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which 2,912,560 of the imports and 1,645,116 of the exports
passed through Verkhni Udinsk, 141 1457 coming from China
and Mongolia, by way of Kiakhta.

Educational interests are represented by four middle schools
with 818 pupils, 417 of whom were girls; fifteen schools of
third grade (of which eleven were for boys), with an attend-
ance of 1,386; 290 of primary grade, with an attendance of
10,639.

3. Yakutsk

Yakutsk is included between the fifty-fourth and seveAty-
third degrees of north latitude, and the one hundred and fifth
and one hundred and ninetieth degrees of east longitude.
It is bounded on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the
east by the Maritime Provinces, on the south by Transbaikalia
and Amur, and on the west by Irkutsk and Yeniseisk, and has



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394 ASIATIC RUSSIA

an area of 1,533,397 square miles, which is nearly one third of
Siberia, and almost one fifth of the entire Russian Empire. Its
population, however, is but 261,731 (males 136,061, females,
125,670), or about one to every five square miles. Its towns are
all small, Yakutsk having 6,382, Verkhoyansk 353, Biloisk 627,
Kolimsk 500, Olekminsk 1,157. The population consists mostly
of Yakuts and Yukagirs in the central and northern portions,
and of Tunguses in the south. Many of the early Russian
settlers, also, intermarried with the natives ; so that there are
many half-breeds in the Russian settlements ; while a consider-
able number of the Skoptsy have been banished to the province,
where their communities are models of thrift and cleanliness.
The southern part of Yakutsk extends to the sources of the
Olekma and Aldan rivers on the summit of the Yablonoi range,
and is separated from Transbaikalia and Irkutsk by the Vitim
River, occupying the northern portion of the Vitim plateau,
where are to be found the richest gold mines in Siberia. Aside
from the mining population, this region is inhabited by only a
few Tungus hunters, who wander about over the vast swampy
stretches of country which characterize the high plateau.
Much of the country is yet unexplored. It is, however, known
to be covered with dense forests. The prevailing rocks are
granites and gneisses, bordered by Huronian and Laurentian
crystalline slates, which in turn are covered by extensive de-
posits of Silurian and Devonian sandstone ; while farther to the
north Carboniferous, Cretaceous, and Jurassic formations are
extensively exposed, coal being found near the mouth of the
Viliui and on the Lower Lena.



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Yakut Family.



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EASTERN SIBERIA 395

The northern portion is practically a vast plateau gradually
descending from an elevation of about 2,000 feet to the sea-
level, but it is intersected by innumerable gorges worn by the
rivers and by various low mountain tracts, which, with the dense
forests and severe climatic conditions, render it almost in-
accessible, except along the line of the few navigable streams.
East of the lower part of the Lena River, however, the Verk-
hoyanskii Mountains in a semicircular course opening to the
northeast separate the Lena from the valley of the Yana ; while
lower ranges, principally in a north-and-south direction, sepa-
rate the valley of the Yana f rcwn that of the Indigirka and others
in succession, the valley of the Indigirka from the Kolyma, and
the Kolyma from the Omolon. The entire eastern border is
formed by the Yablonoi and Stanovoi Mountains, which every-
where approach within a short distance of the Sea of Okhotsk,
and form an effectual barrier to free communication with its
scanty harbors.

The climate has the pre-emmence of being the severest of
the world, Verkhoyansk being the coldest place, and Yakutsk
the place where the range of temperature is the greatest. At
Verkhoyansk the thermometer ranges from 90'' below zero to
93** above; while in Yakutsk the range is from 84* below to
102** above, making a total range of 186 d^^rees. The mean
January temperature at Yakutsk is — ^46, and the mean July
+66. The river freezes at Yakutsk October 20, and remains
closed for 215 days ; whilbVhV-Yana at Ust Jansk is frozen 260
days. The soil of the region is frozen to a depth of 600 feet,
having at the depfli of 382 feet a temperature of 26 4-10* F.



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396 ASIATIC RUSSIA

The precipitation at Ylakutsk is only 7 9-10 inches; while the
number of cloudy days in the year is no.

Notwithstanding the severity of the climate, the growth of
vegetation is so rapid in the short summer that various crops
are successfully cultivated. According to the report for 1896,
there were raised in that year 612,888 bushels of breadstuffs,
594,048 bushels of potatoes; and there were cut 3,127431 tons
of hay.

Of livestock there were 113,323 horses, 288,355 homed cattle,
267 sheep, 55 hogs, 14,015 reindeer, 2,582 sledge dogs.

The fisheries yielded 4,000 cwt. of salt fish.

The products of hunting were, of skins of the common fox,
3,019; sable, 153; Arctic fox, 4,021 ; bear, 186; elk, 479; wolf,
41; deer and goats, 7,702; squirrels, 118,547; ermine, 10,237;
hare, 36,900; the total value of which was 71,638 rubles.

The annual yield of the gold mines is $7,000,000.

There are 67 schools, with 1,507 pupils (1,191 males, 316
females).

4. Yeniseisk

Yeniseisk lies between the fifty-second and seventy-seventh
degrees of north latitude, occupying nearly the entire basin
of the Yenisei River. It is bounded on the north by the Arctic
Ocean, on the east by Yakutsk and Irkutsk, on the south by
Mongolia, and on the west by Tobolsk and Tomsk, and has
an area of 987,186 square miles, with a population of 559,902,
of whom 291,555 are males, and 268,347 females. Of its cities,
each of which is capital of a district of the same name, Kras-



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EASTERN SIBERIA 397

noyarsk has 26,600 inhabitants; Yeniseisk, 11,539; Kansk,
7,504; Achinsk, 6,714; Minusinsk, 10,255, 8"*^ Turukhansk,
200.

Extending, as the province does, from the West Sayan Moun-
tains, on the borders of Mongolia (which rise to a pretty uni-
form height of 7,000 to 8,000 feet), to the Arctic Ocean, four-
teen degrees beyond the polar circle, it presents a great range
of physical conditions. Throughout most of their length the
Sa3ran Mountains are bordered by a forest-covered broken
mountainous district extending outwards one hundred miles
or more, which is very difficult of access, and is inhabited by a
small remnant of a Tungus tribe, who get a precarious living
by hunting. Socm after the Yenisei River emerges from the
precipitous gorge which it has cut for itself across the Sayan
Mountains in working its way down from the Mongolian
plateau, it enters the broad and fertile alluvial plains of Minus-
insk, where the Abakan and Tuba rivers join it from opposite
directions. This circular plain is one hundred miles, or more,
in diameter, and, being completely encompassed by mountains,
possesses climatic conditions diflFerent from those in any other
portion of Siberia, and is fairly comparable to Italy. Here, also,
as elsewhere remarked, large numbers of trees and plants
flourish which are peculiar to the region.

Upon the east of this "oasis," a northwest-and-southeast
projection of the same mountains, rising to a height of from
4,000 to 6,000 feet, separates the headwaters of the Kan from
those of the Tuba. These mountains contain a vast amount
of gold-bearing gravel, which, though rather low in grade.



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398 ASIATIC RUSSIA

has been very profitably worked by reason of the proximity
of the fertile Minusinsk plains, which, by furnishing cheap
food, diminishes the cost of production, so as to leave a fair
margin of profit. At the same time, the demand created by
the presence of a large mining population, has insured a good
home market for the agricultural products, and so promoted a
remarkable d^^ee of prosperity. In addition to this, the
Yenisei River furnishes a ready means for the transportation
of agricultural products to Krasnoyarsk, where the markets
have always been important by reason of the constant tide of
emigrants and others travelers who cross the river at that point
on their way between the east and the west. Large markets
are also accessible farther down the river, where miners and
hunters make their headquarters in districts too far north to
obtain a local supply of breadstufFs.

On the west the district of Minusinsk is bordered by a low
northwest-and-southeast range of mountains, which, for nearly
two hundred miles, forms the watershed between the Chulym
and Tc«n rivers in the Obi basin, and whidi does not wholly
disappear until reaching the vicinity of Tomsk. About half
way, however, a branch puts off to the right which follows
pretty closely the west bank of the Yenisei River to Krasnoy-
arsk and one hundred miles farther north. For nearly one
hundred miles of this distance the Chulym is separated from
the Yenisei by tiiis mountain range by a distance of only a few
miles. A short distance above Krasnoyarsk the spurs of this
range interlock with those which we have already described



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EASTERN SIBERIA 399

Upon the eastern side, and the nver has cut its way through by
a series of picturesque and most impressive gorges.

Bdow Krasnoyarsk, on the east side of the Yenisei River,
there is a large and fertile agricultural region watered by the
Kan, a tributary of the Yenisei, the Usolka, and the Tasneba
which after uniting, empty into the Angara a short distance
above its junction with the Yenisei.

Below the mouth of the Angara, upon the eastern side of
the Yenisei, is a low complex of mountains nowhere rising
above 3,000 feet, and covering many himdred square miles,
which is rich in gold-bearing gravel, and has been the means
of building up the enterprising city of Yeniseisk, its natural
market town.

Farther north there are no economical interests except such
as are connected with hunting, fishing, and, in the central por-
tion, forests. From the first, himting has been the prominent
industry, while th** fisheries and the forests remain yet to yield
their vast products for the supply of the world's need.

The tundras of the far north extending from the head of
the Gulf of Taz, on the Arctic Circle, to the Piasina River, are
inhabited by the Samoyedes ; while the great Taimur Peninsula
is roamed over by bands of Tunguses, and the central portion
of the province is occupied by Ostiaks, the Russian population
being limited to the vicinity of the river and to the basin of
the Angara, together with a broad belt extending westward
from Krasnoyarsk towards Tomsk.

Geolc^cally the border ridge of the Mongolian plateau is



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400 ASIATIC RUSSIA

composed of granitic rocks ; while the belt of irregular moun-
tains projecting to the northward is largely composed of gneiss
and crystalline slates, the latter gold-bearing. These are, how-
ever, intersected by numerous dykes of eruptive material and
veins of quartz. The broad plains consist of Silurian, Devo-
nian, Gtrboniferous, and Triassic rocks, in which sandstones
and limestones predominate. The Triassic period is represented
by extensive fresh-water deposits, occasionally containing lig-
nite and coal. Cretaceous and Tertiary deposits are fotmd
farther north.

The great geological changes which have taken place in
recent times in the north are attested by the thousands of mam-
moths and rhinoceroses, whose remains are buried in the super-
ficial deposits; in some cases the carcasses of the mammoth
being found entire and undecayed. Elsewhere reference has
been made to the facts reported recently by Stadling
from near the northern boundary between Yeniseisk and
Yakutsk, where far in the interior he found driftwood
and remnants of the mammoth in a stratum of soil four
to seven feet thick resting on pure ice of unknown thickness,
which played the part of rock. The frozen condition of this
region, therefore, preceded the advent of the mammoth, and
from the character of the food found in his stomach (consist-
ing of the twigs of trees such as now occupy the region) and
of his woolly covering, the period of cold would seem both
to have accompanied and outlasted his career. His extinction
is probably connected with climatic changes which we have else-



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EASTERN SIBERIA 401

where discussed in the general chapter upon the Geology of
Siberia.

According to the census of 1897, the agricultural products
of the province of Yeniseisk amounted to 16,355,841 bushels
of grain, (of which Minusinsk should be credited with 6443,-
472 bushels, or considerably more that one third) and 2,393,850
bushels potatoes, (of which Minusinsk also produced about
one third).

Of livestock there were 460,306 horses, 418,855 homed cattle,
657,716 sheep, 113,582 swine, 18,750 goats, 27,500 reindeer,
51,953 hives of bees, producing 2,784 cwt. of honey, 537 cwt.
of wax.

The annual product of gold has been as high as $3,500,000

The products of the forest were valued at 133,750 rubles,
and of the fisheries at 90,135.

The manufactured products had a total value of 2,784,500
rubles, of which 1,590,896 were distilled liquors, 279,325 brick,
^90,330 cast-iron products, 192,000 ptunps, 129,655 tanned
goods, 73,627 beet sugar, 72,262 products of tallow, 49,070
salt, 30,000 glass, 19,090 fine flour, 18,000 carriages, 16,015
products of oil, 15,000 wax, 10,600 rope, and 9,070 pottery.

The trade as carried on at nineteen fairs amounted to 650,289
rubles.

Educational interests are represented by 243 schools, with
an attendance of 6,565 boys, 3,294 girls, making a total of
9,859. About one half of these are public, and the other half
church schools.



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402 ASIATIC RUSSIA

But the higher interests of education are excellently served
at Minusinsk, Krasnoyarsk, and Yeniseisk by public museums
of great interest and value, that of Krasnoyarsk containing
12,509 specimens carefully classified, arranged, and catalogued,
of which 559 relate to domestic economy, 6,791 to natural his-
tory, 791 to ethnology and anthropology, 2,843 archaeology, 444
to manufactures, 1,081 to numismatics. The museum at Minus-
insk, occupying a brick building which is the best and most
conspicuous in town, contains no less than 47,808 specimens, of
which 16,796 relate to natural history, 1,746 to anthropology,
11,859 to archaeology (illustrating more fully than anywhere
else the transition from the stone, through the bronze, to the
iron age), 967 to metallurgy, 2,048 to manufactures, 2,653 *^
household economy, 8,097 to education, 1,632 to pedagogics,
i»754 to numismatics, and 256 to laboratory methods. During
the current year 2,007 specimens were added. In the year 1900
a building for the library was erected as a companion to the
museum. The library already contained 14438 volumes, and
18400 pamphlets. There were added in 1900 744 volumes.
The Yeniseisk musetun contains 15,930 specimens, of which
1,177 were added the current year.



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XXI

AMUR REGION
I. Amur

AMUR lies between the forty-seventh and fifty-sixth par-
allels of north latitude, and the one hundred and
twenty-sixth and one hundred and thirty-fifth meridi-
ans of east longitude. It is bounded on the north by Yakutsk
and Maritime Province, on the east by Maritime Province, on
the south by Manchuria, and on the west by Manchuria and
Transbaikalia. It has an area ofi72,848 square miles, and a
population of 118,570, of whom 66,595 are males, and 51,975
females, 32,606 being in the single city of Blagovestchensk.
The province is bordered upon its entire southern portion by
the Amur River, along which most of the European population
is scattered, but extensive gold placer mines are worked in the
upper portion of the Zeya, which is navigable for three hundred
or four hundred miles. Nearly all the central and western por-
tions of the country are mountainous and inaccessible. For
two hundred or three hundred miles along the Amur River it
has been impracticable to build a carriage road; so that be-
tween periods of navigation and the time when the ice is solid

403



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404 ASIATIC RUSSIA

enough to serve as a road bed, communication can be kept open
only on horseback.

Above Blagovestchensk the valley of the river is narrow, and
the area fit for cultivation is very limited. The population
along this entire distance of six hundred or seven hundred miles
consists principally of colonies which have been stationed by
the government to provide horses for the traffic upon the river
during the winter. Below the mouth of the Zeya the river flows
through a broad and fertile plain, the principal drawback to
the country being that the maximum rainfall occurs in July
and August, too late in the season to be of best service to the
crops, the total rainfall in the summer being upwards of eleven
inches.

This province became a part of Russian territory by the
treaty of Aigun in 1858, at which time there were a small
number of Chinese, largely exiles, living within the terri-
tory, cultivating the fertile soil, on the north bank of the
Amur below the Zeya River. These were allowed to remain,
and to continue under the control of the Chinese laws. By
the close of the century they had increased to about 30,000
in number, and were prospering in a marked degree, being the
main dependence of the Russians for their local supplies of
vegetables. As a result of the unfortunate attempt of the
Chinese, in July, 1900, to capture and destroy Blagovestchensk
and the Russian villages along the river, these Chinese villages
were all burned and the inhabitants expelled.

The Amur, Zeya, and Bureya rivers furnish ready communi-
cation, by means of boats during the summer season, and of



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AMUR REGION 405

sledges in the winter. As the population has been so largely
employed in mining and transportation, agriculture has not
received so much attention as in other portions of the empire.
Nevertheless, the annual products have attained respectable
proportions ; the total amount of all kinds of produce harvested,
according to the last report, being 1,308,710 cwt. of which
512453 cwt. were oats, 504436 cwt wheat, 55,664 cwt. buck-
wheat, 20,088 cwt. barley, 53,020 cwt. other grains ; and 163,-
047.6 cwt. of potatoes.

Of livestock there were 49,100 horses, 44,577 homed cattle,
14,007 swine, 5,825 sheep, 506 camels, 40 goats, 30 mules.

The products of the chase were valued at 125,502 rubles; of
the fisheries, 1 13,399 > ^^ ^^ forests, 300,000 ; of the gold mines,
7,500,000; of the shops and factories, 1,031,554; of which 135,-
000 were distilled liquors ; 75,500, beer ; 455,149, flour ; 151,708,
leather; 63,000, brick. The trade of the year amounted to
6,832,719 rubles, of which 4,293,538 was Russian, and 2,539,181
foreign. Of the trade of Blagovestdiensk, 3,279,668 rubles was
Russian, and 1,301,101, foreign, 2,148,760 was with Trans-
baikalia, which evidently supplied a good share of their bread-
stuffs.

Educational interests were represented by 73 classical schools
of all grades, with a total attendance of 4,595, of whom 3,356
were males, and 1,239 females. But Blagovestchensk already
has a well-equipped opera house, in which the best classical
musical works are rendered, a museum and a rapidly growing
public library.



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4o6 ASIATIC RUSSIA

2. Maridme Province

This includes a strip of territory between the forty-second
and seventieth degrees of latitude, extending from Korea to
the Arctic Ocean, inclusive of Kamchatka, and measuring 2,300
miles long with a breadth varying from 40 to 420 miles. It
has an area of 715,982 square miles, with a population of
220,557, of whom 150,826 are males, and 69,731 females, the
great disparity in sexes being largely due to the predominance
of the military forces, and of prisoners in the island of Sakhalin.
Of the cities, Vladivostok had in 1897, 28,933, of whom 24,433
were males, and 4,500 females, 12,000 of the population being
soldiers, and 12,577 Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans, of whom
11,621 were males, and 956 females.

From these statistics the youth and rapid growth of the city
may be inferred. The harbor being one of the most commo-
dious and beautiful in the world, much resembling that of San
Francisco, and it being so far south that it can readily be kept
open by ice-breakers in winter, it is destined to be the great
military fortress of Russia upon the Pacific coast. Hence its
growth has been rapid, and has been so marked since the census
of 1897, that that gives a poor representation of its present
position. To say that it was likely to double in population
once in ten years for some time to come, would probably be
below the mark. Extensive government works for making and
repairing ships, and large dry docks, insure the presence of a
large population; while the agricultural resources of the sur-
rounding country are great, and it will always continue to be
the natural outlet for the products of Western Siberia, espe-



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AMUR REGION 407

dally now that the Chinese Eastern railroad is completed,
giving a direct connection with Transbaikalia, while the Usuri
railroad, draws to it the traffic of the rapidly developing Usuri
Valley, and diverts to its more genial port the vast traffic of
the Amur River.

Nikolsk-Usuri, at the junction of the Chinese Eastern rail-
road with the line from Khabarovsk, is also a city of recent
and rapid growth, containing already in 1900 a population of
10,000 or 12,000, but not likely to continue at any such rate
as its neighboring seaport town is sure to do.

Khabarovsk, the capital of the province, situated upon a pic-
turesque promontory at the junction of the Usuri and Amur
rivers, has had a longer growth, having been founded imme-
diately on the passage of the territory under Russian rule, in
1858; its present population being 14,933, of whom nearly
one half are military. The museum of the National Geograph-
ical Society is large and of great value.

The other towns of the province are insignificant ; Petropav-
losk in Kamchatka having but 394, and Okhotsk but 197.

The native population consists of Tungfuses and Mongols
stretching all along the seashore from Vladivostok to the
vicinity of Kamchatka, except that at the mouth of the Amur,
and upon the northern end of Sakhalin, there are a small num-
ber of Ghilaks, and on the south end of Sakhalin some Ainos;
while Kamchatka is occupied in the southern half by Kam-
chadales, and the northern half by Koriaks, and the rest of
the coast as far as Bering Strait by Chukches.

The northern part of this region, ever since the Russian oc-



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4o8 ASIATIC RUSSIA

cupation, has been the paradise of hunters, supplying the world
with tjie best and most highly appreciated furs ; but so vigor-
ously has the game been pursued, that some species have been
entirely exterminated, while all are greatly diminished in
numbers. The blue fox and the black sable have been exter-
minated, the whale that formerly drew hundreds of American
vessels into the region, has almost disappeared. The sea otter,
formerly so numerous on Bering Island, is nearly extinct, as
is also the sea lion (Otaria stelleri) ; while the sea cow (Rhytina
stelleri) has entirely disappeared, but the sea bear {Otaria uris-
ina) has been partially domesticated, and furnishes an increas-
ing supply of skins. The Chukches in the interior keep vast
numbers of reindeer, there sometimes being as many as 10,000
in a herd. The Koriaks of the interior, also, keep large herds
of reindeer, but all the natives upon the coast have deteriorated
greatly by contact with foreigners.

The middle portion of the province consists of a narrow
strip bordering the Sea of Okhotsk from Kamchatka to the
river Ud, which enters the southwestern comer of the sea. A
large share of this strip is only from forty to sixty miles wide,
and is crowded in between the sea and the Stanovoi Mountains,
which rise to a height of 6,000 or 7,000 feet. The steep incline,
the innumerable narrow channels occupied by mountain streams
gorged with water throughout the spring by the melting snow,
and the dense forests of larch which cover the lower portion,
render the country almost inaccessible; while the harbors of
Okhotsk and Udinsk are so poor and inaccessible that they
have drawn but little trade from the valley of the Aldan and <



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Online LibraryH[enry] Justin RoddyComplete geography → online text (page 8 of 22)