1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Batum

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BATUM, a seaport of Russian Transcaucasia, in the government of and 90 m. by rail S.W. of the city of Kutais, on the S.E. shore of the Black Sea, in 41° 39′ N. and 41° 38′ E. Pop. (1875) 2000; (1900) 28,512, very mixed. The bay is being filled up by the sand carried into it by several small rivers. The town is protected by strong forts, and the anchorage has been greatly improved by artificial works. Batum possesses a cathedral, finished in 1903, and the Alexander Park, with sub-tropical vegetation. The climate is very warm, lemon and orange trees, magnolias and palms growing in the open air; but it is at the same time extremely wet and changeable. The annual rainfall (90 in.) is higher than anywhere in Caucasia, but it is very unequally distributed (23 in. in August and September, sometimes 16 in. in a couple of days), and the place is still most unhealthy. The town is connected by rail with the main Transcaucasian railway to Tiflis, and is the chief port for the export of naphtha and paraffin oil, carried hither in great part through pipes laid down from Baku, but partly also in tank railway-cars; other exports are wheat, manganese, wool, silkworm-cocoons, liquorice, maize and timber (total value of exports nearly 51/2 millions sterling annually). The imports, chiefly tin plates and machinery, amount to less than half that total. Known as Bathys in antiquity, as Vati in the middle ages, and as Bathumi since the beginning of the 17th century, Batum belonged to the Turks, who strongly fortified it, down to 1878, when it was transferred to Russia. In the winter of 1905–1906 Batum was in the hands of the revolutionists, and a “reign of terror” lasted for several weeks.