Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V02, Page 356 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ARCHANGEL (ARCHANGELSK), a government of European Russia, bounded N. by the White Sea and Arctic Ocean, W. by Finland and Olonets, S. by Vologda, and E. by the Ural mountains. It comprehends the islands of Novaya-Zemlya, Vaygach and Kolguev, and the peninsula of Kola. Its area is 331,505 sq. m., and its population in 1867 was 275,779 and in 1897, 349,943. The part which lies within the Arctic Circle is very desolate and sterile, consisting chiefly of sand and reindeer moss. The winter is long and severe, and even in summer the soil is frozen. The rivers (Tuloma, Onega, Dvina; Mezen and Pechora) are closed in September and scarcely thaw before July. The Kola peninsula is, however, diversified by hills exceeding 3000 ft. in altitude and by large lakes (e.g. Imandra), and its coast enjoys a much more genial climate. South of the Arctic Circle the greater part of the country is covered with forests, intermingled with lakes and morasses, though in places there is excellent pasturage. Here the spring is moist, with cold, frosty nights; the summer a succession of long foggy days; the autumn again moist. The rivers are closed from October to April. The inhabitants of the northern districts—nomad tribes of Samoyedes, Zyryans, Lapps, and the Finnish tribes of Karelians and Chudes—support themselves by fishing and hunting. In the southern districts hemp and flax are raised, but grain crops are little cultivated, so that the bark of trees has often to be ground up to eke out the scanty supply of flour. Potatoes are grown as far north as 65°. Shipbuilding is carried on, and the forests yield timber, pitch and tar. Excellent cattle are raised in the district of Kholmogory on the Dvina, veal being supplied to St Petersburg. Gold is found in the districts of Kola, naphtha and salt in those of Kem and Pinega, and lignite in Mezen. Sulphurous springs exist in the districts of Kholmogory and Shenkursk. The industry and commerce are noticed below in the article on the town Archangel, which is the capital. The government is divided into nine districts, the chief towns of which are—Alexandrovsk or Kola (pop. 3oo), Archangel (q.v.), Kem (1825), Kholmogory (1465), Mezen (2040), Novaya-Zemlya (island), Pechora, Pinega (r000) and Shenkursk (1308). See A. P. Engelhardt, A Russian Province of the North (Eng. trans., by H. Cooke, 1899).

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