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Siberia Collection

History Archive - Siberia Collection

Siberia (s??-b?? r?-a), a vast territory belonging to Russia in northern Asia. It covers 4,786,730 square miles, stretching from the Chinese empire to the Arctic Ocean. The earliest inhabitants are by some writers called Yeniseians, who were followed by a race of considerable skill, judging from their relics found in mounds. Turks conquered the country in the 9th century, and were themselves conquered by the Mongols two centuries later.

Russians first invaded the region in 1580, by a band of Cossack robbers, followed for two centuries by other bands of Cossacks, traders, hunters, dissenters flying from religious persecution and peasants escaping from serfdom. In the first 80 years the Cossacks had reached the Sea of Okhotsk, but Russia’s possession was not acknowledged by China before 1857. Bering Strait was discovered in 1648 by Dejnef, the Cossack, who sailed around the northeastern end of Asia; but, as his discovery was not made known, the honor still belongs to Bering. Consult Lansdell’s Through Siberia; Kennan’s Tent-Life and Siberia and the Exile System; and Dewindt’s The New Siberia.

Surface. A large part is only imperfectly known. It is covered with a network of highlands and mountain-ridges, of which the Great Altai and Sayan Mountains, separating Siberia from Mongolia; the Barguzin and South Muya ridges, svith others still unnamed; and the Stanovoi Mountains, which form a high wall on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, are the most important. Some of the peaks of the Altai Mountains and a few others rise into the region of perpetual snow. A belt of forests on the northwestern border of the central plain and, beyond that, another belt of high plains 500 miles wide, 1,700 to 2,500 feet high and most of it very fertile, end in an immense lowland stretching to the shores of the Arctic Ocean.

These lands in western Siberia are very fertile, are the granary of Siberia, and contain one third of the population. Between Obi and Irtish Rivers are great marshes, which can be crossed only when frozen; and, farther north still, come the tundras (salt prairies and frozen swamps), where the ground is frozen hundreds of feet deep and thaws only on its surface in the summer. Trees disappear, only a few low bushes and a few flowering plants surviving the cold. Yet 50,000 human beings call this region home, and wander over it with sledges drawn by reindeer and dogs. In southeastern Siberia, in the Amur province, are high plains, covered with oak forests and rapidly filling with emigrants from Russia; while there are fertile tracts on the frontier of Korea and a splendid harbor at Vladivostok on Peter the Great Gulf.

Drainage and Climate. Great rivers — the Obi, Yenisei, Irtish, Lena and Amur, being some of them — greatly assist internal communication in this great country, and four lines of railroad have already entered Siberia on the west, one of which, the trans-Siberian line (q. v.) opened in 1899, established uninterrupted steam-communication through the Russian empire. Siberia is the coldest country in the world. Yet the summers are much warmer than is usually supposed; melons grow in the open air in some parts, and barley sown in May will ripen by August. The summers, however, are short, and by November all the rivers are frozen, and in the extreme north the thermometer has recorded 75° below zero. The air is very dry and there is no wind, which makes the cold more endurable.

Inhabitants. Siberia had a population of 8,220,100, January 1, 1910, according to the Russian Statistical Committee. These figures include native Siberians, Koreans, Manchurians, Chinese and about 90,000 Russian immigrants each year. The Russians belong to the Greek church; the Turkish tribes are Mohammedans; while others are Buddhists.

Natural Resources. Siberia is rich in minerals, but mining is undeveloped; gold, silver, lead, copper and iron are mined, however, in considerable quantities, a profitable trade in timber is carried on, and the coal-mines yield over five million tons annually.

Occupations. The chief occupations are farming and cattle-breeding. In a single year 11 million acres were in meadow-land, 9,773,000 in cereal crops and 171,000 in potatoes. The wheat-crop in 1910 was 45,000,000 bushels; the oat-crop of Asiatic Russia 79,743,000 bushels, the larger part coming from Siberia. The live-stock industry is quite valuable, and horses, cattle, sheep and pigs are raised in considerable numbers. Hunting is profitable for the valuable furs of the sable, ermine, gray and white foxes; and fishing is carried on extensively.

Manufactures. Government factories are operated in some of the larger towns, and porcelain, hardware, leather and earthenware are among the products. Extensive woolen and linen factories are among the industries. In Asiatic Russia there are 8,005 miles of railroad. There are 339 schools, supported in the main by local authorities, with 773 teachers and 43,786 pupils.


The New Student's Reference Work (1914)

Available Books


Image Name
Back Cover
Odeianie Iakutov
Night Attack on the Soul of Mahomed
Sidiachie koriaki
Taleu auf der Insel Eimeo
Tamchi-Boulac or Dropping Spring, Chinese Tartary
Kamchadaly (zimniaia stantsiia)
Zimniaia doroga po beregu Okhotskago moria
Otdykh na reke Taue
Baikal, Oriental Siberia
Sultan Beck and Family
Zimniaia iakutskaia iurta
Front Cover
Vid na reke Lene bliz goroda Kirenska
Ghlider a Gar a Ghi, Actou Mountains, Chinese Tartary
Kamchatskie sobaki
Vid na reke Lene bliz goroda Kirenska
Vid goroda Irkutska
Izdeliia koriak
Skaly na reke Lene bliz goroda Olekminska (stolby)
River Djem-a-louk, Oriental Siberia
Kliuchevskaia sopka
Vid Irkutska
Odeianie tungusov
Rechka Stolbovka vpadaiushchaia v reku Lenu
Sultan Souk and Family
Vid na reku Lenu. Urskiia vorota
Rybnye magaziny (veshala) v Okhotske
Volcanic Crater, Saian Mountains, Mongolia
Navisshiia skaly na reke Lene
Petropavlovskii port v Kamchatke
Zimniaia stantsiia po Okhotskomu traktu
Zabata Nor, Mongolia
A Large Barrow in a Valley in the Tarbogatai, Chinese Tartary
Izdeliia koriak iz morzhovoi kosti
Bouriat Temple and Lake Ikeougoun, Mongolia
Vid Iablonago khrebta po okhotskomu traktu
A Natural Arch on Nouk-a-Daban, Oriental Siberia
Letniaia stantsiia po Okhotskomu traktu
Pereezd po naledi po traktu v Okhotsk
Title Page
Kirenskii Sviato-Troitskii monastyr'
Brodiachie tungusy
Title Page
Map to Accompany Mr. Atkinson's Travels
Nochleg na reke Urake po Okhotskomu traktu
Olennye koriaki
Title Page - Pamiatnik Ermaku v Tobol'ske
Odeianie zhitelei severo-vostochnoi chasti Sibiri
Vid sela Kachugi na reke Lene
Letniia iakutskiia iurty
A Group of Kirghis with Two Bridges
River Terric Sou-Kara Tou and Kirghis Steppe
Poezd na sobakakh v severnoi chasti Kamchatki
Vid v okrestnostiakh Okhotska
Avachinskaia guba v Kamchatke
Vid na reke Lene mezhdu Iakutskom i Olekminskom
Falls on the River Kopal, Chinese Tartary
Stoibishche olennykh koriak
Tchim-Boulac, Altou Mountains, Chinese Tartary
Posuda dlia kumysa
A Lake near the Source of the River Tschu-Gash, Altain Mountains
Altin-Kool, Altai Mountains, Western Siberia
Vid starago iakutskago ostroga
Map of Far Eastern Asia Including Siberia and Manchuria
1-Brodiachii tungus. 2-Olennyi tungus
Paratunskie goriachie kliuchi v Kamchatke
Vid okrestnostei Petropavlovskago porta
Arkat Mountains and Salt Lakes, Kirghis Steppe
Olennye koriaki
Vnutrennost' urty sidiachikh Koriakov
Selo Kultuchnoe v Kamchatke
V'iuchnyia loshadi
1-Zhitel' oliutorskago seleniia. 2-Brodiachii tungus
Gorod Olekminsk na reke Lene
Gorod Okhotsk
Reka Iamga po traktu iz Iakutska v Okhotsk
Vid gory Morekan bliz Okhotska
Cavern on the Lake Oulunjour, Mongolia
Nochleg v lesu (v severnykh lesakh)
Shitiki na reke Lene


Map Name
Eine Reise um die Welt von Westen nach Osten durch Sibirien - Map of Far Eastern Asia Including Siberia and Manchuria (1854)


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