Geography

The Kiev Gubernia is situated on a vast fertile plain that rises southward towards the southern steppes. The northern region consists of large swamps. The plain is drained by the Dnepr River system, which is fed by several tributaries, among which is the Ros River. The Ros flows to the west of Tarashcha, circles to its north and then moves southeastward past Boguslov, emptying into the Dnepr River on the eastern edge of the Kiev Gubernia.

The Kievian climate is dry, with average annual rainfall of 22.4 inches. The regional average temperature is 45°, varying from a winter average value of 13.1° to 54.5° during the summer.

Sixty percent of the land area, consisting of fertile, black soil is devoted to agriculture; forests and grasslands make up the remaining land.

Throughout the nineteenth century and into the 1920's, the region was known as the breadbasket of Europe, producing large quantities of grain: oats, wheat, barley, rye, millet, and buckwheat. Other agricultural products were beets, potatoes, vegetables, pears, nuts, and hemp. The grasslands supported the raisng of horses, cattle, and sheep.

Important industries during the 1880's were the production of beet sugar and tobacco; distilleries; flour mills; and tanneries. Peasants made their own tools as well as boats and carts. The Jewish population was involved in trade.

By the beginning of the twentieth century, peasants owned 45% of the land in the Kiev Gubernia; the nobility owned about 41%. After Stalin forced the kulaks onto the collective farms in the 1930's, the Ukraine ceased to be the breadbasket of Europe.