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Russian Colonization

By Mike Haran
Feb. 18, 2013

It seems to be the time for native protest movements, at least here in Canada. All over Canada, (and no doubt in the US) there have been road blocks sit in's and such like protesting the federal government’s action, or rather inaction regarding treaty rights. and have me wondering how other indigenous pastoralist hunters have been treated through the areas dominated by the Europeans. This movement to the underpopulated areas of the world began in earnest in the late eighteenth early nineteenth centuries as the birth rate in Europe for the first time in history began to pass the death rate.

American western colonization began with the end of the war of 1812 and the defeat of the British at the battle of New Orleans; an action that had no impact upon the Treaty of Ghent which stipulated that the antagonists go back to their positions prior to the beginning of the war. What had changed however was the status of the victor, General Andrew Jackson, his victory doubly important in the eyes of the American citizenry as the regular US army had performed very poorly against British regulars, the naval battles the main area where they won battles.

Jackson who later was elected president used his popularity to overturn the stipulation bought about by the treaty involving the Louisiana purchase stating that transfer of the land by the French could not happen unless with prior approval from original owners, the Spanish. The Louisiana Purchase was accomplished without Spanish approval. It was argued that Spain would not have agreed to the sale without a stipulation of no western settlement. However with Jacksons overwhelming popularity the westwards movement went ahead. Migrants flocked into the Louisiana territories and then into the western states bringing with them their own local government setting a record for the greatest amount of land transferred from one population to another since the beginning of time. When the Indians complained Jackson is known to have answered that the land had originally belong to the great white mother in England and she had loaned it to the Indians and now wanted to gift it to her heirs, the US government.

Indians who did not assimilate were moved to western lands resulting in a series of uprising and ensuing massacres. During this period Jackson was responsible for the virtual extinction of the Creek Indian.

However the Russians were the most formidable colonizers, colonization the fundamental feature of Russian history They crossed Urals in fifteen eighties and by 1700 they were the majority in Siberia. The reason for the colonization was depletion of fur bearing animals in European Russia. Colonization was accomplished by river and then by the building of forts at every river crossing, portage and connection to other rivers. In time the portage system was replaced by canals. When they reached the Pacific they stuck to the same system only on coastal areas and islands.

The Russian European population of Siberia began to increase dramatically. In 1724 it was 400,000, in 1858 2.3 million, mostly Russian settlers, by 1911 it was 5 million, mostly peasants making it 85% Russian. Russian fur trappers would have gone across North America had not the western Europeans got there first. The government was the first fur trader and immediately exacted a tribute upon the natives. One black fox felt would just about set a man up in business buying 50 acres, the costs for the erection of a cabin, fifty horses, 20 cattle, 20 sheep and fowls.

The Great Russian equivalent to the English Clive and the American Jackson was state councillor Kirillovich Kirillov who began his career in the tsar’s secret police. He established fort Orenburg on the Caspian as the forward Russian outpost from where he could attack' bandits', a term the Russians were still using in Afghanistan 250 years later. In 1735 a report to the Russian senate describes ‘a system of forts built around the tribes in order to capture the leaders for execution, the deportation of those who did not surrender, those who did deported, minor offenders incorporation into colonial regiments on the Baltic, thus tearing out the tribes from their very roots”. The general rule seemed to be' when in doubt exterminate’. The Bashkir’s in a single decade were reduced to a third. The extermination of the pastoralist hunter in Russia began earlier than that in southern Africa, the Americas and Australasia, (Argentina excepted) and was more deliberate and systematic continuing decade after decade until the 1930's.

Colonization was made necessary due to poor Russian harvests, small populations and inefficient farming methods compared to those used of Western Europe, in effect making the Russian peasant the driving force behind the colonization; backed up by the church. Leo Tolstoy supported the imperialists, in fact as a young man he had been one.

It was the enthusiasm of the Russian people for the colonization that made possible the extinction of entire races of people- the Ostyaks, the Cherimises, the Udmarts, the Chuvashes and Tartars, Kalmuks, Karakapaks, Turk omen, the little, middle and great horde, the Uzbeks, the Jungers, and many others. Thus the mounted Cossacks became the great arm of the Russia army subduing other races with their swords as they had themselves had been subdued.

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About the author Mike Haran: Here is the link to my new web site devoid of any connection with the above which I use as a device to publish my war games,link.

Email: manzikertca@yahoo.com


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