1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Voronezh (government)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
29882411911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 28 — Voronezh (government)

VORONEZH, a government of southern Russia, bounded N. by the government of Tambov, E. by Saratov and the Don Cossacks, S. by Kharkov and W. by Kursk and Orel; area, 25,435 sq. m. It occupies the southern slopes of the middle-Russian plateau, and its average elevation is from 450 to 700 ft. The surface is hilly, and intersected by ravines in the west (where two ranges of chalk hills separated by a broad valley run north and south), but flat and low east of the Don. Devonian sandstones crop out in the north; further south these are covered with Cretaceous deposits. Glacial clays with northern erratic boulders extend as far south as Voronezh, and extensive areas are covered with Lacustrine clays and sands. The soil is very fertile, owing to the prevalence of black earth; it becomes, however, sandy towards the cast. Voronezh lies on the border between the forest and meadow region of middle Russia and the southern steppes; the forests disappear rapidly towards the south, and those which in the time of Peter the Great stood on the upper tributaries of the Don, and were used for shipbuilding, have now been almost entirely destroyed. Less than one-tenth of the entire area is under wood.

The Don traverses Voronezh from N. to S.E., draining it for more than 400 m.; it is an important channel for the export of corn, tallow and other raw produce, as well as for the import of wood, floated down from the north. Its tributary the Voronezh is also navigated, and the Bityug and Khoper, both left-hand affluents of the Don, flow in part through the government. Many other small streams flowing into the Don intersect the territory, but the influence of the dry steppes begins to make itself felt; there are no lakes, and marshes persist only in the valleys. The climate is continental, and although the mean temperature at the town of Voronezh is 42.7° F., that of January is as low as 8.3°, and that of July as high as 74.2°.

The estimated pop. in 1906 was 3,097,700. The inhabitants consist in nearly equal parts of Great Russians in the north and Little Russians in the south, but there are a few Poles, Germans and Jews, both Orthodox and Karaites. The government is divided into twelve districts, the chief towns of which are Voronezh, Biryuch, Bobrov, Boguchar, Korotoyak, Nizhne-Dyevitsk, Novo-Khopersk, Ostrogozhsk, Pavlovsk, Valuiki, Zadonsk and Zemlyansk. Agriculture is the chief occupation, and grain is exported to a considerable amount. The peasants own 67% of the land, the crown and the imperial domains 3% and private owners 30%.

The principal crops are rye, wheat, oats, barley and potatoes. Aniseed, sunflowers, tobacco and beetroot are extensively cultivated, and much attention is paid to the growth of the pineapple. There are large tracts of excellent pasture land, on which cattle are bred; good breeds of cart-horses and trotting-horses are obtained. There are nearly two hundred breeding establishments, those at Hrenovoye and Chesmenka being the most important. In many villages the inhabitants are engaged in the making of wooden wares. There are flour-mills, distilleries, oil, sugar and woollen mills, iron works and tobacco factories.