YAROSLAVL, or YAROSLAV, a government of central Russia, separated from the government of Moscow by the governments of Vladimir and Tver on the S., and having Tver and Novgorod on the W., Volgoda on the N. and Kostroma on the E. It is one of the smallest, but most populous and busiest, governments of Great Russia; area, 13,747 sq. m. It consists of a broad and shallow depression, elongated from W. to E., where the Volga flows at a level of 260 to 230 ft. above the sea, while the surrounding hills rise to 700 or 800 ft. In the W., especially between the Mologa and the Sheksna, the country contains very many marshes and ponds, and there are low and marshy tracts in the S. about Rostov.
Jurassic clays, sandstones and sands cover nearly the whole of Yaroslavl, but they are concealed almost everywhere under thick deposits of Glacial boulder clay, which is regarded by Russian geologists as the bottom moraine of the great ice-cap of the Glacial period. Triassic " variegated marls," widely disseminated throughout the whole of the middle Volga region, undoubtedly underlie nearly all the Jurassic deposits of the government, but only a few patches emerge at the surface; many salt springs exist in these deposits. The Upper Carboniferous limestones crop out only in the N.W. and towards the E. The chief mineral products are bog-iron ores, sulphate of copper and pottery clay. Peat occurs in thick beds. There are several mineral springs. The soil is mostly a kind of loess of moderate fertility; sandy tracts are not uncommon.
The principal river is the Volga, which traverses the government for 1 80 m., making a great bend to the N. The chief towns Rybinsk, Yaroslavl, Mologa, Romanovo-Bcrisoglyebsk, Uglich and Myshkin are situated on its banks, and a brisk traffic is carried on, both by the river itself and by two canals, Mariinsk and Tikhvinsk, which connect it with the Neva through its tributaries the Sheksna and the Mologa. Another tributary of the Volga is the Kotorost, which has many factories on its banks and is navigated, especially in spring. The Kostroma flows along the E. border and is a channel for the export of timber and fuel.
The forests, chiefly fir and Scotch pine, cover one-third of the area ; but they are being rapidly destroyed. The flora bears a northern stamp, owing to the presence of the dwarf birch, of the Arctic raspberry (Rubus arcticus), and of Linnaea borealis.
The average temperature at the city of Yaroslavl is 40 F. (January, 6-5; July, 61-5); the prevailing S.W. and W. winds render it moister than in central Russia. The rivers remain frozen 1 18 to 183 days every year.
The population, which is thoroughly Russian, numbered 1,175,900 in 1906. The government is divided into ten districts, the chief towns of which are Yaroslavl, Danilov, Lyubim, Mologa, Myshkin, Poshekhon, Romanovo-Borisoglyebsk, Rostov, Rybinsk and Uglich. Yaroslavl belongs to the manufacturing region of central Russia, but the domestic character of many industries permits the inhabitants to cultivate their fields and also to work in small factories. The peasants and peasant communities own over 5,000,000 acres, or about 57% of the total area, of which they have acquired nearly 1,000,000 acres by purchase since their emancipation in 1861; 30% is held by private persons, and 7% by the crown. There were in 1900 1,169,000 acres (13-3 % of the total area) under cereals, the principal crops being rye, wheat, oats, barley and potatoes. Flax is widely cultivated both for linseed and fibre, and both fresh and dried vegetables are exported; Rostov enjoys a great reputation as the centre of this industry. Live-stock breeding is of only less importance than agriculture, and poultry is exported. Large numbers find employment in the making of hardware, locks, felt boots, gloves, wooden wares, pottery and metallic wares. Factories have considerably developed; the principal are cotton, flax and woollen mills, flour-mills, tobacco factories, distilleries, breweries, chicory works, tanneries, candle works, petroleum refineries, machinery, chemical and match works. Rybinsk and Yaroslavl are the chief commercial centres, but Rostov, Mologa, Romanovo and Poshekhon cany on an active trade in corn, timber and manufactured wares. Many of the male population annually leave their homes to work all over Russia as locksmiths, masons, plasterers, waiters in restaurants, greengrocers, tailors, gardeners, carpenters, joiners, pilots, boatmen.
As early as the 9th century the Slavs had become masters of the Yaroslavl territory, which was formerly occupied by the Finnish tribes of Vess and Merya, as also by Mordvinians, Muroms and Cheremisses in the S. Rostov was already in existence; but Yaroslavl, Rybinsk and Uglich begin to be mentioned in the annals only in the nth and 1zth centuries. The independent principality of Rostov was divided in the 13th century into three parts, but these were soon afterwards successively annexed to Moscow.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)