The New International Encyclopædia/Irkutsk (government)
IRKUTSK, ē̇r-ko͞otsk′. A governor-generalship and a government of Eastern Siberia. The former comprises the governments of Irkutsk and Yeniseisk (q.v.), and the Territory of Yakutsk (q.v.), with a total area of nearly 2,800,000 square miles, and a population in 1897 of 1,328,150 (Map: Asia, K 3). The Government of Irkutsk is bounded by the Territory of Yakutsk on the north, the territories of Yakutsk and Trans-Baikalia on the east, the Chinese Empire on the south, and the Siberian Government of Yeniseisk on the west. Area, nearly 280,000 square miles. Its surface is generally mountainous. The Sayan Mountains run along the southern boundary; the Baikal Mountains along the western shore of Lake Baikal. The chief rivers are the Lena, which rises in the Baikal Mountains, and the Angara, with its numerous mountain tributaries. Irkutsk takes in a large portion of Lake Baikal. The mountains of Irkutsk are rich in minerals, containing deposits of iron, coal, graphite, and salt. The climate is raw and severe, the annual average temperature at the capital being about 32°. Only an insignificant portion of the cultivable land has been cleared, by far the larger part of the country being covered with forests, filled with fur-bearing animals. The land wherever cultivated is fertile and yields ample crops of rye, wheat, oats, barley, buckwheat, and potatoes. The raising of domestic animals is confined mostly to the natives. The manufacturing as well as the mining industries are as yet only slightly developed, the former being concentrated mostly in the town of Irkutsk. The population (500,500 in 1897) consists mostly of Russians, Buriats, Tunguses, and Jews. Capital, Irkutsk (q.v.).