It is bounded on the north by Semipalatinsk, on
the east by the Chinese provinces of Sungaria, Kuldja, Aksu,
and Kashgar, on the south by Kashgar and Ferghana, on the
west by Ferghana, Syr Daria, and Akmolinsk. It has an area
of 152,280 square miles, and a population of 990,107, of which
531,363 are males, and 458,744 females. Of its towns, Vemi

Digitized by VjOOQIC





Digitized by VjOOQIC

Digitized by VjOOQIC



has 22,982; Tarkent, 16,372; Lqpsinsk, 3,232; Kopal, 2,842;
Pishpek, 6,622 ; and Prshcvalsk, 7,984. Each of these towns
is the capital of a district. The province is watered by the
numerous branches of the Chu^ which come down from the
Alexandrovskii range, by those descending from the Western
Akt-tau range to the middle portion of the Ili River, and by
the Seven Rivers descending towards Lake Balkash from the
Eastern Ala-tau range, which from their number have given
their name to the province, which literally means Seven

In its southern portion the province includes Lake Issyk-kul
and the upper portion of the Naryn River, which flows into
the Syr Dana, and is bordered by the main ridge of the Tian-
Shan range, over which the passes to Aksu and Kashgar,
which have already been described, are of gjeat height and
difficulty. The Naryn stretches for a considerable distance up
the flanks of Khan-tengri, whose elevation is 24,060 feet, from
whose glaciers the river Tekes, one of the principal tributaries
of the Ili, has its source. Numerous peaks in the Ala-tau and
Alexandrovskii ranges rise to heights of from 10,000 to 15,000
feet. A low mountain range, also, branches oflf to the north
from the Western Ala-tau, extending nearly to the western
end of Lake Balkash, and gradually diminishing in height to-
wards the north. On the eastern side, the Tarbagatai Moun-
tains, some of whose summits reach 10,000 feet, form the
boundary line, running southeast and northwest. These nu-
merous, complicated and lofty mountain masses furnish an

Digitized by VjOOQIC


abundant supply of water to the bordering terrace of lod^
which is ever)rwhere found at their base, at an elevation of
from 2,000 to 3,000 feet.

The central axes of all the mountains are composed of
granitic rocks, but the synclinal troughs between them contain
large areas of sedimentary rocks ranging from the Silurian
to the Tertiary. Gold and silver are found pretty generally
in the older sedimentary rocks near their junction with the
granitic axes of elevation ; while iron is found in many places,
and coal of good quality is found in the sedimentary strata
of Jurassic and Tertiary age in the Ala-tau range east of the
river Chu, and about its headwaters in Kuldja.

Of agricultural products the annual yield of wheat is
305,437.2 cwt.; rye, 31,246 cwt.; barley, 106,697.2 cwt.; oats,
230,286 cwt.; millet, 136,059.6 cwt.; peas, 8,707.2 cwt.; rice,
6,679.6 cwt. ; potatoes, 11,766.8 cwt. ; flax, 204944 cwt. ; hemp,
6,354 cwt.; sunflower seed, 10,646.8 cwt.; mustard seed,
15,240.8 cwt.; clover, 742,920 cwt.; sesame, 149,285.6 cwt.;
hay, 4,889,348 cwt.

Of livestock, there were 670,750 'horses, 352,172 homed
cattle, 98,673 camels, 4,176429 sheep, 274,001 goats, but only
42 mules and asses. There were also 58,050 hives of bees,
producing 7,783.6 cwt. of honey, and 424 cwt. of wax ; while
the candle-makers, soap-makers, tanners, millers, tobacconists,
and various others were producing products valued at
^,587,706 rubles, and the imports amounted to 1,036,877

The educational interests are represented by a classical

Digitized by VjOOQIC


" g}mniasitun " or high school for boys containing 245 pupils,
for girls 160; six secondary classical schools for boys with
705 pupils; two secondary classical schools for girls, with
187 pupils ; twenty-four parish classical schools for boys and
girls with 1,154 pupils ; and six for girls alone with 221 pupils ;
five competitive schools for boys and girls with 343 pupils;
fifteen church schools for boys and girls with 610 pupils, and
fifteen church grammar schools with 563 pupils. These, with
a few private schools, numbering in all eighty-two, have an
attendance of 3,381 boys, and 957 girls, making in all 4,338.
In native schools there are in attendance 5436 boys, and 1,516
girls, making a total of 6,952.

4. Transcaspian Province

This province lies between 35* 1/ and 45* 30' north latitude,
and the forty-eighth and sixty-third meridians of east longitude.
It is bounded on the north by the Caspian Sea and Uralsk, on
the east by the Aral Sea, Amu Daria, and Bokhara, on the south
by Afghanistan and Persia, and on the west by the Caspian
Sea. Its area, exclusive of the Caspian Sea, is 214,237 square
miles, with a population of 372,193, or less than two to the
square mile. Nine tenths of the area is covered with inhos-
pitable sandy deserts, over which the annual rainfall is less
than four inches. The population is chiefly centered in the
oasis of Merv, near the termination of the river Murghab,
and that at the termination of the Tejend, and in the " Atok,"
to which reference is so frequently made, a belt of irrigated
land ten or fifteen miles wide, stretching along the northern

Digitized by VjOOQIC


base of the Kopet Dagh range, through Ashkatiad to Kiz3
Arvat, and thence southwestward to the mouth of the Atrek
River. The Transcaspian railroad passes east and west
through Merv, and thence through the Atok to Krasnovodsk,
on the Caspian Sea. From Merv a branch railroad is built
southward along the valley of the Murghab to the border of
Afghanistan on the direct road to Herat. This is to form a
link in the contemplated road to connect the Russian provinces
in Central Asia with the Persian Gulf, a distance of only
about eight hundred miles.

The northern part of the province between the Aral and
Caspian seas, consists of the low desert plateau of the Ust-
Urt, which is seven hundred feet above ocean level.

According to the last census, there were in the province
211,839 camels, 50,443 homed cattle, 105,136 horses, 3,353,788
sheep, 18,936 mules.

Of agricultural products there were raised, of wheat,
931,023.2 cwt.; barley, 176,799.6 cwt.; sesame, 15,258.8 cwt.;
millet, 5,254 cwt. ; rice, 800 cwt. ; making a total of 1,129,135.6
cwt., of grain. Cotton, also, is cultivated to an increasing ex-
tent. Beginning in 1890 with 8,000 cwt. of raw cotton, it in-
creased to 78400 cwt. in 1894; 212,502 cwt. in 1896; and
248,800 cwt. in 1897, the most of it being raised in the districts
of Tejend, Merv, and Murghab. Hay, also, was among the
most important products, Tejend furnishing 470,000 cwt., and
Merv 400,000 cwt.

The fisheries of Mangishlak returned 15,784.4 cwt., and
those of Krasnovodsk, 31,806 cwt.; while 26,490 seal were

Digitized by VjOOQIC

A Post Station in the Steppe.

A Kirghiz Family Preparing for the Winter.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

Digitized by VjOOQIC


caught. The exports into Bokhara were valued at 3,075,000
rubles, of which 870,000 worth were manufactured cotton,
247,000, lumber, 204,000, kerosene, 254,000, granulated sugar,
137,000, tea. The exports to European Russia and the Cau-
casus were valued at 5,630,000 rubles, of which 4,743,000
worth was cotton, 242,000 wool, 194,000 dried meat and
fruits, and 155,000 sheep skins dressed and undressed.

5. Turgai

The province of Turgai lies between the forty-fifth and fifty-
fifth degrees of north latitude, and the fifty-fifth and sixty-
seventh meridians of east longitude. It is bounded on the
north by Orenburg, on the east by Akmolinsk, on the south
by Syr Daria and the Aral Sea, on the west by Uralsk and
Orenburg, and contains 176,219 square miles, with a popula-
tion of 453,123. It lies largely within the limits of the Aral-
Caspian basin, but includes in the northwest the Mugojar
Hills, which are an extension of the Ural Mountains, but
nowhere rising more than 1,000 feet above the sea. Between
it and Akmolinsk, also, there is a range of low hills separating
the Turgai River from the Sarai-su. Between these hills near
the fifty-first parallel there is an east and west extension of
lower hills, forming the bridge connecting the mountain sys-
tems of Central Asia with the Urals, and belonging to early
geological formations.

North of this bridge are the extensive plains about the head-
waters of the Tobol River, which are covered with an innu-
merable number of small lakes having no outlets. South of the

Digitized by VjOOQIC


" bridge " the border of the Aral-Caspian basin is here formed
by a range of precipitous crags which seem clearly to mark
the old shore-line of the Aral-Caspian Sea. The broad chan-
nel between the eightieth and eighty-second meridians connect-
ing the Aral-Caspian depression with the Arctic basin, is less
than nine hundred feet above the sea. South of this watershed
the Turgai plains are only about three hundred feet above sea-
level, and are also dotted with numerous small lakes with no
outlets. Evidently, in very recent times, this whole region was
covered with water, of which abundant evidence is contained in
the remains of aquatic plants which are everywhere found
buried in the alluvial soil, and in the shells of Mytilus and
Cardium, which still abound in the Aral Sea. In comparatively
recent times, also, the Turgai and Irgiz rivers flowed in a
broad current to the Aral Sea, but now their waters reach no
farther than Lake Chel-Kar Tingez, which is surrounded by
the sandy wastes of the Kara-kum, and is more than one hun-
dred miles distant from the sea.

The climate of Turgai is so dry, and the extremes of tem-
perature are so great, that forests do not grow except in the
protected localities of the hilly regions. In the spring the
loess plains of the north are covered with a luxuriant growth
of grass, and immense numbers of geese and cranes are de-
tained for a while in their northern migration by the numerous
lakes which cover the area. In the middle and southern por-
tions only the coarser kinds of grass and scraggly clumps of
wormwood and other similar shrubs succeed in living; while
large areas are covered by shifting sands and salt clays occupy-

Digitized by VjOOQIC

A Sart Girl in Tashkent.

Grain Exchange in Samarkand.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

Digitized by VjOOQIC


ing the beds of recently dried-up lakes; for the process of
desiccation is even yet rapidly going forward. Around the
lakes still existing there are usually found a densely bordering
thicket of rushes which serve as the protection and hiding-
places of wild boars.

The population of the province consists almost entirely of
Kirghiz Tartars, belonging, like those of the Uralsk, to the
Small Horde. They numbered in all, according to the last
census, 453,123, of whom 19,527 were in towns, the rest being
nomads. The males exceed the females by 22,101. The chief
occupation is cattle-breeding, but the occasional occurrence of
abnormally cold winters with storms of sleet which render the
winter pasturage inaccessible to animals, is a great drawback
to the prosperity of the people. In recent time, however, eflForts
have been made to collect large conmiunal stores of hay against
periods of special want. In winter, also, large ntmibers of the
flocks and herds are driven south to the milder and more pro-
tected pasture lands of the Syr Daria. According to the cen-
sus of 1896, there were in possession of the nomads of the
province, 455,236 horses, 304,766 homed cattle, 140,401
camels, 1,231,797 sheep, 97,871 goats, and 10 mules, making
a total of 2,296,903 animals, besides 66,822 that were in posses-
sion of the settled population. As compared with the figures
of 1882, there has been a diminution of 355,000 horses, 60,000
cattle, 60,000 camels, and about 700,000 sheep. But as the
horses and camels, above a certain nimiber, are non-produc-
tive, their diminution is a sign of prosperity rather than the

Digitized by VjOOQIC


6. Uralsk

Uralsk lies on the northeastern comer of the Caspian Sea
between the forty-fifth and fifty-third parallels of north latitude,
and the fiftieth and fifty-seventh meridians of longitude east
of Greenwich, and has an area of 141,174 square miles, being
about three and one half times as large as Ohio. It is bounded
by Astrakhan on the west, Samara and Orenburg on the north,
Turgai and the Sea of Aral on the east, and the Transcaspian
region on the south. About one fourth of the territory is occu-
pied by Ural Cossacks, who are principally found in the vicinity
of the Ural River engaged in fishing. According to the census
of 1897, they number 113,626. Of Russian peasants and Kirg-
hiz who have adopted settled life there are 65,826; while there
are 465,977 Kirghiz nomads, making a total of 645429. The
climate is marked by great extremes, being cold and dry in
winter, and hot and dry in summer, the rainfall being only
eight inches, but it mostly falls during the spring and early
simimer. The average temperature is that of Southern Russia,
namely, 46.4, while its winter temperature is lower than that
of Finland. Through the influence of the drought and heat
all vegetation is destroyed by the end of the summer in the
interior, but the rivers and shores of the Caspian are bordered
with luxuriant growth of rushes.

The Ural or " Yaik " Cossacks were among the most thor-
oughly organized of the independent frontiersmen of Russia,
and long resisted incorporation into the empire. They are
largely colonists of Raskolniks from Northern Russia who
came here in search of civil and religious freedom, and are

Digitized by VjOOQIC


still among the best representatives of the Great Russian
family, and their local communal organization is still largely
respected by the government. They are principally engaged
in fisheries along the Ural from Orenburg to the Caspian Sea.
In 1897 the product of their fisheries amounted to $1,600,000,
28,925 men having been employed in the business, beside 7,462
other workmen, and 6,170 boats. The fisheries are carried on
by the communities as a body, and the proceeds are divided
up among the villages according to their working units and
their needs. Agriculture is carried on to a limited degree.
They freely exchange their products with the Kirghiz. A
large amount of salt is obtained from the inclosed lakes in the
interior, some of which are at even a lower level than the

1 2 3 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Online LibraryH[enry] Justin RoddyComplete geography → online text (page 5 of 22)