VOLOGDA, capital of the above government, is situated in its south-western corner, 302 miles to the north-east of Moscow, with which it is connected by rail via Yarostavl. It is an old town, having many relics of the past in its churches, including one which dates from the 12th century, and the cathedral founded in 1565. The educational institutions are in a better state than in many other provincial towns. Vologda, though a place of only 17,025 inhabitants in 1881, is a considerable commercial ceutre, - flax, linseed, oats, hemp, butter, and eggs being bought to a large amount in the neighbouring districts and in Vyatka, and exported both to St Petersburg and Archangel.
Vologda existed as a place of commerce as early as the 12th century. It was a colony of Novgorod, and, owing to its advantageous position and the enterprise of the Novgorod merchants, it grew to be a populous city. It carried on a brisk trade in flax, tallow, and furs, which were sent in from Ustyug Velikiy, - anothcr important colony of Novgorod; while the Byelo-ozero merchants brought to Vologda and Ustyug corn, leather, and various manufactured goods to be bartered against furs, or to be shipped to Klotmogory, at the mouth of the Dwina. In 1273 it was plundered by the prince of Tver in alliance with the Tartars, but soon recovered. Moscow disputed its possession with Novgorod until the 15th century; the Moscow princes intrigued to find support amidst the poorer inhabitants against the richer Novgorod merchants, and four successive times Vologda had to fight against its metropolis. It was definitely annexed to Moscow in 1447. When Archangel was founded, and opened for foreign trade in 1553, Vologda became the chief dep3t for goods exported through that channel. They were brought on sledges from Moscow, Yarostavl, and Kostroma ; and special yams, or post stations, were maintained to connect Vologda with Moscow. Many foreigners lived at Vologda ; Fletcher, the British envoy, stayed there, and the first Russian envoy to Britain came originally from Vologda. Polish bands plundered it in 1613, and the plague of 1648 devastated it ; but it maintained its commercial importance, until the foundation of St Petersburg, when Russian foreign trade took another channel.