Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Baltic Sea

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2470400Collier's New Encyclopedia — Baltic Sea

BALTIC SEA, the great gulf or inland sea bordered by Denmark, Germany, Russia, and Sweden, and communicating with the Kattegat and North Sea by the Sound and the Great and Little Belts. Its length is from 850 to 900 miles; breadth, from 100 to 200; and area, including the Gulfs of Bothnia and Finland, 184,496 square miles, of which 12,753 are occupied by islands. Its shallowness and narrowness, its numerous islands and reefs, the shoal coasts of Prussia on the one side, and the rocky coast of Sweden on the other, make the navigation of the Baltic very dangerous. The group of the Aland Islands divides the S. part of the sea from the N. part or Gulf of Bothnia. The Gulf of Finland, branching off eastward into Russia, separates Finland from Esthonia. A third gulf is that of Riga or Livonia. The water of the Baltic is colder and clearer than that of the ocean, and contains only a fourth of the proportion of salt found in the Atlantic. Ice hinders the navigation of the Baltic from three to five months yearly. Upward of 250 rivers flow into this sea, which, through them and its lakes, drains rather less than one-fifth of all Europe, its drainage area being estimated as 717,000 square miles. The chief of these rivers are the Oder, Vistula, Niemen, Dwina, Narva, Neva; the waters of Lake Maeler, and those of Wetter and other lakes reach the sea through the river Motala. The principal islands are Zealand, Fünen, Bornholm, Samsöe, Laaland, Gottland, Oland, Hveen, the Aland Islands and Rügen. Timber, hides, tallow, and grain are the exports from the countries bordering on the Baltic.