Orenburg one of the eastern frontier governments of European Russia, is bounded. on the south-east by the River Ural, and extends between the governments of Tobolsk on the north-east and Samara on the southwest, covering an area of 73,885 square miles, and containing a population of 1,198,360. This is the government proper; but the so-called Orenburg Country, including the recently organized government of Samara, the, lands of the Orenburg and Ural Cossacks, and of Khirghiz tribes, under different names, extends over an area of 539,830 square miles, from the Volga, to the Sir-Daria and the Amu-Darima, has 2,370,275 inhabitants. The populations, the surface, soils, flora, and fauna of this extensive country are of the most various kinds. The country is traversed by numerous navigable rivers, by means of which and by canals it is in communication with the Caspian and Baltic seas and with the Arctic Ocean. The main streams are the Kama, a branch of the Volga, with its affluents the Bielaia and Tchussovaia; the Tobol, a branch of the Obi, and the Ural. Forests abound, except in the south; the soil is fertile, but is not yet much cultivated; and other natural, especially mineral, resources are rich, but in great part undeveloped. The climate is in general healthy. The government is divided into nine districts; the center of the governor-generalship is at Orenburg, though the chief town is Ufa.
The inhabitants of Orenburg are made up of Russsians, Kalmucks, and Bashkir, Tartar, Khirghiz, and certain Finnish tribes. The trade, mainly in the hands of the Bashkir tribes, is chiefly with Bokhara, Khiva, Tashkent, and the Khirghiz (q.v.); the exports are gold, silver, and other metals, corn, skins, and manufactured goods; the imports cattle, cotton — the demand for and supply of which have greatly increased since the American rebellion — and the other articles of Asiatic trade. The imports are either disposed of to Russian merchants in the custom-house on the frontier, or are carried by Asiatic traders into Russia, and sold at the great national market of Nijni- Novgorod. See Daniel, Handbuch der Geographie, 2:926, 927; Brooks, The Russians of the South (1854); Haxthausen, The Russian Empire (1856). .