A Short History of Russia eBook

Mary Platt Parmele
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 177 pages of information about A Short History of Russia.

CHAPTER XXVI.

  Nicholas II. 
  Russification of Finland
  Invitation to Disarmament
  Brief Review of Conditions

SUPPLEMENT.

  Conditions Preceding Russo-Japanese War
  Nature of Dispute
  Results of Conflict
  Peace Conference at Portsmouth
  Treaty Signed
  A National Assembly
  Dissolution of First Russian Parliament
  Present Outlook

LIST OF PRINCES.

INDEX.

ILLUSTRATIONS.

Peter the Great . . . . . . Frontispiece

The Czar Ivan the Terrible and his son Ivan Ivanovitch

The Coronation of the Czar Alexander III., 1883

Scene during the Russo-Japanese War:  Russian
  soldiers on the march in Manchuria

A SHORT HISTORY OF RUSSIA

CHAPTER I

PRIMITIVE CONDITIONS AND RACES

The topography of a country is to some extent a prophecy of its future.  Had there been no Mississippi coursing for three thousand miles through the North American Continent, no Ohio and Missouri bisecting it from east to west, no great inland seas indenting and watering it, no fertile prairies stretching across its vast areas, how different would have been the history of our own land.

Russia is the strange product of strange physical conditions.  Nature was not in impetuous mood when she created this greater half of Europe, nor was she generous, except in the matter of space.  She was slow, sluggish, but inexorable.  No volcanic energies threw up rocky ridges and ramparts in Titanic rage, and then repentantly clothed them with lovely verdure as in Spain, Italy, and elsewhere.  No hungry sea rushed in and tore her coast into fragments.  It would seem to have been just a cold-blooded experiment in subjecting a vast region to the most rigorous and least generous conditions possible, leaving it unshielded alike from Polar winds in winter or scorching heat in summer, divesting it of beauty and of charm, and then casting this arid, frigid, torpid land to a branch of the human family as unique as its own habitation; separating it by natural and almost impassable barriers from civilizing influences, and in strange isolation leaving it to work out its own problem of development.

We have only to look on the map at the ragged coast-lines of Greece, Italy, and the British Isles to realize how powerful a factor the sea has been in great civilizations.  Russia, like a thirsty giant, has for centuries been struggling to get to the tides which so generously wash the rest of Europe.  During the earlier periods of her history she had not a foot of seaboard; and even now she possesses only a meager portion of coast-line for such an extent of territory; one-half of this being, except for three months in the year, sealed up with ice.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
A Short History of Russia from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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