Siberia an Exhibition Collection of Postal History

In Russian, the name ‘Sibir’ means ‘Sleeping Land’. During the Middle Ages, Siberia was sparsely populated by Tatar tribes, and the name is said to be derived from an ancient Mongol / Tatar dialect.

In the 19th Century, a huge drive to colonise vast areas of the Southern Regions was undertaken by the Russian government. They were concerned by perceived Chinese and Japanese expansionist ambitions. Inducements of free land and rail travel were offered to the Russian peasantry, and as 80% of the population was engaged in agriculture, there was no shortage of people capable of taking up this opportunity for a better life. They consequently flooded into the region.

By 1904, Siberian agricultural produce was so plentiful that substantial exports were made to European Russia. Although a small army of administrators arrived, the arm of the state operated with a much lighter touch, and little was seen of the infamous ‘Okhrana’ or secret state police; although by then, Siberia had become a place of exile and imprisonment for so many deemed subversive by Tsarist governments.

This interesting collection spans the late 1890s to 1917, and contains an array of covers, picture post cards & postmarked stamps, collected for their Siberian connections. Written-up in English, it attempts to give a flavour of the area, with particular emphasis upon the railways that opened up this vast, atmospheric land.

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