S I B E R I A   M A P P I N G

Exhibition. L.Frolova, compiler.

Siberia is a part of Asian territory of Russia. Before 1917 all territories extending from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific were called as Siberia in official documents and scientific literature. Siberian territory was divided into two regions (Siberian Krai and Far Eastern Krai) after establishing Soviet power in Siberia. Since that time the term “Siberia” has two meanings. In one case it means all territory eastwards the Ural Mountains, in another case it means the territory only of western and eastern Siberia without Far East. Siberia (with Far East) occupies 12 765 900 sq.km.
   Novgorod dwellers knew northern part of western Siberia as the Yugor land as far back as the 11th century. In the 13th century Yugra was referred among volosts subordinated to Novgorod. In 1558, Moscow government sanctioned the foundation of Stroganovs’ Permic patrimony and this action promoted the development of Siberia by the Russians. The ataman Yermak campaign of 1581 (according to some data of 1579) opened the way to Irtysh valley to the Russians, and the defeat of khan Kuchum in 1598 meant the end of the Siberian khanate.
   From the beginning of the 17th century the Russians entered the basin of the middle reaches of the Yenisei. Founded in 1661, Irkutsk stockaded town became the centre of the vast region governed by a voevode which comprised Cis-Baikal and Trans-Baikal lands.
   At the beginning of the 18th century Russian possession in the North and East of Siberia reached natural borderlands (with small exceptions): the frontier on the South followed the boundary between forests and steppes, the foothill of Altai and Sayan Mountains, Yablonovy and Stanovoi Ranges.
   The development of such vast territory set the grand geographical tasks the solution of which belongs to the Russian science. The most important discoveries in this part of the Earth have been recorded on maps in the period of one hundred years (from the middle of the 17th century, after the campaign of Semen Dezhnev, to the middle of the 18th century, when the Great Siberian-Pacific expedition has finished). The Northern and Eastern boarders of Asian continent were defined and mapped, the correlation between Asian continent and North America was established, the sea routes from Okhotsk to Kamchatka and from Kamchatka to Japan were laid during that century. The astronomical determination of a number of points in Siberia (considering Siberia and Far East) were made, “Baikal Sea” and the most important Siberian rivers were mapped. Apparently, Russian geographical discoveries and investigations of Siberia and Far East in the 17th and 18th centuries made a significant contribution in the world science.



© The National Library of Russia, 1999