Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/673

This page needs to be proofread.


CATTEGATprincipal Austrian 'point d’appui in the insurrections which broke out in 1869 and 1881-82, in the barren mountainous district of the Krivoscie, which lies between the Bocche di Cattaro, Herzegovina, and Montenegro. The system of fortifications comprising Cattaro and the small town of Castelnuova at the mouth of the gulf, now extends to the heights of the Krivoscie, which are crowned with small forts. Cattegat. See North Sea and Baltic Sea. Cattle. See Agriculture. Cauca, a department of the republic of Colombia, bounded on the N.W. by Panama, on the N. by the Caribbean Sea, on the E. by the departments of Bolivar, Antioquia, Tolima, and Cundinamarca, Venezuela, and Brazil; on the S. by Brazil and Ecuador; and on the W. by the Pacific Ocean. Area, 257,463 square miles, including a number of islands along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, covering an area of some 77 square miles. The capital, Popayan, has 10,000 inhabitants. Other principal towns are Cali (16,000), Buenaventura, Pasto, Cartago, Buga, Barbacoas. Caucasus, a name indiscriminately applied to (a) the great chain of mountains which runs N.W. to S.E. from the Black Sea to the Caspian, and which ought alone to retain this name (Caucasus, Caucasus Bange, Great Caucasus); (b) the whole series of mountains, highlands, and plateaux which is found in the Ponto - Caspian isthmus—the name of Little Caucasus, or Anti-Caucasus, being loosely applied to both the escarpment of Transcaucasia which faces the Caucasus Range and to the highlands of Transcaucasia altogether; and (c) the subdivision of the Russian Empire known as Kavkazskiy Krai (Caucasus Region), or Caucasia, or General-Governorship, and formerly Lieutenancy, of the Caucasus. In the last-named application it is that section of the Russian dominions in Asia which occupies the isthmus between the Black Sea and the Caspian, as well as portions of the plateaux of Asia Minor and Armenia. Its northern boundary is the Kuma-Manych depression, which is a succession of narrow, half-desiccated, and only temporarily filled lakes and river-beds connecting the Manych, a tributary of the Don, with the Kuma, a tributary of the Caspian. It is supposed to be a relic of the former postPliocene connexion between the Black Sea and the Caspian, and is accepted by most geographers as a natural frontier between Europe and Asia, while others take for the boundary the sinuous line of the main water-parting of the Caucasus Range. The southern frontier of Caucasia is a line which has been shifted several times during the last century, and now, separating Caucasia from Asia Minor and Persia, runs from a spot situated on the Black Sea 17 miles S. of Batum in a south-westerly and easterly direction to the Ararat, and thence along the Araxes river to within 30 miles from its junction with the Kura, where the boundary turns once more to the S.E., reaching the Caspian Sea at Astara (lat. 37° 45' N.). This large territory, covering 180,843 sq. miles and having in 1897, 9,248,695 inhabitants (54 per sq. m.), may be subdivided into four natural zones: (i.) the plains in the N. of the Great Caucasus Range, or North Caucasia; (ii.) the Caucasus Range and the highlands of Daghestan; (iii.) the valley of the Rion and the Kura, between the main ridge and the escarpments of the Anti-Caucasus; and (iv.) the highlands of Transcaucasia. I. The Plains of North Caucasia, which include most of the provinces of Kuban, Stavropol, and Terek, gently slope from the foot of the Caucasus Range towards the Kuma - Manych depression, the Sea of Azov, and the

-CAUCASUS

617

Caspian. They consist of horizontal Tertiary strata, and only in their centre portion do they reach altitudes of from 2000 to 2500 ft., as in the “ Stavropol plateau,” which spreads northwards, separating the tributaries of the Kuban from those of the Terek and the Kuma. Thick forests clothe them towards the foot-hills of the Caucasus, while in the W. they merge into the prairies of South Russia, or end in marshy grounds clothed with rushes in the wide delta of the Kuban; in the N. and E. they become stony and sandy dry steppes as one approaches the Manych and the coasts of the Caspian. The climate is continental, i.e., very hot in the summer and cold in the winter, and very dry, the yearly rainfall being only from 30 to 10 inches. The average temperatures at Stavropol (alt. 1919 ft.) are: yeaf 47° Fahr., January 24°, July 70°, yearly rainfall 29‘8 inches. But the soil of these prairies is very fertile, and they have now a Russian population of nearly 2,800,000, composed of Cossacks and peasant immigrants, chiefly settled on the main rivers and grouped in wealthy, populous villages. They carry on agriculture—wheat-growing on a large scale, with the aid of modern machinery, North Caucasia becoming an important grain-exporting country,—and also cattle and horse breeding ; vine culture is widely spread on the low levels, and a variety of domestic trades is rapidly spreading in the villages. The higher portions of these plains, deeply ravined by the upper tributaries of the above-mentioned rivers, are inhabited by a variety of Caucasian branches : the Kabardians and the Cherkess in the W., the Ossets in the middle, and a variety of branches from Daghestan described under the general name of Chechens, while nomadic Nogai Tatars and some Turkomans occupy the steppes. II. The Caucasus Range, running N.W. to S.E. from the Strait of Kerch to the Caspian Sea, on a length of 940 miles (700 miles in a straight line), varying in width from 30 to 130 miles, and covering a surface of 12,000 sq. miles, appears to be of a more and more complicated structure in proportion as more accurate surveys are made. A new survey on the scale of 11 inches to the mile was in 1901 being made with great accuracy (especially in Central Caucasus) in lieu of the previous 3| miles to the inch scale. A. In its western portion, from the Sea of Azov to the Elbruz, which runs parallel to, and at a short distance from, the N.E. coast of the Black Sea, it appears rather as a succession of parallel ridges, disposed en Echelon, sending out on their southern slopes numerous spurs of great steepness, which reach the very coast of the Black Sea. On its northern slope the main range is accompanied by another ridge of mountains, the Bokovoi Khrebet, or “side range,” which is composed of uplifted stratified rocks gently sloping northwards and having their escarpments turned towards the main range. The rivers which rise on the slopes of the latter flow first in longitudinal valleys and then pierce the thickly forest-clad side range in a series of most picturesque gorges and valleys. The amount of rain received by this region, which is only 20 inches at the Sea of Azov, reaches 40 inches along the Caucasus Range as far as the 46th degree of E. long., and from 60 to 80 inches in the Black Sea coast region (80 inches at Sochi). Consequently the south-western slopes of the Caucasus are covered with a luxuriant, almost sub-tropical, vegetation. Unfortunately, in the narrow coast regions moisture and heat result in the prevalence of very severe malarial fevers, presenting a real obstacle to immigration. The altitude of the snow-line in Western Caucasus is about 9000 ft. on the Fisht or Oshten group, and to the east of it the crest of the main ridge is crowned with perpetual snow and numerous hanging glaciers, while larger glaciers creep down the main valleys. The southern slope, however, is extremely steep and often presents almost vertical walls, 2000 to 3000 ft. high, rendering the passes extremely difficult. As a rule the passes lie at a great height, and apart from those lower ones which are known at the north-western extremity of the range, they are few, namely, Pseashko, from Pitsunda to the head-waters of the Laba (6870 ft.); Marukh (11,000 ft.); Klukor (9075 ft.), along which a bridle-path is now made to connect Sukhum with Batalpashinsk ; and Nakhar (9617 ft.), also leading to the upper Kuban. The main peaks of that part of the range are—Fisht or Oshten (9359 feet), Shugus (10,642), and Psysh (12,427). The former inhabitants of this region—Kabardians and a few Adyghe (or Cherkess, Circassians)—are partly settled now on the northern foot-hills, while Abhazians occupy the south-western slope. The great bulk, however, of the native population have been compelled by the force of S. II. —78