Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Tula(1.)
TULA, a government of central Russia, bounded by Moscow on the N., Ryazañ on the E., Tamboff and Orel on the S., and Kaluga on the W., has an area of 11,950 square miles. It is intersected from south-west to north east by a gently undulating plateau, from 950 to 1020 feet in height, which separates the drainage area of the Oka from that of the Don. The average elevation of Tula is about 800 feet, and its surface is an undulating plain; but the rivers flow in valleys so deeply cut and so scored with ravines that in their neighbourhood the country assumes the aspect of a hilly region. Devonian limestones, dolomites, and sandstones appear chiefly in the south-west; Lower and Middle Carboniferous limestones and clays occupy the remainder of the area. The former contain deposits of coal, which are now worked (chiefly at Malevka and Novoselsk) to the extent of nearly one and a half million cwts. annually. Jurassic clays are found in patches here and there. Glacial boulder clay covers most of the region, while Lacustrine deposits are widely spread in the valleys and depressions. Iron-ore is found all over the government; limestone, fire-clay, and pottery clay are also obtained. The soil is black earth in the south and east and clay or sandy clay in the north-west. Tula is watered chiefly by the Oka and its tributaries (Upa, Zusha, Osetr, and Pronya). The Don rises in Lake Ivan-Ozero (which feeds also a tributary of the Oka), and has a course of 35 miles within Tula. It is not navigable, and Peter I.'s attempt to connect it with the Oka by means of a canal was never carried out. Lakes and marshes (chiefly in the north-west) are few. Forests (8 per cent, of the area) are rapidly disappearing. The climate is less rigorous than that of Moscow, the average yearly temperature being 40°·2 Fahr. (January, 13°·8; July, 67°·5).
The flora of Tula deserves some attention as marking the transition from that of the south-east steppes to that of north-west Russia. A line drawn on the northern slope of the water-parting already mentioned (a few miles to the south of the city of Tula) divides the province into two parts, of which the southern is a black earth region and the other is chiefly covered with boulder clay. The boundary is marked by a series of crown forests—formerly a means of defence against the nomad tribes, whence their name Zasyeka—which at the same time constitute a line that is not passed by several species characteristic of the steppe region, such as the Lilia of the steppes, Lilium Martagon, Linum flavum, Lathyrus pisiformis, Geranium sanguineum, Pyrethrum corymbosum, and Serratula heterophylla. On the other hand, several northern species, which are quite common in the marshes of Moscow, do not penetrate into Tula, and several others, such as Linnæa borealis, Viola palustris, Cirsium palustre, Pedicularis palustris, do not cross the Zasyeka. The same forests shelter several northern species which do not appear either in northern or southern Tula, as also several southern herbaceous plants which are now only occasionally met with in the black earth steppes of south Russia. Several West-European plants (Sanicula europæa, Carex remota, Cephalanthera ensifolia, Allium ursinum) find their eastern limits in Tula. Another interesting feature is the extension down the valley of the Oka, not only of pine-forests, which are not found elsewhere within the province, but also of many herbaceous plants originally from the south or south-west. The steppe flora of Tula is being rapidly impoverished in consequence of the spread of agriculture: many steppe plants are now found only in their last retreats on the dry uncultivated limestone crags.
The population of the government (750,000 in 1777) in 1883 was 1,360,000, of whom 115,770 were urban. They are all Great Russians, and either Orthodox Greeks or Raskolniks. Their chief occupation is agriculture, 70 per cent. of the area being arable. Nearly one-half of the soil belongs to landlords and merchants, and the other half to the peasant communities (53 per cent. of the area, and 58 per cent. of the land under culture). The crops for 1883-85 averaged 7,574,200 quarters of grain and 10,172,000 bushels of potatoes, largely used for distilleries. Beet-root culture is increasing (8520 acres in 1885, yielding 59,800 cwts. of sugar). The growth of tobacco is also spreading (10,000 cwts. in 1885). There were in 1883 380,620 horses, 203,500 cattle, and 786,000 sheep. Manufactures are rapidly developing; their aggregate production was valued at £1,649,720 in 1883 (distilleries £293,956, sugar-works £601,827, tanneries £148,356, iron works, brass works, &c., about £150,000). Petty trades, especially the manufacture of tea-urns, small brass ware, and harmoniums, and also weaving, are extensively carried on and support a lively export trade; timber, raw metals, and various manufactured wares are imported. The government is traversed by the Moscow and Sebastopol and the Ryazhsk and Yyazemsk Railways, as well as by the Oka. The government is divided into twelve districts, the chief towns of which, with their population in 1882, are Tula (see below), Alexin (4960), Bogoroditsk (8030), Byeleff (9300), Epifañ (3820), Efremoff (7770), Kashira (4610), Krapivna (1560), Novosil (4660), Odoeff (5140), and Tcherñ (2675). Byeleff, Alexin, and Kashira are important loading places on the Oka. The villages Malevka (coal-mines) and Nikitino have more than 5000 inhabitants each.
History.—Before the Slavonic immigration, the territory of Tula was inhabited by the Mordves on the north and the Mestchers in the south. The Slavs who occupied the Oka belonged to the branch of the Vyatichis, who were soon compelled to pay a tribute to the Khazars. Subsequently the territory on the Oka belonged to the principality of Tchernigoff, thus maintaining its connexion with south-west Russia. In the 14th century part of it fell under the rule of Ryazan and Moscow, while the remainder was under Lithuanian dominion till the 15th century. Several of the towns of Tula were founded in the 12th century, but the colonization of this fertile region went on slowly on account of the raids of the Tatars.