1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Taurida

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TAURIDA, a government of southern Russia, including the peninsula of Crimea and a tract of mainland situated between the lower Dnieper and the coasts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. It is bounded by these two seas on the S., while it has on the N. the governments of Kherson and Ekaterinoslav. The area is 24,532 sq. m., of which 9704 sq. m. belong to the Crimea. The continental part consists of a gently undulating steppe (from sea-level up to 400 ft. in the north-east) of black earth, with only a few patches of saline clay on the shores of the Sivash or Putrid Sea, and sand along the lower Dnieper. The government is drained by the Dnieper, which flows along the frontier for 180 m., and by two minor streams, the Molochnaya and Berda. Many small lakes and ponds occur in the north, as well as on the Kinburn peninsula, at the mouth of the Dnieper, where salt is made. There are no forests. The climate is continental, and resembles that of central Crimea and Kherson. The population in 1906 was estimated at 1,634,700. The continental portion, although less mixed than that of the peninsula, consists of Great and Little Russians, who constitute 83 per cent. of the whole, Germans (5.4 per cent.), Bulgarians (2.8 per cent.), Jews (3.8 per cent.), and Armenians. The chief occupation of the people is agriculture, and every available patch of land has been brought under the plough. In 1900 no less than 43 per cent. of its area was under cereal crops alone. The principal crops are rye, wheat, oats, barley and potatoes(Tobacco is also grown, and over 32,000 acres are under vineyards, while gardens extend to some 15,500 acres in Crimea. Live-stock breeding is extensively engaged in. Salt is the only mineral raised, but the iron industry, and especially the manufacture of agricultural machinery (e.g. at Berdyansk), has greatly developed. The export trade is considerable, the chief ports being Sevastopol, Eupatoria, Theodosia, and Yalta on the Black Sea, and Azov and Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov. The fisheries along the coast are active. Manufactures are insignificant, but there is a brisk export trade in grain, salt, fish, wool and tallow. The government is divided into eight districts, the chief towns of which are Simferopol, capital of the government, Eupatoria and Theodosia, in Crimea, and Aleshki, Berdyansk, Melitopol, Perekop and Yalta on the continent.