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being gathered in 1897. Of this 310,000 cwt was from
American seed. Silk, also, is produced to the amount of
two or three thousand cwt. annually. 4,314.8 cwt. of grapes
were raised and 3,948.8 cwt. of tobacco, while the total annual
product of the manufactured articles is valued at 3,388,000
rubles, of which cotton amounted to 1,234,005 ruUes.

The educational interests are represented by 2,533 schools
attended by 26,812 boys, and 6,246 girls; in all, 33,058. The
city of Tashkent has also an important museum and library,
and is well supplied with learned societies.

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I. Tobolsk

TOBOLSK occupies the central and northern portions of
the vast basin of the Obi, extending from the fifty-
fifth to the seventy-third parallel of north latitude, and
reaching from the eightieth meridian of east longitude in its
northern portion to the one hundredth in its southern. It is
bounded on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the east by
Tomsk and Yeniseisk, on the south by Akmolinsk and Semi-
palatinsk, on the west by Archangel, Vologda, Perm, and Oren-
burg. The Ural Mountains form its western border from
the Kara Sea down to near the fifty-eighth degree of north
latitude, where they reach their greatest height in peaks of
nearly 6,000 feet. Farther south than this the Urals are in
the provinces of Perm and Orenburg.

Tobolsk has an area of 439,659 square miles, with a popula-
tion in 1898 of 1474,804. Of the total population, about 40,000
are Tartars, 20,000 Ostiaks, 7,000 Samoyedes, and 6,000 Vo-
guls, making about 75,000, the rest being pure Russian ; so that
the province is more characteristically Russian than are those
upCMi the Volga in the European portion of the empire. Of


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the Russian population, 30,000 or 40,000 are exiles living at
large, but under police surveillance, and belonging generally
to the poorest classes; while the Raskolniks, or Noncon-
formists, who came to the country to secure greater religious
freedom, form an unusually large portion of the most prosper-
ous members of the population. They are estimated to number
from 75,000 to 100,000.

In towns there were in Tinmen, 29,620; Tobolsk, 20,058;
Kurgan, 10,384; Tara, 7,267; Ishim, 7,137; Tiukalinsk, 4»04i;
Yelutorovsk, 3,293; Turinsk, 3,133; Surgut, 1,128; and Bere-
zof 1,087.

The recorded births for the year throughout the province
were 74,508, and of deaths 51,087.

The northern part of the province lies upon both sides of
the Gulf of Obi, which extends 550 miles south from the Kara
Sea. The Yalmal Peninsula extends nearly the entire distance
between the Gulf of Obi on the east and the Kara Sea upon
the west. The whole of this area, as well as the remaining
portion as far south as the sixtieth degree of latitude, is tundra,
occupied, so far as it is inhabited at all, except along the Obi
River, by Samoyedes, Ostiaks, and Voguls. The Gulf of Obi
is so clogged with ice the year round that its navigation has
never been practicable; but, very early in the settlement of
Siberia, traders and adventurers established settlements at
Berczof and Obdorsk, the latter being near the mouth of the
river on the Arctic Circle.

The central portion of this vast plain, from about the fifty-
eighth to the sixty-first degree of north latitude, occupying the

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whole intenrcning space between the Irtysh and Obi rivers and
extending ccmsiderably beyond them on either side, is a vast
impenetrable morass covered with quaking bogs and marshes
interspersed with islands of low elevation on which habitaticm
would be possible if there were only any means of access. In
winter the country can be traversed on the frozen soil, but in
the summer it is practically impassable, except by the use of
snowshoes, which serve the same purpose oa the quivering
marshes that they do elsewhere in the proper season of the year
on the snow. At the same time the whde area is largely
covered with immense cedar trees, while larches, firs, pines,
birches, and maples are everywhere found, and the underbrush
is so thick that it cannot be penetrated, except as one slowly
cuts his way before him. The marshes go by the name of
urmans, and many of them have never been penetrated by man.
Those which are accessible have, however, furnished favorite
refuges for nonconformist colonies, who have fn»n time to time
fled from Russia to escape persecution.

The southern portion of Tobolsk, however, possesses some
of the finest agricultural areas of the world, including the
prairies or steppes about the Tobol and Ishim rivers in the
west, and that of the Baraba in the east. About one third ol
the western steppe is covered by forests, mostly along the
streams, while the remainder has all the characteristics of the
black earth belt of European Russia, and is exceedingly fertile,
being indeed cotmted the granary of this portion of Siberia
and Northeastern Russia. The eastern portion, known as the
Baraba Steppe, is, on the other hand, perfectly flat, has few

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rivers, and abounds in lakelets and marshes which have no
outlets, and all of which are reported to be rapidly drying up.
In some cases flourishing villages now occupy areas that
formerly were covered by water. The largest of these lakes,
Lake Chany, has an area of 1,265 square miles.

The forests are chiefly birch, scattered in separate clusters
over the r^on. The drainage is so poor that only a small
portion of the land is at present capable of cultivation; but
what there is, is very productive. Naturally from the prev-
alence of the marshy lands, the whole region is a rtguhr
breeding-place for mosquitoes, which float over the country
in such dense clouds in the summer that they render life misery-
able, and (since the great Russian road passes through it),
have served to give a bad name to the whole country.

Except in the Ural Motmtains no hard rock appears any-
where in the province, the whole area being enveloped in Post-
Pliocene deposits, which extend to the very summit of the
water-parting between the valley of the Obi and the Aral-
Caspian basin.

The climate of Tobolsk is in all parts extreme, ranging from
95** above zero in summer, to 49* below in winter. In the lati-
tude of the southern portion the rivers freeze on November
12, and remain closed until May i ; while at Obdorsk the river
is ice-bound from October 23 to May 31.

The river system affords an intricate and extensive water
communication, the Obi being navigable for 1,300 miles in the
province, while the Irtysh and its numerous branches bring it
into close connection with European Russia. The Irtysh is

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itself navigable within the province for a distance of 760 miles,
the Tobol for nearly 400 miles, and the Tara for an equal
distance. These rivers are open for navigation in the south
for nearly six months. One hundred and fourteen steamers of
5,000 tonnage are plying upon these waters, the first steamer
having been launched in 1845, ^^^ ^^ second in i860.

The jrield of breadstuflFs in Tobolsk in 1897 was winter rye,
2,360,781 cwt. ; winter wheat, 14,750 cwt. ; spring rye, 1,360,904
cwt. ; spring wheat, 8,858,694 cwt. ; oats, 8,640,994 cwt. ; barley,
1,163,606 cwt.; buckwheat, 157418 cwt.; peas, 173,950 cwt.

Of livestock there were altogether 3,047,076 head, of which
the horses numbered 736,233 ; cows, 985,522; sheep, 1,068,218;
hogs, 226,516; goats, 29,595.

The manufactured products were valued at 6,286,552 rubles,
and the trafiic of the year amounted to purchases of 14,147,942
rubles, and sales of 8,252,582.

The educational work is represented by 701 classical schools
of which twenty-three were in Tobolsk, fifty in the provincial
cities, and 628 in the villages, with a total attendance of 23,354.

2. Tomsk

The province of Tomsk lies between the forty-ninth and
sixty-first parallels of north latitude, and ninety-third and one
hundred and eighth meridians of east longitude. It is bounded
on the north by Tobolsk, on the east by Yeniseisk, on the
south by the Chinese province of Kobdo, and on the west by
Semipalatinsk, and Tobolsk, and has an area of 331,159 square
miles, with a population of 1,929,092, giving an average of six

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to the square mile, which is ccmsiderably in excess of any other
Siberian province. Of this total, 970,780 are males, and
958,312 females. Of the towns, each of which is the capital
of a district. Tomsk has 63,861; Barnaul, 29408; Biisk,
17,713; Kainsk, 5,534; Kusnetsk, 3,124; Mariinsk, 8,742.

The southern end of the province includes a portion of the
Altai Mountains, 53,000 square miles of which are within the
Russian dominions — an area three times as large as that of
Switzerland, abounding in scenery of equal interest. These
mountains furnish the headwaters of the Obi River, and have
in the principal summit. Mount Bieluka, and several others,
peaks upwards of 11,000 feet in height. A large number more
are above 8,000 feet in height ; while numerous small glaciers
still remain in the highest portions. The mountain slopes are
covered with forests. The river valleys are beautiful and
fertile. Of the rivers the best known is Bukhtarma, which
flows for 180 miles across the southwestern portion of the
range, emptying into the Irtysh some distance above Semi-
palatinsk. The headwaters of this stream interlock with those
of the Katun, which flows into the Obi at Biisk, and with
those of the Kobdo, which flows southward into Mongolia.
The pass where these three streams unite to the south of
Bieluka, though 9,280 feet high, is one of the few which furnish
communication between Siberia and Mongolia east of Lake
Baikal. Several small lakes are found in the higher elevations,
where Alpine flora and fauna maintain themselves in isolated
positions, being surrounded by dwarf birch, and frequented by
the polar marmot. Lake Teletskoi, forming an enlargement

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in the Biya River though only 1,200 or i,5Clo feet above the
sea, is so surrounded with lofty mountains as to remind one of
Lake Geneva. In general the flora of the Altai is very rich,
since that of the steppes and the mountains here unite. It is
evident, however, that conditions are changfing, since the beech
and some other European trees which at a recent period
abounded, have now entirely disappeared, while the flora of
the steppes is advancing to a higher level upon the motmtain
slopes. Here, also, the reindeer from the north, and the
bactrian camel and the tiger from the south are found in close

The Altai Mountains are bordered by elevated grassy plains
about two hundred mUes wide, extending from the vicinity of
Semipalatinsk to Tomsk. These have an average elevation of
about 1,000 feet, and furnish some of the most excellent farm-
ing land in the world. The southwestern portion is known as
the Kulundinskaia Steppe. That the whole region has been
recently elevated above the sea is evident from the loamy sedi-
ment with which it is covered, and by the imperfection of its
drainage system, there being numbers of parallel lines of long,
narrow lakes running towards the Obi which seem to represent
river valleys which have not been in existence long enough for
the streams to have cut down their channels sufficiently to
secure perfect drainage.

To the north of this higher belt of prairie land there lies
the Baraba Steppe, which is the eastern extension of that
described in Tobolsk, and which stretches nearly the entire
distance from the Irtysh to the Obi River, while farther north

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still lies the boundless and impenetrable marshy district which
covers so much of Tobdsk between the lower parts of these
two streams.

The geology of the district is complicated and interesting.
The Sailughen Mountains, which form the southeastern boun-
dary between Tomsk and Kobdo, consist of granitic rocks
partly covered by remnants of the older sedimentary strata
corresponding in age to the Huronian of Canada. The Altai
Mountains also have a core of granitic rocks partly covered
in a similar manner with sedimentary Huronian strata and
with layers of crystalline limestone, and breccias which are the
product of later volcanic eruption. Silurian and Devonian
slates and limestones abound in the southern portion of the
mountains, furnishing the valuable metalliferous deposits for
which the country is celebrated. Carboniferous limestones and
slates are more extensively found both in the north and the
south, while Jurassic deposits, intersected by dykes of basalt,
occur in the Salair Mountains. All the northern part of the
province, however, as already said, is enveloped with thick
Post-Pliocene sediments like those which cover Southern Rus-
sia and those of the prairie r^on of the Mississippi Valley.

The province is watered by the Obi and its branches. These
branches are navigable throughout almost their entire length ;
a line of steamers from Tiumen and Tobolsk forming an easy
communication with Tomsk, which is on the main east-and-west
line of the old military road, and but a short distance from the
points on both the Obi and the Tom River where the railroad
now crosses them. The main channel of the Obi is navigable

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several hundred miles above the intersection of the railroad to
Biisk, passing through Barnaul on the way ; while the Tom is/
navigable to Kusnetsk; and the Chulym for a still greater
distance to Povoselovskoe, near which it approaches to within
a few miles of the Yenisei River, between Krasnoyarsk and
Minusinsk. It is in the province of Tansk, also, that the Ket
River reaches die Obi, and furnishes the navigable approach
to the short canal already spoken of leading to the headwaters
of the Kas, through which boats pass into the Yenisei.

The climate of Tomsk, like that of all the other provinces,
is severe, but by no means as severe as in some. The average
rainfall in the southern part is 15.71 inches, and in the
northern part 10.92 inches. The average yearly temperature
at Tomsk is 32* F., with extremes ranging from 95** to
—67**. The rivers remain frozen from November 12 to May i.
Grain ripens upon the flanks of the Altai Mountains up to a
height of 4,000 feet.

In 1897 there were harvested 9,763,734 bushels of wmter
wheat, 18,912,114 spring wheat, 7496,652 rye, 23,331,510 oats,
3,188,388 barley, 505,146 buckwheat; other grains 2,907,108;
and of potatoes, 5,962,050.

Of livestock there were 1,776,024 horses, 1,791,086 homed
cattle, 83,697 fine wool sheep, 2,291,842 coarse wool sheep,
148,674 goats, 427,941 swine, 495 camels, 1,338 buffaloes, but
only three mules, two of which honor Kainsk with their pres-
ence, and one Tomsk. The buffaloes and camels are all in
Biisk. Bee-keeping, also, assumes unusual proportions, there

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being in Barnaul no less than 180,000 colonies or swarms ; in
Kusnetsk, 90,000.

The products of their shops, mills, and factories were valued
at 5,071,824 rubles, which were turned out by 855 establish-
ments, employing 3,609 laborers.

From the mines the annual yield of gold has been as high as
$1,800,000; while that of silver has been 435440 ounces, and
of copper, 7,051 cwt., and of salt 360,652 cwt.

The trade of the province is mainly carried on through sixty-
four Fairs, lasting from one to two weeks each, in as many
different cities and villages. At these the sales are estimated
at between 6,000,000 and 7,000,000 rubles.

The educational interests are led by the University of Tomsk,
which had in 1897 an attendance of 383, but has been much
increased since. The total number of schools of lower grade
was 1,571, with an attendance of 34,333 boys, and 10,952 girls;
45,285 in alL

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I. Irkutsk

IRKUTSK lies between the fifty-first and sixty-second de-
grees of north latitude, and is bounded on the north
by Yakutsk, on the cast by Transbaikalia, from which it
is separated by Lake Baikal, on the south by Mongolia, and
on the west by Yeniseisk. It has an area of 287,061 square
miles, with a population of 506,517, of whom 267,520 are males,
and 238,997 females. The population of the towns, each of
which is a capital of a district, is: Irkutsk, 51484; Balagansk,
1,283 ; Verkholensk, 1,275 ; Kirensk, 2,798 ; Nijni Udinsk, 5,696.
Of the total population 100,000 belong to the native tribes,
mostly Buriats.

The southwestern portion of the province, bordering the
East Sayan range, is mountainous and similar in character to
the southeastern portion of Yeniseisk, which adjoins it. The
Sayan Mountains reach to an elevation of from 6,000 to 8,000
feet, the highest peak, Mungu Sarduik, being across the Mon-
golian border. Other mountain masses of vast extent in the
southern portion are the Tunkinsk Byelki, the Chinese Goltzu
and the Khara Murin, all near the Mongolian border, the last


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forming the southern boundary of Lake Baikal. These moun-
tain masses are intersected by broad, deep, but fertile channels
of erosion, occupied by the Irkut, the Kytok, and the Urik
rivers. Besides these mountains there is a continuous chain on
the west side of Lake Baikal which nowhere much exceeds
3,000 feet, but forms the watershed between the lake and the
upper portion of the Lena River.

Geologically the mountains consist chiefly of crystalline
rocks which contain in the western porticm extensive deposits
of gold-bearing gravels; while iron is found in considerable
quantities in many portions, and graphite in some. There is
also a wide distribution of eruptive rocks in the province, in-
cluding basalt, obsidian, and pumice. The central portions of
the province are covered with sedimentary deposits of a later
age, mostly of Jurassic and Tertiary strata ; the Jurassic con-
taining wide-spread and extensive deposits of lignite, which
may eventually prove to be of great value. The central and
lower port of the Angara River, however, passes through broad
areas of Silurian and Devonian rock.

The climate of the province of Irkutsk is extreme, though
it is modified to some extent by its proximity to the great body
of water in Lake Baikal, but the thermaneter ranges from
104*" in July to — 58** in January, with an average in those
months of 68^ in July and —4** in January. The average
rainfall is eleven indies, mainly falling in the month of

The city of Irkutsk is the residence of the Governor-General.
It is 3,780 miles from St. Petersburg, and 1,640 from Vladi-

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vostok over the direct line of the Chinese Eastern Railroad
through Manchuria. As all the traffic between the east and
the west, and that from the Lena Valley must pass through
the city, it is naturally a place of great commercial importance.
It is picturesquely situated at the junction of the Irkut River
with the Angara, about forty miles below Lake Baikal. It
contains a cathedral, twenty-three Orthodox churches, a well-
equipped gymnasium, a school of medicine, the large museum
already referred to, a splendid opera house, an orphan asylum,
an infirmary, and town and military hospitals, and has long
been a center of much social life and intellectual activity.

The agricultural interests of the province, however, are
comparatively unimportant, though, by the last attainable sta-
tistics, 844,714 acres were sown to cereals, which, at an average
of fifteen bushels to the acre, would yield 12,670,710 bushels.

Of livestock there were 264,856 horses, 335,549 homed cattle,
365*379 sheep, 85,862 swine, 48,045 goats, 773 deer.

The manufactured products were in 1896 valued in all at
2,810439 rubles, coming from 135 establishments. Of this
sum, the distilleries produced 633,792 rubles' worth, the tan-
neries, 399450, the breweries 77yJ77, the flour mills 281,782,
the salt works 133,093, the iron foundries 306,022, porcelain
works 138452, glass works, 81,188, phosphorus matches, 16,844,
mechanical mechinery, 52,059, typo-lithographical and book-
binding works 52,553, furriers 64,100, confectioneries and
bakeries 89,568, cloth factories 51,844, paper mills 35,000, and
carriage makers 20,000.

Public educaticm in the province is represented by 412 clas-

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Opera House at Irkutsk.

Museum at Irkutsk.

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sical schools, with 13,755 pupils, of whom 9421 are boys, and
4,334 girls. Of the grammar schoob 162 are public, 108 church

2. Transbaikalia

Transbaikalia lies between the forty-ninth and fifty-seventh
parallels of north latitude, and one hundred and fifth and one
hundred and twenty-fourth meridians east longitude. It is
bounded on the north by Yakutsk, on the east by Amur, on
the south by Mongolia, and the west by Irkutsk, and has an
area of 236,868 square miles, with a population of 664,071, of
whom 338,722 are males, 325,349 females. Of the population
about 150,000 are Buriats, besides a few thousand Tunguses.
The rest are Russians, many of whom are descended from colo-
nists who settled in the country in the seventeenth century. To
scwne extent these early colonists intermarried with the natives
but, for the most part, they have preserved their purity of blood
and national characteristics to a remarkable degree. This is
especially the case with the large number of Nonconformists,
who here found the desired freedom for the development of
their religious and family institutions. The Russians on the
Chinese border form a separate Cossack organization. Accord-
ing to Kropotkin,

"The valleys of the Uda, the Lower Selenga, and especially the
Chikoi and the Khilok have been occupied since the beginning of the
[igth] century by Raskolniks, who have received the name of Semeis-
kiye on account of their large (compound) families, and there one
finds, in a condition of prosperity such as is unknown in Russia proper,
some of the finest representatives of the Russian race."

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The central part of the province is occupied by the Vitim
Plateau, which consists mainly of Archaean rocks rising to a
general elevation of about 5,000 feet, but descending towards
the east to the Daurian Plateau, at a level of about 2,500
feet, which is that of the region of the upper tributaries of
the Amur River. There are large areas of granite both on Ae
western side of the Vitim Plateau and in the eastern portion
of the Daurian Rateau. The streams running from the Vitim
Plateau into Lake Baikal all occupy deep valleys of erosion,
and furnish a gradual ascent for roads, together with a large
amount of arable land. Iron has been found and long worked
at Petrovsk, on a branch of the Khilok River, through which
the Siberian Railroad passes, about one hundred miles south-
east of Verkhni Udinsk. The eastern part of the province,
in the vicinity of Nerchinsk, has long been famous for its
silver mines; while in later times gold has been extensively
obtained from placer mines in the basins of the Shilka, Upper
Vitim, and in the river valleys leading into the Selenga.

It should be noted, also, that nearly all of these valleys on
the western slope of the Vitim Plateau have been partially filled
with Tertiary sediment, and are all of them lined with broad
Post-Tertiary alluvial deposits; while in the Daurian Plateau
there is a great extension of Post-Tertiary alluvium along Ae
middle course of the Onon River and about Lake Taremskia,
which occupies a large basin which is rapidly drying up.
Formerly this lake emptied into the Onon, but it now has no
outlet, but is a mere remnant of the large expanse of water

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which filled the basin when the precipitation was larger dian

In 1897 the agricultural products were, of rye and spring
wheat, 5,961,834 bushels; millet, 1,320,698; oats, 1,865,016;
barley, 546,990; buckwheat, 694,680; potatoes, 1,138,932;
amounting in all to 11,528,150 bushels.

The total number of domestic animals of all kinds was, in
1898, 3,022,521. The products of factories and mills were
valued at 6,029,997 rubles. The mines yielded annually $3,-
000,000 worth of gold, and 35,000 ounces of silver. The total
amount of imports was 3,685,718 rubles; exports 2,037,871, of

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Online LibraryH[enry] Justin RoddyComplete geography → online text (page 7 of 22)