1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Grodno (government)

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GRODNO, one of the Lithuanian governments of western Russia, lying between 51° 40′ and 52° N. and between 22° 12′ and 26° E., and bounded N. by the government of Vilna, E. by Minsk, S. by Volhynia, and W. by the Polish governments of Lomza and Siedlce. Area, 14,926 sq. m. Except for some hills (not exceeding 925 ft.) in the N., it is a uniform plain, and is drained chiefly by the Bug, Niemen, Narev and Bobr, all navigable. There are also several canals, the most important being the Augustowo and Oginsky. Granites and gneisses crop out along the Bug, Cretaceous, and especially Tertiary, deposits elsewhere. The soil is mostly sandy, and in the district of Grodno and along the rivers is often drift-sand. Forests, principally of Coniferae, cover more than one-fourth of the area. Amongst them are some of vast extent, e.g. those of Grodno (410 sq. m.) and Byelovitsa (Bialowice) (376 sq. m.), embracing wide areas of marshy ground. In the last mentioned forest the wild ox survives, having been jealously preserved since 1803. Peat bogs, sometimes as much as 4 to 7 ft. thick, cover extensive districts. The climate is wet and cold; the annual mean temperature being 44.5° F., the January mean 22.5° and the July mean 64.5°. The rainfall amounts to 211/2 in.; hail is frequent. Agriculture is the predominant industry. The peasants own 421/2% of the land, that is, about 4,000,000 acres, and of these over 21/4 million acres are arable. The crops principally grown are potatoes, rye, oats, wheat, flax, hemp and some tobacco. Horses, cattle and sheep are bred in fairly large numbers. There is, however, a certain amount of manufacturing industry, especially in woollens, distilling and tobacco. In woollens this government ranks second (after Moscow) in the empire, the centre of the industry being Byelostok. Other factories produce silk, shoddy and leather. The government is crossed by the main lines of railway from Warsaw to St Petersburg and from Warsaw to Moscow. The population numbered 1,008,521 in 1870 and 1,616,630 in 1897; of these last 789,801 were women and 255,946 were urban. In 1906 it was estimated at 1,826,600. White Russians predominate (54%), then follow Jews (17.4%), Poles (10%), Lithuanians and Germans. The government is divided into nine districts, the chief towns, with their populations in 1897, being Grodno (q.v.), Brest-Litovsk (pop. 42,812 in 1901), Byelsk (7461), Byelostok or Bialystok (65,781 in 1901), Kobrin (10,365), Pruzhany (7634), Slonim (15,893), Sokolsk (7595) and Volkovysk (10,584). In 1795 Grodno, which had been Polish for ages, was annexed by Russia.