Saint Petersburg: Typ. of Transhel; Typ. of Retger & Schneider, 1868. Large Octavo (ca. 28,5x18,5 cm). Three parts bound together. , iii, 428; , iv-v, 464; , ii, 264 pp. With 17, 12 & 5 statistical tables, and two large folding lithographed maps at rear. Original publisher’s wrappers bound in (only front wrappers to vols. 1 and 2, and both front and back wrappers to vol. 3). Faint library stamp and occasional pencil markings in vol. 1. With a piece of paper with a hand-written pre-revolutionary Russian bibliographical list (7 positions) loosely laid in. Period style green half morocco with marbled papered boards; spine with raised bands and gilt lettered title. Some pages slightly age-toned, the rear wrapper to vol. 3 with a minor repair of a missing blank corner, otherwise a very good partly uncut copy.
Very Rare Russian imprint with only three paper copies found in Worldcat (Columbia University, University of Wisconsin – Madison, University of North Carolina - Wilmington). Historically significant first comprehensive description of the northern and eastern parts of modern-day Kazakhstan. The “Oblast of the Siberian Kirghiz” of the Russian Empire was formed in 1854 based on the Middle Zhuz (Horde) of the Kazakh nomadic people (colloquially called “Kirghiz-Kaisaks” in the 19th-century Russia). It was the result of Russia’s slow but steady annexation of the Kazakh territories since the 1730s, which had completed at large by the early 1860s. The “Oblast of the Siberian Kirghiz” existed only until 1868 when it was transformed into the Akmolinsk and Semipalatinsk provinces of the Russian Empire; both joined the Kirghiz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in the 1920s, which eventually became a part of independent Kazakhstan in 1991.
Printed in 1868, this book is an important piece of the Great Game literature. Its publication summarized the results of the Russian advance in the Kazakh steppes and coincided with the new “hot” phase of the Game – the “Turkestan wars” with the Emirate of Bukhara and the Khanate of Kokand. After Tashkent and Samarkand had been captured in 1865, both states became Russian vassals in 1868 (and protectorates in 1873 and 1876, respectively). The book is based on the original survey of the officers of the Russian General Staff. It is a part of the series of geographical and statistical descriptions of over twenty Russian provinces and territories, carried out by the Nikolas General Staff Academy in Saint Petersburg (the other works described the Kutaisi General-Governorship (1858), Finland (1859), Wilno (1861), Smolensk (1862), Perm (1864) provinces, the lands of the Don Cossacks (1863), Ural Cossacks (1866), Simbirsk governorship (1867), and many others).
The three volumes include a “Historical Preface” with one of the first overviews of the Kazakh history, and individual chapters on the region’s geography (including descriptions of the official and ingenious post systems), population, its physical and “moral” qualities; agriculture, industries, mines and factories, trade (including illegal); education; manners and customs; administration; notable settlements and sites, monuments; Russian and Cossack settlements and forts. The book is illustrated with two maps. The first one shows the “Oblast” (marking the borders between the districts), and parts of Russian Tobolsk and Tomsk provinces in the north, the lands of the Orenburg Kirghiz in the west, Turkestan Military District in the east and south (with the new Syr Darya and Semipalatinsk provinces); the territories of formally independent Emirate of Bukhara and the Khanate of Kokand are mapped in the far south. The map is very detailed and shows the main mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, roads, towns and villages, Russian military forts, etc. The second “Map of Summer and Winter Camps in the Oblast of Siberian Kirghiz” defines the borders of migration of fifteen Kazakh tribal groups and marks the names and locations of their main camps, settlements, and districts. Overall, an essential early geographic work on Kazakhstan, densely packed with original statistical data and illustrated with two content-rich maps.
Price: $5,250.00 USD