1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Moscow (government)

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19570921911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 18 — Moscow (government)

MOSCOW (Russian Moskva), a government of Central Russia, bounded by the governments of Tver on the N.W., Vladimir and Ryazan on the E., Tula and Kaluga on the S., and Smolensk on the W., and having an area of 12,855 sq. m. The surface is undulating, with broad depressions occupied by the rivers, and varies in elevation from 500 to 850 ft. The government is situated in the centre of the Moscow coal-basin, which extends into the neighbouring governments. Its geology has been carefully studied, and it appears that in the Tertiary period the surface of this province was already continental; but during the Cretaceous period it was to some extent overflowed by the sea. Jurassic deposits are represented by their upper divisions only; the lower ones, as well as Triassic and Permian deposits, are wanting. The Carboniferous deposits are of a deep-sea origin, and are only represented by the upper division which lies upon Devonian deposits, discovered in an artesian well at Moscow at a depth of 1508 ft. The pendulum anomaly, mentioned by Kaspar Gottfried Schweitzer (1816–1873), has been investigated. It appears in a zone 10 m. wide and about 95 m. long from west to east, and is positive (+10·6″) to the north of Moscow and negative (−2·7″) to the south.

The government is drained by the Volga, which skirts it for a few miles on its northern boundary, by the navigable Sestra, which brings it into communication with the canals leading to St Petersburg, by the Oka, and by the Moskva. The Oka and Moskva from a remote period have been important channels of trade, and continue to be so notwithstanding the development of the railways. The Oka brings the government into water communication with the Volga. Extensive forests (39% of the entire area) still exist. The soil is somewhat unproductive; agriculture is carried on everywhere, but only two districts export corn, all the others being more or less dependent on extraneous supplies. The principal crops are rye, oats, barley, potatoes, with some flax, hemp and hops.

The population, 1,913,700 in 1873, numbered 2,430,549 in 1897, and 2,733,300 in 1906. They are nearly all Great-Russians and belong to the Greek Church (4% Nonconformists). The importance of the Moscow government as a manufacturing centre is steadily increasing, and it now stands first in Russia. The chief factories are for cottons, woollens, silks, clothing, chemicals, sugar refineries, distilleries, iron-works. There is besides a very great variety of minor industries—such as those concerned with gold thread and gold brocades, gold and silver jewelry, bronze, perfumery, sweets, tobacco, tanneries, gutta-percha, furniture, carriages, wall-paper, toys, baskets, lace, and papier-mâché. The government is divided into 13 districts.

The prehistoric archaeology of Moscow has been carefully studied. This district has been inhabited since the Stone Age. Bronze implements are rare, and there are places where instruments of stone, bone and iron are found together. The inhabitants who constructed the burial mounds in the 10th to 12th centuries seem to have been of Finnish origin, and were poorer, as a rule, than their contemporaries on the Volga.