The population of the town in 1906 was 4733; of the commune of which Cherchel is the centre 11,088.
Cherchel was a city of the Carthaginians, who named it Jol. Juba II. (25 B.C.) made it the capital of the Mauretanian kingdom under the name of Caesarea. Juba’s tomb, the so-called Tombeau de la Chrétienne (see Algeria), is 7½ m. E. of the town. Destroyed by the Vandals, Caesarea regained some of its importance under the Byzantines. Taken by the Arabs it was renamed by them Cherchel. Khair-ed-Din Barbarossa captured the city in 1520 and annexed it to his Algerian pashalik. In the early years of the 18th century it was a commercial city of some importance, but was laid in ruins by a terrible earthquake in 1738. In 1840 the town was occupied by the French. The ruins suffered greatly from vandalism during the early period of French rule, many portable objects being removed to museums in Paris or Algiers, and most of the monuments destroyed for the sake of their stone. Thus the dressed stones of the ancient theatre served to build barracks; the material of the hippodrome went to build the church; while the portico of the hippodrome, supported by granite and marble columns, and approached by a fine flight of steps, was destroyed by Cardinal Lavigerie in a search for the tomb of St Marciana. The fort built by Arouj Barbarossa, elder brother of Khair-ed-Din, was completely destroyed by the French. There are many fragments of a white marble temple. The ancient cisterns still supply the town with water. The museum contains some of the finest statues discovered in Africa. They include colossal figures of Aesculapius and Bacchus, and the lower half of a seated Egyptian divinity in black basalt, bearing the cartouche of Tethmosis (Thothmes) I. This statue was found at Cherchel, and is held by some archaeologists to indicate an Egyptian settlement here about 1500 B.C.
See Africa, Roman, and the description of the museum by P. Gauckler in the Musées et collections archéologiques de l’Algérie.
CHERCHEN, a town of East Turkestan, situated at the northern foot of the Altyn-tagh, a range of the Kuen-lun, in 85° 35′ E., and on the Cherchen-darya, at an altitude of 4100 ft. It straggles mostly along the irrigation channels that go off from the left side of the river, and in 1900 had a population of about 2000. The Cherchen-darya, which rises in the Arka-tagh, a more southerly range of the Kuen-lun, in 87° E. and 36° 20′ N., flows north until it strikes the desert below Cherchen, after which it turns north-east and meanders through a wide bed (300-400 ft.), beset with dense reeds and flanked by older channels. It is probable that anciently it entered the disused channel of the Ettek-tarim, but at present it joins the existing Tarim in the lake of Kara-buran, a sort of lacustrine “ante-room” to the Kara-koshun (N. M. Przhevalsky’s Lop-nor). At its entrance into the former lake the Cherchen-darya forms a broad delta. The river is frozen in its lower course for two to three months in the winter. From the foot of the mountains to the oasis of Cherchen it has a fall of nearly 4000 ft., whereas in the 300 m. or so from Cherchen to the Kara-buran the fall is 1400 ft. The total length is 500-600 m., and the drainage basin measures 6000-7000 sq. m.
See Sven Hedin, Scientific Results of a Journey in Central Asia, 1899–1902, vols. i. and ii. (1905–1906); also Takla-Makan.
CHEREMISSES, or Tcheremisses, a Finnish people living in isolated groups in the governments of Kazan, Viatka, Novgorod, Perm, Kostroma and Ufa, eastern Russia. Their name for themselves is Mori or Mari (people), possibly identifiable with the ancient Merians of Suzdalia. Their language belongs to the Finno-Ugrian family. They number some 240,000. There are two distinct physical types: one of middle height, black-haired, brown skin and flat-faced; the other short, fair-haired, white skinned, with narrow eyes and straight short noses. Those who live on the right bank of the Volga are sometimes known as Hill Cheremis, and are taller and stronger than those who inhabit the swamps of the left bank. They are farmers and herd horses and cattle. Their religion is a hotchpotch of Shamanism, Mahommedanism and Christianity. They are usually monogamous. The chief ceremony of marriage is a forcible abduction of the bride. The women, naturally ugly, are often disfigured by sore eyes caused by the smoky atmosphere of the huts. They wear a head-dress, trimmed with glass jewels, forming a hood behind stiffened with metal. On their breasts they carry a breastplate formed of coins, small bells and copper disks.
See Smirinov, Mordres et Tcheremisses (Paris, 1895); J. Abercromby, Pre- and Proto-historic Finns (London, 1898).
CHERIBON, a residency of the island of Java, Dutch East Indies, bounded S. and W. by the Preanger regencies, N.W. by Krawang, N. by the Java Sea, and E. by the residencies of Tegal and Banyumas. Pop. (1897) 1,577,521, including 867 Europeans, 21,108 Chinese, and 2016 Arabs and other Asiatic foreigners. The natives consist of Middle Javanese in the north and Sundanese in the south. Cheribon has been for many centuries the centre of Islamism in western Java, and is also the seat of a fanatical Mahommedan sect controlled from Mecca. The native population is on the whole orderly and prosperous. The northern half of the residency is flat and marshy in places, especially in the north-western corner, while the southern half is mountainous. In the middle stands the huge volcano Cherimai, clad with virgin forest and coffee plantations, and surrounded at its foot by rice fields. South-south-west of Cherimai on the Preanger border is the Sawal volcano, at whose foot is the beautiful Penjalu lake. Sulphur and salt springs occur on the slopes of Cherimai, and near Palimanan there is a cavernous hole called Guwagalang (or Payagalang), which exhales carbonic acid gas, and is considered holy by the natives and guarded by priests. There is a similar hole in the Preanger. The principal products of cultivation are sugar, coffee, rice and also tea and pulse (rachang), the plantations being for the most part owned by Europeans. The chief towns are Cheribon, a seaport and capital of the residency, the seaport of Indramaya, Palimanan, Majalengka, Kuningan and Chiamis. Cheribon has a good open roadstead. The town is very old and irregularly built, and the climate is unhealthy; nevertheless it has a lively export trade in sugar and coffee and is a regular port of call. In 1908 the two descendants of the old sultans of Cheribon still resided there in their respective Kratons or palaces, and each received an annual income of over £1500 for the loss of his privileges. A country residence belonging to one of the sultans is situated close to Cheribon and is much visited on account of its fantastic architecture. Indramaya was a considerable trading place in the days of the early Portuguese and Dutch traders. Kuningan is famous for a breed of small but strong horses.
CHERKASY (Polish, Czerkasy), a town of Russia, in the government of Kiev, 96 m. S.E. of Kiev, on the right bank of the Dnieper. Pop. (1883) 15,740; (1897) 26,619. The inhabitants (Little Russians) are mostly employed in agriculture and gardening; but sugar and tobacco are manufactured and spirits distilled. Cherkasy was an important town of the Ukraine in the 15th century, and remained so, under Polish rule, until the revolt of the Cossack hetman Chmielnicki (1648). It was annexed by Russia in 1795.
CHERNIGOV, a government of Little Russia, on the left bank of the Dnieper, bounded by the governments of Mogilev and Smolensk on the N., Orel and Kursk on the E., Poltava on the S., and Kiev and Minsk on the W. Area, 20,233 sq. m. Its surface is an undulating plain, 650 to 750 ft. high in the north and 370 to 600 ft. in the south, deeply grooved by ravines and the valleys of the rivers. In the north, beyond the Desna river, about one-third of the area is under forest (rapidly disappearing), and marshes occur along the courses of the rivers; while to the south of the Desna the soil is dry and sometimes sandy, and gradually it assumes the characters of a steppe-land as one proceeds southward. The government is drained by the Dnieper, which forms its western boundary for 180 m., and by its tributary the Desna. The latter, which flows through Chernigov for nearly 350 m., is navigable, and timber is brought down its tributaries. The climate is much colder in the wooded tracts of the north than in the south; the average yearly temperature at the city of Chernigov is 44.4° F. (January, 23°; July 68.5°).
The population reached 1,996,250 in 1883, 2,316,818 in 1897,