CHERNIGOV, a government of Little Russia, on the left bank of the Dnieper, bounded by the governments of Mogilev and Smolensk on the N., Orel and Kursk on the E., Poltava on the S., and Kiev and Minsk on the W. Area, 20,233 sq. m. Its surface is an undulating plain, 650 to 750 ft. high in the north and 370 to 600 ft. in the south, deeply grooved by ravines and the valleys of the rivers. In the north, beyond the Desna river, about one-third of the area is under forest (rapidly disappearing), and marshes occur along the courses of the rivers; while to the south of the Desna the soil is dry and sometimes sandy, and gradually it assumes the characters of a steppe-land as one proceeds southward. The government is drained by the Dnieper, which forms its western boundary for 180 m., and by its tributary the Desna. The latter, which flows through Chernigov for nearly 350 m., is navigable, and timber is brought down its tributaries. The climate is much colder in the wooded tracts of the north than in the south; the average yearly temperature at the city of Chernigov is 44.4° F. (January, 23°; July 68.5°).
The population reached 1,996,250 in 1883, 2,316,818 in 1897, and 2,746,300 (estimate) in 1906. It is chiefly Little Russian (85.6%); but Great Russians (6.1%), mostly Raskolniks, i.e. nonconformists, and White Russians (5.6%) inhabit the northern districts. There are, besides, some Germans, as well as Greeks, at Nyezhin. Agriculture is the principal occupation; in the north, however, many of the inhabitants are engaged in the timber trade, and in the production of tar, pitch, wooden wares, leather goods and so forth. Cattle-breeding is carried on in the central districts. Beet is extensively cultivated. The cultivation of tobacco is increasing. Hemp is widely grown in the north, and the milder climate of the south encourages gardening. Bee-keeping is extensively carried on by the Raskolniks. Limestone, grindstones, china-clay and building-stone are quarried. Manufactures have begun to develop rapidly of late, the most important being sugar-works, distilleries, cloth-mills and glass-works. The government is divided into fifteen districts, their chief towns being Chernigov (q.v.), Borzna (pop. 12,458 in 1897), Glukhov (14,856), Gorodnya (4197), Konotop (23,083), Kozelets (5160), Krolevets (10,375), Mglin (7631), Novgorod-Syeversk (9185), Novozybkov (15,480), Nyezhin (32,481), Oster (5384), Sosnitsa (2507), Starodub (12,451) and Surazh (4004).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)