I. A Province Of E. Siberia

A Province Of E. Siberia, bounded N. by the Arctic ocean, E. and S. E. by the Littoral province, S. by the Amoor and the Transbaikal provinces, S. W. by the government of Irkutsk, and W. by that of Yeniseisk; area, 1,517,077 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 231,977. The coast, which is deeply indented, is a dreary region of frozen plains and swamps, called the tundra, covered with moss, on which reindeer feed. It abounds in fossil remains, and the tusks of mammoths washed out by the rivers furnish great quantities of ivory. The sea is frozen more than half the year, and is never free from floating ice even in summer. The interior is an undulating plain traversed by spurs from the Yablonnoi and Stanovoi mountain ranges, which bound the province on the south and southeast. Through the valleys formed by these spurs flow many large rivers, the principal one of which, the Lena, is the chief avenue of commerce. Other rivers are the Olein, Olenek, Yana, Indigirka, Alazeya, and Kolyma. The climate is severe. The mean temperature of July, the warmest month, is 66° in the central districts, but in January the thermometer falls 60° to 70° below zero. The earth is frozen 600 ft. deep, and frost is always to be found three or four feet below the surface in the warmest weather.

Notwithstanding the shortness of the season, the cereals thrive, and cabbages, potatoes, turnips, and berries are raised. For the fauna, flora, and native tribes, see Siberia. Yakutsk is divided into the districts of Yakutsk, Olekminsk, Viluisk, Verkhoyansk, and Kolymsk. II* A city, capital of the province, on the left bank of the Lena, about 500 m. W. N. W. of Okhotsk; lat. 62° 2' N., Ion. 129° 44' E.; pop. about 6,500. It stands on a plain overlooked by lofty hills, and has straight unpaved streets, a cathedral and several other churches, and a stone market place. It is the principal trade centre for E. Siberia, and the traffic in furs and provisions is important. Chinese and European goods, brought down the Lena from Irkutsk, are sent thence by caravans over the mountains to Okhotsk. The Russian-American company has an establishment here, and a fair is held throughout the month of July.