10 June 2023

Caucasus Viceroyalty

The splitting of Asiatic Russia into its former imperial provinces is complete! 

The last of the work in the Caucasus region was completed on Thursday morning. This area includes the modern-day countries of Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Türkiye. This time, 133 places were added and all were split into 13 provinces. 

The First Imperial Census of 1897 described a total of 56,729 native German speakers at the time living in the Caucasus region, amounting to .61% of the total population. Broken down into provinces, the distribution of native German speakers in the Caucasus region looked like this in 1897: Baku (3,430), Batum (369), Dagestan (261), Elizavetpol (3,191), Erivan (210), Kars (430), Kuban (20,778), Kutaisi (1,065), Stavropol (8,601), Sukhum (406), Terek (9,672) and Tiflis (8,340). The Black Sea Province (not to be mistaken for the much larger Black Sea Region) also had 748 Germans. Prior to 1896, it was a district in the Kuban province. It is grouped with Kuban on the map, but it is still listed as its own province. Same goes for Zakatala okrug, which was a part of Tiflis province until 1903. There were no German settlements in that very small area, but there were 11 Germans reportedly living in the city of Zakatala at the time of the census

There is a wealth of good maps available for this area, both military and road maps. It makes sense given the proximity to both the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov, and the Caspian Sea, the ports of which make it desirable for commerce and often conflict. It was nice to work with georeferenced maps with clearly marked boundaries for a change. Here are two examples. 

“Map of the Caucasus Region from the the Imperial Geographical Society.” 1868. Repository: EtoMesto

“American Map of the Caucasus 1910” Repository: EtoMesto This map, while simple and not highly detailed, is accurate and in English. It’s always a relief to find something that doesn’t need translating.

While researching this region, I found several Kavkazskiy Kalendars (Caucasian Calendars) from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. These are akin to the other calendar publications seen in South Russia published in Odessa and Bessarabia that were sort of a farmer’s almanac. I have previously posted some maps found in those calendars, railroad maps in particular. The Kavkazskiy Kalendars were published in Tiflis, are not agrarian focused, but they do have maps. Below are three that show the regions of artisanal trades, the metal production, and the wool industry. They are in both Russian and French. Maps like this are interesting in that they show what industries was going on where our German ancestors lived, what types of occupations they may have had (locksmiths, blacksmiths, gold or silversmiths, tanners, weavers), or even what work drew them to a particular area. 

The repository for the maps below are the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia, 1900 edition for 1901

“Map of the Caucasus: Cottage Industries and Artisanal Crafts”

“Map of the Caucasus: Wool Industry”

“Map of the Caucasus: Wrought Metal Production”

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I have to update the sources and do some tidying up of the data before I can post it to the Germans from Russia Settlement Locations map. Everything should be up over the next couple of weeks. I am looking forward to sharing the last five months’ worth of research very soon. 

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