Online Encyclopedia

DANUBE (Ger. Donau, Hungarian Duna, R...

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 823 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
DANUBE (Ger. Donau, Hungarian Duna, Rumanian Dunarea, Lat. Danubius or Danuvius, and in the lower part of its course Ister), the most important river of Europe as regards the volume of its outflow, but inferior to the Volga in length and in the area of its drainage. It originates at Donaueschingen in the Black Forest, where two mountain streams, the Brigach and the Brege, together with a third stream from the Palace Gardens, unite at an elevation of 2187 ft. above the sea to form the Danube so called. From this point it runs in an easterly direction until it falls into the Black Sea some 1750 M. from its source, being the only European river of importance with a course from west to east. Its basin, which comprises a territory of nearly 300,000 sq. m., is bounded by the Black Forest, some of the minor Alpine ranges, the Bohemian Forest and the Carpathian Mountains on the north, and by the Alps and the Balkan range on the south. From the point where the Danube first becomes navigable, i.e. at its junction with the Iller at Ulm (15o5 ft. above sea-level), it is fed by at least 300 tributaries, the principal of which on the right bank are the Inn, the Drave and the Save; while on the left bank are the Theiss or Tisza, the Olt, the Sereth and the Pruth. These seven rivers have a total length of 2920 M. and drain one half of the basin of the Danube. The course of this mighty river is rich in historical and political associations. For a long period it formed the frontier of the Roman empire; near Eining (above Regensburg) was Htstortcal the ancient Abusina, which for nearly five centuries and was the chief Roman outpost against the northern Political barbarians. Traces of Trajan's wall still exist between that point and Wiesbaden, while another line of forti- fications bearing the same emperor's name are found in the Dobrudja between Cernavoda (on the lower Danube) and Constantza. At intervening points are still found many notable Roman remains, such as Trajan's road, a marvellous work on the right bank of the river in the rocky Kazan defile (separating the Balkans on the south from the Carpathians on the north), where a contemporary commemorative tablet is still conspicuously visible. At Turnu Severin below the end of this famous gorge are the remains of a solid masonry bridge constructed by the same emperor at the period of his Dacian conquests. But since Roman days the central Danube has never formed the boundary of a state; on the contrary it became the route followed from east to west by successive hordes of barbarians—the Huns, Avars, Slays, Magyars and Turks; while the Franks under Charlemagne, the Bavarians and the Crusaders all marched in the opposite direction towards the east. In more modern days its banks were the scenes of many bloody battles during the Napoleonic Wars. Still more recently it has become the great highway of commerce for central Europe. It has been pointed out by J. G. Kohl (Austria and the Danube, London, 1844) and others that, in consequence of the Danube having been in constant use as the line of passage of migratory hostile tribes, it nowhere forms the boundary between two states from Orsova upwards, and thus it traverses as a central artery Wurttemberg, Bavaria, Austria and Hungary, while on the other hand various tributaries both north and south, which formed serious obstacles to the march of armies, have become lines of separation between different states. Thus Hungary is separated from Austria by the rivers March and Leitha; the river Enns, for a considerable period the extreme western boundary of the Magyar kingdom, still separates Upper and Lower Austria; the Inn and the Salzach divide Austria from Bavaria, and farther west the Iller separates Bavaria from Wurttemberg. The Danube after leaving Donaueschingen flows south-east in the direction of Lake Constance, and below Immendingen a considerable quantity of its waters escapes through Course. subterranean fissures to the river Ach in the Rhine basin. At Gutmadingen it turns to the north-east, which general direction, although with many windings, it maintains as far as Linz. At Tuttlingen it contracts and the hills crowd close to the banks, while ruins of castles crown almost every possible summit. The scenery is wild and beautiful until the river passes Sigmaringen. At Ulm, where the river leaves Wurttemberg and enters Bavaria, it is joined by a large tributary, the Iller, and from this point becomes navigable downstream for specially constructed boats carrying Too tons of merchandise. It is here some 78 yds. in breadth, with an average depth of 3 ft. 6 in. Continuing its north-easterly course it passes through Bavaria, gradually widening its channel first at Steppberg, then at Ingolstadt, but finally narrowing again until it reaches Regensburg (height 949 ft.). At this point it changes its direction to the south-east, and passing along the southern slopes of the Bavarian Forest enters Austria at Passau (height 800 ft.). In its passage through Bavaria it receives several important affluents on both banks, notably on the right the Alpine rivers Lech, Isar and Inn, the last of which at the junction near Passau exceeds in volume the waters of the Danube. From Passau the Danube flows through Austria for a distance of 233 M. Closed in by mountains it flows past Linz in an unbroken stream—below, it expands and divides into many arms until it reaches the famous whirlpool near Grein where its waters unite and flow on in one channel for 40 m., through mountains and narrow passes. Beyond Krems it again divides, forming arms and islands beyond Vienna. The Danube between Linz and Vienna is renowned not only for its picturesque beauty but for the numerous medieval and modern buildings of historical and archaeological interest which crown its banks. The splendid Benedictine monastery of Melk and the ruins of Durrenstein, the prison of Richard Cceur de Lion, are among the most interesting. After passing Vienna and the Marchfeld, the Danube (here 316 yds. wide and 429 ft. above sea-level) passes through a defile formed by the lower spurs of the Alps and the Carpathians and enters Hungary at the ruined castle of Theben a little above Pressburg, the old Magyar capital, after leaving which the river passes through the Hungarian plains, receiving several affluents on both sides. It divides into three channels, forming severalislands. After passing the fortress of Komarom it loses its easterly course at Vacz (Waitzen), and flows nearly due south for 23o m. down to its junction with the Drave (81 ft. above sea-level), passing in its course Budapest, the capital of Hungary, and farther on Mohacs. Below Mohacs the Franz Josef canal connects the Danube with the Theiss. After its junction with the Save the Danube follows a south-easterly direction for zoo M. until it is joined on the right bank of the Drave at Belgrade, above which it receives on the left bank the Theiss or Tisz., the largest of its Hungarian affluents. From Belgrade the Danube separates Hungary from Servia. It flows eastward until it has passed through the stupendous Kazan defile, in which its waters (at Semlin 1700 yds. wide and 40 ft. deep) are hemmed in by precipitous rocks to a width of only 162 yds., with a depth of 150 ft. and a tremendous current. Emerging, above Orsova, at a height of 42 ft. above sea-level, it opens to nearly a mile in width and, turning south-eastwards, is again narrowed by its last defile, the Iron Gates, where it passes over the Prigrada rock. The course of the river through Hungary, from Pressburg to Orsova, is some 60o m. The river now flows south, separating Servia from Rumania down to its junction with the Timok, after which as far as Silistria, a distance of 284 m., it separates Rumania from Bulgaria. The north bank is mostly flat and marshy, whereas the Bulgarian bank is almost continuously crowned by low heights on which are built the considerable towns of Vidin (Widdin), Lom Palanka, Rustchuk and Silistria, all memorable names in Turko-Russian wars. From Silistria the river flows through Rumanian territory and after passing Cernavoda, where it is crossed by a modern railway bridge, it reaches (left bank) the important commercial ports of Braila and Galatz. A few miles east of Galatz the Pruth enters on the left bank, which is thenceforward Russian territory. The Danube flows in a single channel from Galatz for 30 M. to the Ismail Chatal (or fork), where it breaks up into the several branches of the delta. The Kilia branch from this point flows to the north-east past the towns of Ismail and Kilia, and 17 M. below the latter breaks up into another delta discharging by seven channels into the Black Sea. The Tulcea branch flows south-east from the Ismail Chatal, and 7 M. below the town of Tulcea separates into two branches. The St George's branch, holding a general, though winding, course to the south-east, discharges by two channels into the sea; and the Sulina branch, taking an easterly direction, emerges into the Black Sea 20 M. south of the Ochakov mouth of the Kilia, and 20 M. north of the Kedrilles mouth of the St George. In 1857 the proportion of discharge by the three branches of the Danube was Sulina 7%, St George's 30% and Kilia 63 %; but in loos the relative proportions had altered to Sulina 9%, St George's 24% and Kilia 67%. The average outflow by the three mouths combined is 236,432 cub. ft. per second. The delta enclosed between the Kilia and St George's branches, about rood sq. m. in area, mainly consists of one large marsh covered with reeds, and intersected by channels, relieved in places by isolated elevations covered with oak, beech and willows, many of them marking the ancient coast-line. On the eastern side of the. Kilia delta the coast-line is constantly advancing and the sea becoming shallower, owing to the enormous amount of solid deposits brought down by the river. In time of ordinary flood the Kilia branch with its numerous mouths pours into the sea some 3000 cub. ft. of sand and mud per minute. Its effects are felt as far south as Sulina, and tend to necessitate the farther extension into the sea of the guiding piers of that port. In the course of the loth century, more especially during its latter half, much was done to render the Danube more available as a means of communication. In 1816 Austria and Bavaria made arrangements for the common utilization of the upper portion of the river, and since then both governments have been liberal in expenditure on its improvement. In 1844 the Ludwigs Canal was constructed by King Louis of Bavaria. It is 110 M. in length and y ft. in depth, and connects the Danube at Kelheim (half way between Ulm and Passau) with the Rhine at Mainz by means of the rivers Altmuhl, Regnitz and Navigation. Main. Various other projects exist, one for the connexion of the Danube (near Vienna) with the river Oder at Oderberg, another for a canal from the Danube to the Moldau at Budweis, 125 M. in length, which owing to the regularization of the Moldau is the last uncompleted link of a navigable channel 1875 M. in length between Sulina and Hamburg at the mouths of the Danube and the Elbe respectively. There also exist other schemes for joining the Danube with the rivers Neckar and Theiss, and also for connecting the Oder Canal with the Vistula and the Dniester. Between Ulm and Vienna, a distance of 629 m., works of rectification have been numerous and have greatly improved the navigability of the river. The draining of the Donau-moos between Neuburg and Ingolstadt, commenced in 1791, was successfully completed about 1835; and in 1853 the removal of the rocks which obstructed the river below Grein was finally achieved; while at Vienna itself the whole mass of the Danube was conducted nearer the town for a distance of nearly 2 m. through an artificial channel ro m. in length and 330 yds. in width, with a depth of about 12 ft., and at a cost with subsidiary works of over three millions sterling. The work, begun in 1866, involved the removal of 12,000,000 cub. metres of sand and gravel, and proved a great success, not only amply realizing its principal object, the protection of Vienna from disastrous inundations, but also improving the navigability of the river in that portion of its course. The Hungarian government also, through-out the latter half of the 19th century, expended vast sums at Budapest for the improvement of navigation and the protection of the town from inundation, and in the regularization of the Danube down to Orsova. In prehistoric times a great part of the plains of Hungary formed a large inland sea, which ultimately burst its bounds, whereupon the Danube forced its way through the Carpathians at the Kazan defile. Much of what then formed the bottom of this sea consisted until modern times of marshes and waste lands lying in the vicinity of its numerous rivers. The problem of draining and utilizing these lands was not the only difficulty to be surmounted by the Hungarian engineers; the requirements of navigation and the necessity in winter of preventing the formation of large ice-fields, such as caused the disastrous floods at Budapest in 1838, had also to be considered. In carrying out these works the Hungarian government between 1867 and 1895 spent seven millions sterling, and a further expenditure of three and a half millions was provided for up to 1907. At Budapest, where the formation of ice-fields at the upper entrance of the two side arms of the Danube—the Promontor on the north, 20 M. in length, and the Soroksar, 35 M. long,—caused the inundation alluded to, the latter branch has been artificially blocked and the whole of the Danube now flows through Budapest in a single channel. For the first section of 6o m. after entering Hungary, the bed of the river, here surcharged with gravel, was constantly changing its course. It has been regularized throughout, the width of the stream varying from 320 to 400 yds. In the second section from Gonyo to Paks, 164 m. in length, the river had a tendency to form islands and sandbanks—its width now varies uniformly from 455 to 487 yds. The third section of 113 m., from Paks to the mouth of the Drave, differed from the others and made innumerable twists and curves. No fewer than seventeen cuttings have been made, reducing the original course of the river by 75 M. The fourth section, 217 M. in length, from the Drave to Old Moldova, resembles in its characteristics the second section and has been similarly treated. Cuttings have also been made where necessary, and the widths of the channel are 487 yds. to the mouth of the Theiss, 65o between that point and the Save, and lower down 76o yds. In the fifth and last section from Old Moldova to Orsova and the Iron Gates the river is enclosed by mountains and rocky banks, and the obstacles to navigation are rocks and whirlpools. Article VI. of the treaty of London (1871) authorized the powers which possess the shores of this part of the Danube to come to an understanding with the view of removing these impediments, and to have the right of levying a provisional tax on vessels of every flag which may henceforth benefit therebyuntil the extinction of the debt contracted for the execution of the works. As the riverain powers could not come to an agreement on the subject, the great powers at the congress of Berlin (1878) entrusted to Austria-Hungary the execution of the works in question. Austria-Hungary subsequently conferred its rights on Hungary, by which country the works were carried out at a cost of about one and a half millions sterling. The principal obstructions between Old Moldova and Turnu Severin were the Stenka Rapids, the Kozla Dojke Rapids, the Greben section and the Iron Gates. At the first named there was a bank of rocks, some of them dry at low water, extending almost across the river (985 yds. wide). The fall of the river bed is small, but the length of the rapid is 1100 yds. The Kozla Dojke, 9 m. below the Stenka Rapids, extend also for rloo yds., with a fall of 1 in r000, where two banks of rocks cause a sudden alternation in the direction of the current. The river is here only 170 to 330 yds. in width. Six miles farther on is the Greben section, the most difficult part of the works of improvement. A spur of the Greben mountains runs out below two shoals where the river suddenly narrows to 300 yds. at low water, but presently widens to 1i m. Seven miles lower down are the Jucz Rapids, where the river-bed has a fall of 1 in 433. At the Iron Gates, 34 M. below the Greben, the Prigrada rocky bank nearly blocked the river at the point where it widens out after leaving the Kazan defile. The general object of the works was to obtain a navigable depth of water at all seasons of 2 metres (6.56 ft.) on that portion of the river above Orsova, and a depth of 3 metres (9.84 ft.) below that town. To effect this at Stenka, Kozla Dojke, Islaz and Tachtalia, channels 66 yds. wide had to be cut in the solid rock to a depth of 6 ft. 6 in. below low water. The point of the Greben spur had to be entirely removed for a distance of 167 yds. back from its original face. Below the Greben point a training wall 7 to 9 ft. high, ro ft. at top and nearly 4 M. in length, has been built along the Servian shore in order to confine the river in a narrow channel. At Jucz another similar channel had to be cut and a training wall built. At the Iron Gates a channel 8o yds. wide, nearly 2000 yds. in length and ro ft. deep (in the immediate vicinity of traces of an old Roman canal) had to be cut on the Servian side of the river through solid rock. Training walls have been built on either side of the channel to confine the water so as to raise its level; that on the right bank having a width of 19 ft. 6 in. at top, and serving as a tow-path; that on the left being 13 ft. in width. These training walls are built of stone with flat revetments to protect them against ice. These formidable and expensive works have not altogether realized the expectations that had been formed of them. One most important result, however, has been attained, i.e. vessels can now navigate the Iron Gates at all seasons of the year when the river is not closed by ice, whereas formerly at extreme low water, lasting generally for about three months in the late summer and autumn, through navigation was always at a standstill, and goods had to be landed and transported considerable distances by land. The canal was opened for traffic on the 1st of October 1898. It was designed of sufficient width, as was supposed, for the simultaneous passage of boats in opposite directions; but on account of the great velocity of the current this has been found to be impracticable. From the Iron Gates down to Braila, which is the highest point to which large sea-going ships ascend the river, there have been no important works of improvement. From Braila to European Sulina, a distance of about loo m., the river falls under commis-the jurisdiction of the European commission of the sion of Danube, an institution of such importance as to merit the lengthened notice. It was called into existence under Danube. Art. XVI. of the treaty of Paris (1856), and in November of that year a commission was constituted in which Austria, France, Great Britain, Prussia, Russia, Sardinia and Turkey were each represented by one delegate " to designate and cause to be executed the works necessary below Isaktchal to clear the mouths of the Danube as well as the neighbouring parts of the sea, from Isakcea was 66 nautical m. from the sea measured by the Sulina arm of the Danube, 37 m. below Braila and 26 m. below Galatz. the sands and other impediments which obstructed them, in order to put that part of the river and the said parts of the sea in the best possible state for navigation." In Art. XVIII. of the same treaty it was anticipated that the European commission would have finished the works described within the period of two years, when it Was to be dissolved and its powers taken over by a Riverain commission to be established under the same treaty; but this commission has never come into existence. Extended by short periods up to 1871, the powers of the European commission were then prolonged under the treaty of London for twelve years. At the congress of Berlin in 1878 its jurisdiction was extended from Isakcea to Galatz (26 m.), and it was decided that the commission, in which Rumania was henceforward to be represented by a delegate, should exercise its powers in complete independence of the territorial authority. By the treaty of London of 1883 the jurisdiction of the commission was extended from Galatz to Braila and its powers were prolonged for twenty-one years (i.e. till the 24th of April 1904), after which its existence was to continue by tacit prolongation for successive terms of three years unless one of the high contracting powers should propose any modification in its constitution or attributes. It was also decided that the European commission should no longer exercise any effective control over that portion of the Kilia branch of which the two banks belonged to one of the riverain powers (Russia and Rumania), while as regards that portion of it which separated the two countries, control was to be exercised by the Russian and Rumanian delegates on the European commission. Russia was also authorized to levy tolls intended to cover the expenses of any works of improvement that might be undertaken by her. Art. VII. of the same treaty declared that the regulations for navigation, river police, and superintendence drawn up on the 2nd of June 1882 by the European commission, assisted by the delegates of Servia and Bulgaria, should be made applicable to that part of the Danube situated between the Iron Gates and Braila. In consequence of Rumania's opposition, the proposed Commission Mixte was never formed, and these regulations have never been put in force. As regards the extension of the powers of the European commission to Braila, i i m. above Galatz, and at the head of the maritime navigation, a tacit understanding has been arrived at, under which questions concerning navigation proper come under the jurisdiction of the commission, while the police of the ports remains in the hands of the Rumanian authorities. Sir Charles Hartley, who was chief engineer of the commission from 1856 to 1907,1 in a paper contributed to the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1873 (vol. xxxvi.), gave the following graphic description of the state of the Sulina mouth when the commission entered on its labours in 1856: " The entrance to the Sulina branch was a wild open seaboard strewn with wrecks, the hulls and masts of which, sticking out of the submerged sandbanks, gave to mariners the only guide where the deepest channel was to be found. The depth of the channel varied from 7 to II ft., and was rarely more than 9 ft. " The site now occupied by wide quays extending several miles in length was then entirely covered with water when the sea rose a few inches above ordinary level, and that even in a perfect calm; the banks of the river near the mouth were only indicated by clusters of wretched hovels built on piles and by narrow patches of sand skirted by tall weeds, the only vegetable product of the vast swamps beyond. For some years before the improvements, an average of 2000 vessels of an aggregate capacity of 400,000 tons visited the Danube, and of this number more than three-fourths loaded either the whole or part of their cargoes from lighters in the Sulina roadstead, where, lying off a lee shore, they were frequently exposed to the greatest danger. Shipwrecks were of common occurrence, and occasionally the number of disasters was appalling. One dark winter night in 1855, during a terrific gale, 24 sailing ships and 60 lighters went ashore off the mouth and upwards of 300 persons perished." The state of affairs in the river was not much better than at the Sulina mouth. Of the three arms of the Danube, the Kilia, the ' Sir Charles Hartley became consulting engineer in 1872, when he was succeeded as resident engineer by Mr Charles Kuhl, C.E., C.M.G. To those two gentlemen is mainly due the conspicuous success of the engineering works. Sulina and the St George, the central or Sulina branch, owing to its greater depth of water over the bar, had from time immemorial been the principal waterway for sea-going vessels; its average ' depth throughout its course, which could not always be counted on, was 8 ft., but it contained numerous shoals where vessels had to lighten, so that cargo had often to be shifted several times in the voyage down the river. It also contained numerous bends and sharp curves, sources of the greatest difficulty to navigation. The commission fixed its seat at Galatz. Provisional works of improvement were begun almost immediately at the mouth of the Sulina branch of the Danube, but two years were spent in discussing the relative claims to adoption of the Kilia, the Sulina and the St George's mouths. Unable to agree, the delegates referred the question to their respective governments, and a technical commission appointed by France, England, Prussia and Sardinia met at Paris and decided unanimously in favour of St George's; but recommended, instead of the embankment of the natural channel, the formation of an artificial canal 17 ft. in depth closed by sluices at its junction with the river, and reaching the sea at some distance from the natural embouchure. The choice of St George's made by this commission was adopted at Galatz in December 1858, and six of the seven representatives voted for its canalization; but owing to various political and financial considerations, it was ultimately decided to do nothing more in the meantime than render permanent and effective the provisional works already in progress at the Sulina mouth. These consisted of two piers forming a seaward prolongation of the fluvial channel, begun in 1858 and completed in 1861. The northern pier had a length of 4631 ft., the southern of 3000, and the depth of the water in which they were built varied from 6 to 20 ft. At the commencement of the works the depth of the channel was only 9 ft. but by their completion it had increased to 19 ft. The works designed and constructed by Sir Charles Hartley had in fact proved so successful that nothing more was ever heard of the St George's project. In 1865 a new lighthouse was erected at the end of the north pier. The value of these early works of the commission is shown by the fact that of 2928 vessels navigating the lower Danube in 1855, 36 were wrecked, while of 2676 in 1865 only 7 were wrecked. In 1871 it was found expedient to lengthen the piers seaward, and in 1876 the south jetty was prolonged, so as to bring its end exactly opposite the lighthouse on the north pier. This resulted in an increase of the depth to 20 ft., and for fifteen years, from 1879 to 1895, this depth remained constant without the aid of dredging. In 1894, owing to the constantly increasing size of vessels frequenting the Danube, it was found necessary to deepen the entrance still further, and to construct two parallel piers between the main jetties, reducing the breadth of the river to 5o0 ft., and thereby increasing the scour. There is now a continuous channel 24 ft. in depth, 5200 ft. in length, and 300 ft. in width between the piers, and 600 ft. outside the extremities of the piers, until deep water is reached in the open sea. This depth is only maintained by constant dredging. The engineers of the commission have been equally successful in dealing with the Sulina branch of the river. Its original length of 45 M. from St George's Chatal to the sea was impeded at the commencement of the improvement works by eleven bends, each with a radius of less than loon ft., besides numerous others of somewhat larger radius, and its bed was encumbered by ten shifting shoals, varying from 8 to 13 ft. in depth at low water. By means of a series of training walls, by groynes thrown out from the banks, by revetments of the banks, and by dredging, all done with the view of narrowing the river, a minimum depth of 11 ft. was attained in 1865, and 13 ft. in 1871. In 188o the needs of commerce and the increased size of steamers frequenting the river necessitated the construction of a new entrance from the St George's branch. This work, designed in 1857, but unexecuted during a quarter of a century, owing to insufficiency of funds, was completed in 1882; and in 1886, after other comparatively short cuttings had been made to get rid of difficult bends and further to deepen the channel without having to resort to dredgers, the desired minimum depth of 15 ft. was attained. Since that date a series of new cuttings has been made. These have shortened the length of the Sulina canal by 11 nautical m., eliminated all the difficult bends and shoals, and provided an almost straight waterway 34 M. in length from Sulina to St George's Chatal, with a minimum depth of 20 ft. when the river is at its lowest. In the early days of the commission, i.e. from 1857 to 186o, the money spent on the works of improvement, amounting to about £150,000, was advanced as a loan by the then territorial power, Turkey; but in r86o the commission began to levy taxes on vessels frequenting the river, and since then has repaid its debt to the Turkish government, as well as various loans for short periods, and a larger one of £120,000 guaranteed by the powers, and raised in 1868, mainly through the energy of the British commissioner, Sir John Stokes. This last loan was paid off in 1882 and the commission became free from debt in 1887. It has now an average annual income of about £8o,000 derived from taxes paid by ships when 1 leaving the river. The normal annual expenditure amounts to about 56,000, while £24,000 is generally allotted to extraordinary works, such as new cuttings, &c. Between 1857 and 1905 a sum of about one and three quarter millions sterling was spent on engineering works, including the construction of quays, lighthouses, workshops and buildings, &c. Sulina from being a collection of mud hovels has developed into a town with 5000 inhabitants; a well-found hospital has been established where all merchant sailors receive gratuitous treatment; lighthouses, quays, floating elevators and an efficient pilot service all combine to make it a first-class port. The result of all the combined works for the rectification of the Danube is that from Sulina up to Braila the river is navigable for sea-going vessels up to 4000 tons register, from Braila to Turnu Severin it is open for sea-going vessels up to 600 tons, and for flat barges of from 1500 to 2000 tons capacity. From Turnu Severin to Orsova navigation is confined to river steamers, tugs and barges drawing 6 ft. of water. Thence to Vienna the draught is limited to 5 ft., and from Vienna to Regensburg to a somewhat lower figure. Barges of 600 tons register can be towed from the lower Danube to Regensburg. Here petroleum tanks have been constructed for the storage of Rumanian petroleum, the first consignment of which in 1898, conveyed in tank boats, took six weeks on the voyage up from Giurgevo. The principal navigation company on the upper Danube is the Societe Imperiale et Royale Autrichienne of Vienna, which started operations in 183o. This company also owns the Funfkirchen mines, producing annu' ally 5oo,00o tons of coal. The society transports goods and passengers between Galatz and Regensburg. A less important society is the Rumanian State Navigation Company, possessing a large flotilla of tugs and barges, which run to Budapest, where they have established a combined service with the South Danube German Company for the transport of goods from Pest to Regensburg. A Hungarian Navigation Company, subsidized by the state, has also been formed, and the Hungarian railways, the Servian government and private owners own a large number of tugs and barges. But it is the trade of the lower Danube that has principally benefited. Freights from Galatz and Braila to North Sea ports have fallen from 5os. to about 12S. or even ros. per ton. Sailing ships of 200 tons register have given way to steamers up to 4000 tons register carrying a deadweight of nearly 8000 tons; and good order has succeeded chaos. From 1847 to 186o an average of 203 British ships entered the Danube averaging 193 tons each; from 1861 to 1889; 486 ships averaging 796 tons; in 1893, 905 vessels of 1,287,762 tons, or 68% of the total traffic, and rather more than two and a half times the total amount of British tonnage visiting the Danube in the fourteen years between 1847 and 186o. The average amount of cereals (principally wheat) annually exported from the Danube during the period 1901–1905 was 13,000,000 quarters, i.e. about five times the average annual ' Ships pay no taxes to the commission on entering the river, but an leaving it every ship of over 1500 tons register pays Is. 5d. per registered ton if loaded at Galatz or Braila; or I Id. per ton if loaded at Sulina. This includes pilotage and light dues. Smaller vessels pay less and ships of less than 300 tons are exempt.exportation during the period 1861–1867. It has been calculated that between 1861 and 1902 the total tonnage of ships frequenting the Danube increased five-fold, while the mean size of individual ships increased ten-fold.
End of Article: DANUBE (Ger. Donau, Hungarian Duna, Rumanian Dunarea, Lat. Danubius or Danuvius, and in the lower part of its course Ister)
[back]
GEORGE JACQUES DANTON (1759-1794)
[next]
DANVERS

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.