Essays on Northwestern Mongolia: Results of the 1879–1880 Travels for the Imperial Russian Geographical Society


Grigorii Nikolaevich Potanin (1835–1920) was a Russian scholar and public figure, a pioneer of regional studies, and an expert on the cultural life of Siberia. Learned as a geographer, historian, ethnographer, and naturalist, he traveled extensively to parts of present-day Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China, beginning with his military service. He studied mathematics and physics at the University of Saint Petersburg in 1859–61. He and a friend, Nikolai Yadrintsev (1842–94), were accused of fostering Siberian separatism, convicted, and sentenced to hard labor and exiled to Siberia. Rehabilitated in the 1870s, Potanin undertook several trips that resulted in new geographical information about little-known areas of Central Asia. This work contains the diary of his expedition to northwestern Mongolia in 1879–80, which the Imperial Russian Geographical Society sponsored in order to survey an economical and convenient route for a road through the region. The diary contains notes on the geography and topography of the regions visited. Potanin returned with a large herbarium and many zoological specimens. He also collected information about the folk culture, customs, and epic poetry of the Turkic and Mongolian ethnic groups of Central Asia.

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Title in Original Language

Очерки северо-западной Монголии: Результаты путешествия, исполненнаго в 1879-1880 годах по поручению Императорскаго Русскаго Географическаго общества

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372 pages

Last updated: March 7, 2014