south russia towns government dnieper
POLTAVA, a government of south-western Russia, bounded by Tchernigoff on the N., Kharkoff on the E., Ekaterinoslaff and Kherson on the S., and Kieff on the 'W., and having an area of 19,265 square miles. Its surface is an undulating plain from 500 to 600 feet above sea-level, with a few elevations reaching 670 feet in the north, and gently sloping to the south-west, where its range is between 300 and 400 feet. Owing to the excavations of the rivers, their banks, especially those on the right, have the aspect of hilly tracts, while low plains stretch to the left, Low-lying districts with some marshes and sandy tracts are met with in the broad valley of the Dnieper, which skirts the province on the south-west. Ahnost the whole of the surface is covered with Tertiary deposits ; chalk appears in the north-east, at the bottom of deeper ravines. The government touches the granitic region of the Dnieper only in the south, below Krementchug. Lime-stone with dolerite veins occurs in the isolated hill of Isatchek, which rises above the marshes of the Sula. The whole is covered with a layer, 20 to 60 feet thick, of boulder clay, which, again, is often covered with a thick sheet of loess. Sandstone (sometimes suitable for grind-stones) and lime.stone are quarried, and a, few layers of gypsum and peat bog are also known within the govern-ment. The soil is on the whole very fertile, with the exception of some sandy tracts. Poltava is watered by the numerous tributaries of the Dnieper, which flows along its border, navigable throughout. Deep sand beds inter-sected with numberless ravines and old arms of the river stretch along the left bank, where accordingly the settle-ments are but few. It is joined by the Sula, the Psiol, the Vorskla, the Orel, the Trubezh, and several other tributaries, none of them navigable, although their courses vary from 150 to 270 miles in length. Even those which used to be navigated within the historical period, such as Trubezh and Supoy, are now drying up, while the others are being partially transformed into marshes. Only 5 per cent. of the total area is under wood ; timber, wooden wares, and pitch are imported.
The population in 1881 reached 2,418,870, of whom 217,800 lived in tOWI1S. MC great majority are Little Russians, there being only 20,000 Great Russians, less than 1000 White Russians, some 2000 l'oles, and 1.500 Germans. In 1865 the Jews were estimated at 40,000. Agriculture is the chief pursuit, there being 7,451,000 acres (60 per cent. of the total area) of arable land, and the average yield of the years 1870-77 being 6,302,000 quarters of corn and 703,200 quarters of potatoes. The crops chiefly grown are wheat, rye, and oats; the sunflower is largely cultivated, espeeially for oil, and the culture of tobacco, alwa,:.s important, has recently made a very great advance, now yielding about 200,000 cwts. Kitchen gardening, the culture of the plmn, and the preparation of preserved fruits are also important branches of industry. At Lubory, where an apothecaries' garden is maintained by the crown, the collection and cultivation of medicinal plants is also a specialty. The main source of wealth in Poltava always has been, and still is, its cattle-breeding. In 1881 there were 209,000 horses, 8S2,000 cattle, 1,820,000 sheep (only 520,000 of these, as against 878,000 in 1862, being of finer breeds), 405,000 pigs, and 7000 goats. Black and grey sheepskins are largely exported, as also is wool. Some of the wealthier landowners and many peasants now rear finer breeds of horses.
The aggregate value of the manufactures in 1879 was:C.1,112,100, employing in their production 3755 hands; distilleries hold the leading place (X717,500), after which come flour mills (£136,600), tobacco works (X79,700), machine-making (£35,700), tanneries (£27,700), saw-mills (£20,000), and sugar-works (£10,900). -Wool is exported in a raw state, and the woolltn manufactures amounted only to £5750. the villages and towns several domestic trades are carried on, such as the preparation of sheepskins, plain woollen cloth, leother, boots, and pottery.
1"he fair of Poltava is of great importance for the whole woollen trade of Russia; leather, cattle, horses, coarse woollen cloth, skins, and various domestic wares are also exchanged for manufactures imported from Great Russia. The value of merchandise brought to the fair reaches and sometimes exceeds 25,000,000 roubles. Several other fairs, the aggregate returns for which reach more than one-half of the above, are held at Roniny (tobacco), Krementchug (timber, corn, tallow, and salt), and Kobelyaki (sheepskins). COI'D is exported to a considerable extent to the west and to Odessa, as also saltpetre, spirits of wine, wool, tallow, skins, and plain woollen cloth. The navigation on the Dnieper is interfered with by want of water, and becomes active only in the south. The chief traffic is by railway.
The government is divided into fifteen districts, the chief towns of which are - Poltaya (41,050 inhabitants), Gadyateli (9250), Khorol (5175), Kobelyaki (13,150), Konstantinograd (4320), Krementchug (46,620 with Krukotr), Lokhvitsa (9320), Lubn2, (9820), Mirgorod (7750), Pereyaslaff (13,350), Piryatin (5400), Priluki (13,100), Roniny (1'2,310), Zolotonosha (7180), and Zyen• kolf (8360). Glinsk (3250) and Gradijsk (7850) have also immi-eipal institutions, while several villages and towns (Sorotchintsy, Borispol, Sinyeloye, Ryeshetilovka, &e.) have from 6500 to 8000 inhabitants.
History. - At the dawn of Russian history the region now occupied by Poltava was inhabited by the Syeveryanes. As early as 988 the Russians erected several towns on the Sula and Trubezli for their protection against the Petchenegs and Poloytsy, who held the south-eastern steppes. Population extended, and the towns Pereyaslaff, Lubny, Lukorny, Priluki, Piryatin, Ronmy, &c., begin to be mentioned in the llth and 12th centuries. The Mongol invasion destroyed most of them, and for two centuries afterwards they totally disappear from Russian annals. About 1331 Gedimin annexed the so-ealled "Syeversk towns " to Lithuania, and on the recognition of the 1111i011 of Lithuania with Poland they WM included in the united kingdom along with the remainder of Little Russia. In 1476 a separate principality of Kieft' under Polish rule and Polish institutions was formed out of Little Russia, and remained so until the rising of Bogdan KInnyelnitzkii in 1654. By the Andrusoff treaty, the left bank of the Dnieper being ceded to Russia, Poltava became part of the dominions of the Zaporogian hetinan, and was divided into "regiments," six of which (Poltava, Pereyaslaff, Priluki, Gadyatch, Lubny, and Mirgorod) lay within the Ihnits of the present government. They lost their independence in 1764, and serfdom was introduced in 1783, the Poltava region becoming part of the governments of Kieff and Ekaterinoslatf. The present government was instituted in 1802.