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Full text of "Siberia and the Great Siberian Railway : with a general map"

UC-NRLF 



I B H S7D E^^ 



?i^ 




THE 

INDUSTRIES OF RUSSIA 




SIBERIA 

AND 

THE GREAT SIBERIAN RAILWAY 

WITH A GENERAL MAP 

BY THE 
Department of Trade and Manufactures Ministry of Finance 

FOB THE 

WORLD'S COLUMBIAN" EXPOSITIOJT 



CHICAGO 

EDITOR OF THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION 

JOHN MARTIN CRAWFORD 

U S CONSUL GENERAL TO RUSSIA. 

Vol V 

ST yETERSBUlU; 

1893 




Published by the Department of Trade and Manufactures Imperial Ministry of Finance. 



^: 



/ 



Printers E. A. Evdokimov, Great Italianskaia 11. 



PREFACE . Ill 



PREFACE. 

The beginning of the construction of the Great Siberian Rail- 
way, which will unite the most distant points of Europe and Asia 
and will draw the Old World nearer to the New, practically coincides 
with the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of 
America. 

The accomplishment of this magnificent and historic task has 
fallen to the lot of Russia. Notwithstanding the enormity of the ma- 
terial expenses, Russia has cheerfully and earnestly accepted the 
undertaking, one of the most important in the history of peaceful 
acquisition, of knowledge and ot labour. 

The Great Siberian Railway will benefit not only Russia, it 
will do great service to the material and spiritual cuhivation of hu- 
manity, and from this point of view will acquire much importance 
and interest for the whole civilized world. Following this idea, Mr. 
S. J. Mtte, Minister of Finance, commissioned the Department of 
Trade and Manufactures, to prepare for the World's Columbian Ex- 
position at Chicago a description of this great railroad, and also of 
Siberia, a land little known to the people outside of the. Empire. 

The present volume therefore contains a history of the occupation 
and colonization of this extensive territory, its geographical description, 
the review of its industry and trade, the description of its land and water 
communications, and finally the history and contemporary state oi 
the questions concerning the construction of the Great Siberian 



iv;270858 



lY SIBERIA. 

Railway. In order to explain more clearly the geography of the 
land, this work is furnished with a map of the Russian Empire 
showing the general network of Russian railways, together with the 
Great Siberian Railway as well as the principal deposits of the noble 
metals, with which the country is richly provided. 

The present edition has been accomplished under the direction 
of Mr. V. I. Kovalevsky, Director of the Department of Trade and 
Manufactures, and President of the Imperial Russian Commission for the 
World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago, together with the active 
assistance of Senator P. P. Semenov, Vice-President of the Imperial 
Russian Geographical Society, a man well known to the civilized 
world through his geographical works. This volume is being simul- 
taneously translated into the English language with the kind assistance 
of the Consul-General of the United States, Mr. J. M.Crawford, who 
consented at the request of the Imperial Ministry of Finance to 
supervise and edit the English translation of this work. 



-^s^^- 



PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION. 



PREFACE 

TO THE 

ENGLISH TRANSLATION. 

Of that great expanse of territory reaching all the way from 
the Ural mountains to the Pacific Ocean and from the Frozen seas 
to the borders of the CelesticU Empire there is perhaps little more 
than the name, Siberia, authentically known to the general public. 
Yet with its wide-stretching plains, its magnificent water systems and 
its unknown wealth of noble metals and other valuable mineral de- 
posits buried in its bosom, there is for such a land a tuture too 
great to be overlooked at the present day. 

With the steel rails of the Great Siberian Railway piercing 
their steady way through the vast country to the Far East, thus 
completing the great arc of the circle that in direct lines, winding 
about the 30th parallel of north latitude, will steam around the 
world, the resources of this great unknown become of immediate 
importance to our own Pacific slopes, and through them to the 
whole people of the United States. It was therefore with great 
satisfaction that I welcomed this the 5th volume of the series on 
The Industries of Russia, designed for the World's Columbian 
Exposition, and accepted the invitation of the Imperial Minister 



VI 



PKEFACE TO THE ENGLISH TRAXSLATIOX. 



of Finance to edit and supervise its translation into English. In lull 
realization of its unquestionable interest and value to the Amer- 
ican people I have laboured hard to make this Edition as faithful 
to the original as the very limited time and exigencies of the case 
would permit. 

Together with an historical account of the conquest of Siberia, 
of the subjugation of the petty princedoms and nomads, with a 
glimpse of the colonization going on up to the present day, and 
with a review of the efforts of the Government to induce the various 
Siberian tribes to adopt settled modes of life and engage in regular 
industrial pursuits, will be found a full and scientific resume of its 
flora and fauna, of its mineral resources, its possibilities of agriculture 
and trade, and of its climatic and physical characteristics. 

This work contains also numerous official tables and statistics 
covering the several industries of the country, and is accompanied 
with a general map, showing among other matters of interest the 
various railway surveys that have been made, examined and rejected, 
as well as the line which now, in process of construction, winds its 
way along the rivers, over the mountains and across the vast plains 
on its way to the eastern shores, thus to form a through railway 
route from ocean to ocean in the Old as in the New \\^orld, to the 
mutual advantage of the two great and friendly nations, the Empire 
of Russia and the Republic of the United States of America. 

To His Excellence, Mr. V. I. Kovalevsky, Director of the De- 
partment of Trade and Manufactures, Actual Councillor of State, 
and President of the Imperial Russian Commission, World's Colum- 
bian Exposition, ably assisted by Senator P. P. Semenov, Vice-Pres- 
ident of the Imperial Russian Geograpliical Society, is due the well- 
earned credit and honour of formulating and of carrying out the 
original idea of His Excellence, Mr. S. J. \'ittc, Imperial Minister of 
Finance, with reference to the preparation of this work, and ot 
editing and publishing the same in the Russian language. 



PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION. VII 

Although this vohime, Hke all the others of this series, has been 
prepared in extreme haste and under very great difficulties, rendering 
it impossible to avoid errors, nevertheless, I trust the reader will 
find pleasure and profit in examining this authentic and official 
resume of the present and future interests of that enormous and 
immensely rich country, Siberia, the Great East of the Russian 
Empire, separated only by pacific waters from the Great W'est 
of the United States, and which are destined in the near future to 
be in intimate commercial relations with each other. 

J. M. Crawford. 
St. Petersburg, August 15, 1893. 



CONTENTS. IX 



CONTENTS. 



Page. 

Preface ^^^ 

Preface to the English Translation "^^ 

Russian weights and measures XI 

CHAPTER I. Historical sketch • . 1 

Geographical and administrative division of Siberia; its occupation, exploration 
and settlement; the first contact of the Russians with Siberia; their appearance 
upon the Amour; struggle with China; beginning of permanent colonization; 
surrender of Russo-American possessions to the United States Government; 
scientific explorations in the Amour country; occupation of the Kirghiz steppe; 
annexation of Semirechinsk and Zailisk; necessity of building a great railway; 
visit to Siberia of His Imperial Highness the Grand Duke Tsessarevich; 
foundation of the Siberian Railway Committee. 

CHAPTER II. Geographical Review of Siberia 22 

Western Siberia: its component parts; review of the Altai slopes; the lowlands; 
their division into three zones; their climatic conditions; flora of the Altai 
slopes and valley; fauna of Western Siberia; its population; distribution of 
domestic animals. 

CHAPTER III. Eastern Original Siberia 34 

Its Sayan borderland; the division of Eastern Siberia into three zones; clima- 
tic conditions of each; the flora and fauna of Eastern Siberia; its population; 
distribution of domestic animals. 

CHAPTER IV. The Yakutsk Frontier Country 44 

Orographic and hydrographic review; division into two zones; their climatic 
conditions; vegetation and fauna; composition of population; natives of Yakutsk 
borderland; Arctic ocean, its islands, flora and fauna. 

CHAPTER V. The Amour-Littoral Borderland 55 

Division into four regions; the contours, climatic conditions, flora, fauna and 
population of each of them; Okhotsk and Behring seas. 

CHAPTER YI. The Kirghiz steppe Region 76 

Its division into the mountain and steppe territories; orography and hydrography 
of each; flora; fauna; population, its composition and distribution in the 
mountain and steppe zones; importance of cattle breeding. 



CHAPTER YII. Tenure and use of land 



Foundations of land tenure; dividing Siberia into districts and their general 
character; agriculture; production of breadstuffs; raising of cattle; live stock 
industry among the Kirghiz. 



Sf) 



Page. 

CHAPTER YIII. The forest wealth of Siberia 116 

Area occupied by forest; northern tall tree forests; birch forest zone; mountain 
woodlands; obstacles to the introduction of forestry into Siberia; Forest Admin- 
istration: forest husbandry in Eastern Siberia; Crown forests in the Amour region. 

CHAPTER IX. The industries of the rural population 122 

Industrial earnings; fishing and hunting; gathering of cedar nuts; bee keeping; 
hewing of timber and w^ood fuel; kustar industries; carrying trade; concluding 
remarks. 

CHAPTER X. Hunting and the fur industry in the Far East 129 

Seal industry; Russian American Company; Hutchinson, Cool, Filipeus and Co; 
yield of seal skins; trade in skins; piratical destruction of the seals; interna- 
tional agreements for the seal industry; beaver, arctic fox, morse and whale 
trades; fur industries; mammoth ivory. 

CHAPTER XI. Industry, Commerce and Ways of Communication 145 

Mineral wealth and the mining and metallurgical industries; gold, silver, lead 
and copper; iron, tin, mercury and sulphur; coal, graphite, naphtha, salt; 
precious minerals and building materials. 

CHAPTER XII. iWanufacturing Industry and the home trade 194 

Excisable industries, spirit, vodka, beer and mead; beet sugar, tobacco and 
matches; non-excisable productions; trade dues; turnover and profits; trade in 
towns; fairs and their importance. 

CHAPTER XIII. The foreign trade of Siberia 206 

The Far East; import and export of Russian and foreign goods; trade with 
China; ports of the Arctic Ocean; tea trade; freights; western China and 
Turkestan. 

CHAPTER XIV. Water and overland communication 223 

Transport of goods between European Russia and Siberia by the Volga and 
Obi; Obi-Yenisei canal; Yenisei and Angara; the Baikal; Lena and Amour basin; 
the Volunteer Fleet; overland communication. 

CHAPTER XV. The Great Siberian Railroad; historical review of the question concerning 

the Siberian railway 238 

The first proposals; northern, central and southern directions of the road; 
engineers Ostrovski and Siedensner; construction of the road in Vladivostok; 
its condition on March 10, 1893. 

CHAPTER XVI. Topographical and technical conditions of the Great Siberian Railway 

and its cost 248 

Cheliabinsk-Obi; Obi-Irkutsk; Irkutsk- Mysovsk; Mysovsk-Sretensk; Sretensk- 
Khabarovka; Khabarovka-Grafskaia; Grafskaia-Vladivostok; the total cost. 

CHAPTER XVII. Importance of the Great Siberian Railway 260 

Its importance for agriculture, colonization, metallurgy, gold industry and for 
the home and foreign trade. 

^<$- 



RUSSIAN WEIGHTS AND MEASURES. 



XI 



RUSSIAN WEIGHTS AND MEASURES. 



The following tables wil 
terms of the French Metric 
States. 



serve to define the Russian weig' 
System, as also those which are 



ts and measures in 
used in the L'nited 



I. Long measure. 

The lineal measures of Russia have for a unit the 
laws of Peter the Great, is the same as the English foot. 
1 Russian foot = 1 English or United States foot. 

» = 12 inches = 120 lines = 1,2<)0 points. 

» = 0-304794 metre == 30-4794 centimetres. 

1 Russian arshine = 16 \ershoks = 28 inches. 

» = 2^'3 feet = ^'9 or 0-77778 yard = 0-71118 metre. 

1 Russian sagene = 7 feet = 3 arshines. 

» = 2-13356 metres = 213-356 centimetres. 

» = 2-3333 yards. 

1 Russian verst — 500 sagenes = 3,500 feet. 

» = 1066-78 metres = 1-06678 kilometres. 

» =z 0-66269 English mile. 

1 geographical mile = 6-956 versts = 7-420 kilometres. 

» = 4-601 English miles 

II. Square measure. 

1 square sagene := 49 sq. feet = 4-5521 sq. metres. 

>■> =■ 5-4444 sq. yards. 

1 dessiatine (Russian land measure) = 2,400 sq. sagenes. 

» = 1-0925 hectars = 2-6997 acres. 

1 square verst — 250,000 sq. sagenes =: 104-17 dessiatines. 

» = 1-1380 sq. kilometres. 

» = 0-43916 sq. English mile. 

1 square geographical mile = 48-38 square versts. 

•> = 55-06 » kilometres. 

» r= 21-25 » English miles. 



foot, which, according to the 



ni. Cubic measure. 

1 cubic inch = 16-386 cubic centimetres. 

1 cubic sagene = 343 cubic feet. 

» = 9-7J2 metres. 

» = 12-704 cubic yards. 



XII 



AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY IN RUSSIA. 



1 chetvert 
1 chetverik 



1 vedro 



1 berkovets 

1 poud 

1 Russian pound 



Dry m e a s u r e. 
8 chetveriks = 2-099 hectolitres. 
5-9567 American bushels. 
8 quarts — 1601-22 cubic inches. 

the volume of 64 Russian pounds of water at 13^3° R. temperature. 
26-238 litres = 0-26238 hectolitre. 
0-7446 American bushel. 

Liquid measure. 
\'<o of a barrel — 10 shtoffs or krouzhki = 750-57 cubic inches = 
volume of 30 Russian pounds of water at ISS'a*' R. temperature. 
12-299 litres. 
2-707 English or 3*249 American gallons. 

IV. Avoirdupois weight. 

10 pouds = 0-1638 metric ton = 163-80 kilograms. 

0-161217 English ton = 3*2243 cwt. 

40 Russian pounds = 0-01638 metric ton = 16-380 kilograms. 

0-32243 cwt. or 32-243 Eng. lbs. 

32 lots = 96 zolotniks = weight of 25-019 cubic inches of water 

at 13^3° R. in vacuo. 

0-40951 kilogram = 409.51 grams. 

0-90282 English pound. 



T R 


Y 


weight. 


1 zolotnik = 96 dolee. 






» = 4-2657 grams. 






» = 65-830 grains 


Troy. 




V. 


Complex table. 


1 rouble paper per.dessiatine 




= 19-06 cents per acre. 


1 » gold ;> » 




= 28-59 ;> » ■> 


1 kopeck paper ;> poud 




= 31-9 ;> ;> ton. 


1 ■> gold » ;> 




= 47-88 » » » 


1 ■!> paper » chetvert 




= 0-0863 » ;> bushel. 


1 » gold » :> 




= 0-1295 » :> 


1 » paper » poud of wheat 




= 1-282 » » » 


1 » gold » :> 




= 1-923 » » ^ 


1 chervert per dessiatine 




= 2-2081 bushels per acre. 


1 poud ;> :> 




= 13-377 English pounds per acre. 


1 vedro » » 




= 1-204 American gallons per acre. 


1 kopeck paper per poud and verst 




= 48.15 cents per ton and mile. 


1 ;> gold » -> :> » 




= 72-225 ;> ;> :> ;> ;> 



HISTORICAL SKETCH. 1 

SIBERIA. 

AND THE 

GREAT SIBERIAN RAILWAY. 

CHAPTER I. 
Historical Sketch. 

Geographical and administrative division of Siberia; historical review of its occupation, explo- 
ration and settlement; its subdivision into five large geographical regions; its administrative 
division; the first contact of the Russians with Siberia by means of the Stroganovs; annexation 
of a part of Siberia to Russia at the end of the sixteenth century; gradual occupation by the 
Russians of the whole of Siberia in the course of the seventeenth century; first attempts at 
navigating the Arctic Ocean, and the Behring and Okhotsk seas; appearance of the Russians 
upon the Amour; struggle with China for the possession of the Littoral-Amour country; the 
Nerchinsk treaty; beginning of permanent colonization of Siberia at the end of the seventeenth, 
and its gradual realization during the eighteenth century; establishment of frontier defense 
lines called forth by the necessity of protecting colonization; development of colonization 
under the shelter of these lines; scientific explorations by sea and land in Siberia in the 
eighteenth century; surrender of Russo- American possessions to the Government of the 
United States; acquisition of Sakhalin and surrender of the Kuril Islands to Japan; settlement 
and exploration of Siberia in the first half of the nineteenth century; annaxation of the Amour 
tract in the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century; scientific explorations in 
the Amour Littoral country; gi-adual occupation of the Kirghiz steppe country in the course 
of the nineteenth century; annexation to Russia of the country of Semirechinsk and Zailisk 
in the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century; significance and consequence 
of this fact so important to the history of Asiatic Russia; colonization of Siberia in the 
second half of the nineteenth century, and the position of the colonization question at the 
present time; recognition of the necessity of building a great railway through Siberia; visit to 
Siberia of the Tsarevich; and the foundation of the Siberian Railway Committee. 

UiSDER the name Siberia, in the most widely accepted meaning of the word, are understood 
all Russia's Asiatic possessions, with the exception of Transcaucasia, the Transcaspian 
territory and the Turkestan governor - generalship. Accordingly the Ural chain and river 
would appear to be the natural boundary between European Russia and Siberia. But the 
Ural chain, colossal in its linear extension, but not attaining any elevation and traversable 
almost imperceptibly in its lowest passes, with its mineral wealth scattered chiefly over its 
eastern slope, was never like other great mountain chains on the earth's surface, a separa- 
ting barrier in the etnographical and economical life of the peoples, but on the contrary, from 
the time of the occupation of Siberia by the Russians, proveii as it were, a line uniting Euro- 
pean and Asiatic Russia. 

The Transural districts of the Perm government, in which the mineral wealth of 
the Urals is most abundant, and which are the largest furnishers of grain to the Ural mining 
population, have long been reckoned not to Siberia but to European Russia. In like manner 

1 



also the steppe Ural aud Turgai regions, passing far beyond the Ural river and penetrating 
deeply into the interior of Asia, are not counted as belonging to Siberia, because the centres 
of gravity of these regions, that is, their administrative centres, are situated in European Russia. 
Thus, Siberia is composed of the following parts: 1. Two governments of the basin of the 
river Obi, namely, Tobolsk and Tomsk, forming the so-called Western Siberia; these governments 
entered formerly into the composition of a special governor-generalship now abolished, but 
are at present governed, each separately, upon identical lines with the governments of European 
Russia, 2. Two governments of the basin of the Yenissei, namely Yenisseisk and Irkutsk, for- 
ming the so-called Eastern Siberia, in the strict sense of the term, and entering into the 
composition of the East Siberian governor-generalship. These two component parts of Siberia 
form the original Siberia, that is, that Siberia which was long ago and constantly occupied 
by Russian colonists, and where from eighty to ninety per cent of the population belong to 
the Russian race. The remaining parts of Siberia form those outskirts of the country, which 
from their very nature or from their remoteness are yet very little settled by the Russians 
and either occupied by primitive Asiatic or native peoples or are deserts and even absolutely 
uninhabited, and may be compared not with the states but with the territories of the United 
States. To these outlying regions of Siberia belong: 3. The Yakutsk region, constituting in 
respect to administration the Yakutsk territory alone. This, the most vast of all the Siberian 
territories, occupies the immense basin of the Lena and the less considerable basins of the 
smaller rivers, for example, the Yana, Indighirka and Kolyma falling into the Arctic Ocean. 
The Yakutsk territory in administrative respects forms a part of the East Siberian governor- 
generalship. 4. The Amour and Littoral region; this consists of three territories, constituting 
the Amour governor-generalship, namely Transbaikalia, the Amour and the Littoral. These 
territories cover the whole of the Russian part of the basin of the Amour and the whole 
coast zone belonging to the basin of the Pacific or rather of the Japan, Okhotsk and Behring 
seas, including the vast peninsula of Kamchatka and the island of Sakhalin. 5. The steppe 
Kirghiz region; this consists of three territories, comprised in the Steppe governor-generalship, 
namely: those of Akmoliusk, Semipalatinsk and Semirechensk, in former times known under 
the collective name of the Kirghiz-Kaissak Hordes and Steppes. Composed as above, Siberia 
occupies the immense area of 250,000 square geographical miles, being twenty-five times gi'eater 
than Germany and two and a half times Euporean Russia. 

The annexation of Siberia to the Russian Empire took place at the end of the 
sixteenth century. The occupation by the Russians of this vast country was effected without 
any particularly bloody wars and hardly cost the Government an effort. The free Cossacks 
very rapidly conquered Siberia, and aftor them other intrepid seekers of booty poured in 
like a wave. 

The principal pioneers in the occupation of Siberia at that time were adventurers, 
such as traders, sable hunters, trappers and fishermen. Organizing artel s or societies they 
distanced by far the Government colonization, and scattered themselves over unknown wastes. 
In one spot they collected yassak, or a tax on furs; in another they destroyed wild 
animals, and looked for fish and mammoth tusks; tliey drove off or bartered the cattle 
belonging to the natives; they established whole industries by collecting hops, cedar nuts et 



UISTOKICAL SKETCH. :^ 

cetera. In the steps of the tviKh'is fuUoweil the mound men or excavators of barrows (kur- 
gans) for the precious objects contained in them. Under the influence of searches for riches 
the Siberian pioneers became transformed into vagabonds and nomad adventurers, so that 
the Government had afterwards to make great efforts to bind them to the land. 

A short history of the conquest of Siberia may be marked by the following facts. 
The first raids upon the Yugra, a Finnish tribe, one Inhabiting the present government of 
Tobolsk, were already made in the twelfth century by enterprising traders from Novgorod, 
whom the Yugra attracted by their valuable peltry. These raids, be it observed, had no 
character of conquest but always ended with the taking of ransom in the form of costly 
furs. More definite relations of the Russians to the Siberian peoples began only with the 
sixteenth century, namely, with the time when Russia, after destroying the Tartar kingdoms 
of Kazan and Astrakhan, took possession of the whole extensive basin of the river Volga, 
whose branches brought pioneers of Russian colonization into the depths of the Urals, with its 
abundant mineral wealth. Passing over the easily traversed Ural chain, these pioneers were 
bound to come into conflict with Tartar tribes, inhabiting or wandering over the region 
across the Urals, and under the powerful hand and protection of Ivan the Terrible began 
gi-adually to subject them, at first to their influence, and then to their sovereignty. 

In the year 1555/ ambassadors came to the Tsar from Yediger and other Siberian 
princelings, oppressed by their southern co-tribesmen, praying to be accepted as his subjects, 
agi'ceing to the imposition of a tribute on condition that he should send them some of his 
people. The Tsar assented, but such allegiance was very unstable as Yediger hoped that the 
protection and help of the Tsar would restrain his enemies from attacking his possessions, 
but these expectations were uot realized. Xot receiving the desired protection and help, and 
as hard pressed as before by his hostile neighbours, he began to pay his tribute irregularly, 
and on the accession to the Khanate, of Kuchum this tribute ceased altogether, and the 
Russians who came for it were not infrequently killed. The firm allegiance of Transuralia 
only came about in consequence of the movement of the Russian population undertaken with 
industrial and commercial objects towards the north-east. 

A great importance in the history of this movement attaches to the family of the 
Stroganovs. The Russian princes possessing vast tracts of unsettled lands, very willingly assigned 
them temporarily to enterprising and rich people on the condition that they should settle them 
and cultivate the land, the said pioneers being afforded every possible privilege, such as 
freedom from taxes, trade unfettered by duties, and the right of administering justice to the 
settlers. The Stroganovs with their great wealth appear as the chief settlers of the great north- 
eastern tracts. In the reign of Ivan the lY, these rich manufacturers ami traders penetrated 
into the depths of the river region of the Kama, and in 1558 petitioned the Tsar to grant 
them land along the Kama to the Chussovaya on condition that they should build a town 
there, develop industry, raise troops and defend the region from the attacks of wild hordes. 
It was difficult for the Government to defend the Kama region with its own forces, on account 
of its remoteness, and at the same time it was constantly being subjected to attacks and 
forcible devastations on the part of the Cisural and Transural tribes. Therefore, the propo- 
sition made by the Strogonovs seemed very advantageous; tlioir prayer was granted, all 

1* 



kinds of priviloges wore given them for 20 years, and the settlers hound themselves to 
build stockades and to maintain troops at their own expense. A few small towns quickly 
appeared on the spot, industry increased, the Russian population grew and estahlished itself 
firmly in places till then unknown to it. Thus, the Stroganovs, thanks to their vast resources 
and their intrepidity, enterprise and energy, not only consolidated the Russian sovereignty in 
the Urals, hut gave Russian settlers the possihility of passing over to the Eastern side of 
the mountain range so richly endowed hy nature. 

Ceaseless collisions with the natives and the striving to develop their industry over 
a wider tenitory induced the Stroganovs to heg the Tsar to authorize them to settle 
places on the other side of the Urals also. The hrilliant example of the settlement of the 
Kama district had demonstrated to the Government the advantageousness of undertakings of 
this kind. The permission was given, and the Stroganovs hound themselves hy the same condi- 
tions as hefore, and were even empowered to wage war not only of a defensive hut of an 
offensive nature. For more extended offensive operations the Stroganovs could not at once 
find enough armed men, hut these were not long forthcoming. 

In the second half of the sixteenth century, during the reign of Ivan the Tenihle, a 
mass of people fled into Lithuania while not a few hent their steps into the waste regions 
forming the new acquisitions of Russia. There in those outlying regions the fugitives found 
liberty, ease and abundant space; whole bands were formed out of chance associates, who 
almost completely severed themselves from the State, paid but scant attention to the latter and 
lived their free Cossack life. But the Cossacks, engaged in robbery, hamed also the teiTitories 
which were under the authority of the Tsar, and were prosecuted by the Government for 
their brigandage. One of these parties of Don Cossacks, which had particularly destinguished 
itself by its freebooting expedition on the Volga, and which was being pursued by the Tsar's 
troops, proceeded under the leadership of its ataman Yermak Timofeev up the Kama and so 
reached the Stroganov possessions. The Stroganovs availed themselves of the opportunity and 
invited the Cossacks to enter their service. The latter consented and in a short time, equipped 
by the Stroganovs and with Yermak at their head, started across the Ural mountains and 
entered the limits of Kuchum's kingdom. 

In 1580 Yermak was already on the banks of the Tiira, defeated the Tartar princelet 
Yepancha, then took by storm the town of Shingi-Tura, upon whose site stands at the pre- 
sent time the town of Tinmen, and there took up his winter quarters. In the spring of the 
subsequent year Yermak moved on to the capital of Kuchum, the town of Isker or Siberia, 
Having navigated the Tura, Tobol and Irtych in barges, the Cossacks on October 26, 1581, 
reached the Khan's residence, and after a fierce fight took possession of it. Kuchum fled 
with the remains of his troops into the southern steppes. Yermak immediatety sent his trusty 
lieutenant and ataman, Koltso, with the news of this conquest to Moscow, having furnished 
him with costly furs and commanded him «to humbly salute the Lord Ivan A'asilevich the 
Terrible with the acquisition of the new Siberian kingdom^. The Tsar forgave Yermak his 
farmer faults, presented him with a cloak and medal, and sent the leader Glukhov to his 
assistance. Yermak Timofeev was however not long fated to rule Siberia. In 1584. enticed 
too far by the cunning of the Tartars, he perished together with his band in a fight upon 



HISTORICAL SKETCH. O 

the banks of the Irlysli. In Moscow, meanwhile, nothing was known of the destruction of 
Yermak, and in 1586 arrived on the Tura a fresh reintoroiMumit of 300 men under their 
leaders Sukin, Miasnov and Chulkov, who founded upon this river the town of Tinmen and 
thence began to spread the Russian authority over the Siberian natives. In 1587 yet anotlier 
500 troops were sent from Moscow into Siberia, and the order was given to build the Rus- 
sian town of Tobolsk in the place of the ruined capital of Kuchum. 

As soon as the Siberian kingdom was united to the Russian possessions the Govern- 
ment began to concern itself about the strengthening of the bond between the new possessions 
and the old. It could not have the extensive countries, seized by the Russians, deserted, and 
was compelled to move forth certain portions of its own population to create points ot 
resistance, or so to say, cadres of the future natural colonization. Such points of resistance, 
founded beyond the Urals in the sixteenth century, were besides Tinmen and Tobolsk, Verkho- 
turie, Pelym, Beriozov, Surgut, Obdorsk, Narym, Ketsk and Tara. All these little towns 
served only as centres from which the conquerors were able to exploit the Siberian natives 
by means of collecting from them y a s s a k and trading with them in furs. In the seventeenth 
century the construction of rallying points continues, and Russian dominion rapidly extends 
further and further to the east. From the year 1604 the following strongholds were gradually 
built, out of which subsequently grew the towns of Tomsk, Turukhausk, Kuznetsk, Yeni- 
seisk, Kansk, Krasnoyarsk, Yakutsk, Olekminsk, Achinsk, Barguzinsk, Irkutsk, Balagansk, 
Nerchinsk, Kirensk, and thus the Russian power was quickly extended over the basins of the 
three giant rivers of Siberia, the Obi, Yeuissei and Lena. Between 1630 and 1640 Russian 
Cossack parties reached, on the one hand, the Arctic Ocean, and on the other, to the Sea of 
Okhotsk, and to this period belong their first attempts at sea voyages. In 1636 the Cossack 
Yellissei Buza was sent from Yenisseisk with the positive instruction to put to sea, and follow- 
ing along the coasts of the Arctic Ocean, to impose y a s s a k upon its inhabitants. Only in 
1637 did Buza succeed in descending the Lena, coming out by its western arm upon the coast 
of the Arctic Ocean, and in making his way along it to the mouth of the Olenek. In the 
following year however, 1638, having built himself two vessels, called «Kocha», Buza sailed 
into the ocean by the eastern arm of the Lena and succeeded in reaching the mouth of the 
Yaua. Almost at the same time Ivan Postnik reached the Yana and the more distant Inidi- 
ghirka by laud. In 1644 the Cossack Mikhail Stadukhin discovered the most eastern of the 
great rivers falling into the Arctic Ocean, the Kolyma, and there founded a winter station, 
subsequently transformed into Nizhni-Kolymsk. 

From the extreme point of resistance at that time of the Russian dominion in the east, 
Kolymsk, a complete expedition was equipped in the year 1647 under the command of the 
Kholmogorsk emigrant, Fedot Alexeev and the Cossack Semion Dezhniev. In 1647 the expe- 
dition consisted of only four vessels; it reached the Chukotsk coast but did not succeed in 
penetrating further. On the other hand in the following year, 1648, an expedition of seven 
vessels with more than ten men on each vessel, under the leadership of Semion Dezhniev, 
Fedot Alexeev and Gerassim Aukuudinov, was more fortunate. (»)uitting the Kolyma on the 
30th of June, the intrepid sailors found the sea free from ice, and without meeting 
with any particular obstacles weathered the cape, called in recent times by Xordenskjold 



6 SIBEEIA. 

Cape Dezhniev, siiileJ through the whole of the straits dividmg Asia from America and subse- 
queutly called after Berend and gained the Chukotsk Cape. Here the expedition encountered 
a severe storm, during which Ankundinov's vessel perished, hut his crew was distributed 
among the vessels of Dezhniev and Alexeev. On the 30th of September the Russians landed, 
but here had a skirmish with the Chukchis in which Fedot Alexeev was wounded. After this 
a frightful storm separated forever the vessels of Semion Dezhniev and Fedot Alexeev. 
Dezhniev bravely struggled in the open sea with storms and opposing winds, which bore him 
away to the south of the entry into the Anadyr bay, and finally he was cast upon the coast 
right beyond Cape Oliutor near the mouth of the river Oliutora, that is, upon the limits of 
Kamchatka between Cl'^ and 60° X. L. From there Dezhniev and his twenty-five companions 
m.ade their way to Anadyr where he founded a winter station, which afterwards became the 
Anadyi- stronghold, as hither anived soon after by Land Russians uinler the command of 
Semion Motora from the Kolpna. Dezhniev himself returned to the Kolyma not earUer than 
1653. In the meanwhile Fedot Alexeev parted from Dezhniev by the storm, according to 
information collected subsequently by the describer of Kamchatka, Krasheuinnikov, traversed, 
it would seem, the whole of Kamchatka and perished on the river Tighila, that is, on the 
western shore of the peninsula. 

Only in 1697 Kamchatka was discovered afresh and occupied by the Cossack Vladimir 
Atlassov, who starting from the Anadyi- stronghold, destroyed four Koriak towns and having 
founded on the river Kamchatka the stockaded fort of Xizhni-Kamchatsk reduced the whole 
of Kamchatka. 

At the same time the movement of the Russians towards the coast went its course in 
more southern latitudes. After the foundation on the middle course of the Lena of the Yakutsk 
fort by Peter Beketov, parties of Russians began to ascend the Aldan and to reach the Sta- 
novoi range. It was by this road, passing the Stanovoi range, that the Cossack Ivan Mosko- 
vitin's party, sent in 1639 to impose y a s s a k upon all the Tungus tribes, came out upon the 
river Ud and so reached the Sea of Okhotsk. After this, stockaded forts were founded at the 
mouths of the Ud and Tungura, and in 1643 the Russians for the first time appear upon the 
Amour. Equipped by the Yakutsk v o e v o d e the elder Vassili Poyarkov with 130 Cossacks 
ascended the rivers Aldan, Uchur and Gonam, crossed the Stanovoi range and then came out 
by the Brianda and Zeya upon the Amour and, descending the river, sailed into the Sea of 
Okhotsk. In 1647 the Cossack Shelkovnikov crossed from the mouths of the Amour to the 
mouth of till! river Okhota and here founded the fort of Okhotsk. 

But it was the Cossack elder Yerofei Khabarov w^ho specially distinguished himself 
by his exploits upon the Amour. This intrepid Cossack who had formerly occupied himself at 
one time with com growing, at another with salt boiling, undertook at his own costs to 
subjugate the Amour country. Having received the authorization from the Yakutsk v o e v o d a, 
he in 1649 and 1650 reached the Amour by the rivers Olekma and Tunghir, destroyed a few 
Daur cities and having personally convinced himself of the natural riches of the country vis- 
ited by him. liurriedly returned to Yakutsk in order to there excite interest and atii-ntion to 
the hitherto unknown country which w^as so remarkable in every respect. Having mustered a 
party of volunteers to the number of 150 men, and liaving received three guns from the 



nisTorxicAL SKETCH. 7 

voevodc, in 1651 ho aii:aiii math^ his apitcaniiico iipuii the liuiiks uf the Aiiiuiir ami stopped 
to winter in the station of Alhazin luiuuhMl by liim. During two years nutwitlistamling the 
opposition of the Manchuro who siirniundcil him tm every side \w occupied tlie whole 
cnnrse of tiio Aimiur and reported his success to Yakulsk. 

The rumour of tlio wealtli of ilie river couiiucrod by Kha[)arov ([Uickly spread not only 
through the Siberian voevodeships hut reached the Tsar hinrself, so that in 1654 Kha- 
barov was recalled to Moscow to make a personal report upon the Amour, and the whole of his 
hrave company was placed under the command of the Cossack Onufri Stepanov. This worthy 
successor of Khabarov closely pressed by the enemy, was obliged to fortify himself in the 
newly built Kamora stronghold and in 1655 withstood a severe siege at the hands of a 
numerous Manchur army. Later, after three years of obstinate struggle with the Manchurs, 
he fell in a skirmish in 1658. 

Meanwhile, a road to the Amour was opened through Transbaikalia. The Yeirisseisk 

V e V d a Pashkov proposed to the Government, for the expeditious subjugation of the 
Amour, to select in the vicinity of the steppes a rallying point, where all the warlike force 
might be concentrated and whence it might undertake offensive movements. His plan was 
approved and an expedition to the Amour was entrusted to him; at the same time all the 
detachments along the Amour were ordered to place themselves under Pashkov's orders. This 

V e V d e then, from Yenisseisk, following the Upper Tunguzka, Baikal, the Selenga and the 
Khilka, reached the river Nerch, and at a distance of four versts from its mouth founded in 1658 
the Xerchinsk stockaded fort. Here he wished to gather all the Amour bands which had 
been under the command of Stepanov, but as upon the death of the latter these parties 
scattered, Pashkov did not venture, with the miserable remnants of those who answered to his 
summons, to undertake any decisive operations and thus his expedition met with no success. 

In 1665 a crowd of Russians under the leadership of Xikifor Chernigovski consisting 
of fugitive criminals, wishing to earn their pardon, appeared upon the ruins of Albazin, re- 
newed the fortress there, began to collect y a s s a k from the previous tributaries, the Tunguzes, 
and founded some strongholds. In 1677 the fort Yerkhozeissk was built on the upper waters 
of the Zeya, followed by forts Selimbaevsk aud Dodonsk. For almost 20 years Albazin enjoyed 
comparative tranquillity, but in 1685 the Manchur troops, with ^considerably superior forces, 
devastated the environs of Albazin and from the l2th of June of the same year commenced 
the celebrated siege of this town. The voevode T o 1 b u z i n, with a body of 500 men pitched 
against a horde of 15,000 Manchurs, was obliged to surrender Albazin and retreat; but in 
the same year, reinforced by fresh troops that had come to his aid, he returned and built upon 
the site of the burnt wooden fortification an earthern entrenchment. The Manchurs observing 
the restablishraent of Albazin undertook a second siege in 1686, during which Tolbuzin was 
killed and his successor Afanasi Beiton stubbornly continued to hold his earthworks for a whole 
year, until at last in 1687 the exhausted Manchurs were themselves compelled to raise the 
siege. In 1688, a congress was appointed of the plenipotentiaries of the two warring sides, at 
which the Chinese gained a diplomatic victory. In August 27, 1689, tlie Xerchinsk treaty 
was signed, confirming the Amour to the Chinese, and for 160 years depriving the Russians 
of the possession of this outskirt of Siberia. 



8 SIBERIA. 

Only from the end of the seventeenth century when the boundaries of Siberia in the 
large sense of the term were already indicated more or less by the points of defense, could the 
actual permanent colonization be effected; the Government besides building cities and yam as, or 
posting stations, strove to create a class of peasant artisans and to spread com growing. With 
this object, by command of the Tsar Feodor Alexeevich, volunteer ploughmen were sent 
from Solvychegodsk and other towns of the Permia of that time, who received besides every 
kind of privilege, agricultural implements and assistance in money. The road of the first 
settlements lay by the rivers Tura, Tavda, Tobol, Irtysh, Obi and their tributaries. The emi- 
gi-ants cut into the very heart of the native population; the Chudic tribes thrust back in the 
fifteenth century by the Tiurks people, themselves pressed forward by the Mongolian movement 
and known by the general name of Tartars, remained in their places. From the south the greater 
part of the Tartars had wandered away further into the depths of the steppes, while the Ostyak 
and Samoyed tribes were moved back to the north and east. 

The Goveniment had to concern itself with the provisioning of the people it had settled, 
who required to be supplied with everything. Grain was imported from Perm, Viatka and Solvyche- 
godsk. In consequence of the bad roads the furnishing of provisions was delayed, and hence Govern- 
ment servants suffered terrible want. The merchants occupied themselves with the furnishing of the 
colonists with goods. But trade relations of the new country with its metropolis Moscow were very 
difficult and were effected but once a year. Communications were accomplished by means of 
the rivers. The wares were transported on barges or plank levats. The Siberian sledges called 
«narta» were dragged over the portages by men. The merchants sometimes took up winter 
quarters on their way. The method of trading was slow and therefore only a few dealers 
penetrated into Siberia, but having reached there, from the absence of competition, became at 
once monopolists. 

The spread of agriculture and the establishment of fixed settlements within the limits 
of the new country were supported by the sending out of ploughmen, post drivers, and with 
them girls to be manled to the Cossacks, and also by the alleviation of the burdens imposed 
by the voevodes. By the care of the Government the growing of grain was spread not 
only among the Russian population but among the Tartars and Voguls of the present 
Tinmen and Turinsk districts. The agricultural population having dotted the country with 
villages formed the chief foundation of colonization in the east. It may be said that the true 
foundation of life in the region was laid when the conquerors first grain of corn fell into the 
soil of the conquered countries. 

Beginning with the end of the seventeenth century, this permanent colonization obtained 
in the eighteenth a more regular form. The Government, settling the unoccupied spots, 
at the same time took care to secure them from the raids of the nomads, who had been driven 
back into the steppe regions of Central Asia, and which were so frequent and so destructive to the 
young colonies. Such raids indeed an-ested the development of agricultural settlements in Siberia 
and Zavolzhia not only in the end of the seventeenth but also in the first half of the eight- 
eenth century. To protect the colonization as yet not firmly established, the fortresses of 
Omsk, Yamyshevsk and Petropavlovsk were built, as well as among others the towns of Biysk, 
Semipalatinsk and LTst-Ivamenogorsk. 



HISTORICAL SKETCH. 9 

As al the very begiimiiig of Uussia'.s aciiaaiiitauce witli Siberia the eulcrprise of pri- 
vate persons had a great sigiiificauce in the movemeut of the Russians eastward, so in tiie 
beginning of the eighteenth century no slight services were rendered the Government by the 
rich trader Akinfi Deniidov. In 1723 his parties penetrated, with trading and industrial objects 
in the Altai mountains to Mount Siniukha near lake Kolyvans, and here found Chudie mines 
and traces of ores. In 1726 artisans and clerks were sent here by Demidov from his Nevian 
works in the Urals, and on the small stream of the Loktevka falling into the Allei was built 
the first works, called Kolyvansk. Soon other mines were discovered in the neighbourhood of 
whose existence Demidov presented a report to the Government and by an ukaz of the year 
1747 the works of Kol^Tansk and Yoskresensk were taken over from Demidov by the Crown. 
With the development of mining in the Ural, Altai and at the Nerchinsk works, there 
was required an increased number of workmen. To meet this demand hundreds of families 
were sent forth from the interior of Russia to the works ami attached to the latter, anil in 
-this way the Russian population of Siberia grew every year. 

To unite the limits of conquest already indicated by stockades and fortresses to inter- 
mediate points as also for the defense of the mining works from the raids of nomads, the 
tracts or main routes w^ere settled, and Cossack defense posts and settlements established. 
In 1744 to 1745 the tract between Tobolsk and Tara was so inhabited, followed by those be- 
tween Ishim and Omsk, and the Chauss stockade and Tomsk. In 1762 to 1780 the tract be- 
tween Tara and the Chauss stockade was settled, and in 1763 the Ekaterinburg road was 
built. Among the Cossack defense lines in ] 720 to 1773 was constructed that of the Irtysch, 
in 1755 that between Omsk and Zveriuogolovsk. Further, with the movement of colonization 
into the depths of the Altai, the Kolyvan-Kusnetsk, Novokolyvan-Kusnetsk, and in 1780 the 
Bukhtarminsk lines. 

Parallel to the colonization patronized by the Government, at times during the critical 
moments in Russia's historical and economical life, another kind of colonization, namely, secret 
colonization was effected. 

The government of Tobolsk, as the first zone lying on the road to the little known 
country, was more thickly populated with fugitives belonging to those groups of the population 
of European Russia who were there faring ill. In Siberia these fugitives under the protection 
of dense forests and swamps raised their solitary dwellings, made so-called «zaimkas;'> or 
enclosures, cleared forests and introduced tillage. The voevodes on discovering such settle- 
ments did not destroy them but only levied upon them state taxes. Such emigrants, settling 
and at the same time securing the possession of an alien region, were not without their advant- 
ages to the voevodes. Thus the acceptance with an amnesty of the allegiance of the so-called 
Bukhtarmin masons, the fugitive families of dissenters and criminals who had taken up their 
abodes beyond the Kamen, one of the ridges of the Altai, spread the dominion of Russia to 
one of the best valleys of the Altai. 

With the extension of the settlements the people became acquainted with the surroundo 
ing spots and finding more convenient places, built themselves new outlying hamlets and 
suburbs. Each settled upon a separate patch over which he had arbitrary control; when, how- 
ever, he did not wish to remain any longer in the same place, he handed over his land to 
another and sought a new home. 



] SIBERIA. 

Such secret colonization at times attained fairly considerable dimensions, so that the 
Stale authority had to take severe measures to stop this undesirable movement. 

Together with the settlement of Siberia in the course of the eighteenth century appeared 
the necessity for its exploration. The Emperor Peter the Great becomes the initiator 
in this matter, as in everything else. Recognizing that the attempts to establish regular sea 
communication with Kamchatka in place of the distant and circuitous road through the north- 
ern tundras, did not succeed, from the inability to build ships, he sent on this account 
Swedish prisoners acquainted with ship building to Okhotsk. On a ship built by Henry 
Busch the first attempt was made in 1716, and in 1717 took place the perfectly successful 
voyage of the Cossack Sokolov, after which regular communication between Okhotsk and 
Kamchatka was established. Xext, Peter the Great was interested in the question of whether 
there is a passage into the Arctic Ocean between the Asiatic and American continents, the 
solution of this question by the voyage of Dezhniev being unknown to the Emperor. 
He equipped for the purpose of deciding this question a great Northern Expedition, under 
the command of the Danish sailor in the Russian service, Vitus Berend, Lieutenant Shpanberg 
and Alexei Chirikov. The expedition started from St. Petersburg in the year of Peter the 
Great's death, 1725, and only after three years reached Kamchatka through Siberia. Berend 
sailed out into the sea from Xizhui-Kamchatsk on the 31st of July, 1728, on the 19th of 
August, approached the Chukot peninsula under 64" 30' X. L., on the 21st of August dis- 
covered the island of St. Lawrence and on the 26th of August saw under 67° 18' X. L. the 
north-eastern extremity of Asia, Cape Dezhniev, and considering the question of the existence 
of a strait between Asia and America completely solved, returned to Xizhni-Kamcliatsk. 
Berend's successful voyage did not remain without consequences. 

The Russians commenced a whole series of attempts ^vith the object of exploring 
the coasts of the Arctic Ocean and thus discovering a passage through it to America. In 
1739 the expedition of Lieutenant Pronchischev fitted out for the Lena had imposed upon it 
the problem of exploring the seacoast between the mouths of the Lena and the Yenissei. 
But the expedition only succeeded in getting as far as the mouth of the Olenek and Pron- 
chischev himself and his wife died on the desert shore of the ocean. The expedition of 
Lieutenant Laptev, which followed next, succeded in reaching the Taimir peninsula, namely, to 
Cape St. Thaddeus, but was not able to weather Cape Cheliuskin and Laptev's companion, 
Cheliuskin, was obliged to survey it only from the land side. At the same time, that is, in 
1739 to 17-10, Lieutenant Dmitri Laptev was commissioned to describe the littoral to tbe east 
of the mouth of the Lena. Only after these two years efforts did Laptev, passing by the 
Medviezhi Islands, reach Cape Baranov, but was unable to make the passage into Behring 
Strait. 

from 1733 to 1743 belongs the remarkable scientific land rxpedilion fitted out to explore 
the whole of Siberia under the guidance of the best men of science of the time, the naturalist 
Gmelin, subsequently autlior of the first Siberian Flora, and the historian Miiller, the author 
of the History of Siberia. Into the composition of this remarkable scientific expedition entered 
also the astronomer Delille, Professor Fisher, assistant Steller, several students and geodesists. 
The expedition returned from Yakutsk, but Delille, Steller antl the student Krasheninnikov 



EISTORICAL SKETCH. 



li 



leacheil Kamchatka. Dclil!(> ami Steller formed part of the second Berend expedition, equipped 
by tlie Government in 1740, which on this occasion had for its principal object the problem 
of exploring the north-western shore of America. Berend and Chirikov commandeil the two 
vessels of the expedition. On the 15th of Jnne, 1741, both vessels left Petropavlovsk for Kam- 
chatka, bnt on tlie first of Jnly a storm separated them. Berend reached tlie American shore 
between G8'' and 69", in view of the marvellous giant volcano of St. Elias. Tlien after a long 
and tiring voyage along the line of the Alleutian islands, Berend, sick and tortured by his 
voyage over the stormy sea, suffered shipwreck on the 5th of November at an island 
called subsequently by his name, and died after having landed, on the shore of the island. 
Lieutenant Waxel and Stcller, having built a new ship from the fragments of the old, returned 
to Kamchatka after foui'teen months voyage. Chirikov's vessel reached America much further 
to the south, under 56° X. L., that is, opposite the island Sitkha: but having lost two of his boats 
with their crews, destroyed by the natives on lauding, sailed along the American coast, not 
putting to land anyw^here, and with frightful losses from scurvy to which Delille fell a victim, 
leturned to Kamchatka. The best result of the expedition were the splendid observations of 
Steller, who with Krasheninnikov composed the first descriptions of Kamchatka. But the 
practical results of Berend and Chirikov's expedition wore the gradual discovery and occupa- 
tion by the Russians of the north-western part of the American Continent. Thus, in 1743 the 
lUissian trader Bassov already wintered upon Behring Island, and from 1745 to 1764 all the 
Alleutian islands were discovered and occupied. Much greater success attended the expeditions of 
Captain Shpanberg and Lieutenant Walton in 1738, 1739 and 1742, from Okhotsk to Japan 
and the Kuril islands. 

In the second half of the eighteenth century, during the reign of the Empress Catherine II, 
began a new and brilliant era in the history of the geographical and scientific explorations 
of Siberia. The Yakutsk merchant Shalaurov, one of the prominent local Siberians, having 
equipped at his own cost a sea expediton, having for its object the passage into Behring sea 
from the mouth of the Lena, doubled in 1761 the Holy Noss and discovered the neighbouring 
Island of Liakhov one of the new Siberian group. In the course, how^ever, of the three years, 
1761 to 1763, he was unable to penetrate to the east further than Cape Shelag,upon wdtich he 
met his death during his second expedition undertaken in 1766. At the same time in conse- 
quence of the indications of the existence of lands in the Arctic Ocean, which had been 
known from the times of Dezhniev, attempts were made to reach these lands in winter on 
sledges over the ice. One of such successful attempts was the journey of Sergeant Andreev, 
wdio discovered in 1763 a whole group of islands upon which he found traces of former habi- 
tation by people acquainted only with the use of stone implements and unfamiliar with the 
metals. This group of Islands in the opinion of Nordenskjold was Wrangel land. In 1770 the 
discoveries of the Russians touched the group of the New Siberian Islands. In that year 
Liakhov not only investigated the island subsequently called by his name, but went as far as 
Kotel island. 

The particular attention of the enlightened Government of the Empress Catherine yr. 
WAS directed to the scientific exploration of the southern colonizatioual zone of Siberia. Among 
the expeditions which marked an epoch in geographical science, equipped by the Academy of 



1 2 SIBERIA. 

Sciences at the desire of the Empress Catherine 11, for the many-sided investigation of the 
little known parts of the Empire, the expeditions into Siberia, accomplished in 1770 to 1774 
hy the Academicians Pallas and Lepekhin, take almost the first place on account of their 
scientific valne. 

The attention of the Empress was also directed to the extreme east with its Behring Sea and 
north-western corner of America. The expedition fitted out by the Government in 1768 to 1769 
under Captain Krinitsin and Lieutenant Levashov, visited the Alleutian islands and gained 
Alaska. In 1789 the trader Pribylov discovered the island, called by his name, and it has since 
become the centre of the sealing and whaling trade in Behring Sea. From 1790 to 1794 Captain 
Billings and Lieutenant Sarychev's expedition quickly regulated the developing and too rapa- 
cious fishing of the Behring Sea. Li 1792 a private company, consisting of Deliarov, Shelekhov 
and Golikov founded the Russian settlement in Paul harbour upon Kadiak island, and in 
1796 Novoarkhangelsk, on the island of Sitkha, upon which Russian authority was firmly estab- 
lished by Baranov, only in 1799. Similar permanent settlements arose also upon several of 
the Alleutian and Commander islands and even upon the peninsula of Alaska, then consisting 
of the Alleutians. 

In 1799 a great company was organized in St. Petersburg under the name of the Rus- 
sian American Company with the object of working the Russian possessions upon the Amer- 
ican Continent, as also the shores and islands of Behring Sea and of the Sea of Okhotsk. 
The company was granted very ample privileges, to secure which the Government recognized 
It as necessary to conclude a convention with the United States in 1820, and with Great 
Britain in 1825. The term of the privileges was originally fixed for twenty years but it was 
subsequently several times renewed, so that the Russs-American Company continued to 
exist till 1867 and was compelled to liquidate its aflairs only in consequence of the surrender 
of the Russian American possessions with the Pribylov's islands to the Government of the 
United States. The Emperor, as is said in the treaty concluded on this subject on the 
3rd of May, 1867, wishing to cement the good understanding existing with the Government 
of the United States, surrendered to the latter the whole territory with the sovereign rights 
thereto, then held by His Majesty on the American Continent, as also the adjacent islands. 

Simultaneously therewith arose the question of the inconveniences of joint dominion 
over Sakhalin with Japan, and wishing to put an end to misunderstandings which arose in 
reference to this subject, it was recognized as advantageous to enter in 1875 into an agree- 
ment with Japan. The result of this agreement was the conclusion of the treaty with 
Japan of the 25th of April, 1875, upon the mutual surrender on the part of Russia of the 
group of the Kuril islands and on the part of Japan of the island of Sakhalin or Krafts. 
From this time the whole island of Sakhalin came under the sway of the Russian sceptre. 

With the nineteenth century, when a complete administration and civil government was 
formed in Siberia, it became extremely difficult to wander freely over the country or to con- 
ceal oneself. The passport system and the prohibition of founding settlements or villages, without 
authorization fettered the emigrational movements, keeping them within narrower limits. 
But on the othrr hand, when the Government opened an issue to colonization it poured in like 
a wide torrent. 



HISTORICAL SKETCH. 13 

In the first half of the nineteenth century, as in the eighteenth, much attention was 
directed by both the Russian Government, and by Russian men of science, to the exploration 
of Siberia from both a geographical and scientific point of view. In tiie Arctic Ocean, San- 
nlkov in 1805 discovered in the New Siberian group, the Stolbovoi island, and Bielkov, the 
Bielkov island and New Siberia. In 1809 to 1810 the first scientific expedition was undertaken 
for the exploration of the New Siberian islands, by order of the Chancellor Count Rumiantsev 
under the leadership of Hedenstrom. In 1821 to 1824, expeditions for their exploration were 
ofitted out under the command of the best Russian navigators in two parts of the Arctic 
Ocean, situated wide apart from each other. One of them under the command of the energetic 
gailor Littke, stibsequently Count ami Vice President of the Russian Geographical Society, 
attempted during four successive years to reach the Siberian Frozen Ocean, at one time trying 
to double Nova Zembla, at another striving to force its way into the Kara sea through the 
Kara gates, but without success. Extremely valuable investigations, on account of their scien- 
tific results, were carried out at the same time by the expeditions under Captain Wrangel and 
Lieutenant Anjou in the eastern part of the Siberian Frozen Ocean, between the mouths of 
the Lena and Kolyma. Behring Sea was also circumstantially explored by the two celebrated 
Russian navigators Kotsebu, 1815 to 1818, and Littke, 1826 to 1829. 

The Russian Government was still more concerned about the exploration of the southern 
area of colonization. The expedition of Ledebur, Meier and Bunge in 1826 made an excellent 
investigation of the peculiar and interesting flora of 'the Altai and the expedition under Hum- 
boldt, Rose and Ehrenberg, fitted out by the Emperor Nicholas I, did the same for the geo- 
logical formation of the Altai tableland. Local men of science also and observers did much 
for the sciences ',in Siberia. In the beginning of the thirties. Dr. Gebler in the Altai and 
Turchaninov in Circumbaikalia made excellent studies, one of the entomology and the other 
of the flora. The Altai, town of Barnaoul, the centre of the government of the Altai mining 
district, due to the solid scientific foundation of the mining engineers living there, became 
one of the three principal centres of culture of Siberia, thanks to w^hich the metalliferous 
position of the Altai was well explored in geological respects. Between 1842 and 1845 two 
important scientific journeys were undertaken into Siberia, that of Peter Chikhachov, into the 
least accessible parts of the Altai, and that of Middendorf, to two little known and little 
explored outskirts of Siberia, the Taimir peninsula in the extreme north, and the coast of 
the Okhotsk Sea as far as the Shantar Islands. Middendorf reached the latter region by fol- 
lowing the southern slope of the Stanovoi range, which became a Russian possession only 
subsequently, namely in the early years of the second half of the nineteenth century, in con- 
sequence of the annexation to Russia of the whole Amour tract. 

This great achievement in the history of Siberia owed its accomplishment to the extraor- 
dinary energy of the then Governor-General of Eastern Siberia, Muraviov, afterwards known 
as Count Muraviov Amoursky. Immediately on his arrival in the region committed to his 
care, Muraviov clearly perceived that Eastern Siberia with its vast region of Yakutsk, quite 
unfitted to permanent settlement, had very small prospect in the future, without the gigantic 
and sole river in Siberia, flowing its whole course from west to east, which leads to a sea not 
eternally closed by ice. To seize the whole course of this river was the task which Muraviov 



1 4 SIBERIA. 

firmly and carefully set himself about when he began the administration of the country 
entrusted to him. The first step for the attainment of this object was to avail himself of the 
transport «Baikal», sent by the Government already in 18i8 to carry cargoes from the Naval 
Department to Petropavlovsk under the command of Captain Nevelskoy. He accordingly imposed 
upon this sturdy and enterprising sailor the discovery and exploration of the mouth of the 
Amour. Having received but an authorization, limited by various conditions, Muraviov found 
in Nevelskoy an excellent performer of his plans. Nevelskoy having landed his cargo in Petro- 
pavlovsk on the 31st of May, 1849, started with the transport Baikal for the eastern 
shore of Sakhalin, thence to begin his explorations. He doubled the northern extremity of 
the island, entered the bay of Obman, called it after the name of his transport, and making 
further investigations on the 28th of June, entered the frith of the Amour. He soon found 
the mouth of the river. A few days afterwards Nevelskoy entered the straits between the 
Continent and the western shore of Sakhalin at the Capes called by him Lazarev and Mu- 
raviov. Thus, contrary to the opinions of La Perouse, Krusenstjern and others, Sakhalin 
proved to be an island. After forty-five vain efforts to enter with the transport Baikal the 
mouth of the Amour, he turned back northwards into the sea of Okhotsk. 

From this time the question of the annexation of the Amour obtained more serious significa- 
tion in Government spheres. In 1850 the Amour expedition was formed, having for its chief object 
the foundation upon the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk near the frith of the Amour, at a point 
for the establishment of relations and trade with the Giliaks, and Nevelskoy was appointed 
commander of the Amour expedition. On the 29th of June he founded in Fortune Bay the 
Peter winter station, and in August he first hoisted on the shores of the Amour the llussian 
military flag, declared to the Giliaks that they were coming under Russian protection and 
founded at this point, twenty-five versts from the mouth the post of Nikolaevsk. Between 
1851 and 1853 were founded the posts of Ilinsk at the mouth of the river Kusunaya, Alexan- 
drovsk in the bay of De Castri and Mariinsk near lake Kizi. 

In 1854, thanks to his repeated requests and perseverance, Muraviov received the Imperial 
authorization to «navigate the Amour». The Chinese government was warned of the intended 
first voyage on the river and without waiting for any answer from it, tlie small but powerful 
flotilla under the command of the Governor-General himself solemnly took the waters of the 
Amour on the 18th of May, descending to this river from the Shilka. On the 14th of June 
the expedition already reached the pool of Mariinsk, and thus the road was opened from the 
Russian upper waters of the Amour to the lower reaches of this great river only just occu- 
pied by the Russians. 

The success of this first expedition marks an important epoch in the history of Siberia. 
The convenience and -possibility of the settlement of the shores of the Amour, on account of 
the sparsely inhabited condition of the country, the peaceable character of the natives and the 
weakness of the Chinese, were demonstrated. The importance of the acquisition of the Amour 
was proved also by the fact that thanks to the sending in good time of provisions and arms 
to Kamchatka the port of Pelropavlovsk was saved. Near this port the Anglo-French fleet 
stood in Avvachinsk bay with distinctly hostile intentions, and even opened fire uiion the for- 
tifications. Attempts of a similar nature were made in the following- year but alsu with- 
out success. 



HISTORICAL SKETCH. 15 

In 1855 Governor -General Mouraviov laid upon his successor General Korsakov the 
task of the immediate and rapid realization of a Russian colonization along the course of the 
Amour. Emigrants were invited from the governments of Irkutsk and Zabaikal and owing to 
the numerous advantages offered in the form of liberation from military service, State provi- 
sion for two years and the supply of agricultural implements, the number of applicants proved 
far greater than was at first thought necessary. 

The flow of emigrants and arras continued during the following years, notwithstanding 
the expressed dissatisfaction of the Chinese authorities and in the meanwhile the diplomatic 
negotiations led to no results, due to the voluntary dilatoriness of the Chinese offlcials. 

At length a project of a treaty was composed at ilignn in 1857 and hanih'd tn the 
consideration of the Chinese Government. In order to reserve himself the higher authority in 
the case of any misunderstanding General Mouraviov entrusted the ultimate direction of the 
negotiations to Perovski and thanks to the firmness of the latter the treaty was signed on 
the 16th day of May. The left banks of the Amour from Argun to the mouth were ceded 
to Russia and the right banks as far as the Ussuri, to China; only Russian and Chinese vessels 
were allowed to navigate the Amour, Sungari and Ussuri; the Mandzhurian inhabitants of 
the left banks of the Amour, from the river Zei on the south to the village of Harmandziu 
were to remain in their former places of habitation, under the rule of a Mandzhurian governor, 
there was to be free trade along all three rivers. These wore the conditions of the Ai- 
gun treaty. 

In order to enjoy the full advantages of this treaty it was necessary to colonize the 
province of the Amour; to cultivate a Russian population in it and to open a steam naviga- 
tion along the Amour. And hence the Government came to the conclusion that it was necessary 
to Institute an obligatory Cossack colonization of the Amour, Ussuri, and of all the region of 
the Ussuri. In 1858 Cossack stations were established along the left banks of the river from 
the beginning of the Little Hingan mountain range to the mouth of the Ussuri, and a Cossack 
colony was founded at the junction of the latter with the Amour, named after the first con- 
queror of the Amour, Khabarovski; this was followed by the colony of Blagovescheusk at 
the mouth of the Zei, of Sophisk and others. And in this manner the Russian rule over the 
vast region of the Amour, was ultimately established. In 1860 there were already as many as 
twelve thousand colonists of both sexes in the province of the Amour and there were 61 
Cossack stations. In the same year Count Ignatiev after prolonged negotiations with the 
Chinese Government succeeded in concluding the Pekin treaty by which the Chinese Govern- 
ment ultimately recognized the Russian rule over the river Amour and the entire region of 
the Ussuri. This treaty also confirmed all the points of the Aigun treaty and of the Tiantsin 
treaty previously made by Count Putiatin with the Chinese. 

The occupation of the Amour was followed by tf scientific survey of the Amuur-Lit- 
toral region. This was inaugurated by the Russian Geographical Society, which in 1858 had 
opened, an Eastern Siberian branch at Irkutsk. In 1854 the Society equipped its great Sibe- 
rian expedition for the exploration of the regions of the Baikal, and especially of the Amour 
Littoral province. This expedition included the astronomer Schwartz, naturalist Raddey, 
geologist Schmidt, the envoy of the Eastern Siberian branch, R. Maack, and alsu the envoy 



] Q SIBERIA. 

of the Academy of Sciences, Shrenk, zoologist, who was sent at the initiative of the Grand 
Duke Constantin, then President of the Academy, and lastly the envoy of the Botanical Gar- 
dens. Maximov, botanist. This expedition rendered incalculable service to the scientific knowl- 
edge of the region. The Eastern Siberian branch which subsequently became the most prom- 
inent local centre of culture In Eastern Siberia and its frontiers did not cease its useful 
activity, and at a later period the district was explored in all parts by local scientists sent 
under the protection of the Society and at its expense. Among these explorers mention may 
be made of Chekanovski, Dybovski, Potanin, Yadrintsev, Kropotkin, Cherski, Ditmar, Kor- 
zhinski and many others. 

In general, during the last thirty years, an independent effort is already observable on 
the part of the local Siberian magnates to investigate the productive powers of their vast 
country. Among those persons who have enriched themselves by a prudent exploitation of the 
natural Avealth of Siberia there are many who have shown themselves the patrons of every 
scientific exploration and daring enterprise which could bring advantage to Siberia. Some 
of these persons, like A. M. Sibiriakov and M. K. Sidorov have spared neither labour 
nor money for the exploration and discovery of a sea route to the mouths of the Siberian 
rivers, while others like I. i\I. Sibiriakov and lukachev have spared no expense for the 
support and even equipment of scientific expeditions to the little kno\vn Siberian outlying 
provinces and adjacent parts of Central Asia, to the exploration of which the Russian Geo- 
graphical Society has given particular attention. 

During the last twenty-five years not only Russian, but also Scandinavian, English 
and American navigators, have been gi'eatly attracted by the question of the investigation of 
the climatic conditions of the Arctic Ocean with the object of establishing a regular sea route 
to the mouths of the great Siberian rivers. As early as 1868 and 1869 the first successful 
endeavours to penetrate into the Kara sea were made by Swedish traders. The most conven- 
ient time of year for this was found to be the early autumn, when the Kara sea is most 
free from ice. Nordenskjold's scientific expedition in 1875 showed that the mouth of the Yenissei 
is accessible in autumn, naturally for a very short time, and with the exception of particularly 
unfavourable years; and that for trading purposes it would be necessary to erect warehouses 
at the mouth of the river where the unloading and loading of the vessels could be effected in 
a few days. In 1873 to 1879 Nordenskjold's famous expedition was equipped with the active 
cooperation of the Siberian magnate Sibiriakov. This expedition was the first to succeed in 
navigating along the entire Siberian coast and passing through the Behring straits into the 
Pacific Ocean. This expedition which extended over a space of two years, was naturally a 
triumph to science, but as yet it only proved, that although it is possible under particularly 
favourable circumstances to navigate through the Arctic Ocean along the entire Siberian 
coast, even in one year, yet witfe the exception of the above mentioned access to the 
mouth of the Yenissei, this coast cannot serve for regul^ar maritime or mercantile relations. 
The heroic endeavours of the last American expedition under Captain Long, whose vessel the 
«Jeanetta» was lost on the coast of the Novo-Sibirsk islands and the survivors only saved 
after the death of Captain Long by Russians at the mouth of the Lena in 1881, proved the 

truth. In the meantime the climatic conditions of the entire Arctic Ocean have now been 



HISTORICAL SKETCH. 17 

(•(Uisiilcralily enliglitciieil by a large iiilcnialidiial fiilripiise, namely liy llic siiniillaiicoiis 
obscivalidiis of a series of polar meteorological stations erected in 1883 to 1884 (ni a (■(iiiiiiion 
plan. Willi the consent of many Powers along the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Twd <>f ilies(! 
staiidiis were erected by the Russian Geographical Society, one ai the inenili of the Lena, 
the ether at Xova Zenibla. The Russian Academy of Sciences alse tenk aihantago ef the 
staff of the Lena observatory, for a new scientific exploration of the Neve-Sibirsk islands in 
1885 under Bunghe and Raron Toll. 

Tlie opening of the Tomsk University in 1888, thanks to the large donations of the 
Siberian magnates, A. M. Sibiriakov and Tsibulski, made Tomsk a third centre of culture 
within Siberia proper and greatly aids the direction and development of the young scientific 
forces in the depths of Siberia. 

The Russian rule has also gradually advanced into the depths of Asia on the other 
frontier opposite the Arctic Ocean, namely the Kirghiz steppes. This movement was started 
as early as 1731 by the acceptation of the Little Kirghiz Horde into the Russian rule. The 
fall of the Dzhungar kingdom to the Chinese in 1769 deprived the Kirghiz Kaissacks of a 
firm ally and obliged them to ultimately gravitate towards Russia. The daring and clever 
Khan of the Central Kirghiz Horde, Albai, managed to preserve the nominal independence of 
his people by artfully playing between China and Russia. But after his death in 1781, the 
feeble character of his successor Bali-Khan and the constant disputes among the different 
Kirghiz tribes and hordes resulted in one tribe after another seeking salvati()n from the oppres- 
sion of its neighbours by submitting to the sway and powerful protection of Russia. These 
neighbouring tribes, placed, as it were, between the hammer and the anvil, between the plun- 
dering onslaughts of their still independent neighbours, on the one hand, and the Russian pro- 
tection of its already subjected tribes on the other, sought the Russia rule, one after another. 
Such a gradual subjection of the Kirghiz steppes obliged the Russian Government to advance 
its foreposts far beyond th(.' Irtysh into the depths of the Kirghiz steppes. 

Between 1824 and 1834 the first Russian settlements were founded in the steppes of the 
Kirghiz of the Siberian department; the number of these settlements afterwards increased, but 
between 1836 and 1847 the successes of the Russian rule over the Kirghiz steppes, were hindered 
by a ten years struggle with the energetic grandson of Khan Ablai, the sultan Kenissara, who 
succeeded during ten years to play between the two neighbouring Russian Governor-Generals, on the 
one hand, and the independent Turkestan rulers on the other, until at last he fell in an insig- 
nificant dispute at the hands of his nomadic neighbours, the Karakirgbiz, in 1847. Unfortun- 
ately the Russian settlements in the country of the Central horde were founded in places 
quite unfit for a settled agricultural life, for example, Bayan-Aoul, Karkarala, Akni(dinsk, 
Atbassar et cetera, and could not therefore serve as points of support for the Russian control 
over the steppes of the Kirghiz limits of Siberia. But as soon as the beginning of the forties 
the explorations made by Russian naturalists and geologists, stich as Karelin, Kirilov, A. Shrenk 
and Tlangali, showed that not all of the country is unfitted for setthMiient, hut that on the 
contrary, at the foot of the Tarbagataia and Semirecliinsk Altai, there are excellent and 
convenient lands for agriculture and cidonizalion. Since the Mibjectioii in 1^47 id' the (Ireat 
Kirghiz liorde, whoso lands were situateil along the beaulHtil ami lertile -^lope-; nf the Semi- 



18 SIBERIA. 

recWnsk ami Zailiisk Altai, it was found possible to start a scttli-d ami agiicultuial 
colonization in the south-east corner of the Kirghiz lands. Thus in 1S47 the town of Kopal 
was built at tho foot of the Semirechinsk Altai, and in 1854 \\\o fort of Yornoie (ni the 
slopes of the Za'iliisk Altai, and subsequently, a whole series of consi.lerahle settlements were 
founded along the foot of this mountain chain. 

The occupation of the Zailiisk slopes was of similar importance in the history of 
Asiatic Russia to that of settling the region of the Amour. As soon as Russian colonization 
had set, a firm foot in this frontier land of Central Asia, the pioneers of Russian science pre- 
cipitated themselves thither. In 1855 to 1857 and the following years, the Russian Geographical 
Society equipped its first expedition under the direction of its Vice-President Semenov to this 
region, and subsequently used every endeavour for a scientific exploration of mit only this 
region, but taking it as a starting point, for a gradual exploitation of the natural treasures 
of the interior of Asia, The names of the most active agents of the Russian Geographical 
Society are connected with the exploration of this region of Siberia and of the adjacent 
countries of Central Asia. After Semenov's expedition, Severtsov, Yi'uiukov, Baron Osten- 
Sacken, Moushketov, Romanov, Przhevalski, Potanin, Beresovski, P.'vtsuv, Groniclievski, the 
brothers Groom-Grzhimailo, Krasnov, Bogdanovich, Obrucliev and Roborovski appear as the 
pioneers of science not only in this region but in the depths of the Asiatic deserts and their 
oases and hills. In the interim Vernoie, mth its excellently colonized area, not only bc'-ame 
the lever point of Russian influence over the neighbouring nomadic tribes, which soon voluntarily 
subjected themselves to Russia, but it also succeeded in binding such a knot of relations with 
the long settled rulers of Turan as could never have been done from tlie distant Orenburg. 

In the meanwhile, in 1858, the ftirt of Porovsk was erected on the lowlands of the 
Syr-Daria on the spot taken from the Kokand tribe of Ak-mecheti and a line of outposts 
established along the Syr-Daria from Perovsk to Kasalinsk. At the end of the fifties the 
Russian Government gradually came to the conclusion of the necessity of advancing the fron- 
tier to include the tribes which had gone over to Russian rule, and of entirely subjecting 
the Kirghiz hordes far into the Kirghiz steppes, with the kingdoms of Turkestan, and of occu- 
pying the slopes of the mountain chain limiting the upper eourse of the Syi'-Daria on the 
north between the meridians of tlie already occupied limits of lake Issyk-Kule and fort Pe- 
rovsk. This occupation which was begun by Colonel Tsimmermann in 1860, and realized by 
Colonel Cherniaev in 1864, resulted in the subjection of Tashkend, gradually brought the whole 
of Turkestan under Russian rule and was completed in 1881 ' by the occupation of the pre- 
sent Transcaspian province to the very frontiers of Persia and Afghanistan and the laying 
down of the Transcaspian Railway. 

The colonization of Siberia proper has followed its natural course. The emigration move- 
ment was very strong before the Crimean campaign; llieu in 1855 it decreased, but after 
the. close of the campaign it again increased. Before 1861 at tho time of the liberation of the 
serfs the number of emigrants again began to decrease, but after the liberation it attained 
the largest dimensions. From the time of their liberation the peasant population increased in a 
manner unprecedented in the present century; so that evident signs of an over population 
evinced themselves in many parishes and even districts of Russia, and emigration on a large 



HISTORICAL SKKTCn. ] 9 

scale appeared as a natural necessity. Between 1860 and 1880 tlie emigration into the two 
western Siberian governments was estimated at 60,000 souls, and if the eastern governments 
and the Semirechinsk province be included, then the number during that period may be taken 
as about 110,000 souls. The emigration returns for recent years show that during the six years 
between 1879 and 1885 over 55,000 people passed into Siberia. Last year, 1892, after the 
famine in European Russia, about ninety thousand were registered at Tinmen. The emigra- 
tion to the Altai mining district was particularly strong, and between 1884 and 1889 about 
95,5C0 emigrants settled there. 

Since 1861 the emigrants to the Amour and lattoral provinces are given special ad- 
vantages, which with certain modifications are in force to the present day and consist in the 
following: Crown land to the amount of not over 100 dessiatines per family is allotted to 
each family or company under the condition of a free use of this land for the first twenty 
years, with the right of buying it, or after the lapse of these twenty years, of paying a rent 
fixed by the State. In those cases where the emigrant may desire to acquire more land than 
that allotted to a family, it can immediately do so by paying three roubles per dessiatine. 
And in general this is the price fixed for the purchase of land in the districts assigned by 
the Government for emigration, the pioneer being given the choice of his place of settlement. 
Being freed from the payment of taxes and State service for twenty years the settlers were 
freed from military service for ten years, and from the payment of rural taxes for three years. 
These advantages attracted settlers to the Amour and they gravitated through the whole of 
Siberia to Blagoveschensk and the valleys of the rivers Zei and Bourrei. In 1883 the Govern- 
ment started the peopling of the south Ussuri region, whither the peasants of European Russia 
were transported at the expense of the Government by steamer from Odessa through the Suez 
canal. The result of a three years trial was the settlement of over 4,500 souls in this region, 
at a cost of over a million roubles to the State. Emigrants to this region were also allowed 
to settle at their own expense, with the condition that each family should have a capital of 
not less than 600 roubles, beyond the travelling expenses, for starting farming in the new 
locality; and should they desire to enlarge their farms, they were given advances of 
600 roubles per family for a period of 33 years. 

In speaking of the colonization of Siberia it is necessary to mention also the sending 
of criminals into that region. It is generally thought that such transportation forms one of 
the modes of colonizing a country, but this is hardly the case. The distribution of the exiles 
in the different governments and regions is extremely uneven. In certain localities they are 
crowded to the extreme, for instance, in tlie Kainsk and Mariinsk districts of the government of 
Tomsk, they form almost one-sixth of the population, wliile in other districts and even i)ro- 
vinces there are none, such as for example at Seraipalatinsk, Kamchatka, the region of 
Okhotsk, and province of Akmolinsk. Theit; are no accurate data respecting the increase of 
exiles through marriage, but judging from the reasons which hinder the multiplicatiDO of the 
exiles it may be concluded that this increase is very insignificant. The iicoplc transported for 
criminal olfences are in the majority of cases single, husbands without their wives, wives 
without their husbands; and as, moreover, the number of males exiled into Siberia is tea 
times that of the females, the married couples made between the criminals must be compar- 



20 SIBERIA. 

ativcly small: besides this the indisposition of the vapahoml exiles to a domestic life and of 
the natives to enter Into marriage with the criminals and the predominance of prostitution, 
sickness, siphilis el cetera, among the exiled popolation, all this combines to prevent the mul- 
tiplication of the exiled settlers and to paralyze it. 

This historical sketch of the conquest and colonizaton of the vast area known under the 
general name of Siberia comes down almost to the present time. When during the second 
half of the present century it was discovered that the population was fast outgi-owing 
its territory then colonization became one of the most important problems of the State. 
And thus it is that the Government has resolved to come to the aiil of the national 
movement, and to regulate it by a series of measures. The matter was begun by the law 
of 1889, respecting the voluntary emigration of peasants and burghers to State lands where 
they previously had not the right of settlement. According to this law the Ministry of 
State Domains forms special allotments on the State lands for settlers and communicates 
concerning them to the Ministry of the Interior, who after investigating the local position of 
the families desirous of emigrating includes those which satisfy the necessary conditions in 
the emigration list and excludes those which are deemed unfitted. Emigration was also allowed 
to the south-western Siberian provinces peopled by the Kirghiz, and where Russians were not 
previously admitted, and in 1892 this permission was extended to the two governments of 
Eastern Siberia, those of Yenisseisk and Irkutsk. 

The result of tliis emigration movement to Siberia was the settlement of Russian emi- 
grants over the whole of the narrow southern band extending from the Urals over Western 
and Eastern Siberia proper and beyond the Baikal over the basin of the Amour to the Sea 
of Japan. And this is why, during the last ten years, the necessity of uniting all this extensive 
and in parts even, interrupted colonized area of Siberia by an uninterrupted railroad has be- 
come more and more evident both in Russia and Siberia. But the question of the construction 
of this line only came to the fore after the memorable journey of the Heir Apparent throijgh 
the whole of Siberia. On his return to Russia from his long journey to the East, His Imperial 
Highness landed on Russian territory at Vladivostok, on the llth of May, 1891, and read there 
the immemorial Imperial rescript of the 17th of March, 1891, published at St. Retersburg in 
the name of His Imperial Highness the Tsarcvicli and Grand Duke Mcolai Alexandrovich. 

«Having now commande.l Iho immediat.' (•(nistruciiou (d' a railroad through the entire 
length of Siberia with the object of connecting these richly niddwrd provinces of Siberia 
with the internal network of railways, I commission you to aunnuuc(^ such as my will on 
your ivtiirn lo the Russian territory after having visited the foreign lands of the East. Al 
the same time I lay upon you the act of inaugurating the construction, at the expense of the 
Crown, of the Ussuri section of the Grand Siberian Railway at Yladivostdk. 

<May your auspicious participation in the inauguration of this truly national work which 
I have undertaken, serve as a IVesli witness o[ my hoartful desire to facilitate the relations 
belweeii SiliiTia and ilie olliei' poiiions of the Empire, and in such wise make known to this 
reginii. whirh is se deal- te my heart, my liveliest care for its pacilic progress^). 

This (Iceidcil the (|uesiieii (il' ilie ('(Misi inctieii (d' the (ireat Siberian Railway wWcli had 
occu|iied the allentinii (il the (idveriiment and nati(ni lor over a third of a century; and this 
fact is (iiie of the imist im|)iirlaut events of the present reign. 



HISTORICAL SKETCH. 21 

His Imperial Highness, the Tsai-evich, in his voyage through the whole of Siberia 
from Vladivostok to the Urals, became personally acquainted with many of the immediate 
needs of this distant portion of the Empire and from that time the problem of the realiza- 
tion of this colossal work took a practical form. The construction was started simultaneously 
from the two opposite extremities of Siberia and as its completion necessitated numerous other 
subsidiary works having both the object of facilitating the actual construction and the peopling 
and industrial development of the districts adjoining the line, it was therefore decided at 
the end of 1892 to institute a special committee at St.-Petersburg under the title of the 
«Committee of the Siberian Railway» and to concentrate the entire direction of the matter in 
this Committee. His Imperial Highness the Tsarevich named by Imperial decree the Presi- 
dent of this Committee, has already instituted a series of practical measures for the most 
rapid realization of this line connecting the Russian railway system with the Pacific coasts 
of Siberia. 



— ^<^- 



SIBERIA. 



CHAPTER II. 
Geographical Review of Siberia. 

It has already been shown that Siberia may be divided into five component parts each 
of which, in virtue not only of the vastness of its area, bat also from the difference of its 
natural conditions, of the composition of its population and of its historical development, 
should be considered separately. The present review commences with those two portions 
which are known separately as Western and Eastern Siberia, and together as Siberia pro- 
per, in the limited sense of the word. 



Western Siberia. 

Its component parts: the Altai slopes and the western Siberian lowlands; geographical 
and orographical review of the Altai slopes; the western Siberian lowlands, their hydrography 
and division into three zones or bands; the cultivated agricultural, the forest, and the polar- 
tundrys (frozen marshes); climatic conditions of those zones; the flora of the western Siberian 
valley and of the Altai slopes; the character of the fauna of Western Siberia; its population 
and its ethnographical composition and emigration; the distribution of domestic animals. 



WESTERN Siberia, in the above sense of the term, is in its administrative aspect composed 
of the two governments, Tobolsk and Tomsk, and from a geographical point of view it 
occupies the greater portion, that is, 68 per cent, of the basin of the river Obi, or an area of 
41,500 square geographical miles, that is, more than two-fifths of the area of the whole of 
European Russia and four times that of Germany. 

With the exception of its north-western limits, where the low mountain chain of the 
Urals, from the sources of the river Kara to the northern extremity of the go\ernments of 
Perm, form a boundary between Western Siberia on the one hand and the government of Volog- 
da and Archangel on the other, and its entire south-eastern corner composed of the vast high- 
lands of the Altai, the whole of Western Siberia presents a vast plain, very slightly elevated 
above the level of the Northern Ocean and plentifully watered by the numerous tributaries 
of the two immense branches of the vast system of the Obi, the rivers Irlysli and Ubi. 

The entire south-eastern corner of Western Siberia is occupieil by the Altai highlands 
and lowlands forming the Altai Miuiug Region, the wlmle id' which, td tlie extent of over 



GEOGKAl'HICAL REVIEW. 23 

380,000 square versts, or 7,800 square geographical miles, lurms a luouutaiuous country eight 
times as large as Switzerland, and belonging not to the State but to His Imperial Majesty's 
("ahinel, that is, forming the private pnipeily of thr Enipfmr. These lands passed into the 
liands t.f tilt! Cabinet at the middh^ uf the eighteenth century, from those of the Demidovs, 
th.' first occupiers and settlers, and tlie lirst to start a true mining industry in the country. 
Une-third uf the area of the Altai mining region is covered by the high mountain masses (if 
the Altai. Tliis is not a mountain chain but an immense highland, situated at tlie western 
extremity of the long chain of the Saian mountains which form the n.jriluMn boundary ef 
the internal highland of Asia and descends to the lowlands of Siberia. The Altai highlands 
are almost as bread as tbey are lung and consist of a number of mountain ridges separated 
frjm each other by longitudinal and, in places, transversal valleys. The ridges extend in a 
net entirely parallel east to west direction, but slightly diverge towards the west after the 
fashion of a half-opened fan. Thus the Xarimsk ridge which limits the longest of the Altai 
valleys, the Bukhtarmiusk m the south, extends almost along the parallel, while the cor- 
responding Kusnetsk Alatau, on the eastern extremity of the Altai highlands, has an almost 
meridional direction, while the rich in ores, but low Salairsk ridge extends to the north-east 
in a diagonal direction between the two above named ridges. 

The high ranges of the Altai known under the name of «belki», which exactly corresponds to 
the word «Alps»,risefar beyond the snow line; they extend fur a certain distance almost parallel, 
being divided from one another by the deep ravines of the mountain streams. The highest of all 
the ridges is thai known under the name uf the Katunsk Stulby. or Pillars uf Katuun, 
whirh includes the picturesque Siberian Mont Blanc, the Beloukha, 11.500 leet high. Many 
other of the mountain ridges of the Altai rise beyond the line ol eternal snow, such as 
the Sailughemsk, Chuisk, Aigulaksk, Kholsunsk and Turgussun belki. The height of these 
mountains in many cases exceeds nine thousand feet, while the snow' line on the northern 
side of the Altai is not more than 7,000 feet, while on the suuthern aspect it is nut under 
eight theusand feet. In its south-eastern purtiun the Altai evince an inclination to form 
tablelands, that is, more or less wide highland plains extending into the Alpine zone 
of the steppes, like the Chuisk and Kuraisk. The Altai belki chiefly consist of crystalline 
rocks, such as granites, cianites, diorites and porphyries and of metamorphic rocks, such 
as crystalline schists and also of grauvacke. The strata of the sedimentary rocks have been lifted 
by the crystalline and belong to the ancient paleozoic formations, such as the upper, Silu- 
rian, ilevouian and carboniferous systems. Secondary lorjnations like the Jurassic are only met 
with in the most northern branches of the Altai. All the formerly rich deposits uf argeutifer- 
uus lead and copper ores, occur at the junction of the crystalline and sedimentary rocks 
Considerable glaciers descend from the Beloukha and feed the sources of the Katouu, one 
of the two component branches of the river Obi. The other of these branches, the Bea 
forms the outlet of the wonderful and vast Alpine lake Telets which in its beauty recalls 
the lake of the l-'our Cantons in Switzerland. Immediately over the lake rise the Telets 
belki, the highest of which, tlu; Altyn-Tag, rises over 8,000 feet. At this point the steep 
declivities of the belki descend straight into the lake, which is fed by the mountain streams 
falling fruni the' Sailughemsk ridgi». 



24 SIBERIA. 

Till' Bea and tin- Katoiin alieady unite at tlie toot of the Altai aud form the 
majestic (Jbi. All the upper tributaries on the left of tlie Obi have their origin in the 
Altai highlands, for instance, the Auoui, Charysh and Alei, while those on the right hand 
proceed from the Kusnetsk Altai, for example, the Chumysh, Tom and Chulim. But the 
upper streams uf the Irtysh, thi' other immense branch of the Obi, originate on the 
southern declivity of the Altai highlands within the frontier of the Chinese Empire. The res- 
ervoir collecting these upper streams is lake Zaissan which lies outside the limits of Western 
Siberia in the province of Semipalatiusk, while the right branch and large upper streams of 
the Irtysh below Zaissan, such as the Bukhtarma, Uba and Ulba, originate in the Siberian 
Altai belki and flow through their finest valleys. It is in these valleys, as well as over the 
whole of the north-western side of the Altai and of tablelands extending far into the Sibe- 
rian valley, mainly the Salairsk and Kusnetsk Altai, that the mineral wealth of the 
country occurs. These minerals consist of argentiferous lead and copper ores, coloured 
stone from the so-called Korgonsk quarries, in the Korgonsk valley, and alluvia! uuld, 
while vast deposits of coal and iron ore occur in the so-called Kusnetsk coal basin beiween 
the Kusnetsk Alataou aud Salairsk mountain ridges. Although the larger half of the Altai iniu- 
iug region, owing to its height above the level of the sea aud the character of its soil, con- 
sisting as it does of rocks aud rocky avalanches, is not habitable, still the remainiug area 
which comprises not less thau three thousand geographical square miles of the Altai lowlands 
is composed of fertile plains, hilly uplands and spacious valleys, and is extremely suitable for 
cultivation and colonization. 

The remainiug vast plain of Western Siberia which presents one of the most extensive 
lowlands in the world is covered with alluvial soil and iu no portion of it do any denuded 
rock formations occur. 

Ouly fresh water shells of the upper tertiary formation have been found iu the friable 
strata which forms the under-soil. These strata consist of sand and clay and are chiefly exposed 
along the declivities of the right and always slightly elevated banks of the rivers. No poiut 
of these lowlands apparently rises over 400 feet above the sea level. Nevertheless the western 
Siberian lowland is plentifully watered by the two high rivers Obi aud Irtysh and their nu- 
merous tributaries which flow together to the far north. The Obi-Irtysh river system com- 
prises one of the most colossal basins of the earth and can compete with the river regions of 
the Yellow and Blue rivers and the Nile of the Old world, or the Amazon and the Mississippi 
of the New, besides the neighbouring river systems of Siberia. The area of the river basin of 
the Obi within Western Siberia and the Chinese Empire is over 60,000 geographical square 
miles and the length of the river course, counting its source as either the Obi and Katoun or 
the Irtysh, Zaissan aud Kara Irtysh, gives almost one and the same figure of 4,900 v.-rsts. 
Moreover the navigable network of the river includes the whole of the Obi from its mouth 
to the junction of the Bea with the Katoun aud the Irtysh from its mouth to its rapids through 
the mountain gorge, above Ust-Kamenogorsk aud the tributaries of the two chief branches 
of the system, the Tura, Tavda, Chulym and Tom to their lower courses. Unforiunately the 
colossal water way of Western Siberia has the great disadvantage, that it is locked by the 
ice of the gulf of Obi for the greater part of the year aud is almost inaccessible to the ^ea 



GEOGRAl'UICAL KKVIEW. 25 

for this reason and also that tlie two chief rivers intersect the main lino of the Siberian trade 
traffic at right angles. Although fortunately the junction of the two branches of the Obi forms 
an uninterrupted and excellent navigable route between the most important and almost extrt'iiK' 
points of this line of traffic in Western Siberia, the cities of Tinmen and Tomsk, this 
route is too circuitous and for the greater part lies outside the cultivated and agricultuial 
regions of Siberia. 

Western Siberia abounds in lakes. Besides the picturesque mountain lakes in tli(! nar- 
row valleys and cii'cular basins of the Altai, a very large quantity are situated in the West- 
ern Siberian lowlands, and especially in its southern limits, in the Ishimsk, Barabinsk and 
Kouloudinsk steppes. Among the lakes there are some of vast dimensions, such as lake Chan 
which covers over 60 geographical square miles. There are also numberless small lakes which 
have no outlets, although some are fresh water, as well as salt lakes. 

In order to explain better the character of the vast Western Siberian lowlands and 
their capacity for settlements and cultivation, it is necessary to subdivide it into three zones 
presenting quite different types. The iirst of these types is the cultivated agricultural zone of 
Western Siberia. It is composed of all the districts of the government of Tobolsk, except the two 
northern, that is, the Berezovsk and Sourgoutsk districts, and also of the lesser northern portions of 
theTarsk district and the greater northern portions of the Tourinsk and Tobolsk districts, of the gov- 
eriunent of Tobolsk and of all the lowland portions of the government of Tomsk which 
do not enter into the composition of the Altai mining district, with the exception, however, of 
the so-called Narymsk region which occupies four-fifths of the area of the Tomsk district. 
Under these conditions the cultivated agricultural zone of the Western Siberian plain occupies 
an area of 8,500 geographical square miles, and is characterized by the fact that it is capable of 
an agricultural and settled colonization, and at the same time is throughout plentiful in fori'st. 
Naturally in this zone there are also large areas which are unfitted for cultivation and a 
settled population. The most important example of such a locality are the so-called Barabinsk 
steppes, where the stagnant water of the fresh water lakes alternates with salt lakes and marshes, 
and the vast Vasugansk bog which occurs on the. boundary of the cultivated agricultural 
zone. But it may be estimated that six thousand geographical square miles of this zone are 
suitable for colonization and agriculture. The second type is represented by the W^estern Si- 
berian zone of high-stemmed forests, which comprise the great northern portions of the Tourinsk 
and Tobolsk districts, the northern portions of the Tarsk and the southern portions of the 
Sourgoutsk and Berezovsk districts of the government of Tobolsk, and the whole of the vast 
regions of Narym in the government of Tomsk. This zone occupies an area greater than that 
of the Altai mining region and the cultivated agricultural zone taken together, namely, eighteen 
thousand geographical square miles, and it is characterized by the fact that it consists, like the 
greater part of the government of Archangel and the north-eastern portions of the government 
of Vologda in European Russia, of a continuous mass of forests and bogs, in which there are 
only isles or oases in any way suitable for settlement, scattered chiefly on the iirm banks of the 
rivers. And lastly the third type comprises the portions of the Beresovsk and Sourgoutsk 
districts lying beyond the parallel of Beresov, that is, 6-1° north latitude, and forming the polar 
marsh land zone which extends over seven thousand geographical square iiiiies of Western 



'_»0 SIBERIA. 

Siberia. lu this portiou llie forests becume thiuuer and smaller and change into low bushes. 
The boggy marsh land covered with mosses and lichens is frozen for the gi-eater part of the 
year and is totally unfitted for an agricultural settled habitation. The under-soil of the marshes 
never thaws below a depth of one and a half arshines and consists of intermittent strata of 
frozen earth and clay and of pure ice, which thus furms, as it were, the rock furraation of 
the district. 

The climatic conditions of each of these three zones are naturally very different, and 
in them is also found the explanation of the difference in the comparative fitness of each 
for cultivation and colonization. In general, compared with the climate of the corresponding 
latitudes of European Russia, the climate of Western Siberia is distinguished by its 
great coutinentality, which is seen in the lower average yearly temperature compared with the 
localities lying under one and the same degree of latitude in European Russia, in the gi'eater 
severity of the winters and consequently in the greater difference between the average temper- 
ature of summer ami winter, and between the coldest and warmest months, and lastly in the 
somewhat smaller rainfall and snowfall. 

Thus iu the cultivated agricultural zone of Western Siberia, the average yearly temper- 
ature is nearly zero, or for the average, taken at eight points of observation -|-0-33°, while 
that uf the same latitudes in European Russia does not exceed 3" Celsius. The average 
winter temperature of the cultivated agricultural zone of Western Siberia is — 1T\ and during 
the coldest months —18°, while in tiie corresponding parts of European Russia it is — U.ry' 
and during the coldest mouth — 12.5" Celsius. On the other hand the average summer temperature 
nf -|- 17.5'J and that of the warmest mouth -j- 19.5" even exceed, although not more than half 
a degree, the similar temperatures in the corresponding latitudes of European Russia. Thus 
the difference of the average summer and muter temperatures in the agricultural zone of 
Western Siberia is 35°, while iu the corresponding parts of European Russia it is 28". The 
difference of the average temperatures of the coldest and warmest uiuiiihs iu Western Siberia 
is 39", and in the corresponding parts of European Russia 32"; but there is au entire simi- 
larity between the average temperatures uf the cultivated agricultural zone of Western 
Siberia and the corresponding parts of European iUissia during the five months of vegetation, 
that is, from the first of May to the first of October, new style, when the average temperature 
of one and the other is + 15". Hence this region of Western Siberia is not less suitable for 
a settled agricultural life than European Russia between 55" and 58° of the northern latitude, 
and indeed it is better fitted, because the soil of Western Siberia is fresher than that of 
European Russia, the pasturage richer and vaster, the rivers more abundant iu water and 
there is no want of forests. 

The climatic conditions of the more southern lowland and of the excellently sheltered 
from ilf north, although more elevated, valleys of the Altai are still better. But naturally 
these conditions iu the Altai mining region become less favourable as the elevation increases. 
Thus at Barnaoul at an absolute elevation of 460 feet the average temperature during the 
five uiuuihs (if vegetation is -f 15°, which is most favourable for the development of agricul- 
tur.', whil.i at Salair at an absolute height of 1,180 feet this temperature scarcely exceeds+lS" 
Celsius, which is not suitable for the ripeuiug of iho more wwU'V kimls of graiu. 



GEOtiPxAPHlCAL KEVIEW. 27 

Tlic more cuiitiiu'iUal chaiarUT ^r tlu" nillivatcd a^riniliiiral zone (if Weslciii Sibfiia, 
as CMinpatvil with the curiespuiuliiig lalitiidcs of Kuiopeaii Jliissia, is also ubservable in the 
amount nt rain and snow. In the ref-non under consideration the annual rain and snowfall 
is 38U millimetres, while in the corresponding parts of European Kussia it is as much as 500. 
A still greater difference is seen in the winter fall, which in the Sib^iian /one is only 50 
millimetres while in the corresponding portions of Kuroiican Russia it is over 80. In summer 
the difierencc is not so great, namely, the fall in the Western Siberian zone is 175 milli- 
metres and in the corresponding parts of European Russia, 185. Hi'iice in the agricultural 
zone of Siberia the winters are in general far poorer in snow than in European Russia, so 
that in the southern limits of the agricultural zune the cattle scratch away the snow with 
their hoofs and find fodder under their feet in winter, only the winds (bouran) which rise at a 
temperatureof not under — 10- Celsius, and meeting with no impediment in the vast plain, sweep 
away the snow into huge drifts and snow ridges. 

The Altai lowlands differ but little from the cultivated agricultural zone in respect to 
the rain and snow fall, only the quantity is far greater on the very slopes of the north and north- 
west Altai, and especially in the valleys. Thus at the station of the Altai clergy Ulal, the 
yeai'ly fall is 600 millimetres, half of which fall is during the three summer inont lis. This explains 
the luxurious vegetation of the Altai. The dews, for instance, in the L'lbinsk and Oubinsk 
valley are so powerful that when riding in clear sunny weather along the narrow pathway 
the rider becomes quite wet, as his horse breaks through the tall grass. Rut on the other hand, 
on the southern Altai, the slopes of the wide valleys facing the south are so dry that they are 
quite void of forest vegetation and only exhibit the high steppe plants of Central Asia. The so- 
called forest and forestry zone of Western Siberia presents quite other climatic conditions,industries 
and sporadic agriculture. Here the average annual temperature is as low as — 2°, while in the 
corresponding zone of European Russia it exceeds + 1"; the winter temperature is — 20°, and 
that of the coldest month, — 22°, while in the corresponding parts of European Russia, the 
mean winter temperature is — 14°, and that of the coldest month — 16°. Even the average summer 
temperature, + 14°, is lower than that of the corresponding localities of European Russia, -}- 16°; 
and only the temperature of the hottest month ( 18-^), surpasses that in European Russia (17°). 
Thus, the difference, too, between the mean temperatures of winter and sujnmer, (34°), and 
in particular, between the coldest and hottest months, (40'-'), is more considerable than the 
difference for the correspondiug parts of European Russia, the first being there 30° and the second 
33° Celsius. As far, however, as concerns the temperature of the vegetative period, especially 
Important for agriculture, it falls in the zone under consideration to 12° and lower, and is 
even more unfavourable than in the corresponding parts of European Russia, where it for the 
most part certainly, stands higher than 12°, and here and there even, than 13°, as in St. Pe- 
tersburg, Bielozersk, Vologda, Ustiug, Slobodskaia and Cherdyn. Everywhere where the tem- 
perature of the vegetative period does not exceed on an average 12" Celsius, agriculture 
reaches, so to say, its limit, and shows itself only in a sporadic form, scanty cultivated oases 
being lost in vast areas, covered with forest and morass and uusuited to tillage. As far, how- 
ever, as concerns rainfall, its amount is very much more considerable in the forest zone of 
Western Siberia than in the agricultural zone, forming 470 millimetres a year, which differs 



28 SIBERIA. 

very little from the rainfall occiirrin? in the conrse of the year in the corresponiiing parts of 
European Russia, 480 millimetres. Only a larjjer proportion than in European Russia falls in 
the summer months, namely 220 millimetres, the average for European Russia being 190. 

Finally, very various are the climatic conditions presenter! by the polar tun d r a 
zone, of which unfortunately we are in a position to judge almost exclusively from the ob- 
servations taken on the southern border of the zone at Beriozov. Judging from these obser- 
vations the mean annual temperature falls here as low as — 5", and even lower, the soil at 
a depth of three-quarters to one arshine being perpetually frozen. The winter temperature Is 
lower than — 21°, that of the coldest month, below — 23°, while the summer temperature does 
not exceed 4- 13°. 5, and that of the hottest month, -f- 18", forming a difference between summer 
and winter of 34°, and between the hottest and coldest months, of 49° Celsius. In Beriozov the 
mean temperature of the five-month vegetative period scarcely exceeds 9°, and it is there- 
fore intelligible that the rivers are here ice bound forty days longer than on the frontier of the 
forest and agricultural zones, that the cereals are quite incapable of growing and that the forests 
attain the extreme range of their existence. Domestic animals also reach their limit in the 
polar tundra zone, with the exception of the reindeer, which is peculiar to the tundras of 
this zone. To the north of Beriozov, beyond the arctic circle, the rainfall also decreases: in 
Obdorsk the annual amount is only 218 millimetres, while in Beriozov it is as much as 467 
millimetres. 

The climatic conditions of a country appear most clearly and directly expressed 
in its vegetable covering. It follows from the above explained climatic conditions that the 
herbaceous vegetation of the Western Siberia lowland differs very little from the flora of the 
corresponding zones of European Russia, the more so that the comparatively low range of 
the Ural is no bamer to the dissemination of plants w^hose seeds are freely bonie hither and 
thither by the wind over the vast plains adjacent to either side of the mountain range and 
lighting upon analogous conditions are sown and reproduce their kind without let or hindrance. 
The traveller entering Siberia through Ekaterinburg or Zlatoust, crossing the whnje Siberian 
plain as far as Tomsk and further to the Yenissei, is not struck with any difference in the 
herbaceous vegetation, but very few western species disappear, at times changing to eastern 
varieties, as for example, the pale yellow heads of the European crow's-foot (trollius euro- 
peus L.) are replaced by the fiery orange of its Asiatic variety (trollius asiaticus L.). Only 
very few oriental forms appear not occurring in European Russia, or only here and there cross- 
ing its frontier, as for example, some anemones (anemone reflexa Steph., altaica Fisch. and 
pennsylvanica L), one beautiful species of paeony (paeonia anoraala L), a few cruciferae 
(dentaria tenuifolia Led, chorispora sibirica, D.C., hesperis aprica poir), one species of violet 
(violla uniflora), among the caryophyllaceae, lychnis sibirica L, among the compositae, a few 
species of wormwood (artemisia desertorum Spr., turczanoviana Bess; macrantha Led 
latifolia Led), the eastern forms of gentians (gentiana auricnlata, Pall., aquatica L, 
halenia sibirica Borkh), et cetera. But the general character of the herbaceous flora remains, 
the same, the plants merely becoming somewhat more sappy and fresh, and the flowers brighter 
coloured than in European Russia. It is different with the trees upon which not the mean 
temperature of the vegetative perind nlnne, almost constant on that side of the Fral, exerts 



GEOGKAI'niCAL REVIEW. 



29 



ail iuHiioiH'i', but ilio (•(nuparative severity of the winters and tlieir relative dryness. Of the 
trees spread over all European Russia, there disappear, immediately on erossin^- tlie Ural: 
the oak, two species, (quercus sessiliflora, Im. and quercus pedunculataKlir.), the haz(d (curylus 
avellana L.),the two elms (ulmus campestris L. and ulmus pedunculata Fouq.), all species of 
maple (acer), the ash (fraxinus excelsior L), and finally, the apple tree (pyrus malus L). The 
woods of the agricultural and forest regions of Siberia are composed of the conifers: the Si- 
berian fir (abies sibirica Led.), passing from Siberia into north-eastern Russia, and in Siberia 
itself reaching to Kamchatka, the oriental or Siberian pitch-pine (picea orientalis L.), also 
passing into the northern and north-eastern part of European Russia, and through Siberia 
reaching the Kuril islands; two species of larch, the Siberian (larix sibirica Led.), also pass- 
ing into the north-eastern part of European Russia and in Siberia spread as far as Baikal, 
and the dahur larch (larix dahurica Trautv.) a purely Siberian form, occurring in Western 
Siberia between Beriozov and Obdorsk; the Siberian cedar (pinus cembra L.), scarcely cross- 
ing the Ural on the European side, but in Siberia spread as far as Bebring Sea and cross- 
ing into the northern part of America; finally, the comiiiuii pine (pinus communis L.). The 
Siberian taigas and urmans are formed of these species. With the couifers in these taigas are 
associated certain foliage trees, in particular the aspen, and to some extent, the birch on the 
skirts of the taiga. In the cultivated or agricultural zone, with soils similar to Chernoziom of 
European Russia, foliage trees prevail, and even over such areas as are called steppes by the 
Siberians; for example, on the Baraba steppe, groves of trees alternate pleasantly with prairie, 
and in localities occupied by a permanent colonization with field and fallow. The foliage for- 
ests of the Western Siberian plain consist of the following species: the common birch (betula 
alba L.), aspen (populus tremula L.), the abele (populus alba L.) occurring only in the 
southern part of the plain; both species of alder (almus glutinosa W. and almus incana W), 
linden (tilia parvifolia Ehrh), the last also confined to the southern jiart of the cultivated 
zone. To these lofty kinds must be added two kinds of rowan, the ordinary mountain ash 
(sorbus aucuparia L.) and the Siberian species (sorbus tomentosa L.); the common bird cherry 
(pruuus padus L.) and also many sorts of willow (salix) of which more than fifteen European 
Russian species occur in the forest and agricultural zones of Siberia. 

There are very few shrubs thriving in the Western Siberian plain wlu<--h an' wA found 
in the wild state in European Russia. Among such must however be reckoned the common 
garden acacia (caragana arborescens Lam.), the red hawthorn (Crataegus sanguinea Pall) 
the cornel (conius alba L.), so well acclimatized in the gardens of European Russia, and one 
kind of meadow sweet (spiraea fruticosa L). 

The flora of the polar tundra zone presents very little ditference from that of the Eu- 
ropean Russia tundras of Lapland and Samoyed. Nearly all this zone's eharacteristic low- 
growing, stunted shrubs, for example one species of arbutus, (aretostaphilus alpina Ad.) the 
heathers or andromedas (cassiope tetragona Don., C. hypnoides Don.), phylodoce saxitolia Sa- 
lisb., loiseleuria procumbeus Don., a species of li'dum— hitifolium Ail., also belonging to 
the European flora, and only one species of the polar azalea (osuioiliamaus fragrans 
D. C.) and one polar willow (salix arctica L.) are not met within European Russia. 



30 . SIBERIA. 

The mountain flora of the Altai uplands on the other hand is in quite a different con- 
dition. Here, beginning already at a height of three thousand feet, the vegetation is extremely 
peculiar and gradually passes into the alpine flora, proper to the Asiatic Alps. Of coui-se this 
flora contains not a few plants which belong to the arctic zone of the Old Woiid, which 
also climb the European Alps, but an enormous proportion of the plants are the typical and 
peculiar property of the alpine and subalpine zones of the Altai Saian mountainous region, 
when only a few species cross the ranges of Central Asia, such as the Tian-Shan and the 
connected Semirechinsk and Zailisk Altai. Among the shrubs characteristic of the subal- 
pine zone of the Altai may be noticed: a few species of acacia (caragano microphylla Zara., 
bungei Led., pygmaea D, C, spinosa D. C, tragacanthoides Poir), two dog roses (rosa platya- 
cantha Schr. and Gebleriana Schr.), the gait en tree (cotoneaster uniflora Bge), some species 
of currant (ribes aciculare Sm., saxatile Pall, cuneatum Kar., heterotrichura Moq., procum- 
bens Pall), two species of tamarisk (tamariscenae), myi'icaria alopecuroides Sch. and daurica 
Ehr.), three honeysuckles (lonicera humilis Kar., hispida L. and bungeana Led.), one species 
of azalea (osmothamnus pallidus D.C.) and two rhododendra (rhododendron ohrysanthum 
Pall, and davuricum L.); among acicular leaved shrubs, ephedra stenosperma Schr., and inter- 
media Schr., juniperus pseudosabina Fiseh. and davurica Pall., and two kinds of birch, hotula 
microphylla Bge, and betula tortuosa Led. 

Much more characteristic is the herbaceous vegetation of the alpine and subalpine 
meadows and slopes, which enchant the eye with the richness and brilliancy of their flowers. 
The following may be indicated as among the species most characteristic for the Altai Sayan 
mountainous system, a few beautiful anemones (anemone umbrosa Mey., Fischeriana D. C. and 
Pulsatilla bungeana Mey.), peculiar kinds of crow's-foot (ranunculus altaicus Laxm.. hmgi- 
caulis, pulchellus, natans, lasiocarpus, propinquus. grandifolius Mey., and the exceptionally 
interesting oxygxaphis glacialis Bge. and callianhemum rutaefolium Mey), a ranunculus with 
pale lilac flowers (hegemone lilacina Bge.) larkspurs (delphinium laxiflorura and dictyocarpum 
D. C), three fumitories (corydalis nobilis Pers., stricta Pers. and inconpticua Bge.), as many 
as thirty altaic species of crucifers, belonging to the high alpine zone (of the genera matliiola, 
arabis, parrya, macropodium, psilotrichum, draba, holargidium, chorispora, dontostemon, 
braya, eutrema, Hutchinsia) charming species of violets (viola altaica Pall., macrocarpa 
Bge., imberbis Led. and acuminata Led.), fifteen or so peculiar species of caryophylleae and 
stellariae, altaie varieties of flata (linum violaceum Bge), St. John's worts (hypericum 
gebleri Bge), some forty beautiful variegated soit of leguminosae, among which especially 
prominent are numerous species of astragalus (astragalus and oxytropis), whose extensive 
family climbs from the Central Asiatic steppes to the eternal snows of the Asiatic 
mountain ranges. Next follow the quaint, high alpine forms of rosaceae (sibbaldia 
adpressa Bge., dryadanthe bungeana Led., chamaerodon altaica Bge., potentilla altaica 
Bge., comarum salessowi Bge.). Further there are a few characteristic saxifrages, among 
which in particular the so-called Chagyr tea (saxifraga crassifolia L.), the large leaves 
of which serve as a surrogate to tea. There are some twenty species of Altai i^nni- 
positae, among them several species of saussure (pygmea Spr., pycnocephala Led., latil'olia 
Led., acuminata Tiircz., foliosa Led.) Finally the jMimalaceae largely contribute to the ad'jrn- 



GEOGRAPniCAL REVIEW. 31 

ment of the alpine meadows of the Altai (piimula longiscapa lied.), cliaiiniiiij; blue and 
yellow gentians (gentiana atrata Bge., aznrea Bge., tenuis Bge, altaiea Pall, kaiolini Fries., 
frigida Haenk., macrophylla Pall.), irises, (iris glaucescens Bge., bloiiduwi Led. ;iiid tiuiidia 
Bge.) and some bnlbous plants: tulipa altaica Pali., liliiim tennifolium Fiseh. ami L. sjx'cta- 
bile Link, fritillaria verticillata W, et cetera. 

The extraordinary wealth and variety of the Altai flora finds its explanation unt only 
in the circumstance that in the Altai, as in every mountainous country, within a coinparitividy 
narrow compass, various climates are superimposed one tipon another, but also in this 
that the extremely varied contour of the Altai moiratain region presents very dislinet ridges, 
cut oil by deep longitudinal valleys and intersected by short ti'ansverse valleys, and at the 
same time extensive elevated plateaux and low hummocky foot hills. Over the whole of this 
vast mountainous area situated between the limitless and relatively moist plain of Western 
Siberia sloping to the Arctic Ocean, and the almost equally unlimited parched steppes of Cen- 
tral Asia, a struggle is constantly going on between the north and north-west damp aerial 
currents and the southern and perfectly dry winds in the lower layers of the atmosphere. In 
consequence of this, polar forms, or an isolated high alpine vegetation, prevail upon the nnith- 
ern slopes of the Altai, while its southern slopes are climbed by the flora of the Central 
Asian steppes, which chancing as it rises upon more favourable climatic conditions, hecomes 
differentiated into a whole series of original high steppe varieties. To such forms belong, for 
example, the peculiar species of astragalus and oxytropis of the Altaic meadows of the 
alpine zone. 

A like dependence upon climatic conditions is also shown by tlie higher invertebrates, 
namely, the insects, and especially such of them as for example, the majority of the coleoptera, 
not possessing any considerable capacity for flight, have not any extended regions of distri- 
bution and are accordingly dependent to a greater extent upon local conditions of climate, 
soil and vegetation. But here, as in the case, of the flora, the insect fauna of the Western 
Siberian plain diff"ers little from that of European Russia and only the fauna of the Altai 
mountain region is as richly varied and original as the flora. The local forms of eoleoptera 
incapable of flight, arc peculiarly eccentric: for example, species of carabns, some of which 
are exceedingly rare : car. imperialis Fiscli., car. regalis Boeb., car. Gebleri Fiscli., car. Leachi 
Fisch; car. Loschnikowii Fisch, et cetera, and wingless wood cutters (for example, dorcadion 
politum Dalm.) et cetera. The vertebrates have a wider area of distribution. Those which are 
hunted maintain themselves best in the vast uninhabited regions of Eastern Siberia, and will 
accordingly be dealt with when that country comes to be described. 

The question of the distribution and classification of the native and Russian population 
of Western Siberia will now be considered. 

The total population of Western Siberia amounts to 2,700,000 of both sexes, of whom 
only eight per cent are natives, the immigrant Russian element forming ninety-two per cent. 
Among the native population the first place in point of numbers is occupied by Finno-turkish 
tribes, known under the collective name of Tartars. They are a remnant of the tribes which 
composed the ancient Kuchum Siberian Kingdom. There are now calculated to be ninety 
thousand of these Tartars in Western Siberia. They are distributed in such a way that as 



32 SIBERIA. 

many as 20 thousand dwell iu the Altai mining district. Half are settled, accepted long ago 
the orthodox laith and are strongly russified ; the other half nomadizes, or more accurately, 
leads a vagabond life and holds to shamanism. In the cultivated or agricultural zone are 
50,000 Tartars: part of them have become russified, but the majority profess mohammedanism, 
and to a certain extent, as for example, in the Baraba steppe, lead a nomad life. Finally, 
in the zone of forest industries and sporadic agi-iculture there are yet another 20,000 Tartars, 
partly with fixed habitations, partly wandering, and mainly professing the mohammedan reli- 
gion. The Tartars speak for the most part a Tiurksk dialect, resembling that of the Kazan Tar- 
tars in European Russia, but among some of the Tartar tribes of the Altai mining district 
Fiiiiiisli dialects are still preserved. 

Anuther native element consists of the purely Finnish tribes of the Voguls and Ostiaks. 
The number of both together amounts to 40,000 souls. Tin} majority of these tribes, namely 
30,000, inhabit the forest zone of Western Siberia and belong to the hunting peoples. Only the 
southern members have accepted orthodoxy and become russianized; the majority adheres to 
shamanism. As many as 10,000 Ostiaks dwell in the polar tundra zone, where they occupy 
thetnselves with reindeer breeding and fishing, and have become largely assimilated with the 
Samuyeds. 

The third native element is the polar tribe of the Samoyeds. They are reckoned to 
number 20,000 souls, of whom the majority still inhabit the forest zone: the minority, the 
polar tundra zone, where they are engaged in rearing reindeer and in fishing. 

Finally the fourth native element is formed by the Mongol tribe ofKalmycks, inhabit- 
ing the Altai mining region to the number of 20,000. The russification of the natives only 
proceeds in the cultivated zone and in the Altai foot hills. In the forest region, and still more 
in the polar tundra region and in the intenial valleys of the Altai, the natives preserve their 
national traits. On the whole there is no evidence of the extinction of the natives in Western 
Sibi'ria. 

The most considerable part of the population of Western Siberia is composed of Rus- 
sian emigrants, who are very unevenly distributed over the different zones or regions of 
Western Siberia. In the cultivated zone of Western Siberia dwell 1,800,000 persons of both 
sexes, that is, 212 inhabitants to the square geogi'aphical mile, out of whom less than three 
per cent belong to the native non-Russian population. Considerable also is the population 
of the Altai mining district, amounting to GOO.OOO souls of both sexes, or 78 per square 
geographical mile, of whom the native tribes form not more than seven per cent. The popu- 
lation scattered in small oases among an unbroken stretch of forests and swamps, namely that 
of the zone of high growing trees, forest industries and sporadic agriculture, is much thinner. 
Its extent does not exceed 270,000, or 15 inhabitants to the square geographical mile, among 
whom the native tribes form 15 per cent. Finally in the polar tundra zone the population 
does not exceed 30,000 of both sexes, the natives here, however, constituting more than 95 per 
cent, which clearly demonstrates that the Russian settled population cannot live in this zone, 
the Russians here appearing not as settlers but only as proprietors and exploiters of tlie country. 

It is evident that in Western Siberia the relation borne by the town iidiabitants to the 
total population is even lower than in European Russia, where in its turn, the proportion of 



(iEOGKAPEICAL REVIEW. 33 

the town populalion is low enough compared with the same proportion in Western Europe and 
America. In European Russia the proportion of the inhabitants of tlie towns to tlie total 
population is 13 per cent, in Western Siberia, less than eight per cent. 

Of the towns of any importance in Western Siberia possessing at the same time a really 
urban character, there are only seven: Tomsk, with a population of about 40,000; Tobolsk, 
with 20,000 inhabitants; Barnaoul and Biisk each with 17,000; Tinmen, with 14,000; Mariinsk 
and Kolyvan, each with 13,000 inhabitants. 

In immediate connection with the density, distribution and maimer of life of the popula- 
tion is the distribution and apportionment of the domestic animals, of which the nearest to 
man, at any rate in country life, is the horse, serving as it does not only for field work but 
for travelling from place to place and for the conveyance of goods. The population of Western 
Siberia, occupying as it does a vast and tliinly inhabited territory, upon which agriculture, 
working a virgin soil without steam motors, leaving extensive wastes covered with a luxu- 
riant herbaceous vegetation, has a particular need for the horse and is in a position to feed 
it from the abundance of fodder. Therefore, while in the thickly populated and most highly 
industrial countries of Europe like, for example, Belgium and Great Britain, the proportion 
of horses per 100 inhabitants hardly exceeds the figure five; in the more agricultural 
countries of France and Germany, does not surpass eight; in those still very rich in 
natural meadows and pastures, such as Hungary and Denmark, it reaches twelve and seventeen, 
and in European Russia and the United States of America, twenty-two; in Western Siberia 
the number of horses per 100 inhabitants reaches sixty-three, the absolute number being 
1,700,000, in other words, to each man of working age there are two to three horses. 

Under such circumstances, as might be inferred, the number of the other domestic 
animals is also proportionately very high. To every 100 inhabitants in Western Siberia there 
are fifty-two head of horned cattle, the absolute number being 1,400,000, that is, from two 
to three head per married couple. Finally there are eighty-five sheep and goats per 100 in- 
habitants, the absolute number being 2,300,000. The northern reindeer is the domestic animal 
of the polar tribes, inhabiting the polar tundra zone which might in AVestern Siberia be called 
the region of reindeer breeding. The absolute number of these animals in Western Siberia 
extends to 240,000 head. As the population employed in rearing reindeer in the polar tundra 
zone and in the northern part of the forest zone, Samoyeds and a portion of the Ostiaks, does 
not exceed 40,000, it follow^s that there are 600 reindeer to every 100 inhabitants; and as 
long as such a proportion per man of domestic animals in the far north can be maintained, 
so long the polar tribes of Western Siberia will not exhibit any tendency to become extin- 
guished. 



-- ^<$-— 



34 



CHAPTER III. 
Eastern Original Siberia. 

Its Sayan bDnleflaml; the liydiniiiapliy of Eastern Siberia and its division into three zones 
or tracts, the cultivated or agricultorai, mingling with the Sayan foothills; the zone of 
high stemmed trees and forest industries, and the polar tundra; the climatif? conditions of each 
of these zones: the vegetative covering of Eastern Siberia and its fauna: mammalia of the 
polai- and forest zones; the population of Eastern Siberia, its etlmographical composition and 
disposition; the distribution of the domestic animals. 



EASTERN Sibeiia in the narrow sense, that is, the eastern half of the original part 
of Siberia inhabited principally by a Russian population, in administrative relation 
is made up of two governments, those of Yenisseisk and Irkutsk, and in geographical 
respects occupies tlie greater part of the basin of the t^vin river Yenissei-Angara, and farther 
embraces the riverine regions of the polar streams, Piassina, Taimyr, and Khatanga, the 
small upper part of the basin of the river Lena and parts of the fronti(M- basins of the rivers 
Taz on the north-west, and Anabera on the nortli-east. Even thus limited. Eastern Siberia 
covers an immense area of sixty-two thousand square geographical miles, exceeding twice the 
extent of Germany, Austria and France taken together. 

The southern borderland of Eastern Siberia is formed by tlie northern chain of the 
long and lofty Sayan range, which for a considerable part of its extent bears the name of 
Erghik-Targak-Taiga and servos as the frontier between Russian territory and the Chinese 
possessions. This chain follows roughly a direction from west to east, but departs from the 
parallel by a wide bend to the north. South of this chain, between it and one further to tlie 
south bearing the name of Tannu-Ola and connected at both its extremities with the Sayan 
by mountain spurs, spreads a very wide valley shut in on all sides by mountains known in 
the juost ancient times by the name of Erghene-Kon or Irgana-Kon, and celebrated in history 
for having according to tradition served as the cradle of the Tiurk tribe, which it is said 
expanded itself from this point over all Asia. In this valley mingle the two great constituent 
branches of the Yeiiissei, flowing from the southern slope of the Sayan, the rivers Ulukem 
and Beikem. After its confluence with three tributaries, the river Kem so reinforced receives 
the Kemchik on the left or western side of the valley, and taking the name of Yenissei, 
bursts through the narrow defile of the Sayan and conies out on the Sayan slope of Eastern 
Siberia. Wilbiii the limits of the Yenisseisk, and in the western pari of the Irkutsk 
governnu'ut the Sayan range i)rocoeds without subdivisiou, merely sending off a few spurs 
penetrating deeply into the southern part of the Yenisseisk government on the north. 



EASTERN ORIGINAL SIBERIA. 35 

Sonifwliat iiiuio coinplcx is tlio (•(uistruclioii of the Sayan in the south-eastern portion ol' the 
Irkutsk governmeut, beginning with its most elevated mass situated between the head waters 
of the Beikem and Ulukem, on the one hand, and those of the left tributaries of the Angara, 
Oka, Belaia and Irkut, on the other. Here this range shows a tendency to break up 
into chains, or ridges, parallel to each other and separated by longitudinal valleys, here 
united by projections of the main ci-est, there cut asinider by transverse dales through which 
the numerous rivers struggle out the slope of Eastern Siberia and form the left tributaries 
of the Angara. 

In the midst of the main crest of the Sayan, at the south-eastern corner of the Irkutsk 
governmeut, the highest mountain mass of the Sayan range lifts itself far above the limits of 
eternal snow in its highest point, the Munku-Sardyk peak, lying on the Chinese frontier, 
reaching an elevation of 11,430 feet above the sea level. This mountain, as also some other sum- 
mits in its neighbourhood situated on the projections of the Sayan range crossing into Russian 
teiTitory and called here not belki as in the Altai, but «golets», feeds more or less consider- 
able glaciers and ice fields, occurring on a somewhat greater scale in this part of the Sayan 
than in the Katun Pillars of the Altai. A little lower than those golets rise, parallel to the 
main crest of the Sayan, the forward ridges, among which the most remarkable is the Tunka 
range lying close to Irkutsk. In another of these ridges, at a distance of 120 versts to the 
south-west of Irkutsk, is the mountain Khamar-Daban, reaching an elevation of 8,940 feet 
above the sea level. In connection with this Khamar-Daban are two ridges stretching almost 
parallel to each other in a north-easterly direction. In the wide and very long valley separat- 
ing them, is situated oneof the largest lakes ou the world's surface, Baikal, whose area of 640 
square geographical miles is equal to the extent of the Kingdom of Holland with the Grand 
Duchy of Luxemburg; its breadth exceeds the length of Lake Geneva, and its length 
is 670 versts. Lake Baikal is fed mainly by rivers flowing over the Transbaikal region, the 
Upper Angara, Barguzin and Selenga. Its outlet is the colossal right branch of the vast 
river system of Eastern Siberia, the Angara, bursting first through the defile of the Baikal 
range, confining the lake on the north-west, and afterwards intersecting the extremities of sev- 
eral of the spurs of the Sayan extending far over its slope. It is at these points of inter- 
section that the Angara forms its celebrated rapids. 

All the chief summits of the Sayan range, and even of its offspurs, consist of crystalline 
rocks, granites, sienites, more seldom diorites, porphyries and diabases, and also of gneiss and 
crystalline schists. In the eastern part of the Sayan range, and also in the low ridges intersecting 
the Eastern Siberian plain between the Angara and thePodkamennaia Tunguzka,real plutonic rocks 
are met with, such as bazalts, dolerites and even lavas, from the long since extinct volcanoes, with 
vulcanic tufas, obsidian and piunice. The sedimentary rocks upon the slopes of the Sayan 
ridges consist of sandstones, schists and limestone belonging to the paleozoic formations, Si- 
lurian, devonian and carboniferous, but further to the north in the denuded parts of the low 
ridges, intersecting the Eastern Siberia plain, secondary formations also are met with, such as 
triassic and Jurassic. 

The mineral resources of Eastern Siberia are considerable. Upon the northern acclivity or 
the Sayan in the Yenisseisk government, mines of argentiferous lead and copper are found, and 



'36 SIBERIA. 

in the region of the foot hills are scattered here and there seams of coal and iron ores. De- 
posits of excellent graphite are found upon one of the offsets of the Sayan range, and lapis 
lazuli has been discovered along the river Sliudianka, also in that region. Eastern Siberia^ 
however, is richest of all in gold bearing sands, situated not only on the slope of the 
Kuznelski Altai and upon the spurs of the Sayan range, but to a yet greater degree upon the 
extensive area between the Angara and the Podkamennaia Tunguzka. 

Eastern Siberia is watered as abundantly as Western. The great river Yenissei, con- 
sisting like the Obi of two almost equal branches, the Yenissei proper and the Angara, has 
a length of 3,800 versts, if the Ulukem be reckoned as its beginning; and of 4,800 versts, if 
its head waters be taken as the Upper Angara or the Selenga, The vast watershed of this 
river covers an area of 54,000 square geographical miles. 

As a w^ater way, the Yenissei has the same inconveniences as the Obi; it intersects, 
the great Siberian tract at right angles, flows northwards, almost without swerving, and falls 
into the inhospitable Kara Sea, ice-bound the greater part of the year. However, the expe- 
rience of the last twenty years has shown that the mouth of the Yenissei is more accessible 
to communication by sea, than that of the Obi, and that for the most part ships penetrating in 
late autumn into the Kara Sea through the narrow straits dividing the two islands of Nova 
,Zembla, the so-called Matochkin Shar, or through the Kara Gates, cannot only reach the- 
Yenissei bay without encountering any obstacle, but having unloaded and reloaded at the 
wharf, constructed near the entrance to the fritli previously to the closing of the navigation, 
may return to Europe. 

The Angara and Yenissei mingle their waters precisely as do the Obi and Irtysch, 
but the curve formed by them is not thrust so far to the north, passes through localities less 
desert in their character, and with the existing hydrographic communication between the Obi 
and Yenissei by means of the Ket and Koss, the Angara might serve as an excellent water 
way to Baikal and Transbaikalia, were it not intersected by a whole series of cataracts and 
falls, which are however now being gradually cleared away. Besides the Angara both the 
tributaries of the Yenissei falling into that river below the Angara, the Podkamennaia and 
Lower Tunguzka, are navigable, flowing however through regions almost absolutely deserted. 

The great expanse of Eastern Siberia may be subdivided into three tracts or zones 
differing very much from each other. The first and most southern of them is that which 
is called the cultivated or agricultural, but which properly corresponds to the two regions of 
Western Siberia characterized above, namely, the Altai mining and low-lying agricultural, as 
the foothills of the Sayan range and its offshoots occupy the whole cultivated zone of Eastern 
Siberia, and as it is impossible to draw a definite boundary between the agricultural and 
the mining zones of Sayan. The cultivated agricultural zone is composed accordingly of the 
four southern districts of the Yenissei government, namely, Minussinsk, Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk 
and Kansk, and all the districts of the government of Irkutsk, but Kerensk. This zone of 
Eastern Siberia so defined, includes an area of 10,500 square geographical miles, but as the 
greater half of this area, partly on account of its high absolute altitude, partly on account of 
its mountainous and rocky condition, stony or swampy soil, is entirely unsuited for agricultural 
purposes; the whole zone hardly counts above 5,000 square geographical miles for colonization. 



EASTERN ORIGIXAL SIBERIA 



37 



The very climatic conditions of the cultivated or agricultural zone of Eastern Siberia 
are less advantageous than in the corresponding region of Western Siberia. The mean annual 
temperature here and there approaches zero, but in the eastern zone it is a negative (luantity 
•(— 2-3), and therefore 0-5" colder than in the western. The average winter temperatures ar>; 
— 18° Celsius, and that of the coldest month — 20«, or 1° and 2-5° below the correspondinu- 
temperatures of Western Siberia. The average summer temperature is IQ-o", and that of the 
hottest month 19", which also fall short of the corresponding temperatures of Western Siberia 
by 1° and 0-5°; only the differences between the temperatures of summer and winter, 35", and 
between those of the hottest and coldest months, 39", remain approximately identical. But on 
the other hand, the most important factor in the capacity of the country for agriculture, the 
mean temperature of the five-month vegetative period, amounting in the zone under conside- 
ration to only 14°, is in this part of Eastern Siberia less advantageous than in the correspond- 
ing zone of Western Siberia. 

And as regards the quantity of rain and snow falling during the whole year, the 
cultivated or agricultural zone of Eastern Siberia is placed in less advantageous circum- 
stances than the same zone of Western Siberia, namely, the total precipitation is 
360 millimetres instead of 380; the summer rainfall is 150 instead of 175, and only the 
wnter shows a certain preponderancy, 56, or in other words is more snowy. The more 
elevated foothills of the cultivated or agricultural zone are placed in incomparably less 
advantageous climatic conditions, situated as, for example, Kultuk, at the southern extremity 
of Baikal at an absolute height of 1,600 feet, at the very foot of the Sayan, or as the mine 
of Preobrazhensk on the Biriussa at an elevation of 3,800 feet in a mountainous valley. Here 
the mean annual temperature is on an average less than — 8°, the winter almost the same, 
but the summer colder, the mean temperature being 12-5°, that of the hottest month 14", 
in consequence of which the average temperature of the five-month vegetative period is so 
low, 10*2°, that it is an obstacle to agriculture. 

The second zone, like the corresponding one in Western Siberia, 'may be called 
the zone of tall trees, forest industries and sporadic agriculture. It includes the Kerensk 
district of the government of Yenissei and part of the Yenissei district as far as 66°, or 
the limit of the high-stemmed forests. The area occupied by this zone in Eastern is 
still more extensive than in Western Siberia, namely, about 27,000 square geographical 
miles, and consists of a continuous mass of forest and morass, with only here and 
there, and that mainly in its southern part in the neighbourhood of the rivers, islets of 
small extent and narrow strips of land in a slight degree fit for the establishment of a 
settled population. The climatic conditions of this zone are also less favourable than in the 
corresponding zone of Western Siberia. The average temperature here is lower, — 3 instead 
of — 2° Celsius, the winters are more severe, having a mean temperature of— 21° instead 
of— 20°, the coldest month being — 25° instead of — 23°. Only the summer is somewhat 
warmer, 15° instead of 14°, the difference between summer and winter being therefore 36" 
instead of 33", and that between the hottest and coldest months, 43° instead of 40". From all 
this it appears that the climate presents a still more continental character than in the 
coiTesponding tract of Western Siberia. As for the mean temperature of the five-month 



3S SIBERIA. 

vegetative period it is here only ll** and proves extremely unfavourable to the development 
of agriculture, which here cannot be the main occupation of the iuhabitauis, but only 
a limited and occasional support to the forest industries. Further, in regard to the 
annual atmospheric precipitation falling to its share, the forest zone of Eastern is worse 
situated than that in Western Siberia; it here does not exceed 400 millimetres, of which 
moreover, half or 200 millimetres falls in the course of the three summer months. 

The third or polar tundra zone is far more developed in Eastern than in Western 
Siberia, occupying as it does in the former an area 3 . 5 times that which it covers in 
the latter. With an extent of 24,000 square geographical miles it yields a wide field for llie 
investigation of all the conditions of life upon the continents of the earth situated beyond 
the arctic circle. As a sample of the climatic conditions of this extreme north of the conti- 
nent of the Old World, are the meteorological observations in one of the farthest habitable 
points on the Yenissei, the settlement called Tolsty Xos, lying iu latitude TO^IO'N. Here 
the mean annual temperature is only — 13", and the mean winter temperature — 30°. The 
coldest month shows almost — 34''; the mean summer temperature is + 5", and that of the 
hottest month -f 9". There can be no question of the mean temperature of the vegetative period, 
as that is so brief that it excludes all possibility of even the thought of agriculture. Under 
such circumstances all this country can be exploited only by polar reindeer breeding tribes 
or by native or immigrant hunters or fishermen. 

In Eastern as in W^estern Siberia, the flora of the country is extremely sensitive and 
reflects to a nicety its climatic conditions. The alpine and subalpine flora of the Sayan 
range has a great resemblance to that of the Altai, while at the same time exhibiting 
certain departures from it. Thus in the Alpine Sayan flora, appear certain polar forms not 
met with in the arctic zone of Europe and Western Siberia, but peculiar to the arctic zone 
of Eastern Siberia and America: many Altaic species vanish, which rise high on the Altai 
slope from the steppes of Central Asia, adjacent to that region, and on the other hand 
vegetable forms appear which do not occur at all in the Altai, but are either entirely local 
or common to the Sayan and the Stanovoi ranges, and even to the more remote Tian-Shan. 
To the latter forms belongs the prickly shrub with gray foliage and yellow flowers character- 
istic of the Alpine zone, known under the name of the cameFs tail among the Tiurk tribes 
Tinek-uiriuk, (caragana jubata Poir). 

The flora of the Sayan slope, that is, of the cultivated or agricultural tract of Eastern 
Siberia also possesses essential distinctions from thai of the Western Siberian lowlaml. 
Gmelin already noticed that on crossing the Yenissei the flora considerably alters. And in 
fact, to the east of the Yenissei not a few characteristic Siberian plants occur, not to be 
met with in the Western Siberian lowland. But this is explained not so much by any sharj) 
change in the climatic conditions, which really does not exist, as by the circumstance that 
the slope of the Sayan ridge where it is intersected by the great Siberian tract, does not 
exhibit a flat low lying expanse like Western Siberia, but is scored by more or less elevated 
offshoots of tlie Sayan, by which its mountain flora pushes its way deep into the cultivated 
or agricultural zone of Eastern Siberia. Examples such as struck the eye of such an expe- 
rienced naturalist as Gmelin niiglii be quoted in large number. Thus, of the family of crow's 



EASTERN ORKilNAL SIHEKIA. 39 

fi.dis {laiiiiiiculacoao) boyniid the Ycnissi'i aic iiR't wiili lor ilic firsi tiiiii': tlialictniiii 
coiilmtiuji L., anomoiie sibirica L., caltlia iiaiaiis Pall.; of the fiiiiiitdrics (riiiiiariarcao): 
oorydalis ambigua Chain., corydalis giacilis Led.: of the criieircis (criKircrcac): iwo species 
of dontosteinoi), sisyiiibriuiii liiunih' ^ley. ; of the violels (viohuicae): viola dissecta Led.; 
of the pea family (li'gmniiinscae): smiie astragalus (oxytropis muricata D.C., brevirostn; 
D.C, ammophila Tiircz., grandistore D.C, leucaiitha Pers., caepitosa Pers., ainpuUata Pers. 
These latter are merely mountainous forms of the Altai-Sayan system, which have descended 
into the Siberian lowland (ni tlie right Inlly hank of the Yenissei by means of the Sayan 
spurs. 

Least difference of all is noticeable between the flora of the forest zone of Eastern and 
Western Siberia. Tln^ woody races are absolutely identical. Of the coniferous families the pine 
(pinus sylvestris L.), and the Siberian larch (larix Ledebourii Endl.) do not cross the boun- 
dary of the forest zone; but the remaining forms also pass over into the polar zone, becom- 
ing of course stunted, crooked and gradually losing their proper chaiacter of high-stemmed 
trees. Thus the Siberian fir (pinus sibirica Led.), attains on the Yenissei a height of 67'5'' nortli 
latitude, the Siberian cedar (pinus cembra L.), 68*5", the pitch pine (picea orientalis L.), 69-5"; 
finally the daur larch (larix davurica Fisch.) is found on the river Boganida as far north as 
72"5°. As far as regards the herbaceous plants of the forest zone, it is not distinguished by 
any special differences from the like flora of the corresponding zone of Western Siberia, and 
is on the whole poor; in the thick forest growths then," is no herbage, the soil being mainly 
carpeted with mosses and lichens. 

Particularly typical on the other hand is the very limited flora of the far north of the 
pidar tundra tract. Middendorf found on the Taimyr peninsula 124 plants, among which were 
the very lowest, it might be said, dwarf shrubs of the arctic species of birch (bctiila nana 
L.); willow, (salix polaris Walil, lanata L., glauca L., arctica Pall., taimyrensis Trautv.), 
and also a ledum, (ledum palustre L.) and an andromeda (cassiope tetragona Don.); and of 
herbaceous plants, 17 species of crucifereae, 14 compositeae, 7 stellarieae, (alsine, stellaria, 
cerastium), 12 stonecrops (saxifraga), 6 species of pedlcularis, 5 astragals (of the genea phaca 
and oxytropis), 5 rosaceae (dryas, sieversia, potentilla) and 6 crow's foots (ranunculus, caltha, 
delphinum). Of the 124 plants mentioned, 30 tlo not belong to the polar types, but are common 
to the whole of Siberia and for the most part cross ov<'r on the on^' side into Europe, and on th<' 
other into America. The remaining 94 plants are completely arctic types. Much more than 
half of them (54) are met with over the whole polar zone, alike of the Old ami of the Xew 
World, and in part come forth upon the alps of the Altai Sayan range; but some are pecul- 
iar to Siberia alone (12), or only appear outside in Europe (10), or more frequently in Amer- 
ica (18 species). To the latter, for example, belong of the crow's foots (ranunculaceae): ra- 
nunculus affinis R. Br.; (d' the crucifers, (crucifereae): draba pauciflora R. Br., draba glacialis 
Ad., draba algida Ad., draba rupcstris R. Br., hesperis Ilookeri Led., sisymbrium sophi(ddes 
Hook.; of the caryophyllac<'ae (alsineae): alsine macrocarpa Fenzl., alsine arctica Fisch.; of the 
pea family (leguminoseae): oxytropis nigrescens Fisch.; of the rosaceae: sieversia glasialis 
R. Br.; (jf the stone cro]»s (saxifragaceae): saxifraga serpyllifolia Pursb. punctata L.; (d" 
the scrophulaiiaccae: pedirularis Langsdorffi Fisch., pedicularis capitala Ad. 



40 SIBERIA. 

The insect fauna follows on the whole the same laws as the flora, but in the Sayan 
range it is somewhat poorer than in the Altai, and on the slope presents less difference from 
the fauna of the Altai slope than does the flora. Highly eccentric arctic forms are met with 
among the coleoptera devoid of flight, as for example the carabidae: carabus Baerii Men., 
lyperophorus cribellus Men., lyperophorus costatus Men., platysma borealis Men. isot less 
peculiar are the following arctic forms of other categories of insects, of the moths (lepidoptera): 
amphidasis unfasciata Men.; of hymenoptera: ichneumon Middendorfii Er., ichneumon figulus 
Er.; of the diptera: musca boganidae Er., anthomya'ursula Er., lispe frigida Ev.. neplaotoma 
aijuilonia Er.; of the neuroptera: hemerobius algidus Er. 

As the forest and polar tundra zones in Eastern Siberia reach their full development 
the questions, having reference to the distribution of the vertebrates over Siberia, are most 
clearly answered by the study of these zones. At first sight it might be expected that in such 
deserted spots as are the forests and tundras of Siberia, where there is no regular hewing of 
timber, where there are not more than seven men living per square geogi-aphical mile, 
the fauna should be extraordinarily rich, if not in the variety of species, as in more southern 
countries, here opposed by climatic conditions, then at least in numbers. Unfortunately even 
in the forest zone the fauna of Siberia is very poor in both respects, and if the sportsman 
with gun in hand should traverse the wholeforest zone of Siberia to its very heart, for example, 
to about 60" north latitude, he would be very much disenchanted by the fact that at times 
whole days would pass without his making any bag. In the unbroken and thick forest gi-owths 
of Siberia, there are hardly any wild animals. They keep gladly to the skirts of the woods, 
the forest glades, to areas devastated by forestcouflagrations, nay, even to the clearings wrought 
by man, near to his habitation, but not in the forest depths, and not in the forest thicket. 

Such spots, free from trees and also convenient fords across rivers at certain seasons 
of the year, serve the wild animals as places of assembly, and the whole skill of the native 
trapper is confined to watching for them here at the right time, knowing these spots and the 
season of their frequenting by animals. This method of hunting explains also why the 
sparse population of the forest regions of Siberia, unable to exhaust its woody wealth, is 
gradually exhausting its animal life. This circumstance leads to the thought that the establish- 
ment of vast forest clearings or glades, hunters lauds and the preservation of the animals 
assembling upon them at certain seasons of the year, might not only conduce to the preser- 
vation from destruction, but also to the increase of valuable races of animals. 

Generally speaking in the forest and polar tundra zones of the whole of Siberia, 
which are comparatively so poorly endowed by nature, the natural riches are so scattered over 
the enormous surface in a thin and sparse layer, altogether wanting in some parts, that it is 
as difficult to collect them as it is to amass the separate grains of gidd in auriferous strata, 
such work being only feasible when they have been agglomerated by accident or by nature or 
else by the ingenuity of man. 

Passing on to the mammalia of the l'ore^t and polar tundra zones of Siberia, the few 
animals peculiar to the tundra region may be first of all described. The most arctic animal 
is the white bear, (ursus maritimus L), properly an iidiabilant of the islands of the Arctic 
Ocean; it is carried by the floating ice to the aivtic shores of Siberia and is found, for 



EA.STERX ORIGINAL SIBERIA. 41 

instance, at the mouth of the Yenissei where it was tli.i liist living cieatwre seen by Nor- 
denskjdld's expedition on the Siberian sho^'e at the entrance of the gnlf of Yenissei; it some- 
times even reaches the settlement of Tolstyi Nos, whicli is the first inhabited spot on the 
Yenissei from the ocean, bnt it does not penetrate further. Next come tliose arctic wild 
animals which almost exclusively inhabit the polar tundra region: the arctic fox, (canis la- 
gopus L), found in the Taimyrsk peninsula under 75" northern latitude, and the small striped 
or Obi lemings, (myodes torquatus and myodes obensis). There w^as formerly another large ani- 
mal contemporaneous with mankind uxistiug in Ihe polar tundra region corresponding to the 
musk ox, (bos moschatus), which is found in the polar regions of America, but has now 
entirely disappeared; this Siberian ox (bos pallasii) was distinct from the American variety, but 
is only known by the skulls and bones found in the Taimyrsk tundras. Finally as character- 
istic animals of the tundras the northern hare, (lepus variabilis Pall.) and the reindeer, (cervus 
tarandus L), may be mentioned, although they spread far down into the forest zone. The latter is 
found in the mountainous parts of South Siberia; on the Urals it goes down south as far as 
52'^ northern latitude, on the Altai to 49", on the Sayan and Stanovoi chain to 53", and in 
the Amour region it reaches the mouth of the Ussuri under 49° north latitude. 

The rest of the mammalia dwelling in the Siberian plains may be regarded as animals 
of the forest zone, although many of them penetrate into the polar tundra region. These are 
the glutton, (gulo borealis Nilss.), the common bear, (ursus arctus L), the very rare sable, 
(mustella zibellina L), the ermine, (mustella erminea L), the Siberian weasel (mustella sibirica 
Pall.), the common weasel (mustella vulgaris Ertl.) the otter, (lutra vulgaris, Erkl.) although 
rare, the wolf, (canis lupus L), the fox, (canis vul|)('s L), the black variety being only 
peculiar to the extreme north, the lynx, (felis lynx L), the elk (cervus alces L), the flying 
squirrel, (pteromys volans L), the common squirrel, (sciurus vulgaris L), the striped squirrel, 
(tamias striatus L) and some small species of rodents. Finally on the low mountain ridges inter- 
secting the polar and forest regions of Eastern Siberia, for instance, on the Severma chain east of 
the Yenissei under 67° north latitude, and on the mountains following the current of the 
lower Tunguzka there are animals belonging to the mountain fauna, namely the mountain 
sheep, (aegoceros montanus Desm.) and the musk, (moschus moschiferus L.). 

On the Altai-Sayan elevations in Eastern and particularly Western Siberia, there are 
naturally species of such mammals as are not found on the Siberian plains. These are 
the Alpine wolf, (canis alpinus. Pall), two races of large cats, (felis irbis Miill and felis manul), 
the chtonoergus alpinus, spermophylns Eversmanni, the alpine hare (lagomys Alpinus Pall), the 
stag, (cervus elaphus) and others. 

Birds, being more widely spread than any other vertebrates, are fairly plentiful in all 
three zones of Eastern and Western Siberia. The birds of prey, which are found as far as the 
Taimyr peninsula, are: one of the eagle tribe, probably aquila albicilla Bris. and a buzzard 
(buteo lagopus), two sorts of falcons, (falco gyrfalco L., falco tinuncula St.) and some bats, (stryx 
brachyotus Forst, stryx nictea L., stryx funerea Lath). The small birds, passeres, which nest far 
north in Siberia are some varieties of larks, (alauda alpestris L., plectroph nivalis L,, plectroph 
lapponica, emberhiza polaris Mid., fringilla linaria L., parus sibiricus Pm., motacilla alba L). The 
fowls which are found partly in the polar zone and especially in the forest zone are partic- 



42 SIBERIA. 

iilarly the lagopus albus L aud lagopus alpiniis Xilss., the heath cock, (tetrao urogallus L, tetrao 
tetrix L., and tetrao bonasia L.). There are numerous long-legged birds in Siberia, but principally 
of the same kinds as those in Europe. Siberia is however particularly rich in water fowls 
which nest in countless numbers on the shores of the Arctic Ocean and also on the banks 
of the rivers and lakes. On Lake Baikal the gulls are so numerous that the crags and rocks 
overhanging it are covered with a thick layer of guano whirli [\,r a long time will serve as 
manure for the future generations of Siberian farmers. Thf n'lnarkable 300th geographical 
phenomenon of Lake Baikal is the existence of a species of seal (phoca baicalensis), in Wv 
water of this inland sea. 

The total population of Eastern Siberia, omitting the Yakutsk region, is about 900 thousand 
of both sexes, of whom not 8 per cent, as in Western Siberia, but 23 per cent are natives, the remain- 
ing 77 per cent being arrivals from Russia. The Mongolian tribe ofBiiriats is the most numerous 
indigenousrace, settled here since the thirteenth century, when the world-renowned Kingdom of 
Chengis-Khan originated in Mongolia. The first Russian settlers, when first taking possession of 
the part they were about to colonize, during the seventeenth century, waged desperate war with the 
Biiriats, which ended in their being completely subdued at the end of that century. At present 
there are about 160,000 Buriats of both sexes, exclusively iidiabiting the agricultural 
zone of Eastern Siberia. Tlieir principal occupation is cattle breeding; they are of the Budd- 
hist faith and are only partly engaged in agriculture. The space covered by the Buriat camps 
is limited, and they are in reality but half-nomadic, whilst part of them already lead a settled 
life. About 20 per cent of them have been converted to Christianity and have become to a great 
extent russianized. The most northern Buriats still adhere to shamanism. It is a remarkable 
fact that the Buriats do not exhibit any tendency to die out, but on the contrary increase 
at almost the same rate as the Russian population. 

The Turco-Finnish tribes form another indigenous eleuieut, known by the cfdlective 
name of Tartars. They number about 22 thousand and dwell exclusively at the foot of the 
Sayan mountains in the Yenisseisk government. The celebrated Russian savants and authorities 
on Finnish and Tiurks dialects, Kastren and Radlov, studied their language aud proved that 
it was undoubtedly allied to the Finnish. The Finnish tribes were at one time spread 
over all the continent from the Sayan chain through Western Siberia, the Urals aud the 
plains of Russia in Europe as far as the Gulfs of Finland and of Bothnia and the Baltic 
Sea. In the c(unitry at the foot of the Sayan mountains the subjection of this race to the 
Tiurksk tribe in Erghene-Kona has transformed them into the so-called Tartars. The Tartars 
of Eastern Siberia have, however, already adopted a settled moile of life; the majority of 
them have been converted to Christianity and become russianized: the gradual progress of 
their assimilation is still further facilitated by their decreasing luimbers, which were never very 
large. The third indigenous element is composed (if a mixed collection inhabiting the forest 
and polar zones of Eastern Siberia consisting of 3,000 Tungnes, 1,000 Jakuts and about 
4,000 Osliak-Samoyedes, forming a native population of 8,000 leatling a nomadic life in 
the forest and polar tundra zones. 

The greater part of the population of Eastern Siberia, over 770 thousand of both sexes 
inhabit the cultivated zone at the fdoi of the mouutains whcro the density of population 



EASTERN ORHilNAl, SIBERIA. 43 

amounts to 73, per sqiiare mile, beiii^^ almost e»iual to that of the Altai milling' district with 
which it has the ijreatest similarity. The iiidigenous population is however mucli larger ami 
amounts to 21 per cent, as this region was inhabited hy the Mongolian tribe of Buriat.s as 
early as the thirteenth century. The population of those districts comprising the wood indus- 
try zone of Eastern Siberia, excepting the Touroukhansk district, the southern part of which 
may be annexed to the forest zone, amounts to 120 thousand of both sexes, or about 7 per square 
mile, which is comparatively still less than that of the forest zone of Western Siberia and is 
due to unfavourable conditions. The whole of the Touroukhansk region does not contain more 
than 9,000 inhabitants, and of these over 90 per cent are natives, which is sufficient to show 
that the polar tundra zone is entirely unsuitable for a settled population. 

In Eastern Siberia the relative population of the towns is somewhat higher than in 
the west, and amounts to 10.5 per cent; this clearly shows that agricultural colonization is 
less developed. The population of the regular towns is as follows: Irkutsk 44 thousand, Krasno- 
yarsk 15 thousand, Minussinsk 10 thousand souls. 

The ilistribution of domestic animals depends upon the density, mode of life and distri- 
bution of the inhabitants, and in this respect the conditions of Eastern and Western Siberia 
are very similar. In the former there are 72 horses for every 100 inhabitants, or 3 to 4 horses 
for every grown man, in all 640,000 horses, or more than in Western Siberia. There is 
a still greater proportion of large-horned cattle, namely, 70 head for every 100 inhabitants, 
or 630,000 head of cattle in all, which amount to no less than 3 cows per every married 
couple, whilst in Western Siberia there are only 52 per 100 inhabitants. The proportion of 
small cattle is still more favourable in tlie east being 135 per 100 inhabitants, or over 
1,200,000 head, and in Western Siberia it is only 85 per 100 inhabitants. This difference is 
explained by the fact that cattle raising is in a lugh state of development among the 
Buriats who number 18 per cent of the total population of Eastern Siberia. As regards the 
reindeer, the total number of head of this species does not exceed 34 thousand in Eastern 
Siberia, as there are very few breeders, not more than about 6 thousand. The number of 
reindeer is about the same as in Western Siberia or 600 for every 100 inhabitants. The draught 
dogs are of great use to the inhabitants of the polar tnndra zone. These animals are sharp- 
nosed, with elevated ears and downy hair; they are of different colours, white, black, spot- 
ted, gray and brown; they never bark, are very hardy and strong, with a fine scent, and are 
satisfied with a very small amount of most unappetizing food. They are harnessed in numbers 
from 3 to 11, without any reins or bridles, with one dog as an outnmner to show the 
way, the driver being only provided with an iron-pointed rod which serves as a break. Each 
dog will draw a load of 3 ponds; they run in harness at a speed of 10 to 15 versts 
per hour. The outrunning dogs are the most highly prized and they cost from 60 to 70 roubles 
apiece. 



— ^<^— 



4:4 



CHAPTER IV. 
The Yakutsk Frontier Country. 

Orographic aud hydrographic review; division into two regions or zones, the region of 
high-stemmed trees and forest industries with a mixture of cattle raising aud the polar tundra 
zone; the climatic conditions of each of these regions; vegetation and fauna; composition and 
distribution of the population: the natives of the Yakutsk border hind: the Arctic Ocean, its 
islands, flora and fauna. 



TO the east, south-east and south-west of Siberia proper, which has just been described, 
stretch enormous tracts of land which have as yet been but little touched by Russian 
civilization, and which may be termed the border lands of Siberia. 

The most extensive of these is the Yakutsk frontier country. It consists exclusively of 
the Yakutsk region which is under the administration of the Governor-Generalship of Irkutsk, 
formerly that of Eastern Siberia. With regard to its geographical position the Yakutsk bor- 
der land occupies a large part of the country watered by the gigantic river Lena and 
also the basins of some of the smaller tributaries of the Northern Ocean, such as the Ole- 
nek, the Yana, the Indighirka, the Alazea and the Kolyma. Its surface covers the enormous 
area of 70 thousand square geographical miles; this considerably exceeds that of the govern- 
ments of Yenisseisk and Irkutsk taken together, or that part of Siberia proper called Eastern 
Siberia. It is bounded on the south-east and east for more than 3,000 miles by the Stanovoi 
or Yablonoi mountains, which throughout the whole of their length serve as a barrier between 
the waters flowing from the north-western side into the Northern Ocean, and those flowing 
from the south-east and east into the Okhotsk and Behring Sea of the Pacific. The Stan- 
ovoi or Yablonoi chain is not very elevated, the summits of Kogahin, Gonam and the road 
leading to the prison of Udsk have an altitude of 2,500 to 4,000 feet above the level 
of the sea, whilst some of the highest peaks have an elevation of r5,000 to 7,000 feet. On 
the Stanovoi chain and the mountains adjoining it, as for instance the Verkhuoyarsk chain, 
not only do the numerous branches of the large straight tributaries of the Lena, like the 
Olekma and Aldan, take their rise, but also those of the ocean rivers, the Yana, the Indi- 
ghirka aud the Kolyma. The Lena itself rises in the borders of Eastern Siberia in the Baikal 
mountain range, the summits of which, as for instance the Yetkin peak, are not more than 
4,200 feet above the level of the sea. The outlying mountains of the Stanovoi chain, stretch- 



TBE YAKUTSK FKONTIEK COrNTKY. 45 

ing into the Zabaikalsk region between the Vitim and the Olekma, have some summits as 
high as this. Generally speaking, the whole of the Yakutsk region is not such a continuous 
plain as a large portion of Western Siberia, and is even far less level than the forest and 
tundra belts of Eastern Siberia. The whole of the southern part of the Yakutsk region, south 
of the latitude where the Lena blends with the Aldan, is indeed fairly mountainous, and north 
of this latitude there are also many chains of mountains. Those to the east of the Lena, 
such as the Verkhnoyansk chain, which seperates the Aldan from the sources of the Yana 
and Indighirka, the mountains of Kolymsk, Alazeysk, Tak-Tayakhtakh are all more or less con- 
nected with the Yablonoi chain, whilst those chains stretching to the west of the Lena, like 
the Viluisk range and the summit dead levels of the Vilui and the Olenek, are distinct inde- 
pendent upheavals. 

The geognostic composition of the mountains of the Yakutsk region is principally 
made up of crystalline formations, granites, syenites, diorites, diabases, gneiss, crystalline 
schists and sometimes porphyries and even trichytes, whilst in the Aldansk range, besides these 
crystalline formations, there are also volcanic rocks such as basalts and dolerites. The slopes 
and outlying parts of the Stanovoi chain and other ranges in the Yakutsk region like the 
Viluisk mountains are principally composed of upheaved sedementary strata, partly belonging 
to the paleozoic formations, upper Silurian, devonian and carboniferous, but more especially 
to the secondary formations, particularly the Jurassic and partly to the tertiary. The Yakutsk 
region is well endowed Avith mineral wealth. 

The silver-lead ores, iron and coal, found iu the Stanovoi mountains, are well diffused 
over the Yakutsk region but the auriferous sand is the only substance worked, particularly 
the rich deposits near the river Olekma and some other tributaries of the Lena. 

The Yakutsk region is abundantly watered by magnificent full rivers which are in 
summer the only means of communication. The gigantic Lena is 4,300 versts long and with 
its tributaries, the Vitim, Olekma, Aldan and Vilui, forms one of the richest river systems 
. of the Old World, watering an area of over 43 thousand square geographical miles. Unfortun- 
ately the Lena system possesses even to a greater extent the same disadvantages as the 
systems of the Yenessei and Obi, as they all flow to the north and fall into the Arctic Ocean, 
which cannot be navigated with any regularity. It is also made up of two enormous com- 
ponent branches, the Lena and the Aldan, which meet still farther north than the 
branches of the Obi, in a country quite unsuitable to settled cultured life. Besides this the 
mouth of the Lena does not form a wide, open estuary like the mouth of the Yenessei, or a 
large gulf like the Obi, but an enormous delta, projecting into the Arctic Ocean, which with 
its labyrinth of islands, intersected by numerous channels, makes the mouth of the Lena far 
less accessible from the sea than that of the Yenessei. The other large rivers falling into the 
Arctic Ocean, the Yana and Indighirka, also have a tendency to form deltas. 

The climate of the Yakutsk region is the most continental of the Arctic and sub- Arctic 
zones of the Old Worid. It may be divided into two regions or belts, the one corresponding 
to the region of high-stemmed trees, forest industries and sporadic agriculture of Eastern 
and Western Siberia, and the other to the polar tundra belt of reindeer breeding and dog- 
conveyance. The first region comprises the districts of Yakutsk, Olekminsk and a large southera 



46 SIBERIA. 

portion of that of Yiluisk, and the second consists of the ilistricts of Verkhoyansk, Kolymsk 
and the basins of the Oleuek and Lena below Zhigansk in the Yilnisk and Yakutsk districts. 
The first, south-western zone, has an area of 38 thousand square geographical miles, the 
iiecond, north-eastern zone, covers 32 thousand. Taken from four points of observation situated 
in the first part of the Yakutsk region, the mean yearly temperature is about — 8" Cel., the 
mean winter temperature is — 33", that of the coldest month — 36°, the mean summer tempe- 
rature +15°, that of the hottest month +17"; the difference between the temperatures of 
winter and summer is 48°, the difference between the coldest and hottest months is 53°; that 
is to say, the climate is far more continental than that of the neighbouring forest zone of 
Eastern Siberia. Under these climatic conditions, the soil which the sun's rays do not penetrate 
to a greater depth than three-fourths of an arshine, is always frozen. Nevertheless the mean 
temperature of the five-months period of vegetation is + 11°, and even +12° in Olekminsk 
and Yakutsk, whilst the high summer temperature of +15° during the powerful insolation of 
the short summer period permits of sporadic agriculture in some parts of this portion of 
the Yakutsk region. 

One of the cold poles of the northern liemispliere is situated in the nurth-eastern polar- 
tundra part of the Yakutsk frontier country. Thus, in Verkhoyansk under 67° 34' north lati- 
tude the mean yearly temperature falls to —17° Cel.: the mean winter temperature is —47°, 
that of the coldest month —49° Cel., whilst the mean summer temperature hardly exceeds 
+13° and that of the hottest month +15°; the difference of temperature between winter and 
summer is 60°, and between the hottest and coldest months 64°; this is a type of the most 
continental climate in the Old World. Three and a half degrees farther north at Ustiansk, 
under 70° 53' north latitude, the climate is already milder. The mean yearly temperature 
exceeds —16° Cel.; the winter temperature is— 37° Cel.; that of the coldest month is —41°: 
the summer temperature is +9°, ami that of the hottest month +13; the difference between 
the temperatures of winter and summer is only 47°, and that between the hottest and coldest 
months 54". On the other hand the mean temperature of the five-months period of vegetation, 
which in Verkhoyansk hardly exceeds 8°, does not amount to more than 3° at Ustiansk, or 
in other words, the mean temperature of 9° lasts about five months at Verkhoyansk and only 
three months at Ustiansk. 

At the mouth of the Lena, at Sagastyr, where there was for nearly two years a 
meteorological station of the Russian Imperial Geographical Society, the cUmatic condi- 
tions are still more unfavourable. The mean temperature (below — 17°), the winter temperature 
(—36°) and that of the coldest month (—42°) at Sagastyi' are closely approximate to 
those of Ustiansk, but the mean summer temperature of less than +3°, and that of 
the hottest month of less than +5°, place all organic life under the most unfavourable condi- 
tions of existence, especially as at a depth of 0.8 metre the soil never thaws and in winter 
has a temperature below —20° Cel. Under these circumstances, cultured life in the polar 
tundra zone of the Yakutsk frontier country is quite impossible. At Yakutsk in the forest 
zone the Lena is clear of ice during 160 days in the year, whilst at Ustiansk the Yana is 
only clear during 100 days. The climate of the south-western forest part of the Yakutsk region 
is also less favourable than that of East Siberia, with reference to the amount of rainfall 



THE YAKUTSK FRONTIER COUNTRY. 47 

during th(3 year, wliich only amounts to 310 niilliiuotres compared to 360 millimetres depos- 
ited in the forest zone of Eastern Siberia. The winters are also less snowy (38 millimetres 
against 56); the summer rainfall is however almost the same in both places. According to 
observations made at Sagastyr near the mouth of the Lena, there is very little moisture de- 
posited iu the polar tundra zone, not more than 86 millimeters in the year, 45 millimeters 
of which fall during the three summer mouths, which clearly shows the extremely continental 
nature of the climate of the Yakutsk frontier country, and especially of its nortli-eastern portion. 

The vegetation of the south-western part of the Yakutsk region differs in general but 
little from that of Eastern Siberia. The trees are the same as those of Siberia proper and 
only outside the borders of the Yakutsk region on the south-western slopes of the Stanovoi 
range there exist certain varieties which disappear in Siberia as soon as the Ural mountains 
are reached. Generally speaking, the zone of forests of full grown trees and forest industries 
in the Yakutsk frontier country is completely covered with continuous, dense and often impen- 
etrable forests and extensive morasses above which rise, in some places, little islands from 
the surface of the sea, barren mountain heights either connected in chains or standing isolate 
and bare. 

The flora of the grasses in the forest zone is naturally poor in the thick of the woods 
where gi-ass hardly grows at all, but in the forest glades and clearings and on the open 
marshes, river banks, mountain slopes and rocks, the flora is rich and characterized by local 
plants which make their appearance beyond the Yenessei along the mountain slopes of the 
Sayan chain and spreading over all the mountain ranges intersecting the Yakutsk frontier 
country. These plants include, for instance, some of the spear-wort family, namely, three varieties 
of thalichtrum, (petaloideum L., rufinerve, L. et sparsiflorum Turcz), two anemones (anemone 
Sibirica L., and Pulsatilla davurica Spr.), chickweed (caltha natans Pall), isopyrum fumarioides, 
L. two aquilegiae (aquilegia sibirica Lm and parviflora Led.), one variety of larkspur, (delph- 
inium grandiflorum L.), three kinds of aconites (aconitum volubile Pall., villosum Rch., Kus- 
netzovi Turcz.); some of the plants found here only grow within the borders of the Yakutsk 
frontier <;'ouiitry, like delphinium crassicaule Led and others, and are American types like ran- 
nuuculus Purshii Hook and affiuis R. Br. and other numerous families of plants. The polar 
tundra zone is of a very different character; in summer the tundi-as are free from snow but 
the soil is always frozen to a depth of half an arshine below the surface and consists of 
alternate layers of earth and ice. In these strata besides the semi-fossil sea shells, of types 
.still existing in the Arctic Ocean, bones and skeletons and even bodies of extinct animals ot 
Northern Siberia are found, such as the mammoth and rhinoceros, often in an excellent state 
of preservation. 

The surface vegetation of the tundras consists principally of moss, of the poly- 
trichum, bryum and hypnum varieties. From underneath the dark brown surface, grass crops 
up in places, here and there forming grass plots, but more oftet growing in seperate patches 
on the bare clay soil. This kind of grass flora not only closely resembles that of the corres- 
ponding parts of Siberia proper but is also much like the flora of Western Europe. Thus, 
out of 92 distinctly flowering plants collected by Nordenskjold's expedition, at their winter 
quarters beyond the eastern extremity of the Yakutsk frontier country, but still on the shore 



48 SIBERIA. 

of the Arctic Ocean, more than two-thirds, namely 63, were varieties common to the Arctic 
zone of Europe but not descending into Russia in Europe; 17 were American varieties also 
common to the arctic zone of Siberia, but not known in European Russia, whilst 12 were exclu- 
sively Siberian arctic forms. Very few of these latter are peculiar only to the north-eastern 
corner of Siberia. The first vernal plant which flowered near Xordenskjold's winter quarters 
was the spoonwort (cochlearia fenestrata" R. Br.). This happened on the 23rd of June, new 
style, and only a week after this, about July 1, did nature thoroughly awake, the tundras 
became green, flowers blossomed and insects made their appearance, first of all flies and then 
coleoptera, amongst which there were two rather large kinds of cockchafers (carabus, C. 
truncatipennis Esch). The local flora is characterized by the large amount of gramineous 
plants, which in some place form a continuous sward. There were in all 13 different kinds 
found and amongst these the original varieties were glyceria vilfoidea Tli. Fr., Gl. 
vaginata I. Lge, arctophylla effusa I. Lge. There are plenty of bushes of different kinds 
of low polar mllows, the rarer varieties being salix chamissonis And., salix cuneata Trautv., 
and salix boganidensis Trautv. 

The fauna of both zones of the Yakutsk region also closely resemble that of the 
corresponding zones of Eastern Siberia, but the fur animals are more abundant and of a bet- 
ter quality, probably because the outline of the Yakutsk frontier country is more varied and 
the mountains and rocks which rise above the forests afford more free spaces for the species 
of this region. In describing the animals which at present inhabit the forest and tundra zones 
of the Yakutsk frontier country it is impossible to ignore those varieties which are now extinct 
in these zones of Siberia. The genus elephant (elephas primigenius Bl) at a recent geolog- 
ical epoch, when man already existed, inhabited the whole of the palearctic zone of the northern 
hemisphere and, in contrast to the southern Indian elephants, it was covered with thick, long, 
red hair. A splendidly preserved specimen of a whole mammoth with perfect skin and hair 
was lately found in the polar tundra zone of the Yakutsk frontier country, and in 1892 a 
special expedition was sent by the Academy of Sciences to examine it. The two varieties 
of the rhinoceros (rhinoceros antiquitatis Blumb. and rhinoceros Maerckii Jag.), which flourished 
here at the same period, are no less interesting. They are discovered under the same conditions 
as the mammoths; a fine head of one of these animals, found in the southern part of the 
Yakutsk region, is preserved in the Academy of Sciences having been presented by the Si- 
berian Section of the Russian Geographical Society. 

As regards the population of the Yakutsk region, which has been in the possession of 
the Russians since the seventeenth century, the number and composition of the inhabitants 
clearly show how little thiscoimtry is suitable for settled colonization. The total population does 
not exceed 250 thousand of both sexes, of which the Russian element only numbers 15 thous- 
and or about 6 . 5 per cent, the remaining 93 . 5 per cent being made up of other tribes. The 
greater part of these are the Yakuts, numbering about 220 thousand; they are of Tiurksk 
origin, their language is a Tiurksk dalect with a mixture of Mongolian words. They have 
preserved all their ethnographical features to a remarkable extent, type, language, manners 
and customs and even dress. This Tiurksk tribe was driven to the far north by the Mongo- 
lians at the time when their rule in Central Asia was supreme. Whilst preserving a nomadic 



THE YAKUTSK FRONTIER COUNTRY. 49 

Ibrm of life the Yakuts however adapted themselves to the hard conditions of life of the 
northern forest zone and, exchanging the grassy steppes of Central Asia for the forests and 
tundras, they became a race of hunters and cattle breeders. Cattle rearing is however their 
chief occupation, after which come hunting and fishing and lastly agriculture, which is but 
little developed. The Russians, being weak in numbers, have not had an influence upon the 
Yakuts, except in converting the greater part of them to Christianity, but even this conversion 
is more apparent than real as the Yakuts are still to a very great extent addicted to shaman- 
ism, and their former faith. The Tungues lead almost the same form of life as the Yakuts 
and number over 10 thousand of both sexes. The other races inhabiting the Yakutsk frontier 
country, counting about 3,000 men, consist of polar tribes like the Lamuts, Ukagirs, Tchuktchis, 
Tchuvantsis and Koryaks. These tribes principally occupy the north-eastern polar tundra por- 
tion of the country. 

The population is very unevenly distributed between the two zones of the Yakutsk 
frontier country; whilst the region of high forest trees, forest industries and sporadic agricul- 
ture has 230 thousand inhabitants of both sexes, or about 6 men per square geographical 
mile; the population of the polar tundra region does not exceed 20 thousand, or about 6 men 
for every 10 square geographical miles, and Is entirely composed of other tribes, as the Rus- 
sian population principally dwells in the forest zone and the towns. The people of the 
towns do not however exceed 8,000 of both sexes, or rather more than 3 per cent of 
the total population of tliis region, and indeed all the towns with the exception of Yakutsk, 
which has 6,000 inhabitants, are nothing more than small Russian settlements serving 
as points of support for the Russian rule in the country. In these settlements in the zone of 
high forest trees the Russians occupy themselves to some extent with agriculture and 
partly with cattle breeding, but their occupations in the polar tundra zone do not differ 
from those of the natives. It is a remarkable fact that, whilst the Russian population of Si- 
beria proper, living under conditions of life approaching those of its native land, has not only 
gradually increased in numbers, far exceeding the native tribes, but has succeeded to a great 
extent in assimilating them and even in the Amour-littoral and Kirghiz steppe regions has 
preserved intact all the national qualities and appearance, here in the Yakutsk frontier country 
under the heavy yoke of nature the Russian settlers seem to have deviated from their na- 
tionality. Placed under the most unfavourable conditions for civilization, they have in some 
places assimilated themselves with the native tribes and, adopting their mode of life, have 
descended to their level. This is particularly the case with the population of Verkhoyansk, Us- 
tiansk, Zashiversk, upper, middle and lower Kolymsk, and naturally, mixed marriages with the 
natives have greatly contributed to this state of things. 

The distribution of domestic animals is closely connected with that of the inhabitants 
over the surface of the country, and with their mode of life and their relation to the ground 
upon which they dwell. In the Yakutsk frontier country there are more than 50 horses per 
every 100 inhabitants, or 130 thousand horses in all, or about the same quantity as in West- 
ern Siberia, but the quantity of large-horned cattle, 260 thousand beasts in all, exceeds 100 
head per 100 inhabitants or more than double the quantity in Western Siberia, and one and 
a half times more than in Eastern Siberia; this amounts to 5 head of horned cattle per every 

4 



50 SIBERIA. 

married couple, and clearly shows that the Yakuts are a cattle rearing people of the steppes 
of Central Asia, accidentally driven to the forest zone of the cruel north. The transition of 
the most northern Yakuts to reindeer breeding in a region unsuited to horned cattle and horses, 
confirms this theory. The reindeer in the polar tundra zone number about 50 thousand head, 
or about 200 head for every 100 inhabitants of reindeer breeding population. Small animals 
are not raised in the Yakutsk region except the dogs used for travelling in the polar tundra 
zone, which are kept by the indigenous tribes in even gi'eater numbers than in Eastern 
Siberia. 

All that has been said about the Yakutsk frontier country, where there is no regular 
agricultural zone, clearly shows that this region has but very little importance for settled 
Russian colonization and that this most extensive portion of Siberia is destined by nature 
Itself to be inhabited by wandering or nomadic tribes or by those who from time immemorial 
have been aborigenes of polar countries, hyperboreans or nomads, who have found their way 
hither from the plains of Central Asia and succeeded somehow in acclimating themselves in 
the forest zone of the north. This region can be of only one use to Russia, on account of 
the impossibility of peopling it by means of settled agricultural colonization, which was effect- 
ed under such favourable circumstances in the agricultural zone of Siberia proper and in 
the country round about the Altai mountains; the Yakutsk region might, like British Amer- 
ica, excepting Canada, be organized for working the natural riches of the country which, 
without doubt, exist there but they are distributed, as has been already mentioned, in 
scanty and scattered layers over the enormous surface of the coldest land of the Old World. 

There is no positive evidence to show that the stranger tribes of the Yakutsk region 
are decreasing in numbers, or in other words dying out; but of late years this opinion has 
been expressed by people well acquainted with Siberia. If this only referred to the small 
polar tribes of the Yakutsk frontier country, such as the Lamuts, Ukagirs, Koryaks, Tchou- 
vans and Tchuktchis it would be highly probable. Before the arrival of the Yakuts these 
tribes were spread much more to the south and occupied a far greater expanse of country, 
and on being driven from their former place of habitation by the Yakuts they congregated 
about the north-east polar tundra part of the Yakutsk frontier country and the Chukotsk penin- 
sula. Every country has, however, a limit of capacity in relation to the population inhabiting 
it, depending upon the conditions of climate and soil and the state of culture of the inhabi- 
tants, and the frozen tundras, inhabited only by hunters presents the most limited accomo- 
dations for population in all the continent of the Old World. When once this limit was reached, 
which happened as soon as the numerous Yakuts who occupied the land drove the aborigenes 
to the north-east into the polar tundra zone, these aborigenes ought to evince symptoms of 
dying out, as the country in which they were congregated was not, with their means of pro- 
curing food, capable of nourishing them. There is yet another argument in favour of the 
Yakuts. The forest zone affords far greater capacity for population than the tundras, and 
this capacity was considerably further increased when the Yakuts arrived, in virtue of the 
difference of their state of culture from that of the former aborigenes of the country, as every 
country has greater capacity for a race of cattle breeders than of hunters. The Yakuts, there- 
fore, having driven out the natives into the polar tundra zone, had ample space in the 



THE YAKUTSK FRONTIER COrNTRY. 51 

forest zone of the Yakutsk frontier country and their dying out could only arise from their 
being unable to accomodate themselves with the conditions of the country and acclimate 
themselves. But this was not the case, as they became indigenous, and the occupa- 
tion of the country by the Russians did not In any way deteriorate their position. The 
Russian settlers, whose number does not exceed 6 • 5 per cent of the indigenous pop- 
ulation, congregated together in a few spots of this region and could not in any 
way oppress the Yakuts who have up to late years shown a natural increase. But the lives 
of nations, living, not as cultured people, but as children of nature (naturvolker) are some- 
times visited by scourges of nature which they are not in a condition to withstand. Epidem- 
ics like small pox, epizootic which destroys the principal means of existence of cattle breed- 
ing races, or temporary scarcity of wild animals or fish can all tend to decrease the pop- 
ulation during certain periods, and when these evils are removed it again shows signs of 
increasing. However the question as to whether a temporary decrease in the population has 
brought about the idea that the natives of the Yakutsk frontier country are dying ont, or 
whether a cattle breeding race inhabiting a forest country, not entirely corresponding to 
their pursuits, has attained the limit of capacity of the country, can only be decided by the future. 

To the north of the shore of Siberia proper and the borderland of Yakutsk stretches 
the boundless surface of the Arctic Ocean. This cannot be regarded as being perfectly smooth, 
not only because in many places more or less elevated islands or groups of islands rise out 
of it, but also because during nearly the whole year, except short and iiTegular periods, the 
surface of the ocean is covered with ice. If it were not for this ice, which is an insurmount- 
able barrier against navigation, and if the plains of Siberia as they gradually approach the 
ocean were not transformed into ban-en tundras, from which not only is forest vegetation 
banished but even all forms of organic life, and if the mouths of the Siberian rivers were not 
ice bound during the greater part of the year, then the geographical position of Siberia 
would be most brilliant for ocean communication and universal trade. 

Unfortunately the whole of the Arctic Ocean along the coast of Siberia is blocked 
with ice during the greater part of the year. It is true that along the whole of the Asiatic 
from the Yugorsky Sound to Cape Dezhnev at the entrance to the Behring Sea there are 
no glaciers descending into the sea, so that there are but very few icebergs on the 
coast of Siberia and those which are formed are very small, rarely more than 100 or 150 
feet high; but in winter the surface of the sea is covered with ice, and there is hardly an 
open space to be found along the whole of the Siberian coast. In winter the ice is often 
more than 9 feet thick and the pressure of ice forms heaps of blocks piled up to a height of 
60 or 70 feet. When the wind is fresh the falling snow causes fearful snowdrifts and snow- 
storms. During such snowstorms tongue-shaped crests are formed upon the surface of the 
snow running parallel with the direction of the predominating winds from west-north-west to 
east-south-east and thus serve as a compass to guide travellers. During hard frosts numerous 
chasms are formed in the ice through which water penetrates in spring and promotes the 
thawing and breaking up of the ice in an astonishing degree. 

On the coast of Siberia the ice begins to break up at the end of June, but further out 
at sea it often lasts until the end of July. During the rest of the summer, however, 

4* 



52 SIBERIA. 

blocks of ice of various sizes, partly the remains of the winter covering of the sea, and 
partly carried dovn by the large Siberian rivers, are carried by the winds and the 
currents over the ocean and collect sometimes in one place and sometimes in another 
without having any regular egress to the southern waters. The pressure of water car- 
ried by the Giilfstream doubling Nova Zembla forms a contrary current in the Sea of 
Kara, carrying the ice of this sea through the Kara Straits and Waigach Sound and thus 
completely clearing it before the autumn. This enables ships to penetrate through Ma- 
tochkin Shar, a narrow sound, separating the two islands of Nova Zembla, into the Sea 
of Kara, and, if it be clear of ice, to reach the gulf of Yenesseisk and make a return voyage 
the same autumn. This however is not always possible and ships cannot rely upon reaching 
and leaving the gulf of Yenessei the same autumn. The ice, covering the enormous expanse 
of ocean between the mouth of the Yenessei and Cape Dezhnev, has no other outlet than through 
some of the sounds of the unknown polar lands to the shores of Greenland, and then along this 
coast to the south. At all events this was the course taken by the ice upon which the crew 
of the lost American ship Jeanette accidentally left the things they had cast away and 
which were eventually found off the coast of Greenland. Naturally this circuitous route does 
not completely ensure the egress of the ice, formed off the Siberian shores, into more southern 
latitudes where it would be quite melted. For this reason the route through the Arctic Ocean 
from European seas to the mouth of the Lena and especially to the Behring Straits is by no 
means sure, and although Nordenskjold's expedition on the Vega, for the first time in the 
history of navigation, penetrated through the ice of the Arctic Ocean from the seas of Europe 
to the Pacific Ocean, this can at present be only regarded as a stroke of luck, the difficulty 
of the undertaking being shown by the fact that through a few days delay on the road the 
Vega was still obliged to pass the winter on the coast of the Chukotsk Peninsula, and was 
only able to leave winter quarters and, doubling Cape Dezhnev, get out into the adjacent 
Behring Straits by the 20th of July of the following year. In the same way Dezhnev who dis- 
covered the sound dividing Siberia from America, called after him i-n 1647, was unable to 
double the Cape in that year and only succeeded in doing so in 1648. 

There are not many islands along the Siberian coast to the east of the large double 
island of Nova Zembla. It is unnecessary to describe such islands as the White, Sibiriakov 
and Taimur, and likewise those formed by the deltas of the Lena, Yana and Indighirka, 
all of which are adjacent to the continent, but those which are further from the coast, like 
Wrangel's land and the group of New Siberia Islands, are quite worthy of mention. 

Wrangel's land is an island quite uninvestigated by the Russians and only a little 
known by the American whalers. The Americans have doubled it from the north and shown 
that its dimensions do not exceed those of the New Siberian Islands, and from which it does 
not apparently differ in its physical conditions. 

The New-Siberian group is well known to the Russians and consists of three large 
islands, Kotelnoi, Fadievskoi and New Siberia lying in the open sea to the north-east of 
the delta of the Lena, and a few smaller ones situated like Liakhov Island and others near- 
er to Cape Sviatoi. Further to the north beyond the islands of Nova Zembla, the Ameri- 
can expedition of the lost Jeanette discovered some other small islands, but the three large 



THE YAKUTSK FRONTIER COUNTRY. 53 

New Siberians are the only ones visited by Russian traders and inhabitants of the polar 
tundra zone. These islands are generally reached in spring before the thawing of the ocean 
ice, and the traders drive over the frozen surface of the sea on light sledges drawn by reindeer 
or dogs and, passing the short summer on the islands, return home in antumn when the ice has 
again set on the surface of the sea. The Siberian traders are generally drawn to these islands 
by the quantity of mammoth bones found there. The New Siberian Islands are of great impor- 
tance from a scientific point of view as they form a vast and interesting cemetry of the whole 
organic world, as it at one time existed under 75° and 76° of north latitude. This organic world 
not only consisted of the large extinct animals like the mammoth, two varieties of the rhinoce- 
ros, buffalo, muskox, three varieties of deer and even a breed of horses, but also of the 
numerous trunks of extinct trees belonging to the middle tertiary, miocene formations, allied 
to the genus of deciduous trees peculiar to the temperate zone and not growing at present in 
any part of Siberia, like the elm and hazel. 

The unusual abundance of skeletons and remains of extinct animals and plants in the 
New Siberian Islands is due to the conditions of the soil consisting of post-tertiary strata 
with intermittent layers of pure ice, spread over such an enormous area that if, for example, 
the temperature of the air upon the island of New Siberia rose for a prolonged period above 
zero, except the four mountains forming its framework, consisting of masses of granite that 
have abruptly raised the rocky strata of the Jurassic formation, the whole island would become 
converted into a liquid paste, which together with the fossil remains included in it, would 
become the prey of the waves. At the present time the flora and fauna alike of the New 
Siberian islands are extremely meagre. In the whole summer passed during the years 
1885 and 1886 by the members of the Academy Expedition, Doctor Bunge and Baron Toll, 
upon the New Siberian islands, there were but few days when it was possible to make any 
collections of flowering plants or live insects. One or two clear and comparatively warm days 
alternated with cold and cloudy weather, and the living vegetable covering again disappeared 
beneath a layer of snow. Upon the rocks of the lesser New Siberian islands, Stolbovoi and 
Liakhov, past which Nordenskjold's expedition went in the second half of August, the weather 
being fine and the sea perfectly free from ice, comparatively few birds were nesting and the 
neighbouring sea shewed no traces of large marine animals. 

But however unfavourable the climatic conditions of the Siberian littoral of the Arctic 
Ocean, it cannot be said that its depths are absolutely devoid of life. The deep ocean flora 
consists of seaweeds (algae), of which in the whole of the shore waters of the Arctic Ocean, 
thanks to the careful investigations of Nordenskjold's expedition, 35 species were found, among 
them 16 belonging to the family of the fucoideae and 12 to that of the florideae. At the 
same time the seaweeds of the Siberian shore are far from attaining the luxuriant develop- 
ment and the vast dimensions which are as a rule proper to the algae of the polar seas. On 
the other hand seaweeds are almost entirely absent from the immediate coast zone of the Si- 
berian sea. The marine flora attains its highest development at some distance from the shore 
in the sub-littoral zone, and only there in some few spots, as for example around the island 
of Taimyr are to be found localities rich in seaweeds. 

The Siberian coast of the Arctic Ocean has no lack of marine animals. Of the lower 
animals, Nordenskjold's expedition found near the mouth of the Kolyma cup-shaped sponges, 



54 SIBERIA. 

around the shores of the Taimyr peninsula and cape Cheliuskin, extremely heautiful forms 
of marine star-fish, antedon Eschrichtii J. Mull., and ophiacantha hidentata Retz, and near 
the \nnter quarters of the expedition, the star-fish (ophioglypha nodosa Liitaen). The Arctic 
Ocean is incomparably richer in species of molluscs and crustaceans. The species of the latter, 
as for example, idothea entomon L. and idothea Sabinei Kr., are met with in large quantities 
even where organic life in general is poor, as for example near the delta of the Lena. Further 
to the east and nearer to Behring Straits small crayfish (sabinea septemcarinata Seb.) and 
species of crabs (chlonoecoetos opilis Kr.) are met with. 

As regards vertebrates, the Arctic Ocean is fairly rich in dlfierent kinds of fish, ascend- 
ing the full-streamed rivers of the ocean basin. The Siberian rivers possess a particularly 
large number of kinds of gwlniad (corregonus), among which are the nelma (corregonus leu- 
cichtis), pellad (con-egonus peled), chir (corregonus nasutus), omul (coiTegonus omul), 
muksun (corregonus muksun), pechora gwiniad (corregonus polkur), et cetera. The dorse 
(gadus navaga Koeri.) and smelt (asmerus eperianus) breed in considerable quantities in the 
Arctic Ocean. But special interest is attached to the black fish (dallia dellcatissima Sm.) 
newly discovered by Nordenskjold's expedition and possessing an exquisite taste, with which 
the Chukches have been acquainted from the earliest times. As for the marine mammals, 
they are of course the same as in all the polar seas, namely various kinds of seals (phoca 
barbata, hispida, cristata, leporina, groenlandica, foetida), the dolphin (delphinus leucas), the 
morse (trichecus rosmarus), the ork (phocaena orca), and finally whales, which while rarely 
approaching the Siberian shore waters are very frequent to the north of the oceanic islands, 
Wrangel Land and Xew Siberia. They however fall as booty not to the Siberians but to the 
American whalers, and indeed it may be said that the resources of the Arctic Ocean are little 
worked from the Siberian side. 



—^^^- 



THE AMOUR-UTTORAL BORDER LAND. 55 



CHAPTER V. 
The Amour-Littoral Border Land. 

Division into four regions: Transbaikal region; its contour, climatic conditions, flora, fauna 
and population : the Amour region, its orography, climate, vegetative covering, fauna and pop- 
ulation: the Ussuri-Llttoral region, its orography, hydrography, climate, fauna and flora; 
the island of Sakhalin: the population of the country; the Okhots-Kamchatka region, and 
its component parts: the Okhotsk shore, Kamchatka and the Chukot country; their orogi-aphy, 
flora and fauna; 'scantiness of the population, and its disposition; the Okhotsk and 

Behring seas. 



AFAR greater importance than is possessed by the above described regions belongs to the Amour- 
Littoral border land of Siberia, consisting from an administrative point of view of three 
territories, the Transbaikal, Amour and Littoral, forming together the Littoral Governor-Gen- 
eralship. Geographically, the Amour-Littoral region occupies the whole Russian part of the 
Amour basin, the Transbaikal part of the Yenissei watershed, the whole Russian coast zone 
of the Japan Sea, the island of Sakhalin, the whole shore of the Okhotsk Sea up to the 
Stanovoi or Yablonovoi range, the whole peninsula of Kamchatka and the whole north- 
eastern extremity of the Asiatic continent, beyond the Yablonovoi range, with the river re- 
gion of the Anadyr and the Chukotsk peninsula. The Amour-Littoral country thus extends over 
an area exceeding fifty-two thousand square geographical miles. This expanse is divided on 
account of its natural conditions into four sharply contrasted regions, the Transbaikal, Amour, 
Ussuri-Littoral and Okhotsk-Kamchatka. 

The first of these, the Transbaikal country, coincides with the Transbaikal territory, 
and covers eleven thousand square geographical miles. It is intersected diagonally through the 
very centre by the Stanovoi range, which is the watershed between the waters flowing from 
its north-western side into Baikal Lake, namely the Selenga, Barguzin and Upper Angara, 
and into the Vitim, the right tributary of the Lena, and for the streams flowing from the 
south-east into the Shilka, one of the two upper rivers of the system of the Amour. In an 
offset of this range which nowhere attains the limit of eternal snow but serves to divide the 
longitudinal valleys of the Ingoda and Onon, component branches of the river Shilka, rises 
the highest mountain of the whole region, Chokondo 8,200 feet above sea level. Its summit 
is in the Alpine zone but nevertheless does not reach the snow line. The whole Transbaikal 
country with the exception of the steppe tract passing along the Chinese frontier between 



56 SIBERIA, 

the Onon and the Arguu, the southern coustitueut of the Amour, is more or less mouutainous. 
The prevailing trend of the mountain ridges of the Transbaikal country is from the south- 
west to the north-east. This direction is not only followed by the Yablonovoi range itself, but 
also by the ridge which is detached from the Khamar-Dabau in the south-western corner of 
the territory and bounds the longitudinal valley occupied by Lake Baikal on the south-east, 
as also by the ridge above mentioned separating the longitudinal valleys of the Onon and 
Ingoda, and by the Nerchinsk range which serves as the watershed between the Shilka and 
the Argun as far as their confluence, and finally by the ridge accompanying the Shilka on 
its left bank. None of these mountains attain any great absolute altitude; the height of 
the passes of the Yablonovoi range between Yerkhueudinsk and Chita does not exceed 3,400 
feet, and the loftiest points, 4,000 feet. The Khamar-Daban offset contains mountains which 
reach 6,000 and even 6,700 feet. There is no lack of outcrops of rocky strata in this region; 
the majority of the mountain ridges exhibit crystalline rocks, granite, gneiss and mica schists. 
Here and there diorite is met with, as also true volcanic rocks such as trachyte and basalt. 
The stratified rocks, in their upheaved crystalline layers, disclose the presence of paleozoic 
formations, especially the Silurian and carboniferous, and also secondary such as Jurassic, and 
tertiary. Such a variety in the geological constitution of the Transbaikal country ensures mineral 
wealth of the first order. Here there are to be found not only gold bearing sands, argentiferous 
lead and copper ores, but also deposits of tin and mercury. There is no want of iron ores. 

The Transbaikal is extremely rich in mineral springs. The country is well watered in spite 
of its continental situation. The Selenga and its tributaries, the Chikoi, Khilok, and Uda, as also 
the head streams of the Amour, the Ingoda, Onon, Shilka, and Argun, water beautiful valleys 
and plains, excellently adapted to cultivation and settled life. Not less well irrigated, but less 
fertile on account of the greater severity of the climate, are the valleys of Barguzinsk the 
most northern district in the Transbaikal territory, namely those of the Yitim, its tributary 
the Tsypa, of the Barguzin and the Upper Angara. In the Transbaikal country there are 
also plains although of not any great extent, as for example the tableland along the Uda known 
under the name of the Khorinsk and Bratsk steppes, and in the southern part of the tenitory 
near to the Chinese frontier, the Tareisk, Kydara and Arguu steppes. At a rough estimate, more 
than a third of the area of the Transbaikal, or 4,000 square geographical miles may be re- 
ferred to lands suitable for cultivation and permanent settlement. 

The climatic conditions of the Transbaikal country differ widely from those of the 
other constituent parts of the region under consideration. The climate of Transbaikalia is 
purely continental. The mean annual temperature {—2^li° Celsius), approaches the average 
temperature not of the cultivated or agricultural, but of the forest zone of Eastern Siberia, 
From its winter temperature (—25°) and that of the coldest month (—28°) the climate has 
a severer character than even in the said forest zone, but from the temperature in summer 
(17°) and during the hottest month (19°) Transbaikalia shews better conditions than the agri- 
cultural zone of Eastern Siberia. Thus, the difference between the winter and summer tem- 
peratures (42°) and between the hottest and coldest months (47°) indicates the highly conti- 
nental character of the climate compared with that of Eastern Siberia. As for the mean tem- 
perature of the vegetative period, although it is V^" below that of the cultivated zone of East- 



THE AMOUR-LITTOKAL BOEDER LAND. 57 

ern Siberia, amoimtiug to only 13". 5, yet the cereals, notwithstanding the constantly frozen 
soil in some places of this country at a depth of Vh arshine, ripen well, thanks to the 
more powerful action of the sun's rays, depending not only on the southerly situation of the 
Transbaikal but also on the cloudless and transparent atmosphere, as compared with the culti- 
vated regions of Eastern and Western Siberia. 

In reference to the amount of rainfall, the climate of Transbaikalia is also incompar- 
ably more continental than that of the agricultural zone of Eastern and Western Siberia. 
The quantity of moisture precipitated here In the course of the whole year does not exceed 
290 millimetres, instead of the 360 and 380 of the agricultural zones of Eastern and Western 
Siberia, while the winters are almost entirely snowless, with 13 millimetres during the whole 
season. Fortunately, the summer rainfall, as much as 200 millimetres, is considerably higher 
not only than that in Eastern but than that in Western Siberia, and the conjunction of these 
conditions explains the fact that the Transbaikal country may even to-day be considered 
the chief granary of the whole Amour-Littoral region. 

The vegetable covering of Transbaikalia reflects all the minutest features of its cli- 
matic peculiarities: in that half of the country which is situated between the north-west 
slope of the Yablonovoi range and the Baikal Lake, the flora still bears completely the char- 
acter of the mountain flora of the extremity of the Altai-Sayan system. Among shrubs 
this flora includes rhododendra (rododeudron chrysanthum Pall, et dahuricum Pall.), the 
Siberian berberry (berberis sibirica Pall.), species of meadow-sweet (spiraea trilobata L., alpiua 
Pall., digitata W.), clothing the mountain steeps with their snow-wliite flowers, a species of 
tamarisk (myricaria davurica Ehr.), species of currant (ribes fragrans Pall, et procumbens 
Pall.). Alpine herbs, exclusively peculiar to the Altai-Sayan system grow in profusion in the 
Transbaikal; but on crossing to the other side of the Yablonovoi range the flora becomes greatly 
changed, and plants appear belonging to the far east of the temperate zone of the Asiatic 
continent. Thus, of the woody races, trees are here to be met with belonging to those general- 
ly thriving in Siberia from the very Ural, the oak (quercus mongolica Fisch.), the elm (ulmus 
campestris L. var. pumila L.), the hazel (corylus heterophylla Fisch.) and the wild apple 
(pp'us baccata L.). 

It is remarkable that but few of the shrubs first appearing beyond Lake Baikal, as 
for example the daur blackthorn (rhamnus davurica Pall.), of the leguminosae lespedeza 
juncea Pers., one species of meadow-sweet (spiraea angustifolia Turcz.), one species of cur- 
rant (ribes diacantha Pall.), the daur snow-ball tree (viburnum davuricum Pall), a small 
shrub belonging to the spurge family (geblera sufl'ruticosa Fisch.), and one of the low grow- 
ing birches (betula fruticosa Pall.) belong to the Amour flora. The rest are peculiar to the 
so-called daur flora and common to the Transbaikal and the neighbouring Mongolia. 
There are two kinds of traveller's joy (clematis davurica Pall, et atragene macropetala 
Led.), one blackthorn (rhamnus erythro-xylon Pall.), among the leguminosae (lespedeza 
trichocarpa Pers. et hedysarum fruticosum L.), among the rosaceae, the local wild almond 
(amygdalus pedunculata Pall), the wild apricot, widely sprearl on the mountain sides (prunus 
sibirica L.), a species of dog-rose (rosa alpina L.), a gattentree (cotoneaster acutifolia 
Lindh), the shrubby potentilla glabra L., a species of tamarisk (myricaria longifolia Ehr.), 



58 SIBERIA. 

two species of currant (ribes triste Pall, and pulchellum Turcz.), honey-suckle (lonicera 
chrysantha Turcz.), two species of shrubby birch (betula divaricata Led. and Gmelini Bge.) 
and the willows (salix berberifolia Pers. et divaricata Pall.), the remaining willows found 
here belonging to the European kinds. 

To the kinds disseminated over the whole of Siberia belong not only all the coniferous 
trees of Transbaikalia, namely, the pine (pinus sylvestris L.), the Siberian and daur larches 
(larix sibirica Led, and davurica Fisch.), the Siberian fir (abies sibirica Led.), the Siberian 
pitch pine (picea orientalis L.) and the cedar (pinus cembra L.), but also many of the 
deciduous trees, the white and daur birches (betula alba L. and davurica), the aspen (po- 
pulus tremula L.), et cetera. The fine-scented poplar (poplus suaveolens Fisch.) is met 
with on both sides of Lake Baikal. 

As for the herbaceous flora, of 112 species of them, first met with beyond Baikal, 
only 46 pass over to the Amour, the rest belonging to the local so-called daur flora, which 
serves as the connecting link between Siberia and Mongolia, whither indeed many plants cross 
over. Among the latter are, for example, of the crow's foot family (ranunculaceae) two spe- 
cies of hellebore (eranthis sibirica Dc. and uncinnata Turcz.) and actinospora davurica Turcz.; 
5 cruciferae draba, mongolica Turcz., tetrapoma barbareaefolium Turcz., dontostamon eglan- 
dulosus Led. and oblongifolius Led.; of the leguminosae 10 species of oxytropis (a genus 
characteristic of the mountain steppes of Central Asia, entirely unknown on the Amour), two 
astragals; of the rose family (chamaerhodos grandiflora Led. and trifidaLed.); of the stonecrops, 
(saxifraga multiflora Led.); 6 umbelliferae, 6 compositae; of the corolliflorae, pinguicula spa- 
thulata Led.; three species of bindweeds (ipomea sibirica Pers., calystegia pellita Led. and cal- 
ystegia subvolubilis Led.); 4 borragineae, 3 scrophnlarieae, 3 labiateae and 3 species of statice 
characteristic of the salt steppe ; of the family of monochlamydae, two species of rhubarb 
(rheum undulatum L. et campestre L.), one of sorrel (rumex Gmelini Turcz.), passerina 
Stelleri Wickstr. and a spurge (euphorbia Pallasii Turcz.); of the monocotyledons, sparganium 
longifolium Turcz.; two orchids (orchis salina Turcz. gymnadenia pauciflora Lindh), iris vent- 
ricosa Pall., pardanthus dichotomus Led., polygonatum sibiricum Led., two sedges and two 
grasses. 

CoiTesponding to the striking change in the vegetable covering of the Transbaikal 
country is that of the fauna of the invertebrates. Very many of their forms, entirely absent 
from Siberia, as for example among the articulate animals the river crayfish, appear upon the 
upper streams of the Amour system, of course mth specific distinctions from the European 
(astacus amourensis). The approach to the sea makes itself felt in the appearance of such 
forms of insects also as serve as transitional forms from the continental to the littoral. Thus, 
for example, in the genus carabus of the family of the coleoptera, not possessing true mngs 
under their brilliant elytra, the local elongated, comparatively narrow forms of the subgenus 
coptolabrus (species coptolabrus smaragdinus P'isch), serve as the transition to the still more 
elongated forms of the Japanese subgenus of carabs damaster. 

As regards the vertebrate fauna, with the more extensive regions of distribution of 
these animals, the Transbaikal fauna naturally shews incomparably more resemblance to the 
remaining fauna of Siberia. Nevertheless, to the animals occurring over the whole forest zone 



THE AMOUR-LITTORAL BORDER LAND. 59 

of Eastern Siberia (v. supra), are added a few mountain forms of the Altai-Sayan system, 
steppe forms of Mongolia, and finally, animals breeding in the Amour Territory and in Man- 
churia. To the first belong, the musk deer (moschus moschiferus L.), roebuck (cervus capreo- 
lus L.), badger (meles taxus Schr.), polecat (mustela putorius L.), Eversmann's marmot 
(spermophilus Eversmanni Br.) and the rat hare (lagomys alpinus Pall.). To the second belong, 
the korsak (canis corsac L.), steppe cat (felis manul Pall.), baibak (arctomys bobac Schr.), 
lagomys ogotona Pall., the jerboa (dipus jaculus Pall.), tolai (lepus tolai Pall.), two species 
of saiga (antilope gutturosa Pall., antilope crispa Temm.) and finally, the kulan or dzhigetai 
(equus hemionus Pall.). To the third belongs the Amour raccoon (canis procyonoides Gr.), a 
species of dur (cervus elaphus L.) and wild boar (sus scropha L.). 

The fauna of the birds which from the very nature of their mode of locomotion are 
capable of having the most extensive region of distribution, also here includes both northern 
and southern forms. To the first, for example, belong the capercailzie (tetrao urogallus L.), 
blackcock (tetras tetrix L.), hazel-hen (tetrao bonasia L.), white and alpine ptarmigan (lago- 
pus albus Gm. and alpinus Nilss.); to the second, the steppe blackcock (syrrhaptes paradoxus 
Pall.), black crane (grus monachus Tem.), and two more southern species of crane (giiis 
leucogrammus Pall, and grus virgo L.), the blue magpie (pica cyanea Pall.), et cetera. 

In regard to snakes and other reptiles, on the whole occurring so rarely in northern 
Siberia, the Transbaikal country is comparatively rich. Besides the harmless snake (coluber 
rufodorsatus Cant.) and elaphis dione Pall., there are here to be met with the extremely 
venomous varieties, trigonocephalus intermedius Strauch and trigonocephalus Blomhofiii Boje. 
Finally the piscine fauna on crossing the Yablonovoi range into the system of the Amour 
completely alters its character (v. infra). 

Thanks to comparatively favourable climatic conditions and the early colonization, 
which began here already from the end of the XVII century (in 1692 there were already 
7,000 Russians, in 1720, 10,000, in 1740, 20,000 and in 1760, 40,000) the Transbaikal terri- 
tory has now as many as 570,000 inhabitants, that is, above five souls to the square geog- 
raphical mile, of whom the natives, mainly Buriats and to a small extent Tungus, count 170,000 
or about 30 per cent of the total population. These Buriats of Mongol race and Buddhist 
faith, nomads within narrow limits, have here preserved, in the immediate neighbourhood and 
communication with Mongolia, their national characters in a greater degree than in the 
government of Irkutsk. They are here occupied chiefly in cattle rearing, while agriculture 
occupies the first place among the Russian population. The proportion of the town population 
in the Transbaikal country is insignificant; it does not exceed ffve per cent; indeed there 
are no collections at all considerable of town population except in Chita whose inhabitants 
have now attained 13,000 souls. 

The preponderance of the rural over town industries is sufficiently indicated by the rela- 
tion of the numbers of the population to the domestic animals reared. There are here 70 horses 
per 100 inhabitants, with an absolute number of 400,000 head, that is, as many in proportion 
as in Eastern Siberia. As for the relative number of homed and other cattle, the Transbaikal 
is in this respect in the most favourable conditions compared with early colonized Siberia. 
There are here over 100 head of homed cattle per 100 inhabitants, the absolute number being 



60 SIBERIA. 

570,000, that is, 5 head per married couple, while of other cattle there are 350 head per 
100 inhabitants, the absolute number being as many as 2,000,000, which directly demonstrates 
the high proportion among the population of the cattle breeding class, and the wealth of 
pastures possessed by the country. 



The Amour Country. 

This country, the second part of the Amour-Littoral region, presents in all its physical 
conditions a type absolutely diiferent from that of Transbaikalia. By the Amour country is 
understood all the vast area occupied by the basin of the Amour along its left bank from 
the confluence of the Shilka with the Argun to the Stanovoi range and the Dzhugdyr ridge, 
dividing the Amour basin from that of the river Uda. Thus into the country of the Amour 
enters the whole Amour territory and the expanse between the eastern frontier running along 
the meridian and the course of the Amour to its mouth. In this way the Amour country occu- 
pies, just as Transbaikalia, not less than 11,000 square geographical miles. 

Mention has been already made above of the Stanovoi or Yablonovoi range, serving for 
a long distance as the northern boundary of the country, as this range separates the Yakutsk 
and Amour-Littoral regions of Siberia. But independent of this range, descending less abruptly 
into the Amour territory than into that of Yakutsk, a considerable part of the country is 
mountainous and filled with the spurs of the Stanovoi range and by such offsets as, like the 
Little Khingan or Burein range, have an almost meridional direction and fling back the 
Amour by their prolongations, forcing it to take a wide curve to the south. The con- 
necting link between the Little Khingan and the Stanovoi range is the Dzhugdyr ridge, form- 
ing the watershed between the basins of the Amour and the Uda, falling into the sea of 
Okhotsk in the Littoral Territory. The Little Khingan, with an average altitude of 2,500 feet 
reaches as much as 4,000 and even 6,000 feet at its summits near the head waters of the 
Bureya. The crest of the Khingan and especially its peaks are formed of «golets^> sprinkled 
on their slopes with stone heaps. The rocks prevailing in the mountain ridge are crystalline 
and consist mainly of granites which are also discovered on the Amour, where the mountains 
approaching the bed of the river nowhere rise higher than 1,000 feet above the level of the river. 
Upon the mountain slopes of the Stanovoi range and the Little Khingan and their offshoots 
are developed stratified rocks of paleozoic formations, especially the devonian, upon the 
southern incline of the Stanovoi range; secondary, namely, Jurassic, upon the lower reaches 
of the Oldoi and Zeya and upon the upper waters of the Bureya, and finally tertiary along 
the Amour, Zeya and Bureya. 

The country is abundantly watered. Its chief stream the Amour is one of the three co- 
lossal rivers of Asia falling into the Pacific. Its length, counting the rivers Argun and 
Kerulen as its head waters, amounts to not less than 4,600 versts.^ Having described its great 
arc, whose southern part crossed 48" N. lat., and having embraced with this arc on the south 
the whole Russian region of the Amour, it turns to the north-east and after reaching 51-5" 
X. lat., approaches so closely to the part of the Tartar strait, forming the northern extremity 



THE AMOUK-LITTORAL BORDER LAND. 61 

of the Sea of Japan, that Lake Kizi, a lateral enlargement of the bed of the Amour uu the 
right side is only separated by a twelve-verst isthmus from the Tartar strait, a little to the 
north of the beautiful bay of De Kastri. Here meeting with an impossible barrier to its 
exit towards the sea, the Amour swerves to the north, and only about 53" N. lat. finally turns 
to the sea and falls into that part of the Tartar strait which forms a part of the cold and inhos- 
pitable Sea of Okhotsk. The left tributaries of the Amour, the Zeya and Selimdzheya, the Bureya 
and the Argun are after the Amour the chief arteries of the Amour country. It is only in 
the lower reaches of these streams that more or less extensive plains spread out on either 
side; nearest the Stanovoi range and the Little Khingan the region is mountainous. 

The climate of the Amour country, although still continental, is yet characterized by 
a greater humidity than in original Siberia. In Blagoveschensk the mean annual tempara- 
ture is — 1.3° Celsius, but the mean winter temperature is — 24°, that of the coldest 
month — 27°, that of summer 19° and that of the hottest month 21°. This yields a difference 
between summer and winter temperatures of 43°, and between the hottest and coldest months 
of 48°, almost the same as in Transbaikalia. But the mean temperature of the five-months 
vegetative period, 15°*6, is still more favourable than in the Transbaikal country, and perfectly 
admits of the free development of agriculture, while upon the lower reaches of the Amour, 
In Nikolaevsk, where the average temperature of the year is — 2-6°, the temperature of the 
winter —22°, that of summer 15° and the climate is less continental, with differences of 37° 
and 40°, the free development of agriculture is very difficult, as the mean temperature of the 
five-months vegetative period only amounts to 11 '6°. 

In the quantity of the annual rain, over 500 millimetres, of which 290 fall during the 
three summer months, the Amour country has not only a more humid climate than Transbai- 
kalia with 290, and the agricultural zones of Eastern and Western Siberia, 360 and 380 respec- 
tively, but even more than their forest zones which have 400 and 470 millimetres. The excess 
of moisture in the Amour country exercises an unfavourable influence upon agriculture, which 
is still further intensified by the character of the vegetable covering of the region. All the 
lower slopes of the mountain ridges and their offsets are overgrown with weeds, and the upper 
declivities with trees which so powerfully arrest the moisture that the soil does not dry up. 
In consequence of this the greater part of the area is covered with unbroken swamps and 
forests, above which rise only the denuded «golets» of the rocky crests covered with stony 
talus upon their slopes. Cereals sown upon clearings run to straw reaching an incredible 
height, but frequently yield a poor grain sometimes not ripening completely. An exception to 
this is shewn by a few spots situated partly along the Amour in places not drowned by its 
Inundations, partly near the lower course of the Zeya. There are at present few such spots 
suitable for agriculture, and of its area of 11,000 square geographical miles not more than 
2,000 can as yet be recognized as fit for agricultural settlement. 

Fortunately, experience has shewn that the struggle with the excess of moisture which 
is an impediment to the cultivation and colonization of the Amour, which is to-day in the posi- 
tion of Germany in the days of Tacitus, is possible. The settlers in the Amour territory blaze 
over large areas the gro\A,^hs of reeds, the damp soil gi'adually dries and becomes converted 
into fertile arable land. In the course of 38 years, which had expired between the geogi'aph- 



62 SIBERIA. 

ical and botanical explorations of the academicians Maximov (1854) and Korzhinsky (1892), 
the climatic conditions of the country have already manifestly changed for the better and the 
gradual progress of the country, exceeding Germany in extent, in the sense of its gradual 
passage from the condition of the Germany of Tacitus to its present state, has already begun. 
But of course much time will still pass, before Russian colonization, now capable of occupying 
not more than one-fifth of the country, wrests step by step from a stem nature even half of 
the area for cultivation and civilization, and so far, without the spots which are accessible 
to cultivation and colonization, the Amour country, in the mountainous region of which there 
is still much gold to be found, is condemned only to sporadic and partly rapacious cultivation. 

The vegetative covering of the Amour country is luxuriant and peculiar, and displays 
a great difference from the floras of the other parts of Siberia, Even the woody vegetation 
exhibits striking differences from the similar vegetation of not only Siberia but also Transbai- 
kalia. With the ordinary Siberian races of conifers are here associated the Manchurian cedar 
(pinus mandshurica Rupr.), the ayan pitch-pine (picea ajanensis Fisch.) and an ally of the 
conifers, the yew (taxus baccata L.) peculiar to the mountains of the Caucasus. The yew 
nowhere else is to be met with in Siberia, and shews by its appearance on the lower Amour 
the nearness of the sea. The flora of the foliage trees and shrubs is both richer and more 
varied, here going to meet the beneficent marine influences of the Eastern Ocean. The lime 
genus is here represented by two peculiarly eastern forms, tilia cordata Mill, and tilia mandshu- 
rica Rupr. et Max. The maple, a stranger to the whole of Siberia, has here four representa- 
tives, of which the acer mono Max. is the characteristic local kind, the acer ginnala Max., 
a species closely allied to the easteni European acer tataricum L. and the Semirechensk 
acer Semenowii Reg.; the acer tegmentosum Maxim, bears a resemblance to the American 
kind (acer pensylvanicum L.); finally, the acer spicatum Lam. is undoubtedly an American 
variety. The apple, already appearing in Transbaikalia in the shape of a very small fruited 
variety (pyrus baccata), is here represented by a beautiful new species (pyrus ussuriensis 
Max.), and the bird cherry by two local varieties, (prunus Maackii Rupr. et Maximowiczii 
Rupr.). Two local species of walnut embellish the forests of the Amour, juglans mandshurica 
Max. and juglans stenocarpa Max., as also the local species of the ash unknown to the whole 
of Siberia, fraxinus mandshurica Rupr. With the European and Transbaikal varieties of the 
elm is associated the local ulmus montana Winckl. Further alongside the species of hazel 
already appearing in Transbaikalia, corylus heterophylla Fisch., is found a new species, co- 
rylus mandshurica Max. Finally, among the birches reappear a Kamchatka variety (betula 
Ermanni Cham.) and one local timber tree (betula costata Trautv.). The third local variety of 
birch, (betula Middendorfii Trautv.) is a shrub. The charming little tree of the Amour country 
with a palmy crown, (dimorphantus mandshuricus Rupr.) is far removed from the character of 
the Siberian trees. It belongs to the family of araliacese which loves a moist climate and is 
nowhere to be met with in Siberia. Not less remarkable is the cork tree of this country (phello- 
dendron amurense Rupr.), belonging to the family of zanthoxyleae nowhere to be met with 
in the whole of Russia. 

The shrubs of the Amour country are still more peculiar than the trees. Not less than 
24 varieties of shrubs here met with are entirely new for any one arriving from Siberia 



THE AMOUR-LITTORAL BORDER LAND. 03 

and Transbaikalia. Of these, three climbers are the lianas of the woods here. They are first of 
all, a beautiful plant belonging to the rare family of schizandraceae with pale rose-scented 
floAvers and red berries, (maximoviczia chinensis Rupr.), spread from northern China through 
Manchuria to the Amour country ; a species of vine, very slightly distinguished from the true 
vine (vitis amurensis Rupr.); and finally the wild vine (cissus brevipedunculata Max.). The 
species of clematis appearing here for the first time, clematis mandshurica Rupr. and aethus- 
aefolia Turcz,, belong to the non-climbing shrubby varieties of this genus. Of the two species 
of local berberry one is also peculiar to northern China (berberis sinensis Desf.); another, 
local (berberis amurensis). The very curious shrub of the Amour country, actinidia kolomikta 
Rupr., covered with large white scented flowers, has not yet found a strictly definite position 
in systematic botany, it being now referred to one now to another of the exotic families. Of the 
four local varieties of spindle-tree there is one Japanese (evonymus alatus Th.) and three 
local (evonymus pauciflorus Max., evonymus Maackii Rupr. and evonymus macropterusRupr.). 
Of the leguminosae the small shrub found here lespedeza stipulacea Max., also grows in the 
environs of Pekin. Of the rose family, the local species of cherry (prunus glandulifolia Rupr. 
and meadowsweet (spiraea amurensis Max.) are shrubs. Two local species, belonging to the 
same genus as our so-called garden jasmine (philadelphus) are a conspicuous adornment of the 
forests, philadelphus tenuifolius Rupr. and philadelphus Schrenkii Rupr. The beautiful local 
shrub of the same family Deutzia parviflora Bge. is a Chinese plant, spread by cultivation. 
To the family of araliaceae not to be met with in Siberia belong two shrubs common to this 
flora and that of northern €hina (panax sessiliflorum Rupr. and eleutherococcus senticosus 
Max). Of the honeysuckles there are here one Chinese species (lonicera chrysantha Turcz.) 
and two local (lonicera Maackii Rupr. and lonicera Maximowiczii Rupr.). Common to northern 
China is a species of lilac occurring here on the skirts of the woods with somewhat minute 
whitish flowers (syi'inga amurensis Rupr.). A vaiety of laurel, met with on the lower Amour 
is that called after Kamchatka (daphne kamtchatica Max.). 

Among the herbs of the Amour country, not less than 110 species are exclusively pe- 
culiar to this region, the rest are common to the Amour with China, Japan, Kamchatka and 
even America, but especially with Transbaikalia and Siberia, The whole flora of the Amour 
has 340 plants common with that of European Russia, that is, 38 per cent, while with Trans- 
baikalia it has 527, or more than 58 per cent. 

Equally peculiar with the flora of the Amour country is its invertebrate fauna and 
particularly the insects which are dependent on the same climatic conditions as the plants. 
Not less than 60 per cent of all the species of insects occurring in the Amour country are 
unknown to Europe, although the general character of the fauna is palearctic, that is, 
proper to the whole sub-polar and temperate zones of the Old World. 

As for the vertebrata, in Amouria associated with the mammals occurring in the for- 
est zone of Siberia are not only those animals which were mentioned in the survey of the 
fauna of Transbaikalia, but also some others. There belong the maral (cervus elaphus L.), 
whose bonis are so highly prized by the Chinese, the tiger (felis tigris L.), the irbis (felis 
irbis Pall.), the mountain wolf (canis alpinus Pall.) and the thibetan bear (ursus tibetanus). 
The fish of the Amour country are in the highest degree interesting, the river and its trib- 



64 SIBERIA. 

iitaries being extraordinarily rich in them. Of the sturgeon family, the local species of bie- 
luga attains enormous dimensions (huso orientalis Pall, and amurensis Pall), weighing some- 
times from 30 to 50 pouds. The sturgeon of this region (sturio Schrenkii Br.) likewise differs 
from the Russian type, but the sterlet belongs to the Caspian species (acipencer ruthenus L.). 
Two species of salmon which ascend the Amour and Ussuri, to the present day in countless 
numbers, have a great significance for the country, the gorbusha (trutta proteus Pall.) and 
ket (trutta lagocephalus Pall.). Of the other fish common to Siberia are the delicious taimen 
(salmo fluviatilis Pall.), the char (salmo coregonoides Pall.), the smelt (salmo eperlanus), the 
carp (cyprinus carpis) and eelpout (lota vulgaris Cus.). But there are also a few fish 
which are extremely characteristic of the Amour basin. Among these are to be reckoned 
the Amour fish (pristidion Semenovii Dyb.), the daur silarus (silurus asotus Pall.), the 
barbodou locustris L., plagiograthus Yelskii Dyb., the white fish (culter abramoides Dyb.), the 
verkhogliadka (cutter Sieboldi Dyb.), the verkhobriushka (culter lucidus Dyb.) and the local 
variety of pike (esox Reicherti Dyb.), the latter attaining an enormous size. 

The population of the Amour country consists of only 90,000 inhabitants of both sexes, 
among whom are 3,000 wandering natives. The majority of these natives (Orochons, Mang- 
ountsi, Birars) belong to the Tunguz tribes, and only the minority to the Ghiliaks, who have 
nothing do with them ethnographically, and speak a language of their own. The latter are more 
numerous only on the Amour frith and on the seacoast of the Littoral territory, as also on 
the island of Sakhalin. The Ghiliaks together with the Ainos, Kurils and ancient aborigenes 
of Kamchatka belong to a special coast tribe which once occupied the whole shore of the 
Eastern Ocean inclusive of the Japanese islands, at least the northern islands, the Kuril line 
and the peninsula of Kamchatka. They were driven out from their places of abode on the Jap- 
anese series of islands by the Japanese, and on the coast by the Manchurian tribes. 

The Ghiliaks are pilncipally fishermen and are engaged in sea industries, while among the 
Manchurian tribes, as ancient cattle breeders, the polar form of this occupation, the rearing 
of reindeer, is in a state of more or less equilibrium with trapping and fishing. Much more 
numerous than these weak and it may be said dying-out tribes of Tunguz in the Amour 
country is the settled agricultural Tunguz tribe of Manchurians. These Manchurians, now 
numbering 14,000, occupied in the times preceding the Russian dominion an excellent area 
for colonization, upon the left bank of the Amour, opposite the Chinese town of Aigun 
and by the terms of the Aigun and Pekin treaties remain established upon Russian terri- 
tory, but upon their own lands, as Chinese subjects, and are occupied mainly with agri- 
culture. To this settled native population must be added further about 1,000 Coreas now 
established in the country. 

Russian immigrants still form 80 per cent of the population of the country. They have 
settled in more or less considerable villages along the whole course of the Amour with the 
exception of those portions adjacent to its banks where constant inundations impede the set- 
tled and agricultural mode of life of the Russian colonies, as also upon the extensive and 
excellent area for purposes of colonization stretching along both sides of the lower reaches 
of the Zeya and its lower tributaries. Another area adapted to colonization is moving gi-ad- 
ually into the heart of the country, along the river Bureya and the neighbouring minor 



THE USSURI-LITTORAL TRACT. 65 

tributaries of the Amour, and may in time occupy the whole space between the curve of 
the Amour and the Yanda tableland, which extends in the direction of the chord of the 
arc formed by the Amour, between the mouth of the Bureya and the Khabarovka. In the 
few and scantily populated towns of Amouria, among which Blagoveshchensk alone has 9,000 
inhabitants, lives a little more than 11 per cent of its population, which clearly shews the 
predominance in the country of the rural population and of rural industries. The development 
of the latter is also demonstrated by the number of domestic animals in the country, although 
this number is comparatively lower than in the neighbouring Transbaikalia. Thus, in the Amour 
country there are 55 horses per 100 inhabitants (instead of 70), that is, a little more 
than in Western Siberia. Horned cattle give 70 head (instead of 100), but still more than 
in Western Siberia, and almost as many as in Eastern Siberia. Only the number of sheep 
and goats is as yet insignificant, 30 head per 100 inhabitants, instead of 380 as in the 
Transbaikal country. This is explained not merely by the recent settlement of the region but 
by the absence of a cattle breeding population. 



The Ussuri-Littoral Tract. 

The third type in the Amour-Littoral region is the Ussuri-Littoral tract, occupying the 
whole southern portion of the Littoral Territory, lying on the right side of the Amour, between 
its right tributary, the Ussuri, and the Sea of Japan. Including in the Ussuri country the island 
of Sakhalin lying opposite it in the Sea of Japan, an expanse of 7,000 square geographical 
miles is obtained. The greater part of this space is occupied by the right sides of the basins 
of the Ussuri and of the lower part of the course of the Amour from its confluence with 
the Ussuri. The long but low and very wooded range of Sikhete-Alin, stretching more or 
less parallel to the coast line of the Japanese Sea, separates a narrow shore land from 
the basin of the Ussuri, which has not sufficient room for the formation of any considerable 
rivers, excepting the southern part of it turned directly to the south, which has both deeply 
indented bays with fine harbours and a few tributaries of more importance than in the coast 
zone, as for example the river Suifun. The whole of the extensive hollow turned to the 
south of the coast line of tliis part of the littoral of the Ussuri country has received the 
name of the Bay of Peter the Great. Upon the peninsula, separating the Amour and Ussuri 
bays penetrating deep into the Continent, somewhat to the south of 43° north latitude is situated 
the town and port of Vladivostok, from which a railway is now being carried through the 
Ussuri country to Khabarovka, situated at the junction of the Ussuri and the Amour upon 
the right bank of the latter, the residence of the Governor-General of the three territories 
constituting the whole of the Amour-Littoral region of Siberia. 

The height of the Sikhete-Alin is inconsiderable; in the case of the passes it amounts 
to from 1,270 to 2,370 feet, and in that of the highest of the mountain peaks yet measured, 
Mount Camel (Khuntami), it reaches 3,600 feet. In the crest of the Sikhete-Alin crystalline 
rocks such as gi-anite are laid bare, and in its northern part which throws the lower course 
of the Amour back from De Castri Bay to the north, volcanic rocks such as trachyte and 



66 SIBERIA. 

basalt are to be met with. At the contact of the crystalline with the stratified rocks in the 
Sikhetc-Alin, argentiferous lead deposits occur, and twenty versts from St. Olga Bay, rich 
deposits of iron ores. The eastern slope of the Sikhete-Alin, in its offspurs, sometimes descends 
in sheer precipices into the sea, and at others, leaves a certain space for the streams run- 
ning along short parallel valleys to fall into the sea. In the neighbourhood of their mouths 
there are at times very convenient bays and bights, as for example, the bays of St. Olga 
and St. Vladimir in the southern part of the country and of De Kastri in the northern part. 
Upon the wide space dividing the Sikhete-Alin from the course of the Ussuri, run the impor- 
tant right tributaries of this river; in the south-western corner of this country the Russian 
possessions cross over to the left side of the Ussuri and embrace the extensive lake Khanka. 
The whole of this expanse includes the areas of colonization belonging to the country, which 
are only embarrassed by the abundance of swamps and forests and the extraordinary humid- 
ity of the climate. 

The seashore range of the Sikhete-Alin, in spite of its slight elevation, serves how- 
ever as an extremely important climatic line of division. The coast zone, situated upon the 
eastern acclivity of the Sikhete-Alin, wrapped for the greater part of the year in impene- 
trable fogs, differs extremely from the wide Ussuri zone, incomparably more continental in 
Its climate, whose more favourable climatic conditions are also extended to the seacoast 
strip of the southward trending Bay of Peter the Great. This difference comes out most clearly 
on comparing the climates of points placed at no great distances from each other, Vlad- 
ivostok, situated in the depths of the Bay of Peter the Great, and the Bay of St. Olga, 
situated 200 versts behind the cape which forms the turning point, separating the southern 
littoral of the country from the south-eastern, upon the foggy and damp south-eastern shore. 
The mean temperature for the year in both points, differing in latitude by only ^2°, is the 
same, namely 4-5", but in the Bay of St. Olga the mean winter temperature is —10" Celsius, 
that of the coldest month —13°, the summer temperature 18", that of the hottest month 20°; 
accordingly, the difference between summer and winter is 28°, that between the hottest and 
coldest months 33°; while the mean winter temperature in Vladivostok is —12°, that of the 
coldest month —16°, the summer temperature 18°, that of the hottest month 21°; accordingly, 
the difference between summer and winter is 30°, between the hottest and coldest months 37°, 
so that the climate of Vladivostok is more continental than marine. In Khabarovka the mean 
annual temperature is of course lower than in Vladivostok and in the Bay of St. Olga, it is 
equal to 0°, but the remaining elements of the climate are favourable, notwithstanding the 
severity of the winters. With an average winter temperature of — 22° and coldest month of 
—25°, the summer shews 19°, the hottest month 20°; the difference between summer and winter 
is 41°, and that between the hottest and coldest months 45°. As might be expected, the mean 
temperature of the five-months vegetative period throughout the Ussuri country, in the Bay 
of St. Olga 15°, in Vladivostok 16°, and in Khabarovka 17°, is distinctly favourable to agri- 
culture, but the climatic discrepancy between the two points shews itself most strongly in 
the quantity of moisture precipitated in the course of the year. In Vladivostok the annual rain 
fall is 336 millimetres, of which 158 belong to the three summer months, while in the Bay of 
St. Olga it is 1,024 millimetres, of which 452 millimetres fall to the summer months. Thus, 



THE USSURI-LITTORAL TRACT. 67 

compared with the Bay of St. Olga, which represents the type of the most humid marine 
climate, the climate of Vladivostok appears to he far more continental, indeed even more so 
than that of Khaharovka, where 560 millimetres of moisture is precipitated in the course of 
the year, of which 312 falls during the summer months. Under such comparatively excellent 
climatic conditions, the port of Vladivostok remains open and accessihle at almost all seasons 
of the year, with the exception only of an extremely short winter period, lasting here as in 
Odessa not more than IV2 to 2 months. 

Further, upon the western slope of the Sikhete-Aliu, in the hroad zone, covered to a 
considerable extent with woods and morasses, between the coast range and the river Ussuri, 
the climate is far moister than in Vladivostok and in particular is more rainy in summer. The 
humidity of the climate and the dampness of the soil, which never dries up owing to the dense 
vegetation, have determined the method of sowing grain in rows or beds, to allow the 
free passage of streams of air to prevent the rotting of the crop at the root. But however 
this may be, it has become evident that certain localities of the country are so damp that in 
them such a development of sporiferous plants or microfungi takes places on the ears that 
bread baked from the flour of grain stricken with these blights becomes intoxicating, producing 
in fact such symptoms in those who eat it. This inconvenience called forth by climatic 
conditions sometimes even causes immigi'ants to abandon the «spots which produce intoxica- 
ting bread». 

Absolutely different and far less favourable are the conditions (as far as agriculture is 
concerned, as a consequence of its geographical situation), of the island of Sakhalin, which 
has acquired latterly a world-wide notoriety as a Russian convict settlement. This island, severed 
from the Ussuri country by the most northern part of the Sea of Japan, the Tartar or Xe- 
velsky's straits, stretches exactly along the 8 dergees of latitude, between 54° and 46°, and 
projects with its northern extremity. Cape St. Elisabeth, into the Sea of Okhotsk, and with its 
southern extremity, bending round the extensive bay of Aniva in the shape of a horseshoe, 
approaches Japan, from which it is separated by the straits of Laperouse. Somewhat to the 
north of the bay of De Castri, the straits dividing Sakhalin from the Ussuri country are so 
narrow and shallow that they are inaccessible to large ocean-going ships, and in conse- 
quence rather separate than unite the mouth of the Amour with the Sea of Japan. The 
skeleton of Sakhalin is formed of a fairly elevated range with steep summits, consisting of 
volcanic rocks, such as basalt, which have lifted beds of stratified rocks belonging to the 
rare, in Siberia, cretaceous formation. It is here rich in shells, ammonites of great size, inoce- 
ramus, patella, rhynchonella et cetera. There also occur layers of middle tertiary or miocene 
formation, in which many remains of vegetation are to be met with, consisting of the leaves 
of the beech (fagus), walnut (juglaus), and salisburia, now no longer thriving in Sakhalin. To 
the north of parallel 52" the Sakhalin range, attaining in its loftiest points (Three Brothers, 
on the northern extremity of the island and Engys-Pal, somewhat north of 52'' N. lat.) 2,000 
feet upon sea level, falls abruptly on the eastern side to the Sea of Okhotsk, and on the west, 
on the side of the Tartar straits, forms a low and marshy coast land between its foothills and 
the shore line. To the south of 52° the range is cleft into two crests by a longitudinal valley, 
along which from their junction run in the line of the meridian in opposite directions the 

5* 



68 SIBERIA. 

two principal streams of the island, the Tym and the Poronai, The extremity of the eastern 
ridge, attaining in Mount Tiara a height of 3,000 feet, declining a little from the meridian 
line to the south-east, heyond the mouth of the Poronai, forms the broad Bay of Patience. 
The western crest as far as the very extremity of the island falls abruptly into the Sea of 
Japan, rising above it to 3,000 and even 4,000 feet, and does not present on this side any 
convenient harbours, but exhibits near Due splendid deposits of coal. These coal fields, as also 
the petroleum springs discovered recently in Sakhalin, together with the fine fisheries of the 
Bay of Aniva, the bottom of which is luxuriantly covered with weeds going by the name of 
sea-cabbage, promise an economical future to this otherwise inhospitable island. 

In what unfavourable climatic conditions, notwithstanding a comparatively not very 
northerly situation, the island of Sakhalin is placed, thanks to the current flowing down from 
the bleak Okhotsk Sea along the eastern littoral, bringing with it huge masses of ice, is evident 
from the following data. The mean temperature in the principal settlement of the island, Due, 
about 51" north latitude upon the western and warmer coast, is 0.5**, the winter temperature — 15°, 
that of the coldest month — 16", of summer + 14", of the hottest month 16.5". Moreover the 
mean temperature of the five-months vegetative period, less than 12", is insufficient for the 
development here of permanent agriculture. Little better is the climate in the Muraviov post 
lying 4" further south in the extreme south-eastern corner of the island. Here, it is true, 
the mean annual temperature is higher, 2.3", the winter more moderate; the mean temperature 
is— 11", coldest month— 12"; but on the other hand the summer is colder, the mean summer 
temperature being — 13", that of the hottest month -|- 16", so that the average temperature of 
the five-months vegetative period, less than 12°, is equally unfavourable to the raising of grain. 
This is explained by the circumstance that the eastern coast of Sakhalin, along which polar 
glacial currents descend to the south is in summer considerably colder than the western. As 
for the rainfall, it is much less considerable on the western littoral of Sakhalin than on the 
Bay of St. Olga, and amounts during the year to a little more than 500 millimetres, of 
which only ]84 fall to the three summer months, while the autumns are almost as rainy as 
the summer. In a word, Sakhalin is unfit for agricultural colonization. Equally unfit is the 
whole northern half of the Sikhete-Alin and the corresponding part of the littoral, so that 
there can hardly be found more than 3,000 square geographical miles as an area for coloni- 
zation in the whole Ussuri-Littoral country, after deduction is made of the too swampy and 
too damp spots, which so severely hamper the development of colonization in the Ussuri zone. 

In the vegetable growth of the Ussuri country little difference is observable from 
that of the Amour. The greater part of the characteristic plants of Amouria cross 
over into Ussuria. It is however noteworthy that the proportion of European Russian forms 
is higher in the Ussuri country than in the Amour, namely 47 instead of 38 per cent, which 
is a direct indication of the less continental nature of the climate. The species of trees are 
identical with those in the Amour country. Only one new tree appears, a hard-beam (car- 
pinus cordata Bl.) and two shrubs, the wild vine crossing from North China (cissus humuli- 
folia Bge.) and the common European berberry (berberis vulgaris L.), Only a little over 80 
species of herbaceous plants are found in the Ussuri Country, and not met with in Amouria, 
among them being species common to North China, Japan and America. Only 17 local plants 



THE USSURl-LITTOKAL TRACT. 69 

are known which have been found nowhere except in Ussuria. xlmong them is the celebrated 
ginseng (panax ginseng Reg.), whose root is so prized as a remedy by the Chinese. Prob- 
ably many of these plants will be subsequently fRund in the Amour Country also, but some 
of them bear undoubtedly a more southern character. To the latter are to be referred, from 
the pea family, the beautiful climbing glycine ussuriensis Reg., of the exotic family ponte- 
deriaceae, the very showy marsh plant (monochoria Korsakavii Reg.); of the family of erio- 
caulaceae, eriocanlon ussuriense; finally, of the ferns, with a subtropical appearance, pleopeltis 
ussuriensis Reg. The flora of the Ussuri country has many forms common to North America; 
25 per cent of the whole Ussuri flora is met with in North America, but of course the ma- 
jority of these species belong to those equally existent over the whole northern zone alike 
of the Old and the New World, and only 32 species, entirely foreign to European Russia, 
cross from America, 14 through the Yakutsk region and 18 direct. 

Almost the same may be said in reference to the invertebrate fauna, and especially of 
the insects, as to the flora. The majority of the species here are met with also in the Amour 
country, while the proportion of peculiar forms is very high, but approaching the Sea of Japan 
on the one hand a few forms appear not found in the Amour Country and bearing a subtrop- 
ical character, and on the other, the proportion increases of purely European species or their 
analogues, a fact particularly noticeable in those orders of insects possessing a highly developeil 
power of flight, as for example the butterflies and moths (lepidoptera). On the whole, both 
the flora and the fauna of the Ussuri country as also of the whole Amour-Littoral region 
bears a completely palearctic character, that is, the character of the northern zone of the 
Old World, here reaching right as far as the Eastern Ocean, while in the more southern zone 
the palearctic fauna crossing the whole tableland of Central Asia and Tibet together finds 
its limit in a more western meridian upon the frontier of the warm subtropical plains of 
China, falling far short of the Eastern Ocean. 

The vertebrate animals of the Ussuri-Littoral country are the same as those in 
Amouria ; only one species of deer (cervus axis), a few small rodents, and fish in the Sea of 
Japan appearing in its bays like the herrings and pilchards in countless numbers at certain 
seasons of the year, constitute the difference between the fauna of the Ussuri-Littoral region 
and that of the Amour. 

The population of the Ussuri-Littoral region together with the island of Sakhalin at 
present already amounts to 90,000 souls. In this number are only 6,500 wandering aborigenes 
of the country belonging to the Tunguz tribes of Manguns, Golds, Oroks, and also to the Ghil- 
iaks. There are 13,000 Coreans with fixed abodes, and 8,000 Chinese. The Russian immi- 
grants amount to more than 60,000, or 67 per cent, so that contrary of the Yakutsk re- 
gion, the Ussuri-Littoral, Amour and Transbaikal districts may be considered completely 
Russian. In the towns of the Ussuri-Littoral country live about 18 per cent of its 
population, and only one of these towns, Vladivostok, with 13,000 in habitants, has the char- 
acter of a true town population. It is not then astonishing that in the Ussuri-Littoral country the 
rural predominate over the town industries, a fact appearing in the number of domestic animals 
reared by the population, although this figure is lower than in Transbaicalia and Amouria 
on account of the recent settlement of the country. Thus, there are about 45 horses in the 



70 SIBERIA. 

Ussuri-Lilloral country to 100 inhabitants, 55 head of horned cattle, and a little more than 
30 sheep and goats. But of course these figures are rapidly growing with the extremely no- 
ticeable increase of prosperity of the immigrants in the Ussuri country, who latterly have 
even hegun to pay off all at once the loans of money given them on their immigration. 

Completely different is the character of the fourth district of the Amour-Littoral region 
which may he called the Okhotsk-Kamchatka. This north-eastern part of the region under 
consideration, embracing, beginning with the basin of the river Uda, the watersheds of all 
the rivers falling into the Okhotsk and Behring seas, occupies an area of more than 27,000 
square geographical miles. The Okhotsk-Kamchatka country is geographically composed of 
the somewhat narrow north-western littoral of the Sea of Okhotsk, the districts of Udsk, 
Okhotsk and Ghizhiginsk, the peninsula of Kamchatka or district of Petropavlovsk, Chukot 
land and the islands of the Okhotsk and Behring seas. In the first part the Stanovoi range, 
with not more than an average height of 3,000 feet, divides the Littoral Territory from that 
of Yakutsk, sending forth considerable offshoots, more or less filling up the shore zone, which 
is on the whole mountainous and in some places descends abruptly to the sea, especially 
between the basins of the Uda and Okhota. The basin of the Uda and the whole of the 
extensive bay of that name, penetrating between Cape St. Alexander and the port of Ayansk 
deep into the mainland by its inlets of Udsk, Tugursk, Ulbansk and St. Nicholas, in front of 
which lie the uninhabited but elevated and fairly extensive Shantar islands, are nevertheless 
the best part of the Okhotsk-Kamchatka country, while the wide and roomy northern littoral 
of the Okhotsk Sea, with its Ghizhiginsk and Penzhinsk inlets entering deeply into the main- 
land to the north-east, represents the most unsuitable spots in the country for the purposes 
of settlement on account of its climatic conditions. The geological composition of the north- 
western coastland of the Okhotsk Sea is very various. Along it crystalline rocks, gi-anite, 
diorite, porphyry, and even labrador, are met with, as also volcanic rocks, such as trachyte 
and basalt, as for example in the Marekan mountains at Okhotsk, upon the peninsula of 
Segneka and on the littoral of the Uyanon inlet in the Udsk district. Among stratified rocks, 
paleozoic formations were found in Cape Karaul in the same locality. 

A great scientific interest, but of very little economical future, is afforded by the penin- 
sula of Kamchatka stretching to the south almost as far as 50° north latitude. The skeleton of 
Kamchatka is formed by the middle Kamchatka range, the southern half of which consists 
of crystalline schists, and also of granite, syenite and porphyry, while the northern is composed 
of tertiary sandstones and volcanic rocks. Upon the boundary between these halves rises the 
extinct volcano Icha to a height of 36,900. Parallel with the main Middle Kamchatka range, 
along the eastern shore of the peninsula, stretches a whole row of active and extinct volca- 
noes, forming as it were the fieii wreaths of Kamchatka. The most southern of the perma- 
nently active volcanoes is the small Avacha, whose cone in the year 1848 fell quite in, but in 
which the extensive crater which was formed after the catastrophe kept constantly smoking 
from 1852 to 1855. The crown of the system in the neighbourhood of the Avacha bay, upon 
which is situated the chief town of Kamchatka, is formed by the cones Povorot (7,900 feet), 
Viliucha (6,750), Strelka or Koriak (a marvellously beautiful cone, scored with longitudinal 
ribs, 10,630 feet;, Avacha (8,700 feet) and Zhupan (8,800 feet); the last two are always active. 



THE USSUEl-LITTORAL TRACT. 71 

Avacha produced frightful eruptions in the years 1825 and 1855. Traces of the first of these 
eruptions were left in the gullies deeply cut in the sides of the mountain, washed away by the 
torrents of hot water proceeding from the mass of melted snows. Further to the north, volcanoes 
are grouped round Lake Kronotskoe. The highest of them, the Kronotsk, is 9,940 feet high. 
Still further to the north, in view of the Gulf of Kamchatka and the mouths of the river 
Kamchatka, the principal stream on the peninsula, are collected other volcanoes still active, 
of which the Kliuchevsk is the highest of all the active volcanoes of Kamchatka, and consid- 
erably exceeds in height not only Mont Blanc but even Kazbek, rising from 16,000 and 
17,000 feet above sea level. The stream of lava which descended from the Kliuchevsk 
at the eruption of 1843 almost reached the river Kamchatka. The other active volcanoes of 
this group also attain colossal altitudes, namely the Krestovsk 11,000 feet, and Siveliuch 10,500 
feet. Kamchatka reckons in all 12 active and over 26 extinct volcanoes. 

The greater part of the Chukot land is occupied by the basin of the Anadyi", but the 
Chukot or Behring peninsula proper, forming the extreme north-eastern extremity of Asia, 
separated from America by Behring Straits, is mountainous and deeply indented with fiords. 
In the neighbourhood of Kamchatka in the Behring Sea are the somewhat elevated and inhabited 
Commander Islands partly composed of volcanic rocks, enjoying a world-wide reputation on 
account of their seal fisheries and other marine industries. 

The climatic conditions of the whole Okhotsk-Kamchatka country are extremely unfa- 
vourable. The Okhotsk Sea, notwithstanding it does not reach as far north as the Baltic, 
its most northern entrances being on one line of latitude with the Channel, has the char- 
acter of a thoroughly polar sea, frequently visited by whales. In the most southern ports of 
the Okhotsk Sea, Udsk and Ayan, the mean annual temperature is about 4", the winters, 
notwithstanding the nearness of the Sea, are severe, the mean winter temperature in Ayan 
being — 20", and in Udsk with its more continental climate, — 28°. The summer is cool; in 
Ayan 11°, in Udsk, 13.5°. If agriculture in Udsk with an average temperature during the 
five-months vegetative period of about 12° is extremely precarious, in Ayan with 8° it is 
impossible. In Okhotsk the mean annual temperature is even lower, — 5°; the winters are 
colder than in Ayan, — 19.5°, the summer the same, 11°. The same also is the mean tem- 
perature of the five-months vegetative period, 8°, completely excluding the possibility of the 
development here of agriculture. Somewhat diS^erently situated is Petropavlovsk, in Kam- 
chatka on Behring Sea, which is subject to a purely marine climate. The average annual 
temperature, 2°, is here higher than in the Okhotsk Sea, the winter much more moderate, — 
8°, the summer almost the same as at the Udsk penal settlement, 13°, but the mean temper- 
ature of the five-months vegetative period, 10.6°, is less favourable to agriculture than in 
Udsk. As to the dampness of the climate and the annual rainfall, the Okhotsk-Kam- 
chatka country presents in this respect two sharp contrasts. The larger southern part 
of the Sea of Okhotsk and the southern extremity of Kamchatka are constantly wrapped 
in fogs, drenched with rain or smothered with snow, so that in Ayan the quantity of 
the annual rainfall amounts to 1,113 millimetres, in Petropavlovsk to 1,240 millimetres, in 
Ayan summer precipitation 526 millimetres, and autumn 452 predominating, while in Pe- 
tropavlovsk summer has the smallest precipitation, which is however very gi'eat in autumn. 



72 SIBERIA. 

winter and spring. On the contrary, ou the whole northern littoral of the Sea of Okhotsk, 
from Okhotsk to Tigihllsk, in the northern part of Kamchatka and in Chukot land, there is a 
very small rainfall, reaching in Okthotsk in the course of the year only 190 millimetres, and the 
winters are almost ahsolutely snowless, with but 9 millimetres. The climate of the Sea of Okhotsk 
is fuither characterized hy monsoons, that is, winds blowing in summer from the sea and in winter 
from the laud. In winter the aerial current of the monsoons pours across the crest of the 
Stanovoi range with such force that men and pack animals cannot go against it. In the late 
autumn ships avail themselves of these winds on the voyage from Okhotsk to Kamchatka. In 
summer, on the contrary, strong winds blow from the sea into the Okhotsk shore; they bring 
with them cold, impeuetrable fog and «bus;>, a fine cold misty rain. These monsoons are 
explained by the strong heating of the land compared with the sea in summer and its cooliug 
in winter. 

The flora of the whole of the Okhotsk-Kamchatka country is poor in the number of 
species and exhibits but small variety, but the vegetable grownh over the whole of its damp 
part upon the western littoral of the Sea of Okhotsk and in southern Kamchatka is luxuriant. 
The forests of southern Kamchatka consist only of the two coniferous species, the Siberian 
fir (abies sibirica Led.) and of the Siberian cedar (pinus cembra L.), and of a few deciduous 
trees, a birch (betula pubesceus Ehr.), an alder (alnus iucana W.), a poplar (populus suave- 
olens Fisch.), a rowan (pyi-us sambucifolia Ch.), a willow (salix pentandra L.), to which must 
be added further a few shrubs belonging to the genera of clematis (atragene ochoteusis Pall.), 
dog-rose (two Siberian species) honeysuckle (lonicera uigi-a L.), birch (betula ErmanniCh.) and 
willow, several species, not counting the smallest bushes of the family of heathers (ericacese). 

The herbaceous plants, while very poor in the number of species, grow luxuriantly, 
far exceeding a man's height. Unfortunately among such is a species of nettle with divided 
leaves (urtica cannabina L.), which has latterly increased here to such an extent that it 
literally, over large areas, completely crowds out all other vegetation and will be fatal to 
Kamchatka until its fibre finds some practical application. 

The western coast of the Sea of Okhotsk presents a great resemblance in its vegetation 
with Kamchatka. Some plants however cross over into its southern portion from the Ussuri- 
Littoral region, as for example is the case with the tree, picea ajanensis. As for the northern 
coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, and the perfectly treeless tableland, occupying northern Kamchatka, 
and Chukot land, their flora bears a greater resemblance to that existing under similar cli- 
matic conditions in the polar tundra zone of the Yakutsk region. 

The land fauna of the Ochotsk-Kamchatka country differs little from the Siberian. 
Its marine fauna has an incomparably greater importance for the district, for the simple 
reason that nowhere does the marine fauna of the polar seas come so far south as in Beh- 
ring Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk whither, together with marine currents and icebergs, the 
mammals and fish of the Arctic Ocean penetrate in large numbers. 

The Sea of Okhotsk, occupying an extensive area between the coast of the Asiatic 
continent and the peninsula of Kamchatka, and shut in on the south-east by the Kuril ridge, 
which leaves as many as 20 convenient entrances into it from the Pacific Ocean and the Sea 
of Japan, is placed in quite exceptional climatic conditions. Notwithstanding its geographical 



THE USSURI-LITTORAL TRACT. 73 

Situation in the temperate zone, between 44" ami 62^ north hititude, it possesses the typo of a 
polar sea like Hudson's Bay. The greatest depth of the Sea of Okhotsk in its centre is apparently 
not more than 1,400 to 1,500 feet. While towards the end of the summer in July and August 
the temperature of the water upon the surface of the sea rises to 7" and even 10°, that at 
a depth of over 100 feet is below 0° C, and deeper thanTOOfeetit is— I'S". Lower than 1,350 
feet, the water being Salter, the temperature again rises, reaching 2*4° and remains so to the 
bottom of the sea. But however this may be, the Sea of Okhotsk has all the appearance of 
what might be called a «tundra» sea, from the valleys of the northern shore of which are 
carried to the south the so-called <;scum» or ice masses floating almost the whole summer on 
the Sea of Okhotsk. In summer the floating ice collects especially in the southern part of the 
sea, off the coast to the east of Sakhalin and around the Shautar islands and even in the 
Amour frith. In Udsk Bay the ice clears out only in July, in Tugursk Bay it holds till Au- 
gust. The marine currents of the Okhotsk sea on its eastern Kamchatka shore flow apparently 
on the whole in a northerly direction, and from its uorth-eastem Ghizhiginsk and Penzhinsk 
extremities swerve to the west, and afterwards following the change of direction of the coast- 
line turn to the south, passing by the eastern shore of SakhaUn. These cuiTents it is that 
fill the whole south-western part of the sea in summer with floating ice, in some places form- 
ing an obstacle to ships entering it from the Pacific Ocean. 

Both the subaqueous flora and the invertebrate fauna of the Okhotsk Sea are extremely 
rich in comparison with not only those of the Northern Ocean coast, but even with those 
of Behriug Sea. As many as 53 species of seeweeds (algae) have been found in this sea. 
The algae here, moreover, bear a much greater resemblance to the flora of the Artie Ocean 
than to that of the Pacific. The majority of the seaweeds of the European Arctic Ocean are 
also to be found in the Sea of Okhotsk, while the flora of this sea presents very few species 
common to the Pacific, possessing however not a few peculiar species. The Sea of Okhotsk is 
extraordinarily rich in mollusks. As many as 70 species of shellfish have been found there, 
of which 31 species belong to the general polar or circumpolar forms, 15 to the polar forms 
of Behring Sea, 14 to the Pacific fauna, also met with upon the American coasts, and finally 
10, peculiar to the Sea of Okhotsk itself. Twenty-one species of crustaceans have been found, 
5 of these circumpolar, 5 Pacific, and 11 peculiar to Okhotsk. There is scant information on 
the fish of the Sea of Okhotsk, but the pisciae wealth of this sea is very considerable. In partic- 
ular the «keta» (salmo lagocephalus) and «malma» (salma callaris) are met here in count- 
less shoals. It is a natural consequence of the wealth of the marine flora and fauna of the 
Sea of Okhotsk and of its polar character, that this sea has ever been the chosen hunting 
ground of large marine mammals, swimming hither from the Arctic Ocean. Among these must 
be counted not only several species of seal (phoca barbata, groenlandica, leonina, nautica, numu- 
laria and ochotensis), dolphins (phocaena orca, delphinapteros leucas); but three species of whale 
of which only one has been identified with certainty (balaenoptera longimana). The whal- 
ing industry began to be developed here in the foities of the present century, and since 
1847 the American whalers have not given these creatures one single year's rest, aud have 
canied away, according to the testimony of the American ship owners, in the 14 years bclvreeu 
1847 and 1861, blubber aud whale bone to the amount of 130,000,000 dollars, employing 



74 SIBERIA. 

annually for the purpose 200 vessels. Under somewhat different conditions is Behring Sea, 
since the surrender to the United States of the Russian possessions in America, enjoyed in com- 
mon hy the States and Russia. It is hounded on the south, that is on the side of the Pacific 
by the ridge of the Aleutian islands, and on the north communicates with the Frozen Ocean 
hy means of Behring Straits. Situated in more northeni latitudes, between 52° and 64° N. 
lat., and separated from the Pacific Ocean only hy a ridge of islands interrupted by sea 
channels, Behring Sea is a type not of a close mediterranean sea like that of Okhotsk, but 
of an ocean sea open at both ends, whose climate is still more marine at all seasons of the 
year than that of the Sea of Okhotsk. It is enough to state that in the southern part of the 
sea with a mean annual temperature of 3°, the average temperature of the coldest month is 
a Uttle below zero, and that of the hottest 7°, to understand why all the islands of Behring 
Sea are devoid of trees. Xo agriculture is possible upon them, and both these islands and the 
shores of Behring Sea are incapable of settled colonization, and are for ever doomed to be 
restricted to the working of their marine resources. The water flora of Behring Sea is poorer 
than that of Okhotsk, but it cannot be called alsolutely poor, and it is at any rate incom- 
parably richer than the flora of the Siberian coast of the Arctic Ocean. 

Thanks to this circumstance and to the abundance of mollusks, crustaceans and fish, 
this sea like that of Okhotsk has always been a splendid feeding gi'ouud for marine animals, 
V :,ich once used to visit these shores in countless numbers, in particular the islands of Behring Sea, 
': Lie most interesting of. these visitors was, till the commencement of this century, the huge ani- 
mal. 35 feet in length and weighing 50,000 pounds, known by the name of the seacow (rytina 
Stelleri), first described by the highly talented fellow traveller of Behring, the Russian natur- 
alist Steller; this enormous beast has now entirely vanished from the face of the earth, like 
the mammoth of the prehistoric age and the gi-eat birds dodo and moa in more recent times. 
The last seacows were killed on Behring island, one of the most remarkable islands in the 
world, alike from a geographical and from a natural history point of view, in 1780, According 
however to information gathered by Xordenskjold the half-castes of Behring island saw sea- 
cows last as late as 1S55. Another visitor of the islands of Behring Sea, the so-called sea 
lion or «sivuch» (eumetopias Stelleri Less.) has now become so rare that it is only seen 
in individual specimens. On the other hand Behring Sea and especially Behring islands are 
still rich in seals (otaria ursina), of which annually from 10,000 to 50,000 are taken. One other 
very valuable visitor of the Behring islands is the so-called Kamchatka or sea beaver (enhydris 
lutris L.), which in zoological respects has nothing in common with the genus beaver (biber) or 
otter (Intra), but belongs to a genus of animals analogous to the morse (trichecus rosmarus). 
Of the remaining marine mammals the same occur in Behring Sea as in that of Okhotsk, 
namely species of seals, dolphins and whales. Behring Sea is also extraordinarily abundant in 
fish. Some kinds of fish as for example herrings, cod and gwyniad, appear periodically off the 
islands and shores of Behring Sea from April to July in countless numbers. Finally, upon the 
shores and islands of this sea breed several kinds of land fur animals, as for example river 
beavers, otters, arctic foxes, foxes, sables and muskrats. 

Possessing such extremely unfavourable conditions, not so much on account of its geo- 
graphical situation as of its climate, the Okhotsk-Kamchatka region, being included among 



THE USSUm-LITTOEAL TRACT. 75 

the hyperborean countries, has a quite insignificant population. Its 35,000 inhabitants makes 
a little more than one to the square geographical mile, the number of the Russian contingent 
not exceeding 7,000, or 20 per cent of the total population. Half of the Russian people 
are distributed through small towns, containing 11 per cent of the inhabitants of the country. 
The native tribes consist of wandering Chukches, Koriaks, Kamchadals, Lamuts, and reindeer 
Tunguz. Evidently, the whole Okhotsk-Kamchatka country, like the neighbouring Yakutsk region 
of Eastern Siberia, is absolutely unadapted to premanent agricultural colonization and possesses 
the very smallest capacity for settlement, which can only be enlarged by the development, 
protection and regulation of the sea industries. 



._^<^. 



76 SIBERIA. 



CHAPTER VI. 
The Kirghiz Steppe Region. 

Its division into the mountaiu and steppe territories; orography and hydrogi-aphy of each; climatic 

conditions; vegetable covering; fauna; composition and distribution of the population in the 

mountain and steppe zones; importance of cattle breeding to the native population. 



THE Kirghiz steppe region in an administrative sense forms the steppe Governor-Generalship 
and is composed of three territories, Akmolinsk, Semipalatinsk and Semirechensk. In 
a geographical sense it occupies the southern part of the river region of the Irtysh and the 
basins of several central Asiatic rivers, not possessing sea communication, but either falling into 
Lake Balkhash, as the Hi and other rivers of Semirechia, Lake Issyk-Kul and Ala-Kul or 
losing themselves in the sands or steppe marshes. 

The whole Kirghiz region occupies a space of 25,000 square geographical miles and 
may be divided into tw^o parts, mountain and steppe. The former consists of the whole 
Semirechensk tenitory, except the Sergiopol district, and of the Zaissan district of Semipala- 
tinsk, and occupies 7,000 square geogi-aphical miles, the latter comprises the whole remaining 
space of 18,000 square geographical miles. 

To the mountain zone belongs the gigantic Russian western Thian-Shan with the exception 
of its western prolongations, which cross over into the Turkestan Governor-Generalship. Like 
the Sayan-Altai mountain system, the Thian-Shan at its western extremity branches into sep- 
arate mountain ridges partly parallel to each other, partly spreading out like the feathers 
of a slightly opened fan. In the main range of the Thian-Shan on the Chinese fron- 
tier a little north of 42° N. lat. is the highest peak, mount Khan-Tengri, lifting itself 
above a whole group of gigantic snow-clad summits and reaching an altitude of 24,000 feet. 
The glaciers descending from the Khan-Tengri group feed, on the one hand, the upper waters 
of the Tekes, that is, the head stream of the chief river of Semirechia, the Hi, falling into 
Lake Balkhash, on the other hand, tributaries themselves feeding the hollow of lake Issyk-Kul. 
and yet again, the head waters of the Sary-Dzhaz, which has its source on the northern 
slope of the Thian-Shan, but breaks through a defile in that range on its southern side and 
falls into the river Parim, belonging to the system of lake Lob-Kor. At the same time, a 
little further to the west, the river Xaryn, the head waters of the Yaxartes or Syr-Darya 
springs from the lakes lying on the extensive alpine tablelands or «sazas;> of the Thian- 



THE KIRGHIZ-STEPPE EEGION. 77 

Slum, at a height of 13,000 feet. From Khan-Tengii, the Thian-Shan range already 
shews a tendency to branch into ridges, lying almost parallel to each other. The 
southern of these forms the Chinese frontier and is separated from the more northern 
hy longitudinal valleys, in which flow the rivers Sarydzhaz and Naryn. The crests 
of these separate ridges consist of an uninterrupted series of snow-clad summits, the passes 
between which attain an absolute height from 10,000 to 13,000 feet, and are very rugged. 
Finally, the northernmost ridge of the Thian-Shan descends into the long deep valley stretching 
from west to east of the large and beautiful lake of Issyk-Kul, situated at a height of 
5,300 feet. But still further north than lake Issyk-Kul rises also above the limits of eternal 
snow a double range, that is split into two parallel ridges by a longitudinal valley, the chain 
of the Zailisk Altai, which is connected with the Thian-Shan by mountain spurs at its 
northern depressed extremity. At its very centre it reaches a height of 15,000 feet, and 
over a considerable part of the Zailisk Altai the passes over both its ridges attain an altitude 
of 9,000 feet and are very difficult to climb. The splendid northern acclivity of the Thian- 
Shan descends to the broad steppe valley of the Hi, but upon its northern side the Semirechensk 
range or Dzhungar Altai rises again to the snow' line, and at its eastern extremity, within 
Chinese territory, is in immediate connexion with the Thian-Shan. Finally, still further to the 
north, in parallel 47° N. lat., stretches the Tarbagatal range also clad in eternal snows, and 
parallel to the general direction of the Thian-Shan, reaching an extreme limit of 10,000 feet. 
The deep hollow of Lake Zaissan lying at a height of 1,356 feet, and of the Black Irtysh 
which falls into it, divides Tarbagatai from the Narym range of the southern ridge of the 
Altai system. The mountains of the Thian-Shan and of the two Altai consist mainly of 
the crystalline rocks, granite, syenite, gneiss, diorite, porphyi-y, and of the metamorphic rocks, 
crystalline schist; but volcanic rocks have so far not been seen in the Thian-Shan. Upon 
the mountain slopes are also found rocks in beds lifted up by the crystalline formations. Wherever 
fossils were met with in the stratified rocks they betray the fact that the latter belong to 
the paleozoic formations of the devonian and carboniferous systems. Secondary formations, 
namely Jurassic, are found in the continuations and offsets of the Thian-Shan range in 
the Turkestan territory. At the foot of all the mountains described extend zones excellently 
watered wherever there are snow peaks, and covered with a fertile soil by the torrents, de- 
scending from them and extremely convenient for agriculture and settled colonization, but not 
otherwise than with the aid of artificial irrigation. Unfortunately, these zones are narrow; 
they occupy a submountainons tract of an elevation of 1,800 to 5,000 feet above sea 
level, in the Issyk-Kul valley even attaining 7,000 feet, above which the cultivation of grain 
reaches its limit, ceasing also wherever the mountains descend below the snow line and 
accordingly do not feed any torrents. Moreover these streams lead away into «aryks» or irri- 
gation canals, become quickly exhausted, and passing over into the hot and arid zone lying 
below 2,000 feet, being absorbed by the sands or rapidly evaporating, fall it might almost be 
said into the atmospheric ocean. Therefore of the rivers of Semirechia only the full flowing 
Hi reaches as it should the extensive Lake Balkhash, bounding this region on the north- 
east, the other quite insignificant streams, Koksu, Karatal, Bien, Aksu, Baskan and Lepsa, 
either become lost in shallow washes among the sands, or like the last named, in the impene- 



78 SIBERIA. 

trable reeds of the shore of Lake Balkhash. This lake, gradually drying up and retreating from 
the suhmountainous region, has left between the latter and its south-eastern shore line a desert 
and unfruitful space at least 1,000 square geographical miles in extent. Thus, that part of 
the foothill zone which, from its absolute height, irrigation and soil, may be regarded as an 
area suitable to colonization, scarcely amounts to more than 1,000 square geographical miles, 
even reckoning in the valleys adapted to cultivation. 

The suhmountainous zone of the Kirghiz steppe region, extending between the Thian- 
Shan and Altai, is almost the best part of Siberia, and is remarkable also on account of the 
fact that it played a great part in the history of the great migration of peoples, beginning 
with the movement of the Huns to the west already in the second century before Christ and 
ending with the great Mongolian irruption of the thirteenth century. All the national migra- 
tions starting from the interior of Asia were caused by the fact that the nomad population 
of Central Asia gradually increasing reached the limits of the capacity of the country, and 
then was compelled to seek an exit either to the far east into the rich and fertile plains of 
the Chinese Empire, or to the far west, at first into the Aral-Caspian plain, and later, turn- 
ing the Si-Khai, the ^distant west», that' is, the Caspian Sea, on the north or south, into 
Europe. But as the elevated region of Central Asia between the Thian-Shan and the Hima- 
laya range on the side of the Aral-Caspian depression is shut in by such lofty mountains, 
whose passage is entirely impossible for nomads moving with all their herds, the importance 
in the history of national migrations of those three wide and convenient intervals, which are 
situated between the Thian-Shan and the Altai in the region under consideration, is evident. 
These gaps are, the wide valley of the Hi between the two Altai, the depression surround- 
ing Lake Alacul, between the Semirechian Altai and Tarbagatai, and the Circumzaissan 
plain between Tarbagatai and the Altai. These three intervals in the mountains served as 
wide gates for the exodus of the nomads with the low-lying plain, now called the Kirghiz steppe. 

The steppe district of the Kirghiz steppe region differs entirely from not only the zone 
just considered, but also from the neighbouring Western Siberian plain. The Kirghiz steppe is 
unlike the latter in that it does not present an absolute level. On the contrary it is for a 
considerable extent intersected by low, but very prominent mountain ridges and masses, con- 
sisting for the most part of granite, diorite, diabase, porphyry and other crystalline rocks. 
Granitic mountains rear themselves above the steppe in the form of crests, while the porphy- 
ritic are arranged for the most part in groups of cupola-shaped summits, the resulting effect 
being a very varied contour. The steppe character of the Kirghiz country appears in the 
extreme scantiness of its watering and in the almost complete absence of forest vegetation, 
which only occurs in the north-western corner of the steppe in the Kokchetavsk district of 
the Akmolinsk Territory. Only the north-eastern portion of the steppe is watered by the 
L-tysh, while through the north-western flows a large tributary of the same river, the Ishim. 
All the other rivers of the steppe as for example the Nura, Sary-Su, and Chu bear the character 
of sluggish prairie streams, disappearing in overflows, which rapidly evaporate in the sandy 
waste. The low mountain ridges, intersecting the steppe, contain various minerals, such as cop- 
per and argentiferous lead ores. In the Kokbekta district of the Semipalatinsk territory occur 
deposits of gold. But the absence of fuel places mining industry here under unfavourable conditions. 



THE KIRGHIZ STEPPE EEGION. 79 

The greater part of the steppe is ouly suited to the existence of nomads, as it contains very 
few oases adapted to cultivation and colonization. The climate of the steppe portion of the 
Kirghiz steppe region is considerably warmer than in the neighbouring cultivated or agricul- 
tural zone of "Western Siberia, but still more continental. The mean annual temperature in 
Akmolinsk and Semipalatinsk lying in 51° and SO^/a*' N. lat., is from 2° to 2.5 Celsius, that 
is, 2° higher than in Siberia. The temperature in winter is — 16", that of the coldest 
month — 18.5°, almost identical with the Western Siberia agricultural zone. But the average 
summer temperature, rising as high as 20° and of the hottest month 22°, is more considerable 
than in Western Siberia. The difference of temperature in summer and winter, 36°, as also 
that between the hottest and coldest months, 40°, are greater than in Western Siberia. The 
mean temperature of the five-months vegetative period (18°) considerably exceeds that of 
AVestern Siberia. On the other hand the amount of atmospheric precipitation in the course of 
the year in Akmolinsk only reaches 229 millimetres, of which 166 fall to the three summer 
months, and in Semipalatinsk 186 millimetres, of which 80 are in summer. Still less moisture 
falls in the southern part of the steppe, of which an idea may be formed from the observations 
taken in the Turgai bordering on this country. There the fall in the course of the year is 
122 millimetres, of which only 16 millimetres belong to the summer. In the Hungry-Steppe 
or Bed-Pak-Dala, lying on the southern frontier of the steppe on the river Chu, there is no 
rain at all in summer. Evidently there being no possibility of irrigation, as the river Chu 
is very shallow, this zone is nothing but a dead wilderness. 

Incomparably more favourable are the climatic conditions of the submountainous region. 
According to the averages derived from the observations made in Yierny and Ivuldzha, that 
is, in the foot bills of the Transilian Altai and the Thian-Shan about 44° X. lat., the annual 
temperature is 9° Celsius, that in winter only — 6°, that of the coldest month — 10", of 
summer 22°, and of the hottest month 2&\ The difference between summer and winter is 28^ 
that between the coldest and hottest months 36°. Almost as mild is the climate of Kopal, 
situated 2° further north in the submountainous region of the Semirechensk Altai. Here the 
mean annual temperature is 7-5°, of winter — 5°, of the coldest month — 6°, of summer 20*^, 
of the hottest month 21°. The difference between winter and summer is 25°, and between the 
hottest and coldest months 27°. The average temperature of the five-months vegetative period 
is 21° in Vierny and Kuldzha, and 18° in Kopal. The mild winters afford a sufficient explan- 
ation why in this country not only is gardening possible, which does not exist anywhere in 
Siberia, but even grape growing. Vierny has a precipitation of more than 560 millimetres 
a year, of which most falls in spring, namely 226 millimetres, and in summer 115 millimetres. 
Such a climate may be counted among the best in Russia. 

The vegetable covering of the submountainous region is luxuriant and extremely varied, 
the more so that the climatic zones are there disposed in layers one above another and exhibit 
perfectly different types of vegetation. The greatest resemblance to the flora of Russia is 
presented by that of the foothills at an elevation of 2,000 to 7,500 feet, that is, that part 
which is most capable of development in reference to civilized and settled life, and in 
which are placed all the Russian colonies of the country. At 7,500 feet the forest 
vegetation ceases; above spreads the zone of alpine meadows, while below 2,500 feet the 



80 SIBERIA. 

scantily watered country takes the character of the steppe portion of the region under 
consideration. 

The forest growth of the suhmountainous and mountainous zones, from 2,000 to 7,500 
feet in altitude is not very varied. Among the conifers upon the slopes of hoth the Altai 
and the Thian-Shan occurs a fine kind of fir, which Russian hotanists have named picea 
Schrenkiana Fisch., hut which has proved to he the same as one of the Himalayan species 
(ahies Smithiana Bed.). Further the character of a tree is possessed hy the kind of juniper 
(juniperus pseudosahina Fisch.) more often adhering to the rocks, hut at times rising in the 
form of thick and lofty hut very crooked trees, as for example in the Buam defile. 

Of the deciduous species here occur the common hirch (hetula alha L.), the scented poplar 
(populus suaveolens Fisch.), a low kind of maple (acer Semenovii Reg.) almost identical with 
That of the Amour (acer ginnala), the common rowan (pyrus aucuparia L.) the wild apple 
not met with in Siheria (pyrus mains) and the apricot (prunus armeniaca L.) producing even 
in the wild state very good fruit. The shrubs are somewhat more varied. Among them there 
are common European species, as for example, sallow-thorn (rhamnus catharticus L.), a bramble 
(rubus caesius L.), two wild roses (rosa pimpinellifolia D.C. and rosa cinamomea L.), the snow- 
ball tree (viburnum opulus L.), honeysuckle (lonicera xylosteum and coerulea L.), species of 
willow (salix nigricans Sm. and salix purpurea L.), and of the conifers, ephedra vulgaris Rich, 
and juniperus sabina I). There are also Caucasian species, a cherry (prunus prostrata Lab.), 
gatten tree (cotoneaster numularia Fisch.), currant (ribes petraeum Wulf.), and one species 
occurring in Finland and the extreme north of Russia and Siberia, hipophoea rhamnoides L. 
The Siberian altaic species include, rosa alpina L., crateaegus sanguinea Pall., lonicera mi- 
crophylla, W., lonicera hispida L., salix sibirica Pall. But most interesting of all are a few local 
forms, a traveller's joy (clematis soongorlca Bge), berberry (berberis heteropoda Schr.), spindle- 
tree (evonymus Semenovii Reg.), a rose (rosa platyacantha Schr.). Of the herbaceous plants 
of the cultivated mountainous zone 70 per cent belong to species also found in European 
Russia. Of Asiatic species half occur in the Altai-Sayan upland or in the Siberian plain; 
three species, dracocephalum heterophyllum Benth. and two rhubarbs (rheum Emodi Wall, 
and rheum spiciforme Royl.) belong to the Himalayan flora and more then 50 species are pecul- 
iar to the local flora. Especially among these are a few crow's foots (ranunculus soongoricus 
Schr. and aquilegia lactiflora Kar.), astragals (astragalus leucocladus Bge. and oxytropis mer- 
kensis Bge,), compositae (cousinia Semenovii Reg. and cousinia uncinuata Reg,), of the calyci- 
floreae (pedicularis Semenovii Reg., eremonstachys Sewertsovii, Herd.) and finally some beautiful 
bulbous plants, as heningia robusta Reg, It is remarkable that in this zone a few European 
cultivated plants are met with growing wild, as for example rye (secale cereale L.) and 
hemp (cannabis sativa L.). 

Quite different is the character of the vegetation on the luxuriant meadows of the 
Alpine zone. Here there is no forest growth, only a few shrubs forcing their way in, reaching 
here their highest limit. Among them especially remarkable are two strange forms of acacia 
(caragana jubata Pall,) and a second species undescribed, which with their thickly clustered 
foliage and hard woody stalks sticking upright and furnished with long needles, resemble 'the 
tails of some large animals, such as the camel. Their dense pale grey leaves bi-autifully divided as 



THE KIRGHIZ STEPPE REGION. 81 

in all acacias and papilionaceous flowers tender yellow in the case of one species and pale 
rose in the other are a strange charm to these bushes so characteristic of the Alpine zone 
of the Thian-Shan. Of the other bushes the following Siberian Altaic species attain the alpine 
zone: two meadow sweets (spiraea), potentilla fruticosa L., one species of gatten-tree (coto- 
neaster), and one of tamariks (myricaria Davurica Ehr.), currant (ribes), willow (salix Sibirica 
Pall.). The local forms are two species of honeysuckle (lonicera humilis Kar. and L. Karelini 
Bge.) and one currant (ribes heterotrichum Mey.). The Alpine herbaceous flora attains here a 
peculiar luxuriance and variety, with only 15 per cent of general European and 15 per cent of 
Caucasian plants. Of the remaining 70 per cent of Asiatic species more than half are met 
with on the Altai-Sayan «bieloks» and «golets», 7 species on the Himalayan range, while not 
less than 70 species form a speciality of the local flora and probably will be found again only 
in the Alps of Central Asia. The 7 species are: anemone Falconeri Th., anemone micrantha KL, 
corydalis Gortchakovii Schr., oxytropis Kashemiriana Camb., sedum coccineum Royl., carum 
indicum Lindl., gentiana Kurroo Royl. Among the 70 species referred to the most remarkable 
are: one species of aconite (aconitum grandiflorum Kar.), a beautiful species of fumitory, re- 
cently adopted for cultivation, (corydalis Semenovi Reg.), 22 new species of astragals, mostly 
of the genus oxytropis so characteristic of the Asiatic Alps, several thick-leaved plants (umbilicus 
alpestris Kar., umbilicus Semenovi Reg., sedum gelidum Schr.), umbelliferae (for example, 
peucedanum transiliense Reg. and Semenovia transiliensis Reg.), ten new species of compos- 
ite cotton-thistles (as, cirsium nidulans Reg. and cirsium Semenovi Reg., sanssurea glacialis 
Herd, and sorocephala Schr., alfredia nivea Kar., jurinea suffruticosa Reg.), a beautiful species of 
primulaceae (cortusa Semenovii Led.), species of gentians (gentiana Olivieri Oris., swertia margi- 
nata Schr.) and some beautiful bulbous plants, as crocus alatavicus Sem., orithya heterophylla 
Reg., fritillaria pallidiflora Schr., fritiliaria Severtzovii Reg. and 5 species of onion (allium), 
of which one (allium Semenovii Reg.) covers the «sazas» or elevated Alpine meadows of the 
Thian-Shan with its large golden yellow flowers. It is from this characteristic species that 
the Thian-Shan received its Chinese name of Tsun-Lin or Onion Mountains. 

The vegetation of the lower steppe zone of the submountainous region, below 2,000 feet, 
approaches the type of the flora of the whole steppe territory of the Kirghiz region, in other 
words, to that of the Aralo-Caspian depression. This vegetation in the Kirghiz steppe region is 
in the highest degree peculiar and distinct, compared not only with that of European Russia 
and Siberia, but with that of their steppes. In it are clearly reflected the climatic conditions; 
the intensity of the summer heats, the severity of the winters and the absence of moisture. 
As already stated there are no forests, particularly no conifers in the Kirghiz steppe, with the 
exception of the Kokchetav district, but trees grow along the courses of the rivers. Here be- 
long: a particular kind of ash (fraxinus potamophylla Herd.) and four kinds of poplar, populus 
laurifolia Led., populus nigra L., populus euphratica (01. and p. pruinosa Schr.), as also three 
European sorts of willow (salix fragilis L., s. purpurea L., s. viminalis L.) and a very 
tall species of barbeiTy with roundish rose-coloured berries (berberis integerrima Bge). 

Much more characteristic for the steppe flora are its low growing shrubs, frequently 
prickly, often covered with a gray or silvery foliage and not seldom characterised by their 
crookedness. They belong to the families of rues (rutaceae), haplophyllum Sieversii Fisch. and 

6 



§2 • SIBERIA, 

latifolium Kar.; leguminosae, halimodendion argenteum Lam., sphaerophysa salsula Pall., 
ammodendron Sieversil Fisch.; roses (rosaceae), Hultheimia berberifolia Pall.; tamariks (tania- 
riscineae), tamarix hispida W. and myricaria alopecuroides Sclir.; currants (ribesiaceae), 
rlbes discantha Pall.; solanum (solaneae), lycium turcomauicum Fisch.; buckwheat (poly- 
goneae), three new species, a calligonum and two atraphaxis. 

Yet more characteristic are the steppe herbaceous plants. Among them are not more 
than 40 per cent of European species, and they for the most part belong, like the two spe- 
cies of feather grass (stipa pennata L. and capillata L.), to the steppe forms of European 
Russia, or like the curious plant of the sandy deserts belonging to the exotic family of ba- 
lanophorese (cynomorium coccineum L.) are met with on the sandy shores of the Mediterra- 
nean Sea. Further, besides plants occuiring all over the Aralo-Caspian depression, Russian 
explorers of the steppe flora of the Kirghiz region, such as Karelin, Shrenk, Semionov, Sie- 
vertsev, and Baron Osten-Saken, have discovered here as many as 150 new species, charac- 
teristic of this flora, among them 30 species of astragals alone, and 10 salicornias (salso- 
lacege). The following forms are particularly worthy of mention, leontice vesicaria Bge., 
megacarpffia laciniata D., physolepidium repens Schr., acanthophyllum spinosum Mey, and 
paniculatum Reg., orobus Semenovi, Reg., alhagi camelorum Fisch., eryngium macrocalyx M., 
dipsacus azureus Schr., karelinia caspica Led., acanthocephalus amplicaulis Kar., saussurea 
Semenovi Kar., and coronata Schr., echenais sieversi Fisch., streptorhempus hispidulus Reg., 
non-climbing bind-weeds (convolvulus Semenovi Reg. and subsericeus Schr.), physochlaena 
Semenovi Reg., eremostachys sanguinea Jaub. and rotata Schr.); 4 species of statice (Seme- 
uon Herd, otolepis Schr. etc.); 5 new species of spurge (euphorbia), irises (iris soongorica 
Schr.), bulbous plants, rhinopetalum Karelini Fisch. and 4 species of onions; finally some 
characteristic gi-asses (gramineae), as elymus lanuginosus Fr., nephelochloa soongorica Gris., 
aelorupus intermedins Reg. et cetera. 

The fauna of the invertebrates in the Kirghiz steppe region is as peculiar and original 
as the flora. The difference between it and that of Western Siberia and European Russia 
is striking. On the other hand it is beyond doubt that this fauna differs very little from 
that of the deserts and steppes of the Aralo-Caspian depression. The fauna of the 
submountainous zone presents quite a different character, bearing a close resemblance 
to that of Turkestan and the Pamir. Among the coleopterous insects not only of the sandy 
desert of the steppe zone, but throughout the whole of it, the sluggishly moving tene- 
brionidae, without wings under their hard coherent elytra, predominate. On the contrary, in 
the mountainous zone of the Thian-Shan and Alatau the tenebrionidae, who like the dry 
steppe, are met with in smaller numbers, while here occur numerous kinds of carabidae, 
among which are very rare mountain forms characteristic of the Central Asiatic mountain- 
ous zones. 

Of the vertebrates a gi-eat number of birds come during winter from the far north 
and nestle in the steppe and submountainous regions. The ornithological fauna of this region 
is especially rich. In the warm valleys exist different species of fowls, as also the most 
beautiful sorts of Asiatic pheasants; on the rivers and lakes is found a gi-eat variety of 
birds, native of the Mediterranean basin, among which are covies of pelicans; and on the 



THE KIRGHIZ STEPPE REGION. 83 

Alpian zone, uumbers of mountainous birds, the gTeater part of which are natives of the 
Asiatic mountains. 

Even the fauna of the mammals is much richer and more varied than in Siberia. The 
tiger and the irbis (felis irbis) reach the northern limit of their distribution in the reeds 
of Balkhash, but occasionally stray northvs^ard into the neighbourhood of the Alatau. Wild boars 
occur in all the submountainous zone, in the Thian-Shan and Transilian Alatau. There are 
two species of bear belonging to the Pamir and the range of the Himalai (ursus thibetanus 
and isabellinus). Besides the «arkhar» (ovis argali), extremely common in the alpine and sub- 
alpine zones of the Thian-Shan and both Alatau, the kochgar, a mountain sheep first des- 
cribed by the celebrated traveller, Marco Polo, and subsequently called in his honour, ovis 
Polii, from the horns and skeletons found in abundance on the Pamir, breeds in the wildest 
parts of the Thian-Shan. This species was long considered extinct, until discovered by the 
most recent Russian travellers, Semionov, Sievertsov and Przhevalsky. In the mountainous 
zone of the submountainous region also breed the cervus pygargus, capra sibirica, several species of 
csaiga» (for example antilope subguttnrosa) and the porcupine (hystrix), while the steppe 
zone contains «kulans» (eguus hemionus). 

Passing next to man, it must be observed that the whole population of the Kirghiz 
steppe region amounts to 1,860,000 souls, of whom the immigrant Russians form only 14 
per cent (260,0<^0), and the remainder, 86 per cent, belong to the native tribes of Central 
Asia. Of the latter, the Tartars and Sarts (35,000) live principally in towns and per- 
manent settlements, the Dungans and Taranch (86,000) employed in agriculture, may also be 
reckoned to the settled population of the country, while the Kirghiz (146,000) and Kalmyks 
(25,000) are nomads, living almost exclusively by cattle breeding. The Kirghiz, in number the 
predominating tribe of the region, speak a Tiurk idiom, but in effect in their origin form a 
motley amalgamation of various tribes, who were attracted hither in the Xlllth century by 
the last mass migration of Mongols and who squatted here, on the road taken by the great 
migration, on the first spots suitable for a nomad life met with by the wanderers from the 
mountainous region of Asia. As among the people who entered into the composition of the 
Kirghiz alliance, the Tiurk tribes had a numerical preponderance, all the Kirghiz adopted 
their language, but the various clans and tribes have preserved to this day their clannish and 
tribal names, thus betraying their true nationality. The total number of the Kirghiz exceeds 
3,000,000 souls, of whom 1,470,000 dwell in the steppe Governor-Generalship, 760,^00 in the 
Turgai and Ural territories, 740,000 in Turkestan, and over 140,000 in the home Kirghiz 
Bukeev horde in European Russia. 

In the two component parts of the Kirghiz steppe region the population is unequally 
divided. In the steppe part of the region live 1,000,000 inhabitants, making 55 to the square 
geographical mile. Russians form here 20 per cent, or 210,000, of the population, merely 
because the former Siberian Irtysh colony, except three large towns, Semipalatinsk, Omsk 
and Petropavlovsk, is wholly settled by them, as well as a whole string of Kossack camps or 
<;stanitsas» and hamlets which served formerly as the fortiflications of the frontier line. 
Within the steppe zone there are very few permanent Russian settlements, as suitable spots 
for agricultural colonies occur here only as rare and limited oases, and if the Siberian Irtysh 



34 SIBERIA. 

ine be left out of the account, the proportion of the permanent Russian population in the 
Kirghiz steppe will not exceed 2 or 3 per cent. On the whole the towns of the steppe zone 
contain 100,000 souls or 10 per cent of the total population. Of the towns, actual importance 
as centres of trade and industry, possess only Omsk (34,000 inhahitants), Semipalatinsk 
(18,000 inhabitants) and Petropavlovsk (16,000 inhabitants). 

The suhmountainous zone of the Kirghiz region is situated under different circumstances. 
Here 860,000 inhabitants find a place, there being over 120 to the square geographical mile. 
Russians form 7 per cent of the total population or 60,009. Adding to them the Tartars and 
Sarts which have their permanent abodes in the Russian settlements, as well as the agricultural 
Dungans and Taranch, the number of the fixed population forms 18 per cent, while in the 
towns alone dwell less than 6 per cent of the total population (50,000). Among all of them 
Vierny, with its 25,000 inhabitants, alone possesses the importance of a true town, and 
which enjoyed a flourishing existence until its destruction by an earthquake. 

The distribution of the population in the suhmountainous zone and in particular the 
relation of the fixed population to the nomad, can be made quite clear by dividing the whole 
suhmountainous zone according to absolute altitude into vertical zones or levels. The lowest or 
steppe zone, the hottest and driest, and in winter the freest from snow, occupies the portions of 
the foothills lying below 2,500 feet, and is taken up with the winter quarters of the nomads, 
who here find abundant fodder for their herds under the snow. This fodder is formed of grasses, 
such as schismus minutus, crypsis schoenoides, small species of triticum and the like which 
rapidly dry up on the approach of the summer heats. The true suhmountainous zone, following 
with an elevation of 2,500 to something overo,000 feet, includes all the fixed settlements and arable 
land of the country and represents a level occupied almost exclusively by a permanent population, 
through which the nomads pass without stopping by definite roads or tracts, proceeding in 
summer from the winter quarters to their beautiful cool mountain pastures. Before the arrival 
of the Russians, the Kirghiz were employed, although to a limited extent, with agriculture in 
this cultivated level, and had here their fields which they sowed with the aid of irrigation on 
their way to their summer grounds. With the coming of the Russian settlers, the Kirghiz 
surrended to them the whole of the second level of the country, but lost nothing by this, 
as the abandonment by them of inconsiderable tracts of arable land was fully compensated 
by the sale to Russian agriculturalists of the produce of Kirghiz cattle breeding; the former 
supplying them in turn with grain. The third level, from 5,000 to 8,000 feet in altitude, is 
the forest zone, providing a subsidiary industry to the Russian permanent settlements of the 
suhmountainous zone. Finally, the fourth level, upon which the Kirghiz have their excellent 
summer pastures, extends from 8,000 to 11,000 feet, that is to the limits of eternal snow. 
This is a zone of alpine meadows, occupied only in summer almost exclusively by Kirghiz 
nomad camps. 

The pastoral life of 80 per cent of the population of the country is reflected in the 
number of domestic animals bred in the Kirghiz steppe zone, the proportion of which to 
every 100 inhabitants here attains the maximum dimensions for the whole of Siberia. To 
each 100 inhabitants fall 100 horses, the absolute number being 1,800,000, 60 large horned 
cattle of a total 1,050,000, and 580 goats, the absolute number being 10,400,000. Finally, 



THE KIRGHIZ STEPPE REGION. 85 

even the quota of camels is 15 head to eacli 100 inhabitants. This is a direct proof of the 
fact that the Kirghiz steppe region is preeminently a cattle-rearing country and that only its 
foothills are capable of affording all the conveniences albeit of, a narrow, yet almost the best 
area for colonization in all Siberia. And this same area of colonization having already done 
its service to Russia, as only thanks to its development did the Russians become masters of 
Turkestan, has even to-day an immense importance for Russia, as the most solid and inde- 
structible connecting link between the genuine Russian possessions in Siberia and Russia's 
Turkestan region. 



--^<^— 



86 SIBEEIA. 



CHAPTER VII. 
Tenure and use of land. 

The foundations of land tenure and the forms of land usufruct; the dividing of Siberia 
Into districts and their general character: the northern borderland, the transition zone, the 
agricultural region, the steppe districts, the Amour tract; agriculture; sketch of the conditions 
of the soil, systems of field culture and rotation of crops; tillage and cost of production of 
breadstuffs; proportion of seed for different crops; sale of grain and grain prices; agriculture 
in the steppes and the Amour tract; raising of cattle among the peasants, its extent and 
importance; kinds of animals, diseases; live stock industry among the Kirghiz. 



THE whole of Siberia, alike that which is completely uninhabited and that which is 
settled by peasants of Russian origin or by the aborigines of the country, natives 
belonging to various tribes and classes, is reckoned as crown land. Exceptions to the general 
rule are, first of all, the southern part of the Tomsk government which forms under the name 
of the Altai mining district the property of His Majesty's Cabinet, and next a series of 
small parcels granted and sold in the fifties to various private persons, the lands of the monaster- 
ies, of the town communes, et cetera. But all forms of private land holdings are completely lost in 
the vast mass of Crown lands, both on account of their insignificant extent, and as regards 
their economical importance. Private owners have nowhere started regular management of 
their property; some exploit their estates by means of leasing their land to the peasants, and 
others have utterly neglected them, drawing from them no revenue whatever. 

In Western Siberia the sale of lands to private persons continued until recent years 
when, with the abolition of the west Siberian Governor-Generalship, an Imperial order ^Yas 
given to discontinue the sale of Crown lands. Private owners in Western Siberia do not 
possess more than 300,000 dessiatines, exlusive of course of the Cabinet lands. 

A very considerable portion of the lands belonging to the Crown and to the Cabinet, 
almost exclusively forests or regions not adapted to cultivation, is under the immediate 
control and disposition of the Government and the Cabinet which, where there is a possibility 
of so doing, draw an income from them by felling the timber and leasing the meadows and 
pastures, fishing rights et cetera. Another part, enormous in extent but insignificant in 
respect to the number of inhabitants living thereon, and its capacity for cultivation, namely, 



TENURE AND USE OF LAND. 87 

the whole of the far uorth, consists entirely of urmans, taigas (uninhabited expanses 
of forest), tundras and wildernesses, a part being absolute desert, and apart being at the 
disorderly disposition of tribes of wandering natives. Finally, all the lands best fitted for 
agriculture and cattle raising, are in the usufruct of the peasants and of the more civilized 
natives. The latter use the laud either on the basis of mere actual prescription, or on that of 
ancient documents existing in a great many native communities. The foundation of the 
peasants usufruct is extremely varied in its nature. The activity of the Government in intro- 
ducing order into the use of the land by the peasants, which has already continued during 
several decades, is even now far from showing complete results. There still remain not a 
few peasant communities, and even whole volosts, in which the existing enjoyment of the 
land is restricted within no definite limits. The peasants dwell upon the CroA'n lands and 
use them to the extent permitted by their working powers and the amount of their capital. 
They plough, mow and harvest, cut timber, catch fish, as the expression is, wherever only 
<,hatchet, scythe and plough may go:>. But the greater part of the peasant population use 
the land within definite limits, although these limits are without complete legal force. 

Siberia has not yet seen a final land survey, like that which has established the surface 
relations of European Russia. Land has been allotted to the greater part of the peasants in the 
proportion of eighteen dessiatines per caput of the male population, according to the returns of 
the tenth census of 1859, with the addition, whenever possible, of three dessiatines for convict 
settlers. In some cases the provisions of land were made for a whole volost with a population 
ranging from 4 to 15 thousand souls, in others separately for each settlement; in yet other 
cases, for small groups containing each a few villages. In the first case, the territory of the 
whole volost was surrounded with one common boundary line, within which the peasants of 
all the settlements were given the right at their discretion either to use the land in common 
or to confine themselves by mutual agreement to separate subdivisions thereof. In the second 
case, such estates were laid out for the settlements by Government surveyors, and the volost 
consequently lost completely its territorial unity and preserved only an administrative impor- 
tance. Finally, in the third case, both the volost and the settlement, remained only adminis- 
trative units, while the group of settlements became the territorial unit. 

The use of the land within each separate territorial unit, more or less extensive, was 
also organized in extremely various ways. It is true, the Russian peasant, at all times and 
in all places, at any rate in the explored parts of Siberia, brought with him the communal 
principle and even ingrafted it upon the natives. But this single principle was clothed in 
the most various forms. This is indeed comprehensible, for the forms of land tenure, if not 
entirely, yet to a considerable degree, are conditioned by the density of the population and 
the relative supply of land; and in this respect Siberia presents an extraordinary variety. 
Side by side with localities where there is, even till now, much more land than the popula- 
tion can till, there are, especially in Western Siberia and in particular in the Tobolsk 
government, not a few places where there are not more than six to eight dessiatines of 
land really fit for agriculture, per male inhabitant. There are, finally, even localities where 
the tillable land has to be created by means of artificial irrigation, or on the contrary, by 
the removal of the superabundance of water. While furthermore, some places rich in arable 



88 SIBERIA. 

land suffer from a lack of meadows or from an absence of trees; others, on the contrary, 
present an unbroken dense forest or are exceedingly rich in meadows and pastures, but little 
suited to agilcultural industry. It is evident then that all these and similar distinctions 
could not fail to be reflected in the forms of land tenure. These forms in Siberia exhibit 
an uninterrupted series, allowing the observation of the development of land usufruct under 
the influence of the increasing density of the population. Under such circumstances the high 
interest afforded by the investigation of Siberian institutions, that living spray from the 
history of the primitive forms of land enjoyment, is perfectly intelligible. Here of course 
it is impossible to refer to these institutions otherwise than in the most general terms, to 
characterize the most important types of the use of land, corresponding to the principal 
stages through which the people of the country are gradually passing. 

In localities comparatively recently and very sparsely settled, mainly in Eastern Si- 
beria and on the Amour, there predominates a form of land use which externally presents 
much resemblance to homestead, personal land tenure. The commune here has not yet had 
time to form, or if it exists, has no need to show its power. There is so much land that 
each may plough, mow, put under garden or hedge in as pasture lands, any space he likes, 
without incommoding any one else thereby. As a result of such enclosures, zaimka, or 
farmsteads are formed. Each peasant, even if he have a home in the village, builds 
himself structures in the field or forest wherein he lives in the summer and sometimes 
all the year round, all the land surrounding such a building becoming his zaimka, 
his sole property, where he alone ploughs, mows and pastures his cattle. Zaimka, in the 
sense of actual land enjoyment, is moreover perfectly possible without any buildings. The 
rights of the owner to the zaimka are almost unlimited. He owns within its bounds not 
only the land, which he is actually tilling at a given time, but that which lies waste and 
no one has the right to molest him thereon. Such land passes by inheritance, may be 
sold and leased, although the right in consequence of the abundance of free lands has rarely 
an opportunity of being realized. Xo one interferes with the occupant in his acts or dispo- 
sitions refening to his land. The extent of the zaimka depends exclusively upon the 
degree of prosperity of each given owner. The zaimka of a rich man embraces 500 to 
1,000 or more dessiatines, the average owner occupies 50 to 60 dessiatines, and a poor 
peasant, 5 to 10 dessiatines; the poor man cannot have any grudge against the rich man, 
as no one prevents him from seizing 1,000 dessiatines or more of the free land, if he wishes. 

However there comes a time when there are no more free lands left, at any rate of 
good quality. Every convenient plat of ground has entered into the general total of the 
z a i m k a s, but nevertheless the growing population and immigrants require land for their 
use as well. Then the occupation form loses its raison d'etre, and gradually a new 
form, the v o 1 n a i a or free form of land usufruct is introduced. The essence of this form, 
observed principally in the governments of Tomsk and Tobolsk, consists in this, that everyone 
has the right only to that land into which he puts his labour, and only so long as he con- 
tinues to till it. The peasant owns arable land so long as he ploughs it and sows it, but the 
moment he leaves it to rest, the land becomes free and the first comer may occupy and 
plough it afresh. Upon meadow lands the grass which has grown without individual labour 



TENUKE AND USE OF LAND. 89 

is free. Everyone mows where he will, and the hay hecomes the property only of him, who 
cuts and preserves it. Free and accessible to all is the forest also, and only he may seize 
for his own exclusive use a given portion of wood, who has enclosed it with a ditch, cleared 
it of dead wood, and in general expended his labour upon it to protect it from fire. Finally, 
the pastures are also free; every member of the community may feed his cattle over the 
whole area appointed by the community for this purpose, but no one may enclose a single 
plat of pasture for his own exclusive use. 

The occupation and free forms of enjoyment of land till to-day prevail in the greater 
part of Siberia; but with the increasing density of the excess of land, compared with the 
standard of labour, the free form begins to become as oppressive for the immigrant population 
as the occupation form had once appeared to be. Then gi-adually, at the cost of a severe 
struggle between the different groups of peasantry, entering into the composition of the 
community, a passage is accomplished to a communal form of enjoyment of the land in 
the narrow sense of the term, accompanied with a redivision. This passage begins ordinarily 
with that group of lands of which in each given place there is felt comparatively the greatest 
lack. The free and occupation forms, on the contrary, are preserved longest of all in 
regard to those lands, of which there is an abundance in the given commune and to those 
whose bringing under cultivation demands particularly a great expenditure of labour. The 
passage to a re-deal begins sometimes with the ploughed land, sometimes with the meadows, 
and sometimes with the forests or cedar groves. 

The very forms of repartition met with in Siberia are exceedingly various. In regard 
to meadows everywhere, and when there is comparatively much arable land, forms of redis- 
tribution prevail which are completely distinct from those elaborated by the commune of 
European Russia. The principal distinctive peculiarity of Siberian repartitions is the striving 
to avoid the breaking up of the land into small lots; the latter are seldom less than a 
dessiatine. Another not less characteristic feature is, that it is not so much the area which 
is taken as the basis for the distribution of the land among the commoners, as the productive- 
ness and other qualities of the soil, which determine its value for each given owner. Each 
commoner is allowed to take at his discretion a greater quantity of poor land remote from 
the homesteads or inconveniently situated, or on the contrary, a smaller quantity of good 
land or that which is situated near the house. In the localities where there is little arable 
land, principally the northern region of the agi'icultural part of the government of To- 
bolsk, on the contrary, methods of repartition have been established, on the whole agreeing 
with the Great Russia methods and characterized by a strict quantitative and qualitative 
equalization which is attained by breaking up the allotment per head into a large number of 
small lots. 

The lands belonging to the Crown, peasant or native, occupied or waste, cover in 
Siberia vast areas measured by millions of square versts and hundreds of millions of dessia- 
tines. Compared with the few millions, now forming the population of Siberia, these expanses 
seem infinite and the thought involuntarily arises that Siberia can make room for many tens 
of millions more of inhabitants, and for many tens, if not hundreds, of years guarantee 
European Russia from over population and serve, as it were, as a reserve, capable of taking 



90 SIBERIA. 

from the goYermnents, suffering from a lack of land, all their surplus population. But if it he 
rememhered that almost all Siberia lies in the same latitude with the expanse of British 
North America unsuited to agriculture, and only its southern borderlands are iu the same 
latitude with the northern borders of the United states; if it be further remembered what 
are the climatic and, in general, the natural conditions of the greater part of Siberia, it will 
be clear that only a part of Siberia is destined by nature for civilized life. The vast regions 
of the north of Siberia are doomed for all time to remain entirely, or almost entirely, 
uninhabited and inaccessible to cultivation. Xor is this all; even where this cultivation 
already exists along the rivers at the present time or may develop in the more or less 
near future, the interriverine spaces present vast swamps, tundras or mountainous 
regions, absolutely unadapted to cultivation. Such a character is possessed by the central 
part of the Tobolsk and the northern part of the Tomsk governments, almost the whole of 
the Amour country, and the same may be said of the three steppe territories where but 
insignificant patches are suitable for agriculture, and all the remainder presents an expanse 
of salt marsh, probably doomed forever to remain the scene of Kirghiz nomad life. 

The proper arable part of Siberia embraces at the present time four governments of 
the original Siberia, western and eastern, with the exception, however, of their northern 
regions, namely, in the government of Tobolsk, the Berezov and Surgut districts, and the north- 
ern halves of those of Tobolsk, Tourinsk and Tarsk; from Tomsk must be excluded the Xarymsk 
country; from the government of the Yenisei, the Yeniseisk district; in Irkutsk the districts 
of Kirensk and Verkholensk. Besides this, almost the whole of Transbaikalia has a culti- 
vable character, and the banks of the Amour and the Ussuri iu the far east, although here 
as will be seen, cultivation exists rather iu the future than in the present. Finally, in the 
steppe territories agriculture exists and is capable of development only in a few parts of the 
following districts: Kokchetavsk, Atbasarsk and Petropavlovsk in the Akmolinsk territory and 
in Semipalatinsk and Pavlodar in that of Semipalatinsk. Furthermore, are to be named the 
regions of artificial irrigation in the Zaisan district of the latter tenitory and in the foot- 
hill tracts of the territory of Semiretchensk. 

Xext, the whole north, namely, the above enumerated districts of the four govern- 
ments of original Siberia, the whole Yakutsk territory, with the exception of the insignifi- 
cant riverine zones, Kamchatka and the littoral of the Okhotsk Sea; all this consists of 
millions of square versts of tundras and wildwoods growing on a swampy soil. The 
Prussian population is here confined to the officials of the local government, and to mer- 
chants and their agents, engaged in barter with the native nomads. The remaining popu- 
lation, the density of which moreover does not exceed three, and in the territory of Yakutsk 
even less than one inhabitant per square mile, consists of native Samoyeds, Ostiaks, Tun- 
guz, Yakutsk, Kamchadals and others, who live exclusively by hunting and fishing. The 
produce of these industries partly serves for their own consumption, but mainly goes in bar- 
ter for bread and other provisions furnished by the Russian traders. Between this north- 
ern, absolutely uncivilized portion of Siberia and its purely agricultural regions stretches 
as it were a zone of a transitional character. To it belong, in the government of To- 
bolsk, the southern half of the Turinsk and the central part of the Tobolsk district, as also 



TENUEE AND USE OF LAND. 91 

tlie northern voiosts of the Tarsk district; in tlie government of Tomsk, the northern border- 
lands of the Tomsk and Marinsk districts; in Yeniseisk, part of the district of the same name; 
in Irkutsk, the Tunkinsk country and some other places. This transitional zone is character- 
ized hy the circumstance that agriculture there attains at last a more or less considerable 
development, while dividing its part as the main source of prosperity with several other 
industries. Along the rivers everywhere extend great reaches of lands suitable to cereals but 
their extent is insufficient to occupy the whole labour of the population and completely 
secure its well-being. At the same time the forests and waters open a wide field to the 
development of trapping and fishing, the cedar nut industry, the cutting of fuel and the 
felling of timber and a few household trades. In the population of this transitional zone the 
Russian peasants are mingled with more or less russified natives, and in the mode of life 
of both races no substantial diifercnce can be observed. 

Natives, in the main Buriats, still compose a considerable part of the population in 
those portions of the cultivated zone proper of Siberia lying further to the east, and whose 
settlement by Russians was accomplished comparatively recently. In the agricultural districts 
of the Irkutsk government the natives still form about 17 per cent, in the Thansbaikal ter- 
ritory, 30 per cent of the population ; In the cultivated region of the governments of Yenis- 
seisk and Tomsk the number of natives is already quite insignificant, while in the purely 
agricultural districts of the government of Tobolsk they are almost non-existent. 

The chief characteristic feature of the cultivated tract of Siberia consists in the 
considerable dimensions attained by agriculture and in its predominating importance, as the 
fundamental source of the prosperity of the population. The average extent of the sown area 
per household of the rural population, including under this terra peasants, natives auil con- 
victs, according to the latest statistical data, is as follows: 

In the southern districts of the Tobolsk government . . 5.4 des. 
» » central part » » Tomsk i> . . 5,8 » 

» » agricultural region » » Irkutsk » . . 5.4 » 

and to every 100 souls of the actual population there is an area sown with grain, as 

below : 

In the southern districts of the Tobolsk government . . . 104 des. 
» » central part » » Tomsk » ... 87 » 
;> » agricultural region » ■> Irkutsk ;> ... 97 ;> 

The relation between the production and consumption of grain varies of course for every 
volost, and not unfrequently for an individual settlement, in dependence upon the quantity of 
lands suitable for grain growing and their conditions of soil. Taken as a whole, the agri- 
cultural region not only supports its population, but yields very considerable surpluses of 
grain. The sale of these surpluses is the chief source whence the population pays its taxes 
and satisfies its principal wants. According to the latest data the people of the agricultural 
districts of the Irkutsk government consume on an average crop not more than about 59 
per cent of the grain raised; that of the north-eastern corner of the agi'icultural region of 



92 SIBERIA. 

the Tomsk government, about 66 per cent ; 41 per cent in the first of the said localities, and 
34 per cent in the second, form saleable surplus. And yet the regions in question are far 
from belonging to the number of the most fertile areas of agricultural Siberia. In such local- 
ities as the Altai mining district, the Minusinsk district of the Yeniseisk government, the 
best volosts of the south-western districts of the Tobolsk government, the proportion borne 
by the produce of grain to its consumption is yet considerably more favourable and the sale- 
able surplus, on average harvests, forms not less than half of the whole yield. The export 
of grain, principally spring wheat from Western Siberia, reached in recent years 10,000,000 
to 12,000,000 pouds annually. The total quantity therefore of grain raised in this part of 
Siberia forms not less than 85,000,000 pouds a year. It must not be forgotten, however, that 
in the pale of the agricultural tract of Siberia occur such patches where the land, on account 
of the bad conditions of soil and climate, cannot feed the population. But such spots are 
very small and their population exists upon the surplus gi-ain of the nearest more fertile 
localities. 

However this may be, the whole economical fate of the population of the cultivated 
zone of Siberia is entirely determined as a general rule by the condition of agilculture and 
of cattle-breeding so closely connected therewith. Where the land is good the population 
attains a high degree of wealth and gi'ows alike by natural increase and by the tide of 
immigrant elements; when the land is poor, the population ordinarily lives in poverty and not 
unfrequently dwindles away in search of better places of settlement. 

Trades and industries speaking in general terms, play the least considerable part 
in the economical life of the population of the agilcultural tract of Siberia. But there 
are within the agricultural zone such regions also where agriculture loses its position as 
the sole source of prosperity and either shares it with other earnings or even altogether 
yields it to the latter. Thus, first of all may be pointed out many localities lying along 
the banks of great rivers where a very essential part in the economic life of the 
population is played by fishing, service on vessels and in the neighbourhood of fine forests, 
the raftage of timber. In localities nearly approaching uninhabited taigas and urmans great 
importance is possessed by hunting, the gathering of cedar nuts, and in the presence of a good 
market, the felling of timber. The volosts bordering on such great town centres as Tomsk, 
Tiumen, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk have the character usual for suburban regions. Agriculture is 
little developed in them or non-existent, and the population lives by market-gardening, dairy 
farming, the furnishing of hay and wood fuel, the letting in summer of villa residence, 
works in connexion with the cleansing of the streets and other similar occupations, directly 
serving to satisfy the wants of the town population. There are furthermore a few regions 
engaged in household industries. The largest of these suiTOunds the town Tiumen stretching 
therefrom to the north-west; the second is situated around the town of Tomsk; other such 
small industries occur in all the governments of the agricultural tract of Siberia. In all these 
regions articles of wood are principally manufactured, as also the results of wood distillation. 
These products are destined partly for the needs of the local true peasant population, partly 
to furnish the caravans moving over the great Siberian and other tracts. But the importance 
of all the enumerated non-agiicultural earnings in the general economy of Siberia and in 



TENURE AND USE OF LAND. 93 

particular in its agricultural zone is absolutely insignificant compared with the part which the 
great Siberian tract plays, and still more in former years. Formerly when yet there was 
no communication by steamer, this tract was the sole artery uniting European Russia with 
Siberia, and through it, with China. The traffic over the tract both summer and winter was 
enormous. The conveyance of travellers and goods, posts and prisoners, local officials and 
bodies of troops, absorbed almost the whole working power of the population along the tract. 
Comparatively few were engaged in agriculture along the tract and even they did not see 
in it their principal occupation. The mass of the population lived exclusively or almost 
exclusively by the trade of carriers or innkeepers. At the present time the importance of the 
tract is far from being what it was. The steamer communication on the Irtysh and Obi has 
almost completely killed the summer traffic upon the section of the tract between Tiumen 
and Tomsk, the steamer communication on the Chulym has absorbed a considerable part of 
the traffic between Tomsk and Achinsk. The tract here only wakes up in the winter, and 
even then the traffic now is much less than formerly, and is far from yielding the former 
profits to the tract population. The latter has therefore thrown itself into agriculture, the 
cultivated patches have everywhere been increased, and will be still further enlarged in 
future, and the population of the tract have already lost a considerable part of their 
former peculiar character. 

Here the general description of the agricultural zone of Siberia may be closed. As 
far as concerns the outlying regions, mention has already been made of the territory of 
Yakutsk as a district absolutely uncultivable and inhabited by native trappers and fishermen. 
Here It may be permitted to indicate only the importance of the Lena tract, along which 
almost all the Russian population of the territory is gathered and which furnishes thereto 
its chief source of existence. The three steppe territories as already intimated contain cultivable 
oases where agriculture both exists and is capable of further development. Beyond these the 
whole expanse of these territories serves but as the wandering grounds of the Kirghiz, who 
live exclusively by the products of their cattle raising and do not promise at any near future 
date to pass over into the agricultural or industrial state. The attempts at such a passage to 
agriculture met with among the Kirghiz are as a rule quite isolated and devoid of any 
serious importance. Even the Kirghiz settled in separate households in the peasant colonies 
of the southern part of the Tobolsk government and who have not unfrequently accepted 
orthodoxy are also employed exclusively in cattle raising, the pasturing of cattle on land 
hired from the peasants, not seldom in horse-stealing; only the more wealthy among them 
sow oats, in order to feed their numerous horses. The only exception to this general charac- 
terization are the Kirhgiz living in a part of the Zaisan district and upon the foothills of the 
Semirechensk territory, the so-called Kirghiz of the Great Horde and the Dikokamenny, whose 
life is woven of a very curious combination of nomad existence with very intensive irrigat- 
ional agriculture. These Kirghiz too, like the others, have their places for winter and summer 
roaming, but from the latter they wander off several times in the course of the summer to 
their lands under tillage in order to water, plough and sow them, and to harvest the grain. 
On the arrival of the Russian population the Kirghiz not only taught them their own agric- 
ultural methods, but surrendered to them a considerable part of their irrigated lands, while 



94 SIBERIA. 

themselves transferriug the centre of gravity of their economy to cattle raising. By doing so 
they lost nothing as the profitable sale opened to the produce of their cattle breeding, which 
appeared mXh the arrival of the Russians, fully compensated them for the contraction in the 
extent of their agriculture. 

Passing at last the Amour border land, it appears that Amouria may be split up into 
three parts, the first of which is situated above the confluence of the Zeya with the Amour, 
the second below the confluence of the Bureya, the third between the lower reaches of these 
two streams. In the first tracts the only lands at present suitable for cultivation are those 
situated on the second terrace of the Amour valley, the first ten-ace is inundated several 
times every summer and therefore is unsuited to either settlement or agriculture. Outside this 
valley the region presents partly mountain ranges, partly tablelands scored with gullies and 
valleys, whose summits, thanks to the dense forest covering them, never dry up properly and 
therefore have to a considerable degree a swampy character. With the gradual felling and 
burning of the forest, the soil of the tablelands is slowly drying and becoming suitable for 
cultivation, so that in time the latter will undoubtedly take in a wider and yet wider 
tract. But this question is incapable of rapid settlement, and at any rate at the present 
time the whole mountainous part of the locality under consideration is absolutely desert and 
aS'ords only an arena for the industry of the trappers of the Amour population. The main 
occupation of the latter is agriculture. Sowing on an average four to five dessiatiues per 
household the local population on the whole secures its own provision but has no surplus 
grain for sale. The chief supplementary earnings are the carriage of goods and the 
furnishing of hay to the gold mines, fishing, trapping and the supply of wood fuel to 
the steamers. Upon section between the lower reaches of the Zeya and Bureya the zone 
adapted to cultivation is much wider, here not only is the second terrace of the Amour 
valley suited to agilculture, but also the watershed of the Zeya and Bureya, which has earned 
the name of the «prairie of the Amour». The population, partly Russian, partly Manchurian, 
is here much denser than in the rest of Amouria, the extent of the arable land much 
greater, and grain is produced not only for home consumption, but for sale. But in this 
district, as in the whole of Amouria, climatic conditions stand in the way of the development 
of cultivation; there is in effect an excess of moisture. The beyond measure damp and rainy 
climate has a sinister effect upon both the quality of the gi-ain and upon the raising of live 
stock. The latter industry so far brings hardly any profit to the local population. For the 
development here of cultivation, there is wanted either a change in the climatic conditions, 
of which there is a hope in the future, or the elaboration of methods of agilculture and 
cattle raising more suitable to these conditions. Such a change in the climate was observed 
by the latest explorer of the country, the Academician Korzhinsky, as a result of the com- 
parison of his own observations with the statements made by the academician Maximovich, 
who travelled in the Amour region thirty years earlier. 

A still greater excess of moisture is met with in the most eastern borderland of 
Amouria and indeed of the whole of Siberia, namely in the Ussuri country. Here it is 
impossible to sow grain otherwise than in ridges leaving between them trenches for the 
drainage of the water and the free movement of the air. The development of cultivation is 



TENITKE AND USE OF LAND. 95 

here still less possible than in the rest of Amouria otherwise than after a preliminary drain- 
age of the country, or by the adoption of some other measures for combatting the excess of 
moisture. 

With this may be closed the general economical appreciation of those regions into 
which Siberia falls according to the degree of development of the practice of agriculture, 
and the transition may now be made to the survey of the separate sources of prosperity of 
the population of Siberia. In consequence of the predominating importance of agriculture 
for the main mass of this population the largest share of attention must be devoted to its 
description. 

The fashion and character of agricultural production are determined, on the one hand, 
by the denseness of the population, the conditions of sale and other similar economical ques- 
tions, and on the other, by the natural and physical conditions, mainly those dependent on 
soil and climate. The density of the population and the climate have been discussed in the 
preceding descriptions. The discussion of the conditions of sale and of the general economical 
situation will appear below. Here then it is necessary to give a general characterization of 
the Siberian soils. Unfortunately, the data existing upon this subject are far from complete. 
An exact scientific exploration of the soils, accompanied by chemical analyses, has hitherto 
been carried on only in two limited regions, in one district of the government of Irkutsk 
and in the Barabinsk steppe in the Tomsk government. Further descriptions of the soil exist in 
reference to a few districts of the Tobolsk and Tomsk governments and to the Amour 
country. These are founded upon mere surveys, connected with measurements of the depth 
of the soil and in a few cases only with the determination of samples of it, based upon a 
superflcial inspection, more rarely by means of the method of subsidence, the determination 
of the humus contained, and other more exact methods. In reference to many localities there 
exist no published indications whatever upon the conditions of the soil. It may thus be said 
that the soil of Siberia still awaits a serious investigation. A great step will be made in 
this direction in the near future when fruit shall be borne by the expedition now projected 
by the Ministry of State Domains, having for its object the exploration of the conditions 
of the soil of the whole expanse of Siberia, traversed by the line of the Great Siberian 
Railway. Till then it is only possible to present the most general sketch of these conditions, 
only a superficial characterization is possible, far from satisfying the demands of a strict 
scientific description. 

The greatest variety and at the same time the fullest account are met with in the 
case of the soil conditions of the government of Tobolsk. That portion of the latter possess- 
ing agriculture may, in respect to the situation of its arable lands and of the conditions of 
the soil, be divided into three zones, the northern, lying approximately between the parallels 
58" and 59" and embracing the northern parts of the districts of the Turinsk and Tobolsk; 
the middle zone, lying between 56^ and 58V'^°, and including the southern halves of the above 
named districts, the whole Tinmen district and the northern parts of those of Tarsk, Ishimsk 
and Yalutorovsk; and the southern, taking in the southern portions of the last named three 
districts, the whole of Kurgansk and Tiukalinsk, and the strip of the Akniolinsk territory 
adjacent to the frontier of the government of Tobolsk. 



96 SIBERIA. 

The northernmost of the zones just described is a region where agriculture exists hut 
sporadically. It consists of unbroken urmans or expanses of forest and swamp, for the most 
part wholly unsuited to tillage and brought under the plough only in narrow strips, on the 
margins of the larger rivers and owing their conversion to a condition fit for cultivation to 
their influence on the drainage. The arable lands are disposed partly on portions of the 
river valleys comparatively elevated, and so not subject to being drowned by the ordinary 
overflow of the rivers; partly on the inclined banks called u v a 1 s, uniting the bottom of the 
valley with the flat interriverine space; and partly in places where the valley is not bounded 
by gently sloping sides but by abrupt precipices or yars; in such cases the narrow strips 
of the plateau bordering these yars are cultivated, behind which again commence the uutilled 
expanses of the swampy urman. As regards the soils, in the fields belonging to the first group 
prevail very sticky clayey soils, partly gray, slightly tinged with humus, partly black, con- 
taining from 10 to 15 per cent of this substance. The black soils present two varieties; the 
first is an argillaceous chernoziom upon the localities with a raised contour, the most fertile 
of all the soUs met with in the given region. The second shows black earth upon the spots, 
which are depressed and sufl'er from an excess of moisture ; it is a very poor and barren 
soil of a peaty character unable even to yield satisfactory crops of winter rye and only 
adapted to sowing oats. Upon the sloping valley sides, or uvals, soils of a more friable nature 
predominate, although for the most part of a clayey character, fairly rich in humus and stained dark 
brown, upon a reddish-yellow clayey subsoil. These soils together with the clayey chernoziom 
of the river valleys are reputed to be the best. Ural fields are valued the more that owing 
to their situation they are better secured than the others from unfavourable atmospheric influ- 
ences. Finally the lands tilled along the yars on the skirts of the interriverine plateaux have 
a soil very poor in humus and capable of yielding harvests only by the liberal application 
of manure. They are partly crumbly sandy tracts in the regions nearest to the Ural with an 
appreciable admixture of small stones or galkas, partly sour clayey soils of the type pre- 
vailing in the localities lying further to the south. 

The whole central zone of the Tobolsk government presents a perfectly flat plain in- 
tersected more or less by wide valleys belonging to different rivers and streams. Like the 
northern zone, it has for the most part a forest character. But in contradistinction to the 
northern zone, forests of deciduous trees, principally birch predominate instead of conifers. More- 
over, the morasses although very extensive yet here occupy much less of the total area 
than in the northern zone. Hence it is that in the localities situated in the middle zone not 
only are the river valleys suited for agricultural operations together with the bordering lands, 
but more or less considerable portions also of the interriverine plateaux. The lands suitable for 
raising grain are here at times spread over more or less extensive tracts, at others in small 
patches between woody or swampy lands unfitted for cultivation. The soil conditions of 
these forest fields are very monotonous, they are almost exclusively so-called b i e 1 i k s, 
characterised by a very thin layer of turf, a vershok or vershok and a half thick, under 
which lies a stratum five or six vershoks thick of almost unproductive, light-gray, sour, 
clayey soil, superimposed upon a reddish yellow clay. These bieliks fairly useful to the farmer 
when manured, without it are very illsuited to agriculture on account of their properties 



TENURE AND USE OF LAND. 97 

and are very stingy. Cereals only derive nourishment from Ihc superior turf layer, and 
when the latter becomes exhausted, which ensues after three or four crops, it is necessary to 
abandon the field for twenty to twenty-flve and more years, until a new turf layer is 
formed. It is clear under these circumstances why agriculture upon soils of this kind is only 
capable of a feeble development. It is concentrated in the whole of the central zone along 
the rivers where the conditions of soil are much more favourable. It is principally the sloping 
uvals near the rivers that are brought under the plough; these extend in some instances along 
both banks, in others along one only, attaining in the case of more considerable rivers a 
breadth of several versts with a height above the valley of thirty to forty sagenes. The soil 
conditions of the uval lands show little variation; is everywhere a dark brown and clayey, 
pretty friable, not seldom with an admixture of large grains of quartz visible to the eye; 
the subsoil is reddish yellow clay. The thickness of the workable layer varies ordinarily 
from five to eight vershoks. The soil is the richer in vegetable mould and therefore more 
fertile, the greater the depth of the tillable layer. Above the uvals on the tracts of the 
interriverine plateau bordering on the same, the soil frequently passes into a black friable 
form of great thickness, 10 to 12 vershoks and more, and rich in humus, as much as 15 to 
17 per cent but of little fertility, possessing an undoubted peaty character. Little ploughing 
is done within the river valleys, for the most part presenting meadows subject to inundation 
or so narrow that they leave no room for agricultural operations. Where however the valleys 
are tilled, tenaceous clayey soils prevail of the same types as were described in speaking of 
the soils of the northern zone. 

But the greatest interest and the greatest variety are afforded by the soil conditions 
of the southern zone of the government of Tobolsk, which enters into the composition of the 
so-called Ishimsk steppe. The contour of this steppe is remarkable in the highest degree. 
On the whole absolutely level, it is scattered over with a number of lakes, between which 
extend small elevations, ridges or islands. Always long and narrow in horizontal section, 
their length sometimes reaches many versts, while their breadth at the level of the horizon 
is measured by hundreds of sagenes and never exceeds a verst, they always trend in the 
direction of their long axis from W.S.W. to E.KE. and are not more than three to four 
sagenes in height. They have extremely sloping sides and are distinguished by the predomi- 
nance of dark browTi, friable clayey soils with a heavy admixture of white sand, upon a 
reddish clay subsoil. In appearance closely resembling the uval soils of the middle zone, the 
soils upon the islands of the Ishimsk steppe, characterized by the thriving upon them in the 
unplougaed state of the wild cherry, are much more fertile and are particularly adapted to 
the raising of wheat, with which they are accordingly chiefly sown. As for the flat spaces 
lying between the islands, they are partly naked salt marsh, absolutely stripped of all vege- 
tation or clothed with a typical flora such as salsola et cetera, partly feather-grass steppe over 
which are scattered, in scarcely perceptible hollows, spinnies of birch and aspen called 
«k 1 k a s». The soil conditions of the two classes are absolutely different. Upon the open steppe 
the soil is so-called podsolonok, that is, dark grey, very tenacious clay, covered with 
a thin layer of turf. In the kolkas, it is black, very deep, but at the same time very bairen, 
with a decided peaty character. 



Both the general appearance and the soil conditions of the Ishimsk steppe change a 
little on moving from the west to the east. Upon its western border in the Kurgausk dis- 
trict and the south-western part of that of Ishimsk, the islands are small, but very thickly- 
set, so that they occupy the greater part of the expanse, and communicate to the latter a 
rolling character. The soil upon the islands is very darkly stained and the wild chen-y, the 
sign of its excellent quality, is evrywhere to be met with. Further to the east, in the south- 
eastern comer of the Ishimsk district and in that of Tiukalinsk, the chen-y vanishes, the 
soil on the islands has on the whole a paler tinge and is much less fertile. The islands 
themselves, each by itself much longer, are scattered over the steppe somewhat thinly, so 
that the latter here assumes rather a flat than a rolling character. 

A contour very similar to that of the Ishimsk steppe is possessed by the Barabiiisk 
steppe lying to the east of it, embracing in the Tobolsk government the eastern half of the 
Tiukalinsk district and in that of Tomsk, the south-western half of the Kainsk district. Here 
also the horizontal surface of the steppe is sprinkled on the one hand with lakes and on the 
other with oblong elevations, ridges or islands. Here as in the Ishimsk steppe, the dependence 
between the contour and the soil is so close that, as one of the latest explorers remarks, 
«knowing the contour of this or that site, it is easy to determine the soil itself, lying there». 
Upon the broad and sloping ridges chernoziom is everywhere deposited; upon the narrow 
and more abrupt ridges, a clayey soil. Some broad ridges possess sloping northern and more 
precipitous southern sides. In such cases chernoziom is to be found on the northern incline 
and clayey soil on the southern. As for the flat space between the ridges the more low lying 
plots are composed of saltmarsh, partly white or covered with a saline efflorescence and 
deprived of all vegatation, partly black, covered with a herbaceous growth but equally unsuit- 
ed to the raising of grain. Upon the more elevated parts, lying nearest to the foot of the 
ridges, the soil is p o d s o 1 o n o k of the same type as in the Ishimsk steppe and adapted 
to the cultivation of cereals. 

In respect to the fertility of its arable lands the Barabinsk steppe is placed in the same 
conditions as the eastern Ishimsk borderland, and in worse than the western part of the 
latter. In the Barabinsk steppe, as in the eastern part of the Ishimsk steppe, the wild cherry, 
characteristic of the best wheat lands of the western part of the Ishimsk steppe, does not 
occur. Within the Barabinsk steppe itself the general level of fertility is not without variation. 
Least fertile is the northern borderland of Barabinsk, where the steppe gradually passes over 
into an expanse of urman and swamp. Most fertile is the southern borderland, embracing a 
part of the Barnaul and Bisk districts and reaching to the foothills of the Altai. 

From the eastern frontier of the Barabinsk steppe right up to lake Baikal, including the 
eastern districts of the Tomsk government and the whole cultivated portion of those of Yeni- 
seisk and Irkutsk, stretches a tract showing great uniformity both in its general character 
and in its soil conditions. A certain peculiarity is presented only by the southern border- 
lands of the Yeniseisk and Irkutsk governments, especially the Minusinsk district, which 
possess a steppe character, with a predominance of chernoziom soils of good quality, yielding 
excellent harvests of wheat. The whole remaining space has the appearance of what may be 
called the central Siberian p o 1 e s i e or forest region. 



I 



TENURE AND USE OF LAND. 9^ 

On the south, the whole of central Siberia is bordered as is known by lofty mountain 
ranges, the Altai, Alatau and Sayan. But the mountain systems of these ranges fill up a 
locality, almost uninhabitable and in no way belonging to the composition of the cultivated 
zone of Siberia. Only here and there the last offshoots of the mountains having the form of 
small hills enter into the limits of this zone. Further the whole cultivated part of the cen- 
tral Siberian polesie presents, speaking generally, a typical flat elevation, and the considerable 
inequalities to be found upon its susface proceeded almost exclusively from the fact that 
the rivers have washed out in it more or less deep valleys. Where the rivers are well filled 
and their beds situated near to each other, there the general plain character of the locality 
is completely masked. Flat expanses are hardly to be seen, the whole contour is composed 
of the uvals bordering the river valleys, and the locality produces the impression of a hilly 
district, where the interriverine watersheds seem to be as it were low mountain ranges. 
Where the rivers are less close together and not so full, the flat character of the locality 
shows itself quite manifestly, and the narrow river valleys occupy only an insignificant part 
of the space compared with the flat watersheds. As will immediately appear, such a flat 
contour, on account of the soil conditions connected therewith, is much less favourable to 
the successful development of agriculture, than a more rolling contour. 

As far as regards soil, a characteristic feature of the central Siberian forest region, 
at any rate of its cultivated portion, (in the taiga, tenacious gray clayey soils prevail) is the 
predominance of chernoziora, and in general, dark-coloured soil. At the same time, in distinction 
to the soils of the Tobolsk government rich in humus, the chernozioms of this locality do not 
possess a brownish tinge but are dyed a perfect black. As in the localities, described earlier, 
the character of the soil is here also in the closest dependence upon the contour. The high- 
quality soils with a dry land flora are situated exclusively upon spots with a high relief, 
affording a free drainage to the water, and consequently mainly on the uvals bordering the 
river valleys. Where the uvals are more gently sloping, the soil is deeper (from 6 to 8 ver- 
shoks) and richer in humus, (10 to 12 per cent). It has a perfectly black colour and while 
preserving its clayey character, is yet fairiy friable. Both in respect to its physical qualities 
and the degree of abundance of nutritious substances, this soil is very favourable for the 
cultivation of grain and especially for rye. Where the uvals are more abrupt, the percentage 
of humus is less (from 5 to 6 per cent), the thickness of the soil does not exceed 4 to 6 
vershoks, its colour instead of black becomes gray, the soil itself is much more tenacious, 
and its productiveness perceptibly lower than that of the black soils, eariier characterized. As 
for the flat interriverine plateaux, there black soils with a vegetable character prevail. More 
often tenacious, muddy, clayey soils are met with, more rarely friable soils composed of humus 
and peat. Notwithstanding the considerable depth (12 to 16 vershoks and more) and the rich- 
ness in humus (15 to 17 per cent), the soils of both types are little adapted to the cultiva- 
tion of grain. Not to speak of wheat, even rye grows badly on them, so that the lands with 
a vegetable soil are principally sown with oats. 

It is now clear why the rolling contour of the locality in the central Siberian forest 
region is more suited to raising grain than the flat relief. Where slopes prevail, there black 
and grey soils of good quality predominate, so that in localities ploughed up in all directions by 

7* 



100 SIBERIA. 

rivers and streams, nearly the whole ground is not seldom occupied with arahle land with 
good chemoziom soil. Where flat plateaux prevail, there soils of good quality occupy hut nar- 
row strips, hounding the hanks of rivers, and there predominate partly wet lands unsuited to 
agriculture, partly arahle lands with a had soil, of a swampy and vegetahle nature. 

With this the sketch of the soil conditions of the agilcultural zone of primitive Si- 
beria may he terminated. In conclusion it is necessary to say still a few words on the soil 
conditions of one of the borderlands of Siberia, in reference to which more precise information 
exists, namely Amouria. 

The three sections into which Amouria was divided above are sharply distinguished in 
reference to soil. Above the mouth of the Zeya and helow that of the Bureya prevail dark 
hrown, clayey soils lying on stony fundamental rocks, in some places covered with a thin 
turfy layer of humus, in others entirely free from a tinge of mould. In the inundated meadows 
of the Amour the clayey soils yield place to coarse-grained, sandy, much less fertile soils, 
and in the thick woods, to a sour soil with a pale gray tint in the upper layer, and a whitish 
in the lower. Over the expanse included hetween the valleys of the Zeya and Bureya the 
whole area as stated by Professor Korzhinsky «is composed of sandy clays fairly tenacious 
in the upper levels. They are covered with a layer of dark mould, having a depth of 4 to 6 
vershoks on the sloping uvals, and one and a half arshines on the hottoms». Upon dry ele- 
vated places this soil in its physical properties and structure recalls the Russian chernoziom : 
in the lower places it is manifestly of a half-swampy origin, recalling in all respects the 
black vegetable soils of Western Siberia and neither in its origin nor significance in farming 
having anything in common with true chernoziom. 

With the extraordinary variety of climatic and soil conditions and population sketched 
in the preceding pages, it is impossible to look for any uniformity in the methods of farming 
employed in Siberia and especially in the system of field culture. And in fact the systems- 
and types of field culture and the rotations of crops are very varied. 

In those of the Siberian governments which comprise the mass of the agricultural pop- 
ulation and lands suitable for farming operations, Tobolsk, Tomsk, Yeniseisk and Irkutsk 
the Transhaikal territory and the cultivated portions of the Akmolinsk and Semipalatinsk, a 
peculiar system of agriculture prevails which is absolutely unknown in European Russia. It 
hears the name of the resting and fallow system. Agriculture is in this case founded exclu- 
sively upon the exploitation of the productive forces of the land, unsupported hy any ma- 
nuring, and renewed hy the combination of two means, the ahandoning of the land to waste, 
and the rotation of crops with fallow. The land, whether cleared from forest or ploughed up 
in the open steppe, is sown two or three years consecutively with grain, and then left a 
year in fallow. It is then sown one or two years with grain and then again goes under 
fallow. Such a rotation is continued until the severe falling off in yield and the choking 
with weeds compel the land to be abandoned to rest, and a new patch to be broken up. The 
land is allowed to rest until definite signs, which are well known to the peasants, show that 
its productiveness has been sufficiently renewed. Then it is again ploughed up and the same 
process is gone through from the very beginning. At the same time it may be said, as a 
rule, that in the beginning of the period of cultivation and on the fallows more 



TENURE AND USE OF LAND. 101 

exhausting grains are sown, such as wheat, winter and spring rye; towards the end of the 
period, and upon the stubble fields, such gi'alns as barley and oats. Moreover, at the begin- 
ning of the period of tillage the land is more seldom left fallow; at the end, more often; 
thus, at first after every two crops, at last after every single crop harvested. Finally, the 
duration itself of the periods of tillage for freshly broken lands, that is, such as have never 
been under cultivation, is in general longer than for lands which have been ploughed before 
and again broken up after a prolonged rest, as such rest seldom completely renews the fer- 
tility of the soil. 

Such is the general character of the rest and fallow system. As for its varieties, they 
are extremely numerous. Siberian farming is distinguished by the absence of all pedantry. 
Not only every volost or commune, but each farmer independently determines the rotation of 
crops for every patch of land which he is using, adapting himself to its soil and situation, 
to the climate and conditions of the market, finally, to his personal means. The number of 
crops taken from the land during the period of tillage fluctuates between 3 and 4, for poor 
sour lands, and 25 to 30 for the best chernoziom, and there even exist lands, especially in the 
southern part of the Tobolsk government, which have been under the plough more than 
100 years and have never yet been left to rest. The duration of the period of rest varies 
between 5 and 10, and 25 and 30 years, depending on the one hand, upon the soil conditions, 
and on the other, upon the degree of exhaustion to which the land has been brought by 
previous sowings. In some places and on some lands, sowing on the stubble field is a normal 
occurrence, so that the rotation of crops approaches the rest-three-field type; in other places 
and upon other lands such sowings form an exception, or are not carried out at all; the land 
is fallowed after each crop and the rotation approximates to the rest-two-field type, and 
so on. As to the predominating sorts, in each locality the more exacting grains are to be 
found on the best lands, and the coarser kinds on the worst. But however this may be, whole 
districts are characterized by the prevalence now of one, now of another kind of gi-ain. 
Thus upon the splendid sandy chernoziom of the steppes of the south-western part of the 
Tobolsk government, and of the agricultural localities of the Akmolinsk territory, as also in 
the Altai mining district and the southern part of the Yenisei government, wheat predomin- 
ates, in some places occupying as much as half of the whole area sown, and more. In the 
central agricultural part of the Tobolsk government, distinguished by the prevalence of 
sourish soils, the crops are mainly barley and spring rye. Over the whole expanse from 
Tomsk to Irkutsk the forests and friable chernoziom soils favour winter rye, which only 
yields place to spring rye in the places stripped of forest. Along the whole line of the Siber- 
ian tract the largest areas are sown with oats, which here have a certain and profitable sale. 
Besides the cereals enumerated, there are further sown here and there, millet, buckwheat, 
peas and potatoes, while of the industrial plants flax is almost universally sown, hemp in the 
chernoziom localities, and sunflower in the Altai. 

The system of agriculture prevalent in Siberia exhibits the greatest variety not only 
in space, but in time. With the growing density of the population and the contraction of the 
land space, the periods of rest of the land are gradually reduced, and the periods of tillage 
increased. The rapidly progressive exhaustion of the land, resulting from this, it is attempted 



102 SIBERIA. 

to arrest by more frequent fallow, the rest-three field rotation is gradually abandoned for a 
rest-two-field. At the same time the exhaustion of the land makes it ever less capable of 
yielding satisfactory harvests of the more valuable grains and compels their replacement by 
coarser kinds. Wheat and, where the forest has been most cut, winter rye, are expelled by 
spring rye ; the latter, by barley. At the same time the lowering of the crops gradually brings 
the population to the conviction of the impossibility, under the changed conditions, of carrying 
on farming in the old way and of the necessity of passing to new methods, namely with the 
use of manure. Part of the population however does not wish to reconcile itself to this 
necessity and prefers to leave for new places, where there is still plenty of land and where 
its freshness permits farming by the customary rest method. The other part, the majority, 
remains and continues in spite of everything to carry on the old methods. Finally, the more 
energetic minority begins by degrees to pass over to the manuring system. As first individual 
faint-hearted and frequently unsuccessful attempts at manuring the land find more and more 
imitators, and little by little agriculture with manure from being a rare exception becomes 
the general rule. 

Some localities of Siberia, in the main, the northern borderland of the agricultural 
zone of the Tobolsk government, that is, the Turinsk district and the middle of the Tobolsk 
district, have already passed through that critical period. In these localities, in some places 
as regards all the lands under the plough, in others as regards only those nearest to the 
farmsteads, this system has become firmly established. It is precisely of the form of the 
three-field system as it has long existed in the central governments of European Russia, that 
is, with a predominance of rye in the winter field, oats and barley in the spring, and with 
green fallow. As for the manuring, the extent to which it is carried is very different, in 
dependence on the relation of the quantity of meadow land to that of the land under crops. 
In the comparatively southern localities, where there is a fairly large amount of arable land, 
and few meadows, a part of the fallow field, equivalent to Ve to V2, is manured. Further 
to the north where there is very little arable land, and much meadow land, the whole fallow 
field is manured, and as a consequence in spite of the comparatively unfavourable natural 
conditions, larger and, what is particularly important, more constant crops are obtained than 
anywhere in Siberia. Finally, still further to the north near the 601h parallel, at the very 
northernmost limit of agriculture, even a heavy application of manure does not make it 
possible to carry on the three-field system. Here two fields are used, with winter rye predom- 
inating on the best lands, and barley on the rest. With heavy manuring agriculture even 
here yields excellent results, but is incapable of attaining any considerable development, in 
consequence of the extremely limited supply of lands suitable for sowing grain. 

The cultivation of the arable lands in Siberia is on the whole very satisfactory, far 
better than on the peasant farms in central Russia. Such a superiority of the Siberian peas- 
ant farming is determined mainly by the abundance there of working cattle, possible on 
account of the wealth of the country in hayland and pasture, and secondly of the compara- 
tively good construction of the agricultural implements. 

The implements used in Siberia for ploughing, to wit, ploughs, here bear various names, 
kolesianka, saban, rogaliukha, et cetera; but their fundamental construction is 



TENUEE AND USE OF LAND. 1 OS 

everywhere the same. They consist of a broad triangular ploughshare (more often made in 
two parts) whose left angle is hent forward and plays the part of the weh, a wooden mould- 
board, a lifting screw or a system of wedges regulating the depth of ploughing. The work of 
this plough has no resemblance to that of the Great Russia plough (s o k h a) but is very 
like that of the p 1 u g. The depth ploughed may he carried to four and even six vershoks, 
the breadth of the clod being also six vershoks. The latter is cut off very cleanly and a 
field ploughed by a Siberian sokha hardly differs in appearance from one ploughed by a p 1 u g. In 
the regions where agriculture is most developed the sokha is fastened to a two-wheeled car- 
riage and furnished with two or three horses. In localities lying near to the northern 
limit of agriculture, the shafts are fastened directly to the mouldboard and the plough is 
harnessed to one horse. The harrows used in Siberia belong to the half-heavy type. Thy consist 
of a wooden frame with iron teeth, in number from 16 to 20. In the purely agricultural zone 
of Siberia, the average farmer harrows with three harrows, while the rich farmers send one 
after another up to six. In the north, where the strips are not large, usually one harrow is 
used, but they here have very many more teeth. The other implements, sickles, scythes, 
both simple and with fingers (cradles), flails for thrashing, shovels for winnowing, present no 
differences from those employed in European Russia. Until lately there were no machines in 
Siberia. Recently small hand winnowers of the Grant system have been largely adopted in the 
Altai and in localities lying to the east of Tomsk, and horse thrashing-machines have begun 
to appear among the rich peasants. 

The chief- object that the Siberian peasant places before himself in preparing the 
land for sowing is the struggle with weeds, which with the freshness of the soils and their 
richness in organic substances grow up in great abundance and are one of the worst enemies 
of grain crops. Another problem, the bringing of the soil into the requisite condition of fria- 
bleness, in the mind of the Siberian peasant, yields to that of destroying the weeds. The 
degree of their abundance mainly determines in each case the greater or less extent of 
ploughing and harrowing, the time for these processes and for sowing and a mass of other 
less essential details. 

The normal type of the cultivation of fallow in Siberia is twice ploughing, with har- 
rowing after the first. All these operations are carried out in the interval of time between 
the beginning of June and the end of July. An additional third ploughing is added in the 
case of many weeds or heavy soil, especially if the later has been washed with snow water 
and threatens to become covered with an impenatrable hard crust. Upon such heavy, clay 
soils the third ploughing of the fallow is effected in spring, upon friable soils in late autumn. 
Stubble fields are ploughed once only,, usually in spring, and only rarely on very crumbly 
soils in autumn. Before ploughing the remaining stubble is burnt and the ash serves in some 
sort as a manure. The sowing of winter grain begins from the very last days of July and 
where possible is concluded in the middle of August, although in the case of poor men it 
not seldom drags on to the beginning of September. The spring grains in the southern local- 
ities of agricultural Siberia are begun to be sown at the end of April, in the northern re- 
gions, in the beginning of May, wheat being sown earliest of all, and latest oats and espec- 
ially barley. The time of sowing has on account of the Siberian climatic conditions a very 



104 



SIBERIA. 



great importance. With too early sowing the grain suffers from spring frosts; with too late, 
from weeds and autumn hoar frosts. A day's diflerence in the time of sowing often deter- 
mines a good or a had harvest. 

The field once sown is not attended to any more. Only young spring crops, in the 
main wheat and spring rye, have to be very frequently weeded, as often neither ploughing 
nor harrowing are capable of stopping the growth of weeds. The harvesting of winter grain 
begins ordinarily at the end of July; of spring, at the beginning of August. The har- 
vesting of all gi-ains is concluded under ordinary circumstances at the beginning of September, 
but when the weather is unfavourable, is frequently delayed much later, sometimes to the 
beginning of October. The grain, cut with sickle or scythe, after drying is gathered into heaps 
on the field and on the arrival of winter is carried on sledges into the farmsteads or to the 
z a i m k a s. It is then kiln-dried in out-houses or barns, thrashed and winnowed. Next the 
grain intended for sowing is subjected to a final cleansing by means of special instruments, 
so-called p o d s i e v s, cylinders turning about a horizontal axis, made of sheet iron with 
holes of various sizes. That which is intended for food or sale is subjected to no further 
treatment. 

It is impossible to give any data on the cost of production of grain, in consequence 
of the * considerable variety in the level and the violent fluctuations in wages, which should 
apply to the whole of Siberia or even to its agricultural region only. The cost of separate 
operations and of the whole together, in the production of grain whether per dessiatine or 
per pond in different localities presents very wide variations. The figures below, showing the 
cost in some parts of agricultural Siberia of the more important operations in the raising 
of gi'ain, may give some idea thereof. 



Per dessiatine. 


Southern part ofTobolsk. 


Central 
Tomsk. 


Agricultu- 
ral parts of 
Irkutsk, 


Best 
localities. 


Worst 
localities. 


Roubles. 


Ploughing (once) 

Harrowing » 

Reaping i . . . . j 
Thrashing ) ''''•"'^'' <="''■ . . . , 1 


2.00 
1.20 
7.50 
4.50 


1.25 
0.75 
3.75 
2.00 


2.00 
1.00 
7.00 
4.00 


2.00 

1.00 

(i to 10 

4.00 



The entire cost of the cultivation of a dessiatine of land together with the harvest- 
ing of the crop and the cleansing of the grain is expressed for the same localities by the 
following figures: 

Fallow. Stubble. 

Best localities » 23 — 27 roubles 14 — 18 roubles 

> southern Tobolsk -, r ^n o n 

Worst » I 15 — 20 ;> 8— 9 » 

Central Tomsk 22 — 27 » 13 — 15 » 

Irkutsk 25 — 27 >> 14 » 



TENURE AND USE OF LAND. 105 

Thus 22 to 25 roubles per dessiatiue for spriug grain, sowu on fallow, and 12 to 15 roubles 
per dessiatine ou stubble field, are the approximate standards, around which the entire cost 
of the production of grain in agricultural Siberia fluctuates, and in particular in such parts 
of it where farming is carried on according to the rest-fallow system. In those localities of the To- 
bolsk government, where the passage has already been effected to farming with manure and a 
necessary three-field or two-field rotation of crops, the total cost of the operations per dessiatine 
is as follows: 

Three-field region with manuring of part of fallow 32 to 34 roubles^ 2 grain crops in 

» » » » » ;> whole » » 43 » ' rotation. 

» » » 19 to 20 » per crop. 

Before passing to the question of the yield, it is necessary to say a few words on the 
thickness of sowing. Here, as in what has preceded, it is impossible to cite any figures having 
an application to the whole of Siberia. The thickness of sowing per dessiatine in different 
localities varies as follows: 

For winter rye between . . . . 6 — 7 and 14 — 16 chetveriks. 
» spriug » » .... 5 — 7 » 1 1 — 12 » 

wheat » .... 6- 8 » 14-16 

» oats ^> » .... 12 — 16 » 23 — 32 » 

» barley » » .... 8-12 » 20-24 

But the lowest of these figures now are very rarely met with, namely only upon freshly 
cleared, very fertile lands. The highest refer exclusively to the northern border land of agri- 
culture, to localities with two-field farming, and also three-field with manuring of the whole 
of the fallow. In the case of the region of greatest development of agriculture the limits of 
variation are much narrower. The amount sown per dessiatine is ordinarily: 

Rye, winter and spring from 8 to 10 chetveriks. 

Wheat » 10 » 12 

Barley » 12 » 14 

Oats » 16 » 20 » 

The sowing is the thinner the more southern the locality; the better and fresher the 
soil, the earlier the given land is sown; it is, on the contrary, the thicker, the further to the 
north, the more the land is exhausted and the poorer in organic matter. A mistake in the 
thickness of the sowing threatens the farmer with very lamentable consequences. If the 
sowing has been carried out too thinly, the young plants are threatened with danger from 
weeds; if too thickly, with a rich soil and moist weather, the grain may easily over tiller 
and the ears fill badly. 

The extremely treacherous nature of the harvests, their violent fluctuations from very 
high figures to zero, form an important and characteristic feature of Siberian agricultural 
economy. An exception is only formed by the localities lying near the northern Umit of 
agriculture, those localities where the transition has already been accomplished to manuring and 
the three or two-field system. Thanks to the influence of manure and the treading of the fallow 



106 SIBERIA. 

field by cattle, and also to the favourable natural conditions, the absence of droughts and 
hailstorms et cetera, complete crop failures here hardly ever occur, and in general very bad 
harvests are rare. Xot often rising very high, the harvests ordinarily keep near the average 
standard, which is here very fair. In localities where part of the fallow field is manured the 
average yield of rye fluctuates between 70 and 80 pouds per dessiatine, only on the very 
worst fields falling to 60 pouds. The yields for oats and barley vary within about the same 
limits. Further to the iiorth where the whole fallow field is manured, rye gives on an average 
60, oats and barley, from 90 to 100 pouds per dessiatine. On the region of two-field farming 
the yields of rye also flactuate from 70 to 80 pouds, but spring crops give considerably more. 
Oats give on an average 110 to 120, barley 100 or 110 pouds per dessiatine. Thanks to 
such high yields the population of some localities of the Tobolsk government, lying near the 
very northernmost limit of husbandry, lives notwithstanding the insignificant extent of the 
arable land, on its own grain. 

Very different is the case in localities where the rest-system still prevails. The average 
figures of the productivity are here also fairly, and in some places, very satisfactory. Thus, 
the average figures of the harvests for wheat fluctuate in the above indicated wheat regions 
between 60 and 80 pouds, and only where wheat reaches its extreme northern limits, or 
encounters unfavourable conditions of soil, fall to 50, 40 pouds and lower. Winter rye in 
localities abounding in forest and having suitable soils, gives on an average also from 60 to 
80, sometimes even as much as 90 pouds per dessiatine, and only on the very worst soils 
does the average yield sink from 40 to 50 pouds. Such are also the limits of fluctuation and the 
average figure for the yield of spring rye in the localities where it is most grown. As for 
oats, two figures representing the average yield must be noted : when sown on fallow, and 
when sown on stubble fields. In the first case oats, even upon comparatively bad lands, yield 
on an average not less than 80 to 100 pouds per dessiatine. When the sowing is on stubble, 
even the best lands do not reach this average standard, while bad lands yield not more than 
40 to 50 pouds per dessiatine. Finally, barley in the region of the rest-system of farming is 
only sown on bad and exhausted lands, where it gives better crops than any other breadstuff. 
Where rye either does not grow at all, or yields some 30 to 40 pouds per dessiatine, barley 
with an average harvest gives 50 to 60 pouds. 

But the figures quoted are far from affording material for drawing true conclusions in 
reference to the economical position of the Siberian agriculturist. The extremely violent and 
wide fluctuations deprive these averages of almost all significance. The upper limits of these 
fluctuations are very high, 180, 200, 240 pouds of wheat, 180 to 200 pouds of rye, 200 to 
250 pouds of barley, 250 to 350 pouds of oats per dessiatine; such yields without irrigation 
or manuring have excited the wonder of travellers and created for Siberia the reputation of 
a country of fabulous fertility. But such harvests occur once in several dozen years, and 
then only upon the lands which are best in respect to conditions of climate and freshness. 
Of course, a much less yield, 100 or 120 pouds of wheat or rye, 150 to 180 pouds of oats, 
and so on is sufi"icient to enrich the argiculturist. Such harvests formerly happened 
pretty often, and it was they that created the prosperity of the Siberian peasant farmer. 
During the last decades there have been not seldom more or less complete crop failures. 



TENURE AND USE OF LAND. 107 

This is, be it remembered, true only as regards spring crops. The yields of winter rye in 
places suited to it never fall to zero; a complete failure only occurs on separate strips, 
and therefore bad harvests in the forest rye region, lying to the east of Tomsk, never place 
the population in such a difficult position, as in the region of spring crops, and particularly 
In the wheat steppes. Here occur complete failures, and very bad harvests not unfrequently 
follow each other three and four years running. 

The chief causes of the failure of the crops in these steppe localities are drought and the 
ko by Ik a, an insect belonging to the order of orthoptera, similar to the locust and applied to several 
species of grasshopper. In forest localities these causes yield place to the baneful conse- 
quences of unfavourable winters, which react destructively upon the winter crops, but these 
circumstances never here attain such a character as the droughts in the steppe localities. 
Not less essential causes of crop failures, operating equally in the forests and steppes, are 
the spring frosts and autumn hoar frosts, of which the former damage the sprouting grain 
the latter injure it when filling. According to the soil, situation and time of sowing, the hoar 
frosts and frosts sometimes destroy the grain without leaving anything, sometimes destroy or 
spoil only part of the crop. The influence of frosts is different in different localities. In some 
they injure the crops once in several years, in others, much more frequently. There are even 
spots, as to the north-east of Tomsk, where the spring crops freeze every year. Oats in such 
places are sown for straw and feed; the seeds are always brought from without. Further men- 
tion must be made of the fogs and especially of the appearance of microscopic fungi, such as 
smut and ergot. At times, continuous rains prevent the grain from ripening and hinder 
harvest operations; at others hail, laying the crop, are the cause of failure. 

It is stated above that in localities forming part of the zone where the rest-system 
is practised agriculture is, if not the only at any rate, an essential source of the peaple's pros- 
perity, and the sale of the surplus produce, the principal source of its money income. Such 
grain surplus finds a market in different directions. The wheat from the Altai, the steppe re- 
gions, and the southern part of the Tobolsk government, goes partly in a raw state, partly in 
meal, to the west, namely to European Russia. Nearly the whole of the surplus of oats is 
consumed by the great Siberian tract. The same traffic over the tract swallows up a consid- 
erable part of the grain produced in its neighbourhood. Lastly a large part of the grain 
surplus of the agricultural region contributes to the food supply of the population of the non- 
agricultural borderlands of Siberia, or is bought up by the gold mines for the needs of their 
miners. There still remains a large quantity which goes to the distilleries to be converted 
into spirits. All these outlets for the grain produce, in spite of their apparent variety, have one 
common feature, namely they all absorb the surplus from good harvests and do not return it 
when there is a crop failure. 

Siberia does not yet possess a properly organized local grain trade, capable of 
equalizing surplus and deficit according to good and bad seasons, and regularizing the 
prices of grain. Neither does there exist such a regulator of the fluctuations In harvests 
and prices according to locality. In consequence of the immensity of the distances in 
Siberia and the insufficiency of the ways of communication grain, grown in abundance 
for example, in the Yenisei and even Tomsk governments, cannot supply the deficit 



108 SIBERIA. 

in that of Tobolsk. The cost of carriage would be too great, and accordingly extreme want 
may be experienced in one government simultaneously with an extraordinary surplus in another. 
Add to this the complete absence of organized credit in Siberia, whether for general purposes 
■or in reference to grain, und the fact that the peasant makes his chief outlays in antumn 
when grain is cheap, while in years of scarcity he must buy it in spring when it Is dear, 
it follows that the peasant is obliged to throw the more grain on the market the cheaper it 
is, and to buy in proportion to its dearness. From all this results one more charateristic fea- 
ture of Siberian farming, the extraordinary want of fixity in the prices of grain, rising in 
times of scarcity higher than anywhere in European Russia, and falling in good years to 
an extremely low level. 

In the sketch made in the preceding pages of the position of agricultural production, 
original Siberia, or the four governments with the adjacent territories of Yakutsk and Trans- 
baikalia to the east, were mainly in view. Of the two last-named territories the former, as far 
as the beginnings of agriculture exist there, presents a complete agreement with the parts 
•of the Tobolsk government adjacent to the northern boundary of grain raising, Transbaikalia 
with insignificant differences resulting from its more steppe like character and better climate, 
approaches the conditions of the conterminous Irkutsk government. No special account is required 
of the conditions of agriculture in those districts of the territories of Akmolinsk and 
Semipalatinsk where grain is raised without artificial irrigation; they present complete accord- 
ance with the conditions obtaining in the wheat regions of the Siberian governments, with 
but one difference, that the lands are here fresher, and therefore their yield is higher and 
crop failures occur more seldom. 

To complete the picture of agriculture it is howevej- necessary to add a few words 
on its position in localities where it is placed in conditions absolutely different from those 
described above, in the Zaisan district of the Semipalatinsk territory and in Semirechia, as 
well as in the Amour-Ussuri region. 

Alike in the Zaisan district and Semirechia, agriculture, as was indicated above, is 
only possible with artificial irrigation. The fields are here intersected by great irrigating 
ditches, a r y k s, from which when ploughing, little runlets are led in all directions by the 
s k h a, thus distributing the moisture equally over the whole field. In the Zaisan district 
the irrigated fields are sometimes also manured, and the water is let on first before ploughing, 
and then, during the growth of the plant, according to the weather, from twice to four times 
more. As a rule the crops are watered first thirty days after sowing, again fifteen days 
later, and a third time after the lapse of forty days more. After eight crops the field requires 
either a three years rest or manuring. During the whole eight years however it is sown with 
one and the same kind of grain, wheat, rye, millet or oats. An alternation of crops, and 
even a mere change to another kind of grain, are not practised here, because the seed, falling 
during the operation of harvesting, springs up and would only spoil the next crop. In the 
Semirechensk territory, the irrigated land in consequence of the hot climate yields two crops 
a year; the winter field sown with wheat and barley ripens at the end of May, and when 
harvested is sown with a second crop mash, a small pea, millet or carrot, more rarely 
kunzhut, poppy or lentil. The second crops ripen and are removed in the autumn of the 



TENURE AND USE OF LAND. 109 

same year. Then the Held is sown for tlie next spring with spring plants, mainly rice and 
sorghum, and also in small quantities, cotton and lucerne. The harvests in the irrigated lands 
both of Semipalatinsk and Semirechensk produce very heavy yields, and crop failure are 
unknown. The grain raised on the irrigated lands not only suffices for the uses of the farmers, 
hut a portion of it goes for sale to China and the nearest Kirghiz nomads. 

In the Amour territory a strict distinction must be made between the farming of the 
Russian population, peasant and Cossack, and that of the natives, Coreans and Manchurians. 
The Russians practise an extremely extensive system of farming, the newly cleared arable 
land is ploughed over several times during a whole year, and is then annually sown with 
grain without fallow or manure until it is completely exhausted. The best clayey soils thus 
are made to yield as many as fifteen crops, one after another, poor soils not more than seven 
or eight. During the first years after the clearing, wheat or spring rye is sown, next a passage is 
made to oats, and then for a year or two, buckwheat. After the last, a crop which somewhat 
reestablishes the fertility of the soil, they again sow wheat or spring rye, followed by oats, 
until the latter ceases to produce satisfactory crops. Fields once abandoned are very seldom 
ploughed up afresh, although they might after a rest yield very fair crops. It is the custom to 
break up, almost exclusively, fresh hitherto untouched lands, of which up till now, on account 
of the recent settlement of the country, there is no lack. The yields of grain are in a quanti- 
tative respect very high, but the quality of the Amour grain is far from satisfactory. The 
excess of moisture prevents the regular ripening of the grain, which is dark, of light weight 
and of low nutritive value. 

The same character on the whole attaches to Russian agriculture in the , Ussuri region 
except that in order to avoid soaking, sowing is here carried on in rows in the form of 
small ridges, the furrows remaining between them serving as drains and for ventilation. 

As far as concerns the Coreans and Manchurians living in Amouria their farming, in 
opposition to the Russian, is distinguished by great intensiveness. The size of the cultivated 
plots is not great, but on the other hand the fields are most carefully tilled, the sowing is 
in rows by hand or machine; the young plants are weeded several times during the summer, so 
that weeds are hardly to be seen on the fields of the Coreans and Manchurians. while they 
are such a dangerous enemy of the crops of the Russian population. The chief crop among 
the Coreans and Manchurians is b u d a (setaria Italica); next follow various other cereals and 
garden plants; buda is also their chief food. An expenditure of eighteen to twenty pounds of 
seed on a dessiatine gives one hundred and fifty to two hundred ponds or more, so that the 
yield of one dessiatine provides a whole family for a year, or a year and a half. 

Having finished the description of the principal systems of agriculture existing in Si- 
beria, it is necessary to proceed to the consideration of the statistics of its present position. 
<.The Chernoziom constitutes)), says Brehm < the true gold of Siberia)). And in fact agriculture 
is now the chief and safest occupation of the settled Siberian, and in it consists the whole 
future of the country. It may be assumed that from the whole teiTitory of Siberia there is, 
on an average, harvested about 160,000,000 pouds of various grains, of which approximately 
20 per cent fall to Tobolsk and Tomsk, as the most densely populated, 12 to 15 per cent to 
Yeniseisk and Irkutsk and Semirechia, 3 to 5 per cent to each of the territories of Semi- 



110 SIBERIA. 

palatinsk, Akmolinsk and Transbaikalia. The remainder is divided between Yakutsk, the Lit- 
toral and the Amour territories. As regards the two latter territories and certain localities of 
steppe regions it must be observed that, thanks to successful colonization, the agricultural 
productivity of these localities has latterly grown extraordinarily rapidly, and that there is no 
doubt but that In the near future they will occupy a very prominent place in the ranks of grain 
producing countries. Turning to the kind of grain cultivated in Siberia, it must be observed 
that about 60 per cent of the whole production consists of spring wheat and oats, about 20 
per cent winter rye, while the remaining 20 per cent represents all other kinds of gi'ain. 

The instability of the prices is the most striking feature, as also the uncertainty of 
the harvests, in the wheat area, and this is particularly the case in the southern part of the 
Tobolsk government. The average prices for this locality are as follows: 

Rye in kernel . . . .20 — 25 kopecks per poud 

Wheat 50 — 60 » » » 

Oats 1.20 — 1.30 roubles per chetvert 

or 20 — 22 kopecks per poud 

The minimum price to which rye has fallen during the last 20 years was 8 to 10 kopecks a 
poud; the maximum limit, in 1870, 80 kopecks to 1,20 roubles; in 1884, 1.50 roubles, and 1892, 
over 2 roubles per poud. The rapid change of prices may be seen for example from the fact that 
between the autumn of 1887 and that of 1888 the price of rye in the southern part of 
Tobolsk enhanced almost iivefold, namely from 12 to 15 kopecks to 60 to 70 kopecks per poud. 
In localities situated to the east of Tomsk, which sow for the most part rye, the fluctuations of 
grain prices, as also those of the harvests, are somewhat less severe. The average grain 
prices rise in moving from west to east. Thus, in the north-eastern part of the government 
of Tomsk the prices during a twenty-five years period were as follows: 

R,ye flour. ... 48 kopecks per poud 
Wheat flour. . . 76 » » » 
Oats 41 »- » » 

In the Irkutsk government the standard average prices for the last seven years were: 

Rye flour about 1. 20 roubles per poud 

Wheat ^ 1. 90 » » » 

Oats 1. 10 >•> » » 

The fluctuations for the Tomsk market during the last twenty-five years fall between the 

following limits: 

Maximum. Minimum. Ratio of max. to miu. 

Rye flour . . . 1. 45 roubles 23 kopecks 6. 3 

Wheat » ... 1. 80 » 30 » 6. 

Oats 1. 10 » 17 » 6. 5 



TENURE AND USE OF LAND. 



Ill 



Thus, the fluctuations in the prices of grain in the Tomsk government although considerable 
are far from reaching the intensity attained by the fluctuations in the wheat localities of 
the Tobolsk government. In the agricultural governments of Eastern Siberia the fluctuations in 
prices exhibit approximately the same character. In such localities of the Tobolsk govern- 
ment, where farming with the application of manure has already become established, the 
prices and harvests are distinguished by great stability, which naturally has a very good 
influence upon the prosperity of the population. Thus, at the extreme northern boundary of 
agricultural operations in the Tobolsk government the prices for grain during the last ten 
years were : 

Maximum. Minimum. Average. 
Per poud of rye flour. . . . 1.30 roubles 55 k. 80 k. 

» » » oats 1.00 » 40 k. 55 k. 

Thus the maximum price exceeds here the minimum 2' ,'2 times. Independently of the 
fluctuating movement, the prices of grain in all the agricultural localities of Siberia have 
further a tendency to rise, which is explained among other causes by the expansion of the 
sale of Siberian grain for distilling and export to European Russia. The prices of the 
Tomsk market may give a perfectly clear idea of this rise. These prices, during a twenty 
years period, taken for each five years, give the following increasing series: 



Years: 


Average price per poud. | 


Rye flour. 


Wheat flour. Oats. 


Five years 1870 — 1874 

1875 — 1879 

» » 1880 — 1884 

.> » 1885 — 1889 


31 k. 

32 » 

58 » 
60 » 


66 k. 

54 » 

86 » 
88 » 


33 k. 

34 » 

43 » 

44 » 



In proportion to the progress made by the works on the Siberian railway, the rise in 
the prices for grain in the agricultural regions will doubtless proceed still faster. 



Live Stock Industry. 



Cattle raising in the localities containing the main mass of the Siberian population, 
that is, in the whole agricultural tract of Siberia, plays only a secondary part in the eco- 
nomical life of the population. Its dimensions and relative importance change in dependence 
mainly upon the relation between the quantity and quality of arable lands, on the one hand, 
and of the lands adapted to the purpose, namely meadows and pastures, on the other. Siberia 
is on the whole very rich both in meadows and pastures, although the low nutritive value of 
forest herbage makes it necessary in the gi-eater part of Siberia to expend much more hay 
and grazing space upon rearing cattle than is required under similar circumstances in European 
Russia. Siberia nevertheless is capable of sustaining much more cattle than it does at 



] 1 2 SIBERIA. 

piesent. But as the main mass of peasant labour is expended upon agriculture, cattle 
breeding actually attains large dimensions only where there exsists, on the one hand, an abund- 
ance of meadows and pastures, and on the other hand, the lack of arable land liberates in 
summer time the greater part of the working capacity of the peasantry, and where at the 
same time the bad quality of the ploughed land forces the peasants to seek some supplement- 
ary source of existence. Thus, in the Tobolsk government cattle raising is especially devel- 
oped in the steppe localities of the Tiukalinsk district, in the Tomsk government, in the steppes 
of the Kainsk district and in the Chulym part of the Tomsk district, all of them being localities 
where agriculture is placed in comparatively bad conditions. But in these places even the 
importance of cattle breeding can nowhere be placed above that of agriculture. The latter 
still yields the main support of existence, it feeds the population, while cattle breeding only 
serves to satisfy its comparatively secondary necessities, and to make good those deficits 
which appear in the peasant economy in consequence of bad harvests. 

The extent of live stock breeding is very various both for whole localities and for in- 
dividual homesteads. There are well to do farmers who have from 10 to 15 farm horses, 25 
to 30 head of large-horned cattle, 40 to 50 sheep. There are again wealthy men who have 
40 to 50 horses and a hundred or more head of cattle. Finally, some men are so poor 
that they possess either no live stock at all, or only one horse or a cow. Turning then to 
averages it appears that there are volosts where the household, leaving out of account young 
animals, owns 5 or 6 farm horses, 5 to 6 cows, and 15 to 20 sheep. Others again on an 
average per household have not more than two horses, one cow and 3 or 4 sheep, or even less. 
Summing up for the whole agricultural tract of Siberia, the standard allowance of live stock 
per household may be taken at 3 to 4 working horses, 2 to 3 milch cows, with the corres- 
ponding number of young cattle, and 6 to 8 sheep. 

Horses in the agricultural tract of Siberia are kept mainly for farm work, but in 
many localities besides this for the conveyance of goods. Upon the tract a considerable part 
of the horses are kept specially for the passenger traffic, the post et cetera. The Siberian horse 
is on the whole small, is easily satisfied as regards food and water, and supports alike heat 
and cold. He is fast but not strong, so that the normal load of the ordinary peasant horse 
on a good road does not exceed 20 to 25 pouds. Only the better sort of dray horses draw 
28 to 30 pouds and for short distances, 35 pouds. The types of horses in different localities of 
Siberia are not uniform. Thus, in the southern steppe portion of the Tobolsk government 
the horses are a cross with the steppe or Kirghiz strain, and are distinguished by extraor- 
dinary speed and staying powers. In the region around Tomsk the horses are somewhat 
bigger and do not possess the speed of the steppe or Kirghiz breed, but are on the other 
hand, very good for heavy draught and farm work, for which the Tomsk horses are famous and 
fetch a high price over all Eastern Siberia and Amouria. The Transbaikal horse on the other 
hand, is short and thin and is not distinguished either by its pace or capacity for draught. 
The prices of horses are everywhere subject to wide fluctuations. In the steppe districts 
of the Tobolsk government and in the localities of the Tomsk government remote from the 
tract, the average peasant horse is not worth more than 12 to 15 roubles. In the northern 
districts of the Tobolsk government and in the tract localities of that of Tomsk, it fetches 



LIVE STOCK INDUSTRY. 



113 



20 to 25 roubles. A horse lit for post service costs in either government 50 to 60 roubles. 
In Eastern Siberia horses are considerably dearer; in the Irkutsk government the average 
price of a working horse is not less than 35 to 40 roubles; on the Amour a small Transbai- 
kal horse fetches from 50 to 80, and a Tomsk horse, 100 to 150 roubles. 

The homed cattle over all Siberia belong to the ordinary Russian breed. They are small; 
a full-grown cow has a carcass weighing 57^ to 7 pouds, rather lean and gives little milk. In 
summer, on usual feed, a cow gives about V^ to ^js vedro, and only when fed on oil cake, 
from V2 to ^'8 of a vedro. In winter, the yield is much less and does not on an average 
exceed Vs vedro a day. Most of the milk obtained from the cows, as well as such products 
as curds and buttermilk, are used by the peasants at home, and only localities near the 
towns sell their milk. On the contrary, hutter forming an important article of Siberian export 
is sold from every household possessing more than one or two cows. Here too the hutter does 
not all go to market; the greater part is consumed hy the peasants, only the surplus being 
offered for sale. The quantity sold therefore depends not only on the number of cows, but on the 
composition of the family. Taking the average family as containing 5 to 6 members, it can with two 
to three cows, in the localities most favourable to cattle raising in the agricultural zone, sell 
not moie than 10 to 15 pounds per cow; with 5 to 7 cows, 25 to 30 pounds; with 8 to 10 cows, 
a poud for each milch cow or somewhat more. The butter is made from sour cream. It is not sold 
in the fresh state hut salted down and kept till certain dates, occurring once or twice in the year, 
when it is bought up by factors who supply it to large merchants who melt it down and clarify it. 

The sale of milk and dairy produce has a prime importance for the peasant only in a few 
localities, principally in the neighbourhood of towns or in the steppes. For the most part horned 
cattle are kept for slaughter. The meat is consumed mostly by the peasants themselves, only a 
small quantity being sold in the towns; the tallow and hides are as a rule sold; they go from 
Western Siberian to European Russia, while a considerable proportion of the h-des from Eastern 
Siberia, of which come from Transbaikalia alone 150,000 skins a year, is used to cover tea boxes. 

Dairy farming, and even so very badly organized, is carried on only by peasants in 
the neighbourhood of the more important towns, Tomsk, Irkutsk, and a few others. Perhaps 
the most important source of revenue from cattle is the sale of the live beasts, the more 
well to do peasants selling them at a later age than their poorer brethren. The cattle are 
bought up by a special class of traders, who slaughter them and either sell the produce in 
the towns or export the same to European Russia. 

The average prices for cattle for some parts of Siberia appear In the following table. 



Regions. 



I 



Southern part of Tobolsk gov. . . . . 
Middle » » » » . . . . 

Tomsk gov. near capital and on the tract 

Remote parts of Tomsk gov 

Irkutsk government 



Cows. 



Bullocks, Bullocks, 
3 yrs. l*/2 FS- 



R u 



9 — 12 
10 — 12 
12-15 
10—12 
25 — 30 



6— 8 

7- 9 



3- 4 

4- 5 

5- 7 
4— 5 
5 — 10 



] 14 SIBERIA. 

Cattle, like horses, become dearer the further east. At the same time the prices are 
subject to extremely sharp fluctuations in dependence upon the harvest and the cattle plague. 
When there is a had harvest the poor farmer sells his cattle to make up the deficit in his 
commissariat. On the approach of an epidemic all try to sell their cattle, prefenlng to do so 
even for a song than to risk the plague. In both cases a quantity of cattle is thrown upon 
the market, and the prices fall to almost half, in order to rise more or less considerably 
after the first good harvest, or after the subsidence of the plague. 

The sheep bred in agricultural Siberia belong for the most part to a very bad breed. 
They yield little meat; a three-year old sheep gives a carcass of 30 to 40 pounds, very 
little tallow, and wool of inferior quality and of small quantity, namely from 25 to 40 pounds 
per ten sheep. The produce of sheep farming is almost entirely consumed by the peas- 
ant at home. The best breeds of sheep are raised, on the one hand, on the southern border- 
lands of the governments of Tobolsk and Tomsk, adjacent to the Kirghiz steppe, and on the 
other, in the Minusinsk region and in Transbaikalia. In the former a considerable part of the 
sheep belong to the Kirghiz Kurdiuk or fat-tailed breed, kept for its tallow; a yearling 
yields 20 pounds, a three-year old, a pond or more; in the latter place a degenerated race of 
merinos is bred chiefly for its wool. 

Cattle breeding, although as already remarked only a secondary source of the prosperity 
of agricultural Siberia, affords an essential help in bad years. A terrible calamity for the 
people, hardly less so than a bad harvest, is the plague, whether the Siberian or c h u m a. Both 
forms of disease are particularly destinctive in the Barabinsk steppe and the localities adjacent 
to the Kirghiz steppe, which are the chief foci of the Siberian plague for the whole of 
Western Siberia. The propagation of epizootic diseases is here facilitated by the careless 
treatment of the cattle, although they are on the whole very well fed. The standard feed in 
the majority of places in agricultural Siberia is 150 to 200 and more pouds of hay per work- 
ing horse with an addition of 10 to 15 pouds of oats, 50 to 100 pouds of hay with a cor- 
responding quantity of straw per cow, and 25 pouds of hay per sheep. 

For the Kirghiz of the steppe regions and in part for the Trausbaikal Bu- 
riats, cattle raising is no longer a secondary but the chief source of livelihood. In the 
steppes, horses and sheep are the principal live stock, there being but few cattle. The horses 
are bred for transport and for food in the form of meat and k u m y s, and for sale to the 
neighbouring settled population, sheep for slaughter for their meat and tallow, of which the 
steppe variety produces a large quantity. The surplus flocks are sold alive to cattle drivers 
who take them to the tallow works, where they are slaughtered. The Kirghiz also keep cam- 
els which they employ in summer as beasts of burden and in winter harness to common 
peasant sledges. 

The Kirghiz scarcely prei)are any hay for winter, but leave the cattle to wander over 
the snow-clad stcpiic and pick up whatever food they can. When the snow is soft and does 
not lie thick, large cattle easily dig down to tin; dry herbage, and are then followed by 
the sheep. But when the first snows are succeeiled by rain and then by frosts, and the ground 
is covered with a crust of hard ice, a conse(iuence of such a glazed frost is a lack of fodiler 
during the continuance of which tens and hundreds of thousands of large and especially small 



LIVE STOCK INDUSTKY. 115 

cattle perish. No small number also perish from blizzards or burans, lasting in the 
steppes several days in succession. Herds of horses and flocks of sheep caught by the storm 
are unable to stand against the force of the wind. Driven in the direction taken by the bliz- 
zard they fall into gullies and ravines covered up with snow and there perish in masses. 

In the northern uncultivated borderland of Siberia the wandering native population 
keep reindeer and harness dogs. The former are indispensable companions of the wandering 
native. The extreme indifference in the matter of food allows of their being kept in places 
where no other domestic animals could live, and their services to man are most various. As 
long as the reindeer is alive he is a beast of draught; killed, his flesh goes as food, his skin 
furnishes warm clothing, and his sinews yield thread. 



-^<^- 



llg SIBERIA. 



CHAPTER VIII. 
The forest wealth of Siberia. 

The area occupied by forest; the division of the forests into zones; the northern zone of tall 
conifers and its hound aries; the prevailing kinds of trees; the hirch zone and its limits; the 
importance of this zone for the agriculture and economy of the inhabitants; the zone of mountain 
forests and its significance; causes serving as an obstacle to the introduction of forestry into Si- 
beria; measures of the Government for the regulating of the forests of Western Siberia; 
establishment of a Forest Administration: results attained in a short time; the position 
of forest husbandry in Eastern Siberia; measures for ascertaining Crown forests in 

the Amour region. 



SIBERIA belongs to the number of countries abounding in forests. In Western Siberia alone 
the area of forests belonging to the Crown is estimated at 110,000,000 dessiatines. In 
Eastern Siberia the area so occupied is considerably greater, but is there not exactly ascer- 
tained. The Littoral Amour region is also rich in forest consisting of very various and 
valuable species. 

The vast forest resources are however distributed unequally over the extensive terri- 
tory of Siberia. The greatest expanse of forest is situated in its northern part, and it is al- 
most entirely absent in the south. According to the density of its tree covering, the whole 
of Siberia may be divided into three zones, of which each is distinguished by characteristic 
features and situated in a direction from west to east. 

Northern tall tree Forests. 

The zone of the northern tall-stemmed woodlands stretches uninterruptedly through 
all Siberia from the Ural to the eastern shores of Kamchatka. This is the zone of the Sibe- 
rian u r m a n s and taigas. To the north it borders on the tundras which is the limit of 
the growth of the larger vegetation. The southern side of this forest zone is determined by 
the line of the greatest development of corn raising and settled life. Beginning with the Tu- 
rinsk district it passes through the northern part of that of Tobolsk and abruptly rises along 
the right bank of the Irtysh to the river Tara, embracing the northern parts of the districts 
of Kainsk, Tomsk and Mariinsk, thence passes through the whole of Eastern Siberia almost 
parallel to the main Siberian tract, and in the Transbaikal teiTitory becomes confounded 
with the southern zone of the mountain forests upon the Stanovoi or Yablonovi range. These 
forest expanses are interrupted only by large marshes and impassable bogs wherefore many 
parts of this immense northern taiga have an undisputed right to be called virgin soil, as so 
far they have not been penetrated by the most fearless trapper. These localities, inaccessible 
to man, will yet long be subject to only the elemental forces of nature. 



FOEEST WEALTH. 117 

The prevailing arboreal forms In this zone are the conifers, the pine, larch, pitch piue, 
fir and so-called cedar. A complete enumeration of all the species of trees occurring in the 
Siberian flora with their systematic names has been made already in Chapter II, on the Geo- 
gxaphy of Siberia. In forestry it is not trees that grow solitarily but those that grow in great 
masses that are of importance. The deciduous trees possess in this zone an insignificant import- 
ance; the swamps show an occasional admixture of aspen and willow, and birch occurs on 
the skirts of the taiga. In Western Siberia, chiefly in the urmans of Tarsk, Tobolsk and Tu- 
rinsk, a lime-tree is met with in the form of underwood, which supplies bark and bast which 
serve as a source of income to the local population. 

The northern forest zone occupies all those regions of Siberia where agriculture is 
impossible from the deficient quantity of heat during the five months vegetative period. The 
fixed population in this zone is insignificant and grain raising is met with sporadically, here 
and there, in small patches on its southern border. The' forest reaches of this vast zone have 
up to the present time been abandoned exclusively to the forces of nature and cannot present 
a pleasant spectacle to civilized man, but preserve within themselves an inexhaustible 
supply of splendid building material. There are many localities where for tens and hundreds 
of versts in every direction stand clean plantations of pine, which with their interlaced sum- 
mits hide the sky. The absolutely naked trunks rising perfectly straight to an enormous height 
are so monotonous, that a man who once chances into such a part of the Siberian taiga, or 
even a wild beast, cannot find his way out again. Experienced native trappers are afraid to 
penetrate into these, in their opinion, enchanted spots, and they record every step they take by 
scoring the trees. Access to such places is difficult, and the timber contained in them is so far 
without value, but with the growth of the population, the improvement of the roads and the 
destruction of the forests in the inhabited parts, means will be found to make use of the now 
remote forest resources. They form indeed the wealth of the future and are merely awaiting 
their turn. The scourge of the forests of this zone at the present time is only the forest fires, 
not unfrequently devastating hundreds of versts. The burned timber is however rapidly replaced 
by young underwood growing up under the influence of natural selection. It must be 
observed however that the southern limit of the zone of high-trunked trees is gr'adually retreat- 
ing to the north, yielding place to the raising of grain. 



Birch forest zone. 

The zone of birch forest covers the whole low lying or so-called steppe portion of 
Siberia. This area is occupied by a settled population and nearly coincides with the so-called 
cultivated or agricultural zone of Siberia. The principal, it may almost be said, the only forest 
growth of this zone is the birch with a slight admixture of aspen and t a 1 (salix) upon the 
damper spots and along the banks of the rivers. Coniferous trees are entirely absent. Merely 
a few plantations of these species occur on the outskirts of the birch zone, namely those of 
Borovliansk and Yelets-Ikovsk on the left bank of the Tobol, and Pavlodarsk and Semipala- 
tinsk upon the right bank of the Irtysh. The two latter estates are outside the birch zone. 



113 SIBERIA. 

The birch thrives on a chernoziom soil and therefore this zone is the most populated 
and particularly characteristic of Western Siberia, between the middle course of the Tobol 
and the upper waters of the Obi. This space embraces the so-called steppes of Ishimsk, Akmo- 
linsk, Kurudzhinsk, and Barabinsk. Although it is usual to understand by the word steppe an 
absolutely treeless space, in Siberia with the exception of the whole Kirghiz steppe region, 
which also produces over large areas shrubs used as fuel in the mining works, all the remain- 
ing plains are covered more or less thickly with birch patches or spinnies, in local language 
k 1 k s, giving the locality a very peculiar appearance. These birch copses, mingling when 
viewed at a distance, produce the effect of an unbroken forest. Traversing hundreds and thous- 
ands of versts by the Western Siberian tract, the traveller sees everywhere on the horizon 
as it were uninterrupted forests. Where here and there these birch spinnies are absent, it 
is in the majority of cases due to their destruction by the axe and fire and the subsequent 
pasturing of cattle. Thus the nomad population of the Akmolinsk territory with its numerous 
herds is gradually thrusting back towards the north the line of forest vegetation in the steppes, 
on which account the barren desert is ever advancing more and more from the south. 
The care of preserving these groves in the steppes should be one of the chief duties of the 
local authorities, especially now that a railway is being carried through this locality. The 
distribution of birch patches over the steppe surface may for the most part be called ideal, 
constituting precisely that combination of wood, arable land and pasture which is everywhere 
and at all times desirable in the interests of agriculture. Thanks alone to this happy dispo- 
sition of the forests in this part of Siberia, notwithstanding the not wholly favourable atmos- 
pheric conditions and the mediocre soil, crops and grass thrive well. The population of this 
zone would not know bad harvests, were it not that the grasshopper, always laying its eggs 
in the treeless Kirghiz steppe, creeps thence into the rich crops of the cultivated fields. In 
this the most densely inhabited zone the birch furnishes the peasant with everything, timber 
and fuel and wood for every purpose. All the huts and farm buildings in the villages are made 
of it, even the roofs are of birch bark. Birch is the exclusive fuel in towns and settlements 
as in works, and furnishes the sole material for all farming implements. The consumption is 
enormous, and the birch spinnies are melting away like spring snow. This zone is now being 
cut through by the chief artery of the railway, which will call forth a still greater consump- 
tion of birch fuel. 

The predominance of the birch in the middle low lying cultivated zone is manifested 
over the whole extent of Siberia from the Obi to the east. Here the birch zone continues 
however with some interruptions caused by the contour of the locality. It shows a more char- 
acteristic appearance in the Achinsk district and in Transbaikalia. 



Mountain Woodlands. 

The zone of mountain forests embraces the whole of Siberia from the south. P^romSemi- 
rechia to Vladivostok lies an almost uninterrupted chain of mountains, under various names, 
Thian-Shan, the two Alatau, Tarbagatai, Altai, Sayan, Stanovoi range, Yablonovy, and 



FOREST WEALTH. ] ] 

others. The northern slopes of these mountains are almost everywhere covered with forest. 
Here the forest vegetation is very various, hut conifers prevail, such as the larch, pitchpine, 
pine, cedar. They yield a timber of excellent quality, but the exploitation of mountain 
forest presents great difficulties. Such plantations are remote from inhabited spots, the felling 
of the timber upon the steep slopes is accompanied with no small risk. Not seldom the trees 
grow upon cones with such abrupt sides that the felled tree falls down below and is broken 
into shivers, damaging at the same time all the small saplings it meets with on its way. 
The rivers in the mountainous places are full of rapids and do not permit of raftage. In the 
territories of Seraipalatinsk and Semirechensk the Kirghiz transport logs from the defiles upon 
camels. The mountain forests have an extremely great importance in the economy of the 
country. Independently of the fact that with the carrying through of the railway there will 
appear private initiative in the exploitation of the forest wealth, the forests covering the 
steep siiles of the mountains serve as a mighty regulator of the flushing of rivers and of 
the humidity of the atmosphere. Hence the proper management of the mountain forests and 
their defense from destruction constitute a pressing need of Siberia. 

The forest areas of Siberia which have brought in, and in many places even where they 
do not bring in any revenue to the Crown, were for a long time free from any surveillance. Even 
now there is a direction in the law to the effect that «the inhabitants of Siberia are allowed the 
free use of the forests for all their needs and for the construction of vessels, without payment (Art. 
411, Forest Code, ed. 1876). The law regarding the Siberian forests as a <^gift of God», 
according to the expression of the peasants, or as a free gift like air and water, it was not 
to be expected that the local population should take any trouble to preserve them; the heap- 
ing up of windfalls, frequent fires, unsystematic felling, the pasturing of cattle upon the 
nearest clearings, have brought the majority of timber estates to a chaotic condition, while 
in the more inhabited parts of Siberia even a lack of forest has made itself felt. 

From the beginning of the sixties the Government began to trouble itself about the 
introduction of some order into the use of the timber of Western Siberia. In 1863 in the 
governments of Tomsk and Tobolsk, and in the territories of Akmolinsk and Semirechensk, 
temporary regulations were introduced establishing a tax per stump and sagene for the use 
of wood. The preservation of the forests in Western Siberia was imposed by the said rules 
exclusively upon the rural population, allowing them in return the right of free use for their 
own needs, but not for sale. The looking after the fulfilment of the rules was imposed upon 
the volost administrations. This measure however did not bring the expected advantage. The 
population was burdened with a natural service, timber was cut for the works and towns, but 
the Crown received nothing. Nor was this all, in 1869 a law was promulgated, granting a 
certain company the unlimited right of making use of Siberian timber for industrial purposes. 
This company was permitted to cut timber free on the banks of the Obi and Yenisei and 
their tributaries for the building of ships and the export of lumber. (Art. 412, Forest 
Code, ed. 1876). Apparently this company made a generous use of the right granted it, as 
timber trees have almost entirely disappeared from the shores of these chief rivers of Siberia. 
It must however be remarked that the term of the priveleges, granted the company, has 
expired. 



120 



SIBEKIA. 



With a view to the proper administration of the forests of Western Siberia since the 
year 1884 it has been placed upon the same footing as that by which the CroA^Ti forests of 
European Russia are managed, a paid forest guard being introduced. The peasants are required 
to look after the forest placed at their disposal. In the course of its eight years existence, 
the Administration has effected not a little for the organization of the Crown forests of 
Western Siberia. The timber estates have been ascertained and described, every year only 
that part is appointed to be cut which is permissible according to the conditions of each 
estate; the dues have been regulated, control over the raftage of the timber has been 
established, as well as over the conveyance of it to the steaoi^r wharves and the works 
and manufactories. By means of such measures, without any hardening of the local ru- 
ral population, which as before enjoys the timber for its own domestic uses free, 
it has been found possible to bring the revenue of the Crown from its pi-operty 
in Western Siberia to 500,000 roubles a year. This figure, considerable for the present 
time with the existing very low prices for wood, cannot give even an approximate idea of 
that enormous revenue which the forest resources of Siberia promise in the near future, when 
the railway now being carried through the country increases the consumption of wood from 
the northern timber zone, and when in the south a regular sale of the same is organized to 
the conterminous and absolutely treeless regions of the Chinese Empire. 

In Eastern Siberia all the inhabitants are allowed, as before, free use of the State 
forests for all their needs, and all forest control is entirely absent. To the present time only 
one forest estate has been declared exclusively belonging to the Crown, and this only in 
consequeuce of a petition of the Irkutsk Hunting Company, vvho took upon itself the pres- 
ervation of this estate. The law, although it requires that payment for the benefit of the 
Crown should be exacted for all wood received from the free Government forests by the 
various works, and this payment be determined by the quantity of wood consumed by the 
works, yet as the superintendence of this is imposed upon the Crown courts and the local 
authorities (Art. 415 Forest Code, ed. 1876) the amount of revenue obtained is extremely 
insignificant. According to the returns furnished by the Irkutsk and Yeniseisk Crown 
Courts, the revenue received from the sale of timber and the fines for the breach of the 
forest code were as in the following table. 



Governments: 


1889. 1890. 1891. | 


Roubles. 


Irkutsk 


3,550 
2,327 


5,812 
2,421 


3,543 
2,375 


Yeniseisk 



At the present time in consequence of the increase of the population and of the activity 
of the works, and also of the contemplated building of the Siberian Railway and the settlement 
and industrial development of the adjacent localities expected to ensue therefrom, the adoption 
of measures for the protection of the most important forests of Eastern Siberia is recognized 



FOREST WEALTH. 121 

to brook no delay. The Miuistry of Crowu Domaius is now despatching a party of forest 
officials to carry out the law of removing the best and most important Crown forests 
from the free use of the inhabitants, and of their preservation for future time by means of 
the formation of closed forest estates, and also for the protection of the State forests attached 
to various industries, works and manufactories. 

In the Amour country, steps have been taken since 1888 towards ascertaining the 
Crowu forests and the setting aside of the best of them as closed estates, but the results of 
the efforts of the forest officials sent into this country have not yet been made clear, the 
dues on the sale of timber are not yet established and the State so far receives no revenues 
from its vast property iu this part of Siberia. 



— ^<S>- 



CHAPTER IX. 
The Industries of the rural population. 

Industrial earnings; fishing and hunting; the gathering of cedar nuts; bee keeping; the 
hewing of timber and wood fuel; kustar industries; the carrying trade; concluding remarks. 



AFTER the sketch of agriculture, cattle raising and forestry presented in the preceding 
account, which constitute the chief sources of the prosperity of the mass of the Siberian 
population, there remains now to pass to a survey of the other and secondary sources. In 
consequence of their merely auxiliary importance it is only possible to set apart a much less 
space than was necessary to devote to agriculture, so that the pages here following will form 
not so much a description as a short survey, a catalogue raisonne of those industries in 
which the Siberian people are occupied. 

Most prominent on account of the number of hands employed must be placed the 
fishing and hunting industries. 

The Internal waters of Siberia, both the large rivers and the greater part of the steppe 
lakes, were once very rich in fish. In the lakes there chiefly bred perch, crucian carp, pike, 
dace and such coarse fish; in the rivers, the most various species of white and red fish, 
beginning with the same perch and pike and ending with n e 1 m a, sturgeon, sterlet, eel pout, 
trout. The abundance of fish was fabulous. There exist credible evidence of a mass of fish, 
which completely filled the bed of the river from its bottom to its surface, and which even 
leaped into the windows of passing steamers. At the present time the supplies of fish in the 
Siberian waters have become considerably exhausted. In the limits of the purely agricultural zone 
thickly populated with Russians, fishing already almost exclusively serves the wants of the 
population along the banks for their own consumption, and in but few localities provides 
them with more important earnings. Fisheries are now principally concentrated in the lower 
I'eaches of the great Siberian rivers, outside the limits of the cultivated zone. Thus in West- 
ern Siberia there are the districts of Berezovsk, Surgutsk and Tobolsk, and the Narymsk 
country; in Eastern Siberia, the lower waters of the Yenisei, the Yakutsk territory, Kam- 
chatka, et cetera. The fisheries in these parts are partly without owners, partly belong to the 
bank population consisting of peasants or natives. The grounds belonging to the peasants 
are for the most part exploited by themselves individually or on the artel principle. On the 
contrary, the natives work but insignificant portions of the immense fisheries which actually 
belong to them. The remainder they let, as a I'ule for a mere trifle, to the neighbouring 



RUKAL INDUSTRIES. 123 

peasants, or, in the majority of cases, to capitalists who conduct the industry on commercial 
principles with the assistance of numerous parties of hired labourers. 

The catching of iish is carried both summer and winter, the most various means being 
made use of. According to the habit of this or that Iish, nets of the most various sizes, 
lines, seines with several scores of hooks, with bait and without, are employed. In winter, some 
rivers are fenced right across, and traps are placed In gaps left in the weir. At the end of 
the winter when the water in the rivers goes bad and the fish rushes for fresh water into 
the small spring streams, they are caught at such points through holes in the ice in bag- 
nets, ladles, and even by hand. But the wholesale fishing on commercial lines in the lower 
reaches of the rivers is carried on exclusively in summer, with the aid of huge drift nets 
250 to 300 or more sagenes in length. In their choice of means for catching the fish, peas- 
ants and natives and the traders on a large scale trouble themselves very little about the 
future and do not disdain to use the most rapacious methods, to which in a large measure 
must be attributed the exhaustion of the supply of flsh in the Siberian waters. 

The fish once got, if not consumed on the spot, goes on the market either frozen or 
salted. But salting in Siberia is carried out very badly so that the flsh acquires a bad taste 
and quickly spoils. This circumstance is a great obstacle to the proper development of the 
Siberian fishing trade. 

This industry also exists in the Littoral territory in the waters of the Northern Pacilic. 
Besides fish, seals and morses are caught. The meat and fat of the latter are eaten by the 
natives, the tusks alone being sold. Whales are taken in the same waters, and fur seals on 
the Commander Islands. This industry will be described in the next Chapter. 

Hunting and trapping form the employment mainly of the population of the northern 
uncultivated borderland of Siberia, as also of the transition zone, separating this region 
from the cultivated tract. As a secondary occupation they exist also in a fair number 
of localities of the agricultural zone, situated near enough to the uninhabited forest 
areas. 

The taigas and urmaus form the arena of the hunter's industry, these boundless forest 
lands everywhere lying adjacent to the inhabited zone of Siberia on the north. This industry is 
conducted partly with firearms or, in the case of some natives, with bows and arrows, partly 
with traps of the most variable construction. The most widely spread form of sport is squirrel 
shooting, after which come the killing of various wood and water birds. Fur animals, formerly bre- 
eding in abundance throughout Siberia, have now, with the exception of the squirrel, common fox, 
ermine and bear, almost disappeared from Western Siberia, so that in that country but very 
few hunters are now occupied in catching either the sable or the marten. The chief supply 
of valuable peltry now proceeds from the northern regions of Eastern Siberia, where the 
destruction of wild animals has not yet assumed such dimensions. Large animals, such as 
bear and elk, are hunted over all Siberia, but this kind of sport is not open to every hunter 
but only to the more skilful and courageous. In the tundras of Eastern Siberia the native 
Tunguz and others hunt the northern reindeer; in the southern mountainous parts of the East- 
ern Siberian governments and Amouria, various kinds of animals, among others the m a r a 1, 
or Siberian stag, whose horns fetch a high price. 



124 SIBERIA. 

The excessive hunting of valuable wild animals, and in particular, extensive forest 
fires in Western Siberia, compel them to emigrate, driving them mainly eastwards into the 
virgin thickets of the Yakutsk forests. Here the precious sable is fairly abundant, but hunters 
are rare. Hunting the arctic fox also forms a not inconsiderable addition to the livelihood of 
the Yakutsk, Dolgaus and other natives. During his migration from the sea up the river, the 
latter is barred across with nets or fences, and this animal is sometimes caught with the aid 
of special traps in considerable quantities. Thus, in 1860, during a great migration of arctic 
foxes on the Yenisei some 7,000 of them were caught. 

The earnings of the inhabitants from hunting and trapping belong to the number of 
the most variable. A less accidental character is attached to squin'el hunting, but even this 
animal, in dependence upon the harvest of fir-cones forming its chief food, sometimes retires 
into the most distant forests least accessible to the hunter, at others comes out upon the 
more nearly situated spots. In the latter case the sport yields good results. Good hunters get 
during a winter in the Tobolsk government 200 to 300 head, while further to the east they 
kill as many as 500 squirrels per gun. When the majority of the squiirels retire to the 
remote parts of the forest, the best hunter will not shoot even a fifth part of this figure. 
The hazel hen or riabchi-k, shot in the Tobolsk government mainly for the European 
Russian market, yields a fairly constant earnings, the bag in one winter reaching 50 to 100 
brace, and if very successful much more. The shooting of other birds such as blackcock, 
wildgeese, and ducks, has not much importance in Siberia. Such birds are mostly shot for 
sport, and but small quantities are offered for sale. As to the pursuit of fur auimals, as 
well as bears and other such wild animals, all here depends on chance. With luck such a 
chase produces earnings of hundreds of roubles. With bad luck it happens that the hunter, 
after wandering through the forest half the winter, returns either with nothing at all or with 
a booty which does not cover the cost of feeding himself and his dogs. The main fur animals 
taken in Eastern Siberia are the sable, fox, marten and k o 1 o n o k or Siberian weasel. 
Ermine for the lack of demand are hardly shot at all. The chief fur traders are the natives, 
both because they own by prescription all the best grounds, and because they possess as 
regards this industry much greater knowledge, skill and endurance than the Russian peasant. 

For the convenience of the natives of the northern region of the governments of 
Tobolsk and Yeniseisk and the territory of Yakutsk, for whom hunting forms if not the only, 
at any rate, one of the chief means of existence, the Government in many places makes 
them loans of powder, shot and lead. For this purpose the native grain stores are constantly 
provided with the necessary supplies of these articles, and the natives very eagerly avail 
themselves of the privilege in order to avoid being indebted to private traders. 

The same boundless Siberian forests are the centre of another industry also very im- 
portant in the economy of pretty considerable portion of the population, the gathering of 
cedar nuts. This industry exists in all the Sibenan governments. The cedar forests, sometimes 
of small size, but not seldom extending to tens and hundreds of square versts, are scattered 
through all the urmans and taigas, and are for the most part, as mentioned above, left by 
the Government to the free enjoyment of all who wish to make use of them. People collect 
to gather these nuts from settlements situated thirty and fifty versts from the grove, and 
sometimes over one hundred versts. 



EURAL INDUSTRIES. 125 

They assemble from the more extensive regions according to the greater size of the 
cedar plantation itself and the better the crop. Crops do not happen every year. On an aver- 
age the nut ripens once in two years, but frequently the harvests are so insignificant that 
cedar groves that are at all remote do not attract any traders. Good harvests generally do 
not occur more often than once in four or five years, and excellent harvests happen once 
in ten to fitteen years. In the gathering of the nut a division of labour is commonly practised. 
The fir cone is plucked from the cedar by the strong, skilful workmen called 1 a z o k s or 
climbers. They throw the fir cones on the ground where they are picked up by others, mostly 
youths and women. With a good harvest, a lazok and his two or three helpers will gather thirty 
to fifty ponds of nuts, or when the harvest is exceptional, one hundred pouds or more. In 
the Tobolsk government the harvests are not so great as further to the east. But as the nut 
sells in the government of Tobolsk much dearer, the earnings are about the same in all the 
Siberian governments, the relative crop being the same also. A lazok gets 50 to 100 roubles 
from an average harvest, and 200 to 250 roubles and more from an exceptional one. One 
such harvest sometimes leads to the prolonged improvement of the economical condition of 
that part of the population which has chanced to avail itself of it. 

Among the forest industries in Siberia must also be referred bee keeping, which is fairly 
developed throughout the Altai mining district and in the nearest parts of the remaining dis- 
tricts of the Tomsk government. Bee keeping in Siberia is carried on with the help of hives 
of very simple construction called b o r t s, hollowed out of thick trees. The bees are bred in 
the woods, and receive no artificial food, but feed themselves on the plants and bushes flour- 
ishing in the taiga. The dimensions of these bee farms are very various. Some beemasters 
own not more than three to five hives while others possess from five hundred to a thousand, and 
more. The average size of a peasant's bee garden in the localities where the industry is most 
highly developed, namely in the groups of settlements lying on the very edge of the taiga, 
may be taken as seventy-five to a hundred hives. In such places the number of beemasters 
forms a third, half or more of the total householders. The extent of bee keeping has now con- 
siderably diminished compared with what it was fifteen or twenty years ago. Not a few bee 
gardens have ceased to exist, and in those that remain the number of hives has diminished 
by half or more. Two causes lie at the root of this state of things, bad harvests of bee food, 
and diseases of the insects themselves. Numbers of hives perished altogether, while others 
began to yield much less honey. Formerly each hive gave not less than an average of one 
poud of honey, while half the quantity is now considered a very good yield. 

The forest again is the arena of a whole series of industries, where nature gives man 
not a finished or almost finished product as in the cases above, but only a material, upon 
which he must expend his labour. Here first and foremost comes the hewing of timber and 
especially the cutting of wood fuel. The regions where these industries are most developed 
are scattered over all Siberia, being concentrated in the neighbourhood of the more consider- 
able towns and along the navigable and raftable rivers. Thus Tomsk is surrounded with a 
region containing about fifteen thousand souls, where the preparation of wood fuel for the 
town population is one of the chief sources of livelihood. Similar districts encircle Tinmen, 
Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, although these towns receive the greater part of the timber and wood 
they require by raftage from comparatively distant localities. 



126 STBFRIA. 

As to the riverside localities, there the principal activity is connected with the furn- 
ishing the steamers with wood fuel annually consuming on the Obi alone enormous quantities. 
Some spots situated up stream above the more considerable towns, hew and make up into 
rafts both timber and fuel for the latter. Thus Tinmen gets nearly all its timber from the 
southern part of the Tnrinsk district, Tobolsk from volosts of the same district and from 
that of Tobolsk, lying along the river Tavda. 

Every peasant hews for himself, while the large orders are undertaken by more or 
less extensive firms. The latter employ a mass of workmen either on hire or by special 
contracts. 

Household industries in Siberia do not present any great variety. The most important 
branch, employing the greatest number of hands and affording the population the largest 
earnings, comprises various forms of wood industry, partly in satisfaction of the needs of the 
local peasantry, partly of those of the carrying trade occupying such a prominent position 
in Siberia. Individual k u s t a r s are met with everywhere. More or less extensive 
groups of kustar population are concentrated mainly in spots where there is easy access 
to the raw material, and a ready sale for the manufactured articles. The largest of 
these groups are situated around the towns of Tinmen, Tomsk and Irkutsk. The first embra- 
ces a considerable part of the Tiumensk and Turinsk districts. The articles here made are 
carts, shovels, wooden vessels, simple furniture, and other things used in the life of the peas- 
antry, to which must be added wood fibre, mats, wheels, trade sledges and appliances used 
in fitting out caravans. Articles belonging to the first class are hawked about the villages 
and sold to the peasants, while those belonging to the second class find a market in Tinmen 
among the carriers employed in the inland trade. The needs of the latter traffic employ most 
of the energies of the kustars in the Tomsk region. They make sledges, carts, wheels, axles, 
yokes, thills, horse collars, tar, troughs for the horses, charcoal for the smithies, all of which 
are sold in the bazaar in Tomsk. The same goods predominate in the kustar industry of the 
Irkutsk region. Here, as in the Tomsk region, various kinds of wooden vessels, furniture, 
articles made of birch bark and some kinds of turned goods are produced, all constituting 
objects of every-day use among the peasantry. 

It thus appears that the forest yields the Siberian peasant the most varied earnings, 
and is the chief source whence deficits on account of agi'iculture and cattle rearing are made 
good and the peasant's budget balanced. Unfortunately however the forest wealth of Siberia 
is in a lamentable state. The exhaustion of the supplies of game and fur auimals was re- 
ferred to above, but the forests themselves in Siberia are being destroyed exceedingly rapidly, 
considerably more rapidly indeed than might be expected with the actual insignificant density 
of the population. Of fine, actually virgin forests, at any rate in the cultivated part of Siberia, 
very little has remained, while the southern districts of the Western Siberian governments 
are already to a considerable extent stripped of trees and are experiencing a deficiency not 
only in timber, but not seldom also in wood fuel. The cause of this phenomenon lies in the 
immoderate and disorderly fellings, destroying many times more than the annual addition 
permits, and in the forest conflagrations extending ovei' hundreds ami thousands of square 
versts. 



EUKAL INDUSTRIES. 127 

The importance of the industries not coiuiected with the exploitation of the forests in 
regard to the general economy of the country is not great. Attention must here in the first 
place be directed to hand spinning and weaving, converting flax and wool into linen and 
coarse cloth. Weaving has an almost exclusively domestic character; but small quantities of 
linen and cloth are offered for sale, the main mass being consumed in the form of clothing 
by the peasantry. Further, in many localities, particularly those near the towns or the tract, 
home-spun linens and cloths are driven out by imported manufactured fabrics. Next, notice 
must be taken of the leather, sheepskin, wool beating in connection with the making of felt 
shoes, hat, girdle, worsted glove, and other industries, all of which are of universal occurrence. 
Ordinarily those employed in these industries live isolated in different settlements, occupying 
themselves with their particular industry as an aid to agriculture, and working in their own 
or the neighbouring villages at piece work upon material not their own. In some places 
however sheepskin dressers, makers .of felt shoes, and tanners live in whole communities, 
specialize to a greater extent in their trade and work for the population of more consid- 
erable regions lying around. The second of these trades is established on a large scale in the 
Kurgan and Tinmen districts of the government of Tobolsk, which supply not only the neigh- 
bouring localities, but also the Eastern Siberian market. 

Other trades are carpentry and joinery, brick making, and similar branches, which 
while existing everywhere, here and there form small industrial communities. Of the more 
refined industries may be mentioned the making of metallic sieves, carpet weaving and sign 
painting in the Tinmen district, the construction of mills in Ishim, the dressing of hare 
skins near Tomsk, the winnowing fan industry in the Mariinsk district and in the Altai, as 
well as some others. All these industries exist only in distinct settlements or groups of set- 
tlements, but are somewhat highly specialized in the region of their distribution and provide 
the population employed in them very considerable wages. 

To complete the description of the peasant industries, there still remains to say a few 
words upon the carrier trade and the occupations connected with it. The conveyance of 
goods constitutes the chief form taken by this industry, and with it is occupied not only a 
considerable part of the population dwelling in the immediate vicinity of the tracts, but a 
large number of peasants living at a distance from the latter in the sphere of attraction of 
one or other of the leading depots, that is, mainly Tinmen, Tomsk and Irkutsk. The principal 
branch of this trade is that along the great Siberian tract, including the carriage of goods 
between the different localities of Siberia and European Russia. Next in order comes the 
conveyance of provisions of all kinds to the gold mines and the grounds of the native nom 
ads, situated without the pale of the cultivated zone of Siberia; after this, follow the rest. 
But by far the most important of all is the traffic over the great Siberian tract of which 
it is necessary to speak. 

The chief articles of export from European Russia into Siberia are the most varied 
productions of manufacturing industry, beginning with ladies fashions and confection- 
ery and ending with machinery and bar iron. From Western Siberia into European Rus- 
sia are conveyed grain and the produce from the slaughter of cattle, such as hides and 
tallow, while from Eastern Siberia goes almost exclusively tea with which many thous- 



128 SIBERIA. 

ands of carts are annually loaded. The total goods traffic over the Slherian tract even 
now employs hundreds of thousands of horses and tens of thousands of people, although 
as was said above its dimensions at the present time have considerably shrunk, compared 
with former limes. At the same time the revenue therefrom has notably fallen off. While the 
average payment for carriage formerly for example between Tomsk and Irkutsk, about 1,500 
versts, was from 2.50 to 3 roubles per poud of freight, it does not now ordinarily exceed 
1.60 roubles to 1.80 roubles, and sometimes falls short of this figure. The expenses of the 
road on the other hand have not only not diminished, but rather, thanks to the enhancement 
in the price of grain, have even increased. Thus in former times a man with five horses dur- 
ing a trip from Tomsk to Irkutsk and back lasting two months earned, after covering all 
expenses, from 200 to 250 roubles. Now the net profit under average conditions does not exceed 
40 to 50 roubles, and in case of misfortune, especially embezzlement of goods for which the 
carriers are bound to answer, not seldom large losses are incurred. The peasants continue to 
occupy themselves with the business of carriers under these circumstances only because, on 
the one hand, it is important for them to receive at one time in the form of earnest money 
comparatively large sums, and on the other, they count as pure profit the maintenance during 
the journey of man and beast whom it would otherwise be necessary to keep during the 
course of the winter with no return. 

In any case the carrier trade on the Siberian tract is at the present day far from 
being what it was formerly and together with it all the earnings of the population of the 
points situated along the tract have fallen into decline. Among such earnings were the baiting 
of the caravans, the conveyance from station to station of fast traffic goods, which went by 
changes of horses, the replacement of tired horses in the trains of carts, the unloading and 
transhipping, ensuing on the freezing of rivers, or the damaging of roads, passenger traffic of 
the most various kinds and various occasional earnings. All this now does not yield the 
fourth part of the former income, and the population of the tract is forced to occupy itself 
ever more and more with agriculture. 

The preceding disquisition has not exhausted, nay had not in view, the exhaustion of 
all the kinds of non-agricultural earnings falling to the peasant population of Siberia. The 
review of these earnings had to keep in view only the most important and to indicate their 
place in the economic life of the population. This place, speaking of non-agricultural earnings 
on the whole, is at the present time considerable only for those parts of Siberia which lie 
without its cultivated zone or on the borderlands of the same. In the agricultural zone non- 
agiicultural earnings now too play a secondary part. The future of the Siberian peasantry is 
inseparably bound up with the future of agriculture and is therefore in close dependence uu 
the improvement of the technical and especially of the economical surroundings of the 
latter. 

^x3- 



HUNTING AND THE FUR INDUSTRY. 129 



CHAPTER X. 
Hunting and the fur industry in the Far East. 

The seal industry; cursory sketch thereof from the end of the eighteenth century; the 
Russian- American Company; Hutchinson, Cool, Filipeus and Co.; statistics of the yield 
of seal skins; the preparation of the fur; the trade in skins in London; activity of the 
firm of Hutchison and Co.; formation of the Russian Association of Seal Traders; new con- 
ditions of the lease; piratical destruction of the seals; international agreements for the reg- 
ulation of the seal industry; beaver, arctic fox, morse and whale trades; fur industries; 
total dimensions of the yield of furs for all Siberia; mammoth ivory. 



THE hunting of fur and other animals in the Far East has formed for more than a 
hundred years a source of revenue to the State. In consequence of the remoteness of 
this region, the Government always farmed out these industries to private undertakers, reserv- 
ing to itself the sovereign right of controlling the regular carrying on of the industry and 
preserving the animals from extermination. 

The most considerable of the industries named is the catching of the sea fur seal 
(otaria), that bear-like seal yielding an exceedingly valuable fur, while its capture is com- 
paratively easy. The Russian name m o r s k o i k o t i k, or sea-cat, is far from answering 
to its appearance. The fur seal is a fairly large animal, attaining a length of seven feet, its 
average length being about an arshine. Extremely lively and quick in its movements in the 
water, on land it is exceedingly clumsy and therefore exceedingly helpless. This animal has 
several varieties, of which the best known is the otaria ursina or calorhinus ursinus, breed- 
ing in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean between California, Japan and Behring 
Straits. Another variety, otaria australis, breeds in South America on the Galopagos Islands; 
A third variety, otaria pusilla or arctocephalus antarcticus, breeds at the Cape of Good Hope, 
a fourth variety, otaria Forsteri, upon the oceanic islands near Tasmania, and others. Possessing 
splendid fur the otaria early attracted the attention of sea hunters, who long sought the spot 
where this animal comes out upon dry land to breed. 

It was only at the end of the last century that the celebrated navigator, Commander 
Behring, succeeded in discovering a group of four islands, called in his honour the Commander 
Islands. One of them, upon which subsequently the navigator himself perished, was called 
Behring Island, and another Miedny, The two others, on account of their small dimensions. 



1 30 SIBERIA. 

have no importance. It was ascertained that upon Behring Island at a particular season 
of the year the fur seals appear in enormous numbers. However the hunters, intimately 
acquainted with the seal industry, were convinced that besides the said group of islands the 
seal must have other asylums, in the search for which much time and trouble were ex- 
pended, A daring skipper, Pribylov, in a small sailing craft, the «St. George», spent two 
years in such quests, fortunately crowned with complete success by the discovery of a group 
of islands in the same Behring Sea, and called in honour of this navigator, the Pribylovs. 
One of these islands was named after the ship St. George; another, St. Paul. Independently 
of tlie two above-named navigators, in the part of the Pacific between the north-western 
shore of America and the north-eastern shore of Siberia, there constantly hovered a crowd 
of different adventurers, hunters of fur animals, who not seldom succeeded in discovering new 
lands and planting there the Russian flag. Thus, the sailor Nevodchikov, in charge of the 
merchant Guprov's expedition, discoverd in 1745 the Blizhni, Attn and Agatu islands. In 1759 
the trader Glotov discovered the Lisi Islands. In 1760 the trader Tolstykh discovered the 
Andreanovsk islands, called after his Christian name, and others belonging to the Aleutian 
and Kuril groups. 

On close examination of the matter it proved that the main mass of fur seals came out 
on the Pribylovs Islands. Not so very long ago there appeared upon them annually five million 
seals, while the number on the Commander Islands was not more than two millions. Judging 
however from the latest information these figures must be considerably diminished especially 
for the Pribylov Islands, for the animals scared by the piratical traders have of late years 
begun to appear more frequently upon the shore of the Kamchatka peninsula, upon the north- 
eastern shore of Siberia and the north-western shore of ISTorth America, and apparently the 
animal is becoming more marine, rarely coming out on land. Again the seals are already 
appearing in diminished numbers upon Tiulen Island near Sakhalin, about 10,000 only, upon 
the Kuril Islands forming part of Japan, at the Cape of Corinth in the Argentine Republic, 
at the Cape of Good Hope, upon the Falkland Islands, in Tasmania and many other places 
of the southern hemisphere, where it would seem the animal in question in former times was 
met with in countless numbers. Thus it resulted that not far back, only twenty-five years 
ago, Russia was the only country in whose territories the highly valuable seal industry was 
carried on. But since 1867, when the Russian possessions in North America, together with 
some islands from the Aleutian archipelago, were ceded to the Government of the United 
States, the advantages of this trade are shared with the latter country. 

In order to explain the economical importance of the seal industry to the State and 
to define its dimensions, it is necessary to say something on the life of the animal itself and 
the value of its fur. 

Of the favourite haunts of the seal in the Behring and Okhotsk seas, the Pribylov Islands, 
St. George and St. Paul, are now the property of the United States, and the Commande r 
Islands, Behring and Miedny, and Tiulen are within the limits of the Russian dominions. 
The Commander Islands, lying at a distance apart of 30 miles, and 100 miles from the 
nearest point of the continent of Kamchatka, are deprived of all vegetation, covered with 
rocky mountains and in part with marshy tundras. The damp sea air yielding abundant 



HUNTINO AND TRE FUR INDUSTRY. 131 

atmospheric precipitation maizes the climate of these islands extremely unhealthful, and it is 
exceedingly probable that but for the existence there of seal rookeries they would remain 
uninhabited. The Tijilen Island adjoins the eastern shore of the island of Sakhalin and is as 
inhospitable as the Commander Islands. 

At the end of April or the beginning of May the seals approach these islands; the 
males come out on the shore, choosing spots for the establishment of the family and 
defending them form being seized by others. By the end of May the females approach the 
shore, and are enticed upon the selected locations by the males, each male absorbing ten to 
fifteen females. 

A male that has reached full physical development is called on the islands s i e k a c h, 
corrupted from the English «sea catch»; a young siekach with small withers is called a half-siekach, 
one without withers, a kholostiakor bachelor, and so on. The chief constituent of the 
catch is the kholostiak, two and three years old, which is taken at the time preceding 
moulting, that is to say, from the beginning of June to the middle of July, although the 
slaughter of the seals continues not unfrequently to September. According to Colonel Vo- 
loshinov, who was sent by the Government to investigate the position of the seal industry, the 
seals are killed as follows. Having found the spot upon which the flock of kholostiaks has 
taken up its position, the inhabitants early in the morning run out to the seashore thus cut- 
ting off the animals retreat and drive them with sticks further to the point where it is pro- 
posed to slaughter them. The seals are so helpless that ten to fifteen men can drive at once 
almost the same number of thousands of the animals, and then even one or two men are 
sufficient to hold a herd of five or six thousand seals in the drive. A group of twenty to thirty 
head are cut out, and when those which are suitable as to sex and age have been ascertained, 
they are killed by a blow on the head with a stick. The head bones of the fur seal are so 
weak, that with one slight blow with a stick the animal may be killed on the spot. In a 
few minutes on the place chosen for their slaughter a heap of slain, among which the mor- 
tally frightened animals left alive on account of their unsuitability are seen writhing, with 
difficulty finding their way to the sea. After finishing with one heap, a second party is di- 
vided off, and then a third, and so on. In a short while thousands of bodies fill the place 
of slaughter. Twenty men can easily drive off and kill a thousand seals in the twenty-four 
hours. Simultaneously with the carrying on of the slaughter, another party of workmen 
is employed in removing the skins and salting and packing them in rows in sheds. The pop- 
ulation of the Commander Islands occupied in killing seals consists of extremely various 
elements. It was formed from the workmen who were brought thither by the traders partly 
from the continent of Asia, partly from that of America, while others chanced here accident- 
ally. There are thus to be met with here together with Kamcliadals and Aleuts, Yakuts, 
Cossacks and others. 

On Behring Island the conditions of life are less severe than on Miedny, and therefore 
the population on the former is twice that on the latter. The total population of both islands 
does not exceed six hundred souls. On Tiulen Island there are no fixed inhabitants, men 
coming there from Behring Island for the slaughter of the seals and, the work done, returning 
home. During nearly half the year the island is thus left unprotected and then foreign vessels 



132 SIBERIA. 

frequently call and their crews complete the slaughter of those animals still left on the 
island. The population of both the Commander Islands has an organization based on the 
commune, the whole earnings being divided among all the workmen on certain principles, a 
small sum being annually set apart as reserve capital. In consequence of the exceptional 
conditions under which the seal industry is carried on, only the ships of the lessees come 
near the Commander and Tiulen islands, and consequently the furnishing of the population 
with the necessary supplies is entirely in the hands of the Crown contractors. The latter here 
are afforded the right of free trade, and although by agreement the company is obliged to sell 
its goods at a fixed price confirmed by the authorities of the islands, this point has always 
called forth a number of misunderstandings. In the same way, from the absence of compe- 
tition, the inhabitants of the islands were compelled to sell beaver, arctic fox, and other 
furs which were not included in the company's rights, at prices fixed by the agents of the 
latter. On concluding the agreement with the lessees of the industry, the Government held 
only the seal industry to be the property of the Crown, not touching the question of the 
beaver and arctic fox. At the same time the two latter together yielded the company enor- 
mous gains, without in any way profiting not only the State, but even the inhabitants them- 
selves, from whom the company obtained the skins at an incredibly low price. The fishing 
was also free from any control on the part of the State, and beyond providing the inhabitants 
with food brought the latter very little advantage, although they expended no little labour 
upon it. Now with the new contract these conditions have been considerably changed for 
the better, and the relations between the aborigenes of the islands and the lessees of the 
industry are more clearly defined. To render clear the present position of these industries in 
the Far East, it is necessary to throw a burned glance at the relation of the Government to 
this matter. 

In the XYIIIth century, as has been already said, the fishing, fur and other industries 
upon the Siberian shore of the Pacific, and in the Russian possessions in North America, 
as well as on the Pribylov, Commander, the Kuril and other islands lying in Behring and 
Okhotsk seas, occupied many individual traders and companies, who possessed no regular organi- 
zation. This latter fact led to constant misunderstandings among them in the settlement 
of which the Government was forced to interfere. To put an end to the disputes among the 
hunters and traders in furs and to sstablish a regular order for the exploitation of the 
business, the largest representatives of it, the merchants Shelekhov and Galikov, in 1780 
formed a company with the object of despatching small expeditions «to Alaska, called the 
American land, to islands known and unknown, for the carrying on of the fur industry and 
all explorations and the establishment of free trade with the natives». The energetic initia- 
tors personally visited all the nearest islands, crossed over to the American continent and 
having become acquainted with the local conditions were easily convinced of the advantages 
of the undertaking. However to guarantee success it was necessary for them to further ensure 
themselves from the Government the exclusive right of carrying on the industry, which Shele- 
khov and Galikov succeeded, in 1788, in doing, without any particular trouble, as the 
Government at that time had not its own representatives in the Far East. Soon the new 
company was completely reorganized; new workers with fresh capital entered it, and in 1798 



HUNTING AND THE FUK INDUSTRY. 133 

it was Imperially confirmed under the title of the United American Company. The Emperor Paul 
took a lively interest in the fate of this company; hy an ukase of the 8th June, 1799, he took it 
under His protection and ordered it to he called the Russian-American Company, at the same 
time granting <; in reinforcement of the undertakings of the company all possible assistance on 
the part of the military authori-ties with land and sea forces on demand made by the same». 
In virtue of this ukase the Russian-American Company was granted, among other things, «the 
right to make use of the fisheries and establishments upon the north-western shore of Amer- 
ica, north of 55'^ north latitude in Behring Sea, and further on the Aleutian, Kuril and 
other islands; to discover and occupy lands to the south of 55° north latitude, if these lands 
are unoccupied by any nation; to enjoy the use of all that has yet been discovered or 
shall in the future be discovered in these places, both .on the surface and in the bowels 
of the earth, without any claim on the part of others; to navigate to all the neighbouring 
peoples and to carry on trade with all the powers lying around» 

Thus the Russian-American Company did not limit its activity to the fur trade alone, 
but set itself a wider scope and even had a political character. Thanks to its exclusive 
position, (luring the first term of its privilege, namely twenty years, it earned 20,024,698 
roubles, paying its shareholders a dividend of 30 per cent. The continued progress of the 
company was still fuilher assured when in the beginning of the twenties of the present 
century the Government recognized the necessity of limiting the rights of foreigners to trade 
in Behring Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk, as also on their shores. With varied fortune the 
company at the expiration of one term renewed its privilege, enjoying without competition, 
if not the sole, at any rate the richest fur seal fishery in the world, namely that of the 
Commander and Pribylov Islands, as also on the less important points of the Pacific coast of 
North America and Siberia within the limits of Behring Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk. 

The demand for seal skins was then very small, and it was apparently declining from 
the beginning of the present century, as in 1817, 60,000 seals were caught on the Pribylov 
islands alone, while twenty years later the Russian American company took on the same islands 
only 7,000 skins. In the same year, 1837, about 4,000 seals were caught on the two Com- 
mander Islands, so that the total quantity of skins got by the American Company in the 
thirties did not exceed 11,000. These skins, dressed like any others, and even rather roughly, 
found a sale almost exclusively in Russia and China, in the former country fetching about 
six roubles apiece. In Kiakhta these goods until March 30, 1861, were bartered for silk 
goods, tea, and other productions of China. In the thirties a sharp change took place in the 
sealskin trade. Instead of merely preparing the skin as heretofore, the fur itself was sub- 
jected to treatment, the long hair being all plucked out and the remaining down dyed a dark 
brown colour. An exceedingly elegant article was thus obtained and quickly a large demand 
for it arose in England. But in consequence of inability to salt the skins, they spoiled in the 
prolonged voyage in sailing vessels from the Pribylov and Commander islands to London 
past Cape Horn. 

Notwithstanding however this inconvenience, sealskin furs began to be more highly 
valued in England, than in Russia and other places, so that the whole of these goods 
to gravitate to London, and soon the latter became the centre of the world's 



134 



SIBERIA. 



trade in sealskins. The business was so profitable that already in 1849 a special manufactory 
was founded in London which to this day turns out false sealskin materials. The decision 
taken in 1867 by the Russian Government in regard to the cession of its North American 
possessions with part of the Aleutian Islands, namely the Pribylovs, to the United States, 
put an end to the monopoly of the Russian-American Company. Deprived of its best fishery 
upon the Pribylov Islands it could not count on its former profits and therefore resolved to 
wind up its affairs, making various claims against the Government for breach of contract 
before its termination. In satisfaction of these the Government was obliged to buy all the 
company's shares, while A. Filipeus, carrying on trade in the Far East, acquired the latter's 
property in the ports of Kamchatka and the Sea of Okhotsk. 

The Russian-American Company during the first period of its activity from 1799 to 

1821, that is, 23 years, took upon the Commander, and other islands, 1,232,374 fur sealskins; 

during the second period from 1822 to 1841, that is, 20 years, 458,502 skins; and during the 

third period from 1842 to 1861, that is, 20 years, the catch was 338,600 skins. 

During the last years of its existence the company considerably increased its activity, 

and finally in the last year, 1868, the slaughter of seals reached unheard of dimensions. 



1 Years. 


Pribylov 
Islands. 


Commander 
Islands. 


Years. 


Pribylov 
Islands. 


Commander 
Islands. 


1862 
1863 
1864 
1865 
1866 


34,294 
25,000 (?) 
26,000 (?) 
40,000 (?) 
42,000 (?) 


4,000 
4,500 
5,000 
4,000 
4,000 


1867 
1868 
1869 
1870 


75,000 

242,000 

87,000 

23,773 


4,000 
12,000 
21,000 
27,500 



On the termination of the activity of the company, the seal industry and trade in 
furs in those remote localities remained without Government control, in consequence of which 
the inhabitants of the Commander Islands were left without regular supplies. Interesting 
himself in their fate, the local Governor-General Korsakov proposed to M. Filipeus to under- 
take to provide the islands in question with the necessary provisions. At the same time in 
St. Petersburg lively negotiations were being carried on in reference to the concession of 
the seal industry in the Far East to a new lessee. There was no lack of candidates, but 
the choice fell to the American house of «Hutchison, Cool and Co» which half a year 
before, on the 3rd of August, 1870, under the title of the «Alaska Trading Company^ had 
concluded a contract with the Government of the United States of North America for the 
right of caching fur seals on the islands of St. George and St. Paul, forming part of the 
territory of Alaska. On the whole the contract with America consisted in this that the com- 
pany paid the treasury 55,000 dollars a year, and in addition two dollars per skin, under- 
taking at the same time to engage in catching the seals only during certain named months 



HUNTING AND THE FUR INDUSTRY. 



135 



of the year, to the number of not more than 100,000 skins in the season on both islands 
Tiie contract was concluded for 20 years till the 1st of May, 1890. For the same term the 
company on the 18th February, 1871, concluded a contract with the Russian Government for 
catching seals on the Commander Islands, Behring and Miedny, and on Tiulen Island. They 
bound themselves: 1. to take into their body a Russian subject; 2. to pay 5,000 roubles a 
year and two roubles for each fur seal skin taken from the said islands, and further to pay 
50 kopecks to the inhabitants of the islands for each full-grown and perfect skin received 
from them. In 1877 these conditions were subjected to substantial alterations in respect to 
the payment per skin, so that the inhabitants were paid at the rate of one rouble instead 
of 50 kopecks for the first 30,000 skins, and the Crown received at the same time instead of 
two roubles only one rouble 75 kopecks. 

The new company without delay set about placing the trade in seal skins on a more 
regular footing, to which contributed in particular the opening not long before, in 1869, of 
the Pacific Railway connecting the Atlantic with that ocean. Thanks to this new communi- 
cation the Alaska Company was in a position to forward its fur goods from the Pribylov and 
Commander Islands to London in a shorter time. Independently of the shortening of the 
route, it was then recognized as advisable for the convenience of the preparation of the skin 
and its preservation from damage during the voyage, to salt it without previously removing 
the fat, which with the former method of transport oxidised and spoiled the goods. Soon the 
Alaska Company began to put on the London market a large quantity of skins, striving at 
the same time to improve the quality of their goods and to attain uniformity of selection. 

The Company introduced order and system into the selection of the sort of skins 
and in their preparation for transport, attaining in this respect the very best results. Its 
goods became exemplary. During the time of its existence from 1871 to 1891 the Alaska 
Company got skins to the following amounts. 



! 

Years. 


Commander 

Islands. 


Pribylov 
Islands. 


Years. 


Commander 
Islands. 


Pribylov 
Islands. 


1871 


3,412 


97,002 


1881 


43,522 


101,734 


1872 


29,318 


101,698 


1882 


44,620 


101,736 


1873 


30,396 


101,555 


1883 


28,696 


77,063 


t 1874 


31,272 


107,932 


1884 


52,652 


101,013 


1875 


36,274 


101,249 


1885 


41,737 


101,509 


1876 


26,960 


89,478 


1886 


44,500 


100,772 


1877 


21,532 


77,956 


1887 


46,754 


100,795 


1878 


31,340 


101,394 


1888 


45,000 


100,450 


1879 


42,752 


106,908 


1889 


55,493 


100,135 


1880 


48,504 


100,634 


1890 


55,727 


20,995 



Judging by these data, the catch of seals on the Commander Islands is systematically 
increasing, while in the figures for the yield on the Pribylov Islands a certain diminution seems 



136 SIBERIA. 

to be noticeable. American investigators of the seal industry place this circumstance in 
dependence upon the enhanced destruction of the animal on the Pribylov Islands, in conse- 
quence of which the seals are beginning to avoid them, preferring the Commander Islands 
and the remotest parts of Kamchatka. But however it may be, during recent years seals have 
begun to appear more frequently on Russian possessions, the quality of the skins it would seem 
at the same time becoming better. The cause of such a change is as yet not sufficiently 
elucidated, but the fact itself only is established. 

Although de jure the Alaska Company was the only firm possessing rich seal fisher- 
ies, yet de facto the London market was furnished with the goods in question from other 
sources. Skins were obtained from various parts of the Southern, Indian and Pacific oceans. 
In the majority of cases however the goods proved to be contraband, that is, they consisted 
of seal skins, taken without distinction of sex or age, on every convenient opportunity on 
land and sea. In consequence of such piratical character of the industry, the goods could 
not only not be prepared properly, but could not even be kept in good couditiou. They came on 
the London market in the majority of cases in a very bad shape, and there had to be 
effected the difficult task of sorting and dressing them. Of the best quality were consid- 
ered the skins from the Scottish Islands, in the Antarctic Sea, next the product of the Prib- 
ylov, Commander, Tiulen, and lastly, those obtained near the shores of Victoria, upon 
the Kuril Islands, and near Cape Horn. 

The dressing of the fur consisted of three processes, the plucking of all the long hair, 
the tanning of the skin and the dyeing of the short down that was left. The last operation 
was considered the most difficult and the secret of the process was long the property of one 
firm only. The whole treatment of the skin cost from 5 to 15 roubles, according to its size 
and quality. The selling prices were subject to great fluctuations, but on the whole, Amer- 
ican skins were valued higher than Russian, the former fetching 30 to 45 roubles apiece, 
the latter only 20 to 25 roubles. According to the data of 1882, skins from the Pribylov 
Islands, with an average weight of 8.2 pounds, were valued at 41*62 roubles; those from 
Tiulen Island, weighing 9.3 pounds, 23.50 roubles; and from the Commander Islands, 9.5 
pounds, 23 roubles, that is, little more than half the American. When finished, sealskins from 
London find a sale, mainly in America, namely about 100,000 skins per annum; next in 
England, 80,000; France, 15,000; Germany and other counties, 7,000; and Russia, 1,000. 

Thanks to the measures referred to as taken by the Alaska Company the London fur 
market became more lively; in 1860, some 20,000 skins were sold there; in 1867, 
52,000; in 1869, 108,000; in 1872, 129,000; in 1875, 136,000; in 18S0, 148,000: in 
1885, 141,000. 

Almost the whole of this quantity of furs was furnished by the Pribylov and Commander 
Islands. 



Year. 


Pribylov Islands. 


Commander Islands. 


■1875 
1 1880 


99,034 
100,101 


34,479 
38,900 



HUNTING AND THE FUK INDUSTRY 



137 



Year. 


Pribylov Islands. 


Commander Islands. 


1885 


99,874 


48,929 


1886 


99,947 


41,750 


1887 


99,949 


54,584 


1888 


100,037 


46,296 


1889 


100,031 


47,411 


1890 


20,994 


52,765 


1891 


17,652 


59,724 


1871 — 1891 


1,883,897 


730,539 (1873 — 1891) 



Thus the success of the sealskin trade is due in a considerable degree to the Alaska 
Company having been able to organize on a sound basis the commercial and the industrial 
part of the undertaking. And yet at the same time it acted upon the islands leased by it so 
rapaciously, and reduced the scanty population to such a hopeless position, that it excited just 
reproaches both in America and in Russia. Making use of its privileged position, the Alaska 
Company furnished the inhabitants of the islands with all the necessary supplies, but fixed 
the prices so high that notwithstanding the high earnings of the inhabitants from the seal, 
beaver, arctic fox and fishing industries, they always remained in debt to the Company, and 
were constantly in want of every necessary. During the first fifteen years Messrs. Hutchinson, 
Cool, Filipeus and Co. paid the treasury annually 5,000 roubles, and in addition to this a 
payment per skin to the extent above stated, which on an average amounted to 64,420 roubles 
per annum, assuming the average yearly catch in Russian fisheries at 34,200 fur seals. 
Independently of the said payment to the Crown, the Company paid the inhabitants on an 
average 37,588 roubles per annum. The same Company for the same 15 years caught on the 
Pribylov islands on an average 95,930 seals per annum, that is, about two and a half times 
as many as in the Russian waters, but paid the Government of the United States much more 
in proportion. The lease cost 110,000 roubles, that is, 22 times that paid in Russia; the royalty 
payments amounted on an average to 504,000 roubles, that is, 8 times as much, and 
finally the inhabitants received 77,000 roubles, that is, quite twice as much, although their 
number on the Pribylov and Commander Islands was approximately the same. In consequence 
of this, in order on the one hand, to somewhat increase the revenue to the Crown from the 
seal industry, and on the other, as far as possible, to regulate the relations between the lessee 
from the Crown and the inhabitants of the Commander Islands, the question arose of the 
renewal of the contract with the firm of Hutchinson, Cool, Filipeus and Co. before the expiration 
of the lease, with the condition of the immediate increase of the payment per skin in favour 
of the Government. 

The company expressed its readiness to increase the piece payment to 7 roubles, during 
the course of both a new 10 years lease and the three years unexpired of the action of the 
old contract. Under 'these conditions, the increase of the rent came out approximately at 



138 SIBERIA. 

300.000 roubles per annum. However, notwithstanding the obvious advantageousness of this 
proposition, nearer acquaintance Avith the matter showed the necessity of deferring for some 
time the solution of the question of retaxing the seal industry, in consequence of the question 
raised in 1887 of an international agreement for the adoption of measures against the pirat- 
ical destruction of seals in Behring Sea. The result of this agreement determined, to a 
considerable degree, the profitableness of the undertaking. Moreover, it was borne in mind that 
the renewal of the rating of the Pribylov Islands, imminent in 1890, must affect the issue of 
the fixing of the rent of the Commander Islands. 

The subsequent circumstances fully justified all the above stated presuppositions and 
at the new auction a mass of candidates appeared from among the representatives of Russian 
industry with more advantageous propositions. Out of many competitors the Government gave 
the preference to the firm «The Russian Seal Fisheries Association)), founded by Griinwaldt, 
Lepeshkin, Prozorov and Savich, and concluded a contract with it on the following princi- 
pal bases: Section 1. The term of the lease is for 10 years, till February 19, 1901; the asso- 
ciation is to receive from the administration of the Commander Islands the skins of seals, 
beavers, and arctic foxes. Section 2. The quantity, season, place and method of killing the 
animals is determined by the local authorities. Section 4. The association pays to the Crown 
per sealskin 10.38 roubles; per first class beaver, 115.335 roubles; per second class beaver, 
57.6675 roubles; per first class blue fox, 11 . 535 roubles; per second class blue fox, 5.77 roubles, 
and per white fox, 2.31 roubles, all in gold. Section 8. The association is bound once a year to 
furnish the islands with all necessaries with an addition of only 20 per cent to the purchase price. 
Section 11. The association must employ ships exlusively under the Russian flag. During the first 
year of its existence, 1891, the «Russian Seal Fisheries Association;) took from the administration 
of the islands 30,689 sealskins, one first class and one second class beaver. In the following 
year, 1892, there were handed over to the same association 31,315 sealskins, to the amount 
of 325,049.70 roubles gold; beaver skins of the first class, 88, for 10,149.40 roubles, of the 
second class 108, for 6,228.9 roubles; arctic foxes of the first quanlity 1,601 for 18,467.535 
roubles; of the second 807, for 4,656.39 roubles, and finally, 9 white foxes, for 20.79 roubles, 
or a total of 364,571.95 roubles gold, which is equivalent to half a million paper 
roubles. 

Thus the new lessee from the Crown, notwithstanding a considerable diminution in 
the number of animals killed, gave the Government fully five times as much as, in the course 
of 20 years, was received from Hutchinson, Cool and Filipeus. 

The falling off in the number of animals killed, above referred to, is explained by the acti- 
vity of the piratical schooners in Russian waters, which is increasing with every year. This is 
caused by the increased protection of the American waters on the part of the Government 
of the United States. The question of the preservation of the seal industry from destruction 
by persons occupied in the illegal catching of these animals, possesses an extremely great 
international importance and therefore it is necessary to elucidate it as fully as possible. Already 
in the time of the Russian - American Company, which acted almost without control in Behr- 
ing Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk, foreign vessels were sometimes observed to appear off Russian 
shores with the object of secretly bartering various goods for furs with the local inhabitants, or 



HUNTING AND THE FUR INDUSTEY, 139 

even of secretly killing seals, but the said company on its part took energetic measures 
against such piracy, thanks to which the latter was not able to assume large dimensions. 
When the company's affairs were wound up, in 1868, and particularly during the time pre- 
ceding the concession of the seal industry to another company in 1871, according to the 
evidence of the Russian Consul General in San Francisco, the regular organization of the 
illegal exploitation of both the seas commenced at first by the Americans and Canadians 
and then by all other lovers of gain at other people's expense. 

In particular, Anadyr Bay with the Holy Cross and Anadyr gulfs, not being protected 
by Russian authorities and little visited by cruisers, became, thanks to their convenient 
anchorage, the favourite ground of those occupying themselves with the illegal industry. 
They systematically depraved the uncivilized native population, intoxicating them with 
brandy and receiving from them valuable furs for almost nothing. Besides this, several 
considerable fishing firms in San Francisco openly caught cod and other fish between 
Sakhalin and the Kuril chain, in the bays of Penzha, Gizhiga, Tauisk and Udsk. This 
they practised unpunished, due to the absence of Russian cruisers in those waters. In 
Kamchatka, and on the nearest islands also, a considerable quantity of fur animals 
were killed, such as arctic foxes, beaver, bear, reil and black foxes, Siberian gray-chested 
foxes, sable, martens. All these valuable furs were sold by the natives to var- 
ious piratical traders for brandy, powder, shot, guns and all kinds of rubbish. From this 
cause the sea beaver particularly suffered, their number beginning to rapidly decline from 
the irregular way in which they were hunted. This circumstance compelled the Russian Gov- 
ernment to take measures against such injurious trade and with this object, in 1875 it first 
despatched to the Far East the clipper «Gaidamak» to suppress the illegal trade in spirits with 
the inhabitants of the Russian coast. Afterwards, more than once, other vessels were detached 
from the Pacific squadron with the same object, and since 1884 a military guard has been 
maintained on the Tiulen Island during the summer and autumn months. The occasional des- 
patch of Men of War to protect the fur industries did not always attain its object, and 
therefore since 1891 the transport «Yakut» has been sent to cruise constantly in Behring 
Sea. The result was the confiscation of the piratical schooners, employed in the prohibited 
catching of fur seals, the crew being always set at liberty without the exaction of 
any fine. 

The Americans on their part took a series of more energetic measures for the protec- 
tion of their coast from the piratical catching of marine fur animals. For the regulation of 
this matter, and the establishment of a close season for seals, in 1887 arose the question of 
the necessity of an agreement between the governments of Russia, Great Britain, and the 
United States of America. The conferences however appointed to deliberate the subject, at 
first in London and then in Washington, with the participation of the countries interested, did 
not lead to any definite results; and meanwhile the piratical activity of foreigners not only 
continued, but apparently even increased. Fur seals were killed not only on land, but in the 
water without distinction of age or sex in consequence of which a quantity of animals 
perished without profit to anyone, as the wounded retired to sea and there died in large 
numbers. The destruction of the females led to the death of the young seals still dependent on 



140 SIBERIA. 

their mothers'milk. On the Tiulen Islaiid the Russians, ou returning thither in the spring, frequently 
found thousand of bodies of various ages, the traces left of the presence there of the pirates 
in the late autumn, and of their slaughter of all the animals still remaining upon the island. 

The chief obstacle to the establishment of an international agreement was the declaration 
of the Canadian minister of navigation and fisheries, Tenner, that the multiplication of fur seals 
is not harmed by hunting them in the open sea but by the piratical attacks to which certain 
islands are subjected which possess seal rookeries, and that for the preservation of the fisheries 
it is perfectly sufficient to protect the rookeries. Great Britain demanded preliminarily to the 
decision of the question of preservation, the collection of the results of supplementary inves- 
tigations upon the mode of life of the fur seal, but the Government of the United States 
energetically opposed the further postponement of the question of the establishment of the 
necessary agreement and succeeded in winning the point. In 1891 the United States of 
America concluded a treaty with Great Britain by which the killing of seals was tempor- 
arily prohibited for the subjects of both the said states in the waters of Behring Sea, 
situated to the east of a line of demarcation fixed by the treaty of 1867 between Russia and 
the United States. This agreement had a peculiarly fatal effect upon the Russian seal industry, 
as the Anglo-American pirates incommoded in the limits of the Canadian and Federal possessions, 
directed their criminal activity mainly to Russian waters. According to information afforded by 
the Xew-York Russian Consulate in 1891, 8J schooners were employed in the clandestine catching 
of seals by whom more than 50,000 skins were taken, of which about 9,500 were in Russian 
waters. According to the same authority, in 1892, 62 vessels were employed in this trade, two 
of which being steamers, and they took 45,000 skins, 15,000 of which were from Russian 
waters. Notwithstanding the considerable character of the figures quoted there is reason to 
think that they are far below the fact. The returns of the London market, which is the centre 
of the sealskin trade, lead to the same conclusion. According to the communication of the 
Governor of the Commander Islands, 60 schooners were observed in their neighbourhood in 
1892, which occupied themselves with killing seals on land and on the water, one party of 
the pirates carrying out the slaughter while the other returned the fire of the guard protecting 
the fisheries. Their audacity reached such a height, that the slaughter of the seals was 
carried on in the rookeries themselves. This piracy is growing more and more every year 
and as it is the interests of Russian subjects that suffer most from it, this Government 
could not but direct attention to such an abnormal state of things. 

The consent of Russia to the above mentioned Anglo-American agreement of 1891 
would only have a value for her in case of the extension of the prohibition mentioned to 
the waters of Behring Sea also lying to the west of the line of demarcation of 1867. How^- 
ever the Government of Great Britain has declined such a statement of the question and 
from that time Russia has taken no further part in the negotiations. But protecting her own 
interests she has found it necessary to pass a new law by which the seal industry on the 
sea is absolutely prohibited, the killing or catching of seals, or in general, the seal industry 
on land, is only allowed with the permission of the Government, according to regulations 
established by it for the purpose. For carrying on the sea industry, as well as for the 
unauthorized killing on land, the guilty parties are subject to imprisonment from two 



HUNTING AND THE FUK INDUSTRY. 141 

months to a year and four months, their appliances, catch and vessels used in the industry 
with cargo and everything on board being confiscated. To make the protection still more 
effective, the number of special cruisers occupied with enforcing them will soon be increased 
by two new vessels. 

The beaver and arctic fox industries continue to remain in the same unfavourable con- 
ditions in which the seal industry was till the promulgation of the last law. Beavers appear 
not only on the Commander Islands but also on the coast of Kamchatka, especially near 
Yellow Cape where they have their dams. However the predaceous persecution to which they 
are subjected is forcing the animals to constantly seek new sites for their dams, more remote 
from man. Latterly beavers have begun to come out on the land between Capes Kamchatka 
and Stolbovy. The fur of the Kamchatka beaver is peculiarly highly esteemed, fetching 
from 300 to 400 roubles per skin, while the Commander beaver is sold at a third of that price. 
Thanks to the high value of the fur, beaver are hunted very energetically, in consequence of 
which their destruction is taking place very fast and they are becoming more and more rare. 

The morse industry, like the last, is gradually declining, this circumstance being a 
direct consequence of the development of the piratical catching of sea mammals by English 
and American filibusters who shoot them with guns. The flesh of the morse is used as food, 
the skin for making the covering of the y u r t a s of the aborigenes in the Far East. The 
tusks form the subject of a lively trade. The filibusters further clandestinely distribute to 
the Chukches guns and powder for hunting the morse, and then barter the tusks for rum, 
brandy and tobacco. 

The whale trade, as is already mentioned above, never possessed a regular organi- 
zation and large commercial development in the Russian territories of Behring Sea and the 
Sea of Okhotsk. The whale, proceeding from the Pacific to the Arctic Ocean, collect in con- 
siderable numbers near the Chukotsk peninsula, especially between the Providence Bay and 
East Cape. This industry annually attracts here a crowd of American and English whalers, 
who partly are themselves employed in killing them,and partlyin obtaining the whalebone from 
the Chukches. Judging from the accounts in the American papers, specially devoted to this 
industry, it may be assumed that foreign whalers annually carry away from the Pacific coast 
of Siberia from 100,000 to 150,000 pounds of whalebone, valued at about 6 roubles a pound, 
not less than 100,000 pounds of morse tusks at about one rouble and fifty kopecks a pound, and 
a quantity of blubber and other products. Thus the whole industry in the Russian w^aters of 
the Pacific yields various products to the amount of one and a half million roubles per 
annum; but this trade escapes Government control being always carried on in a contraband 
manner. 

There have been several attempts to organize the whale industry in the Ear East of Russia, 
but not one has met with success. The credit of the last attempt of the kind belongs to the retired 
Captain of the second rank A. G. Dydymov, to whom the Ministry of Finance granted in 
1887 a loan of 50,000 roubles for three years, for the equipment of a steam whaler, but 
this officer having made an excellent beginning to his enterprise in the Sea of Japan perished 
somewhere on the coast ot Korea at the very commencement, leaving the killing of whales 
in the Russian -waters of the Pacific still an open question. The said industry requiring the 



142 SIBERIA. 

preliminary expenditure of a considerable capital, and presenting great danger, at the same 
time is ceasing to be profitable. The last circumstance is in connexion with the progress of 
the Russian petroleum business. With the appearance of Russian cheap kerosene in the Far 
East, the price of animal illuminating oil began to fall fast, and was of course unable to 
stand the competition of mineral oil. In consequence of this the most valuable article of 
the whale industry at the present time is whalebone, from which extremely solid and fine 
fibres are prepared which admirably replace horsehair in various plaited goods. 

Independently of these two industries, there are yet others needing protection from 
piratical or rapacious exploitation, whether by foreigners or Russian subjects. The necessary 
information is being collected by the Government on the basis of which at no distant date 
the required rules will be drawn up. 

The Okhotsk Sea, long celebrated for its abundance of fish of every kind, always 
attracts a crowd of fishermen who carry away out of Russian waters great quantities of fish, 
the most important being cod. This fish is caught most of all between Sakhalin and 
the Kuril Islands, and in particular between capes Olotersk and Stolbovy. 

For completeness, the sketch of the fur industries in the Far East carried on in the 
sea and on the coast, must be supplemented by an account of the condition of analogous industries 
on land. Great forest fires started partly intentionally for the purpose of clearing the land for til- 
lage, partly arising accidentally from the careless handling of fire, and most of all the rapacious 
destruction of timber accompanying the construction of barriers when hunting fur animals, all 
these causes have combined to thin the forests, which circumstance has again affected the 
diminution of such animals in the forests. Among the most valuable species the foremost 
place is taken by the sable which not so long ago occurred in vast numbers in all the 
forests of the Littoral Territory. Now comparatively smaller numbers are caught, namely 
about 10,000 skins valued at about 100,000 roubles. Next come the ordinary, and the excess- 
ively rare black foxes, blue foxes, gluttons, ermine, raccoon, polecats, squirrels, otter, the 
brown and white bear, Siberian weasel et cetera. 

The main mass of the peltry of the Far East on account of the insufficiency 
of the ordinary communications, is sold for almost nothing to Chinese factors, who 
export this class of goods principally to their own country. For example, in 1891 there 
passed through Kiakhta into China 22,590 roubles worth of otter, beaver and bear skins, 
112,000 roubles worth of wolf, lynx and fox skins, and other kinds not specially named 
to the amount of 130,774 roubles. Thus organized the fur trade brings the country compar- 
atively little. And yet undoubtedly this industry has a great importance especially in a 
country where nature has placed impassable obstacles in the way of the development of agri- 
culture. In the greater part of the territory of the Far East, particularly in the northern zone, 
the nomad, nay even the settled population, is placed by climatic conditions in the regrettable 
necessity of contenting itself mih hunting various animals, and with fishing. In many cases 
the Government comes to the aid of the helpless aborigenes, furnishing them with powder and 
shot for hunting, and in those places where fishing is the sole source of existence, Govern- 
ment stores are always ready, with hemp, horseh air and other articles required in the prep- 
ration of nets, and other fishing tackle. These things are distributed to the remotest re- 



HUNTING AND THK FUR INDUSTRY. 143 

gions, being supplied to the well-to-do at the cost price to the Government and being 
issued to the poorer classes according to the resolution of the rural societies by way of 
loans with obligatory payment next year. Without such Government aid the population, 
in consequence of its extreme poverty and its not being able to acquire the tackle in 
sufficient quantity and of due quality, would in many places suffer frightful want of food, 
even although the rivers abound in fish. 

As has been explained before, not only the aborigenes of the Far East but the inhab- 
itants of many places of the original Siberia have converted the chase of wild, mainly fur 
animals, into an industry providing them with the necessities of life. And as nature has 
endowed Siberia with an enormous quantity of valuable fur animals, the said industry has 
a great importance to the country, the more so that, as already said, the Far East is the 
chief centre of the Siberian fur industries, where virgin forests, affording asylum to every 
wild beast, are yet preserved. 

There unfortunately exist no exact statistics of the fur industry, but summing up the 
information in the hands of the Government and of private institutions interested in the fur 
trade, it may be assumed that the dimensions of the former for the whole of Siberia are 
approximately given in the following table: 

1879. 1886. 1887. 1888. 1889. 1890. 1891. 1892. 

Black foxes - 2 45 34 33 30 29 24 

Grey-chested 2,684 1,812 1,694 813 436 1,694 1,913 2,321 

Ermine • ... 18,454 26,313 34,254 24,536 21,618 19,011 7,306 12,416 

Arctic foxes and cubs . . 116 294 2,495 2,891 2,927 2,866 4,099 2,986 

Sable of all kinds . . - . 22,752 7,317 7,^1 9,825 18,610 18,176 20,149 31,312 

Otters 165 168 3,295 2,706 3,866 4,246 3,508 2,300 

Red foxes — 4,111 23,758 12,218 22,000 19,405 22,334 16,659 

White (arctic) bears. . . 3 - 10 9 3 . 38 28 45 

Bears 314 .526 1,643 1,389 1,118 432 1,114 218 

Wolves and dogs .... 1,456 - 5,008 2,664 19,840 23,916 31,932 7,803 

Mink 449 3,423 4,689 1,956 1,867 2,624 1,108 6,215 

Siberian weasel 3,432 19,431 4,367 12,257 5,634 11,367 4,612 10,123 

Squirrels On an average a million skins. 

Lynx 75 - 3,597 5,206 3,109 2,489 3,485 3,395 

Martens - 4,860 6,256 1,364 9,244 4,684 2,492 6,384 

Siberian tigers 6 8 4 11 21 15 9 4 

» leopards .... 32 38 39 24 29 28 26 23 

Pyzhiks 1,109 1,364 1,684 1,573 1,932 1,917 716 1,223 

Cats 9,684 13,412 18,450 16,486 31,434 29,313 26,415 15,773 

In explanation of the figures quoted it may be observed that herein are not included 
hares, as this small animal is everywhere caught, and on account of its little value, does 

not form an article of export, but is confined to local consumption. Moreover, herein are not 
included the furs taken in the lands belonging to the Cabinet of His Majesty. 



J 44 SIBERIA. 

From the same table it is clearly to be seen how rich Siberia is in every kind of 
fur, which is far from being absorbed by the local consumption. A large amount is sent 
through the Pacific ports of Siberia abroad, partly to America, partly to Europe, or more 
strictly to London. Part of the goods, offere<i for sale in the markets, is despatched over- 
land through Irbit and Nizhni-Novgorod to Moscow, whence it is distributed to the whole 
of Russia and finds its way in considerable quantities to Leipzig. Thus the Russian fur trade 
is concentrated mainly not in Russia but in London and Leipzig, the more valuable furs 
being collected in London, 

In concluding this review of the industry in fur and other wild animals in the Far 
East it will not be superfluous to say a few words on the gathering of mammoth ivory in 
supplement to what is stated above on the same subject. This business, although not organ- 
ized into a regular industry, but having rather a casual character, altogether furnishes the 
population a pretty considerable source of income. From the Yakutsk territory alone in 1891 
about 700 pouds of mammoth ivory valued at 15,000 roubles were exported. This article 
and morse tusks annually appear on the Yakutsk market to the amount of 30,000 to 
40,000 roubles. 



— ^<$-— 



INDUSTRY, COMMERCE AND WAYS OF COMMUNICATION. 



145 



CHAPTER XI. 
Industry, Commerce and Ways of Communication. 

The mineral wealth and the mining and metallurgical industries of Siberia; general items of 

the mining and metallurgical industries of the Urals; the mining and metallurgical industries 

of Siberia; gold, silver, lead, copper, iron, tin, mercury, sulphur, coal, graphite, naphtha, 

salt, rare minerals and building materials. 

THE Great Siberian Railway enters upon the borders of Siberia after having traversed the 
southern portion of the Urals, that metallurgical treasure house of Russia. The numer- 
ous iron and copper works, the gold diggings and coal fields situated along the eastern side 
of the Urals are, speaking strictly in a geographical sense, already within the limits of Asia, 
although in an administrative sense they are included in the governments of European 
Russia. Without touching upon the details of the mining and metallurgical industries of the 
Urals, it is however impossible not to mention them in an article devoted to Siberia, all the 
more as the construction of the Great Siberian Railway is of very great importance to the 
works of the Urals as a means of extending their market. During the last live years the 
works, mines and gold diggings of the Urals have yielded as in the following table. 



Gold 

Platinum .... 

Copper 

Pig iron 

Iron 

Steel 

Manganese ore . . 

Coal 

Salt 

Sulphur pyrites. . 
Chrome iron ore. . 


1887. 


1888. 


1889. 


1890. 


1891. 


P u d s. 


269 

163,045 

23,425,846 

13,302,405 

2,328,231 

50,000 

9,972,089 

14,113,100 


665^/4 

166 

156,777 

24,039,236 

13,360,047 

2,401,104 

82,700 

12,757,123 

17,655,800 

676,582 

440,868 


641-/4 

161 

157,949 

24,725,521 

14,888,720 

2,583,283 

179,100 

16,040,023 

18,210,050 

896,076 

253,732 


642' /2 

173^/4 

173,307 

27,703,679 

14,716,722 

2,716,238 

143,500 

15,223,649 

19,224,590 

358,285 

144,667 


705 

258^'2 

174,403 

29,923,510 

15,184,924 

3,464,918 

117,596 

14,917,361 

20,408,482 ' 

481,550 

189,047 



146 SIBERIA. 

The value of the chief products of the mining and metallurgical industries is estimated 
at from twenty to tAventy-five million metallic roubles. 

The southern portion of Siberia contains considerable deposits of every kind of mineral, 
and a mining industry has existed in its different regions for about two centuries. But great 
mineral wealth still lies untouched in the bowels of Siberia, and its exploitation will become 
possible when the existing economical conditions will be modified by the construction of the 
Great Siberian Railway. 

The chief mineral riches of Siberia include, among metals, gold, silver, copper and 
iron. There are also deposits of mercury and tin ores. Among the carboniferous and 
combustible substances there are, coal and lignite, graphite, sulphur and naphtha; and among 
salts, common and glanber salts; besides which, Siberia is rich in all kinds of rare stones. 

Gold. 

At the time when the gold industry of the Urals was extending more, and penetrat- 
ing to their utmost northern limits, the existence of gold was not known in Siberia and it 
was only in 1831 that it was found by private individuals in the mountains between the 
rivers Toma and Yenisei in the system of the river Kiya. And for a certain period all the 
endeavours of the gold workers were concentrated in this district. In 1836 they transferred 
their prospectings further to the east in the spurs of the Sayansk mountain chain, to the 
borders of the governments of Yenisei and Irkutsk. There rich deposits of gold were found 
in the wildest and most inaccessible places along the river Birusa. But the activity of the 
gold miners, whose number was constantly increasing, did not long restrict itself to the gold 
bearing system of the Birusa. It was enough for one daring gold miner to push towards 
the north, to the rivers Toungousk, to be followed by many others, and in 1840 and 1841 a 
large number of rich and very durable gold deposits were discovered between the Verkhnaya 
and Podkamennaya Toungouski, which presented a vast store of gold exceeding all those 
known at that time. The prospectings were pushed further and further to the east, and in 
1849 the gold deposits of the Olekminsk system in the government of Yakutsk were put 
under exploitation. In 1854 the gold industry was established in the Bargouzinsk region of 
the Transbaikal province. In the Nerchinsk mining region the exploitation of gold has been 
carried on by the State since 1832, and private individuals were first permitted to prospect 
for gold in 1864, and in 1865 the exploitation of gold by private individuals was started. In 
the Littoral province prospecting for gold was permitted in 1866, and in 1868 it w^as begun 
in the Amour province. And lastly the discovery of gold deposits in the tributaries of the 
river Boureya, which fall into the Amour from the left side, was only made in 1875. 

At the present time the Siberian gold industry extends over a vast area, and gold is 
exploited in the basins of the Obi, Yenisei, (with the Baikal) Lena and Amour, within the 
limits of all the governments and provinces of Siberia. The gold bearing localities along 
the Obi, Yenisei and Lena are situated in the basins of rivers flowing from the east 
that is, along the western declivity of the mountain chains which descend into the north- 
ern Siberian lowlands from the mountains which border the Arctic Ocean on the south. 
There are rare exceptions; the gold deposits in different parts of Siberia lie at different 



GOLD. 147 

altitudes above the level of the sea, but as a rule they do uot rise above 2,000 feet, the 
height of the mountain chains being twice and. three times . greater. In the Kousnets Aiatau 
the height of the mountains is from five lo six thousand feet and the gold deposits become 
smaller and poorer as the mountain chain rises towards the south. 

The geognostic character of the gold deposits of Siberia also varies in ditferent local- 
ities. The gold bearing rock of the Kousnets Aiatau is greenstone ; on the eastern declinity 
of this mountain ridge the extreme slopes, down to the openings of the valleys, are composed 
of clay slate, which higher up the current changes into metamorphic and calcareous clay slates, 
which change into jaspers and hornblendes near their contact with the granites and diorites. 

The predominating rocks of both the northern and southern parts of the Yenisei region 
is made up of various kinds of metamorphic slates among which clay slate predominates and 
in some instances passes into mica schist. The northern system also presents granites, 
gneisses, diorites and porphyries, which appear more rarely in the southern system. In the 
northern system, limestones, sandstones and conglomerites are also found in places. The gold 
bearing strata lie in various kinds of slates, near their contact with granites and diorites; 
and wherever this combination occurs gold is sure to be found. The predominating rocks in 
the southern regions of the government of Yenisei in the spurs of the Sayansk mountains 
are granite, cyanite, limestone and metamorphic slates. 

In the province of Yakutsk the chief rock of the gold bearing systems of the rivers 
Olekma and Vitima is a granitic cyanite , which changes in places into a more laminated 
structure, passing into gneiss, which imperceptibly passes into micaceous, chloritic talc and 
clay schists. All these rocks are distinguished for their being gold bearing, especially the 
clay schists. The general character of the rocks of the valleys of the Nerchinsk region is the 
same, consisting as they do of granite, gneiss, cyanite, greenstone, diorite and dioritic cyanite 
and felspar porphyries. The geological structure of the gold bearing region of the Amour 
province, along the river Zei, is composed of micaceous and horublend gneisses and slates. The 
characteristic feature of the presence of gold is the passage of the one class of rocks into the other. 

The composition of the gold deposits themselves depends upon the rocks surrounding 
them. The thickness of the deposits varies greatly, from two feet to three sagenes and more ; 
but generally it varies between two and seven feet. The upper strata of the deposits 
contain bones of mammoths, rhinoceros, and other extinct and existing animals. All the deposits 
are covered by a layer of earth, known as peat. The length of the deposits varies from 
one to fifty versts and more, sometimes with a layer of gold bearing sand, extending along 
their entire length of sufficient thickness for profitable working. As a rule the richness of the 
gold bearing strata varies in each deposit; the upper portion generally contains a small 
accumulation of coarse particles of gold mixed with quartz , magnetic iron and pyrites; in 
the middle portion the gold is finer in its particles and the sand poorer in gold, and lastly 
in the tail of the deposit there remains a floating gold dust which only gives traces of gold. 
The soil of nearly all the northern portion of Eastern Siberia is perpetually frozen. The frozen 
state of the soil and the dense forests which subsequently covered the deposits have favoured 
the preservation of the gold in them, from the wearing and denuding action of the water. 
Many of the Eastern Siberian gold deposits show undoubted traces of the influence of glaciers. 

10* 



us 



SIllERIA. 



Thanks to the cold climate which, following the glacial perioil, many of the gold deposits 
have been preserved to the present day in their original form, so that they present 
an instructive example and traces of a geological period partially contemporary with man, 
who has even left indubitable traces of his presence in the form of arrow heads made 
of jasper and quartz, hammer heads, ornaments, coins, bones et cetera. 

The following table gives comparative data for the general production of gold in 
Russia during the last ten years together with its value, and the production in Western and 
Eastern Siberia. 



I Total produc- 

! tion of gold in 

Russia. 



Pouds 



Value 

in 
roubles 
(gold). 



I i: 

lu Weastern 
Siberia. 

Pouds. : 1 



g: 



Per cent 
of total 
produc- 
tion. 



In Eastern 
Siberia. 



P0U( 



Per cent 
of total 
produc- 
tion. 



1882 


2,207 


1883 


2,182 


1884 


2,178 


1885 


2,015 


1886 


2,042 


1887 


2,128 


1888 


2,146 


1889 


2,274 


1890 


2,403 


1891 


2,386 



10 

14'/« 
12-7. 
227^ 

4 

2'/« 
27 

19^/4 

25 

lOV/2 



24,277,000 
24,002,00(3 
23,958,000 
22,165,000 
22,462,000 
23,408,000 
23,606,000 
25,014,0(JJ 
26,433.000 
26,240.500 



126 
134 
131 
134 
136 
149 
154 
169 
160 
170 



30V* 

6 

7 

36^/4 
22V* 
28 

6V4 
19V4 
3974 
283/< 



1,622 
1,554 
1,561 
1,349 
1,345 
1,328 
1,326 
1,462 
1,599 
1,510 



31 i 

12 I 
25V2 1 

13 ! 

^ ! 

6V'2 ! 

1-74 1 

9V4i 



73.52 
71.23 
71.70 
66.96 
65.86 
62.41 
61.77 
64.36 
66.52 
63.32 



The number of men employed in the extraction of gold in Western and Eastern Siberia 
during the same period is shown in the following table. 





X u m b 


e r of m 


i n e r s. 


Year. 














Western 


Eastern 


Total in 




Siberia. 


Siberia. 


Siberia. 


1 1^82 


6,653 


26,768 


33,431 


1883 


7,148 


26,252 


33,400 1 


i 1884 


8,094 


27,441 


35,535 


' 1M85 


8,624 


27.442 


36,06(J 


1886 


9,15s 


25.593 


34,751 : 


1887 


11,616 


23,203 


34,sl9 I 


! 18^^8 


11,460 


24,803 


36.263 i 


\ 1889 


10,5s5 


26,697 


37,282 1 


1890 


9,512 


28,242 


37,754 I 


1891 


9,454 


27,521 


36,975 



Goi.i). 149 

On comparing these two tables it is seen that although Eastern Siberia employs only 
three times as many men as Western Siberia yet its production is nine or ten times as great. 
This is due to the greater richness of the deposits worked in the former region. Owing to 
the dearness of provisions and forage, and consequently of labour and horses in Eastern Si- 
beria, the exploitation of the poorer deposits is impossible with the methods now in use foi- 
treating the gold bearing sand. 

When in 1829 the Siberian gold industry was made free to private individuals a 
great number of enterprising men and large capital found their way to this remote region. 
The gold miners became rich themselves and aided the development of the region with a 
generous hand, laying down roads to inaccessible places, establishing a steam navigation 
along the abundant Siberian rivers, and sacrificing considerable sums to the erection of 
national institutions, such as schools, churches and every kind of charitable and pious work. 
The development of the gold industry reflected itself upon the towns of Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk, 
Irkutsk, Chita, Nerchinsk and Blagoveschensk, 

Beyond the 40,000 miners employed at the mines themselves, the Siberian gold In- 
dustry gives occupation to a considerable population in the transport of goods to the mines 
and other auxiliary works. Indeed it indirectly aids the development of agriculture in the 
neighbouring agricultural districts and It presents a profitable market for their produce. 

The extent of the sums acquired by the country from the gold Industry is seen from 
the following example. During the three years 1887 to 1889, the wages of the men employed 
in the gold mines of the Olekmlnsk and Vltlmsk systems amounted to 6,789,000 roubles, 
while the cost of the chief objects of consumption at those mines was 12,268,000 roubles. 
These figures give an excellent Idea of how vast an amount of money the gold Industry 
distributes over the entire region and how it supports its population, trade and industry. 

Passing from these general data respecting the Siberian gold Industry, its indlviilual 
features according to the systems of the chief Siberian rivers may be considered. 

In the vast basin of the Obi the gold Industry has been established : 1. On the steppe 
land extremity of Siberia in the provinces of Akmolinsk and Semlpalatinsk, along the rivers 
belonging to the system of the left branch of the Obi-Irtysh system of the river Irtysh; 
2. On the western side of the Kouznets Alatau in the Mariinsk region of the government 
of Tomsk. 3. In the Altai mining region; 4. On the eastern side of the Kouznets Alataou 
in the Achinsk region of the government of Yenisei. 

Owing to the difference of the natural conditions in the different gold bearing regions, 
the modes and processes of extraction also differ. In the steppe region the mining Is 
exclusively open workings, so that deposits with deep lying strata are not worked owing to the 
great expense of the timber required for supporting underground minings. Thanks to the warm 
climate the washing of the sand Is carried on from April to October, that Is, during about 
seven months. The workings are surrounded by a nomad Kirghiz and Cossacks population, 
who work in the mines partly for so much per cubic sagene of earth, and partly at so much 
per zolotnik of gold extracted, and besides this, they serve as the providers of provisions to 
the mines. Hence the gold Industry in the steppe region is not hampered by great preliminary 
expenses. ]\Ioreover, the wages and living of the miners is far less in the steppe than 



150 



SIBERIA. 



in the forest region, and therefore it is possible to exploit comparatively very poor deposits, 
in which the amount of gold does not in some cases exceed 8 doleys per hundred pouds, of 
sand, or 0.00002 per cent. 

In the forest region which embraces the Altai mining region, the Mariinsk region of 
the government of Tomsk, and the Achinsk region of the goverament of Yenisei, the climate 
is more severe and the washing of the gold can only be carried on during five or at most six 
months. The population is more sparse and the conditions of the industry begin to acquire 
another aspect, more like that which predominated, in general, in Eastern Siberia. 

In the Achinsk region the gold industry is concentrated at the sources of the Chulyma 
along the rivers Belaya, Chernaya and Sarala-Use. 

In the Altai mining regio n the gold mines are exploited both by His Imperial Majesty's 
Cabinet and by private individuals. 

The following table gives the number of gold mines worked and their yield during the 
last ten years both in the different provinces and in the various regions of the Obi system. 





A 1 


.^_.„.. 


Semipal- 

atinsk 

province. 




Government of Tomsk. 




Gov. 


of Yenisei.! 




Akmuiiusis. 

province. 


Mariinsk 
region. 




Altai mining 


region. 


A 
r 


.chinsk 


Alluvial gold.| Quartz gold. | 


egion. ; 


^ 


2 


^ 






"o 


i 


1 


!2 
"0 


.1 


"o 






fcD 


55 


tJD 




fee 


M 


fee (« 


to 


'a^ 


tc 1 








o 



























'o 


ex 


o 


a 


'0 







p. 


c 


e- 


'o 




03 




03 


















03 






><-j 


• — 1 




"B 


'^ 


;2 


'^ 


2 


-^ 


2 


-^ 


-i 


^ 


-,^ 


o 


!*- 


"3 


.i 1 


'3 


U-t 


"3 




'3 


t*-i 


"3 




O 




o 














'0 













t^ 




>-i 




? 


;-< 


? 




>-i 


!-. 


^ 




1 

a 




1 

a 




1 ■ 

a 




a 




1 

a 


-S -S 


1 




~4l T 


X 




~^'~ 

TS 


i 


'4~i~ 


r^ 


3 


3 ' g 


3 


=3 


c 


s 


s 


g 


3 


C ' '^ 


a 


C3 1 '^ 


s 


a = 




'i^ 


^1 1 


:^ 


£ 


1 


;^ 


i. 


S. 


;^ 


^ 1 1 


^ 


^ i 1 


t^ 


^ 1 £ 


1882 


10 


1 

2 124 


29 


11 


7=^/4 


71 


34 


8V4 


47 


74; 674 


2 


4 


2374 


31 


22 


27. 


!l883 


12 


5 131 


31 


8 


29'/4 


70 


38 


23V2 


50 


79 — 





3 


97'^ 


33 


17 


I674 


1884 


20 


7 1371/4 


27 


7 


2^/4 


86 


33 


7* 


54 


77 11 


2 


4 


287* 


40 


1^ 


341/4 


|1885 


29 


7 y^li 


27 


6 


16V* 


95 


32 


3OV4 


59 


82|39V2 


2 


4 


31 


37 


19 


151/2 


1886 


28 


6 !l7 


26 


7 


34-74 


104 


36 


29^4 


56 


79 141/2 


2 


6 


87^ 


36 


17 


2174 


1887 


30 


6 19^4 


32 


12 


474 


116 


36 


2174 


69 


87 3672 


2 


6 |27 


42 


18 


9 ' 


i 18.^8 


29 


7 


14 


35 


14 


25V4 


112 


37 


1974 


75 


88: 1 


2 


6 ;26'/4 


37 


20 


297'*' 


1889 


32 


4 


28V2 


38 


14 


337^ 


118 


40 


25Vii 


75 


102 


4972 


2 


6 272 


36 


23 


1374 


1890 


25 


2 |l9^/4 


37 


13 


32-/2 


105 


33 25 


77 


105 


6 


2 


5 


34 


35 


21 


24 


1891 


25 


2 


37^/4 


43 


16 


25V2 


103 


31 


35 


'■ 


na 


1074 


2 


5 


31 


33 


25 


38 



Thus the gold industry is vei'y feebly developed in the Akmolinsk and Semipalatinsk 
provinces. In the Mariinsk region the production of gold is subject to very slight fluctuations, 
notwithstanding the increased number of deposits under exploitation and the larger amount 
of gold bearing sand treated in them. This shows that the richer deposits have been exhauste«i 
and that the exploitation of the poorer can be carried on profitably owing to the 



151 



low price of labour and provisions al the gold mines of this region. The amouul of gold 
obtained in the Altai region is constantly increasing owing to the gold bearing sands being of 
very uniform richness while the number of deposits worked is on the increase. This also proves 
that the stores of gold in the deposits of the Altai region are not yet exhausted. Gold quartz 
is worked at two mines in the Altai but the amount produced is still inconsiderable. During 
the last ten years the production of the Achinsk region has varied very slightly. Of all the 
gold deposits in the Obi system, those in the Mariinsk, Altai and Achinsk regions are the 
most profitable for exploitation, owing to their proximity to the railway; and there is reason 
for thinking that the extraction of gold will be further developed in these districts. 

The following table gives the number of men employed at the gold mines during the 
last ten years. 



Year. 


i 
Akmolinsk , 

province. 


"Semipal- 

atinsk 

province. 


Gov. of 


1 

Tomsk. 

1 


Gov. of 
Yenisei. 


Mariinsk 

region. 


Altai 

region. 


Achinsk ' 
region. 


1882 j 


431 


1,785 


1,877 


2,560 


1,028 


1883 j 


884 


1,637 


2,053 


2,577 


922 


1884 


1,537 


1,601 


2,093 


2,863 


825 


1885 


1,897 


1,565 


2,068 


3,094 


857 


1886 


2,135 


1,544 


2,203 


3,274 


876 


i 1887 


3,210 


1,928 


2,490 


3,988 


1,055 


! 1888 


2,899 


2,408 


2,185 


3,968 


916 


1889 


2,228 


2,114 


2,137 


4,070 


935 


1890 


1,536 


2,045 


1,890 


3,931 


1,061 


1891 


400 


2,688 


1,858 


4,407 


952 



The great river province of the Yenisei comprises four gold bearing regions, the Mi- 
nousinsk, Krasnoyarsk, Yeniseisk (which subdivides itself into two parts or systems, the 
northern and southern), and Nizhneoudinsk. 

The Minousinsk region, where gold was first prospected for in 1832, enjoys a compar- 
atively moderate climate, an abundance of pasture and com, and yet the gold industry of 
this region developes very slowly. This is chiefly owing to the distance, 300 to 350 versts, of 
the deposits from the centres of population. The amount of gold produced in the Minousinsk 
district remains nearly stationary. 

In the Krasnoyarsk region, where the exploitation of gold was started in 1847, only 
three deposits are worked at the present day. The amount of gold washed in 1884 was 
nearly six pouds, while in the remaining years it varied between one and four pouds. 

In the Yeniseisk region the most important gold producing localities are the valleys 
of the rivers Sevaglikone, Ogne, Kalami and Enashimo, belonging to the system of the Pod- 
kamennaya Toungouska, and also of the Aktolika and Bangash belonging to the basin of the 



152 SIBERIA. 

Pita, all in the northern system; the basin of the river Ouderei which falls into the tributary 
of the Angara, the Kamenka and the basins of the rivers Bolshaya Mourozhnaya and Pita, 
all in the southern system. In the majority of instances the rivers of both systems have a 
rapid current owing to the sharpness of their fall. During the heavy spring rains, they rap- 
idly become swollen and overflow their courses, and although, owing to the steapness of 
iheir beds, they do not overflow to any great extent, nevertheless they frequently cause 
great damage to the gold workings. On the other hand during the prolonged summer droughts 
some of them become so shallow that it is necessary to stop washing the sands. 

The rivers in the Yenisei region are not navigable, with the exception of the lower 
portions of the Yenisei, Podkamenaya Toungouska and Bolshaia Pita. The more consider- 
able tributaries of these rivers are only navigable to small boats and rafts. 

The gold extracted in the Yeniseisk region is generally finely granular, tabular and, 
as it were, rubbed; a coarsely grained gold of -high purity is found along the rivers Ogne 
and Enashimo. 

In the northern system the thickness of the gold bearing deposits varies from two to 
eight feet, although there are some which are as much as 15, 20 and even 35 feet thick. 
In the southern system the thickness of the deposits generally varies between two and twelve 
feet. The superficial covering of peat is in both cases between 5 and 30 feet. The average 
richness of the gold bearing sand in the northern system is about 31 dolias of gold per 
hundred ponds, but in the southern system it is somewhat less. However, in both systems 
there are workings in which the quantity of gold reaches one zolotnik per poud. 

In the Yeniseisk region the first deposits were discovered in the present southern sys- 
tem, along the rivers Ouderei and Mamona, in the year 1838. At that time the workings 
of the Birusinsk system, in the Xizhneoudinsk region of the government of Irkutsk were of 
great importance, owing to the abundance of gold they yeilded. As however the newly discovered 
deposits in the Yeniseisk region were found to excel those of the Berusinsk system in 
richness, numerous prospecting expeditions were dispatched to this region, and in 1839 the 
deposits of the northern system were discovered in the valleys of the rivers Aktolik and Van- 
gash, while in the beginning of the forties all the present gold districts were covered with 
claims, although their exploration is being carried on to the present day. In the Yeniseisk re- 
gion, as everywhere, the richest deposits were discovered first, and therefore the yield of 
gold from this region attained its maximum soon after its discovery, and then began to grad- 
ually decline. By the amount of gold produced, the Yeniseisk deposits stand among the richest 
in Russia. In the first year after the gold washing was begun, and when only one mine 
was under exploitation, with 190 miners, the yield exceeded T'/a pouds of gold. Subse- 
quently the number of mines, and the yield of gold increased year by year: the maximum 
yield coincides with the year 1847 when 1,212 pounds 12'/2 pounds of gold were produced by 
12,100 miners. This amount formed about 65 per cent of the production in Russia during 
that year. After 1847 the amount of gold extracted began to lessen, notwithstanding the increased 
number of miners, which in 1854 amounted to 20,567, and also the increased number of 
mines and the quantity of sand washed therein. The exploitation of the gold no longer formed 
an attraction fur large companies and gradually began to fall into the hands of small enterprises. 



GOLD. 



158 



In 1882 the exploitation of veinous gold was started in the Yeniseisk region, but it 
developes very slowly, and as yet the production has never exceeded eight pouds, and in recent 
years has even been under one and one-half pouds. 

The gold workings of the Nizhneoudinsk region of the government of Irkutsk and of 
the Kansk region of the government of Yeniseisk, are situated along the system of the river 
Birusa. Only the upper courses of this river pass through the Nizhneoudinsk region, after 
which it flows through the Kansk region of the government of Yeniseisk. At the present 
time these region occupy almost the last place among the Siberian gold producing 
regions, although formerly the Berusinsk system was among the richest in Eastern Siberia. 

The first discovery of gold in the Birusinsk system was made in 1836. The richness 
of the deposits of this system attracted numerous prospecting parties, and already in 1839 
the Kansk and Nizhneoudinsk regions yielded about iVj-i pouds of gold, out of a total of 
iSVa pouds extracted in Eastern Siberia. The maximum yield of gold from these regions 
was in 1842 when it equaled 204 pouds 6 pounds, or about 20 per cent of the total production 
in Russia. Since then the production of gold in these regions has gradually decreased, 
and in some years has even fallen below 15 pouds. However this decrease should not be 
ascribed to the exhaustion of the mines but chiefly to the discoveries of gold in other 
systems, and there is reason for thinking that if more detailed explorations were made, and 
the exploitation of the deposits more scientifically carried (jut, then the Berusinsk system 
would once more stand to the fore. 

The following table gives the production of the gold-bearing regions of the Yeniseisk 
system during the period 1882 to 1B91. 





M 


nousinsk 


Kr 


dsnoyarsk 




Yeniseisk region. 


__J 


Kansk and 
Nizhneoud- 
insk regions. 


region. 


region. 


Northern 

system. 


Southern 
system. 


1 




ii 


&\ 


a 


a : 






^ 




S 


_g 


— . 


•S c 




2 


.2 —'■ 


2 o 


2 


.2 — ^ 


2 





■¥■ 





-" 


o 


o "3 
3 tc 


■3 


1 t 




1 '^-' 





2 





1 1 ' 


' d 




o ^ 




O U-, 












5 :*- : 




o 


ti o 


o 


iZ, 's 


o 


S o 





r^ ~0 





k' ! 






Ch 




fin 




Ph 


. 




^ 


Ph 


D 


M 




1 








^ 




^ 


• 1 to 












^ 1 oS 


1^ 


3 


3 


1 


S 


3 


s 


B 


4 
s 


1 


a 


1 1 1 


a 


-§ 1 % 

3 1 » 




^ 


S 


o 


j5 


;2 


1 


^ 


fS 


1 


12; 


^ 1 £ 


:^ 


^ 1 ^ 


'[ 1882 


41 


30 


31^12 


1 
1 1 2 


Va 


86 


95 


3674 


134 


115 


I872 


26 


17 


317* 


i 1883 


41 


30 


3'/. 


3 ! 3 


32 


95 


93 


13V2 


135 


125 


30 


29 


22 


14'/* 


' 1884 


42 


34 


39V2 


3 


5 


38-74 


89 


106 


367^ 


130 


126 


77* 


33 


29 


9^/4 


1885 


40 


32 


13''/4 


2 


4 


11 V* 


105 


106 


2174 


149 


118 


3272 


27 


27 


237* 


j 1886 


41 


31 


101/4 


2 


4 


674 


91 


97 


39V* 


151 


115 


26 


34 


22 


474 


1887 


41 


30 


24^4 


4 


2 1 34-74 


110 


100 


16'/* 


153 


125 


2774 


31 


21 


2774 


1888 


43 


32 


2 


3 


1 


29 


109 


97 


1972 


145 


123 


227* 


27 


23 


2274 


1889 


46 


26 


24V2 


3 


2 


2V2 


104 


83 


34 


148 


105 


3572 


32 


28 


77* 


1890 


45 


28 


8\U 


3 


1 


14 


113 


88 


36 


143 


123 


272 


33 


24 


3372 


1891 


24 


34 


16V4 


3 


1 


874 


106 


78 


5 


139 


117 


372 


31 


24 


I874 ' 



154 



The number of men employed in the gold mines of the same regions is shown in the 
below table. 









Yeniseisk 


1 


1 !- 


Minousinsk 
region. 


t5 


region. 


Kansk and 

Nizhncoudins 

regions. 


Northern 
system. 

Southern 
system. 


[ 1882 


1,122 


60 


4,27s 


4,297 


368 


1883 


1,102 


182 


4,447 


4,618 


591 


1884 


917 


163 


4,698 


3,626 


L599 1 


i 1885 


1,128 


123 


4,533 


4,989 


1,078 


1886 


1,167 


138 


3,807 


5,477 


601 i 


1887 


1,343 


124 


3,624 


4,750 


543 


j 1888 


1,379 


51 


3,732 


4,436 


762 


1889 


1,187 


95 


3,883 


4,440 


1,332 1 


1890 


1,242 


85 


4,183 


4,476 


1,076 


1891 


1,441 


71 


3,376 


4,408 


1,089 



The Yerkhneoudinsk region of the Transbaikal province is situated along the rivers flowing 
into Lake Baikal, and from it through the Angara into the Yenisei. The gold deposits of 
this region are situated in its south-eastern portion, near the Chinese frontier, along the 
tributaries of the river Chika, which falls into the river Selenga. These deposits lie in narrow 
valleys, surrounded by high mountains covered with forests. Although the number of deposits 
under exploitation is gradually increasing, still the yield of gold remains very limited. 

The following data refer to the Yerkhneoudinsk region. 



■^ 


Number 

of 
workings. 


Production 
of gold. 


Number 

of 
mines. 


;_• 


Number 

of 
workings. 


Production 
of gold. 


Number 

of i 
miners. 


<^ 


Pouds. : Pounds. 



^ 


Pouds. 1 Pounds.' 


1882 


12 


3 


l4'/2 


285 


1887 


12 


I 

- 1 32^/4 


186 


1883 


6 


3 


6V2 


200 


1888 


15 


1 20 


179 


' 1884 


9 


1 1 36'/2 


245 


1889 


12 


3 2P/4 


192 


1885 


9 


2 i 'dVli 


235 


1890 


17 


2 1 35^'2 


319 


1886 


11 


- 


27 


211 


1891 


15 


4 36^/4 


173 



The gold workings belonging to the system of the river Lena are situated in the regions 
of Yerkholensk and Kirensk in the government of Irkutsk, in the region of Bargouzinsk in 
the Transbaikal province and in the region of Olekminsk in the province of Yakutsk. Although 
the upper courses of the Lena abound in gold deposits, they are generally poor, 
and therefore the number of deposits under exploitation and the amount of gold produced in the 
Yerkholensk and Kirensk regions is inconsiderable. The gold workings of the Bargouzinsk 
region are situated to the east of Lake Baikal along the upper courses of the river Yitima 



GOLD. 155 

which flows into Lena from the right side. Although during tlie last ten years the number 
of deposits under exploitation has more than doubled, yet the number of men employed has 
scarcely varied, and the amount of gold produced has, if anything, decreased. 

Of all the above cited regions appertaining to the system of the Lena, the most 
important in respect to the yield of gold and number of men employed, is the Olekminsk 
region, situated in the south-western portion of the Yakutsk province. All the gold deposits 
of this region are included between 53 and 60" north latitude and between 130 and 138° east 
longitute from Paris, and are bounded: to east by the river Olekma, to the north and north- 
west by the river Lena, to the west and south-west by the river Vitima, and finally to the 
south by the Yablonovoy mountain chain, which is here the watershed of the tributaries of the 
Lena and Amour. This region is intersected in all directions by the spurs of the Mouisk and 
Yablonovoy mountains, and has quite an Alpine character. One of the chief spurs of the Mouisk 
mountains extends parallel to the river Vitima and this divides the Olekminsk region into 
two systems, the Titimsk and the Olekminsk. The Yitimsk system lies to the north-east of 
Irkutsk at a distance of 1,700 versts from it. The Olekminsk system extends in the same 
direction still further across the watershed of the Lena and Vitima, so that in reality this 
watershed forms the true boundary between the tw^o systems. Both systems are at an equal 
altitude above the level of the sea, nor is there any geological difference between them, as 
ihe same rocks predominate in both. The gold deposits, known up to the present time, almost 
blend into one another and the distance across the intermediate mountain chain does not 
exceed fifteen versts. 

Among the rivers along which the gold deposits of the Vitimsk system are situated, 
the river Bodaibo deserves particular attention, as all its system is exceedingly rich in gold, 
and the richest deposits are situated over a comparatively small area in this system. There 
are also rich deposits near the upper courses of the gold bearing tributaries of the Vitima, 
beyond the watershed along the tributaries of the rivers flowing into the Lena. Among the 
tributaries of the Lena which water the Olekminsk system, the most noteworthy are the 
systems of the Great and Little Patomo: and of the tributaries of the Olekma, the most 
notable are the rivulets of Zhuya, Bogolonak, Khomolkho and Vacha. 

The gold obtained from the Olekminsk- Vitimsk deposits is distinguished for the size 
of its grains, so that nuggets of \'i pound and more in weight are frequently found. Besides 
this, the gold from these deposits is distinguished for its somewhat regular crystalline form. 
With respect to the mode of occurrence of the gold bearing strata, it should be mentioned 
that the gold of the Olekminsk- Vitimsk deposits has the peculiarity of being distributed in 
alluvial deposits in two, and not unfrequently even in three layers. The average richness of 
the gold bearing sands during recent years has been: in the Olekminsk system from T'a to 
P/4 zolotniks, and in the Vitimsk system from 3 to 4^/4 zolotniks per 100 pouds of sand. 
However, In some workings the amount of gold is as much as 6' 1 2 zolotniks and more per 
100 pouds of sand. The thickness of the gold veins is from 2 to 15 feet and the thick- 
ness of the superincumbent dirt or peat varies between half a sagene to 20 sagenes. 
The largest workings are chiefly concentrated in the deposits situated at a gi-eater depth 
befow the surface; as in the Olekminsk and Vitimsk systems these deposits are the richest. 



156 



>1BEKIA 



The greater part of the peat and gold beariug sand is in a perpetually frozen state, 
hut sometimes the gold hearing rock stuff is unfrozen, and lastly a combination of the one 
and the other is sometimes met with, hut this phenomena has not heen sufTiciently investi- 
gated for it to serve as a guide in the exploitation of the deposits in which it occurs. There 
are frequent instances where the frozen state of the soil is taken advantage of for sinking shafts 
in those deposits which lie at some depth and which are exploited by underground workings. 

The gold workings of the Vitimsk and Olekminsk systems have their stations or 
chief depots on the banks of the Lena near the mouths of the river Yitima. The workings 
of the Olekminsk system are situated at a distance of about 350 versts from the depots, 
and vehicular communication can only be carried on in the winter over the ice; and in 
summer the goods have to be transported on the backs of camels. For working, the 
Yitimsk system is much more advantageously situated, as in summer there is a steamer 
communication from the mouth of the Yitima to a distance of 300 versts up the river 
Bodaibo, where the gold workings of this system begin; moreover the mines are con- 
nected by a carriage road. The miners of the Olekminsk diggings are chiefly hired from Irkutsk, 
whence also all the provisions and articles necessary for the workings and miners are bought. 

Notwithstanding the comparative infancy of the gold industry in those regions, ami 
the difficulties which are encountered in the severity of the climate, dearness of labour 
and the distance from any inhabited place, still the production of gold has developed rapidly, 
and in the Olekminsk region, reached a maximum of 939 ponds in 1880; indeed since 1868 
this region has stood first among all th(^ gold regions of Siberia in respect to its yieW nf 
precious metal. 

The following table gives the prudiiction uf the gold regiuns belonging to the Lena 
system, during the last ten yeais. 





. Yerkholensk and 
Kirensk regions. 


Bargouzinsk regions. 


Olekminsk region. 


■^ ' Production of 




Production of 




Production of } 






gold. 


M 


gold. 


If 


gold. 
Pouds. 1 


Ponds. 1 


Ponds. 


g 


1882 


1 - : 4 


25 


34 


IV2 


62 


759 


l'/2 


18f^3 


1 - 4'i4 


24 


29 


l8^'4 


58 


686 


5V2 j 


1884 


2 I - 4 


24 


24 


38^'4 


57 


704 


13 


1885 


2 — { l4^^i 


24 


24 


15^^ 4 


65 


1 538 


39 1 


1886 


2 


1 


18 


37 


25 


10 


64 


466 


32'74 


1887 


2 





22'/^ 


29 


34 


IIV'2 


75 


451 


7^2 


]H<AQ 


4 


3 


14'/. 


41 


25 


9V/4 


78 


464 


3^'4 j 


1889 


5 


7 


30 


55 


34 


26 '/4 


77 


495 


29'/; 


; 1890 


4 


4 


19 


(50 


31 


8^'4 


79 


575 


33". 


1891 


4 




34 


64 


27 


35 


87 


545 


27-. 



GOLD. 157 

Tlie following table give^ the number nT inini'rs uniplnyed in tlicso regions duriim tin 
same period. 





Verkholensk 
and Kirensk 
region. 


Eargouzinsk 
region. 


If 


Year s. 


Verkholensk 
and Kin^nsk 
region. 


If 


i 

Olekminsk 
region. 


1882 


10 


940 


4,558 


1S87 


20 


8<i2 


5,073 ' 


1883 


G 


839 


3,529 


1888 


21 


1,225 


5,638 


1884 


20 ■ 


482 


5,421 


1889 


199 


1,036 


5,830 


! 1885 


11 


789 


5,278 


1890 


120 


995 


6,464 


1886 


53 


643 


4,910 


1891 


119 


738 


6,772 



In 18!^9 the workings of both systems of the Olekminsk region employed 2,840 horses 
anil 2,100 reindeer. The native Tunguz and Yaknts transport the building timber and pit 
props regiilred at the mines, by reindeer. Passing now to a review of the gold deposits in the 
vast river province of the Amour, it should be mentioned that the Nerchinsk mining region 
is in the uppermost courses of this system, along the tributaries of the Shilka and Argouna. 
The gold deposits of the Nerchinsk region are subdivided into four administrative regions: the 
Chitinsk, Akshinsk, Nerchinsk and the Nerchinsk metallurgical regions, situated between 128 
and 137" east longitude and 49 and 53" north latitude. Veinous gold was discovered in the 
Nerchinsk region so far back as 1777, but owing to the poorness of the ore it was not worked. 
In 1838 promising alluvial deposits were discovered in the valley of the river Kara, the 
left hand tributaiy of the Shilka. These workings which are exploited to the present day, 
long remained the only ones of any consideration in the district. In 1853 the Shakhtalinsk 
deposit was opened out, and in 1865 the deposits along the rivulet Chernaya Ongruma were 
discovered; the latter remain the richest to the present time. Since 1865 when the Nerchinsk 
region was opened to private enterprise, the production of gold has grudually increased. At 
present, gold is extracted in the eastern portion of the Transbaikal province, in the 
Akshinsk region along the systems of the rivers Onon, Ingoda and Nercha, and in the Ner- 
chinsk region along the systems of the rivers Ougruma, Gazinioura, Oinida, Nercha and Shilka. 
Veinous gold is also worked in the Chitinsk and Akshinsk regions. The alluvial deposits of 
the Amour and Littoral provinces are situated in the basins of the left tributaries 
of the Amour, within an area lying approximately between 52 and 56° north latitude and 
120 to 138° east longitude from Paris. 

From their geogTaphical position the gold dep osits of the Amour may be divideil inti. 
several groups, lying in the following order from west to east. The gold bearing district 
of the first group is situated on the watershed between the Amour and Zea, in thf 
neighbourhood of Albazine at a distance of 100 versts from the Amour. The deposits of this 
group were the first discovered in the Amour province, in 1866, by the well known mining 
engineer Anosov, who during 12 years endured every privation in an initiring exploration 



158 SIBERIA. 

of the mineral wealth of the regiou of the Amour. At that time this region was entirely 
unknown to industry, and was at a distance of 500 versts from the inhabited localities of the 
Transbaikal province. During the first year, 1868, following the institution of gold workings in 
this district, 50 pouds of gold were extracteil and the average richness of the deposits was 
found to he over three zolotniks per hundred pouds of sand. The second group of deposits in 
the gold hearing region, is comprised by the tributaries of the rivers Gilui and Brianta which 
fall into the river Zea from the right side. This group comprises some of the richest 
deposits now known, and was also discovered by Anosov. The exploitation of the gold depos- 
its in this district, where over the whole area between the rivers Gilui and Brianta there is 
no stream which is not in some degree gold bearing, was begun in 187(i, and in 1883 a vein 
deposit was also discovered. 

The third group of deposits is situated along the system of the river Selendzha, the 
left tributary of the river Zea. In 1874 a whole series of deposits was discovered here after 
the indication of Anosov. The fourth gi'oup, comprising the system of the upper courses of 
the river Niman, the right tributary of the river Boureya, was also discovered after 
the indication of Anosov, in 1875. A series of deposits was disclosed here at a distance of 
six hundred versts from the junction of the Boureya and Amour. These deposits proved to 
be exceedingly rich in gold, and the fame of their discovery soon penetrated into industrial 
spheres and attracted numerous prospecting parties to this perfectly desert region. The same 
mountain chain that gives rise to the Selendzha and Mman, also forms the source, only on its 
eastern side in the Littoral province, of the river Amguun which falls into the Amour 
from the left at about 90 versts distance from its mouth. In 1868, the fifth and most 
eastern gi'oup of the deposits of the Amour gold bearing region, was discovered in the 
system of the river Amgoun. The gold bearing beds in the Amour deposits are under very 
favourable conditions for exploitation. They lie at an inconsiderable depth; the average thick 
ness of the peat is about one sagene and the thickness of the gold bearing bed, half a 
sagene. Hence all the deposits are exploited by open workings, and only in certain of those 
along the river Niman, where the thickness of the peat exceed 20 feet and of the gold bearing 
bed 9 feet, are underground minings carried on. Besides the actual localities belonging to 
the system of the Amour within the borders of the Littoral province in its southern portion, 
numerous gold deposits have been found in many parts of the continent and also on the islaml 
of Askolda, near Vladivostok, where the gold bearing seam forms the bottom of the sea ami 
whence a gold bearing sand is extracted. 

The gold workings of all the above cited groups of the Amour system, have their 
depot stations on the Amour, Zea, Boureya and Amgoun. There is a steamboat communi- 
cation on the three last named rivers, for a distance up to 400 versts from their mouths. 
The remaining distance of 200 to 400 versts is partly traversed in boats and partly on horse- 
back along paths leading through the midst of the taiga to the gold workings. In winter 
only is there the possibility of a more convenient communication between the mines and 
their depot stations, whence they obtain all their provisions in the winter. Owing to 
this circumstance the cost of labour along the system of the Zea amounts from 1,000 to 
1.200 roubles per head, and on the Ximaii it even comes to 1,500 and 1,900 roubles. Notwith- 



GOLD. 150 

Standing ihcse very disadvantageous economic conditions tlie gold workings of the Anioiii- 
province are gradually enlarging their production, and moreover the number of deposits under 
exploitation is constantly increasing. The following table gives the production and number of 
workings in the Amour river system; all the workings in the Trausbaikal province belonging 
to this system, being grouped under the general designation of the deposits of the Nerclunsk 
region. 



o 


Nerchinsk region. 1 


Amour province. | 


Littoral province. jj 


1 
Number of 1 

workings. 


Production 
of gold. 




Production 
of gold. 




Production 1| 
of gold. j 


1 
Pouds. 

Pounds. 





1 

(2 


Pouds. 

Pounds. 


1882 


48 


271 


003 . 


15 


254 


16\//. 


3 


16 


T\. 


1883 


53 


271 


16^/4 


19 


248 


38-74 


3 


22 


20 


1881 


52 


259 


30^/4 


22 


323 


241/2 


2 


20 


32-V4 


: 1885 


51 


149 


241/4 


22 


302 


131/2 


4 


21 


371/4 


' 1886 


51 


204 


28\/2 


19 


345 


15^4 


2 


11 


m'l'i 


• 1887 


57 


179 


15^'. 


21 


355 


22'74 


3 


6 


33-/2 


1888 


57 


146 


12V4 


22 


377 


I8V4 


4 


8 


381/4 


1889 


74 


183 


253/. 


34 


458 


18^4 


3 


7 


14 


1890 


79 


204 


1 


51 


485 


251/2 


3 


6 


381/4 


1891 


83 


198 


V2 


47 


427 


22^/4 

j 


6 


16 

i 


351/2 



During the same period the following number of men were employed at the workings 
uf these several localities. 



1882 
1883 
1884 
1885 
1886 



7,225 
6,773 
6,796 
5,683 
5,560 



^ o 



2,307 
2,969 
2,492 
2,445 
1,997 



290 
350 
307 
293 
14'^ 



1887 
1888 
1889 
1890 
1891 



4,481 
4,010 
4,642 
5,174 
4,431 



1,132 
2,226 
2,701 
2,727 
3,400 



140 
203 

175 
319 

551 



The method of exploitation and in general the technical side of the gold industry de- 
pends upon whether the gold is extracted from alluvial or veinous deposits. In the alluvial 



] 60 SIBERIA. 

deposits the supi-ificial layer consists of an alluvium known as peat. The thickness of thL^ 
peal varies considerably and the relation between the thickness of the peat and that of 
the auriferous alluvium determines the system of working followed for extracting the gold. 
Before entering upon the actual exploitation of the auriferous beds, exploratory workings are 
conducted for determining the thickness of these beds and their richness in gold. In those 
parts of Siberia where the soil is unfrozen, the exploration of the deposit is generally made 
in the winter by means of pits sunk into the frozen ground. The method adopted is as follows: 
in autumn the pits are laid out and sunk to the w'ater level, when the work is stopped 
and the pits left open for a ceilain number of days depending upon the degree of cold, the 
drpih of the pit and the kind of suil. The pits are carefully protected from snow. When the 
pit has sufficiently frozen through, a wood fire is lighted at the bottom and when the bottom of 
ilie pit has thawed to a depth of about one foot, the thawed layer is easily removed with 
a pick and shovel. Notwithstanding the severe frosts, the freezing of the pits cau only be carrieii 
on to a depth of four sagenes. In those localities where the soil is frozen the exploratory 
pits do not present such difficulties, as they are made in hard ground and without the inflow 
of water. The specimens of the ground taken for assay from the bottom of the pit are washed 
in buddies in warm winter quarters erected upon the workings. The assays are taken at about 
each half foot through the thickness of the deposit. 

In the Yeniseisk region the winter exploring parties consist of five men with one overseer, and 
cost about three thousand roubles. Such a party is able to sink about 150 pits three sagenes deep. 
The removal .of the peat is carried on during the autumn or winter, or else simultaneously with 
the extraction of the sand, or else slightly in advance of it. If the peat be removed in Xlni 
autumn or winter a thin layer is left over the gold bearing alluvium to protect it against 
the influence* of the seveie frosts, and then this layer is removed in the spring. Sometimes 
advantage is taken of tlie spring floods, to wash away a portion of the peat. Only in a few, 
rare instances is the peat, containing a very small amount of gold, washed throughout its whole 
<'xtent; as a rule it is carried away and thrown aside. The extraction of the auriferous sand 
is conducted in the simplest manner possible by means of picks crowbars and shovels. How- 
ever, in the Olekminsk region the use of explosives in the mining works is yearly increasing, 
and the annual consumption of dynamite at the gold workings of this region amounts to 
abdut a thousand pouds. The auriferous sand is transported to the washing machines in two- 
wheeled carts diawn by horses, along a natural road or along a road made of logs. In some 
of the gold regions the transport at certain workings is dune in trucks along a tram line. 
The rare application of mechanical motors and appliances is frequently made a subject of 
j-eproach to the Siberian gold workers, but it is necessary to remember not only the situation 
of the workings in the most remote localities, void of any road capable of transporting heavy 
weights, but also the entire absence of any mechanical machine or other industrial works in 
Siberia which cduid I'urnisli the gold workings with the requisite tools, mechanism, machines 
or appliances. The cairiage of such articles from the Urals is exceedingly expensive and some- 
times doubles and tiiples iheir cost. Nevertheless, at some (d the workings in the Olekminsk 
region and Amour pioviiice. tlieie is a comparatively large application oi nu'chaiucal ap- 
pliances in ilie place id hand labour. This is particularly observable in the workings of 



GOLD. 1 G 1 

the Amour system, where there are large gold mining companies with sufficient capital at 
their disposal. Moreover, at many of the workings in the Olekminsk region the sand, gravel 
and peat is raised and transported by means of chain gear along a tram line. But it should 
be observed that if tram lines, transport by endless steel ropes, and even Lartig roads are 
met with in these regions, it is chiefly owing to the extreme dearness of horses and 
their feed. 

The extraction of the auriferous sand is carried on simultaneously with the washing; but 
in underground mines the sand is prepared for washing in the ^^1nter. Experiments made 
on the application of the hydraulic method of exploitation have not been successful, and 
there is not much chance of this method being ultimately adopted in the Siberian gold work- 
ings, owing to the irregularity of the distribution of the gold bearing properties, which ren- 
ders it impossible to erect large water reservoirs and hence of having a sufficient pressure of 
water, Avithout which the hydraulic process is impracticable. The motive power required for 
the machines used in the extraction of the gold is generally furnished by overshot water 
wheels. The water is led to the washing machines either by canals or wooden conduits called 
s p 1 1 k a. The water supply is generally very well constructed and the timber which sup- 
ports the conduits, in places attains 40 and 50 feet and is constructed with especial -lightness 
and strength. The supply of water to the canals and conduits is generally done by partially 
damming the streams, and there is no need of accumulating the water in reservoir ponds, as 
there is an abundance of running water almost everywhere. Portable engines are frequently 
used at the gold mines of the Olekminsk region and of the system of the Amour. These 
engines are used when there is not sufficient water for the hydraulic motors. 

At the present time in Siberia, the washing of the auriferous sand on a large scale is 
chiefly done in barrels, and only very clayey sand is treated in pans. In rare instances under 
particularly favourable conditions, when the profile of the soil is sufficiently inclined and the 
sand easily washed, it is excavated by hand and cast into a trough in which it is washed. 
This method, known as the Pakoulevsk process, is a modification of the American sluice 
process. Mr K. Koulibin, mining engineer, has recently introduced the sluice method of 
washing in the Urals, and he has modified Wooldear's system to suit the local conditions of 
Siberia, a system originally projected for the hydraulic process. This class of washing appliances 
are coming into use in Siberia where they are known as koulibinki 

The first machines used in Siberia for washing the auriferous sands, consisted of pans 
and wooden barrels with iron fixings inside. The first pans and barrels washed from 3,000 to 
5,000 pouds of sand per day; but when the gold industry developed they proved insufficient and 
therefore their dimensions were enlarged and their construction perfected. All the barrels now 
used in Siberia belong to one type and only differ in their dimensions. Each ban-el consists of a 
conical seive with one-half inch meshes. These orifices are of equal size down the whole length 
of the barrel and are distributed in a chess board fashion. The baiTel is made of boiler plate 
iron about one-fourth inch thick. The inside fitting of the barrels generally consists of iron bands 
placed edgewise. The ban-els are revolved, by a special gear put into motion by hydraulic 
motors or portable engines. The dimensions of the barrels vary from 10 to 17 feet in length. 
The smaller diameters vary from 'd^ji to 4^2 feet and the larger, from 4 to 7 feet. Below the barrels 

11 



152 SIBEKIA. 

there is an inclined plane, whoso upper portion is divided hy longitudinal beams into several 
parts on which there are transversal riffles for retaining the gold. 

Besides this, other aiTangements such as hrushwood or cloth are placed upon the inclined 
plane, for retaining the finer particles of gold. The length of this inclined plane or sluice is 
from 30 to 40 feet and it is generally made with a rather steep incline. The water for washing 
the sand is introduced into the barrel hy means of several hoses, sometimes fourteen in number, 
whioh direct the water into various parts of the barrel. The water and inside fitting of the 
barrel grind the sand together in the barrel, the gravel passes only through the wide end, and 
the slime, through the orifices of the barrel into the sluice. 

The washed sand and gravel, the so-called tailings fall through special trapdoors into 
carts or trucks and are dumped on the waste mounds. The ban-el machines are made 
single or double. At the present time, one barrel can wash from forty to fifty thousand 
ponds of light sand or twenty-five to thirty thousand pouds of pasty, clayey sand per 
day. The gold is collected from the sluices twice a day, and either undergoes a preliminary 
concentration on so-called «Americans;>> or else goes straight to the buddies where it is 
washed free from all foreign matter. The more pasty sands cannot be satisfactorily washed 
in barrels, and therefore other arrangements are employed in their treatment, the most common 
being a pan from 8'/2 to 16 feet in diameter having an edge one foot high and covered with a 
sieve with holes from V'2 to ^/4 inch in diameter. The sand thrown on the sieve is rubbed by several 
revolving rows of iron shoes, and washed with water. Under the combined action of the shoes and 
stream of water, the sand is rubbed together and the finer particles pass through the seive and fall 
upon a sluice in the same manner as with the barrels. The gravel left upon the seive is let 
through a special orifice from time to time. About fifteen to twenty thousand pouds of sand 
can be washed on these pans per day. In both the barrel and pan machines a small quantity 
of mercury is always supplied near the head of the sluice in order to collect the small 
particles of gold. 

The koulibi uka consists of a system of two parallel sluices, on which the sand is 
washed by its motion in a current of water. The sand and waters enter the chief sluice 
together. The width of this sluice varies from 2 to 3 feet, according to the amount of water 
and the extent of the washing; it has an inclination of 5 to 7 inches per sageue. The 
bottom of the sluice is entirely covered with an iron grating, which assists the washing of 
the sand and arrests the gold, amalgam and schlich. Transversal cuts five inches wide and 
covered with an iron sieve with interstices of one inch between the bars, are made along the 
lengtii of the sluice at distances of 12 to 14 feet. The fine gravel and water fall through 
these sieves and pass along a small inclined conduit into the second sluice, which is parallel 
to the lirst but at a lower level. This sluice is covered with a wooden grating for retaining 
the gold and amalgam. At its head, this sluice is from Vli to 2 feet wide, and it has a uni- 
form inclination of 3'/2 inches per sagene. This second sluice widens out somewhat towards the 
bottom, as tlic amount of sand falling through the cross cuts in the first sluice increases. The 
first sluice on ihf nmtrary is made wider towards the head. In both sluices, a fresh supply of 
water can be added if required according to the state of the division of the sand. The first 
sluice terminates in a sieve inclined at 45 degrees over which the coarse gravel rolls into a 



GOLD. 1 (J 3 

hopper, whoiice it is cast into trucks or carts and carried to tlie dump. Tiic sinallcr particles 
fall through this sieve on the second sluice which here bends underneath the first sluice. 
The second sluice terminates in a kind of rake arrangement for collecting the fine-washed 
gravel. The chief condition required in this inijde of washing is a sufficient supply of 
water. 

With respect to veinous or ipiartz gold in Siberia, it is only extracted in the Yeni- 
seisk region, in very small quantities; in the Altai in the exploitation of the silver ores from 
the Zyrianovsk andRiddersk mines, and in the Transbaikal province, where three deposits are 
now worked, giving a yearly yield of 12 to 17 pouds. p e r ye a r . The gold ores extracted 
from these deposits are crushed in stamps and washed in sluices covered with amalgamated 
copper sheets; the extraction of the gold is extremely i mperfe ct and a large amount is lost. 
As a portion of the gold is in a state of chemical combination, some experiments were made 
in 1«85 to apply Mounk tells process for the treatment of the gold ores at one of the deposits 
in the Transbaikal province; but they were not su cce ssful. 

In general, one of the chief hinderances to the development of the exploitation of vein- 
ous gold ores in Siberia, is the absence of mechanical works where the necessary machines 
could be constructed and repaired, as at present such machines have to be brought from the 
Urals at a great cost. An extended application of the wet chlorine methods of treatment in 
Siberia, is hindered by the cost of the materials requsite for the production of chlorine from 
bleaching puvvder. Apparently the extraction of gold by means of electrolysis would be more 
profitable in Siberia, as the use of turbines which is already beginning at the gold mines 
would give the possibility of having a mechanical motor during the whole year and of thus 
treating a sufficient amount of ore to bring in a profit. 

The exploitation of gold over the whole of Russia is carried ou upon the basis of the 
statute of the private gold industry, published in 1870. According to this statute, the gold 
miners working upon proprietary lands pay a tax upon the yield of gold to the Government, 
while those working upon State lauds or lauds belonging to His Majesty's Cabinet, pay an 
extra royalty to the Government or the Cabinet for the land covered by their workings. The tax 
uiion The yield of gold is levied on the amount of pure gold and silver separately present 
in the unrefined metal. The gold miners in the Olekminsk region, as the richest, pay a 10 
per cent tax and 10 roubles royalty per dessiatine of government land occupied by the wor- 
kings; in the province of the Amour there is a 5 per cent tax and 5 roubles per dessiatine; 
in all the remaining parts of Siberia and in European Russia, there is a 3 per cent tax and 
a rental of 1 rouble per dessiatine per year. 

V The gold workings on the lands belonging to His Majesty's Cabinet are divided 
into three classes according to their yield, and they pay a royalty from 5 to 15 per cent to 
the Cabinet and a rental of 15 kopecks per sagene length of the workings. 

All the schlich gold obtained by private individuals in Siberia has to be sent by them 
to the Government smelting houses, of which there are two, one for Western Siberia at Tomsk, 
and one for Eastern Siberia at Irkutsk. Besides this. His Majesty's Cabinet, under whose 
jurisdiction are the Altai and Xerchinsk works, has its own laboratory for the treatment of 
precious metals. The gold is smelted at the smelting house and its degree of purity determined 

11* 



164 SIBERL^ 

by assay. The metal is forwarded to the St. Petersburg Mint, and the gold merchants are 
given bills by which they obtain gold or silver coin or gold ingots. 



Silver, lead and copper. 

Siberia was once inhabited by a people, who according to the Russian legends, were called 
C h u d (wondei- men). It is not known when this people lived, but the chief monuments of their 
former existence are ancient mines, chiefly with open diggings, only in rare instances, under- 
ground workings. The antiquity of these works is seen from the fact that all the instruments 
wliich have been found in them are made either of copper or hard stone, which leads to the 
supposition that this people was entirely unacquainted with iron. The Chud mines, as these 
ancient workings are called, guided the Russian pioneers in their search for metalliferous 
deposits, and at first, all the workings w'ere begun in those localities where the Chud had 
formerly extracted their silver, lead or copper. 

In "Western Siberia the numerous remains of Chud mines found on the Altai and its 
very name of «altai» which means the «gold mountains» indicate their richness in met- 
als. The first efforts made by the Russians to exploit these riches belong to the close of the 
XVIII century but, strictly speaking, the mining industry of the Altai was placed upon a firm 
footing at the beginning of the XYIII century by Akinfia Demidov the son of the Tula 
blacksmith Nikita Demiilov (Antoufiev). In 1723 some Russian hunters found the remains of 
ancient scoria in the old waste heaps of Chud workings, near lake Kolyvan in the Biisk 
region, and mentioned this fact to Demidov. The ore deposits discovered in this locality 
proved to be particularly rich in copper and hence Demidov founded the first copper 
smelting works in the Altai, as early as 1726. He called these works the Kolyvano Yoskre- 
sensk works. In 1739 he erected the Baruaoulsk works, wliich subsequently, in 1771, 
became the town of Barnaoul and became the administrative centre of all the works of the 
Altai region. In 1744 Demidov erected a third work in the present Semipalatinsk province 
on the borders of the Altai region. 

In 1735 Demidov discovered the Zmeinogorodsk mine, but it was left unnoticed as the 
amount of copper in it proved inconsiderable. Soon afterwards however, namely in 1742, 
rich argentiferous lead ores were found in the Zmein mountains, from which Demidov in 
1744 and 1745 obtained 2 pouds 25^/4 pounds of silver. Subsequently, by an Imperial ukaz of 
the 15th May, 1747, all the mines and works of the Altai passed into the hands of His 
Majesty's Cabinet. 

From that time the mining industry of the Altai made rapid progress. The discovery 
and laying out of new mines continued to the close of the XVIII century. The following 
were the chief of these mines: the Cherepanovsk in 1781, the Salairsk in 1781, the Riddersk 
in 1784, and the extremely rich Zyiianovsk mine in 1791. The following works were 
erected by the Cabinet : the Pavlovsk in 1763, the Souzounsk in 1764, the Tomsk in 1770, 
the Loktevsk in 1771, the Aleisk in 1774, and the Ekaterininsk, afterwards called the Gav- 
rilovsk, in 1793. Tw'j nmre works were erected in the present century, the Zmeevsk in 1304, 



SILVEK, LEAD AND COPPER. 165 

and the Gourevsk in 1S16. Nearly all the works in the Altai are silver smelling works, the 
only exceptions being the Tomsk and Gourevsk iron works and the Soiizounsk works which 
smelt copper as well as silver. According to their geographical position all the ore deposits 
of the Altai mining region may he divided into two independent groups. The first of these 
groups, the so-called Zmeinogorsk region, lies in the southern portion of the Altai region, 
in the systems of the rivers Obi and Irtysh; and the second or Salairsk region lies at the 
north-eastern extremity of the Altai region in the system of the river Toma. The most im- 
portant difference in the conditions of these two groups is that the works of Zmeinogorsk 
region exclusively employ charcoal fuel, while those of the Salairsk region being in the 
near neighbourhood of the Kouznetsk coal basin, work with mineral fuel. 

The mountains which contain the ore deposits in the Zmeinogorsk region belong to the 
branches of the Say ansk mountains; while those in the Salairsk region belong to the branches 
of the Altai mountains. They generally have the appearance of rounded volcanoes, without 
any rocky peaks. As a rule the height of these mountains does not exceed 4,000 to 4,500 feel. 
The predominating rock in these mountains is clay slate, and are more rarely crystallne schists, 
upheaved by porphyries, which most likely played an important part in the formation of the 
ore deposits. At the foot of the ore bearing mountains there are strata of sedimentary for- 
mations of different periods consisting of slates, limestones and sandstones. The ore deposits 
belong to two classes, veins and stock works. All the vein deposits bear the general charac- 
ter of steeply inclined, short and thick veins. They generally occur on the borders of the 
junction of the clay slates with felsite porphyries. The vein deposits of the Salairsk mountains 
are accompanied by veins of quartose felspar porphyries which in their zone rise to the for- 
mation of ore bearing cavities. As a rule, stock ■ works are rare in the Altai, and are only 
known for the copper deposits and then they are not of great extent. 

As many as eight hundred deposits of metallic ores are known in the Altai mining 
region. Altogether however only about five hundred mines have been exploited, out of which 
only eight silver and two copper mines are now worked. The silver ores contain a smaller or 
larger amount of various compounds of copper, lead, zinc and iron, which modify the external 
appearance, properties and richness of the ores; thus as a rule, those ores which are rich iu 
lead or copper are poor in silver. The copper ores have the most uniform composition. Gold 
is found in only two of the silver mines, the Zyrianovsk and the Ridersk, and is distributed 
in a very variable extent throughout the deposit. Generally it appears in dependence upon a 
decrease in the amount of silver and other metals and occurs sparingly in ore bearing quartz 
in poor feiTuginous silver ores. The metalliferous ores are either ochre or pyritic ores. The 
ochre ores occur in the upper level of the deposits and were formerly the chief objects of 
exploitation. As they descend to a greater depth, the ochre ores gradually change into pyritic 
ores. All the Altai mines, at their greatest depth of 70 to 100 sagenes, pass into^ a zone 
of transition of the ochre into pyritic ores, and hence the ore is exceedingly variable in 
its composition and richness in metal. The ochre ores are generally richer than the pyr-itic 
and this distinction is most evident in the case of silver ores; the transition of the ochre 
into pyritic ores generally has an extremely unfavourable effect upon the richness of the ore 
in silver and lead; besides which the smelting of the ores becomes much more difficult. For 



166 SIBERIA. 

this reason the existing mines are not in a position to yield the same amonnt of metal as 
formerly. 

The amount of silver and lead in the ores is subject to great Huctuations. In the ochre 
ores the amount of silver varies from '/s to 10 zolotniks per poud of ore, and the amoimt of 
lead from 6 to 12 pounds per poud of ore, or 15 to 30 per cent. The pyritic ores are very 
much poorer. The amount of copper in the ores, smelted at the Souzounsk works, is from 
5 to 10 per cent. Very many of the silver mines are accounted quite exhausted and thei-e- 
fore their exploitation has been entirely stopped. Among these it is Impossible to avoid 
mentioning the Zmeinogorsk mine, which for a period of some seventy years yielded over 
50,000 pouds of silvei-. Other mines were worked for a much shorted period and after giving 
several thousand pouds of silver were found to be exhausted. 

At the present time the most productive mines are the Zyrianovsk in the Zmeinogorsk 
region and the Salairsk mines in another portion of the Altai region. The first named now 
yields about 500,000 pouds of ore, and the latter which, during the eighties, yielded from 700,000 
to one million pouds of ore, in 1891 gave only 395,400 pouds. The Zyrianovsk deposit is now 
considered the most productive of all the deposits of the Altai. It lies in the south-eastern 
portion of the region on the river Maslianka, 12 versts distant from the left bank of the 
river Boukhtarma and 70 versts from the river Irtysh. The Zyrianovsk deposit is about 340 
versts from the nearest silver smelting works, the Zmeievsk works. The Zyrianovsk deposit 
has yielded more than 45 million pouds of assorted ore containing over 45,000 pouds of silver 
and over 2,500,000 pouds of lead. 

The Salairsk deposits, which are now exploited by two mines, the Salairsk 1st and 
Salairsk 2nd, are very thick and extensive and guarantee a supply of ore for smelting for 
a very long time, but the ores of these deposits are poor in silver. Only two copper mines 
are now in work, the Sougatovsk and the Chudak. These mines are situated in the southern 
portion of the region, not far from the Irtysh; but at a distance of 400 versts from the Sou- 
zounsk copper smelting works. At the Sougatovsk mine, besides ore, a cement copper is obtained 
from the mine waters. The ores of the Zmeinogorsk region were smelted at four works, 
the Barnaoulsk, the Pavlovsk, the Loktevsk and the Zmeievsk, but the first three of these 
are now closed. The Salairsk region contains the Gavrilovsk silver smelting works. 

The statistics respecting the amount of silver smelted at the Altai works, show that at the 
beginning of the present century over a thousand pouds of this metal were annually smelted 
during a period of many years. Such was the position of the works at the time of the liberation of 
the serfs, an event which in 1862 produced a complete revolution in the economic order of 
the country, and changed the conditions of the mining industry in this poorly populated region. 
During the first years following the liberation of the serfs, the production of the Altai works 
remained almost as before, thanks to the energetic production of rich ores from previously 
prepared workings in the Zyrianovsk and Talovsk deposits. The increased price of labour led 
to a considerable reduction in the amount of preparatory and exploratory diggings, which 
had the necessary censequence of gradually decreasing the stores of ore and of subsequently 
reducing its actual production. The abolition of obligatory labour not only raised the wages 
at the mines, but also considerably increased the cost of transporting the ore, and this 



SILVER, LEAD AND COPPER. 



167 



clearly proved the disadvantages of the great distances between the mines and the works. More- 
over, the rise in the price of fuel, owing to the exhaustion of the forests in the neighbourhood 
of the mines and the feeble development of the mechanical parts of the works, also inBueuced 
the position of the metallurgical and mining industries of the Altai. And yet at the end of 
the last and beginning of the present century, the mechanical portion of the Altai 'works was 
placed upon another footing. It is worthy of remark that so early as 1766 a mining engineer 
Polzounov, erected the first steam acting blowing engine for blast furnaces at the Barnaoul 
works. Polzounov may justly be called the forerunner of Watt. In the Altai also the first 
experiment of laying down a tram line was made in 1817, for transporting the ore from the 
Zmeinogorsk mine and the Zmeevsk works, along a distance of 2'/? versts. 

Owing to the above mentioned causes, the production of silver at the Altai began to 
decrease considerably, especially since 1868; so also the amount of copper smelted, which in 
1872 amounted to nearly 40,0C0 pouds, subsequently gradually fell. The following table 
gives the production of the Altai mining region during the last ten years. 





P 


rod 


u c t i 


n. 


S i 1 


v-er. 1 


L e a d. j 


Copper. 


Pouds. 1 


Pounds. 1 


Pouds. 


Pounds. 


1882 


397 


25V.'-i 


14,890 


16,800 i 


1883 


368 


12'A 


16,385 


14,015 1 


1 1884 


446 


29V4 


20,083 


24,000 


1885 


535 


23' /2 


16,706 


24,605 


1886 


613 


6-^/4 


22,079 


17,800 


1887 


661 


38 


31,117 


16,240 


1888 


682 


4V2 


10,099 


18,200 


i 1889 


652 


P/. 


6,653 


21,073 


1890 


681 


8 


19,305 


19,337 


1891 


595 


7^/2 


11,188 


13,193 



In reducing tlieir smelting of silver and lead, the Altai works are adopting a wet 
process for the extraction of silver from the ores after a method invented by a Hungarian 
engineer Bittzansky for treating the ores from the Zyrianovsk mine. 

In Eastern Siberia old workings of galena in crystalline limestone have been discovered 
in the govei-nment of Yeniseisk in the Minousinsk district at the Irbinsk estate. A large 
number of Chud mines have been found on the eastern declivity of the Alatau mountains 
and beyond in the valley of the Yenisei. These workings were renewed in the middle of the 
seventeenth century and the Lougazhsk copper smelting works were erected here at a distance 
of 9 versts from the Yenisei and 25 versts from the town of Minousinsk. These works not 
only smelted ores from the surrounding mines, but also from more distant localities: from 



I6S .IBEKIA. 

the upper courses of the rivers falliug into the river Abacan, and from the Mainsk mine on 
the Yenisei at the village of Oznachennyi. In 1874 the Spassk copper smelting works were 
erected on the river Pechits. These works smelted ore from the Mainsk and several other 
mines. They as far as is known, only worked between 1879 and 1881 and altogether smelted 
about 1,250 ponds of copper. 

Deposits of argentiferous galena are known in the government of Yakutsk at several 
points along the Yilua and Undybala, the tributary of the river Yana. In 1850 the latter de- 
posit was explored, but it was found unsuitable for exploitation owing to its distance from 
populated localities and to the scarcity of forests. In all probability this was also the reason w^hy 
the exploitation of the Undybalsk mine, which was carried on from 1765 to 1775, was after- 
wards stopped. There is another deposit in the Yakutsk province, on the river Batoma. a right 
ributary of the Lena, where it is said the native Yakuts smelt lead and silver. 

Rumours of the occurrence of silver ores in the present Amour Govenor-Generalship, 
at Daouria on the banks of the Shilka and Argouna, reached Moscow during the reign of 
Peter the Great, and induced this monarch to dispatch a party of Greek miners to Siberia 
under the direction of one Levandian, who in 1698, guided by the discovery of remains of 
Chud workings on the Koultouchnaya mountain 16 versts distance from Argouna, dis- 
covered a deposit of ai-geutiferous lead ore in this locality and began to exploit it. In 1704 
silver smelting works, called the Nerchinsk, was erected by order of Peter I. At that 
time the whole of this portion of the Transbaikalia, which subsequently comprised the Xerchinsk 
mining region, was a perfectly wild country only inhabited by nomad natives. To introduce a 
regular mining industry into this region, it was necessary to take measures for the emigration 
of Russian settlers and to overcome immense difficulties. This explains why at first the min- 
ing industry in the Nerchinsk region developed very slowly. But the production of silver 
began to increase considerably with the opening out of new mines and with the growth of the 
population in the region. 

The introduction of smelting by private Siberians also had a beneficial effect. The 
maximum production of silver was, during the period 1763 to 1786, when it attained 629V2 
ponds. In 1790 the yield of silver fell to 219 ponds, it subsequently periodically fluctuated, 
and in 1847 it even fell below 200 pouds. From that time the production of silver in the 
Nerchinsk region declined completely, and from 64V2 pouds smelted in 1850 it fell to 7'/2 pouds 
in 1863, and then it temporarily ceased altogether. The reasons of this fall in the silver pro- 
duction of the Nerchinsk region were the flooding of the mines, the economic revolution pro- 
duced by the abolition of the serfs and of the obligatory labour at the works, and chiefly the 
revolution which took place in the management of the Nerchinsk works, with the opening of 
new and richer gold workings, when all the force and means of the region were directed to 
the extraction of gold, which became the chief object of production instead of silver and 
lead. Thus there is no foundation for speaking of the exhaustion of the deposits of silver ore 
in the Nerchinsk region, and there is reason for supposing that the production of silver might 
revive with fresh energy, if the economic conditions of the region were improved. As regards 
the deposits of silver ores, it can only be said that as many as 90 different mines have been 
opened out in the Nerchinsk region, that vein deposits predominate in the south-western, 



SILVER, LEAD AND COrrEK. 169 

and pocket deposits in the north-eastern portion. Besides silver and lead, deposits of copper 
ores are also known, hut although trials were made to exploit and smelt them, the re- 
sults were not favourahle. At the present time altogether 10 mines are worked and their 
annual yield amounts to 100,CKX) pouds. The only existing silver smelting works in the Ner- 
chinsk mining region, the Kroutomarsk works, smelt ahout 50 pouds of silver a year. 

A deposit of argentiferous lead ores has been discovered in the far eastern extremity 
of Siheria, in the valley of the river Vantsin at ahout 120 versts distance from the gulf of 
St. Olga, and 37 versts from the gulf of Preohrazheask. Explorations of this deposit, made in 
1872, showed the presence of rather vast, ancient workings, and in recent times the exploitation 
of the ores was carried on by the Chinese. 

Traces of Chud mines are found scattered about various parts of the region 
of the Kirghiz steppes, and In 1815 and 1820, these workings were the means of the discov- 
ery of rich deposits of argentiferous lead ores. A mining proprietor, Mr. Popov, guided by 
the indications of the natives, made the first claim for deposits of argentiferous lead and 
copper ores in the Kirghiz steppes and obtained a concession for the acquirement of what lands 
and forests he might need for the exploitation of the mineral wealth of the region and 
for the erection of metallurgical works. Already in 1857, 106 copper workings and 44 argen- 
tiferous lead and copper ore mines were declared; and at the close of 1888, the Karkaralinsk 
district of the Semipalatinsk province, comprised 121 claims of ore deposits, both copper and 
argentiferous lead; while in the whole of the Kirghiz steppes up to 400 ore bearing deposits 
are known. The following are the most important. The richest argentiferous lead ore deposits 
are situated in the southern portion of the Karkaralinsk district between the town of Kar- 
karalinsk and lake Balkhash, at a distance of 200 to 250 versts from the above named town. 
This locality is desert and void of forest and at a great distance from the river Irtysh which 
is the only convenient means of communication in this region. 

There is another tract of argentiferous lead and partly argentiferous lead and copper 
ore deposits, to the north of the above region at a distance of 75 to 100 versts from the 
town of Karkaralinsk to the south and south-west of this town. Among the many vein de- 
posits of this district which have been opened out, the vast deposit of Ber-Kara is particu- 
larly distinguished. The Bogoslovsk mine w^as laid out on this deposit by Popov and worked 
to a depth of 18 sagenes. This mine yielded both argentiferous lead and copper ores, which 
were smelted at two works erected by Popov, and also at the Altai works to which they 
were temporarily transported. Deposits of copper ores are particularly abundant on the borders 
of the Karkaralinsk and Pavlodarsk districts. Many of these deposits occur in the form of 
veins of greater or less thickness, and in some instances somewhat considerable masses of 
native copper have been found. The copper ores extracted from this region were smelted at 
copper smelting works erected in the neighbourhood. Oxidized copper ores are found in the 
sandstone strata occurring to the south of the town of Semipalatinsk in the basin of the river 
Aschi-Sou, and in the north-western corner of the Karkaralinsk district, near the borders of 
the Akmolinsk province in the lower courses of the river Chiderta, 

Copper smelting was first started in the Kirghiz steppes, at the Blagodato-Stefanovsk 
works, erected by Popov at about 80 versts distance to the north-east of the to^\^^ of Karka- 



170 



SIBERIA. 



raliiisk. These works continued in action until 1861, when they were finally closed for want 
of fuel. Popov also erected the following metallurgical works: the Alexandrovsk which 
exclusively smelted argentiferous lead ores, and were situated at a distance of 35 versts to 
the north of the Bayan-Aoulsk station; the Bogoslovsk works, in the centre of the richest 
deposits of argentiferous lead and copper ores, on mount Berkara at 80 versts distance to the south 
of Karkaralinsk ; and the loanno-Predtechensk works near the Kyziltavsk coal mines. All these 
works, as well as those erected by Mr. Kouznetsov near the Grachevsk station, on the left 
hank of the Irtysh, had no guarantee for their supply of fuel, aud only worked intermittently, 
and their annual yield of copper did not exceed 8,000 pouds. 

The Spassk copper smelting works were erected by the heirs of Mr. Ryazanov in the 
beginning of the sixties, in the district of Akmolinsk near the borders of the Karkaralinsk 
district, and from that time the copper production of the Kirghiz steppes considerably increased, 
and in 1870 reached its highest normal of 38,800 pouds. During the entire period of the 
existence of the Spassk works, which were closed in 1885, the production of copper, at the 
Kirghiz mines varied between 18,500 and 34,000 pouds per year. After the closing of the 
Spassk works however, the Kirgliiz steppes lost every importance among the copper produc- 
ing regions of Russia. 

The production of silver aud lead at the Kirghiz works was carried on very irregularly, 
and in very limited quantities until 1883. In 1882 a rich and already known deposit of 
galena and oxidized lead and copper ores was explored at Kyzyl-Espe, situated in the Ak- 
chetavsk district, at a distance of about 80 versts to the north-north-west of lake Balkhash. An 
experimental smelting of these ores was begun in 1883, at the works erected at the mine, 
and also at the Kozmo-Demyanovsk works situated at 18 versts to the south-east of the 
town of Karkaralinsk, and 280 versts from the mine. The galena and lead ores extracted 
from the Kyzyl-Espe mine proved exceedingly rich, with about 12 zolotniks of silver per 
poud of ore and about 50 to 70 per cent of lead. 

In recent years the production of silver and lead has not only increased at the works 
erected by Popov, but experimental smeltings have been carried on at several other mines 
belonging to other persons. 

The following table shows the position of the silver and lead production in the Kirghiz 
steppes since 1883. 



c5 
1^ 


Production 

of 

silver. 


Production 

of 

lead. 


>-< 


Production 

of 

silver. 


Production 

of j 
lead. i 


Pouds. 


Pounds. 


Pouds. 


Pouds. 


Pounds. 


Pouds. 


1883 
1884 
1885 
1886 

1887 


10 
35 

84 
171 


33V^ 

27^/* 

23V2 

16'A 


2,693 

3,186 
8,937 
11,363 


1888 
1889 
1890 
1891 


136 

110 

72 

96 


8 

lOVa 

28' /4 
13'^/* 


22,544 1 
10,836 
14,693 
3,879 



171 



Iron. 

At the present time there are only four iron works in the whole of Siberia. It is 
true that, thanks to the vast river system offered by the Toura, Tobol, Irtysh, Obi and Tomi, 
up to the town of Tomsk nearly the whole of Western Siberia is in direct water communication 
with the very foot of the Urals, and can conveniently supply itself with metals from this 
centre of the Russian mining and metallurgical industries where there are most vast and 
rich deposits of iron ore, and numerous iron works. On the other hand, the system of 
the Amour enables goods transported by sea from Nikolaevsk to penetrate over 3,000 versts 
into the interior of Siberia. It is certain however that notwithstanding the cheapness Of 
transport by water, the vast distances traversed must greatly increase the price of goods 
carried in this manner. At the same time the population of Siberia are in need of pig- 
iron and iron as well as of articles made of these metals, not only for domestic and agri- 
cultural purposes but also for the vast gold industry which offers a more and more urgent 
demand for metals and metallic goods. If up to the present time the iron industry is still 
very feebly developed in Siberia, it is not for want of ore deposits but for purely economic 
and commercial reasons. It should be mentioned however that the deposits of iron ores near 
the town of Yeniseisk were worked by the native Ostiaks and Toungouze previous to the 
Russian dominion of Siberia, and afterwards by the neighbouring peasants. The manufacture 
of iron direct from the ore, which was carried on here from ancient times, flourished to 
such an extent that at the beginning of the present century there were as many as forty 
smithies which yearly produced about 30,000 pouds of iiou. The development of the gold 
industry however absorbed all the local labour and put an end to this branch of industry. 

The erection of iron works within the Altai mining region was called forth by the 
requirements of the local mining and metallurgical industries. The first iron works, the 
Tomsk, were erected in the Altai in 1771, to replace the Irbinsk works, which were for a 
certain period under the jurisdiction of the Altai mining management but situated at a consid- 
erable distance in the government of Yeniseisk. After the erection of the Gourievsk works in 
the Kouznetsk region of the government of Tomsk on the river Bachata, for smelting the 
silver ores of the Salairsk mines, som(> deposits of iron ores were discovered in the near 
neighbourhood of the works, and a small blast furnace was erected for smelting the ore. In 
1846 this furnace was replaced by one of greater dimensions and in 1747 the Gourievsk 
iron works were erected on this spot. The Tomsk works were closed in 1864 and the manu- 
facture of iron was then concentrated at the Gourievsk works. The increased cost of char- 
coal fuel, owing to the exhaustion of the neighbouring forests, induced the works, in 
1873, to introduce coal and to replace the bloomery process for puddling. At the same time 
the increasing demand in the region fur machines and steam engines led to the erection of 
special machine works, adjoining the Gourievsk works, and the production of this de- 
partment is increasing every year. The oie smelted at the Gourievsk works is a brown hem- 



172 



SIBEKIA. 



atite, extracted from the deposits, lying near the villages of Salairsk Roudnik and Ari- 
pichevo; both these deposits are considered very rich. The ores contain from 38.5 to 44.3 
per cent of iron. The coal consumed at the Gourievsk works is from different pits situated 
at a small distance from the works. Coke is made from coal from the Bachatsk deposit. Lime- 
stone flux, fire clay, building stone and other indispensible materials for carrying on 
works, are exploited in the near neighbourhood. Nearly all the workmen employed at the 
works are local inhabitants. The following table gives the production of the works during the 
last six years in puuds. 



1 

j a 


— 


M a n 


u f a c t u 


r e d. j 


^ 


Iron goods. 




' 1886 


123,980 


72,220 


6,570 


5,000 1 


I 1887 


133,300 


44,0i0 


5,500 


4,820 


1888 


70,880 


60,825 


5,675 


8,080 


1889 


99,010 


50,630 


4,300 


8,900 


1890 


115,960 


60,130 


2,230 


9,300 


' 1891 


126,020 


63,230 


6,163 


10,830 , 



The excellent quality of the iron ores discovered in the Minousiusk region of the gov- 
ernment of Yeniseisk, led to the construction of two iron works in this district. The Irbinsk 
iron works were erected by the Government as early as 1740, on the right bank of the Yen- 
isei at a distance of about 100 versts to the north-east of the town of Minousiusk. In 1774 
the Irbinsk works were given over to a private individual and after passing from one hand 
to another, they became quite disorganized and were ultimately closed. A rich deposit of 
magnetic iron ore is known within the limits of the 125,000 dessiatines of forest belonging to 
those works. Another locality, rich in iron ore, occurs in the south-western corner of the gov- 
ernment of Yeniseisk, where the spurs of the Altai and Sayansk mountains hinder the rapid 
course of the river Abakana, which falls into the Yenisei, at several versts from the 
borders of the government of Tomsk, and 80 versts from the northern frontier of China. 

A Moscow merchant Mr. Kolchougin was the first to penetrate into this district, in 1865, 
and having discovered a rich deposit of iron ore on the left bank of the river Abakana, at about 
200 versts distance from its junction with the Yenisei, he erected the Abakansk iron works 
on the spot. The explorations made here showed the presence of thick deposits of magnetic, 
and spathic iron ore and of brown hematite. The vast thickness of "this deposit and the huge 
store of ore it contains can be seen from the fact that it extends for a distance of about a 
verst and intersects an entire mountain about 60 sagenes high from foot to summit. These 
ores contain from 61 to 65 per cent of metallic iron, and give on smelting from 50 to 60 
per cent of pig iron; moreover they are very easily smelted. 



173 



The Abakansk works smelt with cliarcoal Tuel, which it procures from the 117,000 
dessiatines of forest attached. The erector of these works founded a village in their 
neighbourhood, which he populated with workmen from the various Ural works. Besides 
the people regularly employed there the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages and 
natives are attracted by the auxiliary and other labour, offered by the works. Owing to the 
bankruptcy of the proprietor these works are now exploited by an artel or company of local 
workmen, who not having sufficient capital or labour for carrying on the business in a proi)er 
manner, only keep it going in a very small way. And yet the technical conditions offered by 
the rich stores of excellent ore, the possibility of applying water power, the good quality of 
the articles turned out, which in no way cede to those of the Ural works, and also the 
profitable economic conditions presented by a contingent of experienced workmen and a vast 
region for sale opened to the works by means of water communication, all this proves the 
possibility of reviving the activity of the Abakansk works on a perfectly new footing. 

The following taWe gives the production of these works in ponds, during the last 6 years. 



a 
>-* 


i 1 


M a 1 


I u f a c t u 


r e d. ll 


o 


Iron goods. 


Iron 

castings. 


1886 


73,300 


65,650 





3,2(J0 


1887 


70,530 


75,800 


4,400 


4,260 


1888 


41,830 


17,790 


3,095 


2,020 


1 1889 


13,770 


7,920 


1,330 


8,710 


1890 


74,160 


52,250 


5,050 


2,820 1 


1891 


124,770 


82,740 


6,940 


5,900 



The Nikolaevsk iron works are situated in the government of Irkutsk on a tributary 
of the river Oka, which falls into Angara, and at a distance of 600 versts from Irkutsk, and 
180 versts by road from the town of Nizhneoudinsk. These works were erected by the Govern- 
ment in 1845, and In 1864 passed entirely into the hand of Mr. Trapeznikov, a merchant. The 
new proprietor devoted about a million roubles to this affair, and raised the yield of the 
works; but being occupied in other matters he was obliged to sell them In 1870 to Mr. Lavren- 
tiev, also a merchant, who in his turn after two years, sold the works, mines and plant to the 
brothers Boutin, merchants of Nerchinsk. The works own several iron mines situated at 
distances of 4 to 90 versts. The ore, a magnetic iron ore, gives from 40 to 55 per cent of 
pig iron. 

The works have 48,840 dessiatines of forest attached to them. The motive power is 
partly hydraulic and partly steam. The population of the works now numbers 3,500, including 
700 to 800 workmen. The production is inconsiderable and does not even suffice for the near 
neighbouring demantl. 



174 



Their yield during the last .six years was as follows, in pouds. In addition to this Ihe 
Nikolaevsk works manufacture steel, only in very limited quantities. 





tc g 


lAI a n 


u f a c t u 


r e d. 




5c 


1 

1 1 ' 


1 1886 


213.900 


82,040 


29,570 


27.570 


1 1887 


153.060 


70,230 


22,940 


29,050 1 


1888 


150,470 


96.950 


24,840 


31,250 


1889 


163.450 


103.650 


25,000 


38,600 1 


1890 


204,760 


121,370 


24,870 


35,430 


1891 

1 


203,480 


108,630 


28,450 


33,630 i 



The Petrovsk works, belonging to His Maje.sty's Cabinet are situated in the Transhaikal 
provinc(^ In the Yerkhneoudinsk region along the river Baliaga, a tributary of the Khilok, 
which falls into the Selenga, and at a distance of 450 versts from the provincial town of Chita. 
The Petrovsk works were founded in 1789 for supplying pig iron and manufactured iron to 
the Xerchinsk works and for satisfying the demand of the State and private individuals in 
Eastern Siberia. The ore is extracted from the Balyagiusk mine, on the upper courses of the 
river Balyaga. It is a magnetic iron ore and is very plentiful. The pig iron is smelted with 
the aid of charcoal fuel, furnished from 80,000 dessiatines of forest attached to the mines. 
The works employ about 300 men. The motive power is mainly hydraulic. The production 
of these works is exceedingly limited and their produce can only satisfy the local requirements 
of the region. 

The folhjwing table gives the production of the Xercliinsk works during the last six 
years, in pouds. 



! c3 




Manufactu 


r e d. 


o 


4 
s 

5c 


1 

■z. rf 

1— o 


1886 


68,860 


5,(»40 


3,9(k;) 


4,890 I 


1887 


44,640 


7,250 


2,680 


610 


1888 


31,920 


10,420 


3,210 


3,240 


1889 


36,320 


26,950 


2,770 


2.330 


1890 


43,500 


31,050 


2,940 


1,635 1 


1891 


59,085 


30,140 


3,045 


1,830 



TIN, MERCURY AXD SULl'HUR. 175 

Lastly it should be iiKMitioned that ir.m ore deposits are known in many parts oi the 
Yakutsk province, and that the Tanginsk iron works were erected at 30 versts distance; iroin 
the town of Yakutsk as early as the XVII century, and continued in work until the end of 
the XVIII century. Besides, the preparation of iron direct from the ore Avas carried on 
at other places, and there was also an iron works near lake Baikal on the river Anga. At 
the present day the exploitation of the ore and its conversion into iron is only carried on by 
the Yakuts as a village industry. The most important deposits occur on the river Batoma, 
which falls from the right side, into the Lena. The ore, a hrown hematite, here lies in 
a bed up to three feet thick and has been under exploitation since 1750. Other deposits of 
iron ore, including red and brown hematite and spathic iron ore, are also worked by the 
Yakuts in this province but have not been subject to any detailed exploration. The spathic 
iron ore deposits occur on the river Vilua. 

Apparently a rather rich deposit of iron ores occurs in the southern portion of the 
Littoral province at 20 versts distance from the gulf of St. Olga along the system of the 
river Avvakoumovka which falls into this gulf. 



Tin, Mercury and Sulphur. 

The presence of tin ores was discovered in the Transbaikal province along the river 
Onona in the year 1811. These ores had long been exploited and smelted by the native Bou- 
riata. These first discoveries gave rise to a search for tin ores in other localities along a 
distance of 100 versts, along both banks of the Onona. A mine was started, the tin ore 
was exploited from time to time and the ore smelted on a small scale during a period of 
about thirty years. In 1843 this mine was ultimately closed, but this does not argue that 
the deposit is unfit for working, and there is reason for thinking that if it were more thoroughly 
explored it would be possible to reestablish the exploitation of the ore. 

The Ildikansk or cinnabar deposits in the Xerchinsk region lie in the mountains on 
the right side of the river Sernyi Ildekan. The cinnabar occurs in a vein passing 
through limestone, but its thickness rarely exceeds two inches. The exploitation of this 
vein was started in 1759 and was subsequently renewed several times, but without success. 
It may also be mentioned that the Yakuts living along the upper courses of the river Amga 
which falls into the river Aldan, a right tributary of the Lena, employ cinnabar found 
by them in the system of this river, as a medicine. 

A deposit of native sulphur occurs in a limestone mountain at a distance of IV^ versts 
from the above mentioned Ildikansk mercury deposit. Between 1789 and 1797, 425 pouds of 
sulphur weie extracted from this deposit. Sulphur in the form of sulphur pyrites is extremely 
common in the metamorphic schists, covering vast areas in Eastern Siberia. The pyrites 
are disseminated in the schists, or occur in quartz veins intersecting the schists, or also form 
cross veins. Besides this, spheroidal concretions of sulphur pyrites are frequently found in the 
brown coal deposits along the river Kempendzyai, a right tributary of the Viluya. The 
exploitation of pyrites has not yet been carried on in any part of Eastern Siberia. In Western 



176 SIBERIA. 

Siberia from 150,030 to 200,000 pouds of pyrites are auuually raised from the Sougatovsk 
mine in the Altai mining region. 

Coal. 

Deposits of coal are known throughout the whole extent of Siberia, from the borders 
of the government of Orenburg to the mouths of the Lena, Kamchatka, island of Sakhalin 
and the frontier of Corea. At the present time coal is only worked in Kouznetsk basin, on 
the island of Sakhalin and on the Khirgiz steppes. It is also proposed to exploit the recently 
discovered and explored deposits of coal in the southern portion of the Littoral province. 
In the mean time the varied application of mineral fuel obliges one to think that the Sibe- 
rian Railway will give rise to the exploitation of coal in various parts of Siberia, before it 
materially effects other branches of mining industry; and the railway itself will be in need 
of mineral fuel, especially in those localities where it passes through forestless steppe regions. 

The following data treat upon the coal deposits in different parts of Siberia. In Western 
Siberia there are rich coal seams in the eastern portion of the Altai mining region 
in the Salairsk and Alatau mountains. This is the so-called Kouznetsk coal basin. The 
southern limit of this basin lies at about 60 versts distance to the south of the town 
of Kouznetsk; its eastern boundary extends along the western declivity of the Alatau 
mountains; its western boundary stretches along the eastern foot of the Salairsk mountains, 
but in places recedes from it and approaches the river Ina which falls into the Obi. The 
river Toma divides the basin along its length into two parts, and as strata, similar to those 
in which the coal seams lie in the neighbourhood of Kouznetsk, are also found along the 
banks of the river Toma up to the very town of Tomsk, it may in all likelihood be supposed 
that the coal basin extends to this town. Hence the entire basin should be 400 versts long and 
100 versts wide, which equals an area of 40,000 square versts. In many parts of this basin, 
thick seams of coal of excellent quality are found. The coal formations belong to the Jurassic 
system. 

The Telbessk iron mine is situated on the south-eastern border of the Kouznetsk basin, 
on the river Telbes which falls into the Kandoma. This mine is estimated to contain a store 
of 75 million pouds of magnetic iron ore; and close to it there is another iron mine, the 
Soukharinsk. Such an abundance of iron ore, capable of guaranteeing a supply to 
a large iron works for a long period, induced the local mining management to make a careful 
survey of this south-eastern corner of the Kouznetsk basin, with a view to the discovery of 
coal veins in the neighbourhood of these iron mines. These surveys were crowned with per- 
fect success and gave the following results. A seam of coal one sagene thick was found on the 
left bank of the Kandoma at a distance of 5 versts from the village of Kaltansk. This 
seam was followed along its strike for 380 sagenes, and it was estimated to contain 8,300,000 pouds 
of coal. The first Kinerkinsk seam is situated on the left side of the river Kinerka which 
falls into the Kandoma, above the village of Kaltansk. It has been followed for a distance 
of 163 sagenes, is 4 sagenes thick and dips at an angle of 22". The store of coal has 
been estimated at 16,400,000 pouds. The second seam is on the hanging wall of the first at 



COAL. 177 

35 sagenes distance from it. It is one sagene thick and has been followed for a distance of 
75 sagenes. It is estimated to contain 2,250,000 ponds of coal. The third seam, 9 feet thick, 
is 50 sagenes from the hanging wall of the second. 

The first Yarlamovsk seam is situated on the southern declivity of theJvirchiaksk mountains, 
lying on the left bank of the Kandoma, near the village of Kirchiaksk. The thickness of the seam 
is one sagene, and it dips at an angle of 18°. The seam has been followed for a distance of 210 
sagenes; and is estimated to contain 5,515,000 pouds of coal. The second seam .lies on the hanging 
wall of the first. Its thickness is 4^/2 feet, and it has been followed for a distance of 100 
sagenes; it is estimated to contain 2,115,000 pouds. The Kirchiaksk seam lies on the noHhorn 
side of the western end of the Kirchiaksk mountain. It is up to 7 sagenes thick and has a dip 
of 29°. On the northern declivity of the same mountain there are seven seams of coal, known 
by the name of the «Ozernyi)> or lake seams, owing to their situation on lake Kirchiak. All 
these seams form one series, lying in a schistose clay. They Include one seam 4^2 feet thick; 
two, one sagene thick; and three, 2 sagenes thick. They have not been followed up for more 
than 100 sagenes, and have been estimated to contain over 12"2 million pouds of coal. The 
Araldinsk seam outcrops at the bank of the river Aralda, which falls into the Kandoma on 
the right, opposite the village of Kirchiaksk. This seam is over 6 sagenes thick and has a dip 
of 18°. It has been explored for 120 sagenes along the strike, and it is estimated to contain 
18 million pouds of coal. It is calculated that all the seams situated in the neighbourhood 
of the village of Kaltansk contain a store of over 65 million pouds of coal. 

Further in the eastern portion of the basin, coal seams have been discovered in the 
neighbourhood of the town of Kouznetsk, on the banks of the river Toma, near the village 
of Artamonov above the town, and b^low the villages of Ilinsk and Shorokhova. 

Exploratory workings have been carried on in the south-western extremity of the 
basin near the villages of Berezova and Kostenkova. The workings made near the village 
of Berezova showed that there the coal seams appear in the form of four separate series, at 
short distances from one another. The first series consists of four seams, from 2^'2 to 11 ','2 
feet thick. The second is composed of two seams SV'a and 7 feet thick. The third series 
includes eight seams from 2V'2 to 8''2 feet thick, and lastly the fourth series consists of four 
seams from 2' ,'2 to 5 sagenes thick. In exploring these seams four of the thickest beds were 
follow^ed up for a distance of 70, to 2,000 sagenes along the strike, and along the dip 
to the level of the river Berezovka only, and over 210 million pouds of coal were determined. 
Three seams of coal, one of which is 2'/2 sagenes thick, have been discovered to the 
east of the village of Berezova, on the banks of the river Kandalena. A whole series of 
seams closely resembling the four series of the Berezovsk veins, has been found at two 
versts distance to the north of the village of Kostenkova on the river Kozlovka. This 
series consists of nine seams from 3 feet to 4V2 sagenes thicks. Four seams have been 
explored for a distance of about 400 sagens and are estimated to contain a store of 40' /a 
million pouds of coal. In general the coal fields of the south-western extremity of the basin, 
near -the villages of Berezovka and Kostenkova, contain a store of over 250 million pouds of 
coal. The Magansk coal field has been found at five versts distance to the east of the 
village of Prokopievsk, to the north of Berezova, on the left side of the river Maganak 



178 



This deposit consists of one vein three sagenes thick. The coal from this seam gives a good 
colve, which has been successfully used in metallurgical operations. 

As the above estimate of the stores of coal contained in the different seams only 
refers to the outcrop of those lying above the level of the river, and the lower levels 
of those veins were not included in the calculation, and as moreover, in the majority of 
cases, the strike of the seams was only followed up for an inconsiderable distance, so there 
can be no doubt that the actual stores of coal in this southern portion of the basin must 
be many times greater than the above cited figures, and this portion of the basin with its 
inexhaustible stores of fuel lying in close proximity with the richest deposits of magnetic 
iron ore, may surely have a great industrial future. 

The Afoninsk coal field lies near the village of Afonin and at a distance of 60 versts 
from the Tomsk works, on the one hand, and from the Gourievsk and Gavrilovsk on the other. 
Three coal seams have been found, one of which has been destroyed by an underground fire, 
and all that remains is a bed of ash Vh sagene thick. The second seam, situated on the 
hanging wall of the first, is about Vh sagenes thick, consists of a bitumenous coal of 
good quality and was explored to a small depth in 1851. The third seam is thin and has not 
therefore been explored. 

The Bachatsk coal field is situated to the north-east of the village of Bachatsk at 
27 versts distance from the Gourievsk works. This seam is not of uniform thickness through- 
out, but narrows in some parts and widens in others, and in some places is as much as 
25 sagenes thick. In some places it is intersected by bands of schistose clay, which divide 
it into several separate seams. It has a dip of 65° to 75" and is sometimes almost 
vertical. The coal varies greatly in quality in different portions of the seam; in the centre 
it is a dry, non-caking, dense, dull coal, which burns almost without any flame; while towards 
the roof and floor it is a semi-bitumenous, friable, bright, caking coal, burning with a flame. 
Five coal seams have been discovered to the north of the Bachatsk coal mine, on the river 
Cherta. These seam vary from ^'2 to 1 sagene in thickness and have been explored by work- 
ings for three versts distance. The same seams which appear in such abundance in the 
southern portion of the basin, outcrop in the north along the Great and Little Bachat rivers. 
Deposits of coal were discovered along the river Ina as early as 1796. The first of these 
deposits was found to contain two beds V^ and 1 sagene thick, and the second deposit to 
consist of one seam 1 sagene thick. In the latter, the surrounding sandstone rock contains 
portions of trees, and even entire fossil trees, 1 to 2 feet in diameter. The Bachatsk and 
Kalchouginsk deposits are the only ones which are now under exploitation. The coal is converted 
into coke and consumed at the Salairsk works. 

The following table gives the yield of these mines during the last five years. 



Year. 


The Bachatsk; The Colchou-1 


mine. 


ginsk mine. 


1887 


485,600 


322,200 


1888 


640,900 


369,500 


1889 


530,750 


364,700 


1890 


547,300 


504,300 


1891 


505,650 


642,768 ! 



179 



During the last three years the following amounts of coke were produced. 



Year. 



1889 
1890 
1891 



At the 



At the 



Bachatsk ; Kolchouginsk 



mine. 



273,254 
340,900 
328,766 



37,456 
71,750 
91,000 



In Eastern Siheria, coal fields occur in the government of Yeniseisk, between Krasno- 
yarsk and Achinsk, on the one hand; and from Krasnoyarsk, through Kansk to the borders 
of the government of Irkutsk on the other hand, and lastly, to the south-west and south of 
Krasnoyarsk along the foot of the Alatau and uplands of the Sayansk mountains. The 
vast areas comprised by these deposits belong to fresh water formations of the Jurassic 
system. The vast tracts of these deposits have only been more or less explored along the Siberian 
postal route and along certain rivers, but even these explorations have already shown the presence 
of a rather considerable number of spots with outcrops of brown coal. A seam of coal about 
five feet thick has been found near the village of Koubekova at about 20 versts distance from the 
town of Krasnoyarsk along the river Yenisei. Two coal fields have been recently explored 
on the middle and lower courses of the river Choulym. In the first of these, the seams of 
brown coal and combustible schist crop out at the surface in several localities along the 
river Choulym, and were discovered at 20 versts distance from the village of Kourbatovsk. 

In the second, the coal veins crop out directly on the banks of the rivers Serega and 
Ourup, and of several springs near the village of Antropova. A seam of brown coal 2 sagenes 
thick has been discovered at the village of Xazarovsk on the river Adadyma, and a seam 
5 feet thick near the village of Kadat. The formations of this basin have been recognized 
as belonging to the tertiary system and the coal in them is distingiushed from that of the 
Jurassic system, by its greater density. This tertiary coal basin deserves the greatest atten- 
tion of all the coal fields of the government of Yenisei, both from the quality of its coal 
the character of its seams, and by its distribution on the navigable portion of the river Choulym. 
Mount Izykh rises in the Miuousinsk region on the right bank of the river Abakan at about 55 versts 
distance from its junction with the Yenesei and the thick beds of sandstone forming this mountain 
contain seams of coal half a sagene thick and more. Another locality in the Yeniseisk government, 
which is known to contain beds of coal, lies much farther north, namely on the banks of the 
Nizhnaya Toungouzka. The presence of coal here was known in the last century. At the begin- 
ning of the sixties of the present century, Sidorov during his expedition for making a detailed 
exploration of the deposits of gi-aphite previously discovered by him in this locality, also 
visited the Nizhnaya Toungouzka, where he succeeded In discovering vast beds of coal in 
several localities, at a distance of 240 to 400 versts about the mouth of this river. The 
first of these beds was discovered opposite the mouth of the Malaya Scherbachikba other- 
wise known as the Abramova Scherbachikba, which falls Into the Nizhnaya Toungouzhka 

12* 



130 SIBERIA. 

from the right side at ahout 240 versts from its mouth. The thickness of the coal seam 
is 3 feet and it is of good quality. 

The second deposit was discovered opposite the mouth of the river Troubkiua which 
falls into the Nizhnaya Touugouzka from the right side at a distance of about 400 versts 
from its mouth. The coal seam is 872 feet thick and extends for a distance of one verst; 
the coal is of good quality. The third deposit of coal was found at a distance of 40 versts 
from the mouth of the river Taimour, which falls into the Nizhnaya Toungouzka. This deposit 
consists of two seams, the lower of which is one sagene thick. A fourth deposit of coal 
was found on the right hank of the Nizhnaya Toungouzka at 185 versts from its mouth and 
about 5 versts above the mouth of the river Koupalnaya. The coal of these seams frequently 
approaches anthracite in its quality, and in many places the stratification is greatly distorted 
by trap rocks and the coal transformed into graphite. 

In the government of Irkutsk, coal which is for the greater part brown coal, is known 
in many places in the southern portion of the government, where fresh water formations of 
the Jurassic system occur. The coal seams which are two feet and more thick at the outcrop, 
lie among strata of schistose clay and yellow calcareous sandstone. At the present time up 
to 75 outcrops of coal are known in the southern half of the government of Irkutsk. Many 
of these seams deserve attention, either for their thickness or for the quality of their coal. 
Prospectings for coal have frequently been carried on in the neighbourhood of the village of 
Ousolie, with a view to furnishing the Irkutsk salt works with fuel. In these explorations 
coal seams up to 3^2 feet thick were, amongst others, discovered. But in all probability the 
greatest importance will be ascribed to the deposits of coal along the river Oka; above the 
village of Ziminsk where a whole series of coal seams from 1 foot to 1 sagene thick out- 
crop on the high right bank of the river. Small exploratory works showed the presence 
of a store of 200 million pouds of coal in two places. It is a brown coal, with a large 
percentage of volatile matter, and it gives a powdery coke. After exposure to the atmosphere 
it, for the greater part, disintegrates into small peices, and resembles the coal of the 
Moscow basin in its qualities. 

In the Yakutsk region, coal-bearing deposits occur along the whole middle course of 
the Lena and its tributaries and beyond, up to the lowlands of the Lena. Various modifica- 
tions of this formation stretch out from the river Bolshaya Botama to the village of Bou- 
loun, which is at a distance of about 100 versts from the mouth of the Lena ; or for a 
distance of 1,800 versts down that river. These formations are also observable on the one side 
of the Lena, on the banks of the river Viluya, beyond the mouth of the Markha which falls 
into it, for a distance of 600 versts; and on the other side of the Lena, on the banks of 
the river Aldan, beyond the mouth of the Maya, for a distance of 400 versts, and from the 
town of Yakutsk to the north-east within 100 versts of the Verkhoyansk mountain chain, 
which also forms over 400 versts. With respect to the geological period of these deposits, 
they, like those of the government of Irkutsk, are considered as belonging to the Jurassic 
system. Coal has been found in the far eastern extremity of Siberia, on the shores of the 
Gizhiginsk and Penzhinsk bays, and in several localities on the western shore of the penin- 
sula of Kamchatka. 



COAL. 1 S 1 

In the Amour Littoral region, coal deposits occur beyond the Baikal, directly on 
the south-eastern shore of this vast reservoir. Here at eight versts distance from the Posolsk 
monastery there are two coal seams, between the rivers Kourkoushevka and Pereemna. The 
upper seam, which is Vh sagenes thick, is broken up into thin seams and contains 
the stems and roots of fossil trees. The lower coal seam, which lies two sagenes below the 
upper, on a level with the water, consists of a denser coal. The coal of this deposit is 
worked for supplying the Baikal steamboats with fuel, but the production is very limited. 
Besides this deposit, coal has been discovered near the Baikal, at the mouth of the river 
Mourin. The presence of coal seams is also known between Verkhneoudinsk and Selen- 
ginsk on the banks of lake Gousinyi; and the traces of their having been burnt are 
still in the superincumbent strata of sandstone and schistose clay. The occurence of coal 
was discovered in 1858, on the river Ourya, which falls into the Aksha, a tributary of the 
Onon. This is a lignite coal, which in some places still exhibits a tree structure. The 
Douroisk and Chalbouchinsk deposits on the river Argouna are situated at a distance of 
160 versts from one another. The Chalbouchinsk deposit was discovered in 1742. Both 
of these deposits have been frequently explored, but the extent of neither has been 
accurately determined. The Douroisk deposit is situated on the bank of the Argouna, 15 
versts below the Koulassatouev frontier station. A seam of good quality coal 3^2 feet 
thick is known here. Should subsequent explorings show that this coal seam has a con- 
siderable extension, then it might acquire a great importance, as it is situated on the 
very bank of the river Argouna, along which the coal could easily be transported to the 
Amour. 

Numerous exploratory workings, carried on since the middle of the last century, have shown 
the presence of several coal seams in the Chalbouchinsk deposit; but the small thickness 
of these seams and large amount of ash and sulphur pyrites in the coal, deprive it of any 
great importance. 

Besides these deposits, seams of brown coal of recent formation occur in the Trausbaikal 
on the upper courses of the river Onon, and also on the Shilka below the Shilkin works. 
The occurrence of coal is known on the river Zea on the parallels of Albaziua and on the 
Belyi hills opposite the mouth of the Silindzha. From three to four coal seams crop out on 
the river Boureya. These seams are vertical owing to the extreme distortion of the entire 
stratification. Each of these seams is from one to two feet thick, and the coal is of good 
quality. The coal is interstratifled with sandstone and clay slate, the latter of which bears 
distinct prints of conifer vegetation, showing that the formation belongs to the Jurassic 
system. The same strata of sandstone and clay slate with interlayers of coal up to 1 foot 
thick, are found at a distance of 150 versts from the above mentioned outcrops, in several 
localities up to the mouth of the Xuman. 

Among the very many coal deposits on the middle courses of the Amour, the most 
remarkable is that discovered at a distance of 9 versts above the station of Innokentievsk, 
wiiere two seams of brown coal can be followed up for a distance of two versts. These 
seams lie between beds of sandstone and hard, yellowish gray clay. The coal seams are from 
3 to 5 feet thick. This coal consists of the remains of conifer trees, and the superincum- 



182 SIBERIA. 

bent clay contains numerous remains of leaves, fruits and other portions of plants, which 
often are very like the now existing plants; from which it may he concluded that it is of 
very recent formation and belongs to the tertiary system. Seams of brown coal also occur 
at several points along the lower course of the Amour at a short distance from its mouth. 
These seams occur in strata of sandstone and clay slate, exactly similar to those in the 
upper course of the Amour. A deposit of brown coal has been discovered at a distance of 
160 versts from the town of Nikolaevsk, near the village of Xovo-Mikhailovsk, up the 
Amour. The thickest of the seams in this deposit is 5^2 feet. Seams of brown coal, up 
to 1 foot thick, also occur at several points along the lower course of the Amour. The 
South-Oussouryisk region also contains beds of coal in many places. The first discovery of 
coal in this region was made at the time of its occupation by the Russians, at the Possietsk's 
gulf, where there are three seams of coal, the thickest of which is 4 feet. Coal was extracted 
from these deposits in the sixties to supply the Siberian flotilla. The following coal beds 
occur to the east of Possietsk's gulf. 

Beds of coal have been discovered in the basin of the Amour along the rivers Sedima, 
Mangougai and Ambabira and at the mouth of the river Souifouna. Moreover coal seams 
are also known up the river Souifouna, on its right tributary, the Chingoouza, in the neigh- 
bourhood of the village of Nikolsk and in the upper courses of the river near the stations 
of Konstantinovsk and Fadeevsk. The exploitation of the coal in various localities on the 
mouth, Souifouna, was begun in the sixties and is being continued to the present day. In 
the Oussouryisk gulf, coal beds have been discovered on the river Tsimou-khe, at the mouth 
of the river Kangoouza and on the river Shite-khe. Coal is also known to occur on the 
island of Poutiatin and on the north-eastern shore of Strelok bay. Vast deposits of coal have 
been discovered 40 versts up the river Souchan, which falls into the gulf of America. lu 
1886 a special mining expedition was sent there and the exploratory workings conducted by 
it showed the presence of three coal seams from \'2 to 1 sagene thick and having a consi- 
derable extension. From trials made by the fleet it was found that this coal is a semi- 
anthracite resembling Cardiff coal in its properties. A mine was laid out there by the 
expedition, and it is proposed to offer the exploitation of this mine to private enterprise. 
Lastly a deposit of coal has been found in the gulf of St. Olga on cape Xizmen. 

There are rich coal fields on the island of Saghaliu. The coal became known to the 
Russian sailors in 1859, when they began working it in the bay between cape Zhonkier 
(Done) and cape Khoindzhe. From that time the coal beds in the neighbourhood of the station 
of Done have been worked uninterruptedly. Since 1875 these mines have been in the hands 
of a private company, who has now increased their output to a million pouds. The coal lies 
in a whole series of beds from two to five feet thick; it is of excellent quality and quite 
equals the best sorts of Welsh coal. It contains from 74 to 84 per cent of carbon, a veiy 
small amount of ash and it gives up to 60 per cent of coke. The coal is chiefly consumed 
by the Russian vessels navigating the shores of Siberia, but it is also used by foreign 
vessels coming to the Russian ports of the Pacific. A number of coal beds have been discov- 
ered to the north and south of the Done station, but only one of these, situated between 
the mouths of the rivers Sertounai and Xayassi, has been worked. The quality of this coal 



COAL. 183 

and its mode of occurrence are exactly similar to those of the Douo coal. Several coal depos- 
its are also known in the interior of the island. 

In the region of the Kirghiz steppes, the search for coal formed the special care of 
the Government for a very long time. The prospectings were carried on in the Orenburg re- 
gion, adjacent to the Kirghiz steppes; and the chief inducement for this search was the entire 
impoverishment of the forests in this region, necessitating the abandonment of all its mineral 
wealth for want of fuel. The vast area of the Obschyi Syrt, \vhich 80 or 100 years ago was 
covered with forest, is now transformed into a bare steppe without a single twig, and where 
the only fuel is dried dung. The vast Bashkir forests, which according to the general survey, com- 
prised four million dessiatines, have been more than half felled. The search for coal in different 
parts of the Orenburg steppes was not however crowned with success. Prospectings conducted 
in the Obschyi Syrt only showed the presence of combustible schist of medium quality, be- 
longing to the Jurassic system. The deposits of brown coal discovered in the Troitsk and 
Cheliabinsk districts have up to now been considered unworthy of attention, but appar- 
ently other deposits have recently been discovered which might receive a practical 
application. 

Two vast coal fields have been discovered further in the Kirghiz steppes, in its western 
portion in the Tourgai province. The first of these is situated at a 170 versts distance to 
the south-east of the town of Tourgai, formerly an Orenburg fortress, on the upper courses 
of the river Dzhilanchik, near Maidam Tal, Two horizontal seams of brown coal are known 
there. The thickness of the upper seam is from one to S'/sfeet, and the lower seam is about 
1 foot thick; they are separated by seam of soft, blue clay 1 foot thick. The coal of these 
seams is of two kinds, one a dense bitumenous coal with a bright conchoidal fracture and 
the other a slate coal. This deposit has been followed up by exploratory workings for a dis- 
tance of five versts in length up the river Dzhilanchik and for a width of 100 to 200 
sagenes. Taking the mean thickness of the upper seam only as 2 feet and the weight of a 
cubic sagene of the coal as 340 pouds the explored portion of the upper seam would con- 
tain about 40 million pouds. 

The second deposit of brown coal is situated at 100 versts to the east-north-east of 
the town of Tourgai, at the Yar-Koue wells, on the declivity of a height which forms, as 
it were, the mountain shore of the valley of the river Tourgai, Some ancient wells were found 
on the declivity of this height at 5 versts distance from the above mentioned wells, and in 
clearing them out, traces of coal were found in them. They were then deepened and a seam 
of coal about one sagene thick was encountered. This discovery was followed up by extensive 
exploratory workings, which embraced an area of SV^ square versts of coal field. As the 
average thickness of the coal seam is one sagene, and a cubic sagene of coal was found by 
experiment to weigh nearly 340 pouds, the area explored contains over 275 million pouds of 
coal. The coal of this deposit is dark brown, has a laminar structure and a conchoidal 
fracture. It burns with a bright flame and gives from 4 to 7 per cent of ash; some portions 
contain sulphur pyrites. It has been proved by experiment that this coal is quite suitable 
both for ordinary heating and for steam purposes, as on the steamers of the Syr-Daria, and also 
for treating metals in reverberatory furnaces. 



IS 4: SIBERIA. 

Several coal seams are known in the Akmolinsk province on the upper courses of the 
rivers Ishim, Sokour and others, which fall into the Xoura, The Karagandinsk pit, belonging 
to Messrs. Riazanov, is situated at 2<X) versts to the north-west of Karkaraliusk near the 
borders of the Akmolinsk and Semipalatinsk provinces. Two coal seams are know, 1 and 2^/i 
sagenes thick. Both are worked, and have been shown by exploratory workings to extend on 
both sides to the east and west for a distance of 11 and 9 versts. Thus this deposit is very 
vast. The coal is a true coal with 8 to 12 per cent of ash and semi-caking coke. In former 
times the Spassk works, situated at 30 versts distance to the south of the pits, smelted their 
copper to the amount of 30,000 pouds annually, with this coal. The yield of the Karagandinsk 
mine has been somewhat considerable during the last 15 years, and in 1884 it exceeded 
1,500,000 pouds of coal. Many coal seams are known in the Pavlodarsk, Karkaralinsk and 
Semipalatinsk districts, and also in the neighbourhood of the town of Sergiopole. 

In the Pavlodar and Karkaralinsk districts, the Taldykoulsk mine is on the first coal 
bed discovered in the Kirghiz steppes, in 1838. It is situated at 25 versts to the north-east 
of the Alexandrovsk works and at about 200 versts from Pavlodar. Exploratory workings were 
carried out at the beginning of the forties which showed that the deposit extended for a length 
of one verst and for a width of half a verst. As many as eight coal seams were discovered 
from 1 to 3' 1 2 feet thick. This coal was used in the smithies and partly in smelting the lead 
ores at the Alexandrovsk works. Altogether 337,000 pouds of coal were extracted from this 
deposit between 1838 and 1860. The Sarykoulsk coal deposit is situated at 12 versts distance 
to the south-west of the Taldykoulsk pits and 50 versts to the north of Bayan-Aoula. The 
coal here occurs in a bed 4 feet thick at a depth of 16 feet under the surface. The Maouko- 
beusk coal mine is situated at a distance of 5 versts from the Sarykoulsk deposit and at 
20 versts to the north-west of the Alexandrovsk works. The total thickness of the three work- 
table coal seams is 5 feet. The coal seams have been determined over an area of six square 
versts. The coal was found by chemical analyses to contain 50.5 per cent of carbon, 42.10 per 
cent of volatile matter and 1.4 per cent of ash. The coal is black, bitumenous, burns with 
a long flame but does not coke. It was used for copper smelting. This mine was worked 
during 1869 and 1870. 

The Xikolsk mine is situated at a distance of 90 to a 100 versts to the north- 
west of the Alexandrovsk works, near lake Alka-Sor. There are two seams of anthracite 
2.25 and 6 sagenes thick. They lie between clay slates and limestone. This anthracite was 
found by analyses to contain 74 per cent of carbon, 14 per cent of volatile matter and 12 
per cent of ash. It was found by trials made at the copper smelting works, that this coal 
gives a very powerful heat. The Kysyltavsk mine is situated at a distance of about 70 versts 
from the Alexandrovsk works and 90 versts from the Bogoslovsk copper and lead smelting 
works. This is one of the best coal fields known. It includes five seams from 2 to 4 feet 
thick. The loanna-Predtechensk copper smelting works are erected immediately over the mine. 
The Kysyltavsk coal gives a fairly good coke. In 1873 this mine yielded altogether 2V2 mil- 
lion pouds of coal. The Dzhemantouzsk mine is also upon one of the thickest and best coal 
beds yet found in the Kirghiz steppes. It was discovered in 1864, at 90 versts to the 
south of the Alexandrovsk works. This mine comprises five coal seams from V'a to 3 feet 



COAL. 1S5 

thick, which unite at a depth of 13 sagenes iuto ouo bed which dips at an angle of 
32° to 42'^ The Dzhemantouzsk coal is an anthracite of a gray colour. It is dense and bright 
with a roughly conchoidai fracture and gives a great heat, but no coke. It contains a very 
small amount of sulphur, pyrites and gypsum. This deposit is situated at 60 versts distance 
from the river Irtysh. In the Semipalatinsk district coal was first discovered in 1869, by 
Mr. Permikin a gold mine owner, at 7 versts distance from the Grachevsk station and 120 
versts from the town of Semipalatinsk. 

A whole group of coal fields occurs in the north-eastern portion of the Kirghiz steppes 
at 18 to 2(J versts distance from the left bank of the river Irtish and about 120 versts to 
the west of the town of Semipalatinsk. The presence of coal in the neighbourhood of the 
Irtysh was known at an earlier period, as in the sixties a gold mine owner, Mn Kouznetsov, 
erected a copper smelting works on the left bank of the Irtish, which consumed coal from a 
mine situated near lake Dongoulek-Sor. This deposit contains two seams of coal, whose total 
thickness is about one sagene. They are separated by a layer or clay slate two feet thick. 
The coal from this mine is black and very bright, rather dense and gives a coke of good 
quality. This coal must be regarded as the best in the Kirghiz steppes. The Ouzoun-Sor 
deposit Is situated 8 versts to the south of the above mine, and the Oinak-Sor at 6 versts 
distance to the south-east of the latter. The Oinak-Sor deposit includes several coal seams, 
from two to fifteen feet thick, but the seams are very distorted. The coal of these three 
and other adjacent out-cropping seams, can not only furnish the inhabitants of the steppes 
with fuel, but could also have an important significance for the steam navigation of the Irtish 
and for the Siberian Railway, as well as for the metallurgical works of the Altai and Kirghiz 
steppes. 

Deposits of coal have been found in several places in the neighbourhood of Sergiopol 
over a distance of 20 versts along the river Ayagouz and its tributaries. The following four 
are among these deposits: 1. The Spassk mine on the left bank of the Ayagouz, above the 
river Baiboulak. Several thin seams of coal from IV2 to 3 feet thick were discovered here, 
the thickest of them being over 4 feet. This coal is not of particularly good quality; 
it is black, finely laminar, disintegrates in the air into a fine powder. It is only used as 
smithy coal. 2. The Krestovsk mine, on the right bank of the river Ayagouz, in the upper 
sources of the Kyzyl-Chilik, is at two versts distance from the Spassk mine. The seam of 
coal, which was found at an inconsiderable depth, proved exceedingly thin and the coal was 
found to contain a large amount of ash. 3. The Troitsk or Chekartinsk mine lies at eight 
versts distance from the Spassk mine, near the river Chekarta. The coal seams are here con- 
siderably thicker than in the Spassk pit and are as much as 1 sagene thick in some places; 
it is of good quality and is used in smithies and for house heating. 4. The Yoskresensk de- 
posit is situated at 10 versts from the Spassk pit, on the left side of the river Ayagouz, 
above the river Chekarta. The inconsiderable exploratory workings made in this deposit do 
not give any idea of its extent or quality. 

The above concise enumeration of the coal deposits of the Kirghiz steppes, show that 
this region, which is so in w^ant of fuel for the exploitation of its mineral wealth in silver, 
lead, and copper ores, may apparently be considered as fully guaranteed in this respect. But 



186 SIBERIA. 

at the present time the production of coal has not only made no progress hut has even fall- 
en. Although the production from 1880 to 1885 equalled from one million to 1,635,000 pouds 
a year, it has considerably fallen in recent years, and in 1891 was only 86,800 pouds. 



Graphite. 

Deposits of graphite are known in Siberia in the Kirghiz steppes, and in the govern- 
ments of Yeniseisk and Irkutsk. In the Kirghiz steppes several deposits have been 
discovered, three of which, situated in the Kokpektinsk and Sergiopolsk districts, have 
been exploited and the graphite sent from there to the Perm steel and gun works. In the 
government of Yeniseisk deposits of graphite were discovered in 1859 and 1863, by a Mr. 
Sidorov, in the Tourankhansk region along the rivers Nizhnaya Toungouzka, Bakhta and 
Koupeika, the right tributaries of the Yenisei. At a distance of 200 to 500 versts up 
the Nizhnaya Toungouzka there are four localities where graphite is found. This graphite 
is sometimes laminar and sometimes columnar, and occurs in beds from one to two sageues 
thick, between layers of clay slate which have been metamorphosed by the action of eruptive 
rocks; so that it may be supposed that this graphite has proceeded from the beds of Jurassic 
coal which abound in this locality. The graphite contains from 4 to 6 per cent of clay. It is 
estimated that this deposit contains a store of 10 million pouds of graphite. The excellent 
quality of this mineral has been recognized at both Russian and foreign exhibitions. The 
Touroukhansk mineral has met with particular praise from various scientific and practical 
men; several foreign authorities have likened it to Cumberland graphite, and in America a 
series of comparative experiments proved that it excels the Ceylon graphite in purity. 
In 1877 an other deposit of graphite was discovered by Sidorov on the Nizhnaya 
Toungouzka, and 2,000 pouds of picked graphite were extracted and sent abroad. Seventy 
thousand pouds of graphite have been extracted from the deposits discovered by Sidorov 
in 1861, along the river Koureika, which falls into the Yenisei at a 100 versts from the 
town of Touroukhansk. Out of this amount the following parcels were dispatched during the 
winter 1863 to 1864: 1. five hundred pouds direct along the river Pechora, over the northern 
marshes by reindeer and thence by sea to London; 2. five thousand pouds also by the northern 
route to the river Taz by reindeer and thence by the Taz and Obi Bay to Obdorsk, and 
then by the Pechora; 3. seven thousand pouds by Yeniseisk, Tomsk and Tumen to Perm, 
and one thousand pouds by the same route to St. Petersburg; 4. two hundred pouds from St. 
Petersburg to Hamburg and Wurzburg. In 189J, ten thousand pouds of graphite were extracted 
from the deposit on the river Nizhnaya Toungouzka for the recently formed Siberian 
Graphite Company. 

In the government of Irkutsk a deposit of graphite was discovered in 1842 by Mr. 
Aliber in Boutogolsk Golts in the Tounkinsk mountains on the spot where the rivers 
Irkout, Kitoi, Belaya and Oka take their source. Here the graphite apparently occurs in 
reniform masses, in druses and in veins in alternate beds of crystalline limestone and 
laminar granite with quartz veins. In 1856 Aliber laid out the Mariinsk graphite mine on 



GRAPHITE, NAPTHA AND SALT. 187 

this spot and obtained a graphite of excellent (juality, and samples exhibited at the London 
Exhibition of 1862 proved it to be in many respects better than the English. Aliber 
entered into relations with the well known pencil maker Faber and began to supply him 
with considerable amounts of graphite. At the present day however this mine is only worked 
to supply graphite for making crucibles at the Irkutsk gold melting house. 



Naphtha. 

The occurrence of naphtha has long been known on the northern extremity of the island 
of Saghalin, and it has now also been found near the gulf of Nabilsk, which is accessible 
to the largest ocean vessels. According to the researches of Mr. A. Batsevich, mining engi- 
neer, the naphtha deposits of this island extend in a meridional direction, towards the Sea of 
Okhotsk, where they occur at a distance of 5 to 25 versts from the shore. The specific 
gravity of the naphtha extracted from wells up to 3 sagenes deep over various areas, varies 
from 0.890 to 0.895, and the daily yield is several pouds. Judging from the specific gravity 
and the results obtained by distillation, the Saghalin naphtha resembles the Caucasian. 
The occurrence of naphtha springs over a considerable area, and their abundance, com- 
bined with the thickness of the superficial and subterranean deposits of bitumen (asphalt 
of recent formation) and the daily flow of naphtha in the wells, made Batsevich conclude 
that there must be more or less considerable stores of naphtha at a certain depth below the 
surface. 



Salt. 

In Western Siberia salt is exclusively extracted from the self-depositing lakes, which 
occur in considerable numbers in the southern portion of the region, namely in the 
southern regions of the government of Tobolsk, in the south-western portion of the govern- 
ment of Tomsk, and in the Akmolinsk and Semipalatinsk provinces. This area, which is in- 
cluded between 47° and 55" north latitude and 63° and 73"^ eastern longitude (from Paris) is 
a low lying plane, which was once the bottom of a sea basin. In the northern portion of this 
salt basin, which embraces the Barabinsk and Koulouudinsk steppes, the salt lakes always 
contain a more or less considerable amount of other salts than common salt, the chief 
being sulphate of sodium. There is no lake in the region of these steppes, which gives pure 
chloride of sodium, and on the contrary, there are many which contain nch layers of glauber 
salt only. But in the southern and south-western portion of this salt basin which embraces 
the arid steppes of the Akmolinsk and Semipalatinsk provinces the deposited salt is in the 
majority of cases distinguished for purity of its chloride of sodium, and these lakes are the 
chief sources of its production. 

The salt lakes of Western Siberia may be divided into four groups according to their 
characteristics: 1. The lakes which contain more or less considerable beds of chlonde of 



18S SIBEKIA. 

sotlium covered with a brine which deposits fresh layers of salt every year. Compared with 
the others these lakes are the richest and are the most important hy reason of the vast 
stores of salt they contain. Among the many lakes of this category belonging to the State 
the chief is the Karyakovsk lake in the province of Semipalatinsk at 20 versts from the 
town of Pavlodar and 28 versts from the Chernoyarsk landing stage on the river Irtysli. In 
this lake, which covers an area of about 20 square versts, the surface is covered by layers 
of salt for a space of about 9 square versts, and the thickness of these deposits reaches to 
as much as half a sagene. The annual yield of salt from this lake amounts to one million 
pouds. The salt from the Koryakovsk lake is distinguished for its high quality and is consi- 
dered the best in Siberia. 2. The second category includes those lakes which contain conside- 
rable amounts of strong brine, which annually deposit a layer of pure chloride of sodium, 
varying from 1 to 4 inches in thickness. Although these lakes, compared with the preceding, 
have only a secondary importance, nevertheless they are capable of yielding immense quanti- 
ties of salt. To this category belong the lakes exploited in the government of Tomsk, the most im- 
portant of which are the Borovya and Bourlinsk lakes. 

The Borovya lakes include four lakes: 1. the Pechatochnoe or Maloe Lomovoe; 2. the Koch- 
kovatoe; 3. the Bolshoe Lomovoe; 4. the Malinovoe lakes. They are situated on what is called the 
Salt steppes. In recent years these lakes have yielded up to 600,000 pouds of salt. The Bourlinsk 
lake is one of most important sources of salt in Western Siberia. It resembles the Borovya lakes in 
the mode of occurrence of its salt and is only distinguished for its size, it being over 30 versts in 
circumferance. The Bourlinsk lake belongs to the number of those which dry up periodically. 
There are many such lakes in Siberia. It has a great industrial importance, owing to its situation in 
proximity with the chief trading routes of the steppes, by which the peasants of the grain bearing 
regions of the government of Tomsk carry their grain to Pavlodar for sale to the Kirghiz. The salt 
from the Bourlinsk lake forms a return freight for these peasants who transport it to a 
further distance. Besides which, this salt is transported along the river Obi to Tomsk ami 
further to Achinsk and to Eastern Siberia. The annual yield of the Bourlinsk lake is about 
I'/i million pouds. 3. The lakes of the third group are full of brine containing a greater or 
less amount of other salts, than chloride of sodium. They form a link towards bitter salt 
lakes. Owing to the comparatively little strength of the brine, the lakes of this category do 
not as a rule give a deposit every year but only under suitable atmospheric conditions, and 
the salt then obtained is naturally of a poor quality. These lakes, which are numerous and 
of large dimensions, now scarcely have any importance as a source of national provision. They 
could only give a pure salt, fit for consumption, if they were exploited by the artificial basin 
system, which owing to the number of excellent self-depositing lakes caimot as yet thrive in 
Siberia, To this category belong many lakes in the government of Tomsk, and all those situa- 
ted in the Barabinsk steppe besides a considerable number of the Kirghiz lakes. 4. Lastly 
the fourth group comprises the bitter salt lakes, containing considerable layers of glauber 
salt which are constantly increasing in thickness owing to the annual deposition of fresh 
layers from the brine. The Bolshoe Marmyshansk lake is a representative of this category^ 
and is the only one of this class now under exploitation. It yields about 100,000 pouds of 
salt a year. The Bolshoe and Maloe Marmyshansk lakes are situated in the Koulouudinsk 



SALT. 189 

Steppe at 200 versts distance to the south-west of Barnaoul, along the road to the Borovya 
lakes, and present immense deposits of glauber salt, whose thickness at a distance of 60 to 
100 sagenes from the shore is already two feet. Taking into account that the surface of the 
Bolshoe Marmyshansk lake is over 4 and of the Maloe over 2 square versts, the most moder- 
ate estimate gives a supply of not less than 50 million pouds in the former and 25 million 
pouds in the latter lake. The Marmyshansk salt is partly consumed at the soda works at 
Barnaoul, partly at the Altai works, which use it as a flux in smelting the argentiferous lead 
ores, and partly at the glass works. 

Eastern Siberia abounds in salt, but tlie richest deposits of rock salt and the best 
salt springs, are situated in poorly inhabited localities, so that its transport to the markets 
owing to the want of proper means of communication is hampered by great difficulties which 
render it very expensive. Therefore many of the sources are not exploited and await 
the time when the economical conditions of the region will give the possibility of 
working them. 

In the Yeniseisk and Irkutsk governments, salt is extracted from saline springs. In the 
government of Yeniseisk, at the Toumanshetsk works in the Kansk district and in the system 
of the river Birusa, the depth of the well is 2'/2 sagenes, the strength of the brine i'h° 
Baume, and in 1891, 17,500 pouds of salt were produced; at the Troitsk works in the same 
district, on the river Ousolka, a left tributary of the river Taseev, the production of 
salt in 1891 amounted to 514,000 pouds. Both deposits belong to the Devonian system and the 
brine flows from red salt-bearing marls and slags. In former days when the amount of salt 
mines and works in the Yeniseisk and Minousinsk regions was very limited, the Troitsk works 
played an important part in supplying the local inhabitants with salt. 

In the government of Irkutsk there is an abundance of salt springs in the valley of 
the river Lena, between the stations of Kachougsk and Vitimsk: and also in the valley of the 
river Nepa, a left hand tributary of the Nizhnaya Toungouzka, where brine springs from red- 
dish coloured sandstone, mari and clay formations, apparently of the Lower Devonian system. 
The exploitation of the salt is carried on at the Oust-Koutsk salt works, on the river Kouta 
at 4 versts distance from the Lena. The depth of the well is 3 sagenes and the strength of 
the brine 14—15° Lamb; in 1891, 30,100 pouds of salt were produced. The Oustkoutsk works 
might considerably increase their yield but the market is very small, being limited to the 
sparsely populated localities of the Yakutsk province and to the Olekminsk gold workings. 
Apparently the same Devonian formations supply the brine which feeds the Irkutsk works in 
the village of Ousola at 70 versts distance from Irkutsk, down the Angara. The depth of the 
wells are 2—5 sagenes; and of the borings, 89 sagenes. The strength of the brine is 
6-7° Baume, and in the wells it is 7^2-9^^ Lamb. In 1891 the production of salt 
was 265,500 pouds. The salt produced at the Irkutsk works is sold at the Irkutsk govern- 
ment and Transhaikal territory, where it is in demand for salting the local fish omul 
with which the rivers falling into Baikal abound. At the Ilimsk works, near the settlement 
of Shestakovsk on the river Ilim, the right tributary of the Angara, the depth of the shafts 
is one to one and a half sagenes, the strength of the brine 8.73° Lamb. In 1891, 85,100 
pouds of salt were evaporated. 



190 SIBERIA 

The salt deposits, representing the transition to lacustrine deposit, where the brine is 
extracted from excavations or wells dug in the bottom of salt lakes, occur in the Yeniseisk 
government, at the following works: 1. Abakansk in the Minousinsk district, 25 versts from 
the Bidzha ulus, the depth of the wells upon the bottom of the lake is 9 feet, the strength 
of the brine 9—13" Bome; 2. Altaisk, on the left bank of the Yenisei between the rivers 
Erba and white lus, now abandoned, the lake having concentrated too much bitter salts: 
3. Manzinsk, depth of wells 12 feet, strength of brine 5° Bome. The total production of these 
mines in 1891 did not exceed 93,800 ponds. 

Besides the lakes mentioned, in which the cooperation of common salt is now estab- 
lished, the Yeniseisk government also contains a number of lakes with bitter salts, among 
which that of Minusinsk from its extent, 2V'4 square versts, and the quantity of salt contained 
in it belongs to the most considerable bitter lakes of Eastern Siberia. Formerly, up to 1877, 
salt was deposited by natural evaporation in the Minousinsk lake, although with a certain 
intermission, and with it almost the whole region of that name was supplied, there being then 
no salt works. 

In the Yakutsk borderland, rock salt occurs in three spots of the Yiluisk district of the 
Yakutsk territory, along the right tributaries of the river Vilui. On the right bank of the 
river Kempendzai the deposit of rock salt forms a bed about 150 sagenes in length and 50 
in thickness. The salt is contained in red clay and is everywhere accompanied by plaster of 
Paris partly in crystals, partly in plates of white or gi-eenish hue. In some places the projecting 
rocks of salt attain a height of 25 sagenes; it is ordinarily white, although pieces of a rose 
colour occur. On the right bank of the river Kiundai not far from the lake Sikai-Sian, rock 
salt forms two masses in a mountain also consisting of red clay and gj-psum. Finally, upon 
the right bank of the small stream Tabasyngda, a tributary of the river Tongo, also in red 
clay, at a depth of 3^'2 feet, lies rock salt of a dirty colour. During the spring inundations 
this salt is washed out of the banks in such quantities that the water in the stream acquires 
a brackish taste, as in the river Kempendzai. All three deposits apparently belong to the tertiary 
system. In the Yiluisk district of the Yakutsk territory, salt is obtained in winter by freezing 
the brine got from the salt springs of Baginsk on the river Pusty Iri, a left tributary of the 
Kempendzai, and Kempendzaisk on the river of that name a right tributary of the river Yilui. 
The strength of the brine reaches 20 to 25 per cent. The springs flow from a mountain 
probably containing beds of rock salt of tertiary age, judging from the propinquity of the 
above described deposits of the mineral. In 1891, 2,800 ponds of salt were won from the Ba- 
ginsk spring and 16,000 from the Kempendzaisk. 

In the Amour Governor-Generalship, salt is evaporated in the Transbaikal territory at 
the works of Selenginsk in the district of that name, and Kiransk in the Troitskosavsk distri(M 
on the frontier of Mongolia. There the brine is derived from shafts, 2 to 3 sagenes deep, dug 
in the bottom of salt lakes. The strength of the brine is 11 to 12*^ Bome. In 1891, 4,100 ponds 
of salt were got at the Selenginsk works and 23,300 ponds at those of Kiransk. In the 
Transbaikal territory occurs also lake Borzinsk where natural deposits of salt take place 
although not every year; in 1891, 19,800 ponds were extracted. Here must also be mentioned 
the Doroninsk lakes of the Bargouzinsk district of the Transbaikal territory, in which Glauber's 



SALT. 



101 



salt is obtained for the glass works. In 1891, 20,000 pouds of it were obtained. Formerly, 
glauber's salt was also extracted from the Torzbiransk lake in the Baikal mountains, near the 
Olkhonsk steppe d u m a, or seat of the local Tunguz administration. 

The total yield of salt in Siberia both by natural evaporation and from salt works 
does not exceed, even under the best circumstances, two to three million pouds per annum, a 
quantity which it is obvious cannot meet the wants of the whole population of Siberia pos- 
as it does a considerable quantity of cattle. 

The production of salt for the last ten years from the different governments was as follows. 



Year. 


Tomsk. 


Yeniseisk. 


Irkutsk. 


Transbai- 
kal. 


Yakutsk. 


Semipal- 

atinsk. 


Total. 


1881 


1,073,225 


159,660 


393,351 


4,359 


8,064 


_ 


1,638,659 


1882 


599,913 


181,168 


469,689 


8,797 


8,000 


1,169,510 


2,437,077 


1883 


600,000 


177,753 


460,519 


22,341 


— 


400,000 


1,660,613 


1884 


743,989 


147,504 


577,098 


29,021 


18,000 


474,840 


1,991,452 


1885 


1,162,507 


201,596 


468,210 


34,025 


- 


397,108 


2,263,446 


1886 


278,122 


194,640 


450,556 


7,599 


— 


353,415 


1,284,332 


1887 


1,001,469 


185,840 


375,524 


— 


— 


470,897 


2,033,730 


1888 


1,756,247 


110,909 


369,886 


23,013 


6,500 


437,926 


2,704,481 


1889 


678,496 


152,927 


359,805 


43,829 


9,0<30 


914,093 


2,158,150 


1890 


1,848,355 


232,178 


376,567 


39,823 


17,300 


1,099,577 


3,613,800 


1891 


512,692 


194,966 

i 


380,721 


47,244 


18,800 


598,664 


1,753,087 



From the enumeration of the territories in which salt is obtained, it is evident that 
ise areas of Siberia are almost destitute of their own salt and consequently must be 
satisfied with the imported article. Such for example are Semirechensk, Akmolinsk, the 
Littoral, Amour and other territories. Some of these regions possessing more or less conven- 
ient communications easily get over this difficulty, but others are frequently placed in 
an extremely embarrassing situation. For the avoidance of such a state of things the Govern- 
ment has long since recognized the necessity of taking upon itself the care of furnishing the 
population with salt, mainly that of Eastern Siberia and Amouria, as least favourably situated 
in reference to the supply of the mineral. With this view the Government has, in various 
places of the territory mentioned, depots of salt and stores in which the necessary supplies 
are always ready and given out at a very moderate price. Supplies collected by the Govern- 
ment authorities are then distributed in different directions as required. Independently of 
this and with the same view of better providing the people with salt, the Government rec- 
ognized the possibility of allowing the Kirghiz of the Ural, Turgai, Akmolinsk and Semipa- 
latinsk territories the free use of salt from the Crown lakes of the Kirghiz steppe. Moreover to 
the Siberian Cossack levies are issued 5,000 pouds of salt per annum from the Crown, free 
from any payment. This is taken straight from the Borovy lakes, the cost of carriage of 
the salt from these lakes to Semipalatinsk and Ust-Kamenogorsk being covered by a grant 



192 SIBERIA. 

from the Crown of 1,000 roubles per annum. Foreign salt is imported duty free into the 
Siberian ports of the Eastern Ocean. The total expenditure of the Crown upon this operation 
amounts annually to about 100,000 roubles. 



Precious minerals and building materials. 

The best known place in all Siberia where precious minerals are found is the Trans- 
baikal territory. Here between the rivers Onon and Onon-Borza rises the granitic moun- 
tain Adun-Chilon, celebrated for the frequent discovery there of precious coloured stones, 
such as topaz, beryl, aquamarine, Siberian topaz and others. On the Onon, eighty-five versts 
from Nerchinsk are found garnets in small crystals. 

Lapis lazuli occurs in the Baikal mountains along the rivers Talaya aud Sliu- 
dianka, flowing into Baikal, and along the stream Malaya Bystraya, a tributary, of the 
Irkut. In the last locality lapis lazuli of good quality forms pockets in the large crystalled 
dolomitic limestone, near its junction with the syenitic granite. In the sixties pieces of la- 
pis were worked here three pouds in weight. From these deposits was obtained the lapis 
lazuli which served for the veneering of the columns in the St. Isaac Cathedral in St.-Pe- 
tersburg, and for the execution of a mass of artistic productions placed in the Imperial pa- 
laces. In the same locality where occur the deposits of lapis lazuli, dark red game t s 
are met with in crystals attaining two inches in diameter, along the Bolshaya Bystraya 
amazon stone, sphene and feldspar of a crimson colour are found; along the 
Talaya, mica, serpentine, talc and other minerals; along the Sliudianka, blue c a 1 c a- 
reous spar, white marble, rose coloured quartz, garnet, asphanite and 
others; in the valley of the Uluntui, black mica in plates two feet in diameter. This kind 
of mica was formerly worked here. 

Pebbles of nephrite are found along the river Bielaya falling into the Angara 
fifty versts below Irkutsk, and along the Iret and Onon, tributaries of the Bielaya, Here 
pebbles of this mineral used to be found weighing as much as 30 pouds. 

The Altai mountains on the other hand, have become celebrated for their porphyry 
and jasper of various colours, forwarded from the Korgon ridge, from the banks of the 
Charysh and Alei and from the vicinity of the Ridder mine to the Kolyvan polishing works, 
whence manufactured articles are despatched over four thousand versts to the Imperial 
Court at St. Petersburg. At these works a mass of remarkable works of art have been 
turned out, which now embellish many of the Imperial palaces. Among them is the jasper 
vase placed in the Imperial Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the oval cup of which has a long 
diameter of twenty feet. At the present time not less than eight quarries are being worked 
in the Altai, producing porphyry, blue and green jasper, granite, white and coloured marbles 
breccia, smoky topaz, red, rose-coloured and blue quartz, agate and chalcedony. 

Besides lime, building stone of various kinds, mill stones and common clays, got in many 
parts of Siberia, it should be mentioned that in the neighbourhood of the Nicholas cast-iron 



PRECIOUS MINERALS AND BUILDING MATERIALS. 193 

works in tbe Irkutsk government, and also for the needs of several works in the Kirghiz steppes, 
fire-clay and fire-resisting sandstone are worked. The former is also obtained in the Yeniseisk go- 
vernment near the village of Kantat in the Krasnoyarsk district, near the village of 
Parilovaya in the Achinsk district, as also in the Irkutsk government along the river Bielaya. 
Kaolin and white clay for the porcelain works are worked in the Irkutsk government in se- 
veral places. Feldspar and quartz for glass factories are obtained from several deposits in the 
Baikal mountains of the Irkutsk government. 



— ^<5-- — 



194 



SIBERIA. 



CHAPTER XII. 
Manufacturing industry and the home trade. 

Excisable industries, spirit, vodlca, beer aud mead; beet sugar, tobacco and matches: 

uon-excisable productions; distribution of trade dues aud statement of the turnover and 

profits of commercial and industrial undertakings; the exchange of wares between European 

Russia and Siberia; trade in the towns; fairs aud their importance to Siberia. 



NOTWITHSTAXDIXG the wealth of Siberia in the productions of the three natural king- 
doms, manufacturing industry has not been able here to develop itself to a corresponding 
extent on the oue hand, in consequence of the scanty population of this vast territory, and 
on the other, on account of the lack of convenient and cheap communications. In view of 
this, in spite of the repeated attempts of the Governmeut and of private persons to establish 
industry on a large scale in Siberia, manufactories and works have been started there only 
with great difficulty, and only those of them- have had success which served to satisfy the 
local wants of a small population, or produced an article of such value that it might bear 
the cost of carriage to a great distance with profit. 

The state of spirit distilling in Siberia appears from the following table. 





° y" 


Amount distilled from: 


Absolute alcohol, degrees 




11 

s ~ 






in vedros. 


Grain. 


Potatoes. 


P 1 


1 d s. 


1891. 1892. 


Eastern Siberia 


19 


1,213,562 





50,278,500 52,729,200 


Western » 


21 


1,408,908 


55,391 


58,866,300 


58,770,000 


Littoral and Amour territory 


1 


33,439 


— 


1,335,700 


1,599,000 



Spirit in Eastern Siberia is mainly distilled from rye and wheat flour, a poud of the 
dry material yielding on an average 41 • 12 degrees of spirit. This industry is concentrated 
for the most part in the Irkutsk government, where in 1891, 20,800,000 degrees were produced, 
next in the Yeniseisk with 15,300,000 degrees, and in Transbaikalia, 14,200,000 degrees. In 
the Yakutsk territory distilling is entirely absent. 



MANUFACTURING AND THE HOME TRADE. 195 

Of 21 distilleries in Western Siberia 9 are in the Tobolsk government, 11 in that of 
Tomsk and 1 in the territory of Semipalatinsk. Here as in Eastern Siberia the material 
used for distilling are rye and wheat flour as well as potatoes whose introduction has 
led to excellent results. On the whole a pom! of raw material yields 41 • 44 degrees of 
spirit. Assuming the population of Western Siberia and the Kirghiz steppes in accordance 
with the above quoted data at approximately four and a half million souls, it results that the 
consumption of spirit per head in this part of Siberia does not exceed 13 degrees per annum or 
one-third vedro of vodka, 40° proof. It is evident that the population of Siberia cannot be 
satisfied with such an insignificant quantity of spirit, and accordingly this defect is made good 
by the importation of spirit from the eastern governments of European Russia. In Eastern Siberia 
the consumption per head of spirit is approximately the same as in Western Siberia the deficiency 
being here supplied by importation from Odessa by sea. Yet if due account be taken o 
the isolation of many points of the Yakutsk and Littoral territories whither spirit penetrates 
only in rare cases, it is impossible not to allow that the consumption of spirit here per head 
must be distributed extremely unevenly, the greater part of the vodka being consumed by 
the town population. 

The, vodka industry in Siberia is very feebly developed and is almost confined to the 
production of refined spirit, the manufacture of various vodkas or liquors occupying a second- 
ary place. In the 22 vodka distilleries in 1891 for the whole of Siberia only 41,370 vedros 
of various liquors were made. 

Beer and mead brewing are also but feebly developed in Siberia. In 1891, 
51 breweries in all were going, among which 19 also produced mead. These breweries were 
distributed as follows: in Eastern Siberia, 13; in Western Siberia, 24; and in the Littoral 
and Amour territories, 14. The total brew in them was as follows: 

Irkutsk ..... 3 breweries : 26,600 vedros beer; 1040, mead. 

Yeniseisk 6 » : 27,000 » 

Transbaikal ... 4 » : 8,500 » » 

Tobolsk 5 ;> ) 

^'^'^^^ ^^ '' ; 200,000 vedros beer: 41,100, mead. 

Semipalatinsk . . 2 » I 

Akmolinsk .... 6 » f 

Thus, the local production of drinks subject to excise cannot satisfy the existing de- 
mand for them, and accordingly they, like spirit and vodkas, are imported from various parts 
of the Empire by land or by way of Odessa and Vladivostock. 

The excise from various liquors amounted in 1891 to 10,841,960 roubles, of which 
Eastern Siberia produced 4,654,206 roubles worth, and Western Siberia 4,302,668 roubles, 
the Littoral and Amour territories 680,090 roubles, and the territories of Akmolinsk, Semi- 
palatinsk, and Semirechensk, 1,204,996 roubles worth. 

Tobacco culture, although universally introduced wherever climatic conditions 
permit, possesses no commercial importance, serving only for the satisfaction of the uuexacting 

13* 



196 SIBEKIA. 

taste of local consumers. Only the inferior sorts of tobacco are groAvn in kitchen gardens 
together with vegetables. During the last few years the crop of makhorka, bakun and 
similar qualities was as follows: 

1886 1887 1888 1889 1890 1891 

Eastern Siberia . 26,308 31,510 28,736 26,713 28,410 32,758 pouds. 

Western Siberia . 33,967 33,895 33,121 37,902 35,498 40,872 » 

Total . . 60,275 65,405 61,857 64,615 63,908 73,630 pouds. 

In all Siberia there is but one tobacco manufactory with a section for makhorka, in 
which, in 1891, 3,400 pouds of tobacco were manufactured and banderoles issued to the amount 
of 44,592 roubles. The considerable demand for tobacco goods is supplied by the import of 
the latter from other parts of the Empire. 

The sugar industry is a perfectly new enterprise in Siberia. It could never arise 
here independently, and accordingly the Government recognized the utility of offering the 
pioneers in this industry in Siberia certain privileges, as was also done in Turkestan and 
the Caucasus. With this object the following order was promulgated on the first of 
May, 1884. 1. Of the beet-sugar bakeries which shall be founded in Turkestan, in Siberia, or in 
Transcaucasus and shall begin operations before the 1st August, 1889, the first three such in 
each region enjoy in the course of nine consecutive sugar-baking seasons, privileges in the 
payment of excise. These privileges are offered to each of the said bakeries from the date of 
its opening upon the following bases: a. during the first four seasons the sugar bakery is freed 
altogether from the payment of excise on the whole of the sugar made in. it; b. during the 
three following periods the existing excise is exacted to the extent of one-fifth; c. in 
the course of the two last privileged periods the excise is collected in the proportion of 
one-half. 2. In the course of the seasons of sugar baking, 1884 to 1885 and 1886 to 1887, author- 
ization is given to extract sugar, syrup and molasses from sorghum and other sacchariferous 
plants besides, but without the payment of excise and license dues. The said manufacture 
may be conducted both in private sugar bakeries specially arranged for the purpose and in 
beet-sugar manufactories observing the rules established by the Ministry of Finance. 

Thanks to this measure in 1890 the first beetsugar bakery was opened in the Minou- 
sinsk district of the Yeniseisk government. In 1890 only 8,450 pouds of beet were treated, 
but in 1891, 92,000 pouds from which 5,850 pouds of white sugar were obtained. The expe- 
rience of two years completely convinced the initiators that the conditions of soil and climate 
of the Minousinsk district were perfectly adapted to the cultivation of the sugar beet, and 
accordingly the extension of the undertaking appears to be extremely advantageous. 

Match manufacture is little developed in Siberia. There are here but 8 manufacto- 
ries, 2 in Eastern Siberia and 6 in Western. The output in 1891 was: 

Eastern Siberia, with phosphorus: 230,287,500 matches; without phosphorus 82,336,500 matches. 
Western Siberia » ^ 3,614,159,250 » » ^ 37,383,750 » 

Of the 6 manufactories of Western Siberia 2 are in Tobolsk, 3 in Tomsk and 1 in 
the Bisk district, and of the 2 manufactories in Eastern Siberia, one is in Irkutsk and the 



[ANUFACTURING AND THE HOME TRADE. 



197 



other in the village of Ousolie. The first prepares exclusively Swedish matches, the second 
only simple lucifers. All the Siberian match manufactories get their phosphorus from Tou- 
pitsyn's works in Perm, the other raw materials heing of local origin. 

In all the industries named, about 3,000 workmen are employed annually, namely, in 
distilleries, 1,936; yeast manufactories, 14; vodka distilleries, 120; beer and mead breweries 
254; the sugar bakery, 78; the tobacco manufactory, 78, and match manufactories, 330. 

■ The total receipts of the treasury from all taxes on excisable industries, including 
therein excise, licenses and fines reaches 11,177,423 roubles, distributed according to different 
localities and manufactures in the following manner. 



Eastern Siberia .... 

Western » . . . , 

Littoral and Amouria. . 

Akmolinsk, Semiretcheusk, 
Semipalatinsk .... 


Spirits, j Sugar. 

1 


Tobacco. 


Petro- 
leum. 


Matches. 


Total.; 


1 
4,654,206 95 
4,302,668 — 
680,090 - 

1,204,996 — 


93,644 
42,504 
12,398 

11,150 


9,930 


14,700 

121,860 

29,088 

94 


4,762,645 

4,467,032 

731,506 

1,216,240 


Total. . . 


10,841,960 95 


159,696 


9,930 


165,742 


11,177,423 



It is evident that this sum is too small for such an immense territory as Siberia, and 
there can be no doubt but that as a consequence of the considerable improvements in the 
communications, latterly, either carried out or projected, the manufactures above named, as 
ministering to the daily needs of the population, must assume more extensive dimensions. 

The following are the industries not subject to the payment of excise, the returns 
being those for 1890: 



Amour -Litto- 
ral border- 
land. 



Kirghiz 

steppe border 

land. 



INDUSTRIES. 



Western orig- 
inal Siberia. 



;^ 3 ^ 



Ei2 



Eastern orig- 
inal Siberia. 



o 25 



rf 2-3 =.^ 5;rt i 



o ^^ 

a:3 3 



r^'Zi 3 



:|-2' 



>-§ =s 



12 2 

a 0-4^ 

■ = ^ 3 



o in 

o o 



o 5« 



O OT . 
S -^ CO 



Total. 



a d 



= t2 o 



O 3 — 
£.0.0 

1^ -^ p 
o wT "* 

OOP 



Hides, sheepskins, 
and leather goods 

Metals . . . . 

Milling . . . . 

Tallow and 



boiling 
Timber sawine 



soap 



201 
5 

188 

41 



1,186 


38 


350 


17 


106 


55 


187 


5 


338 


2 


46 




2,152 


13 


284 


33 


834 


150 


330 


4 


29 


3 


31 


56 




o 


27 


— 


- 





405 



1,005 



310 
12 

384 

104 
3 



2,047 

571 

4,275 

781 
27 



198 



SIBERIA. 



INDUSTRIES. 


Western orig- 
inal Siberia. 


Eastern orig- 
inal Siberia. 


Amour -Litto- 
ral border- 
land. 


Kirghiz- 
steppe border 
land. 


T 


t a 1. 


Number of man- 
ufactories and 
works. 


Value of pro- 
ductions, thous- 
ands of roubles. 


Number ot man- 
ufactories and 
works. 


Value of pro- 
ductions, thous- 
ands of roubles. 


Number of man- 
ufactories and 
works. 

Value of pro- 
ductions, thous- 
ands of roubles. 


ii 

PS 


Value of pro- 
ductions, thous- 
ands of roubles. 


ii 

OS 

ill 


Value of pro- 
ductions, thous- 
ands of roubles. 


Candles(tallow and 
wax) 


11 


56 


5 


52 


3 


28 


2 


9 


21 


145 


Brick and lime 
, burning . . . 


12 


19 


16 


41 


2 


3 


5 


6 


35 


69 


Porcelain, faience 
and glass. . 


3 


65 


7 


280 


2 


18 





— 


12 


363 1 


Cloth, wool w^ashing 
and felt . . . 


13 


218 


1 


57 








1 


40 


15 


315 


Saltworks and salt 
grinding .' . . 




— 


10 


330 


2 


20 


— 


— 


12 


350 


Confectionery, mo- 
lasses and pre- 
serves .... 


^ 


42 


2 


14 






3 


34 


12 


90 


Chemical, vinegar 


1 


44 


1 


6 


— 


— 


— 


- 


2 


50 


Ropewalks . . . 


— 




5 


6 




- 


— 


- 


5 


6 


Writing paper. . 


1 


236 


— 






— 


— 


— 


1 


236 


Oil mills and cheese 
making . . . 


30 


52 


— 


"" 


- 


— 


5 


9 


35 


61 


I Total. . 


513 


4,598 


109 


1,824 


64 


1,083 


278 


1,888 


963 


9,393 


Small works, not 

\ included in above, 

with production 

; less than 1,000 

! roubles. . . . 


771 




56 




24 




577 




1,428 





From this table it appears that the total production of the Siberian manufactories and 
works does not reach 9,500,000 roubles, and that the first place among the manufacturing 
industries belongs to milling, 45 per cent ; the second, to the leather and sheepskin trade, afte 
which follow tallow and soap boiling, metals, et cetera. These industries are very unevenly distrib- 
uted over the different regions. Western Siberia is alone distinguished by a great variety of 
productions, whose output amounts to 4,600,000 roubles. The opposite position is occupied by 
the Amour-Littoral borderiand, whose production is about one million roubles. On the whole 
the manufacturing indust:.y of Siberia is at present in an embryonic condition. Different 
industries arise and develop merely for the satisfaction of local requirements, in consequence 
of which the business of industrial and commercial undertakings of Siberia are extremely 
limited. 



MANUFACTURING AND THE HOME TRADE. 



199 



All the trade dues of Siberia scarcely amount to one million roubles, which includes 
the receipts on first and second guild certificates, retail trade and other licenses, market 
carrier dues, additional taxes to the services connected with lodgings, and the supplementary 
dues, three per cent on share undertakings and assessed tax on guild and non-guild concerns. 

The incidence of these taxes according to different articles and governments in 1889 is 
shown in the following table. 



Taxes: 


it 


15^ 

i! 




Transbai- 

kal 
territory. 


|i 


^ o 
H 


Tomsk 
gov. 

Bemipala- 

tinsk 

territory. 1 

Semire- 

cheusk 

territory, f 


First guild . . . 


8,445 


6,435 


8,428 


22,915 


23,750 


20,290 


11,257 


1,665 


1,005 


Second » ... 


9,479 


20,631 


46,368 


50,338 


52,872 


50,425 


82,646 


17,780 


22,068 


Retail trade . . . 


2,084 


2,908 


17,988 


6,728 


17,114 


39,829 


25,392 


3,118 


10,680 


Trade certificates 


437 


209 


1,036 


813 


553 


3,125 


2,159 


577 


617 


Clerk » 


5,460 


9,231 


17,761 


21,954 


24,435 


25,546 


34,532 


7,994 


11,378 


1 Carrier » 


464 


1,720 


2,792 


2,280 


1,456 


5,224 


8,568 


2,384 


2,808 


Peddlar » 


102 


183 


390 


342 


195 


822 


2,955 


372 


294 


Fair dues .... 


~ 


- 


435 


1,492 


705 


5,524 


3,557 


4,200 


28 


1 Fines 


424 


988 


5,017 


1,675 


2,119 


5,520 


4,270 


543 


2,214 


Special taxes . . 


- 


- 


7,810 


13,009 


10,205 


18,158 


14,032 


3,190 


3 


Supplementary dues: 




















Three per cent . 


201 


- 


316 


119 


- 


1,317 


316 

1 


— 


— 


Assessed taxes . 


-* 


* 


9,118 


* 


22,298 


23,502 


29,059 


— * 


* 




28,721 


44,771 


> 119,675 


125,698 


156,927 


198,688 


222,327 


43,343 


53,633 



As the assessed tax is only imposed in the four most important governments of Si- 
beria, data on business done and profits received are only to be had for these governments, 
and, even so, only in respect to guild, industrial and commercial undertakings. 

In the two following tables is set forth the distribution of guild undertakings according 
to the nature of the industry or trade in the said four governments of Siberia, with a 
statement of the turnover, profit and average lucraliveness for each separately for 1889 



Not collected. 



200 



SIBERIA. 





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[ANUFACTUKING AND THE HOME TRADE. 



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202 SIBERIA. 

The above table shows at a glance what goods form the subject of home trade. In the 
forefront -appear woollen and cotton goods swallowing up 36 per cent of the annual turnover; 
next follow groceries 15 per cent, liquors 11 per cent, and others. Thus the chief strength of 
Siberian trade is concentrated in provisions, clothing and shoes. Part of these goods is prepared 
on the spot, but a considerable proportion is imported ready made from European Russia. 

To elucidate the character of the exchange between Siberia and European Russia, it 
is necessary to turn to the returns of the Ural Railway, or rather to those of two of its 
stations, Tiumen and Tura, which no freight escapes in whichever direction it is going. On 
examining the goods traffic over the said line, it is not difficult to see that the principal mass, 
going in the direction of the basin of the Volga, is composed of raw materials and half 
manufactured productions of agriculture and cattle rearing, while in the opposite direction 
to the basin of the Obi go principally the productions of manufacturing industry. In the first 
case the chief articles are grain, flour, flax and linseed, tow, nuts, tallow, butter, hair, 
wool, hides, skins, furs; in the second, cloth, haberdashery, gi-oceries, dry goods, metals, por- 
celain, glass, spirit, sugar, tobacco, mineral oils. The goods of the latter kind forwarded to 
Siberia trough Tiumen and Tura amounted in 1668 to 2,209,000 pouds, in 1889 to 2,299,000 
pouds, in 1890 to 2,587,000 pouds. In the contrary direction, that is, towards European Russia, 
these stations forwarded in 1888, 4,799,000 pouds, in 1889, 3,676,000 pouds, and in 1890, 
4,787,000 pouds. The returns ior 1891 as well as certain details on the goods traffic are 
given further on under the description of the water ways, as up to the present time this 
system of conveyance is almost the sole existing. 

Passing to a review of the most important trade centres, it must be observed that 
the scanty population scattered over the boundless expanse of this country by virtue of 
historical and still more geographical conditions could not be concentrated in large centres 
and therefore in Siberia to the present day there are but 28 towns counting more than 
5,000 inhabitants. Of these the most largely populated are Irkutsk 44,000, Tomsk 40,000, 
Omsk 34,000, Tierny 25,000, Tobolsk 20,000, and Semipalatinsk 18,000. 

The home trade is mainly concentrated in the towns named and consists partly 
in the barter of the raw materials produced by the natives, partly in the sale for cash. It is 
everywhere in the hands of a few persons, who availing themselves of the difficulty of com- 
munications and the absence of competition in consequence of this, not seldom raise the 
prices exorbitantly upon all goods, especially woollens and cottons. Some years ago a corner 
was arranged among several liquor merchants, and the prices of alcohol rose so high, that 
the Government thought good to despatch a considerable party of spirit from Odessa to 
Vladivostok, for sale there in the Government warehouses at a fixed price and thus compel 
the ring to return to the normal course of business, a result which ensued iu the shortest 
possible time. What kind of goods are for sale appears from the trade returns quoted above. 
It must be observed that trade has not always a constant character but often becomes more 
lively at certain times and places during fairs. 

Fairs in Siberia possess a great importance and they are there very numerous, but 
their business is not gi-eat. The existence of these institutions is dependent upon the inade- 
quacy of communications, the difficulty of transport, the inconveniences of frequent travelling 



-MANUFACTURING AND THE HOME TRADE, 203 

aud other such circumstances which compel the traders to assemble at a determined time 
and place, whither merchants come together from every part with their goods. 

The most ancient and important Siberian fair is that of Irbit, founded in 1643, admin- 
istratively forming part of the government of Perm, that is, of European Russia, but geog- 
raphically an integral part of Siberian territory. Situated at the confluence of the Irbit and 
the Nitsa, tributaries of the Tura, Irbit forms the half-way house for a number of routes. 
The fair there is open from the 1st of February to the 1st of March, and for this month the 
little town wakes up and welcomes 12,000 to 15,000 strangers, doing a business of 40,000,000 to 
50,000,000 roubles each time. In 1868 various goods were brought to this town to the 
amount of 37,311,000 roubles, of which 34,359,000 roubles worth were sold; in ^1876, the fig- 
ures were 49,029,000 and 45,987,000 roubles respectively; in 1891, 45,896,200 and 39,302,700 
roubles. The decline in the turnover of the Irbit fair here perceptible is in direct depend- 
ence upon the completion of the Ural and Samara-Zlatoust railways. The opening of the 
Great Siberian Railway will undoubtedly still further diminish the importance of this fair. 
The chief articles of trade there, after tea, are peltry, honey, wax, nuts, hardware and 
cutlery, woollens and cottons. The wares for sale here are mostly of Russian origin, 
although foreign productions from both Europe and Asia are not unknown. In 1891 
Russian goods were imported to the amount of 39,274,000 roubles, including in this sum 
6,062,000 roubles of Asiatic wares, of which 34,058,000 roubles worth were sold. The 
corresponding figures for foreign productions were 6,622,000 roubles and 5,245,000 roubles 
respectively. 

The chief article of commerce in the Irbit fair, tea, will be discussed further on. As 
far as regards fur goods, it may be observed that already now with the approach of the 
general railway system to the water systems of Siberia the most valuable goods of this kind 
are forwarded direct to Moscow, without passing through Irbit, Thus, in January of the 
current year, 1893, a party of sable of 1,700 skins was forwarded to Moscow and sold there 
for 100,000 roubles. Judging by the course taken by fur goods for some years past, it may 
be confidently expected that with the building of the w-estern section of the Great Sibe- 
rian Railway the whole of the fur goods from the basin of the Obi will be forwarded 
direct to Moscow. In the current year there were 5,450,000 squirrel skins brought to the 
fair, and 1,500,000 hare skins. The sale of sable was 3,600 skins at 60 to 75 roubles apiece. 
Light sable was offered to the number of 30,000 skins. There was further a large show of 
arctic fox, 25,000 skins, krestovatik, nekliui, and other furs, A considerable portion 
of the furs at the Irbit fair is acquired for foreign export, namely, all the ermine, k o 1 o n o k s, 
krestovatiks, bears, marmot, hares, squirrel tails, black and striped cat for Leipzig, sable for 
Leipzig, Paris and London, squirrel, wolf and fox, for Leipzig. 

Combining the above data with the returns on the seal trade, it may be seen that 
the trade in Russian furs, and particularly in the more valuable kinds, is principally concen- 
trated in London and Leipzig. Both these markets receive from Russia the goods in the raw state 
and often return them finished, although they most frequently are disposed of in other countries. 

Another fair in the same government of Perm, but on Siberian territory, is Krestovsko 
Ivanovskaya, By the business done there it occupies the next place to that of Irbit, It opens 



204 SIBERIA. 

on the 20th of August and continues 15 days, that is to the 5th of Septemher. In 1868 goods to 
the value of 4,397,000 roubles were brought to this fair, of which 3,794,000 roubles worth 
were sold; in 1876 the business doubled, the figures being respectively 8,650,000 and 
6,552,000 roubles; in 1891, the business again declined, the goods brought amounting to 
5,756,000 roubles; in 1892, there was a further fall, to 4,942,000, of which only 3,783,000 
roubles worth were sold. 

The third considerable Siberian fair, the Nikolsk, takes place in Ishim in December, 
from the 1st to the 25th, and has a special object. Here is carried on the trade in the 
produce of stock breeding, mainly tallow, butter and hides. The total business of the fair 
amounts from.four to five million roubles per annum. The Nikolsk fair determines the prices 
for tallow and the character of the trade in this article, although the latter is for sale in 
many other fairs. The total offer in the winter is as much as one million pouds of tallow, 
the greater part of which is forwarded to the port of St. Petersburg for export, chiefly 
to England. During recent years, however, in consequence of the enlivenment of man- 
ufactures based upon tallow within the Empire, the destination of this article has somewhat 
altered. Tallow is not only obtained from the local cattle, but most of all from cattle driven 
from the Kirghiz steppes to the fair near lake Toinchi-Kul in the territory of Akmolinsk. At 
this fair about half a million head of small cattle and about 100,000 head of large 
cattle are sold. 

Fully half a million roubles worth of butter is brought to the Ishim fair, where it is 
bought up principally for Moscow, St. Petersburgh and Rostov-on-Don. The butter is taken from 
the fair to Ekaterinburg, the centre of this trade. Here it is melted, clarifled and forwarded 
in the summer per raft by the Kama to St, Petersburgh and Rostov, and in winter it goes 
to Moscow in the form of kolobovoe. Besides the three fairs considered, possessing im- 
portance exclusively for Siberia, several others may be pointed out, in Perm and in the 
neighbouring government of Orenburg, in the district of Cheliabinsk. At these fairs the chief 
trade is in Siberian produce and goods destined for Siberia. Independently of this in Siberia 
itself there are reckoned more than 160 fairs, of which in the government of Tobolsk 95, in the 
territory of Akmolinsk 30, in the government of Tomsk 19, in the territory of Semipala- 
tinsk 13, in that of Transbaikal 11, in the government of Yeniseisk 8, in that of Irkutsk 
9, et cetera. They last not less than three days. 

In the small Aniuisk fort in the Kolymsk district of the Yakutsk territory there an- 
nually assembles the so-called Chukche Fair which brings together for the purposes of trade 
and the payment of y a s a k, or the tax in furs, natives belonging to the most various 
tribes. Among them are the three divisions of the Chukches, Olenny, Nosovy and Anadyr, 
and represetantives of the Toungouz, Lashuts, Yakutsk, and Chuvans. The Chukche Fair however 
has latterly been less frequented, the inhabitants of the Coast finding it possible to exchange 
their productions for American goods brought them in the shape of contraband in the 
whalers. This illicit trade is accompanied by frightful exploitation of the native population 
and their depravement by drink. Various measures have been taken by the local government 
authorities to combat this evil. 

In the territory of Semipalatinsk the trade is mainly carried on between the Cossacks 



MANUFACTUKING AND THE HOME TRADE. 205 

and peasants on the one hand, and the Kirghiz on the other. In the first case it is on a cash 
basis, in the second on that of barter. 

In the Akmolinsk territory the chief subject of trade is cattle and their produce. In 
30 local fairs in 1889 business was done in these articles to an amount of 8,000,000 roubles. 

Trade with the natives in the Littoral territory is somewhat peculiarly situated. 
Almost all the natives are here in dependence on traders of different nationalities. Golds 
and Oroches have fallen under the influence of the Chinese, The latter supply them goods 
on credit, but secure themselves the whole of the native's future take of furs, getting the 
same for a trifle. The Tunguses are in the same dependence on the Yakut traders. As regards 
the shore tract and Kamchatka, here it is the Russian element that predominates. 

In the territory of the Amour, chiefly at the confluence of the large tributaries Zeya 
and Bureya with the Amour, native fairs with barter take place. The best known on account 
of the extent of its commercial transactions is the Kiman native gathering on the Bureya. 
Here 3,000 sables are sold annually fetching 60,000 roubles, and other furs to the amount of 
10,000 roubles. In the total for 1889 the imports into the Amour territory of Russian goods 
amounted to 2,500,000 roubles; and foreign, 1,000,000 roubles, or in all, 3,500,000 roubles. . 



-_^<$_- 



206 SIBERIA. 



CHAPTER XIU. 
The Foreign trade of Siberia. 

The Far East iu reference to customs; the import and export of Russian and foreign goods; 

Vladivostock and Nikolaevsk; trade with China across the land frontier; ports of the Arctic 

Ocean; the Commander Islands; tea trade over the European and Asiatic frontiers; Bohea 

and brick teas; freights; tea traffic by rail; western China and Turkestan. 



THE vast territory of Siberia is washed on the north along an immense extent by the 
Arctic Ocean, and therefore on this side during the greater part of the year it is closed 
for navigation, and even during the season of navigation nature in the polar zone offers so 
many inconveniences to the establishment of regular navigation that up to the present time 
the appearance of steamers on the northern coast of Siberia is more or less accidental, not 
yet possessing any industrial importance. 

The eastern zone, bathed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean and possessing for the greater 
part a more moderate climate, has many advantages over the northern. Here indeed, during 
the brief period since the establishment of the Russian dominion, an increased movement in 
the shipping has been observed, accompanied by a more lively trade. On the south, Siberia is 
conterminous with Manchuria, Mongolia and China, Here there are several land routes, by 
which the exchange of goods takes place between Russia and the countries named. The de- 
velopment of trade relations with the Chinese Empire always formed the subject of special 
anxiety to the Russian Government, striving to negotiate various privileges for this trade and 
to open to it new markets within the limits of the Chinese dominions. In the middle of the 
present century, besides the commercial relations taking place on the basis of the Treaty of 
Kiakhta (1727) through Kiakhta and Urga, trade was opened by the Kuldzha Convention 
(1851) on the side of Ilya aud Tarbagatai. Subsequently the Aikhun Treaty (1858) authorized 
mutual trade to the subjects of both countries, living along the rivers Amour, Ussuri, and 
Sunguri, while that of Thian-Tzin (1858) granted Russia the right to carry on trade not only 
by land but also by sea in the ports opened to foreigners. Finally by the treaty of St. Peteisburg 
(1881) the districts lying on both slopes of the Thian-Shan, as well as Su-Chow, were opened 
to Russia. Both in these districts and in Mongolia, Russian subjects may trade duty free. 
Upon goods forwarded to the provinces of the interior and exported therefrom, the Chinese 
authorities impose import and export customs dues. 



FOREIGN TRADE. 207 

In consequeuce of the sparse population of Eastern Siberia and ttie inadequacy of its 
communications, on the one hand, and witli the object, on the other, of affording new settlers 
certain privileges for getting necessary provisions and implements of labour, it was thought 
best from the very beginning of the annexation of the Amour territory to authorize free for- 
eign trade in the Kamchatka region (1855), and in the ports of the Amour region and the 
Island of Saghaliu (1857). It was at the same time declared that foreign goods might enter 
free of duty in Russian vessels, and ascend the Amour without any restriction. Foreign 
vessels on the other hand were not permitted to navigate the Amour higher than the Mariinsk 
Post, even under the Russian flag. It was soon thought advisable to extend the right to free 
trade in foreign goods granted to the Amour region to all the ports of the Littoral tenltory 
of Eastern Siberia, which was done in 1860. 

• On the review in 1862 of the statute on the organization of the customs office in 
Eastern Siberia it was defined that European and Colonial goods forwarded through the ports 
of the Littoral and Amour territories on arriving at the Irkutsk customshouse are subject to 
the payment of customs duties on the basis of the general customs tariff on European trade. 
From goods however despatched by the route mentioned, and intended for consumption within 
the limits of the said territories, customs duties as before were not exacted. Subsequently 
certain exceptions were admitted in this respect, and from 1867 the import of intoxicants was 
made dutiable, and from 1887 tobacco goods were also brought under this exception. Next, 
on nearer acquaintance with the position of the home trade of Eastern Siberia and in the 
interests of the normal development of the national industry, it was found necessary to impose 
customs duties upon all imported foreign goods which are subject to excise within the country. 
This measure was called into existence among other things by the abnormal direction taken 
by our export trade. Goods subject to excise and destined for export from European Russia 
into Eastern Siberia were declared as exported abroad, the exporter receiving in the shape of 
drawback the whole of the excise paid by him and in some cases a premium on the export. 
These goods were then imported as foreign into the ports of the Littoral. Thus in order to 
obtain the premium on sugar it was necessary to forward it first to some foreign point, for 
example Port Said, and then import it as foreign into Vladivostok. Something of the same 
kind took place in the tobacco trade. Hamburg traders taking advantage of the circumstance 
that Russian tobacco goods on shipment abroad do not bear any internal excise began to order 
them in St. Petersburg and despatch them to Vladivostok as German productions. If these goods 
were forwarded direct from the interior governments of the Empire to Vladivostok without 
banderole they had to pay export in that port. Approximately the same thing took place in 
reference to other goods, such as petroleum illuminants, matches, et cetera. Thus Russian pro- 
ductions in the Russian ports of the Pacific Ocean were in a depressed state, which of course 
could not be regarded as normal or desirable. To regulate the trade, and at the same time 
preserve to Eastern Siberia its privileged position, as regards the duty free enjoyment of for- 
eign productions, from 1888 the ports of the Eastern strip of Siberia were opened for 
the duty free importation of all goods with the exception of the following: sugar, molasses, 
confectionery, jam, fruit in syrup, in liqueurs et cetera, aiTack, rum, French brandy, spirituous 
liquors imported in bottles, gin, whiskey, wines made from grapes, mead, porter, mineral 



208 SIBERIA. 

illuminating oils, paraffin lubricating oil. spirit and oil polishes and matches. To the articles- 
named, when imported into the pons of the Littoral territory, the actual customs tariff on 
the European frontier is extended. Tobacco goods of foreign origin imported by sea into 
Vladivostok and Nikolaevsk, as well as Russian, not bearing the legal banderoles, are made 
to pay duty on the basis of the general tariff at the European frontier. The collection of the 
duties upon goods imported into the ports of the Littoral territory, on account of the absence 
there of customs institutions, is imposed upon the officials of the local excise control. On th& 
publication of the law quoted, imposing import duties on certain goods, the question arose as 
to whether duties should be taken from the foreign goods enumerated above when imported 
into the Commander Islands, and into Petropavlovsk, and other northern ports of the Littoral 
territory, for which no special exceptions are established. Taking into consideration the pov- 
erty of the population of the northern zone of the said territory and of the islands of the 
Pacific Ocean and also the total absence there of excise officials, it was thought advisable in- 
1889 to limit the exaction of customs duties from certain foreign goods imported into the 
ports of the territory of the Littoral to the ports of Vladivostok and Nikolaevsk, with the 
condition that the exaction of such duties should be effected on the same general basis from 
the goods also that may be imported into the said ports from other ports of the Littoral 
territory. 

Thus up to the present time the immense territory of Eastern Siberia continues to 
remain in the position of a free port for the mass of foreign goods, which however does not 
offer any danger for the importation of duty free merchandise through Eastern into Western 
Siberia and further into the interior of the Empire. 

Xotwithstanding the natural wealth of Siberia and the favourable climatic conditions 
existing in many localities, its productivity in consequence of its scant population and absence 
of communications is extremely insignificant, and it is in need of the importation from without 
of many such essential articles, as under other circumstances might be successfully produced 
upon the spot. Siberia is mainly furnished with the necessary productions by importation 
from the following countries. 

from European Russia it receives cheap cottons and woollens, tobacco, spirit, sugar, 
illuminants, articles of leather and iron, writing paper and a small quantity of haberdashery 
and articles of fashion. From Great Britain, Siberia receives chiefly cotton and woollen yarn 
and fabrics, iron, tin-plate et cetera. From Belgium, glass and yarn, are imported; from 
France, articles of fashion, preserves, wine et cetera. 

The United States of America caiTy on a pretty brisk trade with Siberia through 
San Francisco, furnishing that country with flour and other articles of food, machinery and 
agricultural implements, leather goods and guns. 

Germany, thanks to the activity of many German firms in Nikolaevsk and Vladivostok,, 
has a predominating influence in the import trade of Siberia. It furnishes the most various 
goods, although of a very inferior quality, such as furniture, sugar, wine, kitchen utensils, 
cottons and woollens. 

Korea sends to Siberia the produce of its agriculture and cattle rearing, grain, 
vegetables and cattle. Japan imports mainly wheat, rice, salt, fruits, and to a very limited 



FOEEIGN TRADE. 



209 



extent, articles of luxury. China carries on a large trade wiih Siberia in tea; the import- 
ation of other goods takes place on a small scale hearing a more or less casual character. 

The chief articles of Siberian export through the Pacific ports are the produce of the 
whale and morse industries, furs, sea cabbage and fish. The remaining articles, namely timber, coal 
from Saghaliu, trepang or sea slugs and ginseng, have as yet hardly any industrial importance. 

Foreign goods enter Eastern Siberia mainly through Vladivostok, Nikolaevsk on the 
Amour, Blagoveschensk and Ayan in the Yakutsk territory. By not one of these four routes 
can duty free goods penetrate into Western Siberia while avoiding the Irkutsk Customs- 
house. Merchandise from Nikolaevsk proceeds to Sretensk almost 3,000 versts by the Amour 
only from ]\Iay to September; in winter about four months this route is still by the Amour 
over ice, while in the remaining spring and autumn seasons of the year Nikolaevsk is quite 
cut off from the country, with which accordingly all relations for the time cease. Other route 
than the Amour there is none. Goods from Sretensk inevitably take the direction of the 
Lake Baikal where are situated customshouse posts. From Vladivostok goods go by sea and 
land. In the first case, they are forwarded to the ports of the Sea of Okhotsk, to Kamchatka, 
the Island of Saghalin, the harbours of Possiet and St. Olga, De Castri bay and others. In the 
second, the goods go to China, Korea, Khabarovka and various settlements along the Ussuri and 
again fall into the basin of the Amour. As for the route through Ayan, on account of the 
entire absence of population in this locality, the importation of foreign goods through the territory 
of Yakutsk for a long time to come will be unable to assume any appreciable dimensions. 

The subjection of articles paying -excise to a customs tariff has not so much a fiscal 
character as the object of regulating the relations of importation of foreign and home productions. 

The imports of foreign goods paying duty into the Littoral territory in 1891 were 
expressed by the figures, 8,000 pouds, valued at 1 17,689 roubles, the articles being as in the 
following table. 



Goods imported: 



Tobacco in the form of cigars and cigarette^ . 

Raw and refined sugar 

Confectionery, jams, syrups 

Arrack, rum, grain spirit . 

Arrack, rum, French brandy 

"Wines made from grapes and berries 

» » » » ■» » still . . . . 

» » » ;> » » effervescing 

Mead, porter, beer, cider 

» ;> ;> > 

Liquid products of the distillation of naphtha 

Spirit, tuipentine and oil polishes 

Matches 



1890. 



1891. 



_ 


15 pouds 


587 


61 » 


— 


20 » 


60 


69 y> 


2,506 


2,529 bottles. 


972 


1,522 pouds. 


1,804 


2,298 bottles. 


4,097 


5,049 » 


614 


979 pouds. 


8.599 


24,296 bottles 


1,416 


104 pouds 


— 


5 y> 


1,182 


2,370 » 



210 



SIBERIA. 



Only the goods named paying duty are capable of a more or less accurate estimation. 
As for other goods, they are accounted for only in Vladivostok and Xikolaevsk; in the other 
ports of the Littoral they escape notice, so that the import returns into this territory are 
restricted to dutiable goods. 

Of the merchandise imported to Yladivostok,about 25 per cent are cottons and woollens; 
15 per cent, grain and flour, and 10 per cent, other provisions. Xext in order follow, articles 
made of metal, sugar, spirit, metals, et cetera. In the supply of these goods, Germany plays the 
first part, providing about 30 per cent of the whole imports. From European Russia come 
25 per cent; from England, 13 per cent; from China 12, Japan 13, America 5 per cent, and 
so on. After the imposition of duty upon certain foreign goods, Russian productions began 
to be imported in greater quantities, although foreign production still predominate, as appears 
from the trade returns of Vladivostok for the three years given below. 



Year. 


Goods imported, in roubles. 


j 1 
Total. Russian. ' Foreign. 


1887 
1888 
1889 


5,741,467 
5,884,508 
5,709,544 


2,016,227 : 3,725,240 | 
2,120,987 ; 3,763.521 ' 
2.384,722 \ 3,324,822 



The distribution of the imported goods among the traders according to their nationality 
takes the following form. 



18S9. 


.^ t Foreign sub- 1 | 
Russian jects. Euro-' t r,u- 
subjects. pean and J''P>»«^«- ^tmese. 
American. 


Coreans. | 

1 


Russian goods .... 
Foreign 


1.284,-386 1,083,610 4,995 ^,731 - 
231,765 1,660,196 1S2.997 L24S.997 1,310 


Total . . 


1,516,151 ; 2,743,806 187,992 { 1,257,728 

! 


1,310 



The above table shows that the trade in Vladivostok is mainly concentrated in the 
hands of foreigners, namely 73 per cent; the Japanese and Chinese trade chiefly in the pro- 
ductions of their respective countries. 

The export from Vladivostok is on the whole small, the principal articles being the 
products of the whale and morse industries, to the amount of one and a half million roubles, 
and various furs valued at one million roubles. Xext follows sea cabbage, of which 250,000 
roubles worth is forwarded to various destinations every year; p ant a, 35,000 roubles; timber, 
30,000 roubles; trepang, 15,000 roubles; and other goods to the value of 250,000 roubles. 
Thus the total export of Vladivostok may be estimated at three million roubles. Vladivostok, 
forming the terminus of the Siberian Railway, with the latter's completion, will undoubtedly 



FOREIGN TRADE. 



211 



occupy an extremely important position in a commercial sense. Already during the last decade; 
a considerable increase has been observed in the annual arrivals of shipping, while the 
quantity of freights has grown by 200 per cent. Simultaneously with the construction of the 
line a commercial port will be built there, with whose completion there will be a brisker 
movement in the shipping. 

The trade of Nikolaevsk bears a somewhat different character; from this point for 
fully 3,000 versts there is a magnificent water way into the interior of the country, thanks 
to which Nikolaevsk has greater reason to be considered a point of transit than Vladivostok. 
Of the total imports of Nikolaevsk 35 per cent consist of tea, 11 per cent sugar, IOV'2 per 
cent various machinery and locomotives, 9 per cent manufactured goods and 8 groceries. 
The population of Nikolaevsk being Inconsiderable, the whole mass of goods is not consumed 
on the spot but forwarded thence up the Amour. 

In supplement to the data on the importation of goods into Nikolaevsk and Vladivos- 
tok, may be quoted further the returns on the number of ships that visited these two ports 
of the Eastern Ocean. 



1873 



1877 



1880 



V 1 a d 


i V 


s t k. 




N i k 


1 a e 


V s k. 






Steam. 


Sailing. 


Total. 




Steam. 


Sailing. 


Total. 


i Russian 
I Foreign 


3 


7 


10 


( Russian . 
I I oreigu . 


4 


3 


7 


1 


18 


19 


3 


12 


15 


( Russian 
\ Foreign 


5 
11 


2 
19 


7 
30 


i Russian . 

1880 ■; ^, . 

> foreign . 


5 

7 


1 


6 

14 


I Russian 
I Foreign 


17 
25 


29 


17- 
54 


1884 : ^^^^'^'' • 

\ Foreign . 


6 

11 


2 

4 


8 
15 


( Russian 
I Foreign 


26 


1 


27 










31 


15 


46 











1884 

The data on the arrival and departure of 
the following table. 



in the said ports in 1891 appear in 



Vladivostok . . . 
Nikolaevsk .... 


Arrivals. 


Departures. j| 


Total. 


Sailing. 


Steam. 


Total. 


Sailing. 


Steam. || 




Ton- 
nage. 


M 
> 


Ton- 
nage. 


Vessels. 




Ton- 
nage. 


Vessels. 


"1 


Ton- 
nage. 


1 

1111,48,569 
33 9,347 


9 
6 


658 102 

541 27 


.47,911 
8,806 


108 47,612 
33 9,347 


7 555 101 

6 541 27 

! 


47,057 
8,806 




144 


57,916 


15 


1,199 


129 


56,717 


141 


56,959 


13 1,096 


'l28 


55,863 



Thus, from the data quoted it appears that the number of ships arriving at the two 
chief ports of the Siberian shore of the Eastern Ocean is increasing every year, and there 
can be no doubt but that with the improvement of the navigation on the Amour and the 
opening of the Ussuri branch of the Great Siberian Line this growth will go still faster. 



212 



SIBERIA 



Passing to the review of the foreign trade of Siberia across the land frontier with 
China, Mongolia and Mantchuria, it must he observed that the trade in this direction, although 
it has 'been carried on from the earliest times hut in consequence of the absence of roads alike 
within the limits of Siberia and in the conterminous states, has for a long time kept within 
the same bounds, and with the increase of trade in the navigations of the Amour basin 
and in the Great Ocean the land trade is apparently diminishing. The most important route 
in this direction is the natural road connecting the industrial centres of the Celestial Empire 
through Urga and Maimachin with Kiakhta and Irkutsk, and consequently with the great 
Siberian tract. Other less important roads, two in number, connect Western China with the 
territory of Semipalatinsk, Along these principal ways the export of goods from Siberia 
does not exceed two to three million roubles a year. The import, on the other hand, reaches 
fourteen to fifteen millions. But if from the latter figure be excluded the value of the tea 
imported through Kiakhta into European Russia, as this article to a considerable extent is 
merely in transit as far as Siberia is concerned, the total value of the imported goods will 
be found to correspond to that of the exports. The chief subject of export is the produce of 
cattle rearing, and that of import, is tea. 

The table below gives the total values of imports and exports, while it must be borne 
in mind that the Semipalatinsk Customs district does not exactly correspond with the 
boundaries of the territory of the same name, including as it does part of the Turkestan 
country. In consequence of this the corresponding figures will differ somewhat from the fact. 



1891. 
Exported. 


Semipalatinsk 
Customs di- 
strict (with 
China. 




Irkutsk Cus- 
tomhouse i 
through Ki- j 
akhta(with 
China), 


2 S 
S -^ 


Total. 


Provisions 


73,063 


5,688 


8,146 


— 


86,897 


: Raw and half-manufactun^d 
materials . . • . . . . 


190,091 


34,439 


682,473 


— 


907,003 ! 


i Animals 


109,948 





6,926 





116,874 [ 


Manufactured goods .... 


1,119,440 


58,044 


850,932 


~" 


2,028,416 


Total . . 


2,168,963 1 


98,171 


1,548,477 


- 


3,815,611 ! 


Imported (examined). 












Provisions '• 


50,317 


9,813 


11,817,795 


70,594 


11,948,519 


Raw and half-manufactured 
materials 


373,848 


13,974 


169,821 


880 


558,523 




162,457 


77,301 








239,758 


Manufactured goods .... 


111,701 


170 


589,166 


46,215 


748,252 


Total . . 


762,446 ' 


101,258 


12,576,782 


117,689 


13,558,175 



1. Including 676.421 roubles worth of goods, not accounted for in detail. 2. Including 
64,123 roubles worth of goods not accounted for in detail. 3. Per Vladivostok and Xikolaevsk, 
in the import only dutiable goods being shown. 4. Included tea. 



FOREIGN TRADE. 



21B 



Almost all this bailer trade takes place between Siberia and China, while iu respect 
to export the first place is occupied by Semipalatinsk through which about 60 per cent of 
all the goods exported pass. The imports on the other hand took place mainly through Irkutsk 
and Kiakhta. The export of Russian goods through Kiakhta during the last six years appears 
from the following table: 



Goods exported. 


1886. 


1887. 


1888. 


1889. 


1890. 


1891. 1 


Roubles. 


Provisions . 

Raw and half-manufactu- 
red materials 

Animals 

Manufactured goods . . . 


83,030 

794,400 

5,429 

732,315 


27,623 7,033 

999,094' 926,119 

11,874 10,392 

1,416,181 ! 1,560,023 


2,434 

688,361 

11,502 

485,515 


5,532 

601,667 

9,800 

536,458 


8,146 

682,473 1 

6,9261 

850,932; 


Total. . . 


1,615,174 


2,454,772 


2,503,567 


1,187,812 


1,153,457 


1,548,477 



The value of the exports under the first article, foodstuffs, is extremely small, and i 
composed mainly of that of grain whose export is subject to great fluctuation. 

The second article, more important,' is almost entirely formed of the value of variou 
skins and hides, as appears from the data given below for the same years. 

1886. 1887. 1888. 1889. 1890. 1891. 
Roubles. 
33,183 
245,032 



Skins, sheep and goats .... 65,959 
» wolves, foxes and lynx . 205,671 
» otters, beaver, and bear . 8,603 
» various 177,205 

Russia leather . . . • .... 199,921 

Tanned hides, except Russia lea- 
ther . . • 

Horns and hoofs 



159,743 
303,597 



1888. 

u b 

7,21)0 

300,961 

19,319 

81,714 

314,278 



264,012 
40,900 
75,159 

165,290 



141,234 
22,536 
64,965 
194.397 



112,058 

22,590 

130,774 

261,275 



51.954 
51,407 



65,346 56,173 18,305 26,170 13,020 
150,089 126,382 102,852 138,370 139,978 

As for the export of manufactured goods, this article is almost entirely confined to the 
export of cloth, linen and cotton fabrics, exported during the period under conside- 
ration as follows. 





1886. 


1887. 


1888. 


1889. 


1890. 


1891. ' 


Goods exported. 


R 





u 


b 1 


e 


s. 


Cloth 


298,404 


695,832 


637,590 


85,674 


118,587 


158,289 


Linen and hemp goods . 


— 


62,114 


56,914 


— 


31,679 


16,384 ' 


; Cotton goods 


370,681 


550,929 


772,788 


512,643 


540,197 


897,951 



214 



SIBEEIA. 



The imports to Russia from China through the Irkutsk Customhouse, corresponding to 
Kiakhta, consist to the extent almost of 98 per cent of tea. The follomng gives a general 
view of the imports across this frontier for the same years. 



1 Imports: 


1886. 1 1887. 1 1888. | 1889. | 1890. | 1891. 


Roubles. 


Provisions .... 
Raw and half-manu- 
factured materials 
Manufactured goods 


29,948,230 

6,941 
98,176 


30,034,486 j 17,761,209 16,693,746 14,213,274 

18,838 46,646 54,364 41,337 
52,816 1 93,757 113,268 266,325 


11,817,896 

169,975 
594,464 


Total . . 


30,053,347 


30,106,140 , 17,901,612 i 16,861,378 14,520,936 12,582,335*! 



On examining the totals of this table for the last six years, a diminution of the imports 
from thirty millions to twelve million roubles will be noticed, which is caused not only by the 
diversion of tea cargoes to the sea route, as will be explained later in detail, but mainly by 
a change in the system of valuation of tea adopted recently, namely instead of the value of 
tea in retail trade, 60 roubles a poud, the price of tea at the frontier is taken before the 
payment of duty, about 20 roubles per poud. In fact this diminution is still more considerable 
as the sum shown includes goods not only received by land through Maimachin-Kiakhta but also 
by the Amour, It is true that by the latter route comparatively little is received, but in the 
gross these Imports prove to be an appreciable quantity. Thus for example, the value of 
foodstuffs passing through the Irkutsk Customs in 1891 is composed as follows. 



1 

Teas. 


1 
Pouds. Roubles. 

1 


Bohea tea ... . 
Brick ■> (kirpich) 
Cake * (plitka) . 


260,728 

593,806 

32,610 


5,766,323 

5,571,841 

450,321 


Total . . . 


887,144 


11,788,485 



Of the quantity of tea shown, there were brought by the Amour 234 pouds of Bohea 
tea or less than ^'lo per cent; 21,516 pouds of brick tea, or about 4 per cent. Thus through 
Irkutsk besides tea there passes about one million roubles worth of other foodstuffs. 

Speaking of the foreign trade of Siberia it is impossible not to refer to one more 
article, namely timber, which in the near future must become an important item of Russian 
export. As a matter of fact, with the vastness of the forest plantations of the Far East, and the 
absence of any attempt at using them for industrial purposes, these resources till now are 
lost, bringing the country no advantage. And yet the immense country at the very doors 

* Of which to the value of 5,553 roubles were received by post. 



FOREIGN TEADE. 215 

with its four hundred million population suffers from a deficiency of timber, which it might 
obtain with the greatest advantage for itself from Siberia. 

In the interior provinces of China, almost entirely bereft of forest vegetation, timber 
is sold by weight and extremely dear, seeing that it has to be supplied from very remote 
places, not seldom a thousand versts away, on the backs of camels. Jt is true that timber 
might be furnished to China from Mantchuria, the northern portion of which is yet covered 
with virgin forest, but it has been preserved there in such an inacessible situation, that the 
export and carriage to the chief markets of consumption will be very expensive. On some of 
the Japanese islands there is also still forest, but in Japan itself there always exists an 
unfailing demand for that article. Under such circumstances advantage should be taken of 
the forest wealth of the Amour and Littoral territories, and yet, although since 1863 there 
have been not a few attempts of the kind, the enterprise has not been attended with success. 
The timber w^as exported in the green state, simply hewn without any shaping, in consequence 
of which its transport came very expensive. On the other hand the same article was received 
by China from California in a perfectly dry and seasoned condition, sawn and cut up for 
various purposes. Thanks to such foresight on the part of the American traders, they have 
a predominating influence in the whole timber trade of China. 

In 1863 the first attempt was made to facilitate and regulate the export of timber 
from the Littoral territory, but it ended in failure. In consequence of the placing of a duty 
upon the goods destined for export the trade was unable to take root. 

Passing to the review of the participation of the separate territories of Siberia in the 
foreign trade, it may be noted that the most important part In this respect, as far as imports 
are concerned, falls to the Transbaikal territory, thanks to its direct relations with China via 
Irkutsk and Kiakhta. Besides the last point the foreign trade of the Transbaikal territory is 
carried on further via the following centres: Tsurukhaitui, Abagaitui, Tsagan-Olui, and the 
station of Verkhneulkhunsk, through which in 1889 there were exported into Mongolia ani- 
mals, animal produce, manufactured goods et cetera, to the amount of 112,849 roubles, while 
in 1890 the export fell to 69,851 roubles. Through the same centres there were imported 
from Mongolia various animal produce, animals and tea, in 1889 to the amount of 93,403 
roubles, and in 1890 to that of 90,112 roubles. 

The Siberian ports of the Arctic Ocean in reference to the importation of foreign goods 
are on the whole brought under the Customs tariff for the European frontier. But in view of 
the special peculiar local circumstances not unfrequently duty free importation of foreign 
goods is authorized by a special Imperial order. And yet the northern shores of Siberia are 
rarely visited by foreigners. The most important place of importation is the mouth of 
the Yenisei, whither in 1890 came the steamers of the Anglo-Siberian Company. These steam- 
ers were loaded with 24,108 roubles worth of provisions, 130,076 roubles worth of raw and 
half-manufactured materials, and 214,000 roubles worth of manufactured goods. The flotilla 
ascended the Yenisei, and their freights reached the towns of Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk and Tomsk. 
Although these goods were freed from Customs duties, and the same privilege was even extended 
to the navigation season of 1894 inclusive, neither in 1891 nor in 1892 was there any impor- 
tation by this route. The English steamers on their return cruise took on board grain and meat. 



216 



SIBERIA. 



The Commander Islands forming part of Siberia from an administrative point of view 
do not present great commercial interest. The exports thence are confined to skins, of which, 
in 1891, 319,000 roubles worth were despatched, in 1892, 365,000 roubles worth in gold. The 
imports on the other hand do not exceed 50,000 roubles worth, more than half of the goods 
coming from America. The figures given here for the value of the skins are calculated only 
on the Crown tax accruing from them. 

The tea trade: From the sketch just presented of the foreign trade of Siberia, it 
appears that of all the foreign goods imported by land into Siberia or passing through in 
transit, tea deserves the greatest attention, forming as it does by its value fully 98 per 
cent of all the imports. And although, as will appear further on, the importation of tea into 
the Empire via Siberia is declining with every year, yet by its value this article continues 
even now to occupy the first place in consequence of which it is not out of place to examine 
somewhat more in detail the routes by which tea travels from China through Siberia, and to 
elucidate the causes of the decline in its transport through Siberia, 

The tea trade with China has existed in Russia fully two centuries. In 1802 only 
45,000 pouds were imported of Bohea and brick tea. In 1820 the amount was about 100,000 
pouds. In the middle of the present century this figure was trebled, and from the end of 
the seventies the trade grew particularly fast, thanks to the direct communication estab- 
ished by the Volunteer Fleet between Odessa and the Siberian ports of the Pacific Ocean. 

In the last decade however a certain steadiness has been observable, the figure of 
the imports has fluctuated about two million pouds a year, the direction of importation only 
changing, that is, overland or by sea. 



Year. 


Total, pouds. 


European 
frontier. 


Irkutks 
Customs. 


1887 


2,021,095 


607,320 


1,429,914 


188S 


1,921,472 


695,367 


1,210,769 


1889 


1,914,565 


702,001 


1,188,971 


1890 


1,916,985 


834,720 


1,001,940 


1891 


1,964,790 


743,810 


1,109,698 


1892 


2,142,107 


798,980 


1,217,046 



As tea in some cases is imported free of duty it follows that the consumption is 
somewhat greater than above stated. The data on the importation from 1877 to 1891 inclu- 
sive show that the imports across the European frontier are increasing, although unevenly. 
In the quinquennial period 1877 to 1881, 748,500 pouds were imported; in 1882 to 1886, 
885,600 pouds, and in 1887 to 1891, 782,900 pouds. Brick tea was imported in the first five 
years to the extent of 843,800 pouds, in the second five years to that of 972,100 pouds, and 
in the third, to that of 1,171,200 pouds. The total quantity of imports changed in the follow- 
ing manner: in the first period, 1,593,000 poud, in the second, 1,890,000 pouds, and in the 
third, 1,982,000 pouds. 



FOREIGN TRADE. 



17 



In explanation of the considerable imporlation noticeable via the Irkutsk Custom- 
house in IS-:^?, it may be observed that this year was exceptional, a certain firm beginning 
to operate unsuccessfully with brick tea. It imported an enormous quantity of this article, 
which naturally did not at once find a buyer and which for three years produced a pressure 
upon the normal trade in brick tea. A more just idea of the course of the tea trade through 
the Irkutsk Customhouse may be formed by the comparison of the following figures upon 
this question. They show the quantities of tea cleared by the Irkutsk Customhouse during 
the period under consideration. 



Years. 


Bohea. 


Brick. 


Cake. 


Total. 


T h 


u s a n 


d p u 


d s . 


1 

1887 


472 


927 




1,429 


1888 


473 


738 


— 


1,211 


1889 


416 


763 


10 


1,190 [ 


1890 


303 


667 


32 


1,(X»2 


1891 


302 


775 


33 


1,110 


1892 


379 


806 


32 


1,217 

• 



Thus the large transport of brick tea in 1837 produced a depression until 1890, from 
which time the trade in brick tea assumes a more normal character, and the importation of 
this article steadily Increases. 

Frojn the figures quoted it is clear that tea Is imported into Russia mainly, to the 
extent of one-half of the total quantity, overland, or through Siberia and the Russian 
Central Asiatic possessions. The cause of such preference of the land route, although compa 
ratively more expensive than the sea route, will be explained further on. 

The main mass of tea is the Bohea which is brought to every part of the Empire and 
is the more valuable article. Brick tea is consumed only by the Siberian, Kirghiz and Cal- 
muck natives of Eastern Russia, in consequence of which this sort of tea is brought into 
Russia exclusively across the Asiatic frontiers and knows not the sea route. During the last 
six years there was imported into Russia and cleared through the Customs brick tea to the 
following amounts. 



1886 768,415 pouds. 

1887 957,542 » 

1888 737,834 » 



1889 762,807 pouds 

1890 668,659 » 

1891 777,427 » 



Brick tea is imported almost exclusively via Kiakhta and the Irkutsk Customhouse, 
very little being transported through the Russian Central-Asiatic possessions, in some years 
the quantity scarcely reaching 1,000 pouds. 

However not the distribution alone of the consumers of brick tea influences the direction 
taken by its transport; the latter is the result in a much greater degree of the tariff estab- 



218 



SIBERIA, 



lished for this sort of tea in the different customhouses. According to the customs dues 
now in operation, the duty on brick tea is levied at the European frontier at the rate of 21 
roubles gold per poud, that is, at the same rate as from Bohea, while the same tea passing 
through the Irkutsk Customhouse pays only 2. 50 roubles. Thus it is evident that to 
import it into Odessa and thence forward it to Eastern Russia does not present any ad- 
vantages. 

Brick tea, to resume, is imported annually to the amount of about 750,000 pouds. 
Excluding this quantity from the total importation, it will appear that the most expensive 
or Bohea tea is despatched principally by sea, there being a strong tendency to conveyance 
by sea, evident at a glance from the following comparison as regards the importation of Bohea 
tea, paying duty. 



, Years. 


Total. 


Across 
European 
frontier. 


Via Irkutsk. 


Percentage 
of importation 
via Irkutsk. 


1887 


1,065,334 


607,320 


458,014 


43.0 


1888 


1,168,289 


695,367 


472,922 


40.5 


1889 


1,117,937 


702,091 


415,846 


37.1 


1890 


1,137,865 


834,720 


303,145 


26.6 


1891 


1,046,305 


743,810 


302,495 


28.8 


1892 


1,041,623 


665,070 


376,553 


36.0 



The quantity of Bohea tea imported has remained during the last five years almost 
without change, the transport in the beginning of the period being, divided almost equally 
between the sea and overland carriage, while in the subsequent years the traffic across the 
Asiatic frontiers declines, in 1891 only 29 per cent passing in this direction. Judging from 
this, it might be thought that the sea carriage is so much cheaper than that by overland that 
the privileged tariff now existing in respect to the importation of Bohea tea through the Irkutsk 
Customhouse, namely 13 roubles gold per pood instead of 21 by the European Customs, is 
insufficient. But as a matter of fact this is caused by the steadiness of the freights by the 
sea carriage, while the cost of the overland carriage is subject to considerable fluctuations 
and depends on many circumstances. To clear up this side of the question and ascertain 
the significance of tea freights for the future Siberian Railway, it is necessary to indicate 
of what elements is composed the cost of carriage of tea overland and by sea. 

Bohea tea is imported into Russia mainly from Han-Kow, whence it Is despatched by 
sea through Thian-Tsin to Pekin, and thence to Kalgan, Urga and Kiakhta to Irkutsk, 
Besides this, a small portion of tea is forwarded to the Irkutsk Customhouse by another 
route, namely by water. This route is from Han-Kow by sea to Nikolaevsk, then by the Amour 
to Sretensk, and thence overland. By this last route the carriage to Irkutsk costs two roubles 
cheaper than through Kiakhta. But the following circumstances are in the way of the suc- 
cessful development of the traffic in this direction, Nikolaevsk is accessible to steamers only 
during four to five months of the year, from June to October, and even so only for light 



FOREIGN TKADE. 21 9 

draught vessels drawing less than fourteen feet of water. Next come the inconveniences of 
the navigation in the stormy Tartar straits and in the mouth of the firth of the Amour. 
Finally there is the roadlessness of Transbaikalia. 

The carriage per poud of tea from Han-Kow through Irkutsk to Nizhni-Novgorod, the 
chief centre of the trade in the tea imported by this route, costs about 18 to 20 roubles. 

Carriage from Han-Kow via Tbian-Tsin, Pekin and Urga to Kiakhta 7. 28 roubles 

Expenditure at Kiakhta and carriage to Irkutsk 3. 00 ;> 

From Irkutsk to Nizhni 6. 00 » 

Insurance from Thiau-Tsin to Nizhni (2'/* per cent) 0. 90 ;> 

Percentage on capital invested 1. 43 » 

T t a 1 . 18. 61 roubles 

The goods sometimes are a year on the road; they require extremely careful packing, 
the sewing of the tea boxes into leather cases, and watchful supervision in transit; all these 
circumstances make the tea traders prefer the sea route, even although the freight should 
somewhat exceed the difference in the duties. 

The cost of the conveyance of tea via Nikolaevsk, Sretensk, Irkutsk and Nizhni, is 
composed of the following elements: from Han-Kow to Nikolaevsk with packing, insurance, 
commissions and other expenses, 2.65 roubles; from Nikolaevsk to Sretensk, including tranship- 
ment and various general expenses, 2.30 roubles; from Sretensk by road to Irkutsk, 5.55 
roubles, thence to Nizhni 6 roubles; the total, 16.50 roubles. 

The sea route is considerably cheaper, from Han-Kow to Odessa, including packing, 
insurance, freight, commissions, customs duties in Odessa, Insurance and carriage further 
by rail to Nizhni, amounts in all to about 6 roubles. Accordingly, a poud of tea in Nizhni 
brought thither from Han-Kow via Odessa costs 12.60 roubles cheaper than that imported 
via Kiakhta, and this difference as a matter of fact almost corresponds to the customs 
difference of 8 roubles gold. 

The customary route, along which from old times tea has passed in transit through 
Siberia into European Russia, begins at Kiakhta or more exactly at Irkutsk and coincides 
with the great Siberian tract, which runs from Irkutsk through Tomsk to Tiumen. However 
the comparative dearness of this route not seldom made the tea traders forward their 
precious freight by more dangerous roads in the hope of a small reduction in the cost of 
carriage. Frequently the tea caravans were arrested en route in consequence of the early 
freezing of the Ket, or Chulym or were damaged on the Angara and Yenisei. But notwith- 
standing all this they even not seldom avoid the great Siberian tract, passing through 
Bisk by the Chuisk road or from Kalgan to Uliasutai to the upper waters of the Yenisei 
and thence are floated down on rafts to Minousinsk. Even when following the great Siberian 
tract the conveyance of tea with the same view to economy has somewhat changed its 
character. Formerly tea took this route entirely overland, but now a portion of it from 
Irkutsk is conveyed by water on the Angara to Yeniseisk, is thence carried in carts to 
Makovsk on the river Ket, Meletsk or Berliuz on the Chulym, and then by water to Tiumen. 



220 SIBERIA. 

Heuce, or more often from the terminus of the Ural Railway, Tura, the tea is mainly 
transmited to Perm. In 1891 the station Tura despatched 492,261 ponds of tea; among which, 
480,941 to Perm, 7,532 to Ekaterinburg, at cetera. The station of Tinmen transmited a total of 
165.926 ponds, including 117,423 to Perm, 42,527 to Ekaterinburg, et cetera. Nizhni Tagil in 
the same year despatched 46,798 ponds, of which 46,273 were lo Perm. The forwarding just 
mentioned of a considerable quantity of tea to Ekaterinburg may be explained, of course, 
not by local consumption but by the fact that part of the tea from Ekaterinburg is also 
transmitted to Perm, namely 5,967 pouds, while part is distributed among the other stations 
of the Ural Railway, 6,598 pouds, and a still larger quantity is forwarded to [Moscow by the 
Samara Zlatooust railway, 19,709 pouds. From Perm the tea is sent by the Kama, and then 
by the Volga, in the main to Xizhni, which in 1891 despatched 153,032 pouds of this 
merchandise by rail, the greater part of which was naturally sent to Moscow. 

Moscow is the most important centre of the Russian tea-trade, the tea being brought 
there and then distributed thence throughout the Russian Empire. The tea which passes 
through Siberia and the Russian dominions in Central Asia i-s conveyed to Moscow by four 
routes; the first two have already been mentioned, namely, the Uralsk and Samaro-Zlato- 
oust railways, and also by the Orenburg and Transcaucasian railways. The tea which 
comes by sea over the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans reaches Moscow principally through 
Odessa and Graevo, the transit from London through Konigsberg, and partly through the Baltic 
ports. The total amount conveyed to Moscow in 1890 by all these routes was 1,109,700 pouds 
or 54 per cent of the whole import. Out of this quantity 969,662 pouds were despatched thence 
by rail during the same year and the rest was used for local consumption or distributed by 
carts in the immediate neighbourhood. 

^\'hen the Siberian Railway is laid the overiand transport will naturally be very much 
cheaper. It will then also be possible, and indeed when even the Eastern portion of the line 
is completed, to place Eastern Siberia under the same conditions as the Empire as regards 
customhouse duties, and to stop the free import of tea and put an end to those misunder- 
standings which arise from the absence of customhouses within the borders of Eastern 
Siberia. Until 1888 some parts of Western Siberia and Turkestan were also in this privileged 
position, partly from political and partly from commercial reasons. 

Between 1860 and 1870 during the Dungan insurrection which sprang up in western 
China, gradually spread and finally completely cut oft the Chinese tea plantations from 
the markets of Central Asia, the Russians conceived the idea of profiting by this circumstance 
in order to take possession of these markets and thrust out the foreign tea dealers from them, 
as the importation of Chinese tea into Central Asia by the former route through Ivashgar 
had at that time become impossible and the only available one was through Siberia, from 
Kiakhta to Irkutsk. Under these conditions the Russian tea trade in Central Asia had only 
to compete with Indian tea, imported from India through Afganistan. For this reason the 
customhouse cordon which stretched from the Caspian Sea from south to north along the 
Urals and the eastern frontier of the government of Orenburg to the barrier of Zverinogo- 
lovsk, from which point it turned directly to the east and passed along the former southern 
frontier of Western Siberia as far as Semipalatinsk and the post of Boukhtarminsk, was 



FOKEIGN TRADE. 221 

abolished in 1868; and besides this, a free import of Kiakhta teas into the government of 
Turkestan was .uranted with the unconditional prohibition against the import of any kind 
of tea thence into the Russian Empire, a duty being also levied upon any tea imported 
into Turkestan from any of the neighbouring Khanates. On the same grounds, and also in 
consequence of the impossibility of European merchandise penetrating into Russia by this 
route and in order to facilitate commercial intercourse with the Khanates of Central 
Asia, the importation of all kinds of goods from there was allowed free of duty. Experience 
however, soon proved that the free import of Kiakhta teas into the region of Turkestan did 
not justify the hopes which had been originally entertained as the inhabitants of Central Asia 
acquired the habit of using Indian teas and cheap and harmless native substitutes which 
found a ready sale among the inexacting consumers. The teas of Kiakhta, on account of there 
comparatively high price were beyond the reach of inhabitants, the majority of which were 
extremely poor. At the same time it was discovered that a large amount of Kiakhta tea 
imported duty free Into Turkestan, was not consumed in that country but secretly conveyed 
from there into Russia, thus occasioning considerable loss to the fair-trade. Apart from 
this, in course of time, the region to which the free import of tea had been granted became 
changed; it had originally consisted of the provinces of Syr-Darya and Semirechinsk to which 
the province of Ferghana, the Zaravshansk district and the department of the Amou-Darya 
were subsequently annexed, and the province of Semirechinsk was incorporated into the 
domains of the new Governor-General of the steppes. 

The economic and political aspects of this border land of Russia also underwent 
certain essential alterations; Kuldzha which was occupied by the Russian forces in order 
to terminate the revolt of the Dungans and Taranchins was receded to China and the 
treaty of St. Petersburg in 1881 accurately determined the frontier between Russia 
and western China, and also the points for the admission of goods and regulated the 
Interchange of merchandise. The insurrection In western China little by little subsided; 
the traces of it are beginning to disappear and a regular and busy trade has estab- 
lished itself between Russia and China. Russian manufactured goods have not only pen- 
etrated into Kashgar, fcut have even supplanted the English wares, and Russia has in 
this way obtained a fairly lucrative distant market. In Kuldzha, in the district of Tarbaga- 
taisk and in western ^Mongolia Russian goods have competed with equal success against those 
of England. On account of the considerations already mentioned, and also in consequence of 
the impossibility of establishing a customhouse cordon between Turkestan and the Russian 
Empire, and also in order to put an end to the abuses in the free tea trade, it was found 
expedient to cancel the above mentioned privelege in 1888. In order to attain the object in 
view a customhouse inspection was simultaneously instituted on the frontier between Semi- 
rechinsk and China, as China teas might otherwise be imported from Kuldzha into that prov- 
ince free of duty or hindrance. 

The high duty on tea renders it profitable to convey it from very distant 
places so that tea upon which no duty had been levied could easily make its way into 
the provinces of Semirechinsk and Semipalatinsk, and thence to Tomsk and even pe- 
netrate into the interior of European Russia and thus cover a very extensive region. 



222 SIBERIA. 

For this reason in 1890 a customhouse inspection was established on the frontier bet- 
ween Russia and western China within the limits of the government of Tomsk and the 
provinces of Semirechinsk and Semipalatinsk. This extension of the customhouse line was 
due to the desire of preventing the diversion of tea freights from the Kiakhta route to a 
direction less subjected to customhouse supervision. It was also discovered that the most 
advantageous route for transporting tea was not through Urga and Kiakhta but through Uliassutai 
and Kobdo. This route is much shorter than that of Kiakhta and at one end of it the goods 
are delivered at Semipalatinsk and at the other at Biisk, from both of which towns there is 
regular steamer service to Tumen, the freight by steamer or barge to Tumen being about 
25 kopecks, finally, transporting tea by this route obviates the necessity of the expensive 
process of sewing up the tea in skins, as the Chinese carry the packets in horsecloths or 
in blankets, which they take back afterwards, and on the steamers or barges it is not neces- 
sary to take precautionary measures for preserving the tea. 

This is a brief account of the part played by Siberia in the Russian tea trade; it is 
a very important, and when the Great Railway Line is opened even as far as Irkutsk, 
it will assume far greater proportions. 



— ^<3^— 



WATER AND OVERLAND COMMUNICATION. 223 



CHAPTER XIV. 
Water and overland communication. 

The transport of goods between European Russia and Siberia by the Volga and Obi; the 
Obi- Yenisei canal; navigation in Western Siberia; navigation on the Yenisei and Angara; 
steam navigation on the Baikal; navigation on the Lena and the Amour basin; steamer 
communication with the Siberian ports of the Northern and Eastern oceans; the Volunteer 
Fleet; a cursory view of the overland communications. 



THE wide e-xpanse and sparse population of Siberia combined with that historical destiny 
which has been described in the commencement of the present work, have prevented 
Its being enriched with regular overlaml means of communication which could have been 
accomplished at the expense of a vast amount of labour and capital. Nature has, on the 
other hand, richly endowed this country with water communication ; washed on the north and 
east by the waters of the Arctic and Pacific oceans, it is at the same time intersected for 
thousands of versts by large rivers connecting these oceans with western China, and in general 
with Central Asia. Thanks to these rivers, whose basins cover several million square versts, 
in summer time it is possible to communicate with far distant regions. This was the route 
taken by the conquerors of Siberia and the settlers who followed them. The Volga, Kama 
Chusovaya, Serebrianka, Tagil, Tura, Tobol, Irtish, Obi, and other rivers and comparatively 
short forest tracts this is the route followed by Ermak and by the traveller of the present day. 
This is however from the west, but of late years communication has been kept up with Si- 
beria by sea from the north and from the east. 

The hydrographic sketch of Siberia already given has shown how abundantly the 
country is supplied with water, but unfortunately the insufficiency of the coast development 
on the one hand, and the severe climate of the arctic zone on the other hand, prevent the 
sea navigation from reaching that degree of development which would be possible under more 
favourable conditions. This same severity of climate and the prolonged period during which 
the rivers are in consequence frozen over, considerably hinders navigation on the principal 
Siberian rivers which fall into the Arctic Ocean. Other circumstances, which will be men- 
tionei hereafter also interfere with the progress of iiavigatiou on those rivers which flow into 
the Pacific. 



224 SIBERIA. 

The most important rivers of Siberia, the Obi, Yenisei and Lena, flow from south to 
north, and are for the greater part of their course navij-^able; only one liver, the Amour, 
flows to the east, and, at the junction witli the Sungara, turns northwards and falls into 
the Pacific Ocean. 

The great Siberian river, the Obi, rises in Mongolia, carries vast masses of water into 
the Arctic Ocean and gathers along its extensive course a multitude of large and small 
rivers which fertilize and animate an expanse of more than S^'a million square versts. 
With a total length of 5,300 versts it has a most extensive basin on which regular navi- 
gation is kept up over an extent of 15,000 versts. There is always a lively transport trade on 
the Obi system and the rivers composing it have a transit character, as there is but little 
local exchange of merchandise, all freights being transported from far distant regions. Being 
almost on the borders of Europe and Asia, the Obi and its tributaries form the cheapest 
means of communication between two vast continents of the world. Asia only supplies 
Europe with the raw products of the soil, the animal kingdom, the produce of the fishing 
and hunting trades which Europe then returns to her in a finished state. Before the opening 
of the Ural Railway these goods were conveyed in summer principally along the Kama and 
its tributaries, then carried by road across the Ural chain and then again by water on the 
rivers of the Obi system. The road is now replaced by the Ural and Samaro-Zlatooust 
railways, which deliver European goods to the Obi system through the Tura, Mias and other 
rivers; hut the most important route before the opening of the Cheliabinsk section was the 
Ural line which delivers goods partly at Irbit and partly at Tumen. These goods, both from 
Irbit and Tumen are conveyed further into Siberia on the rivers Tura and Tobol up to the 
point where this latter falls into the Irtish. A considerable quantity of goods from the 
Krestovsky fair follow the route. Before reaching the mouth of the Tobol, part of the freight 
separates and goes down the Tavda and southern Sosva to supply the wants of the popula- 
tion of the settlements along these rivers as well as the Sosvinsk works and those of the 
BogoS'lovsk mining district. 

From the mouth of the Tobol the European freights are distributed in two direc- 
tions: about 25 per cent goes towards the source of the Irtish and 75 per cent towards 
that of the Obi. The goods are conveyed along the Irtish principally to the following popu- 
lated points: the towns of Tura, Omsk, Pavlodar and Semipalatinsk; those conveyed along 
the Obi are in a small part destined for the consumption of the strangers and fishmongers 
on the lower parts of that river, and the sparse population of the towns of Berezov and 
Obdorsk, whilst by far the greater part is sent up the Obi to supply the government of 
Tomsk and the whole of Eastern Siberia. The principal points of destination are Surgut, 
Narym, Barnaoul and Biisk, but the most important is Tomsk. Some of the goods are also 
shipped up the Chulim as far as the settlement of Berluze and the town of Achinsk. 

The Siberian goods pass over the same route l)ut in the contrary direction and horo 
the lower parts of the Tura and Tobol form a most important part of the waterways of 
Siberia joining all the streams which convey Siberian merchandise to Russia in Eu- 
rope. In the same way the Irtish and its tributaries are the most important pait 
of the Obi basin and then the middlle course of the Obi itself but not that portion of 



WATER AND OVEKLAND COMMUNICATION. 



225 



it which is so abouuding in water. The statistics of the quantity and character of the goods 
conveyed by tho Ural Railway may therefore be takou to discribe the goods traffic on the 
Tura and Tobol; Tura, the terminus of the Ural line, situated on the river bearing that name, 
receives all the European goods sent to Siberia by water and also despatches freight by rail 
from Siberia to European Russia. The following table gives these statistics from the opening 
of the Ural Railway: 



Date. 


European goods 
received at Tura 
station, in pouds. 


1 Siberian goods, des- 
Date. 1 patched from Tura i 
station, in pouds. | 


1886 


985,000 


1886" 


753,000 


1887 


1,243,000 


1887 


3,028,000 


1888 


1,428,000 


1888 


4,234,000 


1889 


1,504.000 


1889 


2,746,000 


1890 


1,713,000 


1890 


3,516,000 


1891 


2,302,000 


1891 


4,855,000 



These figures show that the goods traffic from Siberia to European Russia is rapidly 
developing whilst that from European Russia to Siberia makes but very slow progress. This 
proves that Siberia is capable of producing far more that she requires, and that the opening of the 
Ural Railway was sufficient to draw goods from far distant places in the province of Semi- 
palatinsk to European Russia. The principal freight which Tura receives by water and for- 
wards by rail is grain; in 1891 the total amount of grain of various denominations transported was 
3,930,805 pouds, or 80 per cent of the whole transport; this included 2,195,019 pouds of wheat, 
571,778 pouds of rye, 345,555 pouds of oats, 48,365 of barley, 574,980 of rye flour, 
145,835 pouds of wheat flour, et cetera; there were 1,151,913 pouds of this delivered at Ostrovs- 
kaya station and 1,081,995 at Ekaterinburg. Besides grain, 492,261 pouds of tea were despatched 
from the same station, of which 480,941 pouds were directed to Perm to be sent further on. 
Grain and tea therefore amount to more than 90 per cent of the Siberian goods. Siberia prin- 
cipally receives 364,000 pouds of sugar, 340,000 pouds of various naphtha products, 270,000 
pouds of manufactured goods, about 100,000 pouds of iron and iron wares, 140,000, of tobacco, 
36,000 pouds of candles, or about 63 per cent of the whole amount received. 

The goods traffic along this main water way of the Tura and Tobol rivei-s has only ot 
late years begun to assume a lively aspect. Before the opening of the Ural Railway the yearly 
transport did not exceed 2-5 million pouds, and it has now risen to 16 million pouds ; in 1886 
it amounted to 3 millions; in 1888, to 7 million, and in 1890, to 8 million pouds. This quantity 
of 16 million pouds forms 75 per cent of the whole goods traffic on all the watei-s of Western 
Siberia, as the total amount does not exceed 20 million pouds. The river Tura is the most 
important means of communication between Siberia and European Russia. It l)ecomes navi- 
gable from Turinsk, but the briskest traffic is from Tiumen to the mouth of the river, a 
distance of 169 versts. The Tobol is navigable for about 600 versts, but the only part of it 

15 



226 SIBERIA, 

which is of much importance is from the mouth of the Tura to the junction of the Tohol 
with the Irtish. The Irtish itself is navigable from its mouth to Semipalatiusk, a length of 
2,620 versts; in its long course it intersects the fertile province of Semipalatiusk, the Kirghiz, 
Ishimsk and Barabinsk steppes, and fertilizes an enormous territory. This river conveys gi'ain 
freights, salt, cattle and animal products to Tobolsk and Tinmen from even the far distant parts 
of the province of Semirechinsk. Steam navigation was started here in 1862. 

Although the Obi is a very full stream from Samarov it flows through an almost 
uninhabited region, so that there is no regular service of steamers down its course. There is 
however a brisk traffic on the upper part of it as far as Barnaoul, a distance of about 2,000 
versts, and sometimes as far as Biisk. The Obi is formed by the junction of the Bey and the 
Katuna, and its principal tributaries are on the right. The most important of these are the 
Tom which waters the rich district of Kuznetsk and the Chulym which is navigable although with 
difficulty as far as Achinsk, a distance of 1,000 versts. The river Ket has also a considerable 
commercial importance as a connecting link between the basins of the Obi and Yenisei, 
through the Obi-Yenisei canal, now in course of construction. Steamers can go up the Ket as 
far as the settlement of Makovsk. 

The above mentioned Obi- Yenisei canal is to connect the Ket, a tributary of the Obi, 
with the Kass, a tributary of the Yenisei. The idea of connecting the basins of the Obi and 
Yenisei originated a hundred years ago when a scheme was presented to the Emperor Paul for 
joining these system by the Tym, a tributary of the Obi, and the Sym, a tributary of ihe 
Yenisei. Schemes were next proposed for joining the Ket with the Kem, a tributary of the 
Yenisei and the Vakh, a tributary of the Obi, with the Elagona, a tributary of the Yenisei, 
but none of these projects were realized. Considerably later, in 1875, the new idea of joining 
the Ket with the Great Kass sprang up. A Siberian merchant, Funtusov, at his own initiative 
and expense investigated the ground between these two rivers, and finding that the scheme 
was feasible, drew the attention of the Government to this subject. The engineers who were 
sent over to study the question found that it was quite possible to carry out the work and 
it was therefore resolved to commence the undertaking. The river Ozernaya falls into the 
Ket at a distance of 550 versts from its mouth. The river Lomovataya flows into the Ozer- 
naya and is connected with the river Yazevaya which flows out of the lake Bolshoi. The 
little Kass rises in the vicinity of this lake and falls into the big Kass which forms part of 
the Yenisei system. The river Ozernaya forms part of the canal Wh versts from its mouth. 
The canal then follows the Lomovataya for 47^2 versts and the Yazevaya for 3Ph versts up 
to lake Bolshoi. From this point a canal has been excavated l^h versts long and 6 fathoms 
wide at the bottom, which enters the little Kass and follows it for a distance of 89 versts to 
the point where the big Kass commences at a distance of 192 versts from the Yenisei. The 
navigable Angara joins the Yenisei near the mouth of the big Kass and flows from lake 
Baikal on the shore of which Irkutsk is situated. The Obi- Yenisei canal will therefore open 
up an enormous water way of 5,000 versts, connecting Tiumen with Irkutsk and intersecting 
the whole of Western Siberia. This work was commenced at the expense of the Government in 
1882 and is being carried on very energetically; a great deal has been done, and there is 
every hope that the undertaking will shortly be brought to a succe-sful termination. In 



WATER AND OVERLAND COMMUNICATION. 227 

connection with this, much dredging has been done in order to deepen and clear the connecting 
streams, so that the result will most likely lie eminently satisfactory. 

Thanks to the abundance of water in the rivers of the Obi system, there is a large 
number of steamers plying on them, belonging to private owners and companies, and in 
ome places, even a regular service is kept up. The success and progress of the Obi steam 
savigation is due to the Government, which always granted assistance to private initiative 
whenever it was in the interests of the public. 

The first steamer in Western Siberia belonged to Poklevski and made its appearance 
on the Obi in 1843; in 1854 there were '6; in 1860, 10; in 1870, 20; in 1875, 32; in 
1880, 37; in 1885, 57; in 1887, 60; in 1889, 64; in 1890, 65; in 1891, 69; in 1892, 90; 
and in the present year there are 102 steamers and 200 barges. Most of the steamers do not 
exceed 100 nominal horse power and at present the fleet of Western Siberia consists of the 
following boats: 

1 steamer of 250 nominal horse powder. 



1 


» 


:> 180 


4 


» 


;> 150 


8 


» 


;> 120 


9 


» 


» 100 


18 


» 


.> 80 


11 

15 


» 


» 60 

. 40 



21 small steamers. 

The principal traffic, as already stated, is between the sources of the Bey and the 
Katuna on the one hand, and that of the Irtish on the other hand, as far as the mouths of 
the Tura and Tobol, the freights being conveyed the enormous distances of 2 to 3 thousand 
versts. The question of rates for such long journeys is of great interest. Notwithstanding the 
great progress made in steam navigation and the competition between shipowners, freights 
on the Obi basin are very high; for 3,000 versts the charge is 25 kopecks per poud, that 
is Vi2o kopeck per poud-verst, whilst on the Volga for long distances the boats eagerly take V«oo 
kopeck and even V'oo kopeck per poud-verst. This is due to the insecurity of the naviga- 
tion in consequence of the gi'eat risks in running the steamers without the requisite auxiliary 
measures. Scanty and incomplete information concerning the opening and freezing of the 
rivers, insufficient telegraphic communication to give warning of an unexpected ice blockade, 
the small number of inhabited points along the principal rivers, and other circumstances, are 
the means of causing frequent disasters. 

The measures lately taken by the Government for improving the water system of Western 
Siberia, which serves as a feeding branch for the Great Siberian Railway, will doubtless 
have the effect of lowering the rates; and the surplus grain, accumulated in the Tomsk, 
Semipalatinsk and Semirechinsk districts, will not only find an advantageous outlet in the 
distant parts ot Siberia, but will approach St. Petersbuig by water and eventually find its 
way abroad. 

15» 



228 SIBEEIA. 

Some of the most important of these measures are: that dredging will be earned ou 
along the Ijottom of the river Tura between its mouth and Tinmen, along the Tobol from 
the mouths of the Tura till it falls into the Irtish, along the river Tom from Kuznetsk to 
its mouth and along the rivei' Chulym from Achinsk to its mouth. On a considerable portion 
of the Obi system difficult places for navigation will be marked and observations of the 
water level will be taken which will be telegraphed to the places where the vessels usually 
resort. A telegraph wire will be laid from Tobolsk to Samarov and from Samarov to 
Krivoschekov, a distance of 2,245 versts. In order to carry on these operations the necessary 
dredging and earth removing machinery, 5 steamers and 3 steam long-boats will be amongst 
other things provided by the Government. 

The river Yenisei, which rises in Mongolia, is navigable almost from the frontier to 
its mouth. For a long time however the rapids interfered with the progress of navigation, 
but it has lately been found possible to go round them. Steam navigation on the Yenisei 
really began in 1863 when traffic was opened between its mouth and Yeniseisk. live years 
later a Dutch company offered to establish a regular steamboat service on the Angara to 
Baikal and to clear away the rapids, but the offer was not accepted. In 1888 the number 
of steamers rose to 4 and the total amount of freight conveyed was 129,000 ponds. In 1890 
there were 6 steamers, 30 barges and about 20 large boats plying between Yeniseisk and 
Karaoul transporting 260,000 pouds of merchandise. Regular steamboat service on the Yenisei 
is kept up, on the one side, between Yeniseisk and Krasnoyarsk, and on the other, between 
Krasnoyarsk and Minusinsk. A similar service between Yeniseisk and the mouth of the river 
could not be established, partly on account of insufficiency of freights, and partly on account 
of the rapids. 

At present, in order to convey building materials for the Great Siberian Railway by sea 
through the mouth of the Yenisei, the Government has found it expedient to investigate this 
route, the gulf of Yenisei and the river itself. For this purpose two steamers have been 
ordered, specially designed for cruising on the Yenisei, and in 1893 an expedition will be 
fitted out and despatched to the estuary of the river. Both of these steamers were ordered in 
J . .^^England at Dumbarton and were to be ready July 1st, this year. One of them has a twin 
Y Itv^ '* Tv-t^'^J screw, is of 500 horse power and draws 8 feet of water; it is destined for service between 
ti*'^ iIj the mouths of the Yenisei and the town of Yeniseisk and calculated to carry 93,000 pouds ' 
'^ ^ fl^*^ ,. the other is a paddle steamer with a draught of 'd'h feet; it is intended to tow barges up to 
^ 4lA^ /* 60,000 pouds weight ])etween Yeniseisk and Krasnoyarsk. In this way the whole journey from 
t^**- ^ '' ' . the mouths of the Yenisei to Krasnoyarsk can be effected without unloading, by simply changing 
L ,,y^ A^t** ' the barges in tow from one steamer to the other. 
"^h ' ^^ 1 ^^'^^ Yeniseisk the navigation takes another direction, along the river Angara which 

"^ .<^^ is a tributary of the Yenisei. It flows from lake Baikal through a distance of 1,705 versts 

and joins the Yenisei at Yeniseisk. For a distance of 600 versts from Irkutsk to the prison 
of Bratsk, the Angara is quite navigable hut the remainder of its course of more than a thous- 
and versts is full (d rapids and interferes with regular navigation. However, Sibiryakov thouiiht 
it worth his whilt3 in 1885 to solicit a five-years license from the Government for rumiing 
steamers on this part of the river, binding himself within the space of two years to organize 



WATER AND OVEELAND COMMUNICATION. 229 

a service of tug and cable boats for carrying goods, passengers and mails by at least 
two steamers. Sibiryakov's endeavours to institute cable steamers on the Angara may be 
called unsuccessful; in the middle of 1888 he started a caravan of two steamers and 3 barges 
with a load of 30,000 pouds of grain up the Angara. By August 15th the caravan had only 
travelled 400 versts and on account of the shallow water had to stop at 500 versts from its 
destination, the mouth of the Ilim, and turn back after having sustained considerable damage. 
Regular steamboat service on the Angara between Irkutsk and Yeniseisk is therefore a thing 
of the future, but as the Great Siberian Railway will intersect both the Yenisei and the Angara, 
these two rivers will serve to feed it and deliver goods both from above and below. Further 
on, at Verkhneoudinsk, the line will intersect the large river Selenga which rises in China 
and is within a distance of 1,000 versts from the Chinese Yellow river. Here steamers are 
plying and the railway can not only be supplied with freights coming from lake Baikal by 
water, but even with goods from the borders of China. 

The third large Siberian river, the Lena, occupies a more independent position and 
is neither connected with the Amour basin, nor with that of the Yenisei. The hasin of the 
Lena does not directly come in contact with the Great Siberian Railway but will in all pro- 
bability have a considerable influence indirectly in delivering goods from the Yakutsk region. 
There is at present steam navigation on the Lena, but it is more or less of a casual nature- 
Vessels from Europe have repeatedly visited the estuary of this river but the trade was of 
less importance than that done at the mouth of the Yenisei. The Government, being anxious 
to encourage intercourse between Europe and the Siberian shores of the Arctic Ocean, has 
several times granted by an Imperial decree a free import of goods through the mouths 
of the Obi, Yenisei and Lena to various individuals, including foreigners. The final term of 
this privilege expires next year, in 1894. 

The Kiakhta Steamboat Company, founded in 1881 by the local merchants, keeps a 
regular steamboat service on lake Baikal in accordance with the Government regulations of 
May 1, 1890, referring to mail-passenger and steam tug service on lake Baikal. These regula- 
tions require that the company should employ the two steamboats it possesses for the following 
work: 1. three journeys a week from the Listvenich settlement to Mysovsk pier, a distance 
of 80 versts across the lake from west to east and hack; 2. five journeys to and fro 
per season from the Listvenich settlement to the Tourkinsk mineral water springs, the mouth 
of the Bargouzin, Krougoulin, Sosnovka and the mouth of the Upper Angara, a distance of 
700 versts. These latter journeys were fixed in accordance with the local requirements and 
subject to the approval of the Governor-General of Irkutsk; the service is in general carried 
on according to a time-table edited by the company, upon agreement with the local authori- 
ties, and confirmed by the chief of the district. For keeping up the above mentioned service 
the company receives the following Government subsidies: 1. for the journeys between List- 
venich and Mysovsk, 296 roubles for every double journey there and l^ack ; 2. for every cruise 
from Listvenich to the mouth of the Upper Angara, 2,170 roubles; counting 78 of the 
first and 5 of the second journeys per season, the total subsidy amounts to 33,938 roubles, 
and should not exceed this sum. The concession has been granted to the company for a term 
of 12 years commencing from 1890. 



280 SIBERIA. 

This concludes the discription of the navigation on the Siberian waters feeding the 
Arctic Ocean, as the basin of the fourth Siberian river, the Amour, and the lake Khank 
\\1iich is in connection with it, appertains entirely to the Eastern Ocean. 

Navigation on the Amour basin. 

The navigation on the Amour basin is a matter of 'comparatively recent date; 
as lately as 1840 it was not known whether the rivers of this basin were navigable, 
and very little was known of the Amour itself and its estuary. In 1844 for the first 
time an Imperial edict was issued, empowering the Russian-American Company to fit 
out a vessel at the expense of the Government for exploring the estuary of the Amour. 
On May 5, 1846, the ship «Constantiue», under the command of Gavrilov, entered the Amour^ 
and this was the first vessel that had ever made its ^pearance on the waters of that river- 
From that time the exploration of the country went with more rapid strides, and later, thanks 
to the military expedition of Count Mouraviev, who in 1854 descended the Amour with the 
Government steamer <!:Argum>, built at the Shilkinsk works, Russian rule in the Amour region 
obtained a firm foothold. The formal annexation of the extensive basin of the Amour to the 
Russian dominions later on may be regarded as the commencement of the civil developement 
of that region. In 1855 Yice-Admiral Poutiatin went up the Amour in the steamer <;Xadezhda» 
and in the following year another steamer, the «Shilka» made its appearance. At the end 
of 1856 an Imperial edict was issued concerning the organization of the Amour province 
which included Kamchatka, the whole of the shore of the Okhotsk Sea with the region of 
Udsk and the places occupied by Russia in the low country of the Amour and the Straits 
of Tartary. In order to keep up regular intercourse between the different points of the new 
territory the Government acquired two more steamers, the «Amour» and «Lena». Thus in 
1857 there were 5 Government steamers plying on the Amour; in 1860 the number was in- 
creased to 8, and in 1870 it rose to 12. At the same time private individuals and separate 
Government institutions also began to provide themselves with steamers; the first private 
steamboat on the Amour made its appearance in 1859; the telegraph department in 1868 
possessed 5 steamers and the Engineering Department 3, so that in 1870 there were altogether 
25 steamboats on the Amour. 

About this time the idea originated of instituting a regular steamboat time service on 
the Amour in order to satisfy the increasing wants of trade and in case of necessity for 
moving troops and carrying Government stores and forage. For this purpose, at the end of the 
year 1871, a 20-years concession was granted to Benardaki and Co. for keeping up a regular 
steamboat communication on the rivers of the Amour basin. Benardaki then formed the 
company for organizing regular steamboat'traffic on these rivers. The company took upon itself 
the obligation of maintaining from 1872 regular mail and passenger traffic on the Amour bet- 
ween Nikolaevsk and Sretensk, a distance of 2,956 versts, also a mail steam tug service from 
Khabarovka to post Jss 4 near lake Khanka, a distance of 630 versts, on lake Khanka as 
far as the post of Kamen-Rybolov, 135 versts, , and an occasional steam tug service from 
Sretensk to Nicolaevsk. 



WATER AND OVERLAND COMMUNICATION. 231 

The uumber of steamers was not to be less than 12, and when the company was 
started the Government made over to it 9 steamers which belonged to the Naval Depart- 
ment. The passenger and goods freights were fixed by a special tariff and the Government 
besides guaranteeing a fixed amount of Government freights also agreed to pay a subsidy 
during the whole stipulated period of 20 years in the shape of a payment of 2 roubles 
15 kopecks for every verst of each voyage on the rivers Shilka, Amour, Ussuri and lake Khanka 
during the first 10 years with a reduction of 5 per cent per annum during the next 10 years. 
The highest limit of this scale was fixed at 245,000 roubles a year. Without dwelling upon 
the other details of the agreement between the Government and the Amour Steamboat Comp- 
any, it may be mentioned that the latter pledged itself to erect engineering workshops at 
Khabarovka for repairing the Government steamers, and to provide its own boats with the 
necessary means for executing small repairs. 

Thanks to the institution of regular steam navigation on the Amour basin, the inter- 
course between the various points of Eastern Siberia hecame so animated that private individ- 
uals were able to start their own steamers and barges without Government assistance. Fifteen 
years after the formation of the Amour Steamship Company, in 1885, there were 44 steamers 
owned by various individuals and companies cruising on the waters of the Amour basin as 
seen below: 

1. The Amour Steamship Company possessed 17 steamers of 1,107 aggregate horse power, 
and also 18 iron and 8 wooden barges, caiTying altogether 161,000 pouds. 

2. The merchant Pakholkov possessed 2 steamers of 120 horse power and 2 barges. 

3. The Hamburg merchant Dickman owned 5 steamers of 265 total horse power and 
4 barges. 

4. The Kiakhta Company owned 2 steamers of 180 total horse power and 3 barges. 

5. The mercant Loukine was running 3 steamers of 190 total horse power. 

6. The merchant Boutine owned 5 steamers of 205 total horse power and 6 barges 
carrying altogether 57,000 pouds. 

7. The Upper Amour Gold-digging Company had 2 steamers of 160 total horse power. 

8. The Telegraph Department was running one steamer of 15 horse power. 

9. The Engineering Department owned one steamer of 40 horse power. 

10. The Zeisk Company owned 3 steamers with an aggregate of 267 horse power. 

11. The Niemau Company owned one steamboat of 12 horse power. 

12. The merchant Etkine was running 2 steamers of 80 total horse power. 

Of all the above mentioned shipowners only the Amour Steamship Company and the 
Kiakhta Steamboat Company received assistance from the Government; the former during the 
20 years of the original concession received 245,000 roubles mileage and 75,000 roubles guar- 
antee for can-ying Government freights, altogether 258,750 roubles; and after the expiration 
of this concession, in 1891. a temporary agreement was made with the company insuring it a 
yearly Government subsidy of 183,000 roubles until the present year 1893. The latter company 
receives a mileage in the same propoiHon, amounting to 33;988 roubles per annum, for regular 
steam service on lake Baikal and the passenger and goods freights have been fixed at a rather 
high tariff. For instance, the charge for conveying tea, furs and manufactured goods between 



232 SIBERIA. 

the settlement of Listvenich and the Boyarsk pier, a distance of 10 versts, is V^ kopeck per 
poud-verst; and from Listvenich to the mouth of Angara, a distance of 700 versts, there is a 
reduction of 40 per cent from this poud-verst charge. 

When first started, the Amour Steamboat Company was hardly prepared to execute 
the obligations it had taken upon iiself; not possessing capital, it was obliged to have 
recourse to foreign loans, and the percentages on the sinking fund of the debt swallowed up 
a considerable portion of the revenue, so that, notwithstanding repeated assistance from the 
Government in the shape of loans, the company was unable to keep its steamers in proper 
repair. In consequence of this, when the contract expired in 1892 there was a question of 
entrusting the steam service on the Amour basin to other parties. An offer was made by 
Messrs. Sibiriakov and Shevelev who were willing to undertake the business on more ad- 
vantageous terms than the Amour Steamboat Company. In making a new contract it was 
expedient to stipulate that the old steamers should be replaced by new ones. In consequence 
however of the delay in concluding the contract, the new promotors were unable to change 
the old steamers at once and therefore the Government allowed the business to remain two 
years longer in the hands of the Amour Company, especially as they agreed to the same 
terms as the new contractors. The principal conditions were as follows: the contractors 
undertake to keep up a regular steam service on the Amour, Ussuri, Shilka river and lake 
Khanka for the space of 15 years with a Government subsidy in the form of a payment of 
1 rouble 50 kopecks per verst for every verst actually made on these waters during the 
firsts 10 years, with a reduction of 5 per cent per annum for the succeeding 5 years, this 
mileage not to exceed 183,532 roubles per annum during the first 10 years. Besides this the 
Government does not bind itself to provide cargoes or to make extra payments for them. 

Xext year, therefore in 1894, the new steamers of Sibiriakov and Shevelev will make 
their appearance on the waters of the Amour basin; their contract expires in 1908. At present 
the Government is examining the request of these contractors to turn the Amour Steamboat 
enterprise into a joint-stock company with a capital of one million roubles. 

The organization of regular and constant steam service between the coast stations of 
the far distant Russian domains on the shores of the Pacific has always engi-ossed the atten- 
tion of the Government as it would provide a convenient and cheap sea route for the local 
population. In the complete absence of roads in that region, steamboat communication 
acquires particular importance as being the only means of intercourse between the above 
mentioned points. The efforts made in this direction would also excercise a beneficial result 
upon Russian commercial intercourse with Corea, Japan and China and benefit the econom- 
ical position of the country. Whilst up to 1880 the existing means of transport were not 
only insufi;icient to secure regular communication for the inhabitants but did not even suffice 
for the wants of the administrative estabUshments for the transport of Government stores and 
passengers. For these reasons the Government has repeatedly taken measures for facilitating 
sea communication between the Pacific ports of Siberia on the one hand, and between these 
ports and the pnncipal ports of Japan and China on the other, but regular communication 
has-been effected only since 1881, when the matter was undertaken by Mr. Shevelev. This 
gentleman bound himself to keep up a time service between Vladivostok and Xicolaevsk and 



WATEK AND OVERLAND COMMUNICATION. 233 

between Vladivostok and Han-Kow, touching at Shankhai, Nagasaki, the gulf of St. Olga, 
the Korsakovsk post, the Imperial harbour, post Doue and the gulf of De Castri ; besides 
freights according to a fixed tariff, the contractor receives from the Government a mileage 
of 3 roubles during the first 10 years, with 10 per cent reduction per annum, for the 
next 5 years. 

The voyages abroad were instituted in the interests of commerce to maintain inter- 
course with the countries lying to the south of the Russian dominions. In consequence how- 
ever of the evident urgent necessity of increasing the communication between the Russian 
ports, Mr. Shevelev's steamer <'Baikab> was in 1886 exclusively employed in cruising about 
the gulf of Tartary, accomplishing six journeys to Nicolaevsk to the detriment of the foreign 
trade. Besides this steamer, two other vessels of the Siberian flotilla and one steamer 
belonging to the Naval Department were employed in carrying goods and passengers through 
the Straits of Tartary. Some of the above mentioned Pacific ports, such as Doue, the 
Korsakovsk post, and others, are also visited by the vessels of the Volunteer Fleet; nevertheless 
the means of transport available, about 1885, did not suffice for the increasing wants of the 
Siberian Pacific region and it was necessary to have recourse to the foreign vessels which 
brought goods from Western Europe and the United States to the Siberian ports. 

It was naturally undesirable that foreign vessels should take part in the coasting trade 
in Russian waters along the shores of Eastern Siberia, and therefore the question arose of 
increasing the steamboat service in the Far East. Upon due consideration it was deemed most 
advisable to allow Mr. Shevelev to institute some supplementary communication between the 
ports of the Pacific, and a contract was concluded with him for 15 years from September 
17, 1888. Mr. Shevelev bound himself to keep up three lines of regular steamers: 1. through 
the Straits of Tartary between Vladivostok and Nicolaevsk; 2. between Vladivostok and 
Shankhai; 3. in the gulf of Peter the Great, touching at certain points along the line. The 
passenger and goods freights were charged in accordance with a fixed, tariff, and besides this, 
in order to encourage the enterprise, the contractor receives from the Government a mileage 
at the rate of three roubles paper for every mile during the first 10 years with a gradual 
yearly reduction of 10 per cent per annum for the remaining 5 years. This mileage during 
the first two years was not to exceed the sum due for a distance of 37,000 mile-, and for 
50,000 miles for the following years. According to the terms of this contract Shevelev is at 
present running steamers between the above mentioned ports of the maritime district and also 
to Han-Kow, Nagasaki and Shankhai. 

There is no regular service of steamers to the other ports of the Arctic and Pacific. 
But even the establishment of a casual steam service between the European ports and the 
ports of Siberia on the Northern and Ea=^tern Oceans has a most important influence upon the 
industrial development of the country. 

The determination of a northern route from Europe through the White Sea and the 
Kara Straits with the mouths of the Obi, Yenisei and Lena has been briefly described at the 
commencement of this article and it now only remains to add some supplementary information 
on this subject. Thanks to the autority of Count Litke, the academecian Bere and other 
northern explorers, who did not admit of the possibility of penetrating from Europe into Asia 



234 SIBEEIA. 

through the Arctic Ocean, the uortheru s«a route to Siberia was regarded as an uuattaiuable 
vision, and M. K. Sidorov did great service when, in 1853, he was the first to prove the 
erroneousness of the opinions of Count Litke and Mr. Bere; unfortunately however he did not 
succeed in awakening the sympathy of any of the scientific societies. He based his arguments 
upon the constant intercourse between the inhabitants of the coast from the mouths of the 
Pechora and Obi, but nevertheless, such a strong conviction prevailed that it was impossible 
to reach the Kara Sea, that the promise made by Sidorov of a large reward to the first 
vessel which would enter the Yenisei and bring back a cargo of graphite, was not sufficient 
to tempt anybody'. In 1862 he succeeded in persuading Kruzenstern to tmdertake an expedition 
to the east, and although it did not terminate successfully, still it convinced those who took 
part in it that the Kara Sea was almost free of ice. However no more adventures were found 
after Kruzenstern, so Sidorov was obliged himself to take the initiative and determined to fit 
out a polar expedition at his own expense, but not finding any of his own countrymen desirous 
of joining him, he went to Sweden where he made the acquaintance of Baron Nordenskjold. 
Next a lively correspondence was entered into between them, Nordenskjold becoming ever more 
and more interested in Sidorov's ideas about a sea route to Siberia. 

In 1869 Sidorov sailed on the steamer «Georgi» from Croustadt, but near the mouths of 
the Pechora let slip the favourable time while saving the English steamer «jS[orfolk». Resolutely 
propagating his idea, Sidorov applied to the well known geographer Petermann to print in his 
celebrated Mittheilungen an appeal to those desirous of accepting his offer, namely a reward of 
2,000 pounds sterling to him who should first make the sea passage from Europe to the estuary 
of the Yenisei. Thanks to the wide circulation of Petermann's magazine, Sidorov's appeal attrac- 
ted the attention of the Englishman Wiggins who loaded the steamer «Diana» for this expe- 
dition. In 1874, he successfully passed through the Kara Sea and entered the mouths of the 
Obi and Yenisei, after which he returned to England having practically demonstrated the 
possibility of a north sea passage to Siberia. In 1875 the Swedish merchant Dickson fitted 
out the yacht «Experiment» under the command of Baron Nordenskjold, which also success- 
fully reached the estuary of the Yenisei. The vessel made the return passage, while the Cap 
tain, ascending the Yenisei in a boat to Yeniseisk, went back by land. In the following" year 
Baron Nordenskjold on the steamer «Himer», and Wiggins on the steamer «Famela» once more 
safely sailed through into the estuary of the Yenisei. 

The late Sidorov having thus obtained the confirmation of the justice of his idea did not 
himself however for a long time have the chance of making the passage. Only in 1876 did 
he succeed in fitting out the vessel «Northern Light» under the command of Schwanenberg, 
which unfortunately suffered shipwreck among the Little Bregovsk Islands. In 1877 another 
vessel belonging to Sidorov, built in Yeniseisk, the «Dawn» under the command of the same 
Schwanenberg, sailed from the estuary of the Yenisei and safely arrived in St. Petersburgh. 
In the same year Trapeznikov's steamer the <:Louisa» sailing from Hull, on the 18th of July 
passed through the Kara Straits without mishap, and having entered the mouth of the Obi pene- 
trated by the Irtysh to Tobolsk, with a cargo of iron and olive oil. At the same time Sibi- 
riakov chartered the steamer «Frazer» in Bremen, which landed safely on the 21st of August at 
the mouth of the Yenisei a cargo of tobacco, sugar, machinery, et cetera. In 1878 the <.Fra- 



WATER AND OVERLAND COMMUNICATION. 235 

zer» repeated her voyage with the same success. At the same time Barou Nordeiiskjold's se- 
cond expedition took place. This navigator in the steamer «Yega» made the voyage from 
Transen through the whole Arctic Ocean and returned to Europe after circumnavigating the 
continent of Europe-Asia. 

Sabsequeutly there were not a few other successful expeditions of this kind. In the 
same year, 1878, two large European steamers entereil the mouth of the Obi w^ith colonial 
wares and iron goods, in exchange for which they took cargoes of wheat and hemp. Knop's 
steamers the «Tsaritsa» and the «Moscow;> entered the mouth of the Yenisei, the latter reach- 
ing Yeniseisk. Nordenskjold's steamer the «Lena» entered the mouth of the river of the 
same name and ascended as far as Yakutsk having thus sailed 2,700 versts from the mouth. 

In consequence of such results, sea communication between Europe and Siberia by the Arctic 
Ocean appeared to be completely established, although there were still not a few accidents to 
ships attempting to make their way to Siberia by this new route. In 1887 in Newcastle a 
company was formed for establishing commercial relations with Siberia, and with this object 
it equipped the steamer «Phoenix» which successfully reached Yeniseisk. This first expedition, 
in consequence of the unfortunate choice of goods, w^as in a commercial sense a failure lor 
the company, but nevertheless the latter having become more nearly acquainted through its 
agents with the needs of Siberia and its productions, fitted out in the following year the 
steamer «Labrador», which was to carry its cargo to the mouth of the Yenisei and there re- 
ceive Siberian goods from the <cPhoenix». But neither of these steamers attained its object 
and the company incurred considerable losses and soon wound up its affairs. The ill success of 
this company did not however quell the desire of the enterprising Englishmen to again 
try their luck, and with this object once more an Anglo-Siberian Company was formed, 
which despatched a steamer to the mouth of the Yenisei with a cargo of assorted goods. In 
consequence of an accidental concurrence of various unfortunate circumstances, notwithstanding 
even the granting of the right of duty-free importation of goods into the northern ports of 
Siberia during five years, the new company also had no success in a commercial sense and 
was obliged to w'ind up its affairs. 

Thus, the result of these attempts was the positive establishment of the fact of the 
possibility without extraordinary difficulty of sea communication between Europe and Asia 
via the Arctic Ocean. But the commercial advantage of the employment of this route remains 
so far a thing of the future. In conclusion it is not out of place to remark in connexion with 
the north sea passage to Siberia, that Sidorov first pointed out the importance of stoking 
steamers for polar expeditions with pertroleum and in 1872 inaugurated this system in Archangel, 
intending to employ the liquid fuel of local origin, but the expedition then planned by him, as 
was mentioned, did not take place. 

The Pacific coast of Siberia did not present any difficulties in the way of regular sea 
communication, but here this undertaking could not be developed in consequence of quite dif- 
ferent causes. Till the end of the seventies the communication between European Russia and 
Siberia through the Pacific Ocean had a more or less accidental character. The establishment 
of steam communication with the Far East, undertaken in 1870 by the Russian Steam Naviga- 
tion and Trade Company, did not possess any serious commercial importance. This undertaking 



236 SIBEEIA. 

also assumed large dimensions only from the moment when the Volunteer Fleet estab- 
lished regular communication between Odessa and Vladivostok, calling at several Chinese 
ports on the way. This institution, called into existence in 1878 during the last Eastern war 
with the object of performing the duty of cruisers in war time and having commercial objects 
in time of peace, certainly gave a great impulse to the connecting of European Russia with 
the Far East, and strengthened the influence of Russia in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. 

The Volunteer Fleet, whose ships are completely adapted to long ocean voyages, is 
every year increasing its activity in 'the conveyance of passengers and goods from the ports 
of the Black Sea to Vladivostok and Nikolaevsk. The number of persons carried hardly reach- 
ing 1,300 in 1882, in 1892 rose to 7,000, while the quantity of cargo for the same period 
rose from 4,800 to 780,000 pouds. This is, in no small degree, due to the comparatively low 
freights for a distance of over 10,000 English miles, a voyage taking about 40 days. The 
cabin passenger pays 500 roubles, including food for the voyage from Odessa to Vladivostok; 
the deck passenger, 100 roubles for the same distance, also with food. Cargo is charged 30 
to 40 kopecks a poud. 

Now the Volunteer Fleet disposes of nine steamers, with a total tonnage of 30,000 tons, 
and nevertheless it barely satisfies the demands made upon it. Thanks to its activity, Eastern 
Siberia now receives a mass of necessary articles from European Russia and not from abroad, 
and European Russia gets Chinese tea much cheaper than by land. 

The survey of the land communications must necessarily be short. In virtue of historic- 
ally constituted circumstances but one road passes through Siberia, at all deserving attention, 
this being the so-called Great Siberian Tract, joining Moscow with Irkutsk, or more exactly 
with Kiakhta, as over it more than anything else are transported the teas going from China 
through Kiakhta. Within the actual limits of Siberia it commences at Tinmen and passes 
through Yalutorovsk, Ishim, Tiukalinsk, Kainsk, Kolyvan, Tomsk, Mariinsk, Achinsk, Krasno- 
yarsk, Nizhneoudinsk. In this direction also took place the principal colonization of Siberia. Hence 
one road goes to Kiakhta and continues further into the Celestial Empire, while another goes 
to Baikal, upon which in summer there is steam communication, and in winter by sledge. 
There is also a road round Baikal passing through an extremely irregular country. Further 
on, the post road from Verkneoudinsk to Sretensk traverses very difficult places, where some- 
times no snow whatever falls, in consequence of which in winter the driver is not seldom obliged 
here to carry his sledge on a cart, or on the other hand to put the cart on runners. The 
thinness of the population in the country along this road, inhabited mainly by vagrants, makes 
the conveyance of freights extremely difficult and expensive. From this point to Khabarovka 
the road follows the Amour, but few make any use of it. In summer, people prefer to take 
advantage of the water communication, in winter they travel in sledges over the ice, and 
only the break-up of the ice or some other hard necessity, forces them to turn to the nat- 
ural earth road. The further communication with the terminal points of Siberia., Nikolaevsk 
and Vladivostok, is carried on in summer by water and in winter on the ice. In autumn 
and spring almost all communication is stopped here. 

From the route just mentioned, especially from the Great Siberian Tract, at various 
points branch lesser tracts serving as feeders, but not one of them is distinguished by the 



WATER AND OVERLAND COMMUNICATION 237 

necessary good orgauization, nor possesses any great commercial importance. la the latter re- 
spect, a certain interest is presented by two routes leading from Western Siberia through the 
Altai into Mongolia. Of these the Chuisk tract, serving as the chief artery for the commer- 
cial traffic between AVesteru Siberia and Mongolia, proceeds from Biisk by the valley of the 
river Chuya near the Imperial frontier to Kobdo and U lyasutai, and for a distance of 240 versts, 
from Biisk to Augoudai, offers a pretty fair carriage road, while beyond this point to Kosh- 
Agach, 220 versts, it is only available for the passage of beasts of burden. The second or 
Bukhtarminsk tract, also terminating at Kobdo, leads from the territory of Semipalatiusk 
through the Bukhtarminsk camp, the Ulau-Daba pass and Khongo. This road from Ust-Kamen- 
nogorsk to the settlement of Urylsk, a distance of 382 versts, is available for wheeled traffic, 
its continuation being a mere track for pack-animals. 



--^-^^ 



238 



CHAPTER XY. 
The Great Siberian Railway. 

Historical review of the question of a Siberian railway; first proposals in reference to 

the construction of the road; the northern, middle and southern directions; the proposals of the 

engineers Ostrovsky and Sidensner; position of the question in 1890; commencement of 

the line at Vladivostok; position of the railway works on the 10th of March, 1893. 



AFTER the annexation of the extensive Amour and Littoral territories and of the Ussuri 
region, the want was felt of good ways of communication, on the one hand in 
order to keep possession of them, and on the other, in order to attract settlers and form 
new centres of population. In consequence of this a series of schemes appeared for the con- 
struction of new roads in Siberia, and Count Mouraviev-Amourski himself was almost the first 
who conceived the idea of a railway in this country. Upon the occupation of the mouths of 
the Amour in 1850, and especially after the successful expeditions of Count Mouraviev himself 
down that river, the inconveniences of the estuary for the entry into the river began to be- 
come evident, and accordingly there arose the idea of making use of the splendid bay 
of De Castri in the Tartar Straits and of uniting it with Sofiisk on the Amour by a carriage 
road with the Intention of subsequently converting it into a railway. The surveys in this 
locality and the scheme for such a road were carried out In 1857 by Colonel Romanov, but 
the road itself was not destined to be realized for want of means. Simultaneously with this 
appeared the proposal of the English engineer Dull. He conceived the idea of carrying a 
horse tramway from Nizhni-Novgorod through Kazan and Perm to one of the Siberian ports 
of the Pacific Ocean, but this scheme, unsupported by any estimates, was obviously of too 
unsubstantial a character, and the Government accordingly passed it over in silence. 

In the same year another foreigner, the American citizen Collins, petitioned the Gov- 
ernment to authorize him to found a stock-company, to be styled the Amour Railway Com- 
pany, to unite Irkutsk and Chita. For the realization of this enterprise Collins wished to 
issue shares of 100 roubles calculating upon getting all the necessary capital subscribed In 
Siberia itself. This scheme, although likewise destitute of any solid foundation, thanks to the 
sympathetic attitude of the then Governor-General Count Mouraviev, was examined on the very 
shortest notice both in the Ministry of Ways of Communication and in the Siberian Com- 



THE GKEAT SIBERIAN RAILWAY. 239 

mittee, but in both institutions, albeit on dii!'cront grounds, it was found to be inopportune and 
was rejected. 

The third proposal following close npon the second in 1858 aimed at uniting by rail 
Moscow and the Tartar Straits on the Pacific shore of Siberia. The authors of this scheme 
were the Englishmen, Morrison, Horn and Sleigh, who without demanding any guarantee of 
income from the Government yet petitioned for such considerable privileges, that their grant- 
ing would have lead to the concentration of the whole Siberian trade and industry in the 
hands of foreigners for a very long period. At the same time they gave the Government no 
guarantee for the timely and successful accomplishment of the work contemplated. On more 
Intimate acquaintance with the said proposal it appeared that it was founded upon no pre- 
liminary surveys. On this ground the Government did not find it deserving of attention and 
informed the proposers of the scheme that the construction of a railway from Nizhni-Novgorod 
to the Tartar Bay did not enter into the plans of the Government and therefore could not 
be accepted. 

The question of the Siberian railway aroused a lively interest in official and private 
circles, and therefore there was no lack of new, more or less imposing propositions. In the 
same year, 1858, appeared Sofronov's scheme, to carry a railway from Saratov through the 
Kirghiz steppes to Semipalatinsk, Minusinsk, Selenginsk, the Amour and Tekin. Against it 
there then appeared in print many objections in which was pointed out among other things 
the necessity of taking the line along the Great Siberian Tract, which had existed from time 
immemorial, crossing the Ural and connecting Nizhni-Novgorod with Kiakhta. Sofronov's 
scheme, like all the preceding ones, was a paper scheme and not the result of actual investigation 
of the trading and industrial needs of the localities, through which this mighty route was to 
pass. Submitted to Count Mouraviev-Amoursky's consideration, it called forth several corrections 
and additions, but had no practical consequences. 

Of a much more practical character was the undertaking proposed by Kokorev and 
Co., who in 1862, having formed the idea of uniting the basins of the Volga and the Obi, 
these two giant streams of European Russia and Siberia, availed themselves of the scheme 
of the mining engineer Rashet, for a long time, head of the Government and private mining 
works in the Ural, and perfectly acquainted with that district. The surveys carried out with 
reference to this scheme pointed to the following line, from Perm via the Nizhni-Tagil works 
to Tinmen, 678 versts with a branch to Irbit, 13 versts. This scheme, completely satisfying 
the demands of the through route, appeared to be the most desirable for the whole Ural 
mining industry, whose representatives received it very favourably. However, soon afterwards the 
same men abandoned the direction indicated by Rashet's schemes and adopted another pro- 
posed by Colonel Bogdanovich. 

The latter's plan was one of the results of his despatch in 1866 to the government 
of Viatka to take measures against the injurious consequences of the crop failure which 
befell that country in 1864 After only two months from his departure from St. Petersburg, 
Bogdanovich reported by telegraph to the Minister of the Interior on the 23rd of March, 1866, 
as follows: <' After removing all difficulties in the provisioning of the governments of Perm and 
Viatka and investigating the local conditions, I am of opinion that the only sure means of 



240 SIBERIA. 

preventing famine in the Ural country in the future is the huildiug of a railway from the 
governments of the interior to Ekaterinburg and thence to Tiumen. Such a line, being sub- 
sequently continued through Siberia to the Chinese frontier would acquire a great importance 
both strategical and for international trade », Afterwards, on the receipt from Bogdanovich of 
a more detailed report on the subject, it was in April, 1868, thought good to authorize the 
said person to carry out detailed surveys and form a scheme for a railway from the village 
of Yershov through Ekaterinburg to Tiumen. The original project was somewhat hastily 
draughted and therefore the author subsequently had to make several corrections and ad- 
ditions in it. 

The two schemes referred to, powerfully alTecting the interests of different parts of 
Siberia, called into existence a third in 1869, that of the trader Liubimov. The latter carried 
out surveys from Perm through the towns of Kuugur, Ekaterinburg and Shadrinsk to the 
hamlet of Bieloozersk, situated 49 versts to the north of Kurgan on the river Tobol, a distance 
of 711 versts. There was at the same time in view to carry from the main line a side 
mining branch in a northern direction from Ekaterinburg through the Xizhni-Tagil works 
to the Kushvinsk Government works, over a length of 131 versts. 

The then Governor-General of Western Siberia, Adjutant General Khruschov also 
directed attention to the carrying out of these surveys closely affecting the country 
entrusted to his care, and having become acquainted on the spot with the direction of trade 
and its needs, presented at the end of 1869 a memorial addressed to the Emperor upon the 
necessity of the rapid solution of the question of the building of the Siberian railway? 
pointing out at the same time the nearest route for it through Nizhni-Novgorod to 
Kazan and Tiumen. 

Thus at the end of the sixties, upon the question of the construction of a Siberian 
railway there were sharply defined the three above mentioned routes according to the schemes 
respectively of Rashet, Liubimov and Bogdanovich. All three begin at Perm, and they end, 
the first and third, in the town of Tiumen, and the second at Bieloozersk on the river Tobol, 
which it was proposed to make navigable. In the numerous discussions of these schmes in 
scientific societies and in literature, the first route was named the Northern, the se- 
cond the Middle, and the third the Southern. Although no small number of prelim- 
inary surveys were made in all these directions, yet when in connection with the above 
mentioned report of Adjutant General Khruschov, this question began to be discussed in the 
higher Government spheres it was found possible in the first place to build only a part of 
the line projected, 700 versts in length, in order to join the Kama with the Tobol. 

In order to form an opinion from the mass of not fully elaborated and not always 
exact data collected during the carrying out of private surveys, as well as to determine the 
most advantageous route for this line, a special commission was fitted out to the Ural, for 
whom the satisfaction of the needs of the Ural mining industry was to have the greatest 
weight, while at the same time it was pointed out to them that the road must, although to 
a slight extent, only answer to the requirements of the Siberian transit trade. However on 
a closer acquaintance with the matter it appeared that these objects are incompatible and 
therefore the preference was given to the Ural railway, the question of the Siberian road 



THE GREAT SIBEEIAX RAILWAY. 241 

remaining open for some time. The surveys afterwards carried out in 1872— 1874 by the 
Government estahlished three principal 'routes: 1. Kineshma, Viatka, Perm, Ekaterinburg, 
933 versts; 2. Xizhni, Kazan, Krasnoufimsk, Ekaterinburg, 1,172 versts; 3. Alatyr, Ufa, 
Cheliabinsk, 1,173 versts. Thus, the first route proves to be a development of Mr. Rashet's 
scheme, that is, of the northern; the second, the altered scheme of Mr. Bogdanovich, or the 
southern; and finally the third, a compromise for the simultaneous satisfaction of the re- 
quirements of the Siberian and Central Asiatic transit traffic. The Committee of Ministers on 
examining these routes had its attention arrested mainly by the first two, and in 1875 it was 
decided to carry the Siberian railway by the route from Xizhni-Xovgorod along the hilly 
bank of the Volga to Kazan. Ekaterinburg and Tinmen. 

It will be appropriate to observe here that the choice of the direction for the Siberian 
railway between north and south everywhere called forth very lively discussions. Various 
pamphlets appeared arguing for and against the said routes, the constant subject of dispute 
being not the direction of the railway in the Siberian territory, but its direction within the 
limits of European Russia. From the above quoted enumeration of the routes it is clear that 
all the proposals agreed in this, that whencesoever the line of railway begin, it must 
necessarily pass through Tiumen. Further than this point few went, and few interested them 
selves whether the line led through the southern steppes and traversed cultivated centres 
or extended through the thickets of the north, while only passing through the most im- 
portant places. 

In consequence of such being the situation of a matter so deeply interesting to 
Siberia, the higher administrative authorities of the country more than once raised the 
question of the immediate laying down of railway communication between different very 
important points of the country. Thus already in 1875, a petition was started to build 
a railway from Vladivostok to lake Khanko, which was followed by a lively correspondence 
in higher Government spheres upon the construction of railways by preference in Eastern 
Siberia within the territory of the Littoral and the Ussuri region, especially in view of the 
development in all directions of China and Japan. However the then difficult position of the 
Imperial finances did not permit of immediately proceeding to the realization of such 
desirable propositions. 

Continuing to discuss the most advantageous route for the Siberian line, the Government 
at the same time did not cease to occupy itself with the enlargement of the general system 
of railways, which in 1877 already reached Orenburg. In the following year, 1878, the Ural 
railway was opened, and in 1880 was completed the imposing structure of the Emperor 
Alexander II bridge across the Volga, while finally in the same year, ensued an Imperial 
command for the immediate building of the section of railway between Ekaterinburg and 
Tiumen. The accomplishment of the above named constructions in connexion with the results 
of new surveys showed that the southern route for the Siberian railway, sanctioned in 1875, 
on account of altered circumstances, could no longer answer to its destination. Accordingly 
in 1882 the discussion of the Siberian main line was begun afresh, which demanded the 
carrying out of supplementary surveys in several new directions, so that in 1884 the possibility 
appeared of presenting the three following routes instead of the southern. Of these, the first 



242 SIBERIA. 

was from Nizhni-Novgorod through Kazan, the Nikoloberezovsk wharf and Ekaterinl)urg to 
Tiu'men, the second, from Samara via Ufa, Krasnoufimsk and Ekaterinburg to Tiumen, and 
the third, from Samara through Ufa, Zlatoust, to Cheliahinsk. The choice of one of these 
three directions would predetermine to a certain extent that of the main Siberian line itself, 
and at the same time to decide this question finally, without having sufficient data on the 
route which Siberian freights would take on the completion of the Ekaterinburg-Tiumen 
line then under construction, joining the basins of the Volga and the Obi, and also in consequence 
of the imminent completion of the Obi-Yenisei canal for the uniting of the basins of the Obi 
and Yenisei, did not seem possible. Really the realization of these two works was opening 
over a vast extent a water route connecting the basin of the Volga with lake Baikal, and 
consequently must have a serious influence upon the direction to be taken by the railway 
line right through Siberia. On the other hand arose the question, was there any necessity, 
with the existence of excellent water communication, for the immediate construction of an 
unbroken line of railway through the whole of Siberia, and was it not better to be content 
in the first instance with the building of isolated sections possessing some political strateg- 
ical or industrial importance. 

In this last respect the schemes put forth by the engineers Ostrovsky and Sidensner_ 
deserve particular attention. The former presented his proposal in the beginning of 1880; 
he maintained the idea that at that time, for the consolidation and economical develop- 
ment of Siberia and its relations with Russia, it was necessary above all things to improve 
and facilitate the internal communications of Siberia and only then complete the routes of 
transit then in existence upon this side of the Ural. Under the existing circumstances he saw 
no need for an unbroken line of railway right through ' Siberia. The author saw the solution 
of these problems merely in the quickest possible construction of the following three roads: 
Perm-Tobolsk, to unite the two large rivers Kama and Irtysh; Tomsk-Krasnoyarsk, to unite 
the Obi and the Yenisei, and finally the third, Omsk-Barnaoul, to unite the Irtysh at Omsk 
with the Obi at Barnaoul, with its continuation to Biisk, and further to the frontiers of China. 
On the creation of the two first lines, for an extent of 800 and 560 versts respectively, exten- 
sive communication is opened between the basin of the Volga and that of lake Baikal, this 
union being effected not with the aid of shallow and not always navigable rivers, but through 
the Kama and the Irtysh which never lack water. 

The engineer Ostrovsky ascribed special importance to the Omsk-Barnaoul line. This 
line would shorten the great water road from the immensely rich mining district of Altai to 
Tobolsk and would strengthen the trade with China through Biisk, Kobdo and Ulyasutai. Only 
by taking advantage to the largest extent of the water ways of Siberia would be realized a 
cheap and convenient communication between the centre of Siberia, Irkutsk and the centre 
of European Russia, Moscow. The direct union by an unbroken line of railway of the two 
centres referred to will become urgent and realizable only in the more or less distant future, 
and beyond controversy only on Siberia attaining a higher degree of civilization than at 
present. Having examined the conditions which this imposing construction must satisfy, the 
engineer Ostrovsky indicates in general terms its direction from Moscow to Irkutsk as follows: 
«The road should pass through Riazan, Spassk, Ufa and thence through Zlatoust, Cheliaba, Petro- 



THE GREAT SIBEKIAN RAILWAY. 243 

pavlovsk, Omsk, Kaiiisk, Tomsk, Mariinsk, Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk, Kansk, Udinsk and Bala- 
gansk to Irkutsk. It will thus, throughout its whole extent, meet all the chief administrative 
and trading centres of Siberia, will nowhere quit the zone of densest population and will 
traverse almost exclusively the fertile chernoziom tract, from the Volga to the Yenisei. The 
constuction of the southern line might he accomplished in separate sections, each of which 
might he completed independently of the rest, preserving its own proper importance». 

The route quoted of the Siberian railway indicated by the engineer Ostrovsky deserves 
attention in this respect that it almost exactly coincides with that wliich is now linally 
adopted for the Great Siberian Railway. 

The engineer Sidensner, who took part in the expedition for carrying out the surveys 
in connection with the construction of the Obi-Yenisei canal, expressed the opinion that with 
the realization of this work and the removal of the rapids in the lower part of the Angara 
a vast water way would be opened of 5,000 versts extent, from Tinmen to Baikal. Next from 
Baikal begins the coast road to Sretensk of 950 versts; and there again, a new water way 
by the Amour for 3,000 versts. Discussing in detail the cart road, Sidensner draws the con- 
clusion that as a matter of fact it may be considerably shortened, as the first 150 versts 
pass by the shore of Baikal and the valley of the navigable river Serenga, and the last 350 
versts along the shore of the raftable river Ingoda and in part of the Shilka. Thus, the road 
is reduced to 450 versts, and even here, from the happy direction of many shallow rivers 
which can easily be made navigable, there only remains the pass across the Yablonovoi range 
from the Areisk Lake to the settlement of Tanginsk, a distance of 18 versts; and only over 
this small section will it be necessary to build a railway to unite by a water route the 
basin of the Volga with the Pacific shore of Siberia. The proposition to carry out surveys in this 
direction, although met with favour, in consequence of the want of means could not be accepted. 

Yet many more schemes were presented, which were discussed both in Government 
spheres and in scientific societies, but the majority of them suffered from a lack of actual 
foundation. Special commissions were organized in the Imperial Russian Technical Society 
and in the Society for Promoting Russian Trade and Industry, which laboured very long upon 
the consideration of the questions of the route and cost of the Siberian Railway, but to write 
about all the schemes placed before these meetings, would take up very much time; they 
fill books. The principal directions are marked upon the map appended to this work, omitting 
the variations whose name is legion. 

Independently of the schemes proposed by private persons, several Governors-General 
of Siberia began vehemently to urge the necessity of building different sections of the line. 
Among these petitions, particularly noteworthy are the schemes for sections of the way from 
Tomsk to Irkutsk and from Baikal to Sretensk put forth by Baron Korf and Count Ignatiev, 
intended to unite the Western Siberian navigation with that of Eastern Siberia on the Amour. 
To these two sections a third was soon added, from Vladivostok through Razdolnoe, Ni- 
kolskoe, and Anuchiuo to the Busse Post, The surveys carried out in these directions only 
touched the technical side of the matter, leaving the economical entirely aside; in consequence 
of which in 1887 it was not considered possible to proceed to the preparatory works for the 
carrying out of the schemes referred to. An exception was made only iu reference to the 



244 SIBERIA. 

Ussuri line, the construction of which was put in the first rank. This question was in 1890 
placed for consideration before a Special Commission, which was also charged with elucidat- 
ing in what order the different sections should be built, in order as far as possible to lighten 
the sacrifices of the treasury and draw the greatest advantages from the working of those 
sections which should be constructed first. In the Special Commission at the end of 1890, when 
the system of Russian railways projected eastwards in three lines whose extreme points were 
Tinmen on the Ural line, Miass on that of Zlatoust-Miass, and Orenburg on the Orenburg 
line, on the discussion of the question of the conditions of the construction of the Great Sibe- 
rian Railway new circumstances cropped up which somewhat altered the former view of the 
matter. Strategical views partly gave way before considerations of an economical and com- 
mercial character, it being at the same time declared that the aim of the creation of the Si- 
berian railway should consist not so much in the opening in Siberia of new markets for the 
sale of the productions of European Russia, as in affording Siberia itself the possibility of 
marching along the road of normal economical development and placing that vast country, so 
richly endowed by nature but bereft of convenient ways of communication, as far as possible 
in the same conditions as those which European Russia at present enjoys. Only in close eco- 
nomic communion with European Russia could Siberia grow and develop. On the other hand, 
European Russia in economical relation with Siberia would draw upon new sources for its 
development and enrichment. 

The commencement of the Siberian railway from the east, that is, from the Ussuri 
section would not completely answer to the objects laid down, and it was therefore recognized 
as more expedient to begin this great work simultaneously from the opposite ends in the east 
and west. The terminus of the line at its eastern end was one starting point, namely Vladivos- 
tok, and about this there were no differences of opinion and no disputes. Other point, to the 
slightest extent suitable for the purpose, there is none upon the Pacific shore of Siberia. 

The choice, on the other hand, of the western terminus offered a more difficult problem_ 
which however at last was reduced to the selection of one of the three above mentioned points 
with which the railway system of European Russia terminated towards the east. From what- 
ever point the Siberian railway was begun, on continuing it into the depth of the country, 
all three variants must necessarily join approximately at a point near Nizhueudinsk, as is 
shown upon the annexed map. 

Choosing Tinmen as the point of departure the line must be carried to Yalutorovsk 
and Kainsk, leaving Tomsk by the way, as the taking of it in a more northerly direction, to 
Tomsk, is excessively difficult in consequence of a desert region covered with forests and 
swamps. Further on, the line must go to Mariinsk, Krasnoyarsk and Nizhneoudinsk. The distance 
from Tinmen to the last point is 3,474 versts. If the starting point chosen be the station of 
Miass, the road will pass through Kurgan, Kainsk, Kolyvan, Mariinsk, Krasnoyarsk and Nizhneou- 
dinsk. The total distance is in this case 2,683 versts. Finally, selecting Orenburg, the line 
must be taken to Orsk, Atbassar, Akmolinsk, Pavlodar, Biisk, Minousinsk and Nizhneoudinsk. 
The total extent of the road by this route is 3,400 versts. 

Comparing the advantages and excellences cf laying down the line in these three 
directions, the following is the result. Uniting the Siberian road with Tinmen without 



THE GREAT SIBERIAN RAILWAY. 245 

connecting it with the general system deprives it of the importance of a lino of transit. But 
if the Ural line be produced from Perm to Xizhni. then in the first place, this distance of 
1,000 versts will cost about 71,000,000 roubles, and in the second, the said line from its 
technical conditions will present many difficulties in the way of profitable through goods traffic. 
The second route is 791 versts shorter than the preceding, and besides this, embraces the most 
populous parts of Western Siberia with a chernoziom and exceedingly fertile zone producing 
much more grain than is required on the spot. The third route traversing several large admin- 
istrative and industrial centres at the same time passes through a very unsuitable region in 
its western half. For about 1,500 versts the line goes through waterless, thinly populated 
steppes little adapted to civilized life, where in winter rage the fiercest winds, in consequence 
of which there are frequent snow drifts. In its eastern half this route intersects an extensive 
mountainous district and the carrying through it of a railway will require a crowd of technical 
complications and an increase in the cost of construction connected therewith. With all this 
the route in question is 717 versts longer than the preceding. Thus all the advantages proved 
to be in favour of prolonging the Samara-Zlatoust-Miass railway through Cheliabinsk, Kurgan 
and so on. 

In consequence of all the above, the question of the construction of the Great Siberian 
Railway was resolved on the 21st of February, 1891, in the sense of proceeding in the same year 
to the building, by direct order of the Treasury, of the railway from the station of Miass to 
the completion of the Zlatoust-Miass line in construction to Cheliabinsk, and to the carrying 
out of surveys from Cheliabinsk to Tomsk or some other point of the middle Siberian section. 
Finally, by an Imperial rescript given the 17th of March, 1891, in the name of his Imperial 
Highness the Tsarevich, the question of the construction of the Great Siberian Railway was 
finally and irrevocably decided in the affirmative. 

The Gracious Will of His Majesty the Emperor, cleariy expressed in this rescript, put 
an end to many years of hesitation and doubt as to the accomplishment of the said great 
undertaking, and now the Government has taken all the necessary measures for the most 
successful realization possible of this good conception, which has a perfect right to take one 
of the first places among the most extensive and important enterprises of the expiring century, 
not only in this country but in the whole world. 

The above quoted Imperial rescript was promulgated by the Grand Duke the Tsarevich 
on the 12th of May, 1891, in Vladivostok, and then His Imperial Highness laid the first stone 
of this mighty work. In the same year extensive surveys were commenced from the w^est and 
the east, and the possibility soon appeared of establishing the following order for the 
construction of the Great Siberian Railway. The realization of the enterprise was divided in- 
to three shifts. To the first was referred the construction of the Western Siberian section 
from Cheliabinsk to the river Obi, an extent of 1,328 versts, and of the middle Siberian section 
from the river Obi to the town of Irkutsk, a distance of 1,754 versts, as well as the completion 
of the section Yladivostok-Grafskaya, in course of construction, and the l)uilding of the connecting 
line between the Ural Mines line and the Siberian railway. To the second shift was counted 
the construction of the sections from Grafskaya to Khabarovka, 347 vtjrsts long, and from 
the station of Mysovskaya, the point of departure of the line on the other side of Baikal, to 



246 SIBERIA. 

Sretensk, a distauce of 1,0(9 versts. To the third shift belongs the building of the Circum- 
baikal line, 292 versts in length, and from Sretensk to Khabarovka, about 2,000 versts. The 
works of the first shift are to be completed not later than the year 1900. 

The order of construction received the Imperial sanction on the 10th of December, 1892, 
and on the 10th of March of the present year, 1893, the construction of the Great Siberian 
Railway was in the following state. , 

1. The first section of the Western Siberian Railway from the town 
of Cheliabinsk to the town of Omsk, distance 747 versts. 

a. The personal staff of engineers completely organized and already on the spot; b. The 
alienation of land begun, and signed declarations obtained from the owners as to the com- 
pensation required by them; c. The work in connection with the removal of earth given to 
contractors; navvies hired for the whole extent of the section, and excavators delivered on 
the spot; earth removed to the extent of 218,000 cubic sagenes or about 20 per cent of the 
whole quantity: d. Timber cut for the wooden bridges, and cast-iron pipes and iron ordered 
for the bridges across the rivers Tobol and Ishim; a considerable part of the wooden bridges 
built for a distance of 240 versts between Cheliabinsk and Kurgan; e. Four hundred thousand 
sleepers made and 50 per cent of this quantity delivered on the line; f. The laying of the 
telegraph begun, and already opened for use from Cheliabinsk to Kurgan for a length of 
240 versts; g. Material in course of preparation for the buildings on the line and at the 
stations; h. Twenty thousand casks of cement obtained, and bolts ordered for the whole section. 



2. Thesecomi section of the Western Siberian Railway from the 
town of Omsk to the river Obi, a distance of 579 versts. 

a. Personal staff of engineers organized; b. Earth-works contracted for the first 100 
versts from the town of Omsk; b. Xegotiations being carried on with the works for the supply 
of cement and iron for the bridges and with owners of steamers for the carriage of railway 
requisites by the Obi water system from Tiuraen to Omsk on the river Irtysh and to Kri- 
voshchekovo on the Obi. 



3. First section of the Middle Siberian Railway from the river Obi 
to the town of Krasnoyarsk, a distance of 724 versts. 

a. Parties of engineers organized and despatched to the scene of the works for car- 
rying out final surveys and works; b. Earth-works contracted for a distance of 65 versts, the 
amount of 270,000 cubic sagenes. and navvies hired for caiTying out the work with the means 
at hand; c. Twenty-four thousand casks of cement obtained; d. Xegotiations concluded with 
owners of steamers of the Obi system for the delivery at the village of Krlvoshchekovo on 
the Obi of the cement already obtained and of the iron materials from the Ural and other 



THE GREAT SIBERIAN RAILWAY. 247 

works; e. To ensure the works being duly supplied with timber an order issued to proceed to 
the felling of avenues in the forests and negotiations in course with timber merchants in 
reference to the building on one of the raftable rivers of a saw mill and the rafting from the 
head waters of the rivers Obi and Tom of the timber prepared partly by the means at hand, 
and partly by contract. 

4. Ussuri line, a distance of 382 versts. 

a. Earth-works carried out to the extent of 380,000 cubic sagenes, or 52 per cent of 
the total quantity, and laying of pipes and bridges 4,260 cubic sagenes or 65 per cent; b. Sleep- 
ers and rails with bolts ordered to the full amount and 20 versts of railway from Vladi- 
vostok laid down; c. All the civil buildings in course of construction; d. Rolling stock ordered 
to the full amount and partly delivered at the scene of operations. 



5. Transbaikal Railway, a distance of 1,009 versts. 

Parties of engineers organized and despatched to the scene of the works to carry out 
the final surveys. 

6. Siberian Railway from Cheliabinsk to Irkutsk. 

a. Ordered 7,400,000 pouds of rails from Ural and European Russian Works, of which 
186,000 pouds are received at the works; negotiations in course for the order of the remaining 
400,000 pouds required; b. Ordered of various works 148 eight- wheeled engines and 2,300 
covered freight cars, and negotiations in course for delivery of the remaining 1,811 cars and 
platform trucks. 

As for, finally, the question of the building of the connecting branch between the Si- 
berian and Ural railways, for its elucidation and for the determining the initial and terminal 
points of the said line a careful survey will be made on the spot in the course of the present 
year. It may be further added that there exist three variants of the connecting link, which 
are shown on the map, namely Ekaterlnburg-Miass, Ekaterinburg-Cheliabinsk and Ostrovskaya- 
Cheliabinsk. The exact cost of this work of course cannot be defined until the final designa- 
tion of the initial and terminal points of the route is adopted, but it is approximately assumed 
at 7,000.000 to 8,000,000 roubles, with the condition of the completion of the whole con- 
struction in 1894. 



— ^<S^- 



;4S SIBERIA. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Topographical and technical features of the Great Siberian 

Railway. 

The Cheliabiusk-Obi; Obi-Irkutsk: Irkutsk-Mysovsk; Mysovjk-Sretensk; Sretensk-Khabarovka; 
Khabarovka-Grafsk; Grafsk- Vladivostok; the general cost of the seven Cheliabinsk- Vladi- 
vostok sections. 



FROM Cheliabinsk the line leads to the town of Kurgan in the government of Tobolsk, 
only diverting from the straight line in order to avoid deep valleys, lakes, marshes and 
bogs. Further on, the railway is projected to pass through the town of Petropavlovsk to Omsk 
with the same indispensable departures from the straight line, and at a distance of 5 versts 
from Omsk it crosses the Irtysh on a bridge 300 sageues long. After crossing the Irtysh the 
line enters the Barabinsk steppe, passing through the governments of Tobolsk and Tomsk, 
through the town of Kainsk, up to the village of Krivoschekov close to which it crosses 
the Obi on a bridge of 400 sagenes long, at verst 1325. 

The section of the Siberian railway from the town of Cheliabinsk to the Obi, with 
some few exceptions, runs through a fertile zone of chernoziom where climatic conditions are 
favourable to the cultivation of cereals, especially within the borders of the Ishimsk and Bar- 
abinsk steppes, where during the whole length of the line as far as the Obi, a distance of J ,325 
versts, there are hardly any obstacles to interfere with the laying down of the line; and only 
the spanning of four large rivers, the Tobol, Ishim, Irtysh and Obi, necessitates some large 
earth works and expensive bridges. On account of the level character of the ground through 
which the line runs, the limiting gradients do not exceed 0.0074 and the radii of the curves, 
250 sagenes on this part of the line. After crossing the Obi, the line as far as the town of 
Achinsk, a distance of 551 versts, wends its way through a hilly country and has to cross five 
considerable rivers, the Obi, Tom, Yaya, Kiya and Chulym; it was nevertheless found possible 
here to limit the gradients to 0.008 and the radii of the curves to 250 sagenes, without greatly 
Increasing the amount of earth work. Further on, from Achinsk to the town of Irkutsk, a 
distance of 1,191 versts, the character of the country completely changes and assumes a 
mountainous aspect. The line is obliged to cross two large rivers, the Chulym and Yenisei, 
and also numerous tributaries of these rivers. Most of the Siberian streams in this part of 



THE GREAT SIBERIAN RAILWAY. 24:0 

the couiilry nm from suiitli to nortli, \vhil>i tlie general direction of the railway is from 
west to east, ami therefore the line must intersect the whole of the spot summit levels of 
these rivers, only excepting the valleys of some small streams which flow to the east or 
west. These spot summit levels, composed of the branches of the Altai, Gremiachevsk, Yen- 
iseisk and Sayansk chains, are very high and sometimes so narrow that there is no possibil- 
ity of diminishing the steepness of the incline. It was therefore found necessary in the sec- 
tions of the line from Achinsk to Kizhneoudinsk, a distance of 710 versts, and from the 
station of Uktouisk situated at verst 2,822 to the station of Polovina, at verst 2,968, a distance 
of 146 versts. or 856 versts altogether, to plan the line with gradients of 0.015, and curves 
of 150 sageues radius, and to allow^ curves of 130 sagenes radius in some places on the ascent 
from the Great Kemchug river from verst 1,948 to verst 1,954; and on the descent from the 
spot summit level to the liittle Ibriul and Little Kemchug rivers, from verst 1,967 to verst 
1,982, the radius of curvature was decreased to 120 sagenes. At verst 2,100 it was again 
increased to 130 sagenes and on the rest of the line from Xizhneoudinsk to the Uktouisk 
station and from Polovina station to the town of Irkutsk, altogether a distance of 335 versts 
the limiting gradients do not exceed 0.009 and the extreme radii of curvature 250 sagenes. A 
country of this nature entails very considerable earth works; the height of the embank- 
ments reaches 9 sagenes, and the numerous ravines and streams necessitate a large amount 
of constructive works. 

The line crosses the Yenisei at verst 2,049 at a spot where the banks are steep and 
suitable for a bridge, w^hich will be 450 sagenes long. The station of Krasnoyarsk, close to 
the town of that name, is situated at verst 2,047, before coming to the river. The highest 
point of the earth works, marked 201.5 sagenes, is situated at verst 1,976. between the Little 
Ibruil and Little Kemchug rivers, and is 112 sageues above the level of the river Chulym 
and 137 sageues above the Yenisei. 

After crossing the Yenisei the line circuits the heights near the town of Krasnoyarsk 
and begins to ascend to the spot summit level, first along the valley of the Berezovka river, 
which falls into the Sitik, and thence along the valley of this latter stream, attaining the 
highest point at verst 2,116. The valleys of the Berezovka and Sitik are enclosed on both 
sides by high, steep and mostly rocky banks, and the bed of the streams is very winding and 
in many places changes from one bank to the other, so that the line must either follow the 
channels of the rivers, or else cross them several times; in such places it is necessary either to 
strengthen the slopes of the road with stone or to lead off the river; besides this the ravines 
and the streams falling into the Berezovka and Sitik necessitate numerous bridges and pipes; 
the length of this ascent is 67 versts, and 82 bridges and pipes will be required. The ascent 
along the valleys of these rivers is in continuous gradients seperated by horizontal spaces and 
rises 126 sagenes above the level of the railway bridge across the Yenisei. At verst 2,266 
the line reaches the town of Kansku, near which there is a station, and then crosses the 
river Kan on a bridge 200 sagenes long, which is to be built on caisson foundations. The 
highest point of the spot summit level between the Yenisei and the Kan is marked 200 sa- 
genes, and is 127 sagenes above the level of the Yenisei bridge and 103 sagenes above the 
level of the bridge over the Kan. 



250 SIBERIA. 

The remaining distance to Nizhneoudinsk, which is at versts 2,584, gives a consider- 
able amount of work in some places; for instance, at versts 2,460 and 2,462 the embankments 
are 10 sagenes high, and on the ascent along the valley of the river Toporka it was found 
necessary to cross two deep ravines over which wooden viaducts are designed with an open- 
ing of 115 and 125 sagenes, and a height of 20 sagene?. 

From Nizhneoudinsk to Uktouisk station the line passes over a more level country and 
consequently the limiting gradients are fixed at 0.009 and the radii of the curves at 250 sa- 
genes. Along this distance the line has to cross three large rivers, the Uda, on a bridge 
150 sagenes long at verst 2,588, the lya, on a bridge 100 sagenes long at verst 2,706, and 
the Oka on a bridge 125 sagenes long at verst 2,830, and intersects two large spot summit 
levels between the above mentioned rivers, and several small ones besides. On account of the 
more even character of the country it is not anticipated that there will be any considerable 
earth works in this section of the line. 

From the river Oka the country is again intersected until the station of Polovina 
is reached, situated at verst 2,968, and here therefore the technical conditions are those ap- 
plicable to a mountainous section. From Polovina station to Irkutsk, except for the passages 
across the valleys of the rivers Belaya and Mallinka, the ground is more level, and therefore 
the line is laid out according to the conditions of a level section. Descending into the valley 
of the Belaya for a distance of 10 versts down a continuous incline of 0.009, only broken 
by one level stretch of 200 sagenes, the line crosses this river on a bridge 125 sagenes long. 
The Irkutsk station is planned at verst 3,065 at a distance of 4 versts from the ferry across 
the Angara, on the post high road from Moscow to Irkutsk, opposite the town of Irkutsk, 
situated on the right bank of the Angara where the river Irkut falls into it. 

The foregoing short description of the route of the Siberian railway section from the 
Obi to Irkutsk shows that, starting from that river near 55" north latitude, the line fol- 
lows a north-easterly direction to the town of Mariinsk, and keeping to the 57th parallel reaches 
the town of Kansk; at this point the line turns abruptly to the south-east and follows this 
direction to Irkutsk, situated on the 53th parallel. The line passes through the districts of 
Tomsk and Mariinsk in the government of Tomsk, the Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk and Kansk dis- 
tricts in the government of Yeniseisk and the Xizhneoudinsk and Irkutsk districts in the 
government of Irkutsk, and takes in the towns of Mariinsk, Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk, Kansk, 
Nizhneoudinsk and Irkutsk. Starting from Mariinsk the line passes close to the Great Sibe- 
rian postal highway, along which the communication is kept up between Siberia and European 
Russia; the railway in some places crosses it and in others diverges a short distance 
from it, except in the Krasnoyarsk-Kansk section where, on account of the difficult nature 
of the country, it was in some places necessary to plan the line at a distance of 30 versts 
from the high road in order to reduce the amount of work required to lay it. 

From Irkutsk the line leads to lake Baikal and follows the shore for a distance of 162 
versts as far as Mysovsk station. The laying of this section of the line presents considerable 
difficulties. From verst 3,088 to verst 3,108, before crossing the river Irkut, the line passes 
along the valley which is flooded by the high waters of this stream. Further on, at verst 
3,112, the valley of the Irkut becomes narrow and takes the appearance of a mountain pass 



THE GKEAT SIBERIAN KAILWAY. 251 

bounded by steep rocky slopes which in some places give way to over-hanging granite crags, 
in the cuttings of which the line will have to be laid, supported for considerable distances by 
retaining walls; in many places the slope of the line will fall into the Irkut, which, like all 
mountain rivers, has a very strong current; here stone dikes will have to be built and the 
foot of the slope strengthened with retaining walls laid in cement. Further up the river 
the steepness of the windings of the Irkut increases, so that at verst 3,146 it was necessary 
to make the line pass through a tunnel 32 sagenes long. From verst 3,163 to verst 3,166 the 
line crosses the Zyrkyzunsk chain where it diverts the course of the river Irkut far 
to the west and forces it to make a loop for a distance of about 30 versts; in order to 
shorten the line by this distance of 30 versts it is proposed to build a tunnel 1,790 
sagenes long. 

The work of boring the tunnel will take a long time as it is designed with one continuous 
incline, so that it cannot be bored from both ends. A no less obstacle will be experienced in 
the construction of the line further on; great difficulty is occasioned by the gorge where the 
river Ilcha falls into the Kultushnaya. as the curves at the foot of the almost vertical rocks 
50 sagenes high are so sharp that it is impossible to bring the line round them even with 
curves of 120 sagenes radius, so that it will be necessary to lay the line along part of the 
channel of the rapid mountain stream of the Ilcha which even forms a waterfall at this point; 
in addition to this, springs flow out of the rocks and these will have to be led under the 
line. Here the height of the embankment reaches 16.8 sagenes, and the height of the retain- 
ing wall 17 sagenes, which on account of the nature of the locality must be laid in cement. 
This mountainous character of the ground continues from where the river Kultushnaya 
falls into lake Baikal to the Bystraya station, 3,212 versts from the town of Cheliabinsk. 
Along the whole of the mountainous section all the cuttings will have to be made in hard 
rocky ground, such as granite, gneiss, sandstone, and the like, and in some places the embank- 
ments will have to be made of stone, as there is no soft soil at hand. The greatest depth 
of the excavations in this section is 11 sagenes, and 15 sagenes at the entrance of the tunnel, 
and the largest embankments have a height of 16 . 8 sagenes. 

From verst 3,212 the line follows the shore of lake Baikal, and although it loses its 
mountainous character, it crosses in many places the branches of the mountain chains leading 
to lake Baikal. In some places the track is close to the shore and in others at a little distance 
from it; sometimes it is necessary to lay the line close to the edge of the water, partly 
taking advantage of the rocky shoals and partly holding on to the rocks; in those places 
where the shoals at the foot of the rocks completely cease, the batter of the road bed 
slopes directly into the water, and in such cases requires strengthening from the destructive 
action of the waves by means of blocks of rock or cribwork filled with stone. Finally 
there are places along the shore of lake Baikal through which the line passes that are of a 
marshy character, overgrown with wood. All along the shore of the lake the line will have 
to cross numerous streams with rapid currents forming small torrents in places where stones, 
brought down by tha current, have accumulated; all this will entail a large amount of 
constructive work and the innumerable spring which gush out of the rocks surrounding the 
lake will require a vast expenditure of labour to lead the water off from the road bed. 



252 SIBERIA. 

In coDsequeiice of these difficult topographical features of the country, the Irkutsk- 
Mysovsk section requires 1,000,COO cubic sagenes of earth work, or almost 3,690 cubic 
sagenes per verst, costing 4,772,000 roubles; in addition to this, 235,000 cubic sagenes, or 
about 800 cubic sagenes per verst, of cuttings in stony ground have to be done; also 24,800 
cubic sagenes of masonry have to be laid in the retaining walls, and 4,950 cubic sagenes of 
this must be built with hydraulic cement, and the remainder, dry. The country through which 
this section of the line passes is completely desert, excepting the town of Irkutsk and some 
small settlements on the shores of lake Baikal. Although the climate is severe, the 
proximity of such an enormous quantity of water causes a great deal of moisture to be deposited, 
so that the ground is covered with a thick and early layer of snow in consequence of which 
that eternally frozen subsoil, which is found further along the Siberian railway, is not 
met with here. 

From Mysovsk harbour on the southern shore of Lake Baikal the line runs along the 
shore of the lake and then follows -the valley of the river Selenga; at a distance of 157 
versts it crosses this river on a bridge 455 sagenes long and enters the valley of the river 
Uda. The town of Verkhneoudinsk is situated near the junction of the Uda and Selenga. 
The further progress of the line is determined by the choice of the most advantageous spot 
to cross the Yablonovoi chain, and after much reconnoitering, it was found that the best route 
was first along the valley of the river Uda and then along the river Pogromnaya which 
falls into the Uda, where the line enters a plain covered with lakes, called the Yitimsk 
plateau, and then along the river Domna, one of the tributaries of the system of the river 
Lena. Passing the spot summit level between the two above mentioned rivers, the line 
continues ascending the eastern slope of one of the branches of the Yablonovoi chain, and at 
verst 3,838 attains its highest point 529 sagenes above the level of the sea. The Yablonovoi 
chain serves as the spot summit level of the basins of the Lena and Amour, that is, of the 
Xorthern and Pacific oceans. The pass across this chain at the highest point, at verst 3,943, 
is 490 sagenes above the level of the sea, and consequently lower than the pass across one 
of the branches of the chain. From this spot summit level the line gradually descends and 
sweeping round the hilly side of the district town of Chita by the bank of the river Shilka, 
it reaches the village of Matakan, situated opposite the town of Sretensk, which stands on 
the right bank of the above mentioned river. 

The most difficult part of the line as regards earth and constructive works is the 
section from the town of Chita to the town of Sretensk along the valleys of the Ingoda 
and Shilka rivers. The valley of the former is narrow and winding, the mountains surround- 
ing it are quite close to the river, forming steep slopes or projecting headlands, and in most 
places there is only a narrow space between the mountain and the river, which is almost 
always inundated w-hen the level of the water rises. In a few places the valley of the river 
is sufficiently wide to admit of the possibility of conveniently drying the track. In this 
region the line either hugs the declivities or passes through submerged meadows but always 
keeps to the left bank of the Ingoda river. The upper part of the valley of the Shilka re- 
sembles the valley of the Ingoda, and its character only somewhat changes after verst 4,248; 
the direction of the river does not wind so often, the curves have a more open outline and 



I 
I 



THE GREAT SIBERIAN RAILWAY. 253 

instead of separate headlands, higli rocky slopes, some iCi versts long, descend into the river 
these slopes are to he used for carrying the railroad track. 

On account of the local features which have been described there is a verv consider- 
able amount of earth work to be done in the Mysovsk-Sretensk section. The total quantity 
amounts to 2,032,000 cubic sagenes, or 2,014 per verst, and the cost of it is estimated at 
8,859,000 roubles. The deepest excavagations are IG . 62 sagenes, and the highest embankme nts 
10 . 87 sagenes. Almost all the cuts in the valleys of the Ingoda and Shilka rivers, and 
many of those on the remaining portion of the line, will have to be hewn out of hard, rocky 
formations, so that out of 500,000 cubic sagenes excavations, 300,000 have to be cut out of 
i-ocky ground. Furthermore, the cuttings in the Yablonovoi chain are saturated with water, 
which can only be drawn off with great difficulty, the soil is also in many places perpetually 
frozen and the excavations in such ground are 3 . 64 sagenes deep, and therefore, the only 
conclusion to be arrived at is that the earth work in this section will be of an exception- 
ally difficult character. Besides this, in consequence of the steepness of the slopes of 
the banks of the Ingoda and Shilka rivers, all the embankments along them will have 
to be supported by retaining walls to the amount of 56,000 cubic sagenes along a distance of 
300 versts. 

The difficulty of laying this section is further increased by the exceptional climatic 
conditions of the locality through which the line passes. The climate of the region beyond 
lake Baikal is quite continental; on account of its severity the changes of temperature are 
extreme; thus, on the Yablonovoi chain in June and July the day temperature rises to 25° 
Celsius and during the night falls to — 5°. The air is characterfzed by its extreme dryness 
and the amount of moisture which falls during the year is inconsiderable. There is such a 
small quantity of snow that along the whole of the line to the lower part of the river Se- 
lenga the ground is hardly covered with it. Only there and along the shore of lake Baikal 
does the sledge road last any considerable length of time; along the rest of the distance from 
Verkhneoudinsk to the east, sledge roads are very rare and sledges are only driven along 
the ice on the rivers. 

From meteorological observations recorded, it was shown that at Verkhneoudinsk in 1886 
the temperature was only above freezing point for the three summer months; in 1887 during one 
summer month it was above zero, and at almost zero during two months; in 1888 it was 
above zero for two months, and during the three years period from 1886 to 1888 the highest 
temperature was in July, -|- 37° Celsius, and the lowest in January, — 47° Celsius, whilst on 
the Vitimsk plateau and the Yablonovoi chain even in summer a temperature of —5° Celsius 
was recorded. Furthermore in the upper part of the river Uda, on the Vitimsk plateau, in 
the Yablonovoi chain, and in the valleys of the Konda and Chita rivers, there is a perpetually 
frozen subsoil. The depth to which the soil is frozen, according to investigations made in 
the valley of the Chita river at a height of 340 sagenes above the level of the sea, was on 
the average 8V2 sagenes, and in summer the ground thaws to a depth of 1 . 83 sagenes, so 
that the remaining stratum, 1 . 67 sagenes thick, is eternally frozen. On the Vitimsk plateau 
and the Yablonovoi chain the ground in summer thaws only to the depth of three-tenths of 
a sagene. and in the valley of the Kondyn river, to a depth of six-tenths of a sagene. 



254 SIBERIA. 

The continualiou of the Siberian railway from Sreteusk situated on the Shilka, a trib- 
utary of the Amour, up to the town of Khabarovka standing on the right bank of this latter 
river, a total distance of 2,000 versts, has not been thoroughly investigated In detail, and 
only some slight reconnoitering has been done, which shows that from verst ^1,350 to verst 4,900 
the line will have to be laid along the valleys of the Shilka and Amour. Further on, the line 
may be shortened by diverting It from the Amour and crossing it at verst 6,350 on a bridge, 
1,200 sagenes long. The construction of the line will be subject to the same topographical 
conditions as the line of Mysovsk-Sretensk, besides which the construction of the line of 
Sretensk-Khabarovka avIU be rendered more difficult by the completely desert nature of the 
country covered with dense virgin forests, the silence of which has never been broken by the 
voice of man, especially in those places where the line diverges from the Amour where 
there Is a total absence of any habitation or means of communication, and likewise in con- 
sequence of the necessity of conveying workmen and all ready-made railway appliances from 
European Russia by a circular route across the Pacific Ocean. 

After crossing the Amour the line for a distance of 400 versts follows the valley of 
the river Ussuri which falls into the Amour and makes the boundary between the Russian 
and Chinese empires. The valley of this river is by no means wide and the numerous streams 
falling into the Cssuri separated by high spot summit levels, formed by the branches of the 
Slkhotee-Alin chain, entail a large amount of constructive works. The largest bridges are 
planned at versts 6,445, 6,585 and 6,697 across the Khor, Bikin and Iman rivers; they will 
be each 120 sagenes long. In some places the track approaches the edge of the Ussuri and 
it will be necessary to support the slope of the earth work. At verst 6,755 the line crosses 
the Ussuri river on a bridge 120 sagenes long. Further on, the line follows the foreland of 
lake Khanka and the valley of the Lefu river which falls into this lake before reaching the 
Xikolsk station at verst 6,9S2. Starting from this station the line runs along the valley of 
the Suyfun river, sometimes traversing places submerged by the waters of that river, and 
sometimes crossing the branches of the mountain chains approaching it; in these cases it is 
necessary to lay the track with an incline of 0.015, whilst the gradients on the whole of the 
other part of the line from Khabarovka to Vladivostok do not exceed O.OOS. The line issues 
from the valley of the Suyfun river and passes on to the shore of the Ouglov and Amour 
gulfs, terminating at the town of Vladivostok, the station being situated on the shore of 
the bay of the Golden Horn. The total length of the Siberian railway from Cheliabinsk to 
Vladivostok along the main line is 7,083 versts, and 7,112 versts Including branch lines to 
the principal rivers intersecting the main road. 

For superintending the work of laying down the railway and in accordance with the 
gradations to be observed in Its construction, the line is to be divided Into seven sections: 
the Western Siberian from Cheliabinsk to the river Obi, including branch lines 1,328 versts: 
the Central Siberian from the Obi to Irkutsk, 1,754 veists; the Baikal circuit from Irkutsk 
to the pier of Mysovsk on lake Baikal, 292 versts; the Transbalkal from Mysovsk pier to 
the town of Sretensk on the Shilka river, 1,009 versts; the Amour section from Sretensk to 
Khabarovka on the Amour, 2,000 versts; the North- Ussurisk from Khabarovka to the vil- 
lage of Grafsk, 347 versts; and the South Ussurisk from Grafsk to Vladivostok, 382 versts, 
or 7,112 versts in all. 



THE GREAT SfBERIAN RAILWAY. 255 

In 1891 and 1892, as has already b(3eii moutiouod, the work of laying the two extreme 
sections, the West Siberian and the South Ussurisk, was commenced; and in 1893 work was 
begun on the Central Siberian section from the Obi to Krasnoyarsk, The South Ussurisk sec- 
tion will most probably be terminated in 1894, and the other two in 189S. In 1895 the 
Korlh Ussurisk section will be commenced and in 1896 the rest of the Central Siberian railroad 
from Krasnoyarsk to Irkutsk will be begun, the first section of which will be finished in 1898? 
and the second, in 1900. In 1899 work will be commenced on the Transbaikal and Amour 
sections, and in 1900 the Baikal circuit will be begun; these will probably be finished in 1904. 
The whole line across Siberia, 7,112 versts long, will therefore be terminated in 12 years, 
counting from 1893, 

Considering the sparseness of the population of the country through which the Baikal 
circuit, Transbaikal, Amour and Khabarovka sections pass, in consequence of which it will be 
necessary to send workmen mostly fi'om European Russia, and also on account of the terms 
allowed for laying the Khabarovka, Transbaikal and Amour sections, when planning out the 
Siberian railway it was decided that navvies, masons and other special workmen, and also 
rails, fastenings and rolling stock, iron parts of bridges et cetera, would be sent as follows: for the 
Khabarovka section by sea to V^ladivostok, and then farther on by theUssuri railway; for the Trans- 
baikal section, also partly by sea to Vladivostok, then by rail to Khabarovka and then by the 
Amour and Shilka rivers as far as Sretensk,and partly by rail to Irkutsk and then by the Angara 
river and lake Baikal toMysovsk pier; for the Baikal circuit section, by rail to Irkutsk; and for 
the Amour section, partly from the east by the same route as that used for the Transbaikal 
section, and partly from the west, by rail to Irkutsk, by water from Irkutsk to Mysovsk and 
then by the Transbaikal line to Sreteusk, In general the object in view was to establish as 
quick as possible an uninterrupted steam communication between European Russia and 
Vladivostok through the whole of Siberia and to take temporary advantage of the water 
roads. These circumstances determined the system of gradation to be observed in laying the 
track in its separate sections. Thus the first stage of the work consists in laying the line to 
Irkutsk and finishing that already begun from Vladivostok to Grafsk; the second stage 
consists of the sections between the rivers necessary for the establishment of steam commu- 
nication through the whole of Siberia, partly by railroad and partly by water; finally, the 
remaining sections which join up the works of the first and second stages into one continuous 
railroad are relegated to the third stage. As regards however the carrying out of the details 
of the plan of building the Siberian railway from Cheliabinsk to Vladivostok, it must be 
observed that the order of building the Western and Central Siberian sections from Cheliabinsk 
to Irkutsk can be fixed upon with the greatest certainty as they have been subject to more 
detailed investigation, this part of Siberia being nearer and more accessible from European 
Russia, more densely populated and its climatic and topographical conditions more favourable- 
The plan of carrying out the Grafsk-Khabarovka section may also be regarded as quite 
clear, as it closely resembles the Ussurisk line. 

With reference to the Baikal-Circuit, Transbaikal and Amour sections, it is neces- 
sary to mention that the proposed dates of the termination of these lines may be liable to 
change on account of the totally different conditions under which they must be built, coi 



256 SIEERIA. 

With the Cheliabinsk-Irkutsk line. The Irkutsk-Khabarovka line has been hut little invisti- 
gated; it is far removed from European Russia, and passes through a desolate country with 
exceptional climatic and topographical conditions. The plan of building these three sec- 
tions can therefore only be regarded as approximately correct, and in all probability the 
experience gained in laying the western portion of the Great Siberian line will determine 
the order and method to be undertaken in laying the eastern portion. In any case it will be 
necessary to make a second, final set of investigations from Irkutsk to Sretensk, and more 
detailed observations of the Amour section. 

The Siberian railway, passing through an enormous expanse of country under the most 
widely differing topographical conditions could not be all included in one general technical 
type; and in order to diminish the cost of construction it was necessary to make some 
modifications in the technical conditions in general, and for the mountainous sections in 
particular; the basis of these modifications and simplifications has however been taken as a 
good and reliable construction, capable of being afterwards, in case of necessity, complexed 
and enlarged, but not in any case requiring the reconstruction of the line. 

The limiting gradients on the level country sections have been fixed at 0.006 to 
0.C08 and the radii of the curves at 250 sagenes; in the mountainous sections the gradients 
have been taken from 0.015 to 0.0174 and the radii at 120 sagenes. 

It is proposed to make the earth work for a single track of the ordinary width. 2.35 
sagenes wide on the embankments, and 2.20 sagenes wide in the cuts. The normal 
batter of the embankments and cuts, as high as they go, will be l''^ for ordinary 
kinds of soil. 

For the passage of water under the line and for crossing rivers, cast iron and stone 
pipes and wooden bridges will be laid, where the force of the moving ice or the character of 
the soil do not present any obstacles; over the large rivers permanent iron bridges with 
stone piers will be built. Rails of 18 pounds weight per foot rim will be used along the 
line on a layer of ballast, 0.125 of a sagene thick, under the bottom of the rail. The dwelling 
houses for the overseers of the line, plate layers and watchmen will be built of all kinds of 
wood and of the simplest construction, adhering as much as possible to the local styles of 
building; the wooden buildings will be without foundations, on wooden or stone columns. All 
crossings in general will be left unguarded except those in towns or thickly populated points. 

The greatest distance allowed between the stations is 50 versts, which corresponds to 
a running capacity of 3 sets of trains; in order to increase this capacity to 7 sets of 
trains per 24 hours on the main line horizontal spaces have been planned to admit of 
intermediate stations and sidetracks being made in case of necessity. 

Separate passengers buildings, built of brick or wood and as small as possible, will 
be erected only at those stations where a large number of passengers may be expected, or 
where it will be necessary to provide refreshment rooms; at all other points some accommo- 
dation will be set apart in dwelling houses for the requirements of the station service or the 
convenience of casual passengers. 

It is proposed to acquire sufiicient rolling stock for the Siberian railway to be able 
to form 3 sets of army trains per 24 hours, composed of CO axles, one set of trains being 



THE GREAT SIIiKRI.W RAILWAY. 257 

composite consisting of passengor and i'roigiit cars; t! n.-iiics ,-irr In ln' ''iglil-win'oli;!!: llir 

passenger cars, partly oigiii-wheelod and partly six-wiiculod, mid Ww IVoifjiil cais, iVmr 
wheeled. 

On account of the importance of the wafer supply to the trallic ol' tlx- line and the 
ditticulty of increasing it ultimately, it has been decided to arrange it only at the stations, 
that is, at distances of 50 vcrsts, hut to provide sufficient water for the passage of 7 sets 
of trains. In order to increase the water supply when required a supplementary apparatus of 
the simplest type may be provided at points between the stations. 

Based upon these technical conditions, a preliminary estimate of the cost of building 
the Great Siberian Railway has been calculated, including rails, fastenings, rolling stock and 
permanent bridges across the large rivers. The distribution of the expenses according to the 
class of work is shown in the table on the following pages. 

The estimate of the cost of constructing the Great Siberian Railway, as shown by the 
following table, does not however include all the expenses which this enterprise entails. In 
order that this undertaking might with greater ease fulfill the numerous obligations which 
devolve upon it, it has been deemed advisable to assist in the accomplishment of a number 
of auxiliary measures in conjunction with it, with the object on the one hand, of facilitating 
and diminishing the cost of the line itself, and on the other hand of increasing the economic 
and progressive influence which it will excercise on the prosperity of Siberia. The 
first of these auxiliary works is the construction of a branch line between the Siberian and 
Ural railways, in order to make use of the products of the Ural metallurgical works, 
as much as possible, for building the main line. Furthermore it has been decided to build 
some river wharves and lay branch lines to them; to improve the Siberian rivers in order to 
facilitate the transport of building materials; to assist the development of river steam navi- 
gation upon those river systems which adjoin the Siberian railway, and which are capable of being 
closely connected with it; to establish a route through the Northern Ocean to the mouths of 
the Obi and Yenisei; to assist colonization on the Siberian land in the region near the lino; 
to encourage the iron works which may bo established in Siberia near the railway; to form 
geological expeditions for continuing the geological investigation of the country which has 
already been commenced; to make an exhaustive description of the Amour district, et cetera. 

To carry out these auxiliary enterprises during the time appointed for completing 
the sections of the first stage a sum of 14 million roubles has been put aside out of the 
Siberian railway building fund. When the work of the second and third stages is commenced, 
in all probability special sums will be in like manner appointed for carrying out the aux- 
iliary enterprises, exclusive of the estimate of the cost of building the Great Siberian 
Railway. 



258 



SIBERIA. 





Cbrliabins 


k-Oiii. 


Obi-Irkntsk, 


Iikutsk-Mysovsk, 




1,328 versts. 


1,754 versts. 


292 versts. 


CLASS OF WORK. 
















. 








,^ 














Qj 






c.. 




& 




a. 




— 




s 


» 


s 






■" o 




- ^ 


o 


- -^ 


z> 




1 = 


' -^-i 


ci "^ 


■^?" 


-3 2 


%t 




H 2 


^^ 


H g 


^ o 


H ^ 


=^> 


A. 














Expi-oprialiiiii ut" laml .... 


387,857 


292 


299,727 


171 


48,970 


168 


MakiiiiJ llii- 1racl 


5,845,144 


4,401 


12,909,873 


7,360 


7,198,844 


24,654 


Coiisliuc-iioii works 


8,932,135 


6,726 


16,544,912 


9,738 


7,116,950 


24,374 


Laying Ibe liue 


3,923,854 


2,955 


4,464,685 


2,545 


742,049 


2,541 


Appurtenances of Ibe line . . . 


170,140 


133 


257,701 


147 


36,675 


120 


Telegraph 


307,773 


277 


358,074 


204 


70,201 


241 


Buildings along Ibe line .... 


709,360 


534 


849,227 


4s4 


196,860 


CT4 


Station buildings 


2,012,500 


1.515 


2,767,225 


1,578 


557,300 


1,906 


Water supply 


617,840 


465 


1,-304,195 


743 


178,730 


012 


Slatidh ;ii)pnitenances 


059,050 


496 


748,955 


427 


197,150 


075 


General, administrative and un- 














1 forseen expenses 


4,500,570 


3,389 


5.525,115 

• 


3,150 


1,510,575 


5,174 


1 .. t a 1 . . . 


2s,] 32,223 


21,184 


40,029,6^9 


20,243 


17,854,304 


01,145 


B. 














Rails and fastenings 


8,583,922 


6,464 


11,550,9(X) 


0,585 


1,867,108 


0,394 


, Rolling stock and workmen included 


8,0%,7rX) 


6,089 


10.091,9.50 


0,096 


1,671,730 


5,725 


Carriage of rails, fastenings and 














rolling stock 


2,558,034 


1,920 


5,000,359 


2,851 


917,67s 


3,143 


1 n 1 i, 1 . . . 


l!t.229.2r.(i 


M,1H) 


27.2i3,2u9 


]5,r.32 


4.15(i.r.]0 


J :.,2ii2 


G r a n d t o t a 1 . . 


47,301,479 


35,663 


73,272,895 


41,775 


22,310,820 


70,407 



■ 



THE GREAT SIBERIAN RAILWAY. 



259 



Mysovsk-Sretensk, 


Sretensk-Khabarovka. 


KliaI)arovka-Grafsk, 


Gral'sk-Vla 


livo.stiik, 


To (ill cost of the 


1,009 versls. 


2,000 versts. 


;)47 versts. 


382 vc 


•sts. 


7 secliun^;, 7,112 














vcrsls. 


Total iu 
roubles. 


1 

o 2 


Total in 
roubles. 


1 






Total in 
roubles. 


1 


Total in 

roubles, 

Roubles'per 
vorst. 


501,695 


497 


1,000,000 


500 


76,000 


219 


247,640 


649 


2,561,889 


360 


13,237,S08 


13,120 


28,000,000 


14,000 


4,582,353 13,206 


1,712,806 


9,724 


75,486,828 


10,614 


9,S69,932 


9,782 


30,ooo,oc;o 


15,000 


3,320,712 


9,570 


2,657,280 


6,960 


78,411,921 


11,030 


2,931,002 


2,905 


6,000,000 


3,000 


1,344,325 


3,874 


1,189,760 


3,116 


20,395,675 


2,896 


168,523 


167 


320,000 


160 


86,722 


250 


62,270 


163 


2,108,031 


156 


242,106 


240 


480,000 


240 


104,252 300 


118,420 


310 


1,740,880 


245 


587,460 


582 


1,000,000 


500 


314,400 


906 


218,375 


572 


3,875,682 


545 


1,867,450 


1,851 


3,600,000 


1,800 


881,250 


2,542 


1,170,150 


3,065 


12,856,575 


1,808 


638,200 


632 


1,200,000 


600 


249,660 


720 


316,750 


830 


4,505,375 


633 


734,110 


728 


1,400,000 


700 


248,500 


700 


393,100 


1,043 


4,385,865 


617 


5,410,c00 

; 


5,362 


11,000,000 


5,500 


1 
2,002,125 5,700 


2,908,336 


7,613 


32,857,521 


4,620 


; 36,189,140 


35,866 


84,000,000 


42,000 


13,210,999 


38,073 


12,999,887 


34,045 


237,416,242 


33,524 


6,442,416 


6,385 


12,765,528 


6,383 


2,254,200 


6,496 


2,443,851 


6,401 


45,907,925 


6,455 


5,614,345 


5,564 


11,223,655 


5,612 


1,917,670 


5,526 


1,359,200 


3,563 


40,565,250 


5,703 


[ 5,063,916 


5,019 


9,566,652 


4,7s3 


1,355,713 


3,907 


858,113 


2,248 


25,321,065 


3,560 


' 17,120,677 


16,968 


33,555,835 16,778 


5,527,583 


15,929 


4,(i61,164 


12,212 


111,794,240 15,718 


I 53,309,817 


52,«34 


1J7,555,«35 


58,778 


1^38,6^^2; 


54,002 


17,661,051 


46,257 


350,210,1S2 


49,242 



260 



CHAPTER XVII. 
The importance of the Great Siberian Railway. 

The importance of the Great Siberian Railway to progress; its hearing upon rural economy, 
colonization, metallurgical industry; gold mining, internal and foreign trade. 



THE enormous expenditure of 350 million roubles entailed hy the construction of the Sibe- 
rian railroad, which probably for a long time will not prove remunerative in the 
strict sense of the word, is explained l)y those numerous advantages not subject to arithmet- 
ical computation which may be attained by the Government with the realization of this grand 
enterprise. The previous historical-statistical article has demonstrated that the principal bar- 
rier to the development of culture in Siberia is the absence of regular communication, on Ihc 
one hand between the most important administrative and industrial centres of Siberia, and 
on the other hand between Siberia and European Russia. Consequently when this principal 
obstacle is removed the causes will disappear which have for such a long time retarded the 
regular peopling of this extensive and richly endowed region and the rise in the culture of the 
aborigenes and settlers. In reality the Great Siberian Railway, intersecting the whole of Siberia 
for a distance of 7,112 versts, embraces a very wide zone, which cannot be taken at less than 
100 versts on either side of the line, or about one million and a half square versts. This 
enormous area, which exceeds the whole extent of central Europe, Germany, Austro-Hungary, 
Holland, Belgium and Denmark, lies in the mean geographical latitudes, and as regards cli- 
mate and soil possesses all the qualities favourable to the development of agriculture, rural 
economy and the industries connected with them. It is worthy of attention also, that accor- 
ding to the propitious choice of the direction of the Great Siberian Railroad which connects the 
fertile lands of Western Siberia and the distant region of Ussuri, also embraces the richest 
deposits of the noble metals, as will be seen by the accompanying map of the Russian Em- 
pire. If it be also remembered that the chosen route connects the extensive basins of such 
large rivers as the Obi, Yenisei and Amour and part of the Lena, it cannot be disputed 
that the line when onc(; laid will give a powerful impetus to the whole economical develop- 
ment of the country, and will call into existence many new branches of industrial activity. 
Turning to the more intimate influence of the Great Railroad upon the various features 
of industrial and economic life in Siberia, it is necessary to pause over the following. It 
is liist of all evident thai the chosen mule traverses the licli Isliiinsk, P.arabiiisk and Knliiii- 



THE GREAT SIBERIAN RAILWAY. 261 

dinsk steppes which have always been renowned for their fertility, and serve as a granary 
for Siberia. Figures have been already quoted showing that even the opening of the Ural 
line would be sufficient to cause an increasi'd activity in these steppes and to forward con- 
siderable quantities of grain to the west, partly to the Baltic seaports. If the influence of 
the LFral line was so great, connected with these lands only by water communication, then 
an uniuterrupted line of rails connecting them with the general network of lines in the Russian 
Empire ought to elicit a far greater increase of agricultural development. Under favourable 
conditions of soil and climate the productive power of the earth will draw an increase of 
population and have an indirect influence upon the regular colonization of the country. 

Of late years in many parts of European Russia the increase of population from nat- 
ural causes has brought about an excess of the labouring conlingenl, and the systematic 
increase of the number of peasants insufficiently provided with land, due to this fact, has 
already for some time past attracted the attention of the Government. Being desirous as far 
as possible to regulate the distribution of farms among the peasants and to provide the suf- 
ferers with the requisite amount of land, the Government has found it advisable to adopt 
certain measures tending on the one hand, to people the unpopulated fertile districts, and on 
the other hand, to give a regular outlet to the energies of the peasants insufficiently provided 
with land who are at present a burden on the State, and demand increased solicitude. 

For these reasons free Government lands in the above mentioned localities are granted 
to settlers, and for their benefit a cheap rate has been fixed for conveying them by rail; 
in some cases they receive loans of money from the Government and certain other privileges 
are granted to them in order to assist them in the difficulty of emigrating, and of acquiring new 
household goods. Thanks to the immediate connection by rail between the «Granary of Si- 
beria» and those governments of the Russian Empire where a lack of land is apparent, the 
enterprise about to be realized should become an excellent emigration regulator in the 
interests of the State in general. Taking into consideration the extent already given of suit- 
able colonizing land in Siberia, it may be expected that in spite of the tendency of late 
years for emigration to Siberia, this country will for a long time be able to receive freely 
those who are desirous of availing themselves of its productive power, so great is its size 
and so vast the amount of suitable land for agricultural purposes. 

When once the newly populated regions show signs of activity, the force of intellect 
will gravitate thither from European Russia and capital will find- more advantageous use in 
the wider enterprises of industry. This might be encouraged by granting certain privileges 
in acriuiring Crown lands to Russian nobles and other individuals in the (iovernment service, 
who, as a more educated and cultured element, would be able to bring a civilizing influence 
with them. Thus the Great Siberian Railway, animating the uninhabited fertile lauds ruled 
by the Governor-General of the steppes and opening up an extensive market for the sale of 
all products of the earth, would at the same time assist the successful solution of one of the 
most difficult problems of the State, namely, the definite organization of the economical con- 
dition of the peasants badly provided with laiul in the internal governments of European Russia^ 

The review of the mineral wealth and mining industry of Siberia has shown how 
enormous are the riches in the bowels (d" the country, and what little use has been 



262 SIBEEIA. 

made of them up to the present time. Iron and coal, the two great factors of industrial de- 
velopment, are found nearly over all Siberia and in very rich veins. The proper working of 
these riches will give a powerful advancement to the development of progress in Siberia 
The contiguity of veins of coal and iron ore in some places has led to the establishment of 
a few iron works, which have however not been in a very flourishing condition on account of 
the small demand and their great distance from the markets. These obstacles will disappear 
when the Siberian railway is constructed, as the railway itself will require such an enormous 
quantity of iron and iron goods that it can easily furnish enough work for several large iron 
works besides increasing the output of these works by bringing their goods within the reach 
of more distant markets. In spite of the enormous production of the Ural iron works, they 
will be unable to supply all the requirements of the Siberian line for iron goods; being compara- 
tively cheap, they cannot be conveyed very long distances by rail. The appearance of iron works 
in Siberia, and more especially in the centre or the east, may be regarded therefore as a 
very natural conclusion; and if in addition to this it be mentioned that in order to enliven 
the native industry, the Government intends to render some assistance to private individuals 
in erecting such works, the future of the iron trade in Siberia may be considered quite assured. 
As regards mineral fuel, which is of such great Importance in working a railway line, such 
quantities of it have been discovered in the formations that have been investigated, that 
the road will be well supplied for very many years to come. Although coal is found scattered 
along almost the whole line, wood is in many places so cheap that it can successfully 
compete with it, especially in those parts of the route which are intersected by navigable 
rivers, along which the wood may be floated from distant and wild places where vegetation 
is so rapidly renewed, and where there is no demand for it. 

The Great Siberian Railway will also have a great influence upon gold mining. Placed in 
very difficult economic circumstances, this industry has only prospered in those places where 
very auriferous formations are worked; many of them are now neglected only because the 
present price of labour and machinery and the difficulty of obtaining credit upon easy terms do 
not admit of their being worked with sufficient profit. In America and in other countries, where 
gold mining is carried on, much poorer beds are worked, and therefore the output is larger 
than in Siberia. The Siberian railway should strive as far as possible to facilitate and 
cheapen the carriage of stores and implements to the gold mines, and also increase the supply 
of labour as many of the mines are suffering from an insufficiency of it. Under new condi- 
tions the. cost of gold mining would inevitably decrease and this would enable poorer deposits 
to be worked. The output of gold would also considerably be increased and the industry 
would acquire a firmer foothold. 

Turning to the question of the influence of the railway upon the extension of local 
trade, it is beyond a doubt that this influence will be most considerable ; many articles or raw 
materials, for which there is at present no local demand, will find a ready sale at more 
distant markets; the rapid fluctuations in the prices of necessaries and the exceedingly high 
prices current at present will no longer exist, thanks to the rapid transport of gotids. 

All the above mentioned advantages which trade will derive from the Siberian railway 
are only the most intimate changes which will result from the opening of the line and the 



THE CKKAT S^IHERIAN liAll.W.VV. 26B 

new position of commercial intercourse between European Russia and Siberia on tlie one 
hand, and within the borders of Siberia ou the other hand. In order, liowever, to grasp the 
whole extent of the actual importance of the Great Siberian Railway for Russian trade, the 
scope of vision must be enlarged and the probable consequences of this enterprise must be 
examined in connection with the fact that uninterrupted railroad coiiuiuuiicaiiou will be 
established between Europe and the Pacilic and the Eur East. Thus 1lio Siberian railway opens 
a new route, and new horizons for universal, as well as for Russian trade. This was clearly 
understood by the Russian merchants, whose representatives at the fair of Nizhni-Kovgorod 
m 1889 expressed their hopes connecting the Russian mercliant class with the realization of 
this enterprise in an address on the Siberian railway in the following terms: «This railioad 
will be of immense economic importance to Russia, and will give a great impulse to Russian 
industry: it will connect 400 million Chinese and 35 million Japanese with Europe through 
Russia. The strenuous endeavours made by Germany to gain possession of the markets of tlie 
Pacific, and the efforts which have been made to complete the Panama Canal visibly show that 
the economic struggle already commenced will end on the Pacific Ocean. The Canadian rail- 
road has now appropriated part of the freights of silk, tea and furs which previously reached 
Europe through the Suez. Undoubtedly part of these goods will pass through Russia as the 
journey from Europe through Vladivostok to Shanghai will be made in 38 or 20 days, 
instead of 45 through Suez or 35 days at present by the Canadian railway». 

It is particularly important for Russia that this change in the direction of the tratlic 
between Europe and the east of Asia should be to its advantage, and taking part in this 
communication with a continuous railroad more than 10 thousand versts long it can reap 
all the advantages not only in the conveyance of goods from the east of Asia and west of 
Europe, but also those of a large producer and consumer more closely connected than all 
others with the people of the east of Asia. The Siberian line will therefore not only have 
the effect of increasing the importance of Russia in the universal markets but new sources 
of national wealth will abundantly open around her. 

It may be added that China, Japan and Corea, whose united populations amount to over 
4G0 millions and whose international trade turnover exceeds 500 million roubles in gold, have 
not reached by far the limit of development of their commercial intercourse with Europe, 
but are rather undergoing the elementary stage of it. The internal provinces of China, being 
further removed from the shore are but little accessible to Europeans; but when once China has 
opened its ports to international trade, the piovinces which have as yet been but little fre- 
quented by Europeans, will in the natural course of events sooner or later enter the inter- 
national markets and carry on international commerce. In any case the commercial intercourse 
between Europe and China has every reason to extend, and it is therefore not surpising that 
the nations of Europe are making strenuous endeavours to gain possession of the eastern 
markets of Asia and do not hesitate before any expenditure likely to lead to this object. But 
in this respect, owing to its contiguity to those above mentioned rich countries, Russia 
possesses important advantages over all the othei' nations (d' Europe. Thus, at a distance of 
only 4 to VI-2 thousand versts from tiie N'olga, the Silioriau railway approaobes so near to 
the Chinese frontier, that it would be quite possible, by means ot a branch Hue running into 



254 STBRRIA. 

the borders of China, to start direct rominercial inlerchanf^^o with the lliickly popuhitcd 
iuternal provinces of China; in tliat case th(> Russian trade with China would extend very 
rapidly and the revenne of the main line of the Siberian railway would materially increase 
as well as the importance of Russia in the international trade with China. Taking also into 
consideration the predominating class of goods in the international trade of China, it is 
evident that the rather more expensive railway freights compared with those by sea, to some 
extent equalized by the smaller insurance charges, would not be an obstacle, hindering the 
transfer of Chinese goods from the sea route to the overland: and 58 per cent of the Chinese 
export trade is composed of two highly expensive articles, namely tea and silk. Besides 
quickness of transport and other conveniences, assuilng the preference to railway transportation, 
there are yet particular circumstances, which in the mutual interests of China and Russia, 
will conduce to the transfer of the transport of tea to the railway route. In the present 
export trade of China, England plays the most important part, but at the same time she is 
striving to compete with China in the production of tea and ]ia> met with some success as 
the tea plantations in the Asiatic colonies of England, in India and Ceylon, supply the 
greatest amount of tea to the whole of Great Britain. There are many favourable conditions 
in the English colonies which contribute to the success of this competition; among others the 
network of railways in India is of groat advantage in conveying the tea to the ports which 
are twice as near to Europe as the Chinese ports. On account of the above mentioned 
circumstances the export of Chinese teas to London and to other countries is rapidly declining, 
and this is not only a great loss to a large part of the population of China, but for the 
Chinese treasury also, as tea is subjected to a high export duty in China. In all probability 
the continued decline of the tea trade will be a very serious quostidu lor China, and in this 
respect the Siberian railway may serve as a great support to the Chinese tea trade, by 
delivering Chinese teas much quicker in Europe, not only compared with the sea voyage from 
China through London, but much quicker than the transport of Indian teas. Therefore not 
only Russia, but China also, is most anxious that Russia should take an active part in the 
carriage and sale of tea in Europe, as Russia is one of the largest and continually increas- 
ing markets for the consumption of tea. 

This tangible analogy of the interests of the two countries in the export of tea can 
but conduce to the gravitation of other Chinese exports towards the new I'oute to Europe, 
especially as the other principal article of the Chinese export trade, silk, will not only be 
capable of bearing the expense of a long railway journey, but can also be woven in Russia. 
Russia on the other hand, through the agency of the Siberian railway, will be able 
to take a much more active part in supplying China with those goods which are now imported 
thither from other countries, and in this respect Russia may meet with particular success in 
exporting cotton and woollen goods, and even metals, which together compose about one-half 
of the whole Chinese import. The former on account of their high value compared with their 
weight, may be conveyed from Moscow, or even from beyond Moscow by rail, and the metals 
may be brought to China from the Ural, or bettei' still from the nearer mining districts of 
the Tomsk and Yeniseisk governments, the region of Transbaikal ami pait nf the govern- 
ment of Lkutsk, where the mineral wealth is hut little iiiferioi tn that id' the I'l-als and pos- 



THE GREAT SIBERIAN RAILWAY. 265 

sesses all favourable qualifications for the extensive development of the mining industry. 
China will be a very near and valuable market for these districts as well as for other Siberian 
wares such as leather goods, furs et cetera. The opening of the Siberian railway will therefore 
enable Russia to profit by the proximity of China for the sale of its produce. 

There is no occasion to dwell upon the political importance of the Great Siberian 
Railway. Its significance is clear from the fact that when the line is completed Russia will 
not only nominally but actually occupy that position in the east of Asia which it holds 
among its friends and enemies in Europe. As the line shortens the distance from European 
Russia to the east of Asia, in a like measure will the power of Russia increase in the 
East. In addition to this undisputed position, it may be mentioned that the favourable con- 
ditions already mentioned occurring from the opening of the line and extending commercial 
intercourse between Russia and the nations of the East, will undoubtedly conduce to strengthen 
friendly political relations with those countries. These friendly relations will be cemented by 
the mutual interests in the field of universal economic activity. Finally the opening of a 
railway line to the Pacific Ocean will enable Russia to carry on more direct intercourse 
with the United States of America, which in spite of being the great competitor of 
Russia in the grain trade of Europe, in consequence of the solidarity of its political and 
other interests, cherishes sincere sympathy for Russia. 



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