1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vologda (government)

VOLOGDA, a government of north-eastern Russia, having the government of Archangel on the N., Tobolsk on the E., Perm, Vyatka, Kostroma and Yaroslavl on the S., Novgorod, Olonetz and Archangel on the W. This immense government, which comprises an area of 155,218 sq. m., stretches in a north-easterly direction for 800 m., from Novgorod to the Urals, and includes the broad depression drained by the Sukhona from the S. W., and the Vychegda from the N.E., both head-waters of the N. Dvina. From the basin of the Volga it is separated by a flat, swampy, wooded swelling, where the heads of tributaries belonging to both Arctic and Caspian drainage-areas are closely intermingled. The eastern boundary of Vologda follows the main water-parting of the Urals, which has but few points over 3000 ft.; wide, parmas, or woody plateaus, fill up the space between the main chain of the Urals and the southern spurs of the Timan Mountains, in the upper basin of the Pechora. It is above the parmas—especially over those which are nearest the Urals proper—that the highest summits of the Urals rise in the form of dome-shaped mountains (Töll-poz-iz, 5535 ft.; Kozhem-iz, 4225 ft.; Shadmaha, 4115 ft.). The Timan Mountains are a swampy plateau, where the rivers flowing to the N. Dviua or to the Pethora take their rise in common marshes; so that on the Mylva portage boats have to be dragged a distance of only 3 m. to be transported from one system to the other.

Permian sandstones and cupriferous slates cover most of the territory; only a few patches of Jurassic clays overlie them; in the east, in the Ural parmas, coal-bearing Carboniferous, Devonian and Silurian slates and limestones appear, wrapping the crystalline slates of the main ridge. Vast layers of boulder clay and Lacustrine deposits overlie the whole. Rock-salt and salt springs, iron ore, millstones and grindstones are the chief mineral products; but mining is in its infancy.

The river Sukhona, which rises in the south-west and flows north-east, is navigable for 375 m. After its confluence with the Yug (390 m. long), which flows from the south, it becomes the N. Dvina, which proceeds north-west, and receives the Vychegda, 740 m. long and navigable for 570 m., though it passes through a nearly uninhabited region. The Luza, a tributary of the Yug, is also navigated for more than 250 m. The Pechora, which flows through eastern Vologda, is an artery for the export of corn and the import of fish. The Pinega, the Mezeñ and the Vaga, all belonging to the Arctic basin, rise in northern Vologda. In the south-west the Sukhona is connected by means of Lake Kubina and the canal of Alexander von Württemberg with the upper Volga. Numberless smaller lakes occur, and marshes cover a considerable part of the surface.

The climate is severe, the average yearly temperature being 36° F. at Vologda (Jan., 10°.7; July, 63°.5) and 32°.5 at Ust-Sysolsk (Jan., 4°.8; July, 61°.7).

The flora and the physical aspects vary greatly as the traveller moves north-east down the Sukhona and up the Vychegda, towards the parmas of the Pechora. In the south-west the forests are cleared, and the dry slopes of the hills have been converted into fields and meadows; the population is relatively dense, and nearly one-quarter of the area is under crops. There is a surplus of grain, which is used for distilleries, and apples are extensively cultivated. The flora is middle-Russian. Farther north-east the climate grows more severe; but still, until the Dvina is reached, corn succeeds well, and there is no lack of excellent meadows on the river-terraces. Flax is cultivated for export; but only 4% of the area is tilled, the remainder being covered with thick fir forests with occasional groups of deciduous trees (birch, aspen, elder). At about 46° E. the larch appears and soon supersedes the fir. Several plants unknown in western Russia make their appearance (Silene tartarica, Anthyllis vulneraria, Euphorbia palustris, Filago arvensis, Lycopodium complanatum, Sanguisorba officinalis. The Veratrum is especially characteristic; it sometimes encroaches on the meadows to such an extent as to compel their abandonment. The region of the upper Mezeñ (the Udora) again has a distinctive character. The winter is so protracted, and the snowfall so copious, that the Syryenians are sometimes compelled to clear away the snow from their barley-fields. But the summer is so hot (a mean of 54° for the three summer months) that barley ripens within forty days after being sown. The Timan plateaus are a marked boundary for the middle-Russian flora. Those to the east of them are uninhabitable; even on the banks of the rivers the climate is so severe, especially on account of the icy northern winds, that rye and barley are mostly grown only in orchards. The whole is covered with quite impenetrable forests, growing on a soil saturated with water. Mosquitoes swarm in the forests; birds are rare. The Siberian cedar begins and the lime tree disappears. Fir, cedar, pine and larch compose the forests, with birch and aspen on their outskirts. Hunting is the chief occupation of the Syryenian inhabitants.

The population was estimated in 1906 at 1,517,500, of whom 57,407 lived in towns; 90% were Great Russians and 8.4% Syryenians (q.v.). The government is divided into ten districts, the chief towns of which are Vologda, Gryazovets, Kadnikov, Nikolsk, Solvychegodsk, Totma or Totyma, Ustyug Velikiy, Ust-Sysolsk, Velsk and Yarensk. Agriculture thrives in the three south-western districts. Live-stock breeding occupies considerable numbers of people. A little salt is raised, and there are a few ironworks, but manufacturing industries are in their infancy; the chief branch is the weaving of linen in the villages.  (P. A. K.; J. T. Be.)