Vitebsk - 19th Century Encyclopedia Entries



Pierer 1857-1865, Meyer 1885-1892, Meyer 1902-1908



Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, Article : Witebsk
Vitebsk, Russian government, located between Pskov, Smolensk, Mogilev, Minsk, Vilna, Courland and Livonia. Part of former Belarus, 820,67 square miles, almost entirely plain, sandy soil covered with a little bit of humus. Rivers Dvina (for a stretch the border to govts. Minsk and Courland), with the tributaries Mesha, Kaspia, Dresha, Evest and others, toward the Peipus flow from here the Issa and Sineia, toward Lake Ilmen the Lowat. A large number of lakes (Luban, Usmin, Uswiat, Nebel, Sebesh, Oswca and others). The 805,000 inhabitants are Belarussians, Russians, Lithuanians, Poles, Jews, Gypsies and immigrants. Occupations : cultivation of grain (more than local demand), hemp and flax (strong, and plenty), horticulture, fruit cultivation, forestry (very productive, edible berries, carnivorous game, edible game), livestock keeping (sheep, goats, hogs in quantity). Of minerals are most found here : bog iron, useful minerals smectite, clay, chalk. The rivers are rich in fish which are exported in dried condition. Factories few (distilleries, tobacco, leather, cloth), traded products hemp, fish, some grain, cattle, linen, flax, wax. Coat of arms : A shield divided in two, upper half Russian Imperial eagle in gold, below Lithuanian rider with drawn sword on white horse in blue field. Divided in 12 districts, Vitebsk, Dvinsk, Drisa, Gorodko, Lepel, Ljuzin, Newel, Polozk, Rjeshitza, Ssebesh, Ssurash and Walish. Originally Vitebsk was part of Lithuania and formed a separate starosty, was separated from Poland in 1772, was elevated to a government in 1778, was united with Mogilev to form Belarus in 1796, was again separated from Mogilev in 1802 as a separate government.
source in German, posted by Zeno

Meyer's Konversationslexikon 1885-1892, Article : Witebsk
Vitebsk, Russian government belonging to western Russia, borders on the governments Pskov, Smolensk, Mogilev, Minsk, Courland and Livonia. Area 43,984 square km (according to Strelbitsky 45,166 square km = 820,27 square miles). In general the country is hilly, between the hills many swamps and lakes. Geological formation in part red sandstone, in part Devonian limestone. The soil, on the right bank of the Dvina at high elevations sandy and stony, at lower elevations clay. Erratic blocks scattered in large numbers. The most important river is the Dvina, which traverses the government at a length of 742 km. Smaller rivers flow in the direction of the Peipus, he Lowat toward Ilmen Lake. Of the more than 2500 lakes the largest are the Lubahn, on the border to Livonia, Rasno, Newel, ebesh and Oswea. Swamps take up more than 4700 square km. Of the area, 27.2 % is farmland, 34.6 % forest, 18.6 % meadow and pastorage, 19.6 % inutile land. In 1885 the number of marriages was 8044, of births 50,779, of deaths 32,245. The climate is relativelty mild, the air healthy (average annual emperature +4.35 degrees Celsius). The population (1885 1,235,350 inhabitants, 29 per square km, is mostly Roman-Catholic. It consists of Belorussians, Lithuanians, Poles (c. 80 %), Russians, Jews and Germans. Vitebsk is not a fertile government; the harvests, only in the better years, suffice to supply the population with what itr needs. In 1887 the harves was 2.6 million hl. rye, 2.6 million hl. potatos, 1.9 million hl oats. The livestock count (1883) was 455,312 head of cattle, 229,530 horses, 265,854 sheep with coarse wool, 216,274 hogs. The potato has o replace bread. Flax is much cultivated and provides a major export article to Riga. Fauna further supplies fish, much game. Produced minerals stones for construction; grindstones, chalk, clay, smectite.b Industry of no importance. 672 factories with 2936 workers, a combined production value of 7,887,000 Roubles. Important branches of industry : flour mills, distilleries, leather processing, breweries, tobacco processing. Trade is facilitated by the Dvina, the Beresina Canal, which connects Dvina and Dnepr, and by the railroad lines Vitebsk-Smolensk and Vitebsk-Dvinsk; traded are namely flax, linseed, timber and skins. Significant quantities of grain are imported from Smolensk, textils from Grodno, colonial wares and luxury articles from Riga and Moscow. Theb leading port is Vitebsk. Vitebsk has 330 elementary schools with 12,433 students, 9 middle schools with 1983 students and 2 vocational schools with 282 students, being an ecclesiastical and a secular seminary for teachers. The government is divided in 12 districts, Vitebsk, Gorodok, Lepel, Newel, Polozk, Sebesh, Welish, Drissa, Ljuzin, Reshitza, Dvinsk (Dünaburg), of which the last four in the time of the Teutonic Order belonged to Livonia, and today are called "Polish Livonia", by the natives Nifland or Infland. Vitebsk used to be part of he Principality of Polozk, came in the 14th century to Lithuania, came in the first Polish Partitiion 1772 to Russia, was united with Mogilev in 1796 to form Belarus Gubernia, was separated from the latter and established as a separate gubernia (government) in 1802.
source in German, posted by Retro Bibliothek


Meyer's Konversationslexikon 1902-1909, Article : Witebsk
Vitebsk, Russian government, belonging to western Russia, surounded by the governments Pskov, Smolensk, Mogilev, Minsk, Vilna, Courland and Livonia. Area 45,167.7 square km (820.3 square miles). The land in general is hilly; in lower elevations between the hills many swamps and lakes. The most important river is the Dvina which flows hrough the government at a length of 742 km, and which takes p the navigable tributaries Mesha, Kasplja and Ulla. Of the more than 2500 lakes the largest are the Lubahn (on the border to Livonia), Rasno, Newel, Sebesh and Oswea. Swamps cover a combined area of 4000 square km. Of the area, 27.2 % is farmland, 34.6 % forest, 18.6 % meadow and pastorage, 19.6 % inutile land. The climate is milder in the western parts than in the eastern parts. The population, which numbered 1,489,246 in 1897, consists of Belorussians (over 60 %), Latvians (17.9 %), Jews (11.7 %), Russians (5 %), Poles (4 %) and Germans (1 %). By religion 24 % were Roman Catholic, 61 % Greek Orthodox. Main sources of income agriculture, forestry and peddling. The harvest in 1905 produced in tons : rye 174,627, barley 71,537, oats 112,520, potatos 417,576. Of importance is he cultivation of flax which in 1904 was grown on 54,380 ha and produced 13,9 kg tlax fibers. Livestock count in 1904 : 588,000 head of cattle, 412,000 sheep with coarse wool, 330,000 hogs, 252,000 horses. Industry is unimportant. In 1900 1291 enterprises with 6944 workers produced a value of 5 million Roubles, of which 2.8 million R. came on the processing of plant crops. Trade, centered on Vitebsk and Dvinsk, is better developed. The government is divided in 11 districts, Vitebsk, Gorodok, Lepel, Newel, Polozk, Sebesh, Welish, Drissa, Ljuzin, Reshitza, Dvinsk (Dünaburg), of which the last four in the time of the Teutonic Order belonged to Livonia, and today are called "Polish Livonia", by the natives Nifland or Infland. Vitebsk used to be part of he Principality of Polozk, came in the 14th century to Lithuania, came in the first Polish Partitiion 1772 to Russia, was united with Mogilev in 1796 to form Belarus Gubernia, was separated from the latter and established as a separate gubernia (government) in 1802.
source in German, posted by Zeno





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First posted on March 9th 2009

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