In this chapter students learned about the physical geography of Russia. Rich in natural beauty, resources, and history, Siberia casts a great and sometimes foreboding shadow over Russia's national consciousness. As Russia's frontier, Siberia has many historical parallels with the western United States. At the Meeting of Frontiers Web site, students will learn more about how Siberia's physical geography shaped the region's development.
Students will use the information from the Meeting of Frontiers Web site to learn about the physical geography of Siberia. The Library of Congress, with the assistance of consultants from the United States and Russia, developed the Web site to compare the exploration and development of Siberia and the western United States. Students will answer four questions and then use what they have learned to create a Venn diagram comparing the Siberian gold rush with the gold rush in the western United States.
- Students will be able to explain the impact that Siberia's physical geography had on its exploration and development.
- Students will be able to apply what they have learned to create a Venn diagram comparing the Siberian gold rush with the gold rush in the western United States.
Applied Content Standards
Standard 4: The geographically informed person knows and understands the physical and human characteristics of places.
Standard 9: The geographically informed person knows and understands the characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth's surface.
Student Web Activity Answers
- Traders streamed into Siberia in search of fur. The first Russians in Siberia extracted from and traded with the native peoples fox, sable, beaver, marten, and squirrel pelts, all much in demand throughout Europe. The first traders in the western United States searched for jewels and precious metals without much success. They were followed by fur traders who were attracted by abundant beaver, sea otter, and buffalo.
- Russian farmers adapted to the Siberian climate by adjusting the way they planted crops in the wet taiga to avoid rot, and by adjusting how they planted crops in open land to avoid frost. Russians also helped to create a prosperous Siberian dairy industry in the southern steppe region, a region more suitable for livestock than crops. Russian farmers introduced new types of wheat, flax, and other crops. Russians also brought to Siberia new agricultural tools and techniques, such as using heavy plows and fertilizing fields with manure.
- The English became interested in trading with Russia via the Arctic Ocean and the White Sea. With the creation of the Muscovy Company in London in 1552 and the belief in a Northwest Passage, governments and merchants throughout western Europe were motivated to commission new and more accurate maps of the vast regions of Russia and Siberia.
- Nature tourism rapidly developed after World War II, and the Siberian preserves became favorite tourist destinations. There, tourists marveled at the beauty of Lake Baikal—the deepest freshwater lake in the world—the boundless taiga, the mighty Siberian rivers, and the dramatic rock cliffs and stone pillars.
- Both the western United States and Siberia: increased regional trade, growth of towns and cities, spurred agricultural production, economic boost to areas with declining fur trade
western United States: increased migration to region
Siberia: forced-labor camps
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