1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ufa (government)

UFA, a government of south-eastern Russia, on the western slope of the Ural Mountains. It has the governments of Vyatka and Perm on the N., Orenburg on the E. and S., Samara and Kazañ on the W., and comprises an area of 47,094 sq. m. Several craggy and densely wooded ranges, running from S.W. to N.E. parallel to the main chain of the southern Urals, occupy its eastern part. They rise to altitudes of 2500 to 3500 ft.; their highest peaks—Iremel (5230 ft.), Urenga (4115 ft.) and Taganai (3935 ft.)—ascend above the limits of arboreal vegetation, but in no case reach those of perpetual snow. Southward Ufa extends over the slopes of the Obshchiy Syrt plateau, the angular space between the latter and the Urals being occupied by elevated plains (1000 to 1500 ft.), deeply grooved by the river valleys, and sometimes described as the “Ufa plateau.” Towards the Kama the fertility of the soil increases, and the black-earth regions of Menzelinsk and Birsk are granaries for that part of Russia.

The geological structure of Ufa is very varied. The main range of the Urals consists of gneisses and various crystalline slates resting upon granites and syenites; next comes a broad strip of limestones and sandstones, the fossil fauna of which is intermediate between the Upper Silurian and the Lower Devonian. These form the highest elevations in the government. Farther west the Devonian deposits are followed by Lower and Upper Carboniferous and Artinsk schists, which, together with Permian deposits, cover western Ufa. Quaternary deposits are extensively developed in all the valleys, most of which were occupied by lakes during the Lacustrine period. There is great wealth in iron (Devonian) and copper (Permian). The district of Zlatoust is celebrated for its granite, epidote, nephrite and a variety of decorative stones and minerals. Coal is found over a wide area.

Ufa belongs almost entirely to the drainage area of the Byelaya, a tributary of the Kama, which rises in Orenburg and flows north and

north-west through Ufa, receiving a number of tributaries, among which the Syun, the Tanyp and the Ufa are also navigable. The Byelaya is an important channel for trade; but it sometimes drops to so low an ebb in summer that Steamers cannot proceed beyond Birsk. The Kama flows for 120 m. along the western border of the government.

The average temperature at the city of Ufa is 37° F., and the winter is extremely cold (January 5.5° F., July 68° F.); at the Zlatoust observatory the average temperature is only 32.2° (January 2°; July 61-8°). Even in the hilly tracts of Zlatoust the annual rainfall is not more than 19 in. The rivers are frozen 158 days at Ufa and 202 at Zlatoust.

The estimated population in 1900 was 2,620,600. The government is divided into six districts, the chief towns of which are Ufa, Belebey, Birsk, Menzelinsk, Sterlitamak and Zlatoust. Towns have sprung up around the ironworks at Zatkinsk, Yurezan and Katav-Ivanovsk. The Russian element in the population has rapidly increased (in 1897, 45 %; in 1865, 36%), the other ethnographical elements being mainly Bashkirs, Tatars and Meshcheryaks. together with Chuvashes and Cheremisses, Votyaks and Mordvinians. Since the wholesale plundering of the Bashkir lands, which took place under Alexander II., the land has been sold by the nobles, and bought chieny by the merchant class. Large estates are common, though it is the peasants and the peasants' co-operative societies that cultivate most of the area under crops. Agriculture has greatly developed, owing partly to the Russian immigration and partly to the educational efforts of the local councils; in 1900 there were 4,860,000 acres (16 %) under crops and 9,780,000 acres (33%) under cultivation. The principal crops are rye, wheat, oats, barley, millet, buckwheat and potatoes.

The government is rich in antiquities belonging to three different periods-the Finnish or Chud period, the period of the Bulgarian empire, and the period of the Nogai Tatar domination. The burial mounds of the Chudes contain brass implements and decorations, and in one of them near Ufa a coffin sheeted with silver was found. Remains from the Bulgarian epoch have been discovered at Menzelinsk. But it is the ruins of the Mongol period which are of greatest value; the remains of a large town, with a mausoleum and a palace, have been found near Ufa and extend several miles along the Byelaya River.