1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mogilev

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MOGILEV, a government of western Russia, situated on the upper Dnieper, between the governments of Vitebsk and Smolensk on the north and east, and Chernigov and Minsk on the south and west. In the north it is occupied by the watershed which separates the basins of the Dvina and the Dnieper, an undulating tract 650 to 900 ft. above sea-level, and covered nearly everywhere with forests. This watershed slopes gently to the south, to the valley of the Dnieper, which enters the government from the north-east and flows due south. The southern part of the government is flat and has much in common with the Polyesie of the government of Minsk; it is, however, more habitable, the marshes being less extensive. Mogilev is built up of Devonian deposits in the north, of Cretaceous in the east, and of Tertiary elsewhere, but generally is covered with a thick layer of Glacial and later alluvial deposits. Interesting finds from the Stone Age, as well as remains of the mammoth, have been made.

The soil is mostly sand, clay (brick-clay and potter's-clay are not uncommon), and peat-bogs, with a few patches of “black earth.” The climate is harsh and wet, the average yearly temperature at the Gorki meteorological observatory being 40°.4 F. (14°.2 in January and 63°.8 in July); cold nights in summer are often the cause of bad crops. The government had 947,625 inhabitants in 1870, and in 1897, 1,706,511, of whom 861,533 were women, and 146,752 lived in towns. The estimated population in 1906 was 2,024,300. The population is mostly White Russian. Agriculture is their chief occupation. Out of the total area of 18,546 sq. m. 40% is held in communal ownership by the peasants, 48% is owned by landlords possessing more than 270 acres each, and 35% by small owners. Most of the private owners belong to the nobility. The principal crops are rye, oats, barley, buckwheat, potatoes, though wheat, beetroot, flax, hemp and tobacco are also grown. Paper, spirits, wire and nails, leather and tiles are the chief products of the manufactures. The government is divided into eleven districts, of which the chief towns with their populations in 1897 were: Mogilev-on-Dnieper, or Mogilev Gubernskiy (47,591 in 1900), Chausy (5550), Cherikov (5250), Homel or Gomel (45,081 in 1900), Gorki (6730), Klimovichi (4706), Mstislavl (10,382 in 1900), Orsha (13,161), Rogachev (9103), Staryi Bykhov (6354), and Syenno (4061).

This government was inhabited in the 10th century by the Slav tribes of the Krivichi and Radimichi. In the 14th century it became part of Lithuania, and afterwards of Poland. Russia annexed it in 1772.