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Tambov Governorate

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Tambov Governorate

Tambov Governorate (English)
Тамбовская губерния (Modern Russian)
Тамбовская губернiя (Pre-1918 Russian)
Тамбовская губерния (Russian)

Tambov Governorate in the early 19th century
Coat of Arms

Coat of arms of Tambov Governorate
Established 1796
Abolished 1937
Political status
European Russia
- Rank
58,511 verst²
Population (1897 census)
- Rank
- Density
- Urban
- Rural
2,684,030 inhabitants
45.9 inhab. / verst²
Gubkom chairman

Tambov Governorate was the administrative unit of the Russian Empire, Russian Republic, and later the Russian SFSR with the center in the city of Tambov. The governorate was located between 51°14' and 55°6' of north latitude and between 38°9' and 43°38' east longitude. It was bordering to the north with Vladimir Governorate and Nizhny Novgorod Governorate, to the east with Penza Governorate and Saratov Governorate, to the south and the west with Voronezh Governorate, to the west with Oryol Governorate, Tula Governorate, and Ryazan Governorate.


The governorate was created in 1796 when it was reformed out of okrugs: Tambov Okrug, Kozlov Okrug, and Borisoglebsk Okrug.[1] In 1937 a substantial part of the governorate was transformed into Tambov Oblast out of Voronezh Oblast. During the times of Tambov rebellion 1920-1922 some part of the governorate became the separatist political formation, the Republic of Tambov, with Shendiapin as the head of the state. Later the republic was overwhelmed by the forces of the RKKA (See the main article: Tambov rebellion).

In the 1920s, ethnologist Pyotr Petrovich Ivanov has conducted a major excavations that uncovered evidence of the culture of Mordvins that inhibited the area in the first millennium CE.

Administrative division

The governorate was divided into twelve uyezds. In 1864, when the Zemstvo Law was passed, the uyezds and governorates received a certain degree of self-government governed by zemstvo (local council).

Big cities of over 10,000 were Tambov, Kozlov, Morshansk, Lipetsk (today in Lipetsk Oblast), and Borisoglebsk (today in Voronezh Oblast).


The population of the governorate consisted largely (over 90%) of the ethnic Russians with some Mordvins, Meshchera (extinct Russian ethnic subgroup), and Volga Tatars residing in the north and northwest. In 1825 the Russian Subbotniks were expelled from the governorate by authorities while being labeled as Jews.

Since 18th century and until 1858 the Russian government conducted the population revisions of around 10 that were documented.

According to the Russian Empire Census of 1897 the population of the governorate constituted 2.1% of whole population of the Russian Empire, accounting for 2,684,030 people out of which 1,301,723 (48.5%) were males and 1,382,307 (51.5%) were females.

The estimated population in 1906 was 3,205,200.[2]

Ethnic composition

The following list is based upon the Russian Empire Census of 1897 with ethnic groups that were accounted for at least over 1000 people.

Remarkably almost half of the population of the Spask uyezd was Mordvins which was the highest concentration of people that differentiate themselves from the ethnic Russians.


Almost everybody were the followers of the Russian Eastern Orthodoxy (over 95%) with insignificant number of Muslims and Molokans.


Tambov was one of the largest and most fertile governments of central Russia, extending from north to south between the basins of the Oka and the Don, and having the governments of Vladimir and Nizhniy-Novgorod on the north, Penza and Saratov on the east, Voronezh on the south, and Orel, Tula and Ryazan on the West. It has an area of 25,703 sq. miles, and consisted of an undulating plain intersected by deep ravines and broad valleys, ranging 450 to 800 ft. above sea-level. Cretaceous and Jurassic deposits, thickly covered with boulder-clay and loess, were widely spread over its surface, concealing the underlying Devonian and Carboniferous strata. These last crop out in the deeper ravines, and seams of coal have been noticed at several places. Iron ore (in the north-west), limestone, clay and gypsum are obtained, and traces of petroleum have been discovered. The mineral waters of Lipetsk, similar to those of Franzensbad in their alkaline elements, and chalybeate like those of Pyrmont and Spa, are well known in Russia. The Oka touches the north-west corner of the region, but its tributaries, the Moksha and the Tsna, are important channels of traffic. The Don also merely touches Tambov, and of its affluents none except the Voronezh and the Khoper and the Vorona, a tributary of the Khoper, are at all navigable. As a whole, it is only in the north that Tambov is well drained; in the south, which is exposed to the dry south-east winds, the want of moisture is much felt, especially in the district of Borisoglyebsk. The climate is continental, and, although the average temperature at Tambov is 42° F., the winter is comparatively cold (January, 13°; July, 68°). The rivers remain frozen for four and a half months. The soil is fertile throughout; in the north it is clayey and sometimes sandy, but the rest of the government was covered with a sheet, 2 to 3 feet thick, of black earth.[2]


The region included in the north of the government was settled by Russians during the earliest centuries of the principality of Moscow, but until the end of the 17th century the fertile tracts in the south remained too insecure for settlers. In the following century a few immigrants began to come in from the steppe, and landowners who had received large grants of land from the tsars began to bring their serfs from central Russia.[2]

See also


  1. ^ History of Morshansk Raion (Russian)
  2. ^ a b c Kropotkin 1911.

External links

  • Profile (English)
  • Historical administrative division of Russia (Russian)
  • Demographics (Russian)

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