Orel, Or Orloff
hemp government chief century west
OREL, or ORLOFF, a government of central Russia, do not reach 900 feet, and none of the valleys are less than valleys, being concealed for the most part under thick beds of cretaceous chalk, marls, and sands. The Carboniferous limestones and clays (of the so-called Moscow basin) appear in the north-west only at a great depth. The Jurassic clays and marls are covered at several places with a stratum of clay containing good iron-ore, while the Devonian sandstones and limestones are worked for building purposes. The whole is buried under a bed, from 30 to 40 feet thick, of boulder-clay and loess, the last covering extensive areas besides the valleys. The soil - a mixture of "black earth " with clay - is fertile, except in the Desna region, which is covered with sands and tough clays. The principal rivers are the Don, which forms the eastern boundary of the government and has many tributaries, the chief being the Sosna ; the Oka, which rises in the district of Orel and receives the navigable Zusha and many smaller streams ; and the Desna, with the Bolva, draining the marshy lowlands in the west. On the Oka, Zusha, Desna, and Bolva there is a brisk traffic in corn, oil, hemp, timber, metal, glass, china, paper, and building-stone. Marshes occupy large areas in the basin of the Orel being 41'2 (14'8 in January and 67'0 in July).
The population, 1,596,900 in 1870, and 1,377,100 in 1881, consists almost exclusively of Great RussianS belonging to the Greek Church ; the Nonconformists are reckoned at about 12,000, the Catholics at 3000, and the Jews at 1000. The chief occupation is agriculture, which is most productive in the east and towards the centre of the government. In 1877 59 per cent. of the province was under crops, the estimated yield being 7,196,000 quarters of corn and 1,212,000 quarters of potatoes. Of the grain not used in the distilleries a large proportion is exported to the Baltic. Hemp and hemp-seed oil are extensively exported from the west to Riga, Libau, and St Petersburg. Tobacco is also cultivated with profit. Cattle-breeding and horse-breeding, though somewhat depressed within the last twenty years, are still in a better condition than in neighbouring governments, - the Orel breeds, both of carriage and of cart horses, being held in estimation throughout Russia. In 1381 there were 500,000 horses, 340,000 cattle, and 790,000 sheep. Bee-culture is widely diffused in the forest districts, as are also the timber-trade and the preparation of tar and pitch. Manufactures are rapidly increasing ; in 1879 there were 540 larger industrial establishments, employing 14,130 hands, and producing cast-iron rails, machinery, locomotive engines and railway waggons, glass, hemp-yarn and ropes, leather, timber, soap, tobacco, chemical produce, &c. There are also distilleries and a great many smaller oil-works and flour-mills. Karatcheff and Syevsk are important centres for hemp-carding ; Bolkhoff and Elets are the chief centres of the tanning industry ; while the districts of Elets, Dmitroff, and partly Mtsensi supply flour and various food-pastes. At Bryansk a Government cannon-foundry employs 700 hands. The so-called " lialtsoffs works" in the district of Bryansk are worthy of mention as an industrial colony comprising several iron, machinery, glass, and rope works, where thousands of peasants find temporary or permanent employment ; they have their own technical school, employ engineers of their own training, and have their own narrow-gauge railways and telegraphs, both managed by boys of the technical school. Numerous petty trades are carried on by peasants, along with agriculture. The fairs held in many villages are animated, and have some importance for the cattle trade. Orel is divided into twelve districts, the chief towns of which are Orel (76,700 inhabitants), Bolkhoff (29,020), Bryansk (12,660), Dmitrovsk (6560), Elets (41,450), Karatcheff (11,200), Kromy (3050), Livny (21,170), Maloarkhanghelsk (3920), litsensk (14,200), Syevsk (9650), and Trubtchevsk (5170).
In the 9th century the country was inhabited by the Sycveryanes on the Desna and the Vyatiehees on the Oka, who both paid tribute to the Khazars. The Syeveryanes recognized the rule of the princes of the Rurik family from 884, and the Vyatichees from the middle of the 10th century ; but the two peoples followed different historical lines, the former entering into the Suzdal principality, while the latter fell under the rule of that of Tchernigoff In the 11th century both had wealthy towns and Villages ; during the Tartar invasion these were all burned and pillaged, and the whole territory, lying as it did on the two chief lines of the Tartar advance, became a desert, where the Nogays encamped with their herds. With the fall of the Great Horde the western part of the country fell under Lithuanian rule and was the subject of repeated struggles between Lithuania and Moscow. In the 16th century the Russians began to erect new forts or to fortify the old towns, and the territory was rapidly colonized by immigrants from the north. In 1610 the towns of the present government of Orel (then known as the Ukrayna or " border-region ") had an active share in the insurrection against Moscow under the pseudo-Demetrius, and suffered much from the civil war which ensued. They continued, however, to be united with the rest of Russia, and in the next century formed a basis for further Russian advance towards the south.
OrtEL, capital of the above government, lies at the confluence of the Oka with the Orlik, on the great line of railway to the Crimea, 238 miles south-south-west from Moscow. It has railway connexion also with Smolensk and the Baltic ports in the west, and with Saratoff, Tsaritsyn, and Novot-cherkassk in the south-east. It was founded in 1566, but developed slowly, and had only a very few houses at the beginning of the last century. The cathedral, begun in 1794, was finished only in 1861. The town now possesses a military gymnasium (corps of cadets), a few secondary schools, a public library, and a theatre ; large storehouses for grain and timber, a spacious gostinoy door with numerous shops, and the offices of the municipal bank are perhaps its best buildings. The manufactures are rapidly increasing ; in 1879 the hemp-carding; hemp-spinning, and rope-making industries produced 1,020,000 roubles, the flour-mills about 300,000 roubles, and the aggregate from all the manufactures exceeded 2,000,000 roubles. Orel is one of the chief markets of central Russia for the trade in corn and hemp, as also in hemp-seed oil and tallow, which are shipped down the Oka or sent by rail. Metal wares, tobacco, kaolin, and glass ware are also exported, while salt, groceries, and manufactured goods are imported for distribution throughout the villages of the government, or to be sent to the Don Cossacks. The population, 45,000 in 1875, was 76,700 in 1881.