Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Moravia
MORAVIA (in German Mähren), a margraviate and crownland in the Cisleithan part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire, lies between 15° 5′ and 18° 45′ E. long., and 48° 50′ and 50° 10′ N. lat. Its superficial extent is about 8580 square miles. Physically Moravia may be described as a mountainous plateau sloping from north to south, and bordered on three sides by mountain ranges of considerable elevation. On the north it is separated from Austrian and Prussian Silesia by the Sudetes, which attain a height of 4775 feet in the Altvater or Schneeberg, and sink gradually towards the west, where the valley of the Oder forms a break between the German mountains and the Carpathians. The latter are the dividing range between Moravia and Hungary, having here an average height of 3000 to 4000 feet. On the west are the so-called Bohemian-Moravian mountains, forming the elevated east margin of Bohemia and descending in terraces, but without clearly-defined ridges, to the river March. Branches of these different ranges intersect the whole country, making the surface very irregular, except towards the south, where it consists of fertile and extensive plains. Owing to this configuration of the soil the climate varies more than might be expected in so small an area, so that, while the vine and maize are cultivated successfully in the southern plains, the weather in the mountainous districts is somewhat rigorous. The mean average temperature at Brünn is 48 Fahr. The harvest amid the mountains is often four or five weeks later than that in the south. Almost the whole of Moravia belongs to the basin of the March or Morava, from which it derives its name, and which, after traversing the entire length of the country in a course of 140 miles and receiving numerous tributaries (Thaya, Hanna, &c.), enters the Danube at Pressburg. The Oder rises among the mountains in the north-east of Moravia, but soon turns to the north and quits the country. With the exception of a stretch of the March none of the rivers are navigable. Moravia is destitute of lakes, but contains numerous large ponds. There are also several mineral springs.
Nearly 97 per cent. of the soil of Moravia is productive, arable land occupying 53, gardens and meadows 8·5, pasturage 9, and forests 26 per cent. of the total. It is one of the chief corn-growing regions of the Austrian empire, and also produces excellent hemp, flax, potatoes, vegetables, and fruit. The following table shows the amount of the chief crops in 1881:—
|Rye||1,242,480||„||Beet (for sugar)||11,533,340||„|
Large quantities of hay and other fodder, besides hops, clover-seed, anise, fennel, &c., are also raised. The forests on the slopes of the Sudetes produce abundance of excellent timber. The live-stock of Moravia in 1880 consisted of 122,858 horses, 677,807 cattle, 158,852 sheep, 205,976 swine, and 116,880 goats. The breed of sheep on the Carpathians is of an improved quality, and the horses bred in the fertile plain of the Hanna are highly esteemed. Geese and poultry are also reared. In 1880 Moravia contained 83,440 beehives, and the produce of wax and honey may be estimated at 3500 to 4000 cwts.
The mineral wealth of Moravia, consisting chiefly of coal and iron, is very considerable. In 1881 the produce included 392,625 tons of anthracite coal, 50,665 tons of lignite, 5700 tons of iron-ore, 1713 tons of graphite, and smaller quantities of alum, potter's clay, and roofing-slate. The mines give employment to 4500 persons, and the annual value of the raw minerals produced is about £370,000. The amount of raw and cast iron produced by the ironworks and foundries in 1880 was 40,000 tons, and the value about £320,000.
In point of industry Moravia belongs to the foremost provinces of the empire. The principal manufactures are woollen, cotton, linen, and cast-iron goods, beet-sugar, leather, and brandy. Its woollen cloths and flannels, the manufacture of which centres in Brünn, have long been celebrated. The linen manufacture is decreasing in importance as cotton manufactures develop. The quantity of sugar made from beetroot is steadily increasing; in 1880 about 600,000 cwts. of sugar were produced in fifty-seven factories. About 10 per cent. of the total value of the manufactures of Austria, representing an annual amount of £13,000,000 to £15,000,000, falls to the share of Moravia. The trade of Moravia consists mainly in the exchange of the various raw and manufactured materials above mentioned for colonial produce, salt, and raw manufacturing material. The lack of navigable rivers or canals is compensated by good roads and an extensive railway system. The most important commercial towns are Brünn for manufactures and Olmütz for live-stock.
In educational matters Moravia compares favourably with most of the Austrian states. It contains 10 gymnasia, 10 real-gymnasia, 13 real-schools, numerous schools for special purposes, and nearly 2000 lower schools. The old university of Brünn is now represented by a technical academy and a theological seminary. Of children of school-going age 79 per cent. attend school regularly. In 1870 about 46 per cent. of the Moravian recruits could write their names, as compared with the extremes of 831 per cent. in Lower Austria and 11 per cent. in Dalmatia. Fully 95 per cent. of the inhabitants are Roman Catholics under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the archbishop of Olmütz and the bishop of Brünn, while about 2 per cent. are Jews, and 3 per cent. Protestants.
Moravia belongs to the group of old Slavonic states which have preserved their nationality while losing their political independence. Upwards of 70 per cent, of the inhabitants are Slavs, who are scarcely distinguishable from their Bohemian neighbours. The differences in dialect between the two countries are very slight, and are being gradually lost in a common literary language. The name of Czech, however, is usually reserved for the Bohemians, while the Slavs of Moravia and West Hungary are called Moravians and Slovaks. The Czechs have lost sight of their ancient tribal names, but the Moravians are still divided into numerous secondary groups (Hovaks, Hanaks, &c.), differing slightly in costume and dialect. The peasants usually wear a national costume. In the south of Moravia are a few thousand Croats, still reserving their manners and language after three centuries separation from their kinsmen in Croatia; and in the north-east are numerous Poles. The Germans form about 26 per cent. of the population, and are found mostly in the towns and in the border districts. The Jews are the best educated of the inhabitants, and in a few small towns form a full half of the population. Their sympathies generally lie with the Germans. In 1880 the population was 2,153,407, showing an increase of 136,133 since 1869. Moravia is one of the most densely-populated parts of Austria-Hungary, the proportion being 252 persons per square mile. About 12 per cent. of the births are illegitimate. The chief towns are Brünn, the capital and industrial centre (82,660 inhabitants), Olmütz, a strong fortress defending the "Moravian Gate" (20,176 inhabitants), Znaim, and Iglau.