PERM, the most eastern government of European Russia, is bounded on the e. by Siberia, and on the n., w., and s. by the governments of Vologda, Viatka, and Orenburg respectively. Area, 128,210 sq.m.—more than twice the area of England and Wales. Pop. '70, 2,198.666. It is divided by the Ural mountains into two unequal parts, of which the smaller portion is on the eastern or Siberian side of the mountains, although, for administrative purposes, it is reckoned as a part of European Russia. About three fourths of the government are occupied by the Ural range, which in some places reaches the height of 4,000 ft. ; but which slope so gradually toward the plain, that the traveler reaches their summit before he is aware that he has made any unusual ascent. About two-thirds of the entire surface, comprising all the northern districts, are covered with forests, one-tenth of the area is in meadows, and about the same extent is under cultiva tion. The more important rivers belong to the systems of the Volga and the Obi. The Kama, together with the Tshousovaia and other affluents from the Ural mountains, flow s.w., join the Volga. and thus form an important means of communication between the mining districts of Perm and Europe. The Tura, the Sosva, and the Losvh communi cate with the Obi; and access is opened up to the White sea and the Arctic ocean by the rivers Dwina and Petchora. The climate is healthy, though somewhat rigorous. At the end of July, the nights are cold; in the middle of September, falls the first snow. In November, when the whole face of nature is covered with the transport of goods by sledges is busily carried on everywhere. In January the -old is so great that quicksilver sometimes freezes. At the end of March the snow begins to melt, and before the middle of May, although the cold is still great, the country is clothed in the green of early spring. The chief products are gold, copper, magnetic iron ore, rock crystal. jas per, agate, topaz, porphyry, malachite, porcelain clay, salt (obtained from salt springs), coal, alabaster, marble, etc., and diamonds in small quantities. The inhabitants are
chiefly Russians, but there are also numbers of Tartars, Bashkirs, and Finns. The agri cultural produceuf the government, consisting of corn, vegetables, flax. and hemp, is more than sufficient for local consumption, and is exported to some extent to the neighboring governments. The immense forests of the country yield wood for fuel, and timber for the construction of the barges which, during summer, are floated down the rivers, freighted with the products of the mines. Three-fourths of the government are covered by forest; hardly above a twelfth is yet under the plow. The numerous works and factories employ over 100,000 hands, and recently their annual produce was estimated at £6,000,000, of which a third was the value of iron. Here, also, is a platina mine, said, on good authority, to be the richest in the world. The iron of Perm is famous all over Europe. The commerce of the government is very considerable. The fair of Irbit (q.v.) is. after that of Nijni-Novgorod, the most important in_the Russian empire. The transit trade, however, is much more considerable than the local trade. The great highway from Siberia to European Russia passes through Perm, and the government communicates by means of the Volga, Petchora, and the Obi, with the Bal tic, White, and Caspian seas. The central administration of mines has its seat in Ekaterinburg.
The government of Perm once formed a portion of the ancient Biarmia, inhabited in the earliest historical times by Finnish tribes, and even then famous for the commerce which it carried on, especially with Asia. In the 11th c., it became connected commercially with the principality of Novgorod, which, little by little, conquered and took possession of the country. At the close of the 15th c., both it and Novgorod were annexed to the territories of the prince of Moscow, and about the same time the Christian religion was introduced.