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The Russian Empire 1450-1801$
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Nancy Shields Kollmann

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199280513

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199280513.001.0001

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Land, People, and Global Context

Land, People, and Global Context

(p.21) 1 Land, People, and Global Context
The Russian Empire 1450-1801

Nancy Shields Kollmann

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the climate and geography of the lands that became the Russian empire, focusing on successive vegetation zones from the tundra and taiga of the north towards the more fertile mixed forest and forested zone to the steppe moving south. It explores the effect of the early modern Little Ice Age across Europe and Eurasia and surveys the spread of epidemics (plague, smallpox). It surveys Russian population and urbanization in comparison to European and Ottoman statistics. It summarizes Russia’s trading partners from Europe through Eurasia to China, with emphasis on Eurasian trade routes across the steppe. The chapter puts Russia in the context of early modern European state building, military “revolution” and “Great Divergence.”

Keywords:   vegetation zones, geography, climate, Little Ice Age, epidemics, demography, urbanization, Silk Road, global economy, Ottoman empire

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