The New Student's Reference Work/Caucasus

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Caucasus (ka' kȧ-sŭs), a mountain range which occupies the isthmus between the Black and Caspian Seas, its general direction being from west-northwest to east-southeast. It is about 750 miles long by 150 miles broad. There are at least six peaks over 16,000 feet high; Mt. Elburz, 18,000 feet, is the highest. There are but few glaciers, very little perpetual snow and no active volcanoes, though Elburz and other peaks are of volcanic formation; while there are hot springs and mud volcanoes at each extremity of the range. There are but two roads across the Caucasus, the Derbend Pass and the fine military road built by the Russians through the Dariel Gorge. The Caucasus has been called the mountain of languages, from the many tongues, distinct from one another, having little or no likeness to any other languages on the globe, which are spoken in this narrow area. Some 16 or more distinct and well marked races, including the Georgians, Circassians, etc., are found in the region of the Caucasus. For over 50 years this region resisted the advance of Russia; but with the capture of Schamyl, the prophet-chief of the Lesghians, who had withstood the armies sent against him for 20 years, the power of the Caucasians was shattered. Since 1871 the country has been wholly under the dominion of Russia.