Eastern Siberia


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Eastern Siberia is Number 55 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Eastern Siberia is defined in the book as all of Siberia except the provinces of Tomsk and Tobolsk (Western Siberia). Outstanding physical features of this vast region include the great central plateau stretching from Mongolia almost to the Pacific coast, and three great rivers—the Yenisei, the Lena, and the Amur—and their tributaries. The section on political history outlines the advance of the Russians into Siberia, starting with hunters, traders, and Cossacks in 1600–1750, continuing with political and criminal exiles in 1750–1900, and joined by colonists in 1861–1914. The book also summarizes Russia’s foreign relations with China, Mongolia, and Japan. The section on economic conditions notes that the “foreign countries with the greatest economic interests in Eastern Siberia are the United States and Canada. This is partly due to the fact that in many parts of Siberia conditions are similar to those in the prairie region of America… citizens of the United States are conspicuous in many industries and in all branches of commerce.”

Last updated: November 14, 2017