Kovno (Pol. Kowno).
I. A W. Government Of European Russia, bordering on Prussia and on the governments of Courland, Wilna, and Suwalki, and nearly touching the Baltic; area, 15,687 sq. m.; pop. in 1867, 1,181,-248, chiefly Lithuanians, Samogitians, Poles, Germans, and Jews, with but few Russians proper. It is traversed by the Niemen and its affluents, and contains many dense forests. The principal products are flax and timber, the latter being rafted down the streams to Tilsit. It was formed in 1843 from the N. part of Wilna, to the military division of which it still belongs. Kovno is nearly identical with the ancient maritime Lithuanian province of Samogitia (Lith. and Pol. Zmudz), which was a separate duchy under the Polish crown, and which was renowned for its commerce and navigation, and for the pure Lithuanian type of the inhabitants, who were not fully converted to Christianity till the 16th century. The capital, Rossieny on the Du-bisa, the chief town of a circle of Kovno and Polangen, is now as then the principal port connecting with the Baltic.
II. A City, capital of the government, at the junction of the Vilia with the Niemen, 420 m. S. S. W. of St. Petersburg; pop. in 1867, 34,612, including about 18,000 Jews and many Germans. It contains numerous Catholic churches and convents, besides places of worship for the national religion, and for Lutherans and Jews, a gymnasium and district school for the nobility, and a pyramid commemorating the deliverance from French invasion in 1812. Commerce and navigation are exceedingly active, and new railways increase the traffic. About 3 m. from the town is the magnificent Camaldulensian convent Pozayscie or Peace Mountain, with the tomb of the Lithuanian great chancellor Pac, who built it in 1674 at an enormous cost. The French crossed the Niemen at Kovno, June 23-25, 1812; and the Poles were defeated here on June 26, 1831.