Russian Agriculture in the 1880s

By Dr. William Bosch

Published by, 2016, 159 pages, softcover.

Dr. William Bosch has prepared an outstanding and unique book relating to the agriculture on the steppes of Russia and the prairies of North America and South America which progressed in tandem in the late 1800s. Thousands of families engaged in farming in Russia emigrated to the United States, Canada, Argentina, and Brazil where they brought their experience and expertise to bear on the development of agricultural industries. Many of these families settled in the Dakotas as well as the central and northern plains of the USA and western Canadian provinces.

This book contains more than 50 refurbished color maps and diagrams which first appeared in a book published in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1893. These reworked maps contain information such as the crops grown in European Russia in the 1880s, the yields of various crops such as spring wheat and rye, the mix of animals on their farms and much more. Anyone with an interest in the history of agriculture in the plains of America and Russia will find this book as a valuable resource.

The World’s Fair was held in Chicago in 1893. The Russian Government brought a large amount of material to this fair including a book with the title “The Industries of Russia: Agriculture and Forestry with Coloured Maps.” It is now commonly called “The Industries of Russia, Volume 3.”

That book is packed with information about the rural industries of Russia in the 1880s of which agriculture was paramount. Thirty-seven colorful maps and ten diagrams, also in color, paint an interesting picture of the state of agriculture in southern Russia at that time. Yields of crops, crops favored in certain areas, animals raised, prices of commodities and prices of land are all illustrated by these maps and diagrams. The text part of the book adds a wealth of additional information about agriculture and rural industries.

Original copies of “The Industries of Russia, Volume 3” are hard to find and expensive. Reprints are available but, by the admission of their producers, often have missing pages and are not in color. Many of the maps and diagrams in the reprints appear only as smudges or are missing entirely.

Bosch has redone all of the maps and diagrams in full color and added highlights from the original text and supplemented those highlights with his own remarks. He has also corrected some of the more obvious errors or oversights in the original text. His book, Russian Agriculture in the 1880s, can be used by itself or as a supplement to one of the reprints.

Many of the people living in southern Russia in the 1880s were German colonists who started coming to the Americas during the time covered by this book. Russian Agriculture in the 1880s put their lives and livelihood into a broad and interesting context.

About the author

William Bosch is author of the book, The German-Russians: In Words and Pictures published in 2014.

Bosch grew up on a farm east of Linton, Emmons County, North Dakota. Both sides of his family had German-Russian backgrounds. His mother’s family (Dockter) came from Neudorf and Kassel, Glueckstal District, and his father’s family (Bosch) from Rosental in Crimea.

Bosch received his bachelor and master degrees in mathematics at North Dakota State University and his PhD in 1970 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He as a professor of mathematics at the University of Northern Colorado.

Russian Agriculture in the 1880s

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