1902 Encyclopedia > Nijni Novgorod (government)

Nijni Novgorod (government)

NIJNI-NOVGOROD, or NIJNIY-NOVGOROD, a government of Central Russia, bounded by Vladimir on the W., by Yaroslaff and Vyatka, on the N. and N.E., by Kazan and Simbirsk on the E., and by Penza and Tamboff on the S., with an area of 19,800 square miles, two-thirds being on the right and the rest on the left bank of the Volga. The smaller portion, with the exception of the better-drained lands close to the river, is a low flat marshy district, covered with thick forests and sandy hills, and is but thinly peopled. The space between the Oka and Volga is also fiat and covered with forests, but offers somewbot greater advantages to the settler. The best part of thetgovernment is that to tbe east of the Oka ; it is hilly, traversed by deep ravines, and better drained, and has patches of fertile black earth in the south. Geologically, Nijni-Novgorod belongs chiefly to the Permian system ; the Carboniferous appears only in the lowest formations, and the Permian limestones are covered with a stratum 450 feet in thickness, of variegated marls, formerly considered as Permian, but now supposed to be Triassic. It is watered by the Volga with its tributaries, the I(erjenetz and Vetluga on the left, and the Sura (with the Piana) and Oka on the right. These and their numerous tributaries offer great facilities both for navigation and for the transit of timber. Very numerous lakes dot the government, especially in the north ; and one-third of its entire surface is still covered with forests, which occupy nearly the whole of the Zavoljie (to the north of the Volga), and extend without a break for 50 and 80 miles to the west and south-west. The climate is severe, especially in the Zavoljie, where the average yearly temperature is 5'6 Fahr. lower than at Nijni. The population in 1880 reached 1,376,000; they are mostly Great-Russians, Mordvinians (50,600), and Tartars (42,650) ; the Tcheremisses numbered 5630, and the Jews about 1500. Of the total, 1,266,550 belong to the Greek Church, 63,850 (probably much understated) are registered as Old Believers and Raskolniks, 42,650 are Mohammedans, 750 Protestants, and 740 Catholics. The urban population is only 101,000. The yearly increase of the population is estimated at 0.43 per cent., and the mortality at 47 per 1000.

The chief occupation of the inhabitants is agriculture, but only 3S per cent. of the area is under crops. Cattle breeding is falling off rapidly, and in 1880 there were only 229,000 horses (as against 326,000 in 1848 and 264,000 in 1865), 232,000 horned cattle, 444,000 sheep (585,000 in 1865), and 74,000 pigs. Kitchen-gardens are a source of income in several districts. Agriculture, on the whole, has to contend with great difficulties on account of NIJNI-NOVGOROD-NIJNIY-NOVGOROD the climate, the soil, and the small allotments of land. A variety of petty trades carried on by the peasantry have accordingly developed in the villages; of these cutlery is the chief, no less than 6000 families being engaged in that industry at Pavlovo and Vorsma. In other parts of the government the peasants make felt and woollen wares, leather wares and harness, iron-wire and sieves, &c. ; each village has its own specialty, being renowned for its felt shoes, or for its gloves, its fine scales, and so on. The chief occupation, however, is the manufacture of wooden wares, - sledges, wheels, dishes and spoons, window frames, boxes, Sze., - which are exported in large quantities to the governments of the lower Volga, and even to l3okhara and Persia. The manufactures are rapidly developing. In 1880 there were 465 factories (principally machine-works, steam Hour-mills, iron and steel works, naphtha distilleries, cutlery and copper works, tanneries, and rope-works), employing about 20,000 work-people, and producing goods to the value of more than 15,000,000 roubles (8,840,000 in 1876); the production of the distilleries amounted to 4,540,000. The building of boats and steamers is also a considerable source of income. A very large proportion of the population fails to find the means of self-siii)port within the province, and every year no fewer than 100,000 to 117,000 persons leave their villages and go in search of labour as far as St Petersburg and Astrakhan. Trade in corn, salt, timber, leather, iron, and all kinds of manufactured ware is well developed in all towns of the government, and there are important fairs at several places. The educational institutions are few, and, on the whole, except among the Baskolniks, education stands at a very low level. The government is divided into eleven districts, having as their chief towns Nijni-Novgorod (50,000 inhabitants), Ardatoff (3500), Arzamas (10,500), Balakhna (4000), Gorbatoff (3000), Knyaghinin (2500), Lukoyanaff (10,000), Makarieff (2000), Seinenoff (3000), Sergach (4000), and Vasilsursk (3000). The other towns are Perevoz (1000) and Pochinki (7500); the two villages l'avlovo (about 10,000) and Vorsma (4000) are important manufacturing centres.

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