1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Elets
ELETS, a town of Russia, in the government of Orel, 122 m. by rail E.S.E. of Orel, on the railway which connects Riga with Tsaritsyn on the lower Volga. Pop. (1883) 36,680; (1900) 38,239. Owing to its advantageous position Elets has grown rapidly. Its merchants buy large quantities of grain, and numerous flour-mills, many of them driven by steam, prepare flour, which is forwarded to Moscow and Riga. The trade in cattle is very important. Elets has the first grain elevator erected in Russia (1887), a railway school, and important tanneries, foundries for cast iron and copper, tallow-melting works, limekilns and brickworks. The cathedral and two monasteries contain venerated historic relics.
Elets is first mentioned in 1147, when it was a fort of Ryazan. The Turkish Polovtsi or Kumans attacked it in the 12th century, and the Mongols destroyed it during their first invasion (1239) and again in 1305. The Tatars plundered it in 1415 and 1450; and it seems to have been completely abandoned in the latter half of the 15th century. Its development dates from the second half of the 17th century, when it became a centre for the trade with south Russia.