Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/33

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.
18
SIBI—SIBSAGAR


and tradition has it that, in order to get rid of his guests, Stroganov suggested to their chief, Yermak, that he should cross the Urals into Siberia, promising to help him with supplies of food and arms. Yermak entered Siberia in 1580 with a band of 1636 men, following the Tagil and Tura rivers. Next year they were on the Tobol, and 500 men successfully laid siege to Isker, the residence of Khan Kuchum, in the neighbourhood of what is now Tobolsk. Kuchum fled to the steppes, abandoning his domains to Yermak, who, according to tradition, purchased by the present of Siberia to Ivan IV. his own restoration to favour. Yermak was drowned in the Irtysh in 1584 and the Cossacks abandoned Siberia. But new bands of hunters and adventurers poured every year into the country, and were supported by Moscow. To avoid conflicts with the denser populations of the south, they preferred to advance eastwards along higher latitudes; meanwhile Moscow erected forts and settled labourers around them to supply the garrisons with food. Within eighty years the Russians had reached the Amur and the Pacific. This rapid conquest is accounted for by the circumstance that neither Tatars nor Turks were able to offer any serious resistance. In 1607–1610 the Tunguses fought strenuously for their independence, but were subdued about 1623. In 1628 the Russians reached the Lena, founded the fort of Yakutsk in 1637, and two years later reached the Sea of Okhotsk at the mouth of the Ulya river. The Buriats offered some opposition, but between 1631 and 1641 the Cossacks erected several palisaded forts in their territory, and in 1648 the fort on the upper Uda beyond Lake Baikal. In 1643 Poyarkov’s boats descended the Amur, returning to Yakutsk by the Sea of Okhotsk and the Aldan, and in 1649–1650 Khabarov occupied the banks of the Amur. The resistance of the Chinese, however, obliged the Cossacks to quit their forts, and by the treaty of Nerchinsk (1689) Russia abandoned her advance into the basin of the river. In 1852a Russian military expedition under Muraviev explored the Amur, and by 1857 a chain of Russian Cossacks and peasants were settled along the whole course of the river. The accomplished fact was recognized by China in 1857 an d i860 by a treaty. In the same year in which Khabarov explored the Amur (1648) the Cossack Dejnev, starting from the Kolyma, sailed round the north-eastern extremity of Asia through the strait which was rediscovered and described eighty years later by Bering (1728). Cook in 1778, and after him La Perouse, settled definitively the broad features of the northern Pacific coast. Although the Arctic Ocean had been reached as early as the first half of the 17th century, the exploration of its coasts by a series of expeditions under Ovtsyn, Minin, Pronchishev, Lasinius and Laptev—whose labours constitute a brilliant page in the annals of geographical discovery—was begun only in the 18th century (1735–1739).

The scientific exploration of Siberia, begun in the period 1733 to 1742 by Messerschmidt, Gmelin, and De Lisle de la Croyere, was followed up by Miiller, Fischer and Georgi. Pallas, with several Russian students, laid the first foundation of a thorough exploration of the topography, fauna, flora and inhabitants of the country. The journeys of Hansteen and Erman (1828–1830) were a most important step in the exploration of the territory. Humboldt, Ehrenberg and Gustav Rose also paid in the course of these years short visits to Siberia, and gave a new impulse to the accumulation of scientific knowledge; while Ritter elaborated in his Asien (1832- 1859) the foundations of a sound knowledge of the structure of Siberia. Middendorff’s journey (1844–1845) to north-eastern Siberia—contemporaneous with Castren’s journeys for the special study of the Ural-Altaian languages—directed attention to the far north and awakened interest in the Amur, the basin of which soon became the scene of the expeditions of Akhte and Schwarz (1852), and later on (1854–1857) of the Siberian expedition to which we owe so marked an advance in our knowledge of East Siberia. The Siberian branch of the Russian Geographical Society was founded at the same time at Irkutsk, and afterwards became a permanent centre for the ex- ploration of Siberia; while the opening of the Amur and Sakhalin attracted Maack, Schmidt, Glehn, Radde and Schrenck, whose works on the flora, fauna and inhabitants of Siberia have become widely known.

Bibliography.—A. T. von Middendorff, Sibirische Reise (St Petersburg, 1848–1875); L. Schrenck, Reisen und Forschungen im Amurgebiet (St Petersburg, 1858–1891); Trudy of the Siberian expedition—mathematical part (also geographical) by Schwarz, and physical part by Schmidt, Glehn and Brylkin (1874, seq.) ; G. Kennan, Tent Life in Siberia (1870); Paplov, Siberian Rivers (1878); A. E. Nordenskjoid, Voyage of the Vega (1881) and Vega Exped. Vetensk. Iaktlagelser (5 vols., Stockholm, 1872–1887); P. P. Semenov, Geogr. and Stat. Dictionary of the Russian Empire (in Russian, 5 vols., St Petersburg, 1863–1884)—a most valuable source of information, with full bibliographical details under each article; Picturesque Russia (in Russian), ed. by P. Semenov, vol. xi. (West Siberia) and xii. (East Siberia) ; Scheglov, Chronology of Sib. Hist, from 1032 to 1882; Yadrintsev, Siberia (St Petersburg, 2nd ed., 1892, in Russian); Vagin, “Historical Documents on Siberia,” in the collection Sibir, vol. i. ; Yadrintsev, Siberia as a Colony (new ed., 1892); F. M. Dostoievsky’s novel, Buried Alive (1881); Baron A. von Rosen, Memoiren eines russischen Dekabristen (Leipzig, 1870). Consult further Materials for the Study of the Economic Conditions of West Siberia (22 vols., St Petersburg, 1889–1898), condensed in Peasant Land-Tenure and Husbandry in Tobolsk and Tomsk (St Petersburg, 1894), both in Russian. Similar Materials for the Altai region, published at St Petersburg by the Cabinet of the emperor, and for irkutsk and Yeniseisk (12 fasc, Irkutsk, 1889–1893); Materials for Transbaikalia (16 vols., St Petersburg, 1898), summed up in Transbaikalia, by N. Razumov (St Petersburg, 1899). Other works deserving special mention are: Ermolov, Siberia as a Colony (3rd ed., 1894); Jarilow, Ein Beitrag zur Landwirtschaft in Sibirien (Leipzig, 1896). Among books of more recent publication must be mentioned G. Krahmer, Russland in Asien (3 vols., Leipzig, 1898–1900) and Sibirien und die grosse sibirische Eisenbahn (2nd ed., 1900); Wirt Gerrare, Greater Russia (London 1903); J. F. Fraser, The Real Siberia (London, 1902) ; P. Kropotkin, Orographic de la Siberie (Brussels, 1904); P. Leroy-Beaulieu, La Renovation de V Asie centrale (Paris, 1900); J. Stadling, Through Siberia (London, I 901); S. Turner, Siberia (London, 1906); G. F. Wright, Asiatic Russia (2 vols., London, 1903); L. Deutsch, Sixteen Years in Siberia (Eng. trans., London, 1905) ; V. Dolgorukov, Guide through Siberia (3rd ed., Tomsk, 1898, in Russian, with summaries in French); A. N. de Koulomzine, Le Trans-siberien (Paris, 1904) ; Bishop of Norwich, My Life in Mongolia and Siberia (London, 1903); S. Patkanov, Essai d'une statistique et d’une geographie des peuples paleoasiatiques de la Sibérie (St Petersburg, 1903) ; M. P. de Semenov, La Russie extra-européenne et polaire (Paris, 1900) ; T. W. Bookwalter, Siberia and Central Asia (Springfield, Ohio, 1899) ; Siberia and the Great Siberian Railway, by Ministry of Finance (Eng. trans., ed. by J. M. Crawford, St Petersburg, 1893, vol. v. for flora). Climatological Atlas of the Russian Empire, by the Physical Observatory (St Petersburg, 1900), gives data and observations covering the period 1849–1899. A full bibliography will be found in the Russian Encyclopaedic Dictionary, as also in Mezhov, Siberian Bibliography (3 vols., St Petersburg, 1891–1892), and in A. Pypin’s History of Russian Ethnography, vol. iv.  (P. A. K.; J. T. Be.) 


SIBI, a town and district of Baluchistan. The town is now an important junction on the Sind-Peshin railway, where the Harnai line and the Quetta loop line meet, near the entrance of the Bolan pass, 88 m. S.E. of Quetta. Pop. (1901) 4551. The district, which was constituted in 1903, has an area of 4152 sq. m.; pop. (1901) 74,555. The greater part became British territory by the treaty of Gandamak in 1879; the rest is administered under a perpetual lease from the khan of Kalat. Political control is also exercised over the Marri-Bugti country, with an additional area of 7129 sq. m.: pop. (1901) 38,919. Besides the town of Sibi, the district contains the sanatorium of Ziarat, the summer residence of the government.

See Sibi District Gazetteer (Bombay, 1907).


SIBONGA, a town of the province of Cebu, island of Cebu, Philippine Islands, on the E. coast, 30 m. S.W. of Cebu, the capital. Pop. (1903) 25,848. Sibonga is an agricultural town with a port for coasting vessels, and is served by a railway. The principal products are Indian corn and tobacco. The climate is hot, but healthy. The language is Cebu-Visayan.


SIBPUR, a town of British India, in the Hugli district of Bengal, on the right bank of the river Hugli, opposite Calcutta. It is a suburb of Howrah. It contains jute-mills, a flour-mill, rope-works, brick-works and other industrial establishments; the royal botanical garden; and the engineering college with electrical and mining departments and a boarding-house. The college, of gothic architecture, was originally built for a missionary institution, as the Bishop’s College, in 1824. It has recently been decided to remove it to Ranchi, in Chota Nagpur.


SIBSAGAR, a town and district of British India, in eastern Bengal and Assam. The town is situated on the Dikhu river, about 9 m. from the left bank of the Brahmaputra, being pictur- esquely built round a magnificent tank, covering an area of 114 acres. Pop. (1901) 5712. In 1907 the transfer of the district headquarters to Jorhak (pop. 2899), on the Disai river, was sanctioned.

The District or Sibsagar has an area of 4996 sq. m. It consists of a level plain, much overgrown with grass and jungle, and intersected by numerous tributaries of the Brahmaputra. It is divided by the little river Disai into two tracts, which differ in soil and general appearance. The surface of the eastern portion is very flat, the general level being broken only by the long lines of embankments raised by the Ahom kings to serve both as roadways and as a protection against floods. The soil consists of a heavy loam of a whitish colour, which is well adapted for rice cultivation. West of the Disai, though the surface soil is of the same character, the general aspect is diversified