Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Ufa(1.)

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UFA, a government of south-eastern Russia, on the western slope of the Urals, has Vyatka and Perm on the N., Orenburg on the E. and S., Samara and Kazan on the W., and comprises an area of 47,112 square miles. In virtue alike of its physical characters and of its population, which belongs chiefly to the Ural-Altaic stock, it forms an intermediate link between Europe and Asia, and it was only recently separated from the government of Orenburg, which is now limited to the eastern slopes of the Urals. Several craggy and densely wooded ridges, running from south-west to north-east parallel to the main chain of the southern Urals, occupy its eastern part. They are separated by broad and long longitudinal valleys, and rise to altitudes of from 2500 to 3500 feet above the sea; their highest peaks Iremel (5040 feet), Nurgush, Urenga, and Taganai (3950 feet) are above the limits of tree-vegetation, but in no case reach those of perpetual snow. The high longitudinal valleys of the Urals are the seat of an important mining industry. Southward Ufa extends over the slopes of the Obshchiy Syrt plateau, the angular space between the latter and the Urals being occupied by elevated plains (from 1000 to 1500 feet), deeply grooved by the river valleys and sometimes described as the "Ufa plateau." It slopes gently towards the depression of the Kama; and its undulating surface, especially its broad valleys (500 to 600 feet above the sea), covered as they are with a fertile soil, are being rapidly colonized by Russian settlers. Towards the Kama the fertility of the soil increases, and the black-earth regions of Menzelinsk and Birsk may be described as granaries for that part of Russia.

The geological structure of Ufa is very varied. The main ridge of the Urals consists of gneisses and various crystalline slates resting upon granites and syenites; next comes a broad strip of lime stones and sandstones, the fossil fauna of which is intermediate in its lowest parts between the Upper Silurian and the Lower Devonian. These form the highest ridges of Ufa. Farther west the Devonian deposits are followed by Lower and Upper Carboniferous and "Artinsk schists," which, together with Permian de posits, cover western Ufa. Quaternary deposits are extensively developed in all the valleys, most of which were occupied by lakes during the Lacustrine period. Ufa has not the mineral resources of Perm; only traces of gold have been found in its valleys, and silver ores are absent; but its wealth in iron (Devonian) and copper (Permian) seems likely to have great mining importance in the future. The district of Zlatoust is celebrated for its granite, epidote, nephrite, and a variety of decorative stones and minerals. Coal is spread over a wide area, but only in layers too thin to make working remunerative. Fire-clay, kaolin, and sandstone for making grindstones are obtained to some extent; naphtha, sulphur, and saltpetre have been observed in several places.

Ufa belongs almost entirely to the drainage area of the Byeiaya, a great tributary of the Kama, which rises in Orenburg, flows south and west till it pierces a mountain chain at Bugutchan, and then runs north and north-west, watering the high plains and receiving a number of important tributaries, among which the Sim, the Tanyp, and the Ufa are also navigable. The banks of the Byeiaya are thickly peopled, and it is an important channel for trade; but it sometimes reaches so low an ebb in summer that steamers cannot proceed beyond Birsk. The Kama flows for 120 miles along the western border of the government. Marshes lie along its course, so that its banks are but thinly inhabited. Forests cover nearly half the area, but the plains on the left of the Byeiaya are comparatively thinly wooded. The climate of Ufa is very continental. The average temperature at Ufa is 37 F., and the winter is extremely cold (Janu ary 5 5 F., July 68 F. ); at the Zlatoust observatory (1340 feet) the average temperature is only 32 2 (January 2; July 61 8). Even in the hilly tracts of Zlatoust the annual rainfall is only 19 inches. The rivers are frozen 158 days at Ufa, and 202 about Zlatoust.

The population of Ufa is now rapidly increasing (1,793,260 in 1882, as against 1,291,020 in 1865). Only one-third of the whole is Russian, the remainder being chiefly Bashkirs (50 per cent., including Mescheriaks and Tepters), Tartars (8 4 per cent), Tcheremisses, Tchuvashes, Mordvinians, and Votiaks. In the south the Bashkirs, Tartars, and other Ural-Altaians constitute two-thirds of the population. Among the Russians two distinct elements must be distinguished, some 100,000 peasants, who formerly were mining serfs, and now support themselves chiefly by work in or for the mines, and yearly 620,000 agriculturists, for the most part more recent immigrants. The latter carry on agriculture on an extensive scale, and export "large quantities of corn. The Bashkirs are chiefly cattle-breeders, but of late they have been driven more and more to tillage, owing to the appropriation by speculators of their extensive pasture-lands. Bee-keeping is largely carried on, and hunting is still an important source of income to the Bashkirs. In the north-east the trade in timber and the manufacture of various wooden wares are largely engaged in by the peasantry. The mining industry is advancing, notwithstanding many obstacles (see vol. xxi. p. 85); the iron-works of Zlatoust especially have a wide reputation. Flour-mills, distilleries, and tanneries come next in importance. The exports of corn, linseed, timber, wooden wares, metals, tallow, hides, and cattle are considerable, and trade is active, especially at the fairs of Menzelinsk, Ufa, and Zlatoust.

There are six administrative districts, the chief towns of which (with populations in 1884) are Ufa (25,660), Belebei (4200), Birsk (8000), Menzelinsk (6100), Sterlitamak (8940), and Zlatoust (18,990). The loading places Tchetny and Berozovka on the Kama, and several iron and copper works (Satkinsk, Yurezan, Katav-Ivanovsk, about 6000 inhabitants each) ought also to be mentioned.