TCHERNIGOFF, a government of Little Russia, on the left bank of the Dnieper, bounded by Moghileff and Smolensk on the N., Orel and Kursk on the E., Poltava on the S., and Kieff and Minsk on the W., has an area of 20,233 square miles. Its surface is an undulating plain, 650 to 750 feet high in the north, and from 370 to 600 feet in the south, deeply grooved by ravines and the valleys of the rivers. In the north, “beyond the Desna,” about one-third of the area is under wood (which is rapidly disappearing), and marshes occur along the courses of the rivers; while to the south of the Desna the soil is dry, sometimes sandy, and assumes the characters of a steppe-land as one proceeds southward. Chalk deposits prevail in the north, and Eocene in the south. The government is watered by the Dnieper (which forms its western boundary for 178 miles) and its tributaries the Soj and the Desna. The latter, which flows through Tchernigoff for nearly 350 miles, is navigable, and timber is brought down its tributaries. Corn, linseed, timber, brandy, hemp, and sugar are shipped on the Dnieper, Soj, and Desna, and salt imported. The climate is much colder in the woody tracts of the north than in the south; the average yearly temperature at the town of Tchernigoff is 44°·4 (January, 23°; July, 68°·5).
The population, which is rapidly increasing, reached 1,996,250 in 1883. It is chiefly Little Russian (85·6 per cent.); Great Russians (6·1 per cent.), mostly Raskolniks, and White Russians (5·6 per cent.) inhabit the northern districts. Jews have spread rapidly since last century, and now number more than 45,000. There are, besides, some 20,000 Germans as well as Greeks at Nyezhin. Agriculture is the principal occupation; in the north, however, many of the inhabitants are engaged in the timber trade and various domestic industries. Cattle-breeding is carried on in the central districts, and there were in 1883 572,200 horses, 515,300 cattle, and 948,000 sheep. Beet is extensively cultivated, and in 1884 2 million cwts. of beet-root were delivered to the thirteen sugar-works within the government. The culture of tobacco is also increasing, upwards of 500,000 cwts. being produced annually. Hemp is widely cultivated in the north, and the milder climate of the south encourages gardening. Bee-keeping is extensively carried on by the Raskolniks. Tar, pitch, and a large variety of wooden manufactures are largely produced in the forest districts, as also are woven fabrics, felts, and leather wares. Limestone, grindstones, china-clay, and building stone are quarried. Manufactures have begun to develop rapidly of late; by 1881 their yearly production reached £1,340,000 (£860,000 from sugar-works and distilleries). Trade is active, especially since the opening of the railway between Kieff and Kursk, which runs through Tchernigoff. The government is divided into fifteen districts, the chief towns (with populations in 1885) being Tchernigoff (19,000), Borzna (13,700), Glukhoff (16,450), Gorodnya (3550), Konotop (16,420), Kozelets (4430), Krolevets (9190), Mglin (10,880), Kovgorod-Syeversk (8020), Novozybkoff (11,920), Nyezhin (43,020), Oster (3550), Sosnitsa (5650), Starodub (23,890 in 1880), and Surazh (3770). A number of unimportant towns (14 posads and 49 myestechki) possess municipal institutions.