The Crimea as described in Historic Encyclopedias

Pierer 1857-1865, Anskjaer 1858-1863, Nordisk Familjebok 1876-1899

Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, Article : Krim
Crimea, peninsula in southern Russia, located between 44.5 and 46 degrees northern latitude, belongs to Taurida Gubernia, has a coastline of 140 miles and an area of 360 square miles. At the eastern coast extended by Kertch Peninsula, is connected qith the mainland in the north by the land bridge of Perekop which is only 1 mile wide. In the west it borders on the Dead Sea, in the east on the Foul Sea and the Sea of Azov, in the south on the Black Sea. Jenikale Straits, which connects the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea, separates the Crimea from the Caucasus Region. Along the entire west coast, from the roadsted of Sebastopol to Perekop, there is only one port, that of Akmetchet, and Kalamita Bay near Eupatoria, which is very shallow so that ships have to anchor at a distance from the coast. From Perekop to the mouth of the Alma the coast is very flat, but then the coast becomes steep and high. From the large Bay of Sebastopol, which forms a nice secure port, to Cape Chersonese, the southwestern tip of the Crimea, the bays (Quarantine, Strelitz, Sandy, Hose or Kamiech and Cossack Bay) are specious and deep. Along the high and steep southrn coast vessels can only visit smaller ports, the most important of which being Balaclava. At the east coast there are only a small number of ports, the most important of which are Feodosia (Kaffa) and Kertch. Northward from Kertch Peninsula stretches the narrow Arabat Peninsula, about 1000 steps wide and 15 miles long, which separates the Foul Sea from the Sea of Azov. It provides a good road, only threatened by strong winds from north and east. The northern and eastern part of the peninsula, the plain, consists of a monotonous steppe which has to be seen as a continuation of the steppe zone of southern Russia and which covers at least 3/4 of the area. Without trees and lacking water, only a third of the Crimean steppe has a grss cover year round; the remainder only during the spring is covered by a few frail plants, which after ripening quickly turn into ash. The easern part, Kertch Peninsula, formed by volcanic activity, is rich in suplhurous and hot springs, while the northern part of the steppe, along the coasts of the Dead Sea and the Foul Sea, are lined by many salt lakes, where much salt is produced. This plain is bordered byYaila Dagh, a mountain range stretching from Balaclava to New Sudak, steeply descending toward the southern coast 3 - 5 miles distant, while toward the north it gradually descends toward the plain. It extends about 20 miles in west-easterly direction; the ridge has an average height of 3000 feet, and in Chatyr Dagh reaches 4800 feet altitude. hese mountains have a significant impact on the climate, as it blocks the cold winter winds from north and east, and thus turns the southern slope down to the coast into a paradisical region, where it is constantly spring, the region's charm being increased by lush vegetation of forests, orchards and wine, as well as the shore. Therefoe this region is called Crimean Switzerland; it has become the favorite spot of the Russian nobility. Of the rivers, all of which have their springs on Yaila Dagh, are noteworthy : the Salghir, the most importan one, which received the Kara-su from the right, flows eastward across the steppe and feeds into the Foul Sea, then Bulganak, Alma, Kacha and Belbek, all of which flow westward toward Kalamita Bay, and finally the Chernaya which feeds into the Bay of Sebastopol. Good communications on the peninsula are few. The most important ones are the road from Perekop to Simferopol and from there via Karasubazar and Feodosia to Kertch, then from Simferopol via Alushta along the coast to Balaclava (Vorontsov Road), from Simpheropol to Eupatoria, from there to Sebastopol, from Simferopol via Bakhchisaray to Sebastopol and Balaclava. Products : the wide steppe feeds large herds of livestock, namely sheep, cattle and horses; the mountain region on its southern slopes produces wine, in the fertile valleys of the northern slope a lot of fruit, especially plums, apples, pears and walnuts. Near Simferopol important mulberry orchards have been planted; the forests consist to the larger part of beeches, further of oaks. Grain is not cultivated on the Crimea, but tobacco is, and in the north a lo of salt is produced; Crimea can be regarded the salt chamber of European Russia.
Administratively the Crimea is divided in 5 districts : Simferopol, Eupatoria, Perekop, Feodosia, Kertch; the seat of government was in Simferopol. The most important cities are : Simferopol, Bakhchisaray, Karasubazar, Feodosia, Perekop, Sebastopol (before the war 42,000 inhabitants), Eupatoria, Kertch. Except for the formerly large sea fortress Sebastopol, Perekop, Eupatoria, Kertch, Jenikale and Arabat were fortified places. In 1850 the Crimea had 306,600 inhabitants, most of them Tatars, then Russians, Greeks, Armenians, Jews and Germans; if these the Tatars confess Islam and partially life nomadic, while the Russians live in vllages which were established by the crown or by nobles, the Germans (amng them Mennonites who emigrated from Prussia) live as colonists, the Greeks live mostly in the citis and in the valleys on the southern coast, the few Jews and Armenians live in the cities where they are engaged in trade.
History. ... In 1478 Muhammad II. appointed the Tatar Mengli Girai, who had fled to him, Khan of Crimea, but the latter and his descendants remained vassalls of the Sultan. In 1736 the Russians first entered Tauria, under General Münch, and they devastated the country. In 1757 Alym Girai, who was hated by his subjects, was toppled by the Nogay Tatars; in his place Kerim Girai was declared Khan. In 1764 he led 50,000 Tatars against the Russians and devastated New Servia. After the Russians under Dolgorucki in 1771 had nvaded Taurida, they elevated Saheb Girai Khan, the latter ceded Kertch and Kinbum to Cathrine II. and established himself as Khan after a lengthy struggle. In 1779 the Russians evacuated Crimea; the Khan was forced to have his election confirmed by the Sultan. Only as domestic conflicts continued, as Saheb Girai aw his ports blocked by the Russian navy and threatend by Potemkin's army, he ceded the Crimea, Kuban and the island of Taman to the Russians. The Sublime Porte, deserted by Austria and France, found herself coerced to approve in the situation. In 1783 Russia annexed the Crimea. In 1854-1856 the Crimea was battleground in a war between Russia and the western powers allied with Turkey (France and Britain); this war, which had begun with the landing near Eupatoria, ended wih the destruction and fall of Sebastopol.
See : Heyne, Rerum Chersonesi tauricae memoria, in vol.3 of his Opuscula; Hammer-Purgstall, Geschichte der Khane der Krim, Wien 1856

source in German, posted by Zeno

Geografisk-Statistisk Haandbog 1858-1863, Article : Krim
Crimea, a peninsula in the southern part of the European Russia, belongs to Taurida Gubernia. It is connected with the mainland by a land bridge only one mile wide, near Perekop, and surrounded by the Sea of Asov, the Straits of Kertch and Jenikale, and the Black Sea. The peninsula forms a quadrangle, the tips of which point in the four directions of the wind; the longest diagonal from east to west is just over 40 miles, the smallest 25 miles; the area is given as 420 square miles. The coast toward the Sea of Asov is low and various peninsulas have been formed. The long and very narrow Tange Arabat separates Sivash Bay from the Sea of Azov. Similarly the coasts of the minor peninsula Kertch are low until Feodosia, as is the coast from Perekop to Sebastopol; from here the coast rises to that in the southwest it forms cliffs rising steeply from the sea which continue in easterly direction. The northern two thirds of the peninsula are a flat and low steppe, the salty soil of which after the spring rains is covered by a rich grass steppe which serves large herds of sheep, oxen, horses and camels as fodder. The climate is very variable and rather unhealthy, namely in the eastern part, which is exposed to the vapors of the sea. The southern part of the peninsula has a rather opposite character. It is covered by the Taurian mountain chain, which, 4 to 5 mils wide, stretches along the southern coast from Cape Chersonese to Kaffa Bay. The central point in this chain is Chatyr Dagh, the height of which is given by various sources as being from 1,200 to 6,000 - 7,000 feet. Undoubtedly the latter figure is closer to the truth. The western part of the chain consists of several plateaus separated by deeply incised valleys, and declines gradually in northerly direction toward the steppe, but falls steeply in terrasses toward the east and southeast. The eastern chain is less rounded and their tips reach great height, so that for part of the year they are covered by snow. The mountain ridge stretches along the coast and protects a marvellous srip of coastal land protected against northwestern winds, which is richly settled with beautiful villas. he most important river is the Salghir, which has its spring on the Chatyr Dagh and which feeds into the Sivash. Among those feeding into the Black Sea the most important are the Alma, Kacha, Belbek, Chernaya; the latter feeds into Sebastopol Bay. The Crimea, which in Antiquity was the breadbasket of Athens and Constantinople, and the soil of which does not lack fertiliy, is now poorly cultivated. The recently established agricultural settlements in this respect have achieved some progress. The population for 1851 is given as 306,597, for the larger part Tatars, who confess Islam. Further here are found Jews, Gypsies, Russians, Germans and Bulgarians. The Crimea during the migration of peoples was conquered by many different peoples. In the 13th century it came under Genghis Khan's grandson Batu Khan and became the center of an independent state, which after a long struggle with the Genoese, who had taken control of Kaffa and other points on the southern coast, had to recognize Turkish suzerainty at the end of the 15th century. Only at the end of the 18th century he Russians succeeded in taking control of the country, and it was the struggle for the fleet station and fortress of Sebastopol created by the Russians, which created suspense in Europe for a year, which ended with the fall of Sebastopol on September 9th 1855.
source in Danish, posted by Project Runeberg

Nordisk Familjebok 1876-1899, Article : Krim (1884)
Krim, or Taurian Peninsula, located on the Russian Black Sea coast beyond the ea of Azov, between 44 degrees 25 minutes and 46 degrees 10 minutes northern latitude and 32 degrees 30 minutes and 36 degrees 40 minutes eastern longitude. The Crimea is connected with the mainland by a land bridge near Perekop which is only 5 to 7 km wide. It sends a minor peninsula toward the east, Kertch, toward the Jenikale Sound, the connection of the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea. he peninsula makes up part of Taurida Gubernia, and covers an area of 25,727 square km. ... In physical respect, the steppe in the north is distinguished from the highland mountain belt in the south. The former makes up 3/4 of the area and may be regarded a continuation of the large southern Russian steppe. The soil at many places is fertile, but he lack of rain is to blame for agriculture still being backward. Instead large herds of livestock are found, mainly sheep and horses, but even cattle and camels, which feed on the extended pastures. A lot of salt is given up by the steppe lakes, of which there are about 400, the largest of which near Perekop. The mountain country, which is called the Taurian or Jaila Mountains, reachs its highest peak in Chatyr Dagh (1,661 m) and is interrupted by fertile valleys, in which the pennsula's rivers find their way toward the lakes or the sea, the Salghir, Alma, Katcha etc. Mineral products consist of porphyr, marble and limestone. Only the highest peaks are denuded, the remainder of the mountains is covered by forest and lush vegetation, especially the slopes toward the south which are protected against the wind from the north. Cypresses, olive and myrtle groves, grape vines and mulberry trees grow very well, as do all kind of European seeds and fruits. Villages and cities, palaces and villas belong to the most distinguished in the Russian world and also give southern Crimea the characer of the peninsula's main cultural region. The population, about 400,000, is rather mixed in its composition : Russians, Tatars, Greeks, Jews, Gypsies and German colonists. The Tatars generally live of livestock herds and of farming, but are also found in the cities. They form almost the entire population of Bakhchisaray. While they were not exposed to persecution, they have found life under a Christian administration difficult, and especially the law on mandatory military duty enacted in 1874 has caused them to emigrate en masse. ...
History : ... until he peninsuula was annexed by the Byzantine Empire in 640. In the following centuries it was devastated by the Cumans, Patzinaks and other Barbaric peoples, and finally invaded by the Tatars in 1237. At this time the Italians, most notably the Genoese, established trade colonies at the southern coast, of which Kaffa was the most important one. In the 15th century they were expelled by the Turks, which from then onward govrned Crimea through Tatar Khans as their vassalls. Already under Peter the Great did the Russians appear on he Crimea; they conquered Perekop in 1697. Theu made a more devastating incursion in 1736 and from then on exercised her dominant influence in the prevalent unrests, until in 1783 the peninsula in its entirety was annexed into the Russian Empire.

source in Swedish, posted by Project Runeberg


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First posted on April 14th 2009

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