Siberia 1891-1917

Siberia 1847-1891

Nikolay Muravyov, Governor-General of Eastern Siberia from 1847 to 1861, pursued a policy of territorial expansion. In 1858, Russia coerced the Chinese Empire to cede the Amur Province, in 1860 the Maritime Province. In an 1875 agreement, Japan recognized Russian sovereignty over Sakhalin in return for Russian recognition of Japanese sovereignty over the Kuril Islands. In 1867, Russia sold Alaska to the United States.

Prior to the construction of the Transiberian Railroad, the country was thinly populated. The native peoples had suffered from Russian rule, as they had been forced to kill excessive numbers of fur-bearing animals, bringing these close to extinction and thus bereaving them of the most lucrative source of income.
The Russian administration depended heavily on Siberia's transportation, the "Old Road" (Veliky Trakt) - navigable stretches of rivers, navigable only after the ice had melted, and on transport by horses, which during the short summer were pestered by myriads of mosquitoes. Along the transportation route were cities, often with a citadel; the Russian population consisted of civil administrators, military personnel, of internal exiles (deported criminals and political prisoners), of the descendants of religious refugees / exiles (Old Believers), in western Siberia of immigrant peasants and their descendants, of a few merchants.

In 1849 Russian navigator Nevelskoi sailed through Tartary Strait, proving that Sakhalin is an island. Chita was elevated to the status of a town in 1851, Nikolayevsk founded in 1851. In 1856 the Decembrists, living in exile in Siberia since 1825, were pardoned. Khabarovsk was founded in 1858, Vladivostok was declared a free port in 1862. Following the Polish Rebellion of 1863, almost 50,000 Poles were sent to Siberian exile (Sybiraks). From 1870 onward the immigration of Russian peasants increased; most of those coming until 1890 settled in the Government of Tobolsk. In 1878-1879, Nordenskjöld travelled through the North East Passage. In 1879 the center of Irkutsk was destroyed by fire. From 1883 onward, ships brought settlers to Vladivostok from European Russia. Gold was found near Yakutsk in the 1880es. In 1882 the capital of the governorship of Western Siberia was moved from Omsk to Tomsk. In 1888 the University of Tomsk was founded. In 1889 the Ussuri Cossacks were established.

Articles Irkutsk, History of Siberia, Sybiraks, History of Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Nikolay Muravyov, Ussuri Cossack Host, Yakutsk, Chita, from Wikipedia
Articles Siberia, Nerchinsk Mining District, Irkutsk Government, Yakutsk Province, Tomsk Government, Semipalatinsk Government, Tobolsk Government, Yeniseisk Government, Transbaikalia, Maritime Province, Sakhalin, Akmolinsk, Yakutsk, Irkutsk, Barnaul, Krasnoyarsk, Yeniseisk, Tobolsk, Nerchinsk, Vladivostok, Nikolayevsk on the Amur, Khabarovsk, Chita, Tyumen, Omsk, Kurgan, from EB 1911
REFERENCE Benson Bobrick, East of the Sun. The Epic Conquest and Tragic History of Siberia, NY : Poseidon 1992 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on August 5th 2007

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