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Samara, Government Of

SAMARA, GOVERNMENT OF, a government of S.E. Russia, on the W. side of the lower Volga, bounded on the N. by the governments of Kazan and Ufa, on the W. by Simbirsk and Saratov, on the E. by Ufa and Orenburg, and on the S. by Astrakhan, the Kirghiz Steppes and the territory of the Ural Cossacks. The area is 58,302 sq. m., and the population, in 1897, 2,763,478. A line drawn E. from the great bend of the Volga the Samarskaya Luka would divide the government into two parts, differing in orographical character. In the N. are flat hills and plateaus intersected by deep rivers. In their highest parts these elevations rise about 1000 ft. above the sea, while the level of the Volga at Samara is only 43 ft. S. of the Samarskaya Luka the country assumes the character of a low, flat steppe, recently emerged from the post-Pliocene Aral-Caspian basin. The government is built up chiefly of Carboniferous sandstones, conglomerates, clay slates and limestones, representing mostly deep-sea deposits. The Permian formation appears along the rivers Sok and Samara, and is represented by limestones, sands and marls containing gypsum, all of marine origin, and by continental deposits dating from the same period; sandstones impregnated with petroleum also occur. In the N. these deposits are covered with " variegated marls " and with a variety of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous deposits. The Tertiary formation (Eocene) appears only at Novo-uzensk; the remainder of a vast sheet of this formation, which at one time covered all the region between the Volga and the Urals, was removed during the Glacial period. Post-Tertiary Caspian deposits penetrate far into the government along the main valleys, and a thick layer of loess occurs in the N. Selenites, rock-crystal and agates are found, as also copper ores, rock-salt and sandstone extracted for building purposes. The soil is on the whole very fertile. All the N. of the government is covered with a thick sheet of black earth; this becomes thinner towards the S., clays mostly fertile cropping out from underneath it; salt clays appear in the S.E.

Samara is inadequately drained, especially in the S. The Volga flows for 550 m. along its W. border. Its tributaries, the Great Cheremshan (220 m.), the Sok (195 m.), the Samara (340 m.), with its tributaries, are not navigable, partly on account of their shallowness and partly because of water-mills. When the water is high, boats can penetrate up some of them 15 to 30 m. The Great Irgiz alone, which has an exceedingly winding course of 335 m., is navigated to Kushum, and rafts are floated from Nikolayevsk. The banks of both Karamans are densely peopled. The Great and Little Uzefi drain S.E. Samara and lose themselves in the Kamysh sands before reaching the Caspian. Salt marshes occur in the S.E.

The whole of the region is rapidly drying up. The forests, which are disappearing, are extensive only in the N. Altogether they cover 8% of the surface; prairie and grazing land occupies 32%, and 12% is uncultivable.

The climate is one of extremes, especially in the steppes, where the depressing heat and drought of summer are followed in winter by severe frosts, often accompanied by snowstorms. The average temperature at Samara (53 n' N.) is only 39- 2 (January, 9-3; July, 70 -4).

The population, which was 1,388,500 in 1853, numbered 2,763,478 in 1897, of whom 1,398,263 were women and 159,485 lived in towns. The estimated pop. in 1906 was 3,276,500. Great and Little Russians formed 69% of the inhabitants; Mordvinians 8-6%, Chuvashes and Votiaks 2-3%, .Germans 8-1% Tatars 3-6% and Bashkirs 2%. The Great Russians immigrated in compact masses. A special feature of Samara is its German colonists, from Wurttemberg, Baden, Switzerland and partly also from Holland and the Palatinate, whose immigration dates from the time of Catherine II. in 1762. Favoured as they were by free and extensive grants of land, by exemption from military service and by self-government, they have developed into wealthy colonies of Roman Catholics, Protestants, Unitarians, Anabaptists, Moravians and Mennonites. As regards religion, the great bulk of the population are Orthodox Greeks; the Nonconformists, who are settled chiefly on both the rivers Uzefi, number officially 100,000, but their real numbers are higher; next come Mahommedans, 12%; various Protestant sects, 5%; Roman Catholics, about z%; and some 4000 pagans.

The chief occupation is agriculture wheat, rye, oats, millet, oil-yielding plants, potatoes and tobacco being the principal crops. Owing to its great fertility, Samara usually has a surplus of grain for export, varying from ij to 4 million quarters ( exclusive of oats) annually. Notwithstanding this production, the government is periodically liable to famine to such an extent that men die by thousands of hunger-typhus, or are forced to go by thousands in search of employment on the Volga. The population have no store of corn, or reserve capital for years of scarcity, and some 210,000 males have each an average of only four acres of arable and pasture land. But even this soil, although all taxed as arable, is often of such quality that only 50% to 55% of it is under crops, while the peasants are compelled to rent from two to two and a half million acres for tillage from large proprietors. Over 8J million acres, or not far short of one-quarter of the total area of the government, purchased from the crown or from the Bashkirs very often at a few pence per acre are in the hands of no more than 1704 persons. The general impoverishment may be judged from the death-rate, 46 to 48 per thousand. Out of the total area, 4,143,800 acres belong to the crown, 7,979,000 to private persons and 22,486,700 acres to the peasants, who rent, moreover, about 6| million acres. Water melons and sunflowers are extensively cultivated, and gardening is widely engaged in; mustard and inferior qualities of tobacco are grown. Hemp-seed, linseed, and other oil-seeds and bran are exported, as well as cereals and flour. Livestock are extensively bred. Bee-keeping is another pursuit that is widely followed. The export of poultry, especially of geese, has increased greatly. The principal manufactures are flourmills, tanneries, distilleries, candle and tallow works, breweries and sugar refineries. Petty domestic industries, especially the weaving of woollen cloth, are carried on in the S. Both the external and the internal trade are very flourishing, nearly 250 fairs being held in the government every year; the chief are those at Novo-uzensk andBugulma. Owing to the efforts of the local zemstvos there are more than the average number of primary schools, namely, one for every 1810 inhabitants. The government is divided into seven districts, the chief towns of which are Samara, Bugulma, Buguruslan, Buzuluk, Nikolayevsk, Novo-Uzen and Stavropol. The Sergiyevsk sulphurous mineral springs, 57 m. from Buguruslan, are visited by numbers of patients.

The territory now occupied by Samara was until the 18th century the abode of nomads. The Bulgarians who occupied it until the 13th century were followed by Mongols of the Golden Horde. The Russians penetrated thus far in the 16th century, after the conquest of the principalities of Kazan and Astrakhan. To secure communication between these two cities, the fort of Samara was erected in 1586, as well as Saratov, Tsaritsyn and the first line of Russian forts, which extended from Byelyi-yar on the Volga to the neighbourhood of Menzelinsk near the Kama. In 1670 Samara was taken by the insurgent leader Stenka Razin. In 1732 the line of forts was removed a little farther E., and the Russian colonists advanced E. as the forts were pushed forwards. In 1762, on the invitation of Catherine II., emigrants from various parts of Germany settled in this region, as also did the Raskolniks, whose communities on the Irgiz became the centre of a formidable insurrection in 1775 under Pugachev. At the end of the 18th century Samara became an important centre for trade. In the first half of the igth century the region was rapidly colonized by Great and Little Russians. In 1847-1850 the government introduced about 120 Polish families; in 1857- 1859 Mennonites from Danzig founded settlements; and in 1859 a few Circassians were brought hither by government; while the influx of Great Russian peasants still goes on.

(P. A. K.; J. T. BE.)

SAMARA, TOWN OF, a town of E. Russia, capital of the government of the same name, 305 m. by river S.S.E of Kazan and 261 m. by rail W.N.W of Orenburg. Its population, which was 63,479 in 1883, numbered 91,672 in 1897. Owing to its situation on the left bank of the Volga, at the convergence of the Siberian and Central Asian railways, it has great commercial importance, especially as a dep6t for cereals and a centre for flour-milling. A considerable trade is also carried on in animal products, particularly hides. The other industries include iron-foundries, soap, candles, vehicles and glue factories, cooperages, tanneries, breweries and brick-works. The port is the best on the Volga. Three great fairs are held every year. The city, which gives title to a bishop of the Orthodox Greek Church, has three cathedrals, built in 1685, 1730-1735 and 1894 respectively, three public libraries, and a natural history and archaeological museum. It is famous for its kumis (mare's milk) cures. Its foundation took place in 1586-1591 for the purpose of protecting the Russian frontier against the Bashkirs, the Kalmucks and the Nogai Tatars.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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