This geographic study of the southern third of the Ukraine (New
Russia) between 1700 and 1837 shows that the Russian government
succeeded in conquering the region from Turkey and settling its lands
with loyal subjects, but failed to pursue policies which would have
facilitated the area's economic development. By conquering and
settling New Russia, the government secured the southern boundary
of its grain surplus producing regions from foreign attack and
obtained a foothold on the Black Sea coast. The failure to promote
development effectively, however, not only retarded the region’s
economic growth but also left it unprepared to meet foreign competition
in world markets during the 1840s.
The government’s success is indicated by victories over the
Turkish army and navy, the establishment of naval bases, two of which
became important commercial ports (Odessa and Taganrog), the removal
or neutralization of potentially hostile indigenous peoples, and fairly rapid population growth.
The failure in economic development was not truly apparent until
the late 1830s and early 1840s. In the first three decades of the
nineteenth century the region established a significant foreign trade
in grain and wool and employed about half of its total area for agriculture.
The people, however, continued to use the extensive, low
yield systems of agriculture originally developed by the Tatars and
Cossacks and the government failed to improve the vitally important
overland transportation system. By the late 1830s, increasing traffic
caused a critical transportation problem and in the mid 1840s foreign
competition created difficulties for the region's low quality exports.
The government attempted to solve these difficulties by investing
money in canals that were never completed, importing steamboats that
were seldom used to carry goods, making plans for railroads that were
not to be built until the 1860s, encouraging the interbreeding of
Merino and native sheep, and building roads in the mountainous part of
the Crimea. These well-intentioned measures failed to attack the
central problems of improving the quality of exported grains and wool
and improving the efficiency and the speed of the overland transportation
system. They indicate that the government wished to foster
change, but did not know how to do so because it did not understand the region's true requirements.
Table of Contents
Preface -- Chapter I : Historical Background --Chapter II : The Physical Setting -- Chapter III : The Problems of Conquest -- Chapter IV : The Problems of Settlement -- Chapter V : Problems of Initial Development -- Chapter IV : Conclusion -- Bibliography -- Appendixes -- Figures
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